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  1. #1

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    Mamiya RZ lens designation help, please

    I am seriously considering getting into RZ.

    As I look through KEH, I see there are lenses with designation "W" "ULD" and none at all.

    It is my understanding that one with no designation is the oldest, W is the next version, and ULD is the best one for this platform.

    Can someone give me some prospective of what these differences really mean in real use? I see plenty of "W" types are available with good price point, and ULD are fairly expensive and not as plentiful.

    Opinions from folks who actually own these lenses and use them on regular basis would be really great.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  2. #2

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    W lenses are identical to non-W. The difference is that the aperture scale is spread out more so it's easier to set half stops and quarter stops.

    Only the 50mm was made with ULD spec. It's supposed to be substantially better than the non-ULD 50 - I don't know as I've only used the ULD.

  3. #3
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    The ULD is substantially better than the non ULD, in my opinion. The "ordinary" 50 is the only lens in the RB/RZ line that disappointed me- wacky distortion, chromatic aberration, soso contrast, nice bokeh but not a great lens. Could have been a bad copy, I admit. And maybe for b&w one wouldn't care about sharpness and CA etc. But I say the 50 uld is something special. YMMV.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  4. #4

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    That's good to know.

    So.... if I'm getting 90mm lens, It seems 90mm F3.5W is the only choice.

    What's this LA. M and L designation?

    I'm just trying to build a kit and it's getting quite confusing.
    My first purchase was going to be RZII and 90mm (W). Next would be 50mm and 180mm'ish.

    90 and 50 would be for landscape use and 180 would be portrait. I'm thinking non-softfocus version of 180mm.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  5. #5
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Tkamiya, quite a few of the rb lenses work like a charm on the rz bodies. The 90 KL, for example is really superb. I use both rz and rb bodies but the only rz lens I possess is the 110! I recommend that one and the 150 SF lens very highly for portrait.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  6. #6

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    You mean 180 SF? I haven't seen 150 SF.....

    Is KL lens on RB line same as W line on RZ??
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  7. #7
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Yes the KLs are certainly en par with the Ws.

    There is an rb67 150 SF, I have one. Very nice. Comes with several bokeh discs. Kind of like an imagon lens.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  8. #8
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    (M)-LA means it has a floating element, which adjusts the corner sharpness when you focus closer. This option is available on the 50, 65 and 140 I believe and it makes a big difference.

    ULD is a version of the 50 involving Ultra Low Dispersion glass and also happens to have a floating element. I've not tried a 50 ULD but have seen some excellent photos from one; in contrast the non-ULD 50 is truly bad: I owned one for a couple of weeks and quickly sold it because it produced notably softer photos than I could get from my 35mm system. If you want to focus closer than 5-10m, I definitely recommend getting the M-LA (and ULD) version of any relevant lens, otherwise why are you bothering to use such big pieces of film?

    W I believe means there are half-stop markings on the aperture scale. -N means it has been re-designed; for example there's a 180/4.5, 180/4.5 W and 180/4.5 W-N. The first two are the same except aperture markings, the third is a completely different design (older is Heliar, W-N is Tessar or so I'm told). Since the 180 is basically free these days ($100) it makes sense to have one but I find it a bit short for portraits so will probably get a 250APO soon.

    There are APO versions of the longer lenses (210, 250, 350, 500) available that cost $500+ instead of $150.

    I would recommend the 110/2.8 over the 90/3.5, just because the 110 is so damn amazing, particularly in the bokeh department. It is a little long for a normal but I use it probably 60% of the time.

    There are also SB (short barrel) versions of I think the 75 and 180 which allow use on the shift adapter yet still achieve infinity focus.

  9. #9

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    I am deeply in love with my RZ again. What a joy of viewfinder. The revolving back. Mmh.

  10. #10

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    Some good info here. I'd also recommend the 110 over any other of the normal lenses (e.g. the 90s, etc.) I have had both 50s at the same time, and while the ULD *is* better, the regular one is really not bad, at least mine wasn't. It was quite good actually. the ULD is worth having if you can find it under $500 though, that's such a reasonable price vs. new, that it makes no sense *not* to get it.

    the 180 W-N is the latest model of the normal 180. nice lens, great bokeh.

    65 L-A is the latest version of the 65, and is uber-sharp. a great lens.

    All the APOs are fantastic, among the best lenses of their type made by anyone, anywhere.

    Really can't go wrong with any of the RZ lineup, in my opinion.
    -Ed

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