A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Community > Forums > Medium Format > Mamiya RB/RZ > Mamiya RZ vs. RB

Featured Equipment Deals

Creatively Using Selective Focus in Photography and Photoshop Read More

Creatively Using Selective Focus in Photography and Photoshop

Harold Davis, photographer, author, and print master, shares with you how to use selective focus as a creative tool, including in-camera and in Photoshop.

Latest Equipment Articles

4 Outdoor & Adventure Photo Packs Read More

4 Outdoor & Adventure Photo Packs

Photo packs have come a long way in the past decade, especially those that are targeted toward outdoor and adventure photographers. Alaska-based adventure photographer Dan Bailey takes a closer look...

Latest Learning Articles

25 Autumn Scenery Photos Read More

25 Autumn Scenery Photos

Fall is upon us yet again and to celebrate this colorful season, here are 25 scenes of autumn captured by photo.net members.


Mamiya RZ vs. RB

Amit Cohen , Jun 10, 2003; 02:39 p.m.

I plan to buy a medium format camera, and decided it is going to be a Mamiya 67. I have to choose between RB67 and RZ67 (I don’t want Mamiya 7 because I want to buy also a Polaroid back). I read the specifications, yet I can’t decide.

It is possible to get an RZ kit including a 110 lens, which reduces the price. However, isn’t it better to have a normal lens (Mamiya considers the 90mm as “normal”) instead of a 110? If I choose to go on an RZ + 90mm, the price is approximately $900 higher compared to the kit. On the other hand, I can buy an RB67, with a 90mm lens, which prize is about $550 higher than the RZ kit (i.e., $350 cheaper than the RZ+90).

I am confused:

(*) Is the RZ model “better” or “worse” compared to the fully mechanical RB?

(*) Is it critical to have a 90mm lens instead of a 110? Hasselblad, for example, considers the 110mm being “normal” for their 6x6. I am going to have a single lens until I can afford a second one, which might take pretty long. $900 is A LOT of money for me at this stage, yet I will make the effort if I am convinced that RZ+90 is so much better than RZ+110 (what means I may suspend the Polaroid back purchase).

(*) Is an RZ + 110 + Polaroid back preferred over an RZ + 90 without a Polaroid back?

As I said, I read the specifications. Yet, I will happily learn from your personal experience.

- Amit

Responses


    1   |   2     Next    Last

Bill Dewberry , Jun 10, 2003; 03:46 p.m.

The RZ is the better body; the shutters are electronic, the shutter speed can be set in 1/2 stops up to 8 seconds, the film advance lever cocks the shutter & advances the film in one stroke, as opposed to two with the RB. The 110 lens is much better than the 90, no question. The RB would be your choice if you wanted a fully mechanical body.

Garry Edwards , Jun 10, 2003; 04:11 p.m.

As Bill Dewsbury says, +....
You can get a metering prism for the RZ, which is excellent. It is also quite a bit lighter than the RB, although whether or not that matters depends a lot on your type of photography. The safety interlocks on the RZ will fail if your battery is dead.
Whether or not you should buy a 90mm lens instead of a 110mm and whether or not a polaroid back is necessary depends very largely on the type of photography you do.

Dan Long , Jun 10, 2003; 05:17 p.m.

Amit:

I agree with the two gentelmen preceding me that the RZ is the "better" of the two, certainly more advanced and refined. That said, I gather from some of your comments that like me, you don't use your medium format professionally. If not, then you, like me, may find the RB a better choice. No batteries except in the meter. All mechanical and sturdy beyond belief. The lenses are considerably cheaper than the electronic RZ versions, but those that fit the Pro or Pro-S models are not as well coated as the later versions. I would certainly use an RZ if it were given to me, over an RB. But if I am putting out my amateur dollars, the RB is the one.

Regards, Dan

Christopher Perez , Jun 10, 2003; 05:26 p.m.

Is it critical to have a 90mm lens instead of a 110?

I have a Mamiya 7 with 80mm lens. It provides a moderately wide angle perspective. If it was the only lens I ever owned, it'd be OK, but not perfect. I also have a Mamiya RZ with 110mm lens. It's what I would consider a "normal" lens perspective. The the kinds of work I do, the 110mm covers a wide range of photo opportunities from desktop, closeup, portraiture, to nicely balanced scenics. It's the lens I wished Mamiya made for the 7 (instead of the 65mm - 80mm offerings they currently have on the 7). And I understand that optically the 110mm lens is much better than the 90mm, but I have no way of verifying this for myself so I guess I shouldn't really say much about it.

For previously mentioned reasons, I would strongly suggest the RZ over the RB. But if you are in love with the idea of mechanical equipment, then RB can't be beat. The RZ accepts RB gear, but not the other way around.

Lastly, if you shop carefully, you can find mint/used Mamiya RZ gear. By spending less upfront you might have enough to shovel out for more lenses and backs. Things are incredibly cheap these days. In this case even KEH (www.keh.com) has some very reasonably priced used Exc+ to Mint- gear.

Peter Smith , Jun 10, 2003; 09:12 p.m.

The interlocks on the RZ make it less likely that mistakes will be made, and the longer exposure times available allow more creative photography. As for electronic reliability, every hard working press photographer in the country uses an electronic camera without drama. 90mm v 110mm, you'd really have to badly want the very slight extra coverage to pay that much extra.

---- ---- , Jun 10, 2003; 11:50 p.m.

1) Both cameras are built like tanks for professionals; there is nothing amateurish about the RB 67 PRo SD

2) the latest KL lenses for the RB are optically equivalent to those for the RZ; the same KL lens tends to be cheaper than its RZ equivalent

3) the RB is not set up for digital backs which can be a blessing or a curse depending on your priorities; a blessing because RB prices are getting lower due to dealers or users off-loading them in view of 'obsolescence'. A curse because if you decide to go digital, you will have to start all over. However, with digital backs priced the way they are, don't hold your breath waiting for prices to fall. Professionals dive in and pass on the cost to their clients. If you see this level of work, fine and dandy.

4) Many professionals use the Hasselblad successfully which is as mechanical as the RB. If you like the Hasselblad, you will like the RB even more for its 6x7 and 6x8 format size and affordable lenses.

5) 90mm vs 110mm? It is one of personal choice which is why Mamiya made these two focal lengths which are so closely spaced apart. You have to see the pictures shot with both lenses to see its subtle differences. In short, for portraits photographers, a full length shot of a person with the 90mm tend to emphasise the length of his or her legs. Strictly speaking, the 90mm is the true normal of the 6x7 format (just as 43mm is the true normal in the 135 format); the 110mm is the slightly long-normal of the format which mirrors the angle of view that those who start out on 135 systems usually get as their first lens i.e. the venerable 50mm lens. Of course, the 110mm is f2.8 while the 90mm is f3.5.

You have to shoot it to know which is for you. The 90mm looks just slightly wide to the eye used to the angle of view of the 110mm (50mm for 135 format). I have both lenses in my kit and use or the other depending on what I am after.

Don't look at the price tag for an indication of quality. It has nothing to do with it in this case.

Paul . , Jun 11, 2003; 12:45 a.m.

Response To Mamiya RZ vs. RB

My RZ 110 is one of the sharpest med. format lenses I've ever used, and one of only two lenses on 2 1/4 that other photographic artists (and one gallerist who knows her stuff) have mistaken for 4x5. The 65mm I have is almost as good. The RZ is way ahead of the RB in any situation (and this is from someone who used a well-maintained RB from an art school photo check-out for years.) Get the RZ, WL finder, 120 back and grip. There are plenty of good deals on used gear, just don't buy a beat-up one. If you want something really clean, check the Japanese used camera dealers on eb*y (like 'interphoto').

Jonathan Brewer , Jun 11, 2003; 02:37 a.m.

You can get a digital back for the Mamiya Pro-SD(go 2 www.mamiya.com to verify-their Leaf digital backs), the KL lenses for the RB/RB Pro-SD are the same formula per the Mamiya staff from the Mamiya user forum.

The image quality of a RB/RB Pro-SD with KL lenses is the equal of anything a RZ/RZII will produce for a lot less money, you can get a 6x8/6x7 motorized back for the RB which will advance the film as you fire the shutter for not a lot more than than the standard backs, having said that I can equal the winding cycle of a motorized RZ on the RB with my elbow winder which doesn't take batteries, you can also use the multi-angle grip for the RB which has a tripod mount hole.

I don't agree with the characterization that the RZ is better, arguably the RB can malfunction, the interlocks can fail, the camera can/and will operate broken until you can get it to the shop, with the RB there is no electronic rust, corroded contacts from moisture, battery failure, when there is a malfunction with an electronic camera that camera tends to go completely dead and stays dead until repaired, a mechanical RB will still function with a lot wrong with it, and this is a strong point for the RB.

I would also point out that the RB is not only cheaper to buy than the RZ but cheaper to fix when it goes off warranty, I don't agree with the monikers that have been slapped on some gear,.......'this is for amateurs'.............'this is what the pros use..........there is stuff hanging in museums done with a polaroid sx-70, the RB is a well built, reliable, cheap to maintain workhorse.

The RZ is a great camera, but electronic cameras over the long run cannot take the dust, the moisture, the elements like an RB can, you need batteries not only for the RZ but for the winder there are trade-off between the two cameras, the weakness of one camera is the strength of the other.

Ben Pater , Jun 11, 2003; 09:42 a.m.

First a correction need to be made because there is a polaroidback for the M7 From the Mamiya.com site: A Polaroid Back is available from the NPC Corporation. The MF-22 Pro Polaroid Back for Mamiya 7, 6 or 6MF replaces removable back door of camera. Has no Dark Slide. Phone: 617-969-3487 I use both the M7 and the RZ. The M7 is the perfect outdoor camera.

Ben Pater


    1   |   2     Next    Last

Back to top

Notify me of Responses