How Bad Are Mamiya Press Lenses?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by wjlapier, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. wjlapier

    wjlapier Subscriber

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    Haha...I bet this has been discussed many times. I've read many comments about the 100mm f/3.5 not 2.8 and 150mm lenses, but what is the real deal with these two and the rest for that matter? Is the 100mm f/3.5 really a dog? Or is it not good wide open but better stopped down? How would you rate the lenses for the Press/Universal and why do you say what you say? How are you shooting the lenses to come up with your opinion? How are the lenses for the Polaroid version and can they be used on the Universal?

    I'm asking about these lenses because I read so much about them, but the 100mm f/3.5 seemed to be the one many folks didn't like but the users didn't say how they where using the lens.

    For me, I shoot stopped down almost all the time if that makes a difference. I'm a daylight shooter. You'll rarely find me out shooting in the dark with a lens wide open. I like all types of film really, buy mainly C41 color and B&W.

    I found a really nice condition Universal but no lens, so I bought a 100 f/3.5 lens for it. I'm thinking of buying the 65mm lens next.
     
  2. Ponysoldier

    Ponysoldier Member

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    I used a 100mm f3.5 for years... searched in vain for the elusive f2.8 but never found one... and never found anything to complain about! I had also read/heard the tales of what a dog the 100 f3.5 was but maybe I was just fortunate. After shooting for more years than I can recall with a Mamiya Super Press, C330 and RB67 I can't say that I ever found any Mamiya medium format lens that was less than excellent!
    Joel
     
  3. fadedpastels

    fadedpastels Member

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    I find the 100mm f/3.5 plenty sharp all around perhaps the best out of all my lenses unless I've gotten lucky twice on them.
     
  4. MAubrey

    MAubrey Member

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    The 100mm f/3.5 is a tessar design. It's simple and has good contrast. Not incredible, but certainly not bad. The tessar is a solid lens design. The final version of the lens, the 100mm f/3.5E, is the only press lens that's multicoated, so that might change the equation. It has a rubber grip focusing ring rather than the bare metal. I've never seen one except in pictures.
     
  5. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    I don't think Mamiya made a bad medium format lens..all of the small format Mamiya lenses that I've encountered have been pretty darned good too.
     
  6. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Subscriber

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    I have a 100 3.5 for past 30 or so years, never let me down, sharp, 3.5 to F16, at F22 seems little soft in the corners. My 65 and 55 are really sharp, the 150 is not bad, all have decent coatings, well made, most camera techs can Clean Lube and adjust the shutters. My only quibble is other than the 100 3.5 and 2.8 all the other lens take odd size filters. For that matter I don't know what filter Mamiya made for the 65 and 55. I use a Series V filter with thin tape on the edge and just press in, seems to work but of course can fall out if using handheld. For the 150 I use a Series V press on filter adaptor. Don't have the 250 so don't what size filter it takes. As with BradS I think Mamiya ever made a bad lens.
     
  7. bunip

    bunip Subscriber

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    I bought the Mamiya Super 23 just to use the 50mm (on 6x9 format) that, after 30 rolls shot in bw, seems to me a fantastic lens. I have also the 65 that is really compact and the 100 3,5. About these two lenses I can say the 100 is really sharp, I like it, even if 80% of my shots are with the 50; the 65 was bought first when I was looking for the 50mm and was used 2-3 times; when I got the 50 I never used it again. I’d suggest 50 and 100mm. I use the 65’s rangefinder to compose with the 50 as I do not have the 50’s rangefinder (rare and expensive).
     
  8. bunip

    bunip Subscriber

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    Mamiya press lenses have different mount from Polaroid version, you can’t exchange them. 65mm filter thread is 43mm, you can use a 43-52 adapter ring but such a “big” filter will limit access to shutter’s levers. 50mm has 72 filter’s size. 100mm has 55 filter’s size.
     
  9. btaylor

    btaylor Subscriber

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    I am assuming the people who post the bad results from the 100mm f3.5 are using the rangefinder to focus? If the rangefinder is out of adjustment you'll get poor focus and fuzzy shots. I have not used this particular lens, but as others have posted the medium format Mamiya lenses I have used on my C330s and RZ67 have all been truly excellent.
     
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    wjlapier

    wjlapier Subscriber

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    I agree the other lenses are great. I have 90 and 65 KL lenses for my RB67 and 105 and 65 for my Mamiyaflex C. All outstanding lenses.

    Well, good to know folks here who have and use the lens find it to be sharp. That's what I like--sharp lens. Looks like it might arrive tomorrow and that means I'll be out shooting something 6x9!

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  11. Ponysoldier

    Ponysoldier Member

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    Enjoy it... they are truly "fun" cameras once you become accustomed to the routine and for spontaneous street photography I always found the camera to be a winner.
    Joel
     
  12. dag.bb

    dag.bb Member

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    I tested both the 100mm black multicoated and E versions using adapters, and always found them a bit soft. Might be due to some testing error, but I could never get them quite sharp, even when stopped down. See this link (I tried the 127mm and remember it seemed sharper for some reason, so maybe it could be a good alternative). See this link https://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=146554
     
  13. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    I recently bought a mamiya universal and some lenses: 50, 65, 75, 100 2.8 and 127...

    all the lenses seem quite good, i have not tested the 65mm though... but all the others are really good, the 50mm , 75mm and the 100 2.8 are among the best... and the 50mm is defenitly a bit better than 50mm distagon CF FLE and 50mm Bronica PG, although the non retrofocus design helps a bit...

    one thing regarding the camera.... it´s imperative you adjust the rangefinder for all the lenses you have...

    one thing regarding the 50mm: the DOF scale on the lens is way optimistic... by two stops...

    the 100 2.8 is just amazing...
     
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  15. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I admit I have no knowledge of Mamiya Press lenses, but your question amused me "How bad are Mamiya Press Lenses?" is what in the law is called " leading the witness" ie, "Have you stopped beating your wife yet? " :D
     
  16. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    I briefly used the Super 23 with the tilt and swing back and the 90mm f/3.5 before gravitating to an MPP 4 x 5 Version 8. I always used it on a tripod and used the ground glass to focus. I found this combination produced excellent results with the Mamiya Sekor lens being very good and sharp.

    Bests,

    David.
    www.dsallen.de
     
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    wjlapier

    wjlapier Subscriber

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    I know. But that was not my intention. I should have narrowed that down to the 100 f/3.5 specifically, since there is so many comments on the internet about how bad it is.

    Arrived at my PO today so I should have it and will right away shoot a roll through it.

    Someone above mentioned calibrating the RF to the lenses. I think I read this isn't necessary, but in case it is, how would one go about doing that? Mine has a broken screw on the left side so taking the top off isn't going to happen.
     
  18. OP
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    wjlapier

    wjlapier Subscriber

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    Bummer. Looks like this lens has fungus. Only cost $89 shipped from Japan and it'll cost a lot to ship it back. I'm going to contact the seller next. What do you guys think? Anyone think this is an issue shooting this lens mainly f8 or smaller? I don't want a lens with fungus near my other gear.

    [​IMG]

    The lens looked pretty good when I first open the package. Shutter works fine. Glass looks dirty with a strong light shined through it though.

    First lens I ever bought that has fungus.
     
  19. Bob Eskridge

    Bob Eskridge Subscriber

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    Try cleaning it properly. I blow it, brush it and then use a lens cleaning cloth with very little pressure.

    It is so small it won't affect your images.
     
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    wjlapier

    wjlapier Subscriber

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    This is on the second lens from the front. The seller told me I could remove the first lens easily and I did but what you see in the photo above is further in. I don't mind trying to clean it up if I have guidance of some sort. The seller says it's not fungus but rather some sort of cleaning fluid that he might have got on the lens after cleaning the shutter mechanism.
     
  21. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Any examples? First I heard of it.
     
  22. Monday317

    Monday317 Member

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    I got a bad case of 6 x 9 GAS last year and wound up with a lovely Zeiss Ercona, fitted with an uncoated 105mm f/3.5 Tessar, and love it—so long as I’m shooting at or near infinity, or less than 2 meters. Between those two, I positively suck at estimating distances, and don’t always want to compose at f/22... Hence, I’m looking 6 x 9 rangefinders, or SLRs.

    As to the latter, an RB67 may be a choice: the Mamiya glass is phenomenal, and unlike the vaunted Hassleblads, the entire lens unit is racked to focus, not just the front elements on a helicoid. This is a significant difference. RB/RZ images have a depth & detail the standard designs can’t really match. Technically, it has to do with modulus of transfer function, but the math escapes me. Leica lenses manage high MTF, due to their design and small size. It’s also one of many reasons large format looks great.

    That said, the Mamiya Press lenses are an extremely close second, and IMHO the 100mm f/2.8 just edges the f/3.5 for the same reason. That said, all the Mamiya MF glass are superb!

    I generally view online photos on my iPhone SE, an advantage of which is the ability to enlarge image to the limit of the original scan. You can easily spot a handheld image over a tripod that way. Certainly, it’s a little OCD, but a lot of us are nuts anyway, yais? Anyhoo, you soon learn to see images with a critical eye, and can make judgments regarding technical image quality with some reliability.

    I like the Fuji Texas Leicas as well, and could be happy with one—but will give the Oscar to Mamiya just the same. Whatever this bugshutter (or film waster) chooses in the end, it’ll be a Mamiya!

    I thank you.
     
  23. mshchem

    mshchem Member

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    It's fungus.
     
  24. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    The helicoid on hasselblad lenses does not do element focusing, they move the entire lens... just like the bellows focusing on mamiya rb and rz and tlr´s. On floating element lenses (FLE) you have to adjust some element (s) to the focusing distance (as on mamiya floating element lenses) but that is not a bad thing, just close focusing correction on retrofocus lenses. Mamiya press uses helicoid focusing and has no retrofocus lenses so it does not have the need for close focusing devices on lenses.

    Lenses on medium format cameras are usually very good, generally speaking.

    most of the claims for mamiya press (or most rangefinder in medium format) bad lenses are usually related to poor rangefinder calibration.

    but older chrome lenses for mamiya press are not usually as good as the more recent black lenses, so i have been told.

    i recently photographed a test roll on the older 65mm (topogon 4 element design) and enlarged some images... the sharpness is not as high as on the 50mm or the 75mm but certainly not a bad lens... it has a different rendition of contrast that is pleasing.

    there are no bad lenses... there are lenses that fit some purposes... not all purposes...

    and 6x9 is a very large negative
     
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    wjlapier

    wjlapier Subscriber

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    It was worse after taking a loupe to it. The rear lens was infested with fungus on the edges. The one you see above is inside the lens--different piece of glass and was one of two spots. Seller refunded me most of my money and I ended up tossing the lens. I've never scene anything like that and don't want my other lenses infected.
     
  26. mshchem

    mshchem Member

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    Good call. BTW, I had a Mamiya press camera. Didn't have it long, made great 6x9 chromes and negs.
     
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