Mamiya RB Lenses - Attack of the Nomenclature

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jmooney, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. jmooney

    jmooney Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm considering an RB67 and the lenses are bewildering me a bit. I've done some googling and I get more opinion than fact and RZ lenses and adapters and X sync only and arrrgggghhhh... so I was wondering if someone could break down the RB lens designations in a concise manner so I can know what I'm looking at?

    Also I came across reference to floating elements that you have to adjust in some of the wide lenses, any info on that would be much appreciated as well.

    Any known dogs in the bunch?

    Thanks in advance,

    Jim
     
  2. CBG

    CBG Member

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    I can't break down all the nomenclature, but the floating element is simple to explain. It's an optical desgn thing.

    Basically - a given lens design - a particular set of glass elements spaced just so and mounted in a fixed relationship within a lens barrel - is optimized for one condition; one focal length, one distance to subject, one f/stop, etc... There are so many aspects to what a lens has to do that they can't be perfected to do all things equally well. A good design can be made to do most things fairly well, but at one or another point they are best.

    However, some designs can get some real extra performance at - say, both close up and distant conditions - if one or more lens elements are shifted forward or back a teeny bit to optimise for both conditions. It is essentially getting two lens designs out of one. The mamiya 50 mm has floating elements. I can't recall which, if any others do.

    RBs and RZs are great working cameras. Three things recommended them to me. The rotating back gives you easy format horizontal and vertical. Bellows focussing for greater extension so close up work is a breeze - less use of extension tubes etc. One filter size for most of the lenses makes life simpler.

    Best,

    C
     
  3. X Sync is for strobes. No one uses M sync any more unless that still have m class flash bulbs. So X sync is not a problem for you.

    One more down. Next.

    Steve
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I can answer the easy one :tongue: RZ lenses aren't RB lenses. You can mount/use RB lenses on RZ bodies but not the other way around.
     
  5. David Brown

    David Brown Member

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    So you're asking the question here ... :D
     
  6. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    If you're considering an RB don't bother looking at RZ lenses. The RB lenses with a C designation are an older design; Those with KL designation are a newer optical design and 2 of them will only fit the newer ProSD models (75mm shift and 500mm KL). There is no 50mm KL for the RB, only the C design. They're all excellent lenses and the C designs are priced very low these days.
     
  7. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    However, if on a tight budget, the only non C lenses I would avoid (without shooting with them) would be the 50 and 65, I've had good and bad copies, but the majority opinion is that they tend towards bad.
     
  8. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    OK, anudder shot.

    Lens-
    plain older glass, still nice designs, not up to the performance of the 'C' lens

    'C' lens, mutlicoated but still need lens hoods to eliminate flare.

    KL lens - designed to suck the money out of your pocket at an exponential rate.

    Unless you are a pro, get the C lens and lens hoods for them. Price per performance, best bang for the buck.

    Let's see, I am not crazy about my 50mm, but then again, I just found out about floating lens elements, I need to spend some time with it to see if the performance gets better. I am crazy about my 65mm C. I didn't know about the floating lens in it either but it doesn't seem to matter. It's a nice lens. !50SF C. Hard to learn to use, but the potential is great. 180 C is very sharp. I haven't used the other couple of lens in my setup enough to form an opinion about it.

    Bodies - Professional - oldest, most worn out. Be careful. ProS Most likely to have interlock issues as it has more and you need to keep all the parts of your system in good order for them to work 100% of the time. SD - Newest and most likely to suck more money out of your pocket up front, but you should have fewer issues with it.

    I have a Professional and a ProS and am very happy with them both.

    Hope this helps,

    tim in san jose
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2009
  9. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I've only had my RB for a few months now, but one lens that I might have overlooked if it hadn't come with the camera is the 127mm 3.8 C which gives nice closeup results and can be used for portraits in a pinch. It's about the same as a long normal or very short tele on 35mm.

    I also have the 65mm C and while I haven't used it much, it seems very sharp.
     
  10. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Tim, I love my C lenses, and all mine are C but the 360. However, with care (proper shading, not shooting directly into the sun if at all possible, etc) the differences are impossible to glean from the negatives.

    I've shot with Pro, Pros S and Pro SD cameras for over 20 years and even the non C lenses are good, within their limits, and I still have a few non C lenses that I use specifically when I want some flare shooting directly into a light source. If somebody was in the position of either a $75 non C or no lens, I wouldn't hesitate in the least. Of course, my compendium shade lives in my case, and with the exception of the 50 and 65 (which have their own shade), is always on whatever lens I'm using.
     
  11. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    In one of those amazing ebay deals, I got something like 25 shades of different types for 20 bucks. Never going to be hurting for shades, no matter what size lens.

    I haven't found problems unless shooting into the sun either. We'll just keep shooting, knowing the camera is still better than me at this photography business.

    tim in san jose
     
  12. EdColorado

    EdColorado Member

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    C or non C, all my RB lenses are non C and all are scary sharp, I love em all. 90, 127, 180, and 250. Can anyone tell me though if there is a design difference between the C and non C lens? From what I've been able to find its just coated and not coated which should only matter if flare is a problem. Love the RB, especially with color slide film.

    Ed