Mamiya TLR - Best "normal" lens?

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ggray79

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Assuming the Mamiya TLR lenses improved in later years, what is the latest Mamiya TLR normal lens, i.e., in the 75-80mm range? Will it work on the older Mamiya TLRs, e.g., the C3 and C33? My main goal is the "best" image resolution/sharpness. Thanks!
 

Sirius Glass

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The 80mm lens. End of discussion.
 

Tel

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It's also a question of taste. I find the 80 a little wider than I like, and tend to use the 105 as my "normal".
 

MattKing

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mrosenlof

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I have a couple of copies of the 80, including the latest 'S' version. They're very good. But I find the 105 DS just as good if you prefer a slightly longer normal. I've never thought one of these was better than the other.
 

McDiesel

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I've owned almost all Mamiya TLR lenses. Easy. The "black rim" 80mm without any markings on the lens rim. That's the latest version with the latest coatings. Here's how it looks like on the right. It matches Rolleiflex Planar/Xenotar f/2.8 in resolution but beats them in flare resistance and contrast.
 

momus

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Assuming the Mamiya TLR lenses improved in later years,

My experience w/ lenses in general, especially MF lenses, is that when I go back in time I go forward in IQ. Constantly sharpening and adding contrast to already sharp and contrasty lenses ruins the IQ in my opinion. Some of the best lenses I've ever used were 50-100 years old, and a lot of those were uncoated.
 
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The only two that I still have are the 80mm "Blue Dot" and the 105 DS and I prefer the 80 most of the time. I have owned all of the Mamiya TLR lenses at one time or another and never really cared for any other than the 80 and the 105... not because of performance issues but because I just never warmed to the focal length on the 6x6 format. I use the 80 about 98% of the time and I passed on the "latest' 80mm after comparing the build quality to the older "Blue Dot"! The "last" version was just too "flimsy" with too much plastic. In trying to determine why I prefer the older version I think it is forr the same reason that I prefer the old single-coated 135mm f5.6 Fujinon W... the result, like the old Schneider Angulon lenses just suit my "vision" (yeah, I know, sort of a pompous word choice). For me there is a pleasing level of contrast that isn't so clinical.
Joel
 
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Down Under

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In the brief time I had a Mamiya 'C' series TLR - a C2 I bought from a photographer friend in 1980 and sold in 1982 - I used three lenses.

My Go To was the 105, which I bought in place of the 'standard' 80 as back then I had grandiose plans of being a professional portrait photographer (which didn't happen). I liked the tighter framing the 105 gave me and it was also splendidly sharp, which gave no end of help to the (too many) landscapes I took with it.

I later realised the 135 would have been a far better portrait lens, but as they say, we live and we learn.

Then I got a 65, which was just wide enough to further improve the pretty scenery images I was addicted to making and the architecture work I was turning more to. I used this 65 a lot for general images, as it produced little or no no distortion of the verticals, unlike the wider 55 (which I had test-used).

Lastly, a 180 came my way, almost new and at a temptingly low price, and I grabbed it. In the two years I played around with my C2, I think I may have used this lens three or four times. It did make truly good images, 'tho, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a short tele.

This trio of lenses suited my shooting style at the time. My negatives and slides were really, really sharp. Now and then I print an old one and I always marvel at how good the image definition is. I thought they resolved a lovely 'patina' in the film grain structure and the mid-tones were nice and creamy.

What eventually undid me with the Mamiya TLR was the weight of my kit. That C2 plus the lenses badly overloaded and unbalanced my backpack and I found it was too heavy to be comfortably carted around.

I eventually sold out (at a small loss) and went back to my Rolleiflex 3.5E2, which had mostly sat on a shelf at home during my Mamiya Period. I still have the Rollei and several others. Lesson learned.
 
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I own latest versions of both 80 and 105. They are both great lenses but I consider the 80 to be more versatile due to the extra speed. 105 give me better portraits though. I would say the latest 80mm is my normal lens.
 

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The 'S' version of the 80mm (roughly contemporaneous with the C330s) was the last version. Whether it is worth the extra trouble of finding over a good Seiko shutter 80mm, I can't comment - I have never had an 80mm S.

An 80mm is a decent focal length for general use - it is common on fixed lens TLRs for a good reason - but you do have the option of 65mm or 105mm. I used to use a 65mm/135mm pairing with my C220. It was portable and flexible - rather like the 40/90 pair on the 35mm Leica CL.

My personal preference is the 105mm, which sits nicely between the 55mm and 180mm. But if I had to pick one camera with one lens it would be a TLR with an 80mm.
 

miha

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There are two "normal" lenses available for the C series, f/2.8 and f/3.7; 5 vs 4 element optical design. I have the f/2.8 version, and can say it's a very good lens.

Screenshot_20220616-185523_Drive.jpg
 

grahamp

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The f3.7 with Copal shutter is an odd duck. It does not really fit in with the rest of the lenses, and I have never been sure why it was produced (budget version, parts availability, or some odd import/export restriction). As I recall, I have only corresponded with one person who had/used one.
 

flavio81

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Assuming the Mamiya TLR lenses improved in later years, what is the latest Mamiya TLR normal lens, i.e., in the 75-80mm range? Will it work on the older Mamiya TLRs, e.g., the C3 and C33? My main goal is the "best" image resolution/sharpness. Thanks!

I owned many Mamiya lenses and liked to use the 180/3.5, mine was an old "chrome" model.

It wasn't too sharp at f3.5, although at f11 it was a very sharp lens. But i loved the bokeh, and, more importantly, i liked the angle of view much better than the 80mm lens.

I always thought 80 (or 75) was a rather wideish "normal" lens.
 

Sirius Glass

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I owned many Mamiya lenses and liked to use the 180/3.5, mine was an old "chrome" model.

It wasn't too sharp at f3.5, although at f11 it was a very sharp lens. But i loved the bokeh, and, more importantly, i liked the angle of view much better than the 80mm lens.

I always thought 80 (or 75) was a rather wideish "normal" lens.

So one could move in on the subject with the 80mm lens to cut out the unnecessary and avoid cropping later in the darkroom. I do not see that that is a negative for the 80mm lens.
 

flavio81

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So one could move in on the subject with the 80mm lens to cut out the unnecessary and avoid cropping later in the darkroom. I do not see that that is a negative for the 80mm lens.

Close in to the subject?! And then distort the subject more? Using your same logic, better carry only a Hasselblad SWC with the 38mm lens and stick the lens right next to your subject's nose whenever you need a portrait... no cropping needed!!

I never liked the 75mm in 6x6 due to this reason, that's why i sold my Rolleicord and my Rolleiflex too. 80mm is also too wide/short for my liking. In my view, there's a kind of a "nasty focal length zone" where the differences in perspective are very marked. For example in 35mm terms the difference between 40, 45, 50, and 58mm is very marked, more than what the small difference in numbers suggest. I think this is because the eye is very sensitive to detecting anything other than normal perspective.
 

Sirius Glass

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Close in to the subject?! And then distort more the subject? Using your same logic, better carry only a Hasselblad SWC with the 38mm lens and stick the lens right next to your subject's nose whenever you need a portrait... no cropping needed!!

I never liked the 75mm in 6x6 due to this reason, that's why i sold my Rolleicord and my Rolleiflex too. 80mm is also too wide/short for my liking.

My father would ask permission to take a portrait and when they agreed he would get to close it looked like he was going to shove each lens so his Mamiya C330 up each nostril. Every time I think of taking a portrait I see the look of horror on the faces of those people. I do not shoot portraits as a result.
 

markjwyatt

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What do you mean by "marked"? As in "noticeable"? Just curious, thanks.

Definition of marked

(Entry 1 of 2)
1: having an identifying markmarked playing cards
2\ or ˈmär-kəd \ : having a distinctive or emphasized character
 

flavio81

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My father would ask permission to take a portrait and when they agreed he would get to close it looked like he was going to shove each lens so his Mamiya C330 up each nostril. Every time I think of taking a portrait I see the look of horror on the faces of those people. I do not shoot portraits as a result.

LOL. He really took advantage of the C330's macro abilities, i see...

I see your father was a more sensible shooter, opting for the fair priced and well-featured C330. He did care for his financial well-being!!

Returning to the topic, if Rolleiflex had made a model with a 105mm lens, or at least a 90mm lens, i would have kept one. I have passed many, many good (or even great) deals on beautiful Rolleiflexes because I don't feel comfortable with 75/80 lenses in 6x6. In 6x4.5, 75mm works just fine, but even then i do have a 105 for my 6x4.5 camera. Maybe Mamiyolleiflexblad owners crop their shots to 6x4.5, that's OK, but when i grab a 6x6 camera i'm intending to shoot square pictures, otherwise God has given us amazing 6x4.5 cameras from Bronica, Pentax, and Mamiya.

Right now my Salyut-S (this is like a Hasselblad 500C/M but cheaper, much lower shock/vibration, and a FP shutter instead of leaf shutter) has a 90/2.8 lens of Xenotar design. I am finding the 90mm focal length very nice.

Thus, i would really suggest the use of the 105mm lens on the Mamiya TLR cameras. The 65mm lens is also very good as a general purpose lens, with the "expansion" of space expected from a wideangle.
 
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flavio81

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What do you mean by "marked"? As in "noticeable"? Just curious, thanks.

Sorry, i meant:

"the difference between 40, 45, 50, and 58mm has a distinctive or emphasized character, more than what the small difference in numbers suggest."
 

Sirius Glass

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LOL. He really took advantage of the C330's macro abilities, i see...

I see your father was a more sensible shooter, opting for the fair priced and well-featured C330. He did care for his financial well-being!!

Returning to the topic, if Rolleiflex had made a model with a 105mm lens, or at least a 90mm lens, i would have kept one. I have passed many, many good (or even great) deals on beautiful Rolleiflexes because I don't feel comfortable with 75/80 lenses in 6x6. In 6x4.5, 75mm works just fine, but even then i do have a 105 for my 6x4.5 camera. Maybe Mamiyolleiflexblad owners crop their shots to 6x4.5, that's OK, but when i grab a 6x6 camera i'm intending to shoot square pictures, otherwise God has given us amazing 6x4.5 cameras from Bronica, Pentax, and Mamiya.

Right now my Salyut-S (this is like a Hasselblad 500C/M but cheaper, much lower shock/vibration, and a FP shutter instead of leaf shutter) has a 90/2.8 lens of Xenotar design. I am finding the 90mm focal length very nice.

Thus, i would really suggest the use of the 105mm lens on the Mamiya TLR cameras. The 65mm lens is also very good as a general purpose lens, with the "expansion" of space expected from a wideangle.

There is an ecclesiastical error in your statement. G-d created 6x6 and square formats; man screwed around and came up with 6x4.5 formats.
 

flavio81

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There is an ecclesiastical error in your statement. G-d created 6x6 and square formats; man screwed around and came up with 6x4.5 formats.

No.

God created the Golden Ratio, approximately 1.61803.

The only format that complies with the golden ratio is 6x9 ... 89mm/ 55mm = 1,618

All else is just blasphemy.
 

markjwyatt

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There is an ecclesiastical error in your statement. G-d created 6x6 and square formats; man screwed around and came up with 6x4.5 formats.

6x6 is one of the best because you can make square prints, or you can take rectangular- and without having to rotate the camera, which makes a difference for larger professional MF cameras. 6x6 contains 6x4.5 as an option. Now 6x9 is another story. I like the extra real estate, and folders are reasonably compact.
 
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