80mm Lens - Mamiya 7II vs. Rolleiflex 2.8 fx

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by grego, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. Input lease. I know in many respects these are different cameras. At
    different times I have owned both. How is the lens resolution quality of the
    Rollei lens vs the Mamiya 80mm. I suspect the Rollei is a bit sharper, but
    wanted confirmation.
    Thanks for your input.

  2. db1


    how large will you be printing? what film will you be using? do you think you will be able to the difference between the two lenses without a loupe?
  3. I shoot with both the M7II w/80mm and a Rolleicord Va w/S-K Xenar f/3.5, so perhaps I can partially answer you question...

    Judging by my Nikon CS9000ED scans from both camera systems, the Mamiya system wins hands down for shooting color-chromes. This is especially true in challenging lighting conditions. This opinion considers not only absolute resolution but CA and Contrast. These three factors together yield the overall impression of sharpness. You might find this Ken Rockwell Mamiya 7 N 80mm f/4L review helpful: http://www.kenrockwell.com/mamiya/80.htm .

    When shooting most B&W negative film, the Rolleicord Xenar holds its own quite well, but still 2nd place.

    Good Luck!
  4. I'm going to guess that the Mamiya may be a tad sharper based on some online test I remember seeing not long ago. But unless you use a sturdy as heck tripod, develop in a high accutance film, and enlarge greater than say Super A3, I doubt it will make any real world difference in the end.
  5. The original question refers to comparing the 80mm Mamiya 7 lens with the modern,
    multicoated Planar of the current Rolleiflex FX. Please keep this in mind before drawing
    any conclusions based on a modern optic versus a 50 year old one.
  6. Here's the link/test Rich was probably referring to:


    Mamiya 7, Rolleiflex (1956), Hasselblad.
  7. uk


    I own a Mamiya 7, Hass 503Cx and a Rollei 2.8f Planar.

    They are all very fine optics and will enlarge till kingdom come.

    I have done sharpness comparisons between the Hass and the Rollei using B&W film and
    the Rollei cruises it for image quality. It draws the image so well.

    The Mamiya is good, but I would put money it being surpassed by the Rollei in terms of
    the finished print.

    What may give the Rollei the advantage is the absence of a moving mirror which means
    that the focussing aid is fixed and not subject to alignment losses. The film plane is very
    tightly controlled by the fixed roller system, whereas the Hass is subject to necessary
    precise matching of backs to body to be perfect. I also suspect the screen and split image
    is better, although marginal, and of course there is the fine focus mirror built into the
    viewing hood which cannot be matched by the other two cameras.

    The Mamiya 7 has a pretty weak focusing system compared to the other two with their
    large reflected images which are also a great compositional aid. It's excellent for handheld
    travel and landscape work and that's what I use it for, often in preference to the other two.

    The Rollei is also fantastic for closer-up work with used cheap Rolleinars. See Steve Pyke's
    portrait work as he usually uses a Rolleinar to fill the frame with head and shoulders. FYI
    he replaced Richard Avedon at Vogue after using nothing but a Rolleiflex throughout his

    I could go on...... They are all great tools.
  8. I've been able to compare the Mamiya 80 mm with the Contax 645 Zeiss 80 mm, the Hassy
    Zeiss 80 mm and an older Rollei 2.8F Zeiss Planar 80 mm. I think the Mamyia wins hands
    down in terms of sharpness and contrast. In b&w, anyway. I think any MF 80 mm will be
    hard pressed to beat the Mamyia. If the FX does it, that's quite an accomplishment.
  9. I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Rollei performs better than the Mamiya in the center, but that the Mamiya is better edge to edge resolution. If that is what you mean by "sharpness".

    I have used Mamiyas of all kinds (RZ series, 645e, 7II), seen pics from Fuji 645 cameras, worked with the Contax 645 (and its famous macro lens), Pentax 645nII, and now the Bronica RF645, and I have to say that the Bronica is truly the most spectacular lens system I have owned. Too bad Bronica only made three (four kind of) rangefinder lenses, because wow.

    I could never get used to the upside down image of a twin lens camera, so the Rollei would never work for me, but if you want images that look like they are going to jump off the print, it may be the best choice depending on how you shoot. If you shoot landscapes, no way. Buy the Mamiya 7II for that. If you shoot street, I would say the Bronica RF645. If you shoot portraits, the Rollei is great but I would actually buy a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II for sure.
  10. uk



    I know you asked about the optical comparison of these cameras, but you know to get to
    the stage where you can tell you have to be very smart at shooting, processing and

    I'd suggest that once you become that smart, the camera gear is quite secondary to the
    subject and composition. The choice could be more about ergonomics and 6x7 V 6x6, or
    eye level rangefinder versus ground glass with a reversed image but the ability to shoot
    from floor level.

    If I was asked by a friend for advice, I'd recommend the Mamiya 7. If I was to keep just
    one last film camera for myself, it would be the Rollei.

    Let us know what you decide.
  11. Most lenses are derived from very "old" designs: Planar 1896, Tessar 1902. How old is the Biogon design? Don't confuse newer = better

  12. MAMIYA 7 lenses are known to be very hard in contrast. That does not tell, that these lenses are better than SCHNEIDER and ZEISS glasses. It is the overall capacity of an optical design what finally makes the quality of a lens. That cannot be figured by just making some fine B&W prints. But, there is no doubt, that the MAMIYA 7 lenses have, because of their optical design, an excellent optical capacity, but, that doesn't make them as total match winners.
  13. The image in a rolleiflex is not upside-down as with a view camera... it is only flipped right
    to left...as in any leaf shutter or reflex camera wihtout a prism-finder attached
  14. 'If I was asked by a friend for advice, I'd recommend the Mamiya 7. If I was to keep just one last film camera for myself, it would be the Rollei.'
    As an owner of both the Mamiya 7ii system and a Rolleiflex 2.8F, I entirely agree.
  15. Doesn't matter because both are easily sharp enough.
  16. It's great how this discussion has such long intervals between posts. They were all written before I even had a MF camera.
    I have both a Rollei 2.8f and the Mamiya 7ii, and I'm going with that one on the quality front. Admittedly, it's based on short experience in MF, having got a Rollei 2.8f only 1 year ago after returning to wet darkroom B&W printing after looking at some photos I'd taken 30 years ago and decided right there and then, this was for me. But just a few months back, I found out about 35mm rangefinder cameras, which I'd never actually held to my face, and once I'd seen how to focus with one of those, it was all over for the Rollei. I didn't know about MF rangefinders at all. Then I put a friend's Mamiya 7ii in my hands, and just got one right away, which has been wonderful. The ability to see what you are looking at is so much better than off the Rollei screen, even with the new improved one, that it is really no comparison in bright sun or in moonlight. So that gives me a better chance of getting a sharp image right there. The method of focussing with the rangefinder is much easier for me to use than either the Rollei or manual 35mm SLR, and I had to see it to understand what all the fuss has been about.
    Whether the lenses are marginally sharper in one versus the other isn't that important to me, although it seems to me that the Rollei has no advantage in the optics so far as I can tell. What matters is composition, and in that respect, the 6x7 provides more capability, even when considering the desirable characteristics of the Rollei screen. When I think of famous paintings, the proportions are usually rectangular, but less so than with 35mm. Generally speaking. It seems more natural to my eye. To get that with a 6x6, it means cropping. With 35mm, it means cropping. With 6x7, I'm getting all the negative to use to get those proportions, so even if the optical quality is equal or less, when it gets to the print, I don't see how the Rollei can produce a sharper one for my purposes.
    Probably, the more relevant question is whether one lens vs. the other produces a look one prefers. Maybe the Mamiya doesn't have the charisma of a Rollei, or maybe it's the other way around. Thing is, I find the Mamiya one heck of a lot easier to handle, and I've noticed a big improvement in image quality arising from that factor--i.e., better-looking prints, regardless of why that may be.
    On the other hand, the Rollei has an ingenious DOF indicator, and the Mamiya's is deficient. So there is one easy way to get a sharp vs. blurry picture to keep in mind.
    One more factor in the sharpness equation arises from how one holds the camera when off the tripod. I find it much easier to keep the Mamiya steady while composing. When pressing the shutter release, both are very quiet, but it's easier for me to hold the Mamiya steady--even less force involved, and the motion is straight down toward the front of the head, as opposed to the squeeze on the Rollei straight into the belly. If one must shoot handheld, it could make a difference.
  17. In my personal experience, having owned both cameras, I would say, without reservation, the 80mm lens on the Mamiya 7II produces (to my eye) a sharper and more contrasty image. Additionally, I have generally found japanese lenses in my large format work (Nikon vs. Schneider, for example) to be quite a bit more contrasty than their german counterparts. All a matter of personal taste.

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