Contrast comparison between Mamiya & Rolleiflex lenses

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by jeandenisborel, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. I am probably considering purchasing a Mamiya 7 or 7II, and a 65 mm lens, and
    I'm looking for some particular advice regarding contrast in mamiya MF lenses.

    The issue is the following :
    Uptil now I've been using an old Rolleiflex (2 lenses, planar 2.8) for all my
    medium format work. I'm using a Focomat IIC and head Ilford 500 to make prints
    on FB paper (Bergger or Ilford). I must admit that I'm very much pleased with
    the results, particularely in terms of contrast on the negative itself. OK,
    usually I send my films to be develpped by a professional lab, I have no time -
    and not enough experience - to do it myself.It's clear that neg contrast grately
    depends on the way they develop them, I agree.

    BUT :
    when I compare 2 rolls of the same film emulsion devlopped at the same time in
    the same lab, one being exposed with my rolleiflex and the other with my Leica
    M6 (and summicron 35mm 2.0 late seventies), the negatives taken with the Leica
    seem preety much always more contrasted that the ones taken with the Rolleiflex.
    In the darkroom it's a little bit of a hassle, because then I often have to burn
    or dodge aeras on almost every print coming from the Leica, but almost never on
    the ones coming from the Rolleiflex (and that, even by managing the overall
    contrast with the multigrade head).

    SO :
    If the Mamiya lenses appear to be as contrasted as the Leica ones, I might well
    stick to my old Rolleiflex 'cause printing is a lot easier when the contrast
    given by the negative is colesest to the contrast accepted by the paper.
    If anyone has experiences in that direction, I'd be glad to read your comments.
  2. Did you shoot your Rolleiflex and Leica at the same time and the same metering settings? And did you try with a 50mm Leicalens, which gives you a frame you can compare to 80mm in 6x6?<br>
  3. Develop our Rollei images for a bit longer if you want more contrast or use a higher grade
    paper. Rolleiflex TLR lenses are only double coated, so a triple coated modern lens will
    provide more contrast be it Mimaya, Leica or a new Rollei FX.
  4. Some years ago I tested my Rollei 6000 lenses against the Mamiya MF lenses of a colleague
    (all on slide film under controlled circumstances of course). I also involved the lens of my
    Mamiya 6. All Mamiya lenses showed a harsh and nasty contrast (in my eyes) compared to the
    Zeiss and Schneider glass, which was interpreted by non-trained viewers as "sharper". The
    Mamiya 6 lens was a bit better (less contrasty) then the Mamiya SLR lenses though. Since that
    test I've developed an eye-itch for these harsh Japanese lens characters.
  5. 35mm and 120 films can be a bit different from each other even if they have the same name. Such differences may require slightly different dev times.
  6. Have a look here for a comparison between some Rollei TLRs and the latest Mamiya lenses.
  7. Also the enlarging lens you use can affect final print contrast. Many people prefer Nikon enlarging lenses for B&W because they have less contrast that Schneider or Rhodenstock. So, for instance if, you are printing your Rollie negs with a Nikon and your Leica with Schneider or Rhodenstock or even "worse" a Leica Focotar, which has even more contrast, then your Leica negs will always seem more contrasty.
  8. You should develop you films yourself, really!

    "I have no time - and not enough experience - to do it myself"

    You can develop and fix and wash 4 films in 30 minutes,no problem.
    You have time to print, you`ll find time to develop too. And it`s easy to do. No excuse.

    By not doing your own development you loose all control. Waste of time IMO...
  9. The Mamiya 7 lenses have more in common with Leica lenses than rolleiflex. Pretty much
    all modern professional lenses will have more contrast than the Rolleiflex lenses from the
    fifties and sixties. This is just an issue of the development in lens coatings that has taken
    place since that time. But I would not suggest dumping a camera system because of this.
    There are many ways to control contrast. Even if you don't do your own development, you
    can control it in printing and through film choice. I find it hard to believe that the Ilford
    head at grade 0-2 has too much contrast. I often print Leica and Mamiya negs on Bergger
    VCCB paper on a Ilford 500 head, usually at grade 2-3.5 and I do not have a problem with
    contrast. I do develop myself, so perhaps that is the difference. <P>In any case, what film
    are you using? Because you could always try shooting a flatter film like FP4+. You could
    also talk to your lab and tell them that you are having a problem with the negatives being
    too contrasty, and ask them if there is anything they can do to tame the problem. Contrast
    can also be controlled by pushing and pulling film, so perhaps you can shoot some test
    rolls to determine the optimum exposure. In any case, contrast is so dependent on so
    many factors, that it can be dealt with successfully in almost all situations by modifying
    your workflow.
  10. Thank you !
    I never tried another lens on my enlarger with my Leica negs, maybe I'd think of it and still buy this famous Mamaiya 7II (easier to use and quicker than the Rolleiflex IMO).
    Mike, I think you've got a point : printing negs made with a leica M lens on a Focomat alson equipped with a leica lens (V-Elmar 100mm) may not be the best solution. Next step : try to find a Nikon lens that'll fit the screw. I surely have one on my old Durst enlarger but I doubt the diameter will fit... I'll have a look once...
    Bob, thanks for the URL link, most interesting. I didn't know about it at all.
    Amund, yes, I think you maybe right too : I should consider buying some gool old Kinderman 120 reels and put myself to work with them. And I suspect this is also a cheaper solution than sending them to the lab - depending on the scale of yout work of course. I'll go on consider it.
  11. I'm wondering if you're using a lens hood on your Rollei? No hood might lead to reduced contrast (or outright flare) in certain kinds of light.
  12. Keep in mind also that the much higher resolution of MF film inherently leads to lower contrast images - all those extra grains allow to you achieve much more gradation between dark and light. This might be a contributing factor to the differences you see.

Share This Page