mamiya tlr - which are the best lenses?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by abraham_heinsheimer, May 15, 2001.

  1. i am close to buying a mamiya c330 system, but will be doing it
    piecemeal (ie: one piece at a time). so i am picking only the lenses
    and accesories i need. i would like two lenses, one wide and one
    normal - moderate tele. my question: which two lenses? the 55 or the
    65? the 80, 105, or 135? i've read all the info on chrome vs. black
    barrels, and that the 65 isn't really much wider than the 80. my
    question has more to do with optics and quality. i will be using the
    camera for a variety of uses, from environmental portraiture to street
    shooting and scenics, handheld and tripod. so, if you could only have
    two lenses with this camerea, which would they be?
  2. I only have the 55 mm (black) and cannot do a comparative evaluation of quality.
    If you are interested in wide the 55 mm is probably the one to get -what you read is probably correct.

    I find the lens very sharp and free of distortion, however it easily flares if you don't use the lens hood (get the original square one).

    I think have read that the 105 has DOF preview. That is the only feature I miss in from my Nikons -so I would choose that one over the 80.
  3. I have the 65 and the 135, I like them both and both are very sharp. I also have an 80 that I rarely use. The 65 is comparable to a 35 on 35 mm format, the 135 would equate to about a 70 on the small format. The 55 is about like a 28 mm on 35 mm format, a bit wide for my taste. The 65 is usually much cheaper than the 55. For what I shoot, I find the 65 is plenty different from the 80. You will find that you have to rack the bellows way out to get the 135 to focus, this is normal.
  4. I personally recommend the 55mm, 105mm DS, and 180mm Super. I have used these three lenses plus the 80mm f/2.8 lens. Between the 80/2.8 and 105/3.5 DS, I recommend the 105/3.5 DS because it has a timer and DOF preview as well as being very sharp and having the latest multicoating.
    Tim Brown did a lens test in 1997 and posted it here on the MFD. You can access it here: An earlier lens test appears here: The higher the numbers, the better. Overall the 80mm, 105mm, and 180mm do quite well, and the 135mm and 250mm didn't do as well.
  5. My favorite is 105DS with multicoating and viewing lens depth of field preview, great lens! Second is 55mm black which is much better then the 65mm chrome I sold. I use a 135mm chrome for portraits and have a 180mm (not super) that I don't like at all. Never tried an 80mm as I love the 105DS. Not all 105mm have DF preview or multicoating. I seem to remember these versions; 105 chrome, 105black, 105D, 105DS, and 105DS multicoated.
  6. Each lens is a tool. Aquire them as you need them. In our school auditorium, shooting action on stage from the 2nd row, the 180mm works best. At baseball games, from the dugout shooting players at the bat, the 250mm offers the best composition possibilities. At weddings, a combination of the 55mm and the 80mm does the trick, or the 65mm alone as a compromise. Or just buy them when you can get a good deal on them.
  7. 55/4.5, 80/2.8S, 105/3.5DS, 180/4.5 Super
    are probably the best, particularly if you get a late model
    55/4.5 with purple coating. The 135/4.5's are quite good, though they don't handle as well as the 180mm lens,
    but I found a 65/3.5 less sharp than a 55/4.5, and a 250/6.3 less sharp than a 180/4.5 Super. <p>
    I don't want to start a lengthy discussion about this, but my opinion
    is that all mamiya TLR optics are single coated. This is also the
    opinion of some tech. support folks at Mamiya America. It is not an opinion shared
    by all users, however. It is true that the last series of
    lenses have a different coating than the earlier ones, and I think
    that these lenses are superior to their predecessors. the late coatings
    are purple in color rather than the sand/amber colored earlier ones.
    The late lenses also have click-stops on the APERTURE ring (as well.
    as the shutter speed ring.) the earlier black lenses that only have
    click stops on the shutter speed ring are no longer supported with
    spare parts by Mamiya, and a lens overhaul can only be done by
    mamiya by replacing the entire shutter at considerable expense.
    The late black lenses are still fully supported by Mamiya, though
    they won't be forever.
  8. Answering old thread because this pop ups on the google searches, and because i can't find resolution tests of the 65mm.
    For what it's worth, my 65mm f3.5 black lens is stunningly sharp. I shot a group of three people where the area between their heads and their waist was about 25% of the image height. With HP5 pushed to 1600, so it wasn't a high resolution film. Subject distance was about 3 or 4 meters.
    One of the guys had a woolen sweater and you could easily see the wool texture. You could also see some of the wrinkles on the faces.
    And this was shot handheld (with the L-grip) at 1/15th, f4.0. I still can't believe it.

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