Questions regarding Mamiya 7II vs. RZ67 for landscapes + cityscapes

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by nick_rigopoulos|1, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. I apologize in advance for I know this topic has been posted on to death and back again. However, I have some questions I could not find the answers (to my satisfaction) after searching for a solid week or so.
    I'm an amateur photographer, purely a hobby at this point, although it has pretty much consumed my life at the moment. I am currently using a 5d mk II and shoot mostly landscapes. I'd like to get a mf film camera to complement it and use it for black and white landscapes, abstract landscapes, cityscapes, etc. Possibly some B&W street photography now and again, but that wouldn't be a priority.
    I'll skip all the introductory arguments for and against both the Mamiya 7 and the RZ67 and get right to my more specific questions:
    1) I have read and understand that the 7 is unable to focus closer than about a meter. I am not interested in macro photography at this time, but what this does concern me about is near-far composition. Am I going to be unable to use this type of composition with this camera? Any landscape photographers that could comment on this issue and have used the 7 or another rangefinder for this purpose would be especially helpful.
    2) Depth of field on a 6x7 is significantly less per-aperture number than the equivalent on 35mm. My question is, is diffraction also less of a problem at each aperture beyond where it sets in? For example, I've read that f/22 is kind of a no-no on a 35mm DSLR for landscapes if you're after the highest level of clarity; that anything beyond about f/16 shows a noticeable lack in 'sharpness'. On 6x7, does diffraction not set in until a higher # f stop or is diffraction the same across all formats? If it sets in at the #s on 6x7, I could see that being a major problem when trying to get good DoF for landscapes.
    3) I've read that the 7 is severely crippled in metered manual mode due to not being able to adjust shutter speed finer than full stops. Do most of you guys keep it in aperture priority as a result?
    4) The framing issue...just how bad is it? Is this something I can learn to adjust to and be 99% on target with my framing, or is this a deal breaker with this camera for some people?
    5) Neutral density grads: This is probably my most worrisome concern. I have read some tricks on how to use them with a rangefinder, but having never done it, I can't speak to their effectiveness. Is there a sure shot method? Would it be wise to use soft-edge grads to lessen the problem, or can hard-edge grads be used with adequate preparation and skill?
    I guess I really don't have any questions about the RZ67. I've been lusting after the Mamiya 7 for a good while now, and as you can probably tell, that's the one my heart is set on. I've been trying to convince myself NOT to get the 7 for all of the above reasons, but my mind keeps dwelling on and coming back to it every time I thought I had successfully pushed it aside. The RZ67 is my 'fallback' purchase I guess. It's by all regards a more capable landscape camera, has no close focusing issues (mmm bellows focusing) and can be used for many other things: macro, portraiture, pretty much anything save walk-around shooting. The 7 however, is a much more limited camera system. If I manage to talk myself *out* of the 7, I'll most likely end up with an RZ67 Pro II.
    Thanks for any info you can share,
    Nick
     
  2. Hi Nick. I do have a Mamiya 7II with 4 lenses (43, 65, 150, 210) and I use it all the time (some pics here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gcap/sets/72157604354892809/ ).
    Let me respond where I can:
    3) In metered manual you are correct you can not set intermediate shutter speeds but you can easily enter half stops with some accuracy since there is no definite click stop. I almost always use it in Aperture priority lock myself.
    4) You getting used to it. It took me a long time though....
    5) I don't use them with the 7 but others have successfuly.
    Best feature of the camera is its compactness. I have managed to fit all my 7II equipment (body, 4 lenses, panoramic adapter and 2 external finders) + film + flash in a small Loewe-pro Nova 3 bag.
     
  3. Here is a recent photo from the Kerameikos Museum in Athens taken using AE Lock (Provia 100F, 43mm)
    00VUuV-209773584.jpg
     
  4. 1. Will you focus closer than a meter? That is really the obstacle, and something we can't answer. I have never had an issue with this in a near-far landscape. 1m is really quite close for a landscape. It is more of an issue for portraits or close detail shots.
    2. Yes, diffraction is less of a problem. f/22 is not quite as sharp as the mid apertures, but it is not all out soft like on 35mm. If it will help your picture to have more depth of field, you should not be afraid to use that aperture.
    3. Yes, I mostly use AE for this reason. Also because AE is just the way I like to work -- meter lock and recompose. But I will say that if you are planning on shooting black and white film, you will probably be close enough in all situations with metered manual. You will only ever be 1/2 a stop off, which is nothing for black and white film. If it worries you, you can also set a halfway setting on the aperture ring...there is no click stop, but you can turn the ring halfway between click stops.
    4. I am sure it is a deal breaker for some people. It has never bothered me. I use rangefinders a lot, and the kind of photography I do does not necessarily demand perfectly rigid framing. If that is a deal breaker for you, you are best off with an SLR or a view camera.
    5. I have never used one and never really missed them. With properly processed black and white film you have plenty of dynamic range with which to work -- if you exposure properly, skies can easily be burned in during the printing process.
    For the record, I don't really think the Mamiya 7II is a limited camera unless you are looking for a studio camera or a long telephoto camera. Once you are used to it, it can really handle most normal photography -- that is everything from 1m to infinity with lenses from a 21mm equivalent to a 75mm equivalent. At least for me, that is where 90% of my photographs reside.
    And you realize the sheer difference in bulk between the M7II and the RZ67, right? Have you seen them in person and held them?
     
  5. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Its always tough to choose between a MF rangefinder and a MF slr because their strengths and weaknesses are different . Thats why some people, including me, have both and will pick one or the other for a trip or a day or a particular scene depending how it fits. Unlike Stuart Richardson I do think the mamiya 7 is a limited camera , but because I have other systems too I can concentrate on using it in its areas of strength and am relatively unaffected by its weaknesses. Your questions.-----
    1. It depends whether you want things less than a metre away to be in sharp focus? If the answer is no then the dof you achieve with the Mamiya 7 lenses is the same as with any other lens of the same focal length. In practice however there are a couplr of issues. The first is that you can't "see" dof via a rangefinder viewfinder as you can with dof preview. The second is that the lens barrel markings are over optimistic to the point of being useless unless you use the markings appropriate to at least a couple of stops wider open than you actually are. Either of these issues in isolation are a lot easier to cope with than both together. I should mention that wityh the 50mm lens (the widest I have) you will run out of dof even at f22 well before the focus distance becomes important if you want infinity to be at all sharp. With the 50, and adjusting for the issues above you can get a near/far landscape acceptably sharp from about 2m to infinity at f22.
    2. f22 is certainly usable in my opinion.
    3. "Severely crippled is a gross exaggeration. Indeed I might argue that unless you're using colour slide material it doesn't much matter at all. If you are then you can set an intermediate aperture by eye to produce half stop exposure adjustment.
    4. Framing accuracy is not a huge strength of this camera. You are liable to find things around the edge of your frame that you didn't expect. Actually most of the time for landscapes and cityscapes it doesn't matter hugely but there are occasions- for example you've fired just after a plane has passed out of your picture area - when you will get a surprise that necessitates a crop.
    5. I've read stuff from people claiming to be able to position a nd grad accurately on a mamiya 7, and all I can say is that ir doesn't work for me at all. I do have a screw in 2 stop grad that I use on the basis that its better than nothing, and the graduation is so soft that it won't hurt anything. But as for rectangular grads and particularly when positioning is critical like a hard-edge along the horizon at the coast--well IMO you should assume that you won't be able to make it work. BUT if you are predominantly using b&w or colour neg film with its wide latitude, you might not find this a crippling liability. If you plan to shoot a lot of colour slides with contrasty films like Velvia for example, then this is an issue that contributes strongly towards my decision not to commit all my MF work to this camera.
     
  6. Partial response -
    2. Diffraction depends on the real, actual hole diameter. At the same F number, the hole in a 35mm format is "teeny weeny" whereas it is "huge" in MF format (sorry for the super-technical jargon). I would guess from gut feel, that my Nikon D200 DSLR @ F16 has the same beginning diffraction softening as my RB67 @ F32+.
    5. I am a filter nut. I luv using polarizers and grad NDs. I would not feel comfy at all trying them on a rangefinder. So, for me it is SLR city for that reason alone. (I also collect and use the '60's RFs like the Konica Auto S2, Oly 35 SP, etc. I've tried to use a polarizer every so often on them, and wind up cursing the day light was invented.) Your needs may be different.
    Certainly my RB67 or your potential RZ67 isn't a compact wonder, and that may be a concern for you.
    My 2 bits.
    Jim
     
  7. I have always rated the Mamiya 7II very high on the "kewl" factor, and would LOVE to have one. The only thing I wonder about is tweaking a polariser filter, and, as the OP mentioned, the graduated density filters, which I don't use.
    Truth is, if you, trace its lineage, the Mamiya 7II is probably more of a press camera. The portabilty issue has a lot of validity.
    Comments on using a polariser?
     
  8. Unless you plan on photographing out of your car, the 'most capable landscape camera' is the one you've got with you when you're hiking across hill and dale, or wading through marshes, or perched on the edge of a cliff - or wherever it is that your particular style of photography takes you. For many people, including myself, this would rule out an RZ67.
    All the limitations of the rangefinder that you've described can be overcome through practice. With moderate use, focusing, framing and estimating DOF becomes second nature, as does placement of grad filters. But there's no amount of practice will make the RZ67 lighter - except perhaps time spent in the gym.
     
  9. Comments on using a polariser?​
    Very easy. Hold it to your eye and look through it at the scene. Rotate until happy. Then replace it in the filter holder with the same orientation.
     
  10. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Using a polariser is easy, as Mr Ambrose's second post indicates. This is actually better than the device they sold/sell to hold a polariser temporarily over the viewfinder since with the 7ii at least the finder itself has a quasi polarised appearance and might lead to misjudgment.
    Can't say i agree that all the other issue go away with practice though. Its a great camera , and i'm pleased I have it, but there are trade-offs that don't go away - or at least they haven't after ten years . And we haven't even talked about the meter!
     
  11. There is a very simple, elegant solution to the polarizer issue for the rangefinder. Kenko makes a set of filters for this purpose. One filter is a small unit that mounts in the hot shoe. The other filter then screws onto your lens. Each filter has index numbers on it. You look through the filter mounted in the hot shoe and adjust it to suit. You then read the numbers on the scale on the outer ring of the filter. So for example, it may read 3 on the movable ring lined up with the 7 on the non movable ring. You then just set the filter on the lens to the same setting, i.e. 3.7 I have this set, however it does not seem to be available in the United States. I found it on a British site which sells Mamiya 7 cameras and accessories, and ordered it. I don't even know the site anymore as I changed computers and lost the bookmark. Search Kenko products in the UK though and you may find it. I bought the set with the intention of buying a Mamiya 7, but never did. The little polarizer that mounts in the hot shoe is still a very handy item. I can use that to quickly see if a polarizer will even be an asset to a shot without having to actually mount a filter to the lens or pull out a filter and look through it.
     
  12. I have an Mamiya 7 with 4 lenses, and it's a fantastic camera. I have access to an RZ67 also, and while a nice rig, it's really not well suited towards a hiking/landscape/city/street camera. If I was doing a lot of portraits, macro, etc. - the RZ is the best choice. But I like the Mamiya 7 better for every other reason - it's tiny in comparison, very light, and the lenses are absolutely the best available for any 6x7 format camera. To me, the lenses are the main reason to go with the M7 vs. some of the other choices.There's nothing like the 43mm in any medium-format camera, and the 50mm is legendary also and unequaled, in my opinion. I wish the 210 was rangefinder coupled, it's the only disappointment in the lens lineup.
    There is a close-up adapter that works for fixed-distance closeups, but it's not a landscape near/far tool. Good for quasi-macro/closeup stuff perhaps, but somewhat unwieldy.
    Mamiya makes a nice polarizer for the camera, that takes care of any issues with getting it in the right position. Alternatively you could use 2 identically indexed normal polarizers. (one for viewing, one on the lens).
    ND Grads - I don't have any experience with these but positioning is going to be tricky and require a fair bit of practice and/or bracketing of exposures.
    f/11 is the prime (best) aperture on most of the lenses, f8 possibly in one or two cases. Quality falloff at F22 is not that bad, though it does exist.
    I use AEL mode the most. The shutter is stepless in this mode, so exposure is quite exact. As mentioned, half-stop apetures are possible. the Exp. compensation dial is in 1/3 stop increments also.
    I have some reviews and tests posted here: http://www.edsawyer.com/lenstests/ - including several for the Mamiya 7 from various publications.
    I'd say get the Mamiya 7 system and don't look back. If you buy it at a good price you can easily get your $ back out of it, they hold their value very well it seems.
    Let us know how it works out,
    -Ed
     
  13. lwg

    lwg

    I have the Mamiya 7, RZ, and 645 Pro. I will probably sell off the RZ.
    The 7 is a great landscape camera. I have no issues with stopping the lenses down to get adequate depth of field. I don't trust the marks on the lens, so I usually close down one or two extra stops. With the 65mm lens I have printed a 24x30 image taken at f/22. It is tack sharp scanned to 4000dpi.
    I got the 645 to supplement the 7 for when I want longer lenses, wish to shoot portraits and when an SLR is better such as neutral density filter use. The RZ was originally bought for this purpose, but it has proven too big for my taste.
    You can adjust the aperture in about 1/3 stop steps, so it is fine for manual mode. It's really no different than large format where you only have whole stop sizes for shutter speed.
    The built in meter is ok for print film, but I still like a handheld spot meter. My results with slides and the built-in meter have been poor enough that I won't use it anymore.
    Framing isn't an issue for me. I have never lost something that I thought would be in the frame. It seems to show about 90% of the image captured (best guess). Since I have no issue with cropping this isn't a problem for me.
    Close focus is where it's not so good. But for landscape I have no complaints. Near/far compositions are no problem if you use the marks on the lens and stop down a bit more. Portraits and macro are major weak points.
    All in all it's a great camera. Coupled with fine grained film I think it takes better shots than my 4x5 in most situations.
     
  14. stp

    stp

    My response may repeat much of what has been said, but I'll offer my own experiences anyway. I have the Mamiya 7II and 43, 50, 65, 80, and 150 lenses.
    1. Near-far composition is not a problem as long as "near" is no closer than the minimum focusing distance of the lens. In this regard, it will be no different than the RZ.
    2. I've had the same question, and I'm glad you asked it and others responded. Even while wondering, I have used f/22 and have been totally pleased with the results.
    3. I use aperture priority most of the time (I use Velvia and Astia; only occasionally Portra 160NC).
    4. Never felt that framing was an issue.
    5. I've successfully used ND grads. Soft transition only. I just look in the viewfinder and determine how far down the "break" between light and dark occurs. I hand-hold the filter so that the transition falls at the same relative position on the front element. Also, I scan my transparencies (Nikon 8000), and I will often employ a digital ND grad to achieve the same effect as a physical filter (actually, the digital version is more versatile).
    Mamiya also make a polarizing filter that mounts on the lens but swings up in front of the viewfinder where it can be rotated to achieve the desired polarizing effect, and it then swings back down while retaining the same rotated position. Exposure compensation is dialed in to account for the polarizer. It works very well. Just like removing the lens cap, one must remember to reset the exposure compensation dial (I'm speaking from experience here).
    I find two other attributes of the Mamiya 7II to be very compelling. One is the relatively lightness of the system. I have artificial hips but like to hike for miles in search of photogenic landscapes. Having a light system is important to me. Second, the image quality of the lenses is outstanding. Either of these attributes alone would be sufficient reason for me to like the 7II; having both make the system very compelling for me.
    There are limitations. For me, I am always concerned about "bumping" the rangefinder out of line when changing lenses. When my camera was new, the rangefinder was off, and I had to send it in to be adjusted (it can be adjusted by the photographer, but that is usually not recommended -- in fact, I would discourage it). Many people report years of use and abuse without having any rangefinder problems. Another problem is the under-engineered design of the lever that closes the dark slide to cover the film when changing lenses. That lever is weak and can break when being turned. The solution is to take care when grasping and turning the lever. I remove the camera from the tripod so that I can get the most direct grip on the lever. Someone made a metal replacement lever that I bought on ebay, but I haven't installed it yet. Just take care and get a good, solid grasp on the lever. Third, the selection of lenses on the wide angle side is fairly extensive, but lenses longer than normal (80mm) are limited. Some would say there is only one: 150mm. Some have also complained about difficulty in focusing the 150mm, but I have not found this to be a problem at all. Finally, the DOF markings on the lenses are too optimistic. I simply assume that DOF will be achieved at two marks inside the stated DOF lines. That's also why I shoot at f/22 a lot.
    I also have a Pentax 645 system that I dearly love, and it is much more straightforward and versatile than the Mamiya 7II. But the high IQ and lightness of the Mamiya has me thinking about selling the heavier Pentax and having the Mamiya 7II as my sole film alternative to my digital system. The 6x7 transparencies just can't be beat (those using a 4x5 view camera may argue, but they also can't scan on the best relatively low-priced scanner on the market -- the Nikon 8000/9000 -- and must instead use an inferior flatbed or an expensive Imacon or drum scanner). The Mamiya is a superb system with limitations, but working within those limitations it can't be beat (IMO). For landscapes, it's my film camera of choice.
     
  15. uk

    uk

    The Mamiya 7 is an excellent choice for landscapes, urban landscapes and portraits. A great solution for your needs whilst having the limitations mentioned above.
    I've used Lee Hard ND grad filters with the 7 for years and whilst it's not precise enough for placing some of the other filters, orange stripes along hte horizon etc, for controlling the sky Iwouldn't hesitate.
    I've used top and bottom ND grads with success too. I set them from the front, but I did learn to place them by practising with a view camera first, but that's only for confidence.
    The Lee holder does make the use of the meter pretty useless, unless you add the filters last of all.
    For head and shoulder shots, you'll need to crop heavily, but the remaining frame will be larger than a 35mm frame, so it's quite workable. For envirnmental portaiture, it's excellent.
    Use a film to test the accuracy of the rangefinder and the framing and learn to compensate. The same to determine the width of the 43mm frame so you can expect accurate results without the separate finder. For tripod shots, I can estimate the frame better without the finder. A little practise will resolve all your issues and you'll feel comfrtable once you know your limits.
    The body sometimes needs calibration, but when I had an issue it turned out to be the lens tab.
    The Mamiya 7 is readily available on the used market and if you buy used the cost of a trial will not be significant, IMO.
    For sure, anybody who has owned one and let it go, suffers seller's remorse. That's me. :-(
     
  16. All of the above comments are helpful, but when it all comes down, the main advantage of the M7II, (I have one with three lenses,) is the unique combination of image quality for the size and weight. If you're asking questions about graduated ND and polarizing filters, you don't get what this camera is good for, travel, hiking, and did I say image quality for its size and weight. It's not versatile, I use mine rarely and have considered selling it but each time I do, I think about all the great photos I've made with it and decide to keep it, probably forever (and let my heirs worry about it). Comparing the M7II and the RZ is a true apples and oranges comparison. They have nothing in common except the brand name and film size.
    Good luck.
    Eric
     
  17. Thanks for all the responses everyone.
    To eric:
    I don't see it as apples to oranges. I'm looking for the best 6x7 alternative to digital for landscape photography and black and white city shots. Yes one is huge, and one is relatively small. So what? I'm an able bodied 23 year old, I could hike with either. That doesn't mean, however, that I don't seriously think of weight and bulk as a consideration. It just doesn't break or make the deal, for me. I'm simply weighing the pros and cons of each but in the general context of is it first a good landscape camera. For many landscape shots, ND filters are important if not imperative. To me, it isn't silly at all to ask such a question and as you can see from the other responses, several other people use ND grads with it as well. Just because I would use ND grads doesn't all of a sudden mean that the M7II would be as cumbersome as a 4x5...
     
  18. My last question, if anyone is still monitoring this thread....
    This is what has been bothering me the most...even though this is just 'for fun', is it even worth getting into 6x7 film when compared next to my 5d II? Are the results going to be similar enough to make the 6x7 superfluous?
     
  19. Are the results going to be similar enough to make the 6x7 superfluous?​
    I think that's something you'll need to decide yourself, since only you know the qualities you look for in an image. It's a deeply personal choice based on the aesthetic behaviour of two very different media.
    I like to shoot film - especially 6x7 - even though I have a lot of high-end digital gear at my disposal, including digital backs. It's not all about resolution. In fact, my preference for film is a direct result of its organic nature. The final print from film just looks much better - to my eyes, at least. Less artificial.
    The enlargement potential of 6x7 film with a good scanner is pretty high. On my 9000 ED I can get a scan that's 10,500 pixels on its longest side with no intrusion of grain, even when shooting Tri-X, which is my preferred stock. That makes for a superbly smooth print that will enlarge to 36" at 300 dpi, and 44" at 240 dpi. A drum scan will give a detailed image that's approximately 50% larger still. And a scan from low speed slide film will have less grain, and may stand even more enlargement.
    I've never been happy with a digital image printed to the same size. Digital has great resolving power, but seems to produce large prints that look a little unreal. And the larger the print, the more unreal it seems.
    YMMV - as I said, it's a personal choice.
     
  20. uk

    uk

    Nick,
    Yu've had some good advice here and differing opinions on technicalities. An old friend of mine has used his Mamiya 7 extensively, almost exclusively for 6 years or so. He's had forays into 35mm and it didn't suit, he had a 5D and that was nowhere near suitable for him and the lenses were quite inadequate for the task.
    He uses most of the lenses in the range, although less fond of the 43mm and fits Lee Filters ND grads on most shots and scans Velvia with a Nikon 9000.
    I really like his work and it's so Mamiya 7 it might encourage you. You'll find him here:
    http://www.thelightandtheland.com/pages/Portfolios/portfolioindex.html
    Hope that's of interest to you.
    Gary
     
  21. For most landscape shots, infinity is the best option, along with a lens size of around 4mm. This is a general statement and not true of all shots, but I'm not sure I've ever focused at 1m for a landscape shot. Nick, have you considered something like a Rolleiflex TLR?
     
  22. This is what has been bothering me the most...even though this is just 'for fun', is it even worth getting into 6x7 film when compared next to my 5d II?​
    I'd say No (and that's what I was thinking as I read through this lengthening thread). I love the results of the Mamiya 7 (even though except for its light weight and compact size I'm not crazy about its ergonomics; grip is too shallow for me). I use the Mamiya a lot because like to shoot film, but I also have a 5DII and if I was in your shoes I'd put the money into the phenomenal 24II tilt-shift lens rather than a Mamiya 7 and its annual film costs. (I won't get into the quality of a drum-scanned 6x7 vs. a 5DII file but many photographers would say that any slight differences are offset by the convenience of digital.)
    Again, that's nothing against the 7, which is definitely my favorite MF camera ever (and I've owned more than I can count) or against film, which I continue to shoot in three formats. To each his own.
     
  23. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I think you need to consider where the balance of your work lies and will lie. If the majority of your stuff is in cities- carrying a camera around all day in situations where a tripod is going to be at best inconvenient and possibly make life impossible, then I'd take the Mamiya 7 any day, over a big slr. But then I might well vote for a dslr in preference to both, which would give me all the convenience of the rangefinder and IS.
    If otoh most of my work was in the countryside or at the coast where I could use a tripod and the near/far route becomes a consideration, then I do largely prefer to use a MF slr rather than the Mamiya 7, because of the extra flexibility and the fact I'm probably going to use a tripod.
    When it comes to it, I do prefer landscapes on film. Thats not specifically because I want to make huge prints, its a "look" thing and either you're going to share in that or you aren't. The only reason I shoot digital out in the country at all is that I supply stock agencies and the bigger ones won't even look at anything on film today unless its been scanned. When constructing my website last year, the vast majority of the "landscape" type photographs on it are on film and vast majority of those were from a MF slr, despite the fact that I carried both cameras on most trips for ten years. When it came to it and I had to decide what camera I should take out that day, the Mamiya 7 tended not to win unless I was in a city or doing a considerable amount of difficult walking. Even working out of a car, with both systems available, I've tended to reach for the slr first.
    So, for me, the place in which I'd find it least easy to do without my MF slr is making landscapes/seascapes, with the odd exception. In cities I no longer consider carrying a MF slr system as its use will reduce the photographs I can take. However the Mamiya 7ii may itself lose out to a full frame dslr for this sort of work too. For a number of years I used the Mamiya 7 in cities because I like b&w traditional fibre prints; but they are becoming very expensive and as soon as you settle on a route one of the components disappears. In the meantime the ease and quality of b&w prints made on inkjets has improved markedly too, so the Mamiya 7 is tending to lose out on that application more and more also. So in your position, if a high proportion of my work were landscape, I'd get the slr. If a high proportion is in cities, I'd get the Mamiya 7, but I'd be questioning also whether the advantage of the film camera vs a quality dslr would make the acquisition worthwhile.
     
  24. uk

    uk

    Excellent post, David.
     
  25. The question re the 5DII, or a lens for it, is interesting and difficult. I think it comes down to deciding how you like to do your photography. It is likely the final print will not be too different. A friend has a show at a highly regarded local gallery. It contains D700 and 4x5 (scanned on an Epson V750) prints, all very well printed digitally on an Epson 3800. I had a very difficult time telling which was which.
    Digital is a different workflow. Film, (and this is a controversial statement so please don't attack me,) is in many ways becoming a niche market, a large one but likely shrinking until we're down to the true devotees. A few years ago I said I'd continue to print in the darkroom, forever. I have not made a darkroom print in two years. My digital prints are better than my best darkroom work and I've printed in the darkroom for over 40 years.
    Best of luck.
    Eric
     
  26. is it even worth getting into 6x7 film when compared next to my 5d II? Are the results going to be similar enough to make the 6x7 superfluous?​
    If anything, the results will likely make the 5DII superfluous.
     
  27. Will it be worth it to get into a 6X7 film format? Yes! Just look at the first set of transparencies you get back with a lightbox and loupe and drool at the sharpness and color definition. Or do overkill like I did and get some 6X7 Gepe slide mounts and a Goetschmann 6X7 projector and a nice screen. I have not seen anything that compares to that experience. I don't do it very often, but whenever I do, my 7II and lenses are in for a lot of upcoming extra duty.
     
  28. stp

    stp

    Such differences of opinion! I think this is a testament to the capabilities of film as well as digital, and it expresses the varying results different individuals have had. From my experience, much of the preference is based on workflow differences. Some preference also seems to be based on perceived quality differences, but the ability to see that difference varies among individuals, and the difference also seems to be diminishing. People have different answers to the question whether the benefits of one system outweigh the disadvantages of that system compared to something else. How much are you willing to pay (in terms of cost, convenience, workflow, etc.) for perceived incremental gain? Different folks have different answers to that question. Easy answers simply don't exist.
     
  29. To Ralph jensen:
    I actually have the 24mm TSE L II already, it was the lens I purchased when I picked up the 5dII. It is an incredible lens. A bit on the weighty side, but a good type of heft.
    I want to get into 6x7 film mainly for the "feel" of it. I have very little experience with film overall, in fact I've only been into photography *at all* for about two years. It's been a quick transition, I'll say that much. My only film experience really has been with a Nikon F100, that I used alongside a D90 last year, before I switched over to Canon. Sold off the F100, but I still have my Nikon FM2N, which I adore.
    Despite my short time using it, 6 months maybe, I began to prefer using film over the D90, and just became enamored with film in general. Loading it, smelling it, the feel of it. Looking at Velvia 50 slides on a lightbox. There's something about it which I cannot describe that draws me to it over digital. I'm not against digital, or anything of the kind...in fact I rather enjoy compositing HDRs in photomatix and spending hours putting the finishing touches on in PS. But I get an altogether different enjoyment when I'm using film. It feels more real, somehow. So do the results. I take my time more when shooting, and not just because of the cost per frame, but because I want to. I actually feel like I'm engaging in an art more than using a computer system to capture photons on a sensor.
    __________________________________________________________
    Anyway, back to the 7II for a moment: this camera is indeed going to see lots of tripod usage, and I will be doing a lot of coastal photography (live in California). The whole tripod thing is one of the major arguments I have with myself in regards to the RZ67. If it's on a tripod, it doesn't matter all that much if it's bulky.
    So my next question then is, if I'm going to be using the 7II on a tripod a lot of the time (not *all* the time, but a lot), am I negating one of its main advantages? Is that then enough to warrant the RZ67?
     
  30. stp

    stp

    Nick, my response to your question about a tripod negating one of the main advantages of a relatively lightweight Mamiya 7II is an emphatic "no." However, this is coming from someone who uses a tripod 99% of the time, regardless of the camera or the setting. I want to pull all of the sharpness as possible out of the Mamiya. I can do that only on a tripod. In fact, it seems counterproductive to purchase something as sharp as a Mamiya 7II lens and then just rely on hand-holding to keep it steady. Weight is not the primary issue for me; sharpness is.
     
  31. Owned and used both the Mamiya 7II and all of the lenses ... and the RZ Pro-II, and most all of the lenses and assessories.
    The Mamiya 7-II is long gone ... replaced by the portability and convenience of a 25 meg DSLR sporting Zeiss optics (Sony A900 without any added grip) ... or for an even smaller/lighter travel/street kit, a M9.
    The RZ Pro-II is still with me. To this day it remains one of the most versatile Medium Format systems ever. Versatile meaning ... if you think of it creatively it probably can do it.
    Strip it down to basic body, WL finder and a couple of lenses and it isn't all that bad to carry. Macro? A macro lens optimized for close work and oodles of tubes available. Front to back focus? The Tilt-Shift adapter plus the 75mm or 180mm short barrel lenses provide infinity focus without any X lens multiplication factor. Put the Macro lens on the T/S Adapter and increase DOF for really close shots. Longer lenses? The 210 and 250 APOs are absolutely stellar and not all that big. Portraits? different 180mm lenses are available ... including a SF 180 that uses Imagon type inserts to diffuse to different degrees. Being a TTL viewing SLR, placing Grads is a no brainer (Lee fliter system). And so on, and so on. The only thing missing is a 43mm ... 50mm is the widest.
    Then there is the future. IF you decide to also shoot digital you can choose from most any digital back ever made: just get a Mamiya RZ adapter for the digital back. I used mine with a 645 Leaf Aptus 75s (33 meg.) ... and the RZ camera back rotates so you can shoot landscape or portrait without removing the digital back. Remove the DB, and use film at will.
    All of the above RZ versatility is now available for a song.
    -Marc
     
  32. Well, I've already got the 20+ meg DSLR. I'm not at all unsatisfied with its objective IQ. It's more of a 'feel' thing for me, the way the images look after being produced. To me, digital will never *replace* film, and I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who started WITH digital and am now trying out film more and more. (I'm hoping this is a trend for many, but I doubt it). Sure, full frame DSLRs are probably the better all around choice for pretty much anything these days in terms of performance versus cost versus versatility. My 5d II can do it all. What it can't do is reproduce the look of Ektar, Portra, TMAX 100, Velvia 50, etc. I'm after a certain look, not total quality. No film simulators or even manual tweaking in CS4 can give me those looks on a final print...not to mention a 6x7 slide.
     
  33. I agree with that opinion Nick. The look and feel of film is not reproducible with digital. I wasn't advocating that. For film work on the street and light travel applications I use a Nikon F6.
    I was just singing the praises of the RZ ... which gets short changed sometimes.
    -Marc
     
  34. I own the Mamiya 7 and the RB67 (not RZ), hopefully should be close enough for your purpose.
    1. Not an issue between the two systems.
    2. Diffraction loss is proportional to the diameter of the aperture, so whatever your cutoff diameter for 35mm is, doubling will roughly get to the 6x7 equivalent.
    3. The aperture is continuous (with click stops), so you can interpolate.
    4. The 7 is not really suitable if you want precise framing. Whether the practical solution of including more and cropping works for you is up to you. The RB excels on this front.
    5. I have not used ND grads on the 7 and would suspect that this would be difficult. To get it right on RB (or any SLR) you have to stop down, use the DOF lever. The "put it somewhere in the middle" advice is suspicious at best. This is a major limitation of the 7. Combining exposure digitally works with non moving subject, but requires very careful technique during shooting.
    I personally think that the RB is a more complete and versatile system and gives excellent results. The Mamiya 7 is a niche camera which does what it does really well. Both can be taken on hikes. However, I will not dare take the RB for street shooting or attempt to shoot careful still-life with the 7.
     
  35. I have posted this suggestion on other threads, but will repeat it here. Comparisions of image quality of different camera systems can be easily resolved by making side by side shots of a large group of people. Compare detail in face and eyes. This will eliminate a lot of discussion.
     
  36. Victor,
    I can definitely see hard line grads being a pain in the ass, but simple grads I can't see being a detraction after doing more reading here and on other sites. Sure, it's not like adjusting one using Live View, heh, but I think I could handle soft grads.
    I would imagine that grads become less necessary with color negative and b&w film anyway?
    John,
    I'm not asking about image quality differences between the two, but operational and qualitative differences. They both spit out a 6x7.
     
  37. If you are not too stringent with the transition placement or want a horizontal transition in the middle of the frame I guess you can get away with visual approximation. The problem is that once you stop down you are using a much smaller part of the lens surface and placing transition precisely gets tricky (ultra sensitive to small movements etc.), especially when it is off-center and slanted. You can try this experiment: using any (D)SLR, choose a scene with the above challenges and place the grad without looking through the viewfinder (Mamiya 7 way). Then see your results. You may even get it working with some practice.
     
  38. Missed the second part of your question. Color negative or b&w will give you one extra stop (these are what I shoot), beyond that you still need grads.
     
  39. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Color negative or b&w will give you one extra stop (these are what I shoot), beyond that you still need grads.​
    Depends what films you're using. It can be much more than that if for example your basepoint is Velvia with c 4.5 stops dynamic range and at most two stops of that above a mid tone. At that level grads are a fact of life, but I find I use them much less with for example TriX.
    That said Victor has a point in indivcating that grad placement is even more difficult when stopped down and with off centre skylines. As I've said, I've read lots of stuff on this and tried a number of routes and none have worked at all for me.
     
  40. Well, the sheer diversity of responses here exemplifies my dilemma. In more complex terms...I'm f'in stumped!
    I have a romanticized vision of my would-be experience with the 7II, but over the past several days I've been trying to think about how I would deal with its limitations; for the type of photography I'm currently interested in, I just don't think it's a smart match. I use grads heavily, and I've been telling myself that I can get used to it, but in reality I think I'd end up going crazy if I shot chromes. If I end up getting more into street photography, I think the 7II will be the first camera I go for...right now however, I just don't think it's a smart match. It's sad because I really, really want to go ahead and buy it, I have a great deal lined up and everything, but the more rational, un-fun side of my brain is screaming no no no.
    I think I'm going to wait for a little while longer before I make a decision and continue to build my Canon setup. When I pursued the whole 6x7 thought process to its logical conclusion, I have to factor in darkroom equipment and a dedicated film scanner like a coolscan 8 or 9k if I want to do it right and not be reliant on a lab...I just can't dedicate that kind of cash to it, yet. Ideally, I would end up with both the 7II and the RZ67, one for street photography and cityscapes, the other for a slower, more considered approach with landscapes. I just can't justify spending that much on what might end up being a niche of my hobby, taking away most of my 'fun' money from adding to my 5dII setup, which has the potential to open more doors for me in the future.
    Any advice is most welcome.
    Thanks,
    Nick
     
  41. I think you are getting to the right idea. I bought a Mamiya 645 and a Mamiya Super 23 and while I had a whole lot of fun getting up to speed with them technically and getting the fun accessories, I just didn't USE them that much!
    On the otherside of the coin, you don't want to die on your deathbed mumbling "seven eleven" like Citizen Kane mumbling "rosebud...".
     
  42. stb

    stb

    For landscapes, between the two, it is most definitely a compromise between weight/handhold ability and features. If you add architecture to the mix, the RZ tilt-*X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* adaptor brings it view camera-like functionality.
    I use an RZ for landscapes. I considered the 7II, wanted it more, but the deciding factors were the filters, possibility to have several film backs and the potential for tilt-shift. I also find having a grid in the viewfinder a great help. Keep in mind that on the second hand market, the RZ system can be acquired for much less money than the 7.
    I have the RZ for a year now. I have added the 180mm and a second film back. Eventually a 65mm and a 50mm will round up the kit. Total budget for the camera, 2 backs and 4 lenses: about $1,800. The RB system is even cheaper.
    I scan with an Epson V750. For prints up to 17x22' from the 6x7 negs, it is plenty good enough.
     
  43. since you don't have a darkroom and scanner at this time, i'd agree that it's best to not go into film just yet.
     
  44. I ended up changing my mind again! This has been my biggest problem. Normally I'm a fairly confident/impulsive buyer when it comes to camera equipment. Not this time. I've been vacillating back and forth for months whether or not to buy this damn thing...that's why I finally broke down and posted this thread.
    I'm about to paypal the seller, but STILL I am not 100% whether to buy it or not. I've got so many reasons why and why not floating around I can't keep track.
    I'm picking up a mint condition body (black of course) and 80mm lens for $1600, so I won't be taking a hit if I decide I don't like it and resell, I'm assuming not anyway. I would never, ever buy a Mamiya in the USA new. The markup is just too obscene.
    I ended up emailing Lee Frost yesterday evening, a British landscape photographer. He has used the 7 extensively for exactly what I want to do. Even though he transitioned his pro work last year to Canon DSLRs, he still talked up the 7 as a great camera. About the ND grad issue, he mentioned he was able to use even hard-line grads with great success simply by eyeballing it from the front--eg if the horizon is placed 1/3rd from the top, place the grad edge 1/3rd from the top of the lens element. I figure if it's good enough for him, it's certainly good enough for me at this point in my photography. His reason for leaving film? Like so many others I would imagine, it just got to expensive to shoot it professionally when faced with digital competitors.
    Any last thoughts from anyone before I purchase it? Any additional accessories you'd get right off the bat?
    Nick
     
  45. I have an RB. It is really a portrait camera first and foremost. For serious landscape, go straight to a 4x5 field camera, and then on to 8x10. A 4x5 field camera is the same amount of work to set up a shot as would be a Mamiya RB or RZ. I don't think the camera body of the M7 is serious enough to recommend it. If it were made of metal, like Nikon F100 and so forth, I would own own by now. The lenses on the M7 made be well made, but the plastic body is an insult.
     

Share This Page