Mamiya Rz67 II – Introduction
Mamiya Rz67 is one of the best modular SLR medium format camera on the market. When i saw it for the first time,i was really impressed by it’s size and weight (2.4 Kg with 110 f2.8 lens). I thought i could never use it on location, and even if i would, it should be mounted on a tripod, which it proved to be wrong.
6×7 Single Lens Reflex Modular Camera Explained
Being an 6×7 SLR, ( single lens reflex ) it needs a huge mirror to reflect the image from the lens up to the viewfinder, and this is one of the main reason for it’s ridiculous size. Being an modular camera it means that you can remove or replace it’s main components, or ad optional ones. By default, Mamiya Rz67 is equipped with waist level finder (WLF) , 120 film back, and 110mm f2.8 lens, which the fastest lens available for this system. The waist level finder is very compact, but lacks any metering system. Working with WLF needs practice to accommodate with. When you use it, the image is mirrored, so you need to move the camera to the left so you can frame it on the right.
I find it really hard to find focus from the waist level, especially when i shoot wide open. Using the built in magnifier helps a lot, so this is how i choose to shoot most of the times. If extra weight is not an issue, and you really appreciate auto exposure, than Ae Prism is the way to go. With Ae Prism you can forget about the mirrored image, and workflow is much more fluid. The back of the camera is also interchangeable, and hot swappable, so you can have multiple backs with different speed films, which you can swap as you need, and whenever you need. You can also attach on this camera motor winder, hand grip, polaroid back or digital back if you want. Well, this is the second reason for it’s size and weight.
My Experience with Mamiya Rz67 Pro II
I own the RZ67 ProIID , so from now on, this is only about this specific model, but it may apply to others as well. I find myself in a hate/love relation with this camera. Shooting Mamiya Rz67 is not easy task. I love the look of the images it produces, but caring and handling it, is a real pain. Maximum shutter speed is only 1/400 sec , which is not enough if you can’t hold it still, so you may need a tripod( not my case). On the front, you can find the shutter release button in the left side, a socket for electronic shutter trigger,and focus knobs on both sides. Mamiya Rz67 II received an additional focus knob for fine focus and half stops shutter release, while Rz67 Pro IID received an electronic interface for communicating with digital backs.
Mamiya RZ67 has a built in the lens leaf shutter, which it syncs up to 1/400 with mounted flash units. That’s a lot better than pentax 67’s 1/30 flash sync. My Rz67 kit is composed of 4 lenses , 3 film backs, waist level finder, and Sekonic L308s flash meter. All this equipment is very heavy , so if i can’t get to location by car, i won’t be shooting mamiya rz67. If you want to switch from landscape to portrait orientation, you must switch the mode lever to R position, and then rotate the back, is as simple as that.The M position is for multiple exposures on the same frame, and neutral position in the middle. If you can’t afford the Rz model, you can choose to buy the older RB67. It’s way cheaper, and gives you the same specific look.
Mamiya Rz67 Lenses
There are 21 lenses available for this system, from 37mm fisheye to 500mm telephoto, macro lenses and tilt/shift. All RZ67 lenses has built in electronic leaf shutter made by seiko, aperture ring, depth of field preview lever, distance scale, T switch for long exposures, and some of them an extra floating element adjusting ring.
Pay attention on T switch, as you may push it by mistake and blow your negatives.
Mamiya Rb / Rz 67 lenses has no focus barrel, instead they rely on bellows for acheaving focus. As you focus, the bellows extends, so you have to compensate your exposure as you focus. When you have an electronic controlled shutter you need to make sure your batteries are in good shape before shooting. The battery is cheap and common. You can use 4LR44, or 4 x LR44 / AG13. Mamiya RZ67 can operate in emergency mode without battery, fully mechanically, with fixed 1/400 sec. I find all Rz67 lenses very sharp. Wide opened are great, but it gets even better as you stop’em down.
More Rz67 & Trix 400 samples in my Kodak Tri-x 400 post
More Mamiya rz67 & Pan-f plus 50 samples on my Pan-f 50 post
Kodak Portra 160
More Mamiya Rz67 & Portra 160 samples on my Portra 160 post
Ilford Delta 3200 Samples – Mamiya Rz67