After shooting lots of rolls through it, I’m ready to review the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II. Take a seat and let’s start!
During my analog photography adventure I approached medium format multiple times, without ever finding “satisfaction” in shooting it.
I started with a Mamiya C330f, beautiful camera but the being a TLR (tween lens reflex) has always bothered me a bit, as you’ll have to guess how the final image will turns out, especially if you want to do some close-ups… (This cancels the advantage of having a bellows focusing system, because focusing really close is going to really reduce the visible part of the viewfinder; so the bigger dimensions and weight compared to a Rolleiflex or a Yashica weren’t justified).
After this sort of a failing experience with medium format, I decided to sell the camera and stick with 35mm.
This as long as I had the occasion of buying at a good price a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II directly from Japan.
I would start with the weight, being the first thing that hit me, it’s an heavy camera. I always read that you need to be “fit” to carry it around and that it is going to “break your arms” in a short time; those are exaggerations in my opinion. Sure, if you are switching from a 35mm camera (or even a Hasselblad) to the Mamiya, you’ll feel the weight difference but is predictable seeing the dimension of the camera itself.
The big dimensions are due mostly by the format that this camera shoots: 6×7 (one of the biggest on 120, except panorama formats) but also by its peculiar characteristic (inherited by the previous RB) that differentiates it from the competition: The rotatable film back.
Yes, it allows you to shoot in landscape or portrait orientation without the need to rotate the whole camera.
You’ll only need to rotate the film back.
This is an enormous pro in terms of ergonomics and ease of use, mostly because we are talking of a camera with a waist level viewfinder.
This means seeing all mirrored (right and left are inverted) and if we had to rotate the camera to get a vertical shoot, the shooting experience would be extremely more complex than what already is.
Other characteristic that contribute to the high weight of this camera is its modularity.
In fact the “real” camera body is a sort of a cube with a mirror inside of it and little else.
All the other components that are going to attach to the RZ67 Pro II (or “Pro I”, this depends on the camera body itself, the Pro II has shutter speeds at 1/2 stop intervals and a fine focusing knob) are going to be custom, depending on the needs of the photographer.
From the various focusing screens, film backs for 6×6 or polaroids or even the previously mentioned prism (with the light meter) that is going to replace the waist level viewfinder, and finally the lens.
The lens in my case is a normal for 6×7, it’s a 90mm f3.5 (roughly a 50mm on 35mm). It’s super sharp!
It’s a known fact that all the Mamiya lenses are superb and are considered among the best lenses ever made (for medium format) and I can confirm that.
It isn’t an “easy” camera, you’ll need to be ok with the big dimensions, especially if, like me, you are going to put a strap on it and take it around like a more portable camera.
If you are ready for all of this camera brings, it will give you great results.
Its modularity makes it suited for virtually all needs, it’s a camera that adapts to you.
If you are interested in seeing some of my works made with the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II I invite you to follow me on Instagram, on my Lomohome and on my Youtube channel. Have a great shoot and see you next time!