Mamiya, a name that resonates with reverence among professional and enthusiast photographers alike, has long been recognized for its commitment to crafting high-quality, precision instruments. Their camera systems, especially in the medium format realm, are stuff of legend. Among their plethora of masterful optics, the Mamiya RZ 110mm f2.8 Sekor lens stands as a true classic.
To appreciate the significance of this lens, one must first understand Mamiya’s legacy. Founded in 1940, Mamiya has a storied history of manufacturing both 35mm and medium format cameras. But it was in the 1970s and 1980s that Mamiya truly carved its niche in the medium format segment, notably with the RB and RZ series.
The RZ series, an evolution of the RB (Rotating Back) series, was designed to marry the benefits of mechanical reliability with the conveniences of electronic components. Along with the camera body, Mamiya introduced a lineup of Sekor lenses, named for their optical prowess. The 110mm f2.8 was one of these jewels.
Technical Proficiency: Understanding the Specifications
Focal Length: At 110mm on a medium format camera, this lens offers a field of view comparable to a 50mm lens on a full-frame 35mm camera. This “normal” perspective replicates the human eye’s field of view, making it an immensely versatile lens.
Aperture: The f2.8 maximum aperture is impressively bright for a medium format lens. It allows for shallow depth-of-field and is also advantageous in low-light conditions. The bokeh (out-of-focus regions) rendered by this lens is creamy and aesthetically pleasing, making it a popular choice for portrait photographers.
Design and Build: Mamiya’s philosophy was clear – build it robust, build it precise. The 110mm Sekor lens is no exception. While not light, its heft is reassuring, indicating its solid build and use of quality materials. Its manual focus ring is buttery smooth, allowing for precise focusing, an essential trait in medium format photography where the depth of field can be razor thin.
The Mamiya RZ 110mm f2.8 Sekor lens is renowned for its sharpness, even at its widest aperture. Detail rendition is remarkable, with the lens resolving the nuances of a subject with precision. Color rendition is both neutral and vivid, rendering scenes with a natural yet vibrant palette.
Flare control is commendable, even when shooting against bright light sources. This ensures that contrast remains high and images appear punchy. Additionally, chromatic aberrations, those pesky color fringes that can appear around high contrast edges, are minimal.
Versatility in Practice
While many regard this as primarily a portrait lens due to its focal length and aperture, the Mamiya RZ 110mm f2.8 is incredibly versatile. It’s a favorite among street photographers who use medium format cameras, given its relatively compact design and fast aperture. Landscape photographers also appreciate the lens for its ability to deliver detail-rich images with minimal distortion.
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Legacy and Current Relevance
It’s been decades since the Mamiya RZ 110mm f2.8 Sekor lens was first introduced, but its legacy is far from faded. In the digital age, with the resurgence of interest in analog photography and the adaptability of vintage lenses to digital camera bodies, this lens has found a new generation of admirers.
Photographers have been mounting it on modern medium format digital bodies, enjoying the classic rendering of the lens paired with the benefits of digital capture. Moreover, with the increasing appreciation for the “filmic look,” the lens provides an organic touch that is often sought after in the age of pixel perfection.
The Mamiya RZ 110mm f2.8 Sekor lens stands as a testament to Mamiya’s commitment to quality and the power of timeless design. It is not merely a relic from the past but an enduring instrument that continues to inspire photographers today.
In a world where technology changes rapidly, it’s a testament to Mamiya’s craftsmanship and foresight that their lens, crafted decades ago, still holds relevance and admiration. For both the seasoned professional who remembers the golden days of film and the budding enthusiast who’s just discovering the allure of medium format, the 110mm f2.8 offers a touch of magic that few lenses can match.