Well you know me!!! always playing, always looking for ways to bring my old beloved film gear into the here and now . . . . “I Adapt”
Let’s take one Nikon DSLR body and one of my Favorite Medium format Mamiya RB67 Lenses (the SF C 150mm f/4). Now how do we Adapt it? Enter a company that I have been familiar with for some years, Fotodiox . . . They are the source of many commercial adapters for many different camera / lens combinations and usually very affordable. So enter the second part of this blog post and what I will discuss and try to show it’s usage . . . the “Fotodiox Pro Lens Mount Adapter with Focusing Barrel, for Mamiya RB67 or RZ67 lens to Nikon F-Mount DSLR Cameras” . . .
There are two models one designated for the RB67 lenses and one for RZ67 lenses. We will be talking and using the one for the RZ67 lenses.
What is my intent you say, just use some kinda software and that way you can control the effect and not worry about adapting some weird lens YO! well YO Bro!!!! I prefer to do it my way!!! I just find it more fun . . . and . . . yup . . . challenging. Besides, you remember the post about my TrueWide Sliding Back Camera ? yup, it is fun and challenging, it also sports a “NIKON” mount. So the end result is a whole bunch of fun . . . and some pretty neat (damn sharp or Soft Lenses) gear combinations to play with. OH Yeah, did I mention that this is all manual!! NO AF, NO Auto Aperture, YES . . . it is totally Hands ON as they say!!!! So let’s give it a look and a spin and see where we land with this Adapter . . .
What it is and What it does? Simply put, it is a helical focusing tube with a NIKON mount on one end & a Mamiya RB/RZ mount on the other which does allow one to cock and use the lenses leaf shutter in a weird way if you want, it also has a tripod mount.
The Mamiya RB & RZ world the lenses have no means of focusing, that is part of the camera body via a built in bellows, since Nikon cameras do not function this way then the adapter has to take care of this function. The focusing helical is very smooth and tight, it will not creep at any angle it is set to. Your not going to be focusing quickly with this adapter/setup because it requires several turns to go from close focus to infinity. There is no provision to actuate the Aperture so you must actuate the aperture to correctly meter. NEWBIE ALERT: If you have never had to set everything up manually this will frustrate the newbie as well as having to use manual mode or track focus a moving subject. If you are frustrated easily then perhaps you shouldn’t play this adapt it game, although your friends might enjoy watching you melt down . . . just sayin 😉 . . .
Overall this setup is no more awkward or weighty then a 105mm VR Lens. Well it is more awkward to focus and a few other things, BUT it offers loads of fun.
The weight of the adapter is minimal and is dependent on what lens you choose to use on yours . . . I chose my 150, but you can mount any of the RB or RZ lenses, and as a caution, I would use the adapter mounted tripod mount when attaching the rig to a tripod (You don’t want to stress out the camera bodies lens mount).
After you get everything attached it shoots like any other manual lens, you will have to stop the lens down to meter via the lens as the camera has NO mechanical connections other then the mount. The space between the lens and camera is a bit tight for larger hands and can make focusing difficult.
The business end of the SF-C 150mm lens. Note the sieve like aperture you can see in the above photo, it is one of 3 such interchangeable aperture which allows you to control the amount of softness. This lens along with the 200mm Imagon Zork Tubus which screws into the 180mm Mamiya lens, and Imagon & Fuji Soft Focus lenses for Large Format cameras where the mainstay of portrait studios back in the heyday of film and glamor photography. A good portrait photographer could make years vanish and save countless hours of retouching using these lenses and proper lighting . . . oh, and it didn’t make the subject look like a plastic manikin (you photoshop people know who you are!!!). I digress . . . lets get this post back on track.
So you notice the setup kinda dwarfs the NIKON I have it mounted on . . . like I said you’ll get noticed with this contraption. If your a street shooter I will recommend using zone focusing and an f/stop of at least f/8 as you’ll find DOF to be very shallow with this and other lenses from this Mamiya stable. You should be able to pick up used RB & RZ lenses very inexpensively. Do a web search on how to use these lenses such as cocking the shutter and what pre-focusing the floating lens features. Yep this rig is hand holdable-shootable, but I do recommend a tripod for landscape to eliminate camera shake. My intent for this lens is exploring its use in a more impressionistic style for landscapes and objects.
Alright . . . Alright . . . lets see some shots already!
Equipment used for Test Shots: Camera (NIKON D7000), Lenses Mamiya RB67 type, (50mm f/4.5),(90mm f/3.5), (SF C 150mm f/4), (Macro 140mm f/4.5), (180mm f/4.5) plus an extension tube and a modified 1.4 tele extender. So here are a few photos for now taken in my kitchen and living room using all the lenses listed. I will add more using the Soft Focus lens in a follow up blog.
The following shots are all Handheld, ISO was variable between 1000 ~2000, all photos were shot at the listed minimum listed aperture of the lens (like f/4.5) . . . these where pro lenses in their day, and still are in use in the fashion industry on high end digital Medium Format cameras like the Mamiya RZ67 Pro IID, RZ80. but there are faster and more versatile systems Medium Format systems with their own system lenses . . . for now this is just a way to re-purpose my older Medium Format gear and have fun.
Mamiya 50mm f/4.5 lens
Mamiya 90mm f/3.5 K/L lens
Mamiya 140mm f/4.5 Macro Lens
Mamiya 150mm SF C f/4.5
Note the highlight artifacts from the #2 diffuser insert in the following two photos
Mamiya 180 f/4.5 K/L
I will do individual blogs on each of the lenses listed and the camera settings and setups I use … as you can see by these quick photos I did. The lenses are extremely sharp and the DX DLSR (as I do not own an FX DSLR) is quite capable of producing usable shots. You might also notice that the BOKAH in all the shots is very pleasing. I will also do a later blog using the WideView body, PhaseOne H20 and these lenses/adapter which will emulate a full frame camera (actually a Square format Medium Format camera).
So there you have it my quick overview of using a low priced Adapter from Fotodiox. I hope you check them out they provide many types of adapters, it is a source I thought I’d share with my readers. So get up, step out the door and have fun . . . if you enjoyed this please pass it on, have a comment? question? please post it … I do try and answer as quick as I can, but realize I am also out enjoying life and shooting pix.
Digipainter . . . aka Tim is out of the house . . .