Hasselblad vs Mamiya RZ67

Hasselblad vs Mamiya RZ67 Pro II

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica
November 2015

I have owned my Mamiya RZ67 medium format film camera since summer 2013 but have only recently bought my Hasselblad 501C. Here is some more information on each camera system and then a few example images.

Mamiya RZ67 6×7 – Camera gear

Over the last two years I have done Mamiya RZ67 fashion photography, Mamiya RZ67 wedding photography and Mamiya RZ67 Polaroid photos. I have a selection of Mamiya Sekor lenses for the RZ; 65mm f4, 90mm f3.5, 110mm f2.8 (my favourite lens on the RZ) and the 180mm f4.5. I also bought different film backs for the Mamiya; RZ 645 film back, RZ 6×6 film back, standard 6×7 film backs and lastly a Polaroid film back. To focus the RZ67 I use the big and bright waist level viewfinder and until this experiment I have only shot the RZ handheld.

Hasselblad 501C 6×6 – Camera gear

If you have read my recent blog posts you will be aware of my Hasselblad v-system camera equipment but to recap I use the following Hasselblad lenses; Zeiss Distagon 50mm f4 CF, Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 CF, Zeiss Makro-Planar 120mm f4 CF, Zeiss Sonnar 150mm f4 CF and I use two 6×6 Hasselblad A12 film back. To focus I use a Hasselblad 45 degree prism finder and try to use the Hasselblad on a monopod for the sharpest possible photos. I have a waist level viewfinder but found it very difficult to focus with the acute matte screen (without split prism). In the last few months since purchase I have already done a Hasselblad wedding and Hasselblad fashion photography. I absolutely love the Hasselblad portraits with the 6×6 crop factor and can honestly say that I think the Hasselblad has had more beneficial impact on my photography than any other camera.

Mamiya RZ67 6×7 – User experience

I have always loved the big bright RZ viewfinder and 6×7 rotating film back. The 110mm f2.8 lens give both sharpness and a shallow depth of field. The size and weight of the Mamiya RZ has not deterred me but that said I have not used it a huge amount and it has never been overseas on model photography trips. I have always been happy with image sharpness and camera handling. One of the features I like the most on the RZ is the bellows focusing system as I can get as close as I want to my subject without the need of additional extension tubes. Perhaps my only complaint is the fact that the Mamiya RZ requires a battery. I found I used the RZ more without a battery and at the 1/400 fixed shutter speed. The Mamiya RZ is great for 6×6 Polaroid photos and I like how the image is captured in the centre of the film rather than being offset. I have used the Mamiya RZ with Polaroid back for events and the Polaroid photos produced are great. I always used the RZ handheld and never really thought to do any different despite the weight.

Hasselblad 501C 6×6 – User experience

From my recent blog posts and the rave reviews you may have noticed that I am a huge fan of the Hasselblad camera. I really struggled to focus with the original waist level viewfinder but now I am happy using the 45 degree prism finder. My favourite lens is the super sharp Zeiss Makro-Planar 120mm f4 CF lens as it lets me focus closer than the 80mm Planar kit lens and is incredibly sharp. As such I have hardly used the 80mm kit lens that most people seem to keep on their Hasselblad 500 series cameras. The Hasselblad is smaller (lighter and more compact) than the Mamiya RZ and as such it has already been overseas with me to Poland for model photography location shoots. The Hasselblad is 100% mechanical so requires no batteries which I love and the build quality is on a par with my Leica M3 film cameras (I think). It is a very rewarding camera to use!

Hasselblad vs Mamiya RZ67 Shoot Out

As I own both cameras I was interested to compare the Hasselblad 501C to the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II. Here are a few images from each camera from my shoot with Julie in the studio. All photos werer shot on expired 120 Ilford Delta 100 film and developed in Kodak Xtol developer. Film negatives were scanned with a Epson v800 scanner and finished in Photoshop. Both cameras were used on monopods to make it a fair test. I fitted the Mamiya RZ with a 6×6 film back so both cameras were 6×6 format.  Click on any photo to see the lens used and additional information.

Hasselblad Portraits

Hasselblad 50mm Distagon Portrait
Hasselblad Studio Shoot
Hasselblad High Contrast

Mamiya RZ67 Portraits

Mamiya RZ67 Studio Portrait
Mamiya RZ67 Headshot + 180mm f4.5
Mamiya RZ67 vs Hasselblad

Conclusion – Clear Winner?

Both the Hasselblad and Mamiya RZ67 camera systems are capable of producing very sharp images and I cannot call a clear winner here.  As such I think it comes down to what camera I enjoy using more.  The Hasselblad is smaller, lighter, arguably better built but also more expensive than the RZ.  If you are on a tight budget I would say you can capture equally good photos with a Mamiya RZ but if you want a camera system for life I would get a Hasselblad everytime.  The Hasselblad 501C will still be with me together with the Leica M3s for years to come where as I think the Mamiyas will come and go.  That is my rose tinted 2 cents worth anyway.

Related Links:

> Hasselblad Links:

> Mamiya RZ67 Links:

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About matthewosbornephotography

Coventry, UK studio based Model and Wedding Photographer offering both Medium Format Film and Digital Images. 1-2-1 Photography and Lighting Tuition also available.
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9 Responses to Hasselblad vs Mamiya RZ67

  1. Craig says:

    Very nice images.

    It’s interesting that you also had trouble focusing the Hasselblad with the waist-level finder. Compared to my Rolleiflex 2,8F my Hasselblad 500 C/M is a lot more difficult to judge focus with.

  2. jeremy north says:

    The image quality is superb for both cameras. However the Mamiya is massive. I’d not want use one unless it was on a tripod and i’m not a weakling. The one I used had the prism finder though so perhaps a WLF would make it hand holdable. The main advantage of the RZ or RB is that it is 6×7. 6×6 there is no comparison. Hassie wins hands down. Even so it is not a comfortable camera to use. The prism is ugly, the shutter release in the wrong place
    AS you said though, it will last forever and of the highest quality images.

  3. I don’t think I’d own an RB/RZ 67 myself, too unwieldy, but looking at the images, I like the Mamiya shots more, they just have more character to them.

    • Thanks Joe, I think for a fair comparison I would need to shoot identical photos in identical light. I agree here that for me at least perhaps 2 of the 3 RZ images are pleasing to my eye vs 1 for the Hassy. I was trying a range of lenses too so not all taken with a ‘normal’ focal length. Thanks for your thoughts.

  4. Pingback: MrLeica.com – BLOG | MrLeica.com – Matthew Osborne Photography

  5. I own the RB67 and the Hasselblad 503 cxi. I have the 50mm and the 150mm for the Hassebald. I also appreciate the bellows focusing on the Mamiya for the same reasons as you. I wish I had it on my Hasselblad actually. I am really very happy with the crisp contrasty sharp photos with the Hasselblad those lenses just rock and it is a smaller system than the old RB67 so that is a plus. I shoot my medium format cameras almost always on the tripod.

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