Personally, I want a South Bend as many of their lathes have a spindle bored to accept a 5C collet directly, or you can put a chuck on them for larger work.
I've only actually used a Hardinge 5C collet based lathe and a larger ~10" Haas. We had a Royal 5C unit for the Haas but it was such a pain to install. Honestly, I don't really like the smaller/cheaper Haas lathes as they tend to make a coolant mess everywhere and they aren't really all that great for CNC work either as the toolpost will move on you too easily.
FWIW, lathes are generally rated in terms of the diameter of the object they can hold and not the length. The South Bends came in many different lengths and on them, the length included the space taken up by the headstock so it was more of an over all length and not a length of the object that could be fit between centers.