On the Mamiya 645 and 645AFs

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by olleorama, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    Enlighten me.

    *Does all mamiya 645 lenses work on the AF(D) platform? If so will I get light metering with the manual focus lenses?

    *How is the 80/1.9? Sharpness, resolution, contrast, can it compare with the 80/2.0 for Contax? Any good example images on short DoF characteristics?

    *Which wideangles are recommended?

    *Which tele lens do you recommend for portraiture? Is it worth while getting the leaf shutter one? Do I have to fiddle with the focal shutters to use it?

    *Can I if I want use a digital back (heresy, I know) with the AF only, or do I have to get an AFD?

    *What are the differences between the different AFD models?

    *Handling, how is it compared to a pro SLR? Do I need to training the snatch and the clean and jerk, or is it okay to use handheld for longer periods of time?

    If you have any other information regarding these cameras, that you might think is essential but often left out, you are very welcome to inform me.
     
  2. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    According to FAQ on Mamiya's website, MF lenses will work on AF bodies except that lens won't stopped down upon shutter release. You'll have to put it into manual mode before shutter release. (or keep it there but focusing may be difficult in low light situations)

    To me, this "it works but....." is really a show stopper. I read it as non-usable except for emergencies and for very patient people.
     
  4. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    Exactly my thoughts. I had hoped that it would work nice and smoothly, with automatic stop down, and calculated metering with out the need to stop down for metering. But as long as nobody can clearly state the opposite I will continue saving up for a contax. :sad:

    Why do they state that the AF-series is compatible with hasselblad V-series lenses with the appropriate adapter? It should have the same limitations, if not even more, as the MF-lenses from Mamiya?

    (not because the contax has the mentioned feature, but because it's a freakin better camera)
     
  5. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    The lens stuff you can look up. There are even 3rd party comparison data that you can see.

    Handling, well, with possible exception of the afd3, none of the afds handle anything like a pro 35mm- the AF, metering, and overall handling are downright clunky by comparison and the noise levels, if you do decide to go with a digital back, are also complete crap. There are also no vertical grips for the afd cameras and the finder is built in, so no possibility of waist level and handling is not anything like a 35mm slr.

    I have an afd and prefer my 645 pro by a long shot. The pro is far more modular and therefore more versatile. Plus it is lighter and can pack much, much smaller if you taker it apart. You can just about pack two pros for every afd, I am not joking. Just because of the damn built-in finder and winder. But... if you want to shoot vertically, the built-in finder is nice.

    Lenswise, well the selection of wides and ultrawides is an enduring disappointment, unless you can afford the 28... $$$! The 35 is kindawide and there are very few options wider... some ukrainian things, and you can defish images from a fisheye, that's it. My 35 is decent, but my 45 is much, much better.

    On a positive note, there are some new LS lenses for the afds with amazingly fast synch, very useful for weddingy / portraity stuff, I imagine. E.g. flash fill in bright sunlight. I don't know whether they'd work on a pro but you can check into that if it interests you.

    For my taste, the 645 pro is a fantastic value, it is like a mini rb and most of the lenses are superb but there are some older 80/1.9 lenses that are not colour neutral in the least (in case you do colour work). Mine is fine in that regard but others have reported issues. But they are inexpensive and lots of fun.

    If you want contax-level performance in your normal lens then compare to the 2.8 though, not the 1.9. The 1.9 isn't there, no way. It is a very sweet lens for some things but it's an inexpensive and not very well corrected lens for when you need the extra stop and interesting OOF rendering. It has character. But the 2.8 beats it all over the place if you are talking about lp/mm and neutrality and coatings etc. I have four 80mm lenses for my 645 systems, the 1.9, the 2.8 AF, the 2.8 manual, and the 80/4 macro. They are all great at what they do and didn't set me back much at all.

    So... for my taste, 645 pro all the way.
     
  6. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    Fantastic reply! Very appreciated!

    Forgive my ignorance but does the pro have motor wind?
     
  7. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    You can get a motor wind for the pro, yes. When you see what a cute little parcel it is without that, though, you won't want one! Anyway I find it complete genius that you can take it (and the prism) off for packing.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    For the 645 Super or Pro/ProTl and the older leaf shutter lenses, you need to set the focal plane shutter to 1/8 second or slower. If you have the next to latest versions of the leaf shutter lenses and power winder and the appropriate cable, the focal plane shutter speed will be set for you and the leaf shutter will be cocked for you. Otherwise, you need to cock the leaf shutter manually for each shot.

    My 55mm f/2.8 N is a very nice lens - I use it essentially as a standard lens.

    As to whether they can be used hand held for a long time, they were very popular with wedding photographers.
    The 45mm f/2.8 N is very nice as well - similar to a 28mm in 135 terms. The older version of the 45mm that required larger, 77mm filters, is good, but not as good as the N lens.

    55mm f/2.8, 80mm f/2.8, 110mm f/2.8, 150mm f/3.5, 150mm f/4.0 and 210mm f/4.0 - all use the same filters and lens caps and the same focus assist lever. I really like the combination of the focus assist lever and the left hand grip with electronic release and hot shoe. My standard kit is 55mm f/2.8, 110mm f/2.8 and 210mm f/4.0 is just about my standard kit (although the 45mm keeps creeping into the bag).
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Matt, what focus assist lever? What does it do? (other than the obvious - assists focus!)...?? This is something I've never heard of...
     
  11. CGW

    CGW Member

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    It's just a collar that fits around the lens barrel. There's short stalk attached at a 90 degree angle. Makes focusing faster since you're using it and not the smaller focus ring. Kinda useful--worth grabbing for a few bucks. Most MF camera systems with helical focusing lenses had them. Mamiya TLR and RB/RZ cameras used a plus-sized knob that slipped over the standard focus knob for the same effect.
     
  12. peri24

    peri24 Member

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    i'll drop my 2 cents about 6x4,5 systems,
    recently, a year ago i was looking for the ultimate portable camera, something to shoot fast and with much better image quality than 35mm, like you i narrow my decision between mamiyas af, contax 645 and also pentax 645N; to resume it i ended with a contax i chose it for its better ergonomics and superb build quality. I have spent few months now with my contax and i've been shooting quite a few rolls and i still think is the ultimate 645 camera system, but if i was right now on the market again for 645 af camera i would look elsewhere. Why?
    -money: for the same price of a nice shape contax kit, you can get a mamiya or a pentax plus 3 lenses. I rarely shoot wider or longer than 50mm equivalents but knowing that you have them in your bag is nice.
    -reliability: i must say that my contax is my very first camera that hasn't had any problem at all, seriously, not even one, i can't say that for any other system i shoot with, but now i want to build nice outfit (extra body, extra lenses) and that is quite a few money to put on something that has not any future.
    -lenses: everyone on the net raves about zeiss glass and how good it is, yes i confirm that, it is super sharp, but after making some side by side with a mamiya anything upper than f-5.6 is a tie and i guess it's the same with pentax. If you look for the boring wide-open look all time yes contax wins but i found that you need a f-5.6 to get good image quality with 645, and then a mamiya performs equal, zeiss colors? you mimic that later at printing.

    My final thought is about 6x4,5 film size in general, i've been a heavily 6x7 shooter myself and i try to compare everything to that, to me the quality gap between those film formats is evident not so much but you can really see it, i must admit i didn't expect it, but i don't mean that 6x4,5 is a nonsense it's still a quality format and steps ahead to any 35mm camera. I'm saying this because i don't know what you expect from a 6x4,5, anyway, there is not any af reflex 6x7 camera or bigger. If you have any doubts between cameras you can always rent them and see it yourself.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2010
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    What CGW said about the focus assist lever.

    The big advantage for me is that with my right hand I cannot reliably grab and turn the focus ring on most lenses, but I can grab and adjust a lever that sticks out from the barrel.

    It works really well - in fact, I'll even use it with my much more dexterous left hand when the camera is on the tripod.

    Unfortunately, it won't fit on all the lenses, because some of them (like the 45mm) have barrels that are too large.