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Thread: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Question Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    Hey guys,

    I am shopping for a medium tele for my Phase rig - I have the 150 f2.8 D and would like something slightly longer: choices are between the 200 f2.8 manual focus, and the 210 ULD f4 autofocus. Besides being quite difficult to find reviews and such on the net, I would rather hear from the collective wisdom here than trust internet reviews anyway.

    Which one would you suggest, and why? (examples would be very much appreciated!) Thanks everyone!
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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    I'm buying a 200mm 2.8 again. I need the speed for one and it's a razor for two . But that's me. Jack has had them both. But he is selling his zoom that i really liked at 210mm. Sharp 105-210 4.5 slow but very nice
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I'm buying a 200mm 2.8 again. I need the speed for one and it's a razor for two . But that's me. Jack has had them both. But he is selling his zoom that i really liked at 210mm. Sharp 105-210 4.5 slow but very nice
    Thanks Guy - if I may ask, why did you sell it in the first place? Just didn't have a need, or was there some problems with that particular copy? As in, shall I look out for sample variations or is generally OK? Thanks!
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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    I've used the Mamiya 200mm APO and found it to be very sharp and to deliver pleasing color. The upside of F2.8 is the added shutter speed as the light fades. I typically shot the lens at F2.8 to F4, so stop down metering was not much of problem. Handheld shooting could be spotty. Once I started using a monopod the keeper rate went up radically.







    With a Mamiya 645AF/645AFDx system, the 200mm APO would be among my lenses for sure. At F4, F5.6, etc., the lens is wickedly sharp. The above examples were taken wide open on a ZD - while the ship was moving, and hand held.

    I've had 2 or 3 copies over the years. All of them performed fine. Bought and sold, etc., because needs change, sold this camera, bought that camera, etc., etc. I think Cindy Flood has my last one. One day she'll probably put it up for sale and I'll buy it - again

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Black View Post
    I've used the Mamiya 200mm APO and found it to be very sharp and to deliver pleasing color. The upside of F2.8 is the added shutter speed as the light fades. I typically shot the lens at F2.8 to F4, so stop down metering was not much of problem. Handheld shooting could be spotty. Once I started using a monopod the keeper rate went up radically.







    With a Mamiya 645AF/645AFDx system, the 200mm APO would be among my lenses for sure. At F4, F5.6, etc., the lens is wickedly sharp. The above examples were taken wide open on a ZD - while the ship was moving, and hand held.

    I've had 2 or 3 copies over the years. All of them performed fine. Bought and sold, etc., because needs change, sold this camera, bought that camera, etc., etc. I think Cindy Flood has my last one. One day she'll probably put it up for sale and I'll buy it - again
    Wow John, these look great, thanks for sharing! Thanks also for the explanations re: use of the lens. You basically have to stop down meter it though with the 645 AF and newer cams, right? I don't see any possibility for coupling it on these new cameras...
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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    Yes, stop down metering, no coupling. Focus confirmation does work. No need for adapters. It has a slide out hood and second hood the screws in make it large. Most of the time I just used the slide portion. The lens can be sensitive off axis light show some flare, ghosting or veiling. So you need to conservative with off axis light. It's bokeh can be sublime; from the same trip -




    It also has a nice 3D rendering; subtle, but it's there. Obviously, not taken on a ship But still handheld and with all the bad technique we should never do...






    If you have a dSLR, this is a fairly popular lens to use on a Canon or Nikon via adapter as well. I found it tricky to focus via adapter on the 1Ds2, so maybe I had a crappy adapter. Of course with Live View on a dSLR, things would be much easier now compared to a couple years ago. Think of a Canon 135L on full-frame with a bit more 3D pop - and that about sums up the 200mm APO.

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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    Not sure John touched on it also but it is really spot metering with it instead of center weight , so one must have a little care there as well.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by vieri View Post
    Thanks Guy - if I may ask, why did you sell it in the first place? Just didn't have a need, or was there some problems with that particular copy? As in, shall I look out for sample variations or is generally OK? Thanks!
    Stupidity . LOL

    Like anything else needed something else so it was a sacrificial lamb. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Black View Post
    Yes, stop down metering, no coupling. Focus confirmation does work. No need for adapters. It has a slide out hood and second hood the screws in make it large. Most of the time I just used the slide portion. The lens can be sensitive off axis light show some flare, ghosting or veiling. So you need to conservative with off axis light. It's bokeh can be sublime; from the same trip -




    It also has a nice 3D rendering; subtle, but it's there. Obviously, not taken on a ship But still handheld and with all the bad technique we should never do...






    If you have a dSLR, this is a fairly popular lens to use on a Canon or Nikon via adapter as well. I found it tricky to focus via adapter on the 1Ds2, so maybe I had a crappy adapter. Of course with Live View on a dSLR, things would be much easier now compared to a couple years ago. Think of a Canon 135L on full-frame with a bit more 3D pop - and that about sums up the 200mm APO.
    John, once more thank you very much - you just coted me a few bucks for a mint 200 f2.8
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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Not sure John touched on it also but it is really spot metering with it instead of center weight , so one must have a little care there as well.
    I see - thanks Guy, not a big deal for me, I mostly either meter with an external meter or use spot meter anyway, so I think I'll be fine

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Stupidity . LOL

    Like anything else needed something else so it was a sacrificial lamb. LOL
    LOL A very well known feeling here as well, Guy! I actually was amazed at the amount of money I made selling stuff when I re-organized my gear to move to digital MF Buying stuff, especially if used, is a very good way of storing money for future purchases - money per se doesn't last much otherwise, it all goes into more gear anyway
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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    Spot Metering- learn something new every day. Is that with the AFDIII only, or with all AFD bodies? Since I used the lens mostly for portraits, I never noticed.

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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by vieri View Post
    John, once more thank you very much - you just coted me a few bucks for a mint 200 f2.8
    We'll fix this economy - one lens at a time

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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Black View Post
    Spot Metering- learn something new every day. Is that with the AFDIII only, or with all AFD bodies? Since I used the lens mostly for portraits, I never noticed.
    I think all of them John . But Jack has one right now and hopefully he can expand on it. I actually really like this lens . Nice thing is I can carry it in my bag pretty easy. I'm just looking for someone selling one at a low price.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    I actually bought Guy's lens - love the beast, despite fact use it 'only' on 1Ds2. Ergonomically awkward (on a DSLR vs heavier MFDB), but sharp as hell starting WO, buttery bokeh, nice 3Desque style and gorgeous color. Have owned the Leica 180/2.8 and 2.0 APOs and the M645 200 is right up there. Like JB I find the on-board pull out hood sufficient (which is good as my copy came w/o the extension anyway). Lens also does a GREAT job, starting WO with (in my case) a Canon 1.4x.

    MFD of 8' is a bit of a PITA (more so for me due to deeper relative DoF of DSLR), but the M645 12mm tube gets you a bit tighter portrait distance and am going to pick up the 24mm tube for getting some pseudo-macro shots.

    Every once and awhile I think of selling it as don't use it as often as I should (tend to shoot around 80 ish mm), but then look at/take a pic and immediately kick myself in the a** for even thinking such silliness and start shooting with it. At $500-600 a copy it has to be some of the best $$/performance out there.
    Last edited by robmac; 17th November 2009 at 02:37.

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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    I've owned them all, so here's my summary:

    * First off, I am pretty sure the spot metering only is only on the AFD-3 body. IIRC, the AFD-2 body allowed you to select spot or average, but not the blend.

    * Re the point above, the blended metering on the AFD-3 body is VERY accurate, so having to use spot for an MF lens is one of my biggest gripes about using MF glass on my camera. That said, there are a few lenses that I use only occasionally and where the extra hassle is worth it, and the 200/2.8 APO is one of them.

    * 210 f4 AF ULD IF: Outstadingly sharp wide open and a laser as you stop down. Only downside is it's an F4 lens AND Mamiya has not made an AF tele-converter.

    * 105-210 f4.5 AF ULD Zoom: I actually sold my 210 ULD prime when I got this lens since at 210 after f5.6, there was no difference between the two and the zoom offered a lot more flexibility.

    * 200 f2.8 APO MF: As has been said, excellent performer, very sharp even at f2.8, getting even better down a few. I own the 75-150 AF-D zoom, so really only used the 105-210 fully extended and only occasionally at that. So I looked at the 200 APO as a faster option -- moreover, there is a 2x converter for the 200 APO and it works pretty well, at least stopped down a few, so you can get a usable 400 if you ever need it with relatively little added room to your bag. BUT, the closest focus distance of the 200 APO is a rather long 2 meters where the other lenses are 1.5. This is a BIG difference in use as I cannot tell you how many times I had to back off just a tad further than I wanted to for a head-shot -- IOW the 200 APO is a head-and-shoulders lens where the others are headshot lenses, unless you add the number 1 tube to the APO. Note also that the DoF is so razor-thin at f2.8 and head-shot distances, it is difficult to nail focus reliably; even a few mm of subject or camera position will throw the PoF visibly off target. For some, this is so prominent it may well render f2.8 unusable, and I suspect this and cost are the primary reason the 210 AF ULD is an f4 offering.

    * All three of these lenses are similar size fit vertically in a typical camera pack lens slot (I use a ThinkTank Antidote and they all fit). Also, all 3 of these lenses are essentially the same price, so not really a consideration.

    * If I did not have the 75-150 zoom, I would keep the 105-210 AF zoom and forget about the 200 manual.

    * If I really didn't like zooms, and planned on using the 210 length with any regularity, OR did not have the 150/2.8 AF-D prime, I would get the 210 AF ULD prime.

    * If I felt I had to have the shallowest DoF possible regardless of the relative inconveniences in use or felt I wanted 400 on occasion, I would get the 200 APO, the number 1 tube (the AF one works) and the hard-to-find matching 2xN converter.

    * So for me, the real issue was only needing the 200 focal and only needing it occasionally so dealing with MF and spot metering is okay. I use the 150/2.8 as my head-shot lens, so the 200 really only comes out for landscape when I need the extra reach over my 75-150 zoom. Then the 2x is a plus and gives me an extra reach should I ever need it.

    Hope this helps,
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    Re: Mamiya 200 mm f2.8 & 210 f4 - thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Black View Post
    We'll fix this economy - one lens at a time
    wish it would be so easy! Plus, if I keep going this way, I will need to fix MY economy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    I've owned them all, so here's my summary:

    * First off, I am pretty sure the spot metering only is only on the AFD-3 body. IIRC, the AFD-2 body allowed you to select spot or average, but not the blend.

    * Re the point above, the blended metering on the AFD-3 body is VERY accurate, so having to use spot for an MF lens is one of my biggest gripes about using MF glass on my camera. That said, there are a few lenses that I use only occasionally and where the extra hassle is worth it, and the 200/2.8 APO is one of them.

    * 210 f4 AF ULD IF: Outstadingly sharp wide open and a laser as you stop down. Only downside is it's an F4 lens AND Mamiya has not made an AF tele-converter.

    * 105-210 f4.5 AF ULD Zoom: I actually sold my 210 ULD prime when I got this lens since at 210 after f5.6, there was no difference between the two and the zoom offered a lot more flexibility.

    * 200 f2.8 APO MF: As has been said, excellent performer, very sharp even at f2.8, getting even better down a few. I own the 75-150 AF-D zoom, so really only used the 105-210 fully extended and only occasionally at that. So I looked at the 200 APO as a faster option -- moreover, there is a 2x converter for the 200 APO and it works pretty well, at least stopped down a few, so you can get a usable 400 if you ever need it with relatively little added room to your bag. BUT, the closest focus distance of the 200 APO is a rather long 2 meters where the other lenses are 1.5. This is a BIG difference in use as I cannot tell you how many times I had to back off just a tad further than I wanted to for a head-shot -- IOW the 200 APO is a head-and-shoulders lens where the others are headshot lenses, unless you add the number 1 tube to the APO. Note also that the DoF is so razor-thin at f2.8 and head-shot distances, it is difficult to nail focus reliably; even a few mm of subject or camera position will throw the PoF visibly off target. For some, this is so prominent it may well render f2.8 unusable, and I suspect this and cost are the primary reason the 210 AF ULD is an f4 offering.

    * All three of these lenses are similar size fit vertically in a typical camera pack lens slot (I use a ThinkTank Antidote and they all fit). Also, all 3 of these lenses are essentially the same price, so not really a consideration.

    * If I did not have the 75-150 zoom, I would keep the 105-210 AF zoom and forget about the 200 manual.

    * If I really didn't like zooms, and planned on using the 210 length with any regularity, OR did not have the 150/2.8 AF-D prime, I would get the 210 AF ULD prime.

    * If I felt I had to have the shallowest DoF possible regardless of the relative inconveniences in use or felt I wanted 400 on occasion, I would get the 200 APO, the number 1 tube (the AF one works) and the hard-to-find matching 2xN converter.

    * So for me, the real issue was only needing the 200 focal and only needing it occasionally so dealing with MF and spot metering is okay. I use the 150/2.8 as my head-shot lens, so the 200 really only comes out for landscape when I need the extra reach over my 75-150 zoom. Then the 2x is a plus and gives me an extra reach should I ever need it.

    Hope this helps,
    Jack, thank you for the fantastic compendium, much appreciated I think the only thing I might need now is the tube to reduce the 2 meter minimum distance...
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