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Thread: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

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    Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Hi there,

    I'm an avid Leica fan ( M8, MP, etc etc ) and it serves me well.

    But I love landscape photography and I would love to jump to a digital MF setup ( film MF is a big no no in my book, I'm just too lazy with film. Not an option, period ! )

    New systems are out of my reach and got a few options around my dealers :

    H3D with 22mp : the most pricey option
    Mamiya ZD : good middle range
    H2F with Phase One 10mp back : the cheap option.

    Now... which one ?

    I like to do low iso's, tripod based but also long exposure's.. AF not critical at all.

    I have a good Leica lens collection but no MF collection at all, so I'm open to any system, provided its good.

    H3D seems the best option but its damn pricey. Dont know if I can stretch this much.

    Mamiya ZD : seems a very good system, but bit out of date ? No continuity here ?

    H2F : cheap option but a very inferior back ( 10mp only ) but has the ability to use fim as well ( its a H2F ).

    What is your guys take ? I want something modular, not ridiculus expensive ( 3,000 - 4,000 usd ) and that I would see an improvement over 35mm.

    Another thing crossed my mind : getting a D3X.

    I do have Leica lens and bodies , but also have a Nikon D2h for tele and macro work. Just have a couple of Nikon Lens but that would simplify me a bit and honestly, perhaps between a D3x and old MF digital technology, I would be doing a better purchase buying a Nikon D3x or a Canon 1DS MKIII ?

    At least would be more versatile... What you guys think ?

    thanks for anyone that shares their vision and experience beforehand !

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Quote Originally Posted by proenca View Post
    I'm an avid Leica fan ( M8, MP, etc etc ) and it serves me well.
    I love landscape photography
    Another thing crossed my mind : getting a D3X
    what about the M9 ???

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Phase One H10? 11mp back? It works well, but will lose you some range due to the crop. Plus it has to be tethered.

    IIRC, the pixels are the same size as the 22mp ZD. Low ISO performance may be similar.

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    At the price range you're at I would invest more in the back than in an autofocus body.

    Instead of an H2F why not a classic 500 series Hasselblad body which would then go with some classic Hasselblad Zeiss lenses which will perform well (for this level of back at least) but be (usually) much less expensive than the modern H series Autofocus Hasselblad lenses.

    Then you might be able to step up to an H25 or P25.

    That would also provide you many more upgrade options down the road since the H2F is an entirely closed system which Hasselblad went out of it's way to prevent from working with other manufacturer's digital backs. In comparison a 500 series body (or an H2) works with film, and just about every digital back made.

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    what about the M9 ???
    +1; also a great option at the higher price range

  6. #6
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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    I bought one month ago a used H1 with the 80 mm and a Kodak DCS pro back (16 Mpixels) for approximately 4000 USD and so far I like it a lot. It gives me the chance to shoot digital and medium format film. The only DSLR I have is a Nikon D50 and the Kodak is a huge improvement. Probably still at the level of a D700/D3 even though it's old technology.

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    I agree with Thomas and Doug. An M9 plus stitching to achieve larger files would be ideal for you. A good portion of my "medium format" work is done this way. At a recent workshop I demonstrated with 24x36 prints that an M9 stitch is very, very hard to distinguish from a Hasselblad H3d 39 file (the M9 sensor is exactly half the size of the hasselblad and the same pixel pitch and sensor technology). It will outperform (from a resolution standpoint) 22 meg and smaller backs. People claim that MF has an edge in smoothness of tonal transitions and maybe dynamic range, but it's a pretty subtle effect and is hard to see in actually work in the field..

    This solution works for landscape (as long as there is not motion across the entire stitched frame); it obviously doesn't work for wedding, fashion, product work, etc. It works for architecture but it takes a fair amount of experience and practice to get it right and the post shooting effort is fairly significant, so it's more efficient to get it right or close to right in the camera, which requires and MF back.

    But for landscape the M9 is ideal, particularly if you're carrying gear to where the landscape is.

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Stitching post work for a guy quite clear about being to lazy to use film? ... LOL!

    I had a D3X and a iDsMKIII ... they're not MFD IQ (even compared to a Phase One 22 meg back at base ISO).

    I'd double check if any Phase One back can be used on a H2F.

    While less expensive, I wouldn't recommend a square sensor back if your primary purpose is to shoot landscapes.

    Highest IQ for the least money? IMO that would be a Contax 645 and a Phase One P25.

    -Marc

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Coming from an M8 and FF 35mm to an H3D39, I must say that nothing - really NOTHING compares to the quality of the files this 39MP back delivers!

    I do not have the M9, I will get one in a few weeks, but I am almost 100% sure that the quality does not come close to a MFDB with 39MP.

    Especially the combination of Phocus with the Hassi backs is what makes a real difference. For the M9 one has to rely on C1 or Aperture or LR and while all these are great, they finally cannot get out of the files what a camera vendor really puts into the files. Even with the best profiles.

    I agree that the M9 with appropriate Leica glass (ASPH and APO) plus stitching comes pretty close to MF and it is a very portable solution compared to MF. Maybe it outperforms 22MP backs, but there is no way to come close to 39MP IQ from any Hasselblad or Phase back when you develop the files with adequate SW (Phocus or C1).

    Plus you can go the stitching path also with MF and then the results are another major step away.

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    I'll add my 2 cents...

    1) I agree that the 9 micron, 22MP and higher MF delivers IQ superior to M9 and the top end DSLR's; not so much in the detail department a in the color and tonality departments. Detail goes up as you get into the 6.8 micron and smaller range of backs.

    2) I agree that for landscape you should get as full a frame back as you can afford.

    3) The Mamiya ZD back is comparable in file output to the P25 or Leaf 22 at ISO 50 and 100 and is less expensive, but it's also not as adaptable to mounting on tech cameras as the Leaf or Phase option.

    4) The Mamiya platform is an inexpensive one to enter, especially with the older AFD 1 body, plus has a HUGE range of usable and adaptable glass including older manual focus Mamiya lenses as well as Hassy V and F/FE. As a big plus, you can upgrade to three higher levels of bodies, each offering a bit more than its predecessor, as well as newer AF glass. And a back that mounted on the AFD1 body will mount to the newest DF body. It also has a very large installed CURRENT user base, creating a decent market for used pieces of gear. In the end, if you buy into a Mamiya ZD and Mamiya camera platform, you will probably be able to get out of it fairly easily at little monetary loss as your needs and desires change in the future.

    4a) My second choice based on use would be Hassy H -- great system, excellent lenses, but more expensive to enter than Mamiya and not as many lens options as Mamiya.

    5) My second choice based on cost, would probably be Hassy V, excellent quality, lots of options in the used market, but a heavier and fully manual camera.

    5a) My other choice based on price would be Contax, also an excellent entry point, very well made, but older technology and unfortunately there's nothing new on the horizon, a somewhat limited range of existing lenses with prices going up as supply dwindles, few 3rd party lenses and no adaptable third-party glass. I don't think any of the new backs are being made for it, so it's pretty much limited to use with older generation backs.

    6) PS: One (minor) advantage to the ZD back is it has a user-removable IR cut filter --- this means you can shoot full-spectrum with it giving you some additional creative options.

    7) Finally, consider the software you will need/use to convert the raw files, and how much it may cost to obtain or upgrade to the latest compatible versions -- some backs require a factory service to utilize the newest softwares and this may be expensive. Also look at availability and costs of extras like batteries for back and body.
    Jack
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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Contax...
    I don't think any of the new backs are being made for it, so it's pretty much limited to use with older generation backs.
    all the newest backs of Phase and Leaf are available in Contax mount.

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    all the newest backs of Phase and Leaf are available in Contax mount.
    I stand corrected . I realize they list them, but can you actually buy one? IOW do they build them in advance, or do you have to special-order it and wait?
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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    I stand corrected . I realize they list them, but can you actually buy one? IOW do they build them in advance, or do you have to special-order it and wait?
    you can. They produce a certain number of backs in Contax mount... at least this goes for Phase (as to Leaf I don't know).

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    I stand corrected . I realize they list them, but can you actually buy one? IOW do they build them in advance, or do you have to special-order it and wait?
    Don't know about now, but I remember talking to Chris Lawery when the first P65+ orders were being filled, and apparently Contax mounts were being fulfilled first. It didn't make sense to me because you would think the Mamiya mount would be the most popular mount and hence more orders to put at the front of the line.

    But then again, with the pricing of the P65+, that might have been only four Contax mounts to fill... (*kidding*)

    Newer platforms and lens offerings certainly changes things..... Still waiting on my 645DF....

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Well then, that moves the Contax option up a half-notch to above Hassy V
    Jack
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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    Don't know about now, but I remember talking to Chris Lawery when the first P65+ orders were being filled, and apparently Contax mounts were being fulfilled first. It didn't make sense to me because you would think the Mamiya mount would be the most popular mount and hence more orders to put at the front of the line.

    But then again, with the pricing of the P65+, that might have been only four Contax mounts to fill... (*kidding*)

    Newer platforms and lens offerings certainly changes things..... Still waiting on my 645DF....

    Sometimes the availability of components or the ease of production will affect what camera mounts are available first with new backs. Getting everything tuned up with a Contax or a Hasselblad V might be easier than with a newer body like the Phase One camera. And also the components could be more readily available. It varies.

    In recent years, Leaf orders for Contax were custom order only and took about 30 days to fulfill. I ordered an Aptus II 5 for Contax about 3 weeks ago and received it within a week, so it looks like that has changed. Perhaps Phase One does indeed have easier access to Contax components.

    All current Leaf and Phase One digital backs are available in Contax mount.


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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post
    Sometimes the availability of components or the ease of production will affect what camera mounts are available first with new backs. Getting everything tuned up with a Contax or a Hasselblad V might be easier than with a newer body like the Phase One camera. And also the components could be more readily available. It varies.
    My guess is it's the easiest for them to make.

    Contax's digital interface (the language the body and back speak to eachother) has been set in stone (since the body is not in active development) for a long time and there is one and only one version of the body to test it on.

    With the Hasselblad H mount, and the Phase One mount there are multiple bodies and firmware versions that need to be tested as well as some advanced communication (e.g. histogram to the H body) and in the Hasselblad V mount there is a PAL-Pin connector which reads the mechanically deployed film advance to wake the back up. In comparison the Contax is most defined by it's digital-but-simple interface.

    Just an educated guess.

    But yes: all P+ backs can be ordered in Contax mounts with (generally) short delivery times. A small, but VERY loyal user base out there for Contax.

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    No need for a special order to get a new back in Contax mount. The 30 days wait, at the time, was normally for refurbs.

    Leaf sells quite a lot of Contax backs these days and there is no shortage of components. V lenses can be used on the Contax with a Contax or a Novoflex adapter, there is a Zoerk/ Pentax 6x7 adapter for it and even Hartblei made a super rotator for it. There are adapters (from Leaf and others) for mounting these backs on large format cameras.

    But there are downsides to buying into a Contax (used) system now; Used bodies have probably been serviced and repaired at an unknown level and as it is an electronic camera, if any components were "mis-treated" or if they come from a butchered camera it can cause issues with connectivity, lockups etc.

    The 8 seconds exposure limit can also be a pain for some (unless you work in aperture priority mode) and the slow sync speed (1/90 on paper, although some bodies reach 1/125) can also be limiting.

    Still, I had a Contax and used it for about 6 years and I loved the handling and the build quality. The MP-1 grip was excellent

    And as a side note there are no modifications required for using any old Aptus back with the latest Leaf Capture.

    Yair

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Hi,

    i add my 2 cents too .....

    I purchased, one month ago, my first MFD equipment. Used of course. Searched a lot on the net, forums, etc.... in the past, but the only choice, from an economical point of view, is Mamiya ZD .... for about U$4000 i got body, 2 lenses, one extension tube and 1 more battery.

    Everything written before is true: you can't change the back, no flexibility ... but i din't find nothing better for the money.... now i purchased other 2 lenses .... used, cheap .. but really sharp with the 22MP body (35mm and 150mm AF)

    For landscapes and studio portraits or still life, i think is a good camera .... of course you haven't the control of the perspective like a field camera... but now i enjoy a lot and what obtain is much much more (before i shooted with Nikon D700).

    I have a good chemical equipment based on a Tachihara field camera with 4 lenses .... but ... i don't use it so often ..... sheets are difficult to find in italy, are expensive.... etcetera.

    I hope that in the next years digital backs with Large sensor (like betterlight) become more affordable .... i'll be really happy to use again a field or technical camera for serious and "meditative" pictures.

    Sorry for poor english.

    Roby
    Mamiya ZD + 35 + 80 + 150 + 55-110

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Quote Originally Posted by yaya View Post
    there are downsides to buying into a Contax (used) system now; Used bodies have probably been serviced and repaired at an unknown level and as it is an electronic camera, if any components were "mis-treated" or if they come from a butchered camera it can cause issues with connectivity, lockups etc.
    there are still some new bodies around. Problem here: the dealers usually request the original price (so ~€3000,-).

    The 8 seconds exposure limit can also be a pain for some (unless you work in aperture priority mode)
    is there a workaround for long exposure in aperture priority (or did I get you wrong)?

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    IIRC -- and it's been a long time ago that I shot Contax -- you could only manually set shutter speeds to 8 sec or use B, but the way it was designed you got up to 30 seconds automatically in Av mode. Maybe somebody that owns one will confirm this.
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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Yup, but given that the camera has both manual and electronic shutter release holes, you can use B to get times of any length. I don't know how that interacts with MFDBs though, not having tried that.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    you can use B to get times of any length. I don't know how that interacts with MFDBs though, not having tried that.
    With a Phase back B mode doesn't work; so it's limited to the 8 seconds. Actually.
    However you can use the DB like on a view camera - you just have to put a thin sheet of paper on the contacts of the DB so that there is no communication from camera to DB. You can use a flash sync and wakeup cable for long exposure in B mode. Works very well.

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Hey, that's high tech! Why did Phase do that?
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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Hey, that's high tech! Why did Phase do that?
    it's a limitation of the Contax, not of the Phase DBs.
    But I can't explain the technical background, I'm sorry.

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Er, if the Contax can do exposures of any length with a cable release, the very worst case would be that it could not communicate this to the back, and so Phase could have provided a way to start the back manually? Or am I missing something?
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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Or am I missing something?
    Maybe Doug, Yair, Steve or some else can explain it...
    If possible Phase would certainly have done something for their favorite camera ;-) ... I guess.

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    Re: Mamyia ZD vs H3D with 22MP

    Well, one would imagine so, if it were really their favorite camera, but if it works with a piece of paper between the contacts, then all they would really need to do is to make a mode that behaves like that, no? Too weird.
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