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Thread: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

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    Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    I recently picked up a Mamiya ZD outfit, and will be buying another digital back soon. Most likely a Phase product, but I am also looking at Leaf. I need to buy some lenses, and I am primarily a landscape and wildlife photographer. Some of the places that I photograph are not particularly kind to photographic equipment, such as the desert landscapes of Namibia.

    I have looked all over for review of Mamiya lenses, and there really isn't much online. I don't need any of the newer lenses that are coming out, so no need on wasting time and effort in that direction.

    Anybody have a quick rundown on some of the lenses? I hate to say it, but I am looking closely at some of the zoom lenses. For landscape purposes, I usually shoot stopped down enough that I don't need fast glass for most situations.

    I am thinking:

    35mm
    55-110mm
    105-210mm
    300mm

    I am trying to keep my kit on the light side, and I love not having to switch lenses in dusty environments.

    Another question. Does Mamiya make a recent 2x teleconverter? I keep seeing one on different for sale forums, but I suspect this is for the 'other' Mamiya 645 Pro system. Is there anything available that I could use with the 300mm f/4.5?

    So many questions.....

    Andy

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Andy,

    I use the 35mm AF and 55-110mm AF. Both are decent lenses. Primes are simply sharper than the 55-110, but with it stopped down to F8-F16, it is certainly a respectable lens. Wide open the 55-110 is noticeably soft. The 35mm carries very good in focus depth of field from about F11 on. You really don't need to go beyond F16 unless trying to get very close foreground and far background together in focus, which can be tricky on MF anyway. The 35mm gets mixed reviews, but I find it to be adequate in sharpness. It's simply not as sharp as the 80mm AF or 150mm AF, both of which I also use. The 35mm does have CA, which is easily corrected today. That's one reason I have gone to Lightroom fulltime for now because having presets makes for fast corrections which the 35mm needs. It does have some barrel distortion which you won't notice in the field but do notice when shooting straight line content. I don't have experience with the 110-220 or 300. What I notice more when shooting My Aptus 22 than say a Canon is just the better tonal range, shadow smoothness. So even if a lens isn't the best, the shots still just look better than a top DSLR.

    My only comment on wanting to shoot long with the Mamiya is that you would be much better suited to using a 1DsIII with their killer glass like the 300mm IS or longer. There is just no comparison, the Canon would be so much better all around, AF speed, better long glass. I just don't view the Mamiya as a wildlife camera at all. But if you are willing to explore that, by all means share how easy or hard it is once you are up to speed.

    I use my Aptus 22 on an AFDII for commercial and editorial work. But still pull out my Canon kit just as much for things which are simply unreasonable for medium format, like speed, fast autofocus, weight.
    Last edited by schweikert; 26th May 2008 at 04:13.

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Andy I don't have any of the zooms but I do hear the 70-150 mm D lens is very good. As John mentioned the 35mm is a nice lens but better stopped down to F8 or 11. I actually had thoughts of changing around a little but it would revolve around the 28mm for me than I would go 45mm which is supposed to be maybe better than my 55mm which is very good but go 28,55,80,150 and 300. But right now I have the 35,55,80 old, 150 old and I have a 200 manual 2.8 apo that is very sharp that I am selling since I got the 300 3.5 But anyway the 80mm is extremely good and a new one is coming with the new bodies. The 150 4.5 is a really nice lens even wide open but I am going for the new 150 mm 2.8. But all of them seem very good except the 35mm needs to be stopped down some. The rest hold there own pretty well . There is a new 45-90 D lens coming but it comes with a price tag too. But at some point I will get to the 28,45,80,150 and 300 but the 55,80 are really sharp right now
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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    John what are your thoughts on the 45mm or what you may have heard
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Guy,

    I haven't used the 45mm AF. I gave a gap between the 35mm and 55-110. But have not run into needing to fill the gap yet. Honestly, since Mamiya announced the upcoming 45-90 D, I am just holding out for that lens. At which time, I may get the 75-150 D. I see those two lenses as being a near flawless 2 lens kit for most anything I might need and can throw in the 35mm AF when needing the wide end. I have yet to desire telephoto beyond the 150/3.5, which is also a nice lens, I love its perspective.

    For longer telephoto, my Canon fits the bill.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    John what are your thoughts on the 45mm or what you may have heard

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Yes that 45-90 sounds like a winner and maybe something for me to look at also down the road. Yes reason I am selling the 200 mm is because i decided it maybe nice having the 300mm lens for those odd occasions. The 200 is too close to both of them so i really don't need it. I expect never to get over 5 lenses for this if that at all. More like 4 seems to be good for the MF stuff but I'm a pig so right now 35,55,80,150 and 300. Plus I have a Hassy 120 macro but will keep that for studio stuff
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    I have the 55-110, 105-210, 120mm macro, 80mm f/1.9, and 300mm f/2.8. I find that the 55-110 and 105-210 cover just about everything when I want to travel light. I have found both of them to be quite sharp and they are about the same price together as the 75-150mm. I haven't tried the 75-150mm yet but I understand it's a step above the two zooms I have. The 120mm macro is simply amazing. If you can live with manual focus and stop down metering, it will be hard to beat it for sharpness. The old 80mm f/1.9 gives me as good of results as my Canon 85mm f/1.2 did but again, you need to be ok with manual focus and stop down metering. I haven't had much time with the 300mm yet but the few shots I have taken with it seem crisp and detailed. The nice thing about the manual focus lenses is that I can use them on my 1DMKII with an adapter so I have a back up body without carrying more glass when I need it. I would love the 28mm but can't justify the price right now. Maybe after I recover more of the initial investment in the system. I have been very happy with all the Mamiya lenses so far and find them to be quite a bargain compared to other MF lenses out there and the fact I can shoot many of them on my 1DMKII with outstanding results is a real bonus.

    Ron

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Ron did not think about the canon backup. I just bought a Mamiya to Nikon adapter and maybe that would work with a few of my AF lenses on manual focus. It's what i was hoping but did not think of it as backup , now i am though. Great thought
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Hi Guy. The problem with the AF lenses is that there is no way to stop them down when you shoot on the other cameras! At least all the MF lenses are fully functional.
    It is easier than carrying the Canon body and Canon lenses when traveling but not as convenient as having the AF at times.

    Ron

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Quote Originally Posted by RGoldman View Post
    Hi Guy. The problem with the AF lenses is that there is no way to stop them down when you shoot on the other cameras! At least all the MF lenses are fully functional.
    It is easier than carrying the Canon body and Canon lenses when traveling but not as convenient as having the AF at times.

    Ron
    I am the same as Ron here. I use all my medium format lens from the Mamiya M645 and Hasselblad V systems on the Nikon D3 and Contax 645 and Mamiya 645 AF. The nice thing about the Mamiya 645 systems is that all the lens will work on the latest Mamiya 645 AF/AFD/AFDII/AFDIII cameras.

    -Son
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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Yes i am using a Hassy 120mm F4 CF macro with a cheap adapter and it is actually focusing quite well on the Mamiya and there are a ton of old manual Hassy, Mamiya lenses around for very cheap.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Guy,
    If you get the chance you should try the Mamiya RZ67 system as well. There are some great lenses in this line up and similar to the Mamiya 645 lens system, the lens are a great bargain. Oh and don't forget all these lens can also work on the Canon and Leica R system as well.

    The Hasselblad 120 mm is a macro lens and usually are more forgiven with adapter that does not reach infinity. I find that the Zeiss 120 mm macro tend to be prone to strong background light flare. However, this problem can be fixed with an anti-flare resistance.

    -Son
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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    I just picked up:

    35mm
    55-110mm
    105-210mm
    150mm

    and will likely pickup the 300mm soon.

    I still don't have clarity whether there is a teleconverter option for the 300mm.

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    Member RGoldman's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Andy, the Mamiya 2X tele converter works on the 300mm f/2.8. I don't think it does on the f/4.5 version though I could be wrong about that!

    Ron

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Quote Originally Posted by RGoldman View Post
    Andy, the Mamiya 2X tele converter works on the 300mm f/2.8. I don't think it does on the f/4.5 version though I could be wrong about that!

    Ron
    Thanks, Ron. Isn't the 300mm f/2.8 made for the manual focus 645 Pro system? I would love to have either a 1.4x, 1.7x or 2x telconverter for the f/4.5 AF lens. I know I would lose autofocus with that setup, but at least I could have AF when not using a teleconverter.

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    I just bought a 300mm 4.5 which is really nice it came yesterday and just a couple handhelds looked very nice.

    I do have a 28mm 2.8 sitting here for the weekend from Lance and CI to play with . I am going out in the morning to play a little with it
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Guy, I would love to hear about your experiences with the 300mm. I have shot with the Hassy version, and it is a very very nice lens. Hopefully I can get similar out of the Mamiya.

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Yes, the 300mm f/2.8 is a manual focus and stop down metering only on the 645AFD. AF confirmation works though and it's really not bad to manual focus with that big, bright viewfinder!

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    I don't mind manual focusing, but stop down metering can be challenging with wildlife photography. Keep in mind that I am typically not photographing animals that move quickly, though. Your typical giraffe, zebra, elephant, etc type wildlife.

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    I have found that I can manual focus with the lens wide open and then stop down by feel/sound, and shoot very quickly now. The aperture ring is very easy to move and count clicks as you stop down. Shooting in Aperture priority, the camera sets shutter speed accordingly as you stop down. If you try and focus with the lens already stopped down, it's rather hit and miss at smaller apertures. I would love to have AF on the f/2.8 but they haven't gotten around to making one yet!

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    Subscriber Member KurtKamka's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Any personal experience out there in IQ or notable nuggets of information between the 35mm and 45mm Mamiya lenses?

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    35mm is good but for sharp corners f16. I want a 45mm also to be honest. The 55mm is awesome. But I hear the 45mm is very good, buy me one too bud. Feeling very poor at the moment. LOL Sure you are also
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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Kurt,
    The 45 mm is very sharp and reported in popular photography to be even sharper than the Contax 645 45 mm F2.8 lens. I had the lens and it is sharp but did not use it long enough to gain any experience. In addition, the new Mamiya 45-90 is suppose to be very sharp and the initial literature showed that it is similar to the Contax 645 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 45-90. Thus, the Mamiya 45 mm lens may not be a popular lens in the near future. The 35 mm is a sharp lens as well like Guy mentioned and for the price differences compare to the new 28 mm, the 35mm has great value for your super wide angle lens. I some how still tend to lean toward the 45 if I would not pick up the zoom. I wish I had more information than this to offer.

    Best Regards,
    -Son
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    Subscriber Member KurtKamka's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Great information. Thanks guys.

    Son, as you've spent a lot of time with MF over the past several years, can you speak to utilizing primes vs. zooms for MF. As I anticipate shooting quite a few things in lower light and potentially utilizing my lenses differently than many other MF shooters, do the MF primes perform better at faster settings than zooms?


    Kurt

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Yes i am going back and forth a touch down in the wide end . Since i have the Horseman with a 35mm digitar I actually have two 35mm lenses. I thought about going 28,45 and 80 but the 28mm is very expensive . The other option is 35,55,80 which I have today. My question to myself is how often will i use the Horseman than if not much than sell it and get the 28 , 45 combo. But i am going to wait awhile also. The new 45-90 like Son mentioned is supposed to be extremely good but agin it will come in pretty expensive. i like the idea is you get some choices here money wise . you can get in cheap initial and have a lot of glass for low costs than add the expensive glass as needed.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    I have heard good things about the 45 too, but like others, I already have the 35 and 55, so the 45 seems a bit redundant. I can tell you the 55 is excellent and I really enjoy it. But like Guy said, the 35 while very good needs to be stopped down to around f11 for sharp corners. (Actually I think it is curvature of field more than being truly soft at more open apertures.) I would like the 45 as a tweener focal for a slimmer kit when traveling: leave the 35 and 55 back home, and just take the 45, 80 and 150, so one less lens to carry. Don't like zooms in general, so will be selling my 55-110 anyway.
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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Hi Jack, that was my thought for a simple, all-around, kit until I understand the strengths and weaknesses of the lenses. The 45, new 80 and new 150. I ordered the current 150 from KEH a few days ago until I can find the new version.

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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Kurt,
    The 4 best Mamiya prime AF lens in term of resolution are: 2.8/45, 2.8/80, 4.0/120 and 4.0/210 ULD. The new macro D lens is pretty much the same as the current 120 with some added mechanical and electronic features only. Thus, I expect the upcoming new 80 D will be the same. The current 80 mm is very sharp and definitely one of my favorite lens. I did not like the zoom but the upcoming 45-90 zoom is suppose to be extremely good similar to the Zeiss 45-90. While I look forward to see the Mamiya 45-90 zoom, I had several experiences with the Zeiss 45-90 zoom and it is one of the best zoom lens I own in the medium format system. If you are going after fast glass for resolution and bokeh and skin rendition take a look at the Hasselblad Planar T*2.0/110 in all version. This lens can also be put on your Nikon D3 with magnificent results and you do not need the Nikon 105 Macro nor the Zeiss ZF 2.0/100. I felt that the Mamiya is another great medium format system and especially with Phase One digital back. This is why I made 20 adapters for the Hasselblad lens to go onto the Mamiya system and the Nikon system. Thus, you get the most out of your medium format lens.

    Best Regards,
    -Son
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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Son did not realize the 210 was that good. I have a old Hassy 120mm CF F4 macro lens to handle the macro stuff and it still performs like it did many years ago for me. Damn now i will never find a 45mm cheap. LOL
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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Guy, the 210 ULD is sharp but the color is average. I prefer the Apo lens when they are 200 mm focal length and up. I am sure you love your 3.4/300 AF. I had that lens too and the color is really nice. You should also try the 2.8/300 MF version as well. The Hassy 120 macro is a great lens with some internal flare but can be fixed.
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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    Yes I am liking the color very much with the 300mm 4.5 and it is very sharp indeed. The 300 2.8 looks very nice indeed. If i had the 300 2.8 I might even be able to sell the Nikon system but I want to go some time here and get everything figured out what my needs maybe. I would like to get the 150 2.8 D lens but looks like July from what i have learned but the current 150 4.5 is a sweet portrait lens and stopped down gets very sharp
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member PSon's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya Lenses - quick rundown?

    If you get the 2.8/300 in which KEH has a few and at very nice prices too you may not need your Nikon system but you can also keep your Nikon system with the Mamiya to Nikon adapter and be able to keep your new title "gear slut/whore." Despite I never gave myself this title but I am in the same boat as you, Jack, David and many more here LOL. I really enjoy the Nikon D3 with the 2.8/300 as well.
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