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Thread: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

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    Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    I know the early versions of the Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Backs had some issues, namely that it had some ugly "purple worms"....
    I am just wondering whether you are recommending this back for people photography for someone who is just about to enter the MF world. I am planning to buy a top back in the near future but I just want to get a more affordable back to start with...

    1. Have you ever owned this back? Did you like it? Didn't you like it?

    2. Does it make sense to start with a cheaper back?

    3. How about colors on this back compared to other backs?

    Thanks!

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    I too used it as my starter back on a Mamiya RZ67.

    I enjoyed it and recently switched to an Aptus-II 7. In the studio at iso 50 I found the combo to beat my 1DsIII.

    And thanks to @mediumcool who found this. It echos my experience between the ZD and my Aptus-II, even though the comparison is with the Aptus.

    The big plus for the ZD is that the IR filter is user remove-able.

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    @SergeiR and @MaxKißler use their ZDs to amazing effect.

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by haring View Post
    I know the early versions of the Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Backs had some issues, namely that it had some ugly "purple worms"....
    I am just wondering whether you are recommending this back for people photography for someone who is just about to enter the MF world. I am planning to buy a top back in the near future but I just want to get a more affordable back to start with...

    1. Have you ever owned this back? Did you like it? Didn't you like it?

    2. Does it make sense to start with a cheaper back?

    3. How about colors on this back compared to other backs?

    Thanks!

    In my opinion the ZD Back is not the best choice for people photography but this depends strongly on how your style of shooting is. If you are used to capture "the whole moment and decide later what to keep" than you won't like ZD Back.

    Buffer: One of its limitations is not that often quoted tiny buffer of 11 frames. It's the fact that it takes up to 10 seconds to save an image which is really annoying and I don't think they changed the writing speed on the "double buffer" model. So if you fill up that buffer it takes over a minute to clear it. While it is clearing the buffer you can't continue shooting, you don't even have access to the menu... However, I rarely shoot 11 continuous frames.

    ISO speeds: Well, there's not that much to say is there? Sure it's nice to have at least the option to push it up to 400 but should you do it? My answer: Not as a professional who aims to deliver excellent image quality.

    Reliability: Now that's the striking point. Let's just say the ZD Back has its own character...

    No honestly, it really is unreliable as hell. I have to reset mine at least once per shoot. Sometimes it refuses to write an image to the card (the decisive image ). Lately, mine decided to prefer SD cards over CF cards. If a CF card is mounted it won't start up.

    Exposure times: Anything longer than 4 seconds results in colour noise. It's not too much of an issue as you are post processing your files anyway. Don't get me wrong, even exposures of 30 seconds can look great if take your time to work on that noise...

    Purple worms: These "purple worms" or "blobs" may occur if there is too much reflection or a light source pointed towards you. I wouldn't worry too much about them. You'll never see them if you strictly expose for shadows.


    Having said all this, is there anything good about it?
    There surely is:


    IQ: It delivers excellent image quality as long as you keep it on its terrain. At ISO speeds of 50 to 100 images look outstanding.

    Post processing: I like working on the ZD files more than I ever liked to work on the output of my 35mm gear. Maybe it's totally subjective feeling but I believe I can adjust things quicker and with better results.

    Cost performance ratio: Well, I think it's quite alright...

    White balance: In addition of the "common WB settings" it let's you choose from two manual WB settings and you can even choose to adjust the temperature between 2000 K and 10000 K by yourself.

    Feel: It's pretty light. Mounted on a Phase/Mamiya body you can shoot handhelt without too much trouble.


    Conclusion: IMHO The ZD Back is a great way to get familiar with digital medium format. However I wouldn't want to shoot an entire weddings with it. At least not the documentary part (What's the correct word for it? In german it's called "Reportage"). If you want to use it for portraits of the bride and groom and you can control the lightening it might be a great benefit.



    Wow, this response got longer than expected. Sorry guys, it's late and I'm tired so I guess I exaggerated a lot here... :sleep006:

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    Senior Member MaxKißler's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by mvirtue View Post
    @SergeiR and @MaxKißler use their ZDs to amazing effect.
    Thanks for your kind words Mark.

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxKißler View Post
    Purple worms: These "purple worms" or "blobs" may occur if there is too much reflection or a light source pointed towards you. I wouldn't worry too much about them. You'll never see them if you strictly expose for shadows.
    For correctness "purple worms" was an issue experienced by photographer Frank Doorhof and per memory what he stated at that time was that Mamiya had told him was an issue limited to certain batches of ZD backs. This was around 2007? and was fixed by Mamiya.

    On other hand, "purple aritfacts" were experienced far more widely and per what I posted on LuLa in thread "ZD has Problem" from what I found out was subject to all ZD backs and ZD camera at time due to limitations in design (internal hardware and coding).

    It is unclear if Mamiya has fixed the last, but hopefully they have tuned down the problem in raw converters. Since Phase One owns controlling share in Mamiya, who know if perhaps Capture One is possibly the better tool...

    Leaf Aptus 22 has same 48x36mm sensor from Dalsa as ZD, however the implementation of both hardware and coding of back was done correct. Look for that one, or... why not the Aptus 65 which has slight smaller sensor 44x33mm and 28MP. It might be cheaper due the smaller size of sensor but is more MP and a generation newer sensor. It is same sensor as Aptus 75 but 44x33mm instead of 48x36mm. This is why I went with Aptus 65 myself three years ago. Very solid and reliable. No single problem. Actually... I am considering upgrade... Leaf of course. No chance to Mamiya

    Regards
    Anders

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxKißler View Post
    In my opinion the ZD Back is not the best choice for people photography but this depends strongly on how your style of shooting is. If you are used to capture "the whole moment and decide later what to keep" than you won't like ZD Back.

    Buffer: One of its limitations is not that often quoted tiny buffer of 11 frames. It's the fact that it takes up to 10 seconds to save an image which is really annoying and I don't think they changed the writing speed on the "double buffer" model. So if you fill up that buffer it takes over a minute to clear it. While it is clearing the buffer you can't continue shooting, you don't even have access to the menu... However, I rarely shoot 11 continuous frames.

    ISO speeds: Well, there's not that much to say is there? Sure it's nice to have at least the option to push it up to 400 but should you do it? My answer: Not as a professional who aims to deliver excellent image quality.

    Reliability: Now that's the striking point. Let's just say the ZD Back has its own character...

    No honestly, it really is unreliable as hell. I have to reset mine at least once per shoot. Sometimes it refuses to write an image to the card (the decisive image ). Lately, mine decided to prefer SD cards over CF cards. If a CF card is mounted it won't start up.

    Exposure times: Anything longer than 4 seconds results in colour noise. It's not too much of an issue as you are post processing your files anyway. Don't get me wrong, even exposures of 30 seconds can look great if take your time to work on that noise...

    Purple worms: These "purple worms" or "blobs" may occur if there is too much reflection or a light source pointed towards you. I wouldn't worry too much about them. You'll never see them if you strictly expose for shadows.


    Having said all this, is there anything good about it?
    There surely is:


    IQ: It delivers excellent image quality as long as you keep it on its terrain. At ISO speeds of 50 to 100 images look outstanding.

    Post processing: I like working on the ZD files more than I ever liked to work on the output of my 35mm gear. Maybe it's totally subjective feeling but I believe I can adjust things quicker and with better results.

    Cost performance ratio: Well, I think it's quite alright...

    White balance: In addition of the "common WB settings" it let's you choose from two manual WB settings and you can even choose to adjust the temperature between 2000 K and 10000 K by yourself.

    Feel: It's pretty light. Mounted on a Phase/Mamiya body you can shoot handhelt without too much trouble.


    Conclusion: IMHO The ZD Back is a great way to get familiar with digital medium format. However I wouldn't want to shoot an entire weddings with it. At least not the documentary part (What's the correct word for it? In german it's called "Reportage"). If you want to use it for portraits of the bride and groom and you can control the lightening it might be a great benefit.



    Wow, this response got longer than expected. Sorry guys, it's late and I'm tired so I guess I exaggerated a lot here... :sleep006:
    The reason I am on this forum is that there are guys like you! Thanks a lot for enlightening us!

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by haring View Post
    I know the early versions of the Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Backs had some issues, namely that it had some ugly "purple worms"....
    I am just wondering whether you are recommending this back for people photography for someone who is just about to enter the MF world. I am planning to buy a top back in the near future but I just want to get a more affordable back to start with...

    1. Have you ever owned this back? Did you like it? Didn't you like it?

    2. Does it make sense to start with a cheaper back?

    3. How about colors on this back compared to other backs?

    Thanks!
    1 - yes, and this is my back up back (hmm? )

    2 - this particular - yes, old square wee Kodak one - not so much. Great thing about this one is that if you coming from dSLR and have stack of SD cards - you can use them (well i didnt). Most of other back do use CF. Bad thing about it - it might have issues with fastest and newest UDMA cards larger than 4G.

    3 - its ok. May be a bit cooler, but colour is something that percieved differently by people anyway. Trained artists do see more colours , japaneese folks do see more colours than everage european. Also in print you still got about 5-8 zones anyway.. Its got very good AWB, actually. Which is very very odd for me. Plus this is what RAW shooting is for - set up WB a bit warmer and you getting decent colours.

    ---

    No matter how you slice it - it is at the moment best entry to MFDB price/quiality-wise . Even at 14 bit it beats Nikon's 14 bit - more shadow details. How i know? B/c i compared my D700 to ZD once i got it, as we had argument about it with a friend

    Purple worms stuff - never seen them, but i might not be shooting in same style as other folks who kept getting them.

    Would i change mine to something else? Yes. But only b/c i just felt like i want something else. If i were not as easy tempted by lure of gear - i might have been sticking with ZD for a while. But i like to experiment.

    Great part about ZD that many people do not mention often - its bloody light comparing to backs with active cooling.

    Buffer wise - yeah well.. I do not shoot at incredible rates, even when doing action shots, so i never actually overfilled buffer on it. I just dont believe in spray and pray.

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by mvirtue View Post
    @SergeiR and @MaxKißler use their ZDs to amazing effect.
    thank you, kind sir



    AFD + ZD + 55mm/2.8 (i think - its been ages )

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders_HK View Post
    Leaf Aptus 22 has same 48x36mm sensor from Dalsa as ZD, however the implementation of both hardware and coding of back was done correct. Look for that one, or... why not the Aptus 65 which has slight smaller sensor 44x33mm and 28MP.

    Regards
    Anders
    I came close to getting a ZD back (even a ZD camera) a couple of times) but lucked out with an Aptus 22 which I am very happy with so far; works up to iso200 reasonably well (not tried 400—too scared) and it is ready to re-shoot quite rapidly. The Mamiya ZD buffer would make it tough to keep up with an active sitter. Landscape, still-life, no problem w/ZD.

    If you get a ZD, make sure there are no worms, and don’t expect great results above 100. Read here or on LuLa that the Mamiya starts at 50 and goes to 400, but the 50 is already pushed one stop (A22 starts at 25). And the later double buffer ZD does ease the write pain somewhat!

    Now that I have the A22 I would like a ZD just for IR (removeable internal filter).

    Interesting that Michael V’s ZD sold for a bit over $3K on eBay, more than he had asked for it here!

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by SergeiR View Post
    thank you, kind sir



    AFD + ZD + 55mm/2.8 (i think - its been ages )
    Hey, it’s not the back or the photog — it’s the subject matter!

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    Hey, it’s not the back or the photog — it’s the subject matter!
    well.. yeah.. Having playboy models do help to sexy up any kind of digital back , i guess

    Here is other model..



    (and yes, its not a crop. 150/2.8 and assistant ready to kick me in the backside once tiger do as much as move tail..)

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    Interesting that Michael V’s ZD sold for a bit over $3K on eBay, more than he had asked for it here!
    I know and I started it lower. So for 8 weeks I got the use of a back to find out if I wanted to play the gear game.

    I am glad I bought it. I'm also glad I found this forum. Would I buy it again if I had to start over, yes. Would I have kept it if I had not bought the Aptus-II 7, yes.

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by SergeiR View Post
    well.. yeah.. Having playboy models do help to sexy up any kind of digital back , i guess

    Here is other model..



    (and yes, its not a crop. 150/2.8 and assistant ready to kick me in the backside once tiger do as much as move tail..)
    He, or she is very pretty.

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Here is a 8s exposure at iso 400:



    if you want a 100% crop of any section just ask.

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    Hey, it’s not the back or the photog — it’s the subject matter!

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Oh right.. forgot.. Long exposures on ZD arent anything to write home about. B/c of passive cooling its a bit noisy on those. But then again - tradeoffs..

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    The issues are well known ......

    There are voices out there who still feel wronged over the whole purple worm thing ..... In digital worlds, that story is 4 generations old. And from what I have seen of mine, pretty much a non issue on many of the backs. Clearly, Mamiya could use some CRM lessons.

    Simply put, the back is limited by todays MDFB standards. It's slow to shoot, slow in ISO, and I agree 100%, once a shoot, the thing will need to have the CF card removed.

    All that said, it hangs with the D3X and the Canon Mark III crowd at around 60-80% of the price, and it does have the medium format look. A Sony A900 with a Zeiss lens is about the same price as a ZD and an AFD with an 80m ( if you shop hard, and get lucky ).

    It is the cheapest way into MFDB with a "modern" back. The Kodak can be cheaper, but totally unsupported, all other solutions in the same prices range are cabled in some way or an other. And, the old lenses are cheap, with the 1.1 crop factor, extreme corners are not that big a deal.

    If you check out the images thread here, most of the nude figure work you see on the last few pages comes from my ZD ....... pardon for the repeat here ...



    This is a 100% crop, hand held with the 150mm ....

    Hope that helps.

    Dave

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    I have 2 ZD backs (currently selling the non Double Bufer model on eBay) and I must say that I've been extremely impressed at the image quality. Yes, they're slow, but I'm a landscape photographer. Yes, they're not as good in low light as a Nikon D3x, but I take that into consideration when reaching for the ZD or my A900. There's definitely a medium format, 3D look about the ZD files over those from the A900.

    I've never owned a P21 or P25 but I'd be surprised if the files from these are substantially better than ZD files. Files from the P45 or P65 are obviously going to be better, but, at a hefty price!

    In my mind, the ZD backs are fantastic value for money and a great introduction to the world of medium format digital photography.

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by SergeiR View Post
    thank you, kind sir



    AFD + ZD + 55mm/2.8 (i think - its been ages )
    WOW!!!

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    +1 to everything said above. I use it with RZ 67 Pro IID and 645 AFD III and very pleased with quality it delivers, when used right.
    645+80/2.8+ZD


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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by itsskin View Post
    +1 to everything said above. I use it with RZ 67 Pro IID and 645 AFD III and very pleased with quality it delivers, when used right.
    645+80/2.8+ZD

    It is amazing how it preserves highlights...!

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by haring View Post
    It is amazing how it preserves highlights...!
    What highlights?


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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Aha.. found one of composites.. Here is ZD and D700 (which is to my opinion remains best dSLR in 35mm to the day), shot with same light. Not hard to see where ZD is (b/c of DOF), but if you look closely at shades and transitions you will notice that "extra" stuff with MF characteristics and extra smooth transitions. Both are 14 bit, as i must remind you.



    afaik its 35/2 Nikkor and 65/2.8 (older, non L-S version) on 645AFD + ZD

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Sergei, how close are the histograms? The detail difference in the armrest is pretty impressive.

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by mvirtue View Post
    Sergei, how close are the histograms? The detail difference in the armrest is pretty impressive.
    If i remember correctly (bear with me - it was 1.5 years ago) - it was expo-pair, and iso was like 100. Of course iso nowdays is relative..

    Histogramms will be different b/c of slightly different crop of scene. But in think Nikon should be leaning here towards left a bit. But then again - nothing was pulled. I HATE pulling shadows and highlights.. So its pretty much "as is " conversion in C1. 5Pro

    I dont think i have originals anymore unfortunately - just found this on harddrive when was cleaning things up. We had argument with folks back then that you "cant tell difference no more and its still 14 bits"... I made shots, posted and then removed Didnt want any wars.

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by SergeiR View Post
    We had argument with folks back then that you "cant tell difference no more and its still 14 bits"... I made shots, posted and then removed Didnt want any wars.


    It's funny 2 months ago I'd have thought the same thing I have seen the light and it's not reflected off a 24mmx36mm piece of wafer.

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Well thing is - if you know where to look - you can see where MF plays. If you dont - then most of time all you see is shallower DOF which many people keep referring as 3D looks, which is wrong.

    Whole reason for 3D-ness is that gradations are better, so with good light it is possible to create more "depth" in image but using light and shadows.

    For me transition was affected by portraiture, b/c i like to shoot lower half of curve , and thus - shadows are important to me. And i hate blotched pieces of skin on model's jawbones that do come as result of bad tonal transitions.

    And i dont care for high ISOs most of time. And noise.. hah.. i can make pictures from D700 look as grated cheese pile on its native 200 iso, if i create light situation it cant handle. And i do those a lot

    So ZD for a great step up. Plus it was going back to more comfy 4:3 format.



    This is SB900 , Kacey dish, ZD + AFD.. (yes, i know.. its abomination of setup )

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    Leica M9 + W.A.T.E. vs Mamiya ZD + 28mm D?

    I've had Mamiya ZD back for a few months now and have been really impressed by the images I've been getting with the Mamiya 28mm D lens. My only gripe is the size and weight of this outfit! So, my question to those of you who have a ZDb or Phase One P21+/P25+ is this: can the Leica M9 (with either a 24mm Elmarit or the W.A.T.E) match the quality of the files that I'm currently getting with the 28mm D? I primarily shoot cityscapes but with a M9 I'd hope also get back in touch with my artistic side.

    Any advise would be much appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Mark
    Last edited by Sarnia; 9th February 2011 at 23:47. Reason: Added my real name

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Problem with the RZ67 ProII Medium Format Camera
    MAMIYA ZD BACK DISPLAY FULL LIGHT (NO PICTURE) IN

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sefarino View Post
    Problem with the RZ67 ProII Medium Format Camera
    MAMIYA ZD BACK DISPLAY FULL LIGHT (NO PICTURE) IN

    What adapter plate are you using?

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Mamiya afd II

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sefarino View Post
    Problem with the RZ67 ProII Medium Format Camera
    MAMIYA ZD BACK DISPLAY FULL LIGHT (NO PICTURE) IN

    1) which plate. AFDII is not a plate. Its a body.
    2) ZD back wont work on ProII without plate with power triggering cable.

    (oh damn, i just figured how to get my ZD to work on LF camera.. !)

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by SergeiR View Post

    (oh damn, i just figured how to get my ZD to work on LF camera.. !)
    That will look like quite the franken-LF with a mamiya plate to get the wake up signal to the ZD back.

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote Originally Posted by mvirtue View Post
    That will look like quite the franken-LF with a mamiya plate to get the wake up signal to the ZD back.
    Oh i am not going to use plate itself.. I just need wake up signaling bits, so i can soldier it Time to find voltmetering device and do some testing to figure out signal travel schematics I already got mounting plate for 645 back, that i am using with Leaf, but Leaf didnt need electric connections.. So i can either hack this adapter in situ or make own connector. Sounds like next project, once i done with revamping speed graphics into aged copper steampunk camera (i am going completely nuts on this one) That should give me ability to do up to 1/1000 with barrel lenses and MF back, once i figured how to trigger this thing

  36. #36
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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    The plate is ok it have been working ok for 10 months

  37. #37
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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Anybody know where to have a zd back repaired in Europe

  38. #38
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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    The Belgian importer (www.servix.be) repairs most Mamiya products, presumably also the ZD (I hope so, I own a ZD back!). They speak English. Good luck!

    Charles

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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sefarino
    Problem with the RZ67 ProII Medium Format Camera
    MAMIYA ZD BACK DISPLAY FULL LIGHT (NO PICTURE) IN

  40. #40
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    Re: Mamiya ZD 22 MP Digital Back...?

    Quote:

    Problem
    MAMIYA ZD BACK DISPLAY FULL LIGHT (NO PICTURE) or menu in display

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