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Thread: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

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    Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Went out for a photowalk with my 645 AFD II, Aptus 65S MFDB and a new 210/4 ULD lens yesterday evening. Shot in the evening during the golden hour using ISO400 (yeah, noisy )

    Here's what I dont get:

    I'm having issues with image sharpness, and it's driving me crazy.

    See http://500px.com/photo/1378566, http://500px.com/photo/1378842, and http://500px.com/photo/1379245 to get an idea of what I mean

    I'm uploading the pics now to Flickr so I can link the images directly into a later post, but what's getting my goat now is that the 100% crops are terrible. shutter speeds were in the range of 1/125 to 1/320 shot wide open.

    Is this something I should expect from this setup, given that I was shooting handheld, or am I doing something wrong?

    On a related note, based on what I've read online about the Aptus 65S, I should have the option to capture as a 16-bit HDR image (150+ MB), a 16-bit RAW HDR image (approx 53MB), or a Lossless compressed RAW (approx 31MB). Going through the camera settings, I only have None and Lossless under the compression settings.

    Question: is there any benefit to capturing it to the 150MB format (and how do I do that?), or should I just stick with the normal RAW format (53MB per file)?

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    Senior Member malmac's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Kenneth

    I am also just new to MFDB and trying to get a grip on DOF, so my suggestions are from one who is working at these issues rather than a really experienced user - my suggestion is that with the 210 lens, which is pretty long and I am assuming maybe shutter speed is on the slow side - also I am thinking the focal plane shutter adds an element of vibration - so really I think you have done a good job given the situation.

    You could try using a tripod, just to check out how sharp your lens is and also try mirror up to remove that variable.


    mal

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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Looks like I'm not alone on this one. I was thinking of attributing this to shutter speeds being a bit too slow, but this is also interesting since the 210 is approx 128mm (according to http://www.mamiya-usa.com/645afd-iii...0mm-f4-if.html) on 35mm format, and I was using the 1/(focal length) rule, hence 1/125 *should* have kinda worked

    Here's one shot at 1/55s at f4

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ghoonk/5992818769/" title="KW_029650.jpg by ghoonk, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6029/5992818769_1285aa779b.jpg" width="500" height="374" alt="KW_029650.jpg"></a>

    And this one is at 1/320 at f4


    KW_029637.jpg by ghoonk, on Flickr

    You're right about the DOF though. MF's DOF is so think that even at f4, it's too easy to lose the focal point, and this isn't made any easier by the AFD's grapefruit-sized 'focusing area' - even with spot focusing turned on, I have no idea exactly what was going to be in focus, as compared to how AF works on my D3s (one little square, just park it where you want to focus, hit the AF-ON, achieve lock, recompose).

    I was thinking of using MUP, but that's a little bit tricky since I would need a few more fingers - half-press shutter to get focus lock, hit AF Lock button (and the AFD II's Focus Lock button isn't in the most ergonomically positioned location), the hit the MUP button (which is on top, and a little button), then hope the composition looks ok, then fire

    A tri/monopod would have helped, but it would have drawn the attention of my subjects, so that would've been difficult as well. The nice thing about the AFD is that it looks like an old-school digital camera (wow, it's huge! it is from the early 2000s?), so people don't get as intimidated by it as when I walk around with my D3s with a 70-200

    I'm curious to find out how people shoot street portraits during the golden hours of dawn and dusk handheld with this beast. I love the AFD II to death, but if anyone can help me tame this beast, I'd be eternally grateful

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    I was looking for the problems and ... I didn't see anything significant. In fact, these are some great images!

    My Aptus 65 is ok up to ISO 100, ISO 200 is acceptable if I down-res or use noise reduction but ISO 400 gets noisy very quickly, just like the background of your "Wisdom" shot - blotchy in color. However, as you've shown you can very easily make this very grain-like and not objectionable.

    As regards the file formats, the Aptus 65 only supports 16 bit raw compressed or lossless compressed. I've never seen the other HDR file types you mention.

    I find that handheld shooting of the 210 or 300 APO are pretty difficult unless you have a lot of light and can shoot fast. Both seem to suffer from some kind of shutter vibration as Mal mentioned. I shoot my 300mm off a RRS long lens stabilization mount. It's been recommended to me in the past to shoot street scenes using a monopod for extra stability.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Don't go by effective shutter speed for 35 go by what lens focal length you are using. 210 use 1/200 or faster. Your not shooting 35 mm any more best bet do not use as guidance for anything. F5.6 is completely different for instance than any 35 mm cam it's like shooting at 2.8

    Best advice get away from 35mm thinking. Also iso 400 on this back is limited as well as it will get noisy.


    Big secret monopod is a major life saver. Also avoid 1/30 of a second with 200 and above as vibration is a issue with bodies.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Guy and Graham, I've been going through your pics on the MF pic sharing thread and am still blown away by how sharp your images are, and I seriously cannot figure out how you guys do it. I'm PPing in Lightroom, seeing that I haven't quite gotten C1 under my thumb yet.

    So best to just stick with the 1/(focal length rule) like what you said - 210mm lens, use 1/200. I seriously can't figure out why my shots with the 210 at 1/320 are still not coming out tack sharp the way yours (and so many other MF users) do.

    I'll try this out with a monopod this coming weekend and see if I can improve my results. It's less subtle for street photography but I'll learn to manage it (is that a momopod in your pants or are you just happy to see me?)

    I'm keeping towards ISO50, and learning to use the low ISO for portraits... since I can't get this going at ISO400 in low-light, it just means that I should be able to use it to control ambient light and use flash properly.

    Looks like the 210 will stay in the bag till I tame it. I have a #2 and #3 extension tube on the way here, thanks to KEH, and it looks like I'll be using them for tight portraits with the 150mm when they get here.

    Graham, how do you down-res the Aptus 65S? I can't figure out the settings work and what they do as it's not explained in the user guides from Mamiya
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    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    So best to just stick with the 1/(focal length rule) like what you said - 210mm lens, use 1/200. I seriously can't figure out why my shots with the 210 at 1/320 are still not coming out tack sharp the way yours (and so many other MF users) do.
    Sounds crazy... but i find, especially with long lenses, that 1/2xfocal-length to be a better rule with mf. With my 210, if I can get to around 1/400th, then the sharpness really starts to shine. I have pretty steady hands from shooting low light weddings for years, but MF is merciless. I tend to just use a monopod most of the time if it appears that shutter speeds are going to be near the 1/focal-length range.

    With all that sharpness from resolution and no AA filter, ANY shake is going to go a long way towards taking away the beautiful crispness of MF images.

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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Merciless indeed. DOF is so shallow that at f4, it makes my Nikon's 85/1.4 look sharp. I'm constantly fighting to keep stuff in focus and usually find myself shooting at f8 to f11 easily, which leaves me with slower shutter speeds, and that's where the problem starts

    In another series of my shots, taken at the Deira Creek in Dubai, light was excellent and I was able to keep to double focal length rule of thumb, and images did come out a bit sharper. Sadly, that was the day I failed to check the AF switch and found myself shooting halfway been S and C (yeah, THAT switch - a common complaint with the AFD bodies, I hear)... my first day out.

    Right - a monopod it is then, and the 1/(2x focal length rule) until I get decent at this.

    Quick question - I'm new to this, but what do you mean by no AA filter? Is the back less moire-resistant?
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    Senior Member Thierry's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    AA = Anti-Aliasing filter commonly used in DSLR cameras with CMOS sensors to get rid of the Moiré. Brings obviously some unsharpness with it.
    Such a filter is not used with CCDs.

    Anti-Aliasing Filter

    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    Quick question - I'm new to this, but what do you mean by no AA filter? Is the back less moire-resistant?
    Thierry Hagenauer
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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Ah, that explains. I can deal with moire in PP, and would love to get the sort of sharpness you guys are getting. More practice is needed...
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    Senior Member Thierry's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Nice shots, Kenneth.

    Thierry
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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    By the way, do any of you guys know if this will work with the AFD II? I got the NA402 and NA403 extension tubes on the way, and am looking for the NA401

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...sion_Tube.html
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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Quote Originally Posted by TH_Alpa View Post
    Nice shots, Kenneth.

    Thierry
    Thanks, Thierry!
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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    Guy and Graham, I've been going through your pics on the MF pic sharing thread and am still blown away by how sharp your images are, and I seriously cannot figure out how you guys do it. I'm PPing in Lightroom, seeing that I haven't quite gotten C1 under my thumb yet.
    I'm strictly a tripod shooter with my Mamiya/Phase One body. I've seldom had much success handheld with it unless I crank up the ISO like you but even then it's been with the P40+ in sensor+ mode vs the Aptus 65 which likes to stay at ISO 50-100. However, Guy & Shelby and a few others here seem to do just fine.

    By comparison, I can shoot my D700 handheld all day and get great sharpness throughout the image with excellent deep DoF if I stop down. With my D3x the usable DoF was less and it was much easier to get soft images. You can see where the sensor pitch and sensitivity to motion blur are linked as you increase resolution. The lack of a strong AA filter on the Aptus/P40+ help to offset this for pure sharpness when everything is singing along.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    Graham, how do you down-res the Aptus 65S? I can't figure out the settings work and what they do as it's not explained in the user guides from Mamiya
    I shoot full res lossless compressed from the Aptus. Any down-resing is done in Capture One or Photoshop. All I can select in the camera is automatic cropping which I personally never use.

    As regards the docs, I use the Leaf docs available here for the Aptus II (LC 11.4.5 & before) which are identical to my Aptus 65. For the newer Aptus II GUI just released download the 11.5 version:
    http://www.leaf-photography.com/documentation.asp
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    I think I understand now and will stick with lower ISOs on the 65S. I too have a D700, and that is great fun to shoot with. The only time I have ever gotten anything close to the sharpness of the AFD II is when I'm using the PC-E 85/2.8 - that lens is one sick puppy

    As for the manuals, I got mine from the same source, but it doesn't mention what the Aptus Portrait sizes are. I've got mine set to use maximum size, but I'm wondering what the difference is between the Portrait and Product Sharpness settings are, and how the affect the captured image - is softness introduced in the RAW file?

    Also, any idea if the Aptus II 22 is similar to the 65S?

    I just found out that the AFD III focusing is much better than the AFD II's, and the DF's focusing is even quicker (30% faster than the AFD III's - possibly 50% or more over the AFD II then?). Looks like I know what I'm saving up for next...
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    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    I just found out that the AFD III focusing is much better than the AFD II's, and the DF's focusing is even quicker (30% faster than the AFD III's - possibly 50% or more over the AFD II then?). Looks like I know what I'm saving up for next...
    Make sure and skip the AFDIII... I shoot with one and the AF is just ok. The AF point is still so huge that it rarely focuses on what I want it to. I'm almost completely 100% manual focus. If the AFDII is worse (that's what I'm told), then I'm glad I started with the III, because it's pretty bad. I like the cam, just not the AF.

    I'm hoping the DF replacement comes out soon so I can buy a DF at possibly reduced price, lol. I love last-generation tech. But first, that RZ is still calling my name. I'm still trying to make it back to a tripod, ha.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    As for the manuals, I got mine from the same source, but it doesn't mention what the Aptus Portrait sizes are. I've got mine set to use maximum size, but I'm wondering what the difference is between the Portrait and Product Sharpness settings are, and how the affect the captured image - is softness introduced in the RAW file?

    Also, any idea if the Aptus II 22 is similar to the 65S?

    I just found out that the AFD III focusing is much better than the AFD II's, and the DF's focusing is even quicker (30% faster than the AFD III's - possibly 50% or more over the AFD II then?). Looks like I know what I'm saving up for next...
    I found this useful for the profile information: http://www.leaf-photography.com/file...e_profiles.pdf

    The Aptus II-5 22mp back is different to the 65S in that it has a larger sensor area and 9 micron pixels vs 7 micron 28mp for the 65/65S/II-6. The UI and everything else is the same although base ISO is 25 not 50. I'm not sure whether the 65S got the glossy screen and faster UI or not - my 65 has a slightly matte screen which has less contrast to the glossier II series backs.

    As regards the AF - I personally think that it sucks on all of them, including the DF. I have an AFD-II and a DF body and I suppose the DF is better but for what I use it for it's a pretty minor difference. You are not helped after getting used to Nikon pro-body AF performance unfortunately. I know folks here seem not to have a problem with the AF system but I find agricultural at best - i.e. it has all of the sophistication of a 1950's Russian tractor.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed on Aptus 65S and Mamiya 645 AFD II

    Quote Originally Posted by TH_Alpa View Post
    Nice shots, Kenneth.

    Thierry
    I agree with Thierry. These are great shots with real character. I suspect that technical perfection would detract rather than add to the power of your portraiture and street shooting.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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