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Thread: Mamiya 645 AFD + ZD Back...a good idea?

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    Mamiya 645 AFD + ZD Back...a good idea?

    I've been looking at getting a digital medium format system to supplement my current 35mm system (d700s).

    While a current Digital MF system is a bit out of the price range I have seen a Mamiya ZD back + 645 AFD / 80mm f/2.8 kits for the ~3500-3700 range.

    Is it worth it to consider the ZD, or is it just too old. I like the 645 AFD because I can also use it as a film camera...

    Just want to get some opinions before I do something stupid. Thanks!

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD + ZD Back...a good idea?

    Sorry I prob should of used the search there was a pretty good discussion on it, but if anyone has anything else to say on it, I would appreciate it. While $3100 is reasonable for a back, it's still a lot of $$$ for me, and I don't want to spend it if its not really a good choice these days

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD + ZD Back...a good idea?

    Honestly I would save up a little and get a P25/30 or equivalent Leaf back. You'll be happier in the long run I'm sure.

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD + ZD Back...a good idea?

    Mammy645's reply really doesn't help you, does it? Because no reasons are given.

    Seeing as you already have a D700s, I think that the AFD+ZD would complement it well. The ZD's two weaknesses are higher ISO and long exposures - both areas where the D700s excels. Keep the ISO to 100 or lower, and exposures to 1 second or shorter, and the ZD can deliver beautiful images. Due to its lack of an AA filter (although there is an optional one for cases where you really have to avoid moire), and its larger, less lens-MTF-demanding pixels, it will outresolve even a D3X, despite the MP count being very slightly smaller.

    Ray

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD + ZD Back...a good idea?

    There are plenty of threads on this and other forums like Luminous-Landscape detailing all the problems with the ZD, and the OP gave me the impression he had already found some of them so I'll leave it to him to do the research. My point was since it's already a lot of money we're talking about here I think he'd be better off saving up for a more substantial step up and keep shooting with his D700 in the meantime. However, there's no doubt that ANY digital back will be a step up from DSLR under the right photographic circumstances. I think it's a mistake trying to go the "cheap route" when making the jump though, there's a reason why demand for the ZD is lower and subsequently cheaper than the other backs in that segment.

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD + ZD Back...a good idea?

    Thank you. I also have been thinking that maybe shooting with the AFD body and 80mm lens with film for a while while saving up for the new(er) back is a reasonable idea.

    I need to see if the ZD back that is for sale is the double buffer one or not.

  7. #7
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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD + ZD Back...a good idea?

    I have a ZD - SLR not back

    Either way the basic tech is the same - but its not got the double buffer option [which I would love to have when shooting people - but I am happy to live without, as it makes me press the shutter release less, pushing me to shoot fewer 'better' pictures :lecture ]

    Keep in mind the display at the back is crap - you'll figure out if your composition is ok - and if you've exposed alright - but you will need to shoot tethered [easy with mamiya s/w which also couples up to Capture One etc if you need it - but not Phocus] if you want to see exactly what you got - so its basically a bit better than shooting film, but no where near shooting a normal digi
    If you don't shoot tethered - you'll end up not bothering to look till you've filled up the buffer and it gives you a slide show as it process it


    The step up from 35mm sensor size and 3:2 crop to 48mm and 4:5 is definitely one you will love - keep in mind, there is no way on earth I'd ever take my Mamiya on a cruise around the streets/festival etc - it would be much easier with 'standard' DSLR/SLR or even a film 120 compact [mamiya 7 etc]

    You need to look at it for what it is - an amazing Studio / on location / landscape camera - picture quality is out of this world if you pixel peep - especially for its price point if you can get it cheap enough [Less than 2K for a DMF with a lens vs 2K for a new full frame plus lens...]

    If you do go for it - be sure to format your cards with the back before shooting, takes away a few issues

    As the above have said - you wont replace your D700 - you'll merely compliment it

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD + ZD Back...a good idea?

    Horrible idea ..... Ended up acting like a gateway drug ....

    Still have the AFD-II body, but "needed" to upgrade to a P30+ back.

    Now thinking that that may not be enough!

    Dave

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD + ZD Back...a good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by danielvalentephotography View Post
    Thank you. I also have been thinking that maybe shooting with the AFD body and 80mm lens with film for a while while saving up for the new(er) back is a reasonable idea.

    I need to see if the ZD back that is for sale is the double buffer one or not.
    I recently bought a ZD back and a 645 AFD and I really like it. However, just like ondebanks says, you will want to stick to ISO 50 or 100 and keep it to a 3 second (3 seconds is on the verge of pushing it) or less shutter. I would also like to add that if you're shooting for more than 5 minutes you will probably get "ERROR DB" flashing in your view finder at least once, in which you will have to open and close the battery door or the memory door to reset it. I've also hit the shutter release and had no picture come out at all, this one is rare, but it has happened. So, what I'm trying to say is it has it's limitations and quarks, but if you can live with them you can get some really great shots with some nice resolution.

    I love being able to shoot film and digital on the same camera, and all though you won't want to use file taken at ISO 400 with a ZD back you can use it to check exposure at least.

    One other thing I would like to mention is that mine is NOT the double buffer model and I've never had to stop in the middle of a shoot to let it catch up. I guess it depends on your style. I'm used to using a Mamiya RB67, so I move like a turtle...

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