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Thread: 55mm Mamiya & Schneider

  1. #1
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    55mm Mamiya & Schneider

    Does anyone had the opportunity to compare the 'old' mamiya 55mm AF 2,8 against the newer Schneider 55mm LS ? (center and corner sharpness, contrast, clarity)

    I like that focal and wants to use it with my IQ 180. With such back there should be no compromise to make with lenses. On the one hand I will use that lens for casual shots / street shots. Nice clean super sharp shots will be made with my Cambo set.
    And on the other hand, I know that I will waste my money if the 55mm Mamiya central and corner sharpness really aren't on par with the Schneider LS lenses.

    On paper only leaf shutter, ergonomics and probably the AF are different (same lens construction/groups, closest focus distance etc).
    Considering those points and the 1 to 5 price factor in favor of the Mam, do you think it makes sense to use that 55mm Mam with an IQ 180 ??

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: 55mm Mamiya & Schneider

    The 55mm Mamiya has no focus clutch which makes it a complete no go for me. I only use lenses with a clutch as i often switch to manual while I am shooting and back. Also I never found a great copy of it as I think the 45mm was the better lens. The 55 LS is no comparison and in a different league if you ask me, I just bought maybe one of the sharpest lenses around the SK 60 for my Cambo and I tested the 55MM LS against it and it was pretty darn close. Bottom line the 55mm LS is the best wide lens in the DF line closely followed by the 45D. Since I sold the 55LS to get the 60 tech lens ( a gamble) I am looking for a nice used 45D to put in the DF bag. I still need a good wide for the DF but put more into the tech kit so i made a little switch. Many times on a commercial shoot i will use either or both systems in tandem. But I also want 2 completely separate kits as well. Expensive process. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: 55mm Mamiya & Schneider

    I can't speak for the Schneider 55, however my opinion of the Mamiya 55, is exactly opposite. Mine, which was a used purchase, is by far the sharpest lens in my bag, from F8 on. The DOF is on the shallow side. I recently test mine a IQ180 from Capture Integration and was not disappointed. Amazingly sharp.

    It's a easy lens to get used (simple to test and send back). or still get a new one. Several dealers are selling demo 55mm's right now.

    The gap in price is very high, and unless you need the features of the LS, I would strongly suggest trying a 55mm.

    The no focus clutch is not an issue for me as I tend to always use mine in non AF mode, however on the DF body, I don't find it that hard to move between M and AF with the camera switch. I agree with Guy, it would be nice to have the clutch.

    Positives for the Mamiya 55 that I would consider
    Cost,
    Size,
    Filter size
    Weight

    Paul Caldwell

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: 55mm Mamiya & Schneider

    I never used the 55 Mamiya, but I can speak for the Schneider (at least for a little longer, since is for sale together with all the rest of my Phase stuff ) The new Schneider is very, very good - better than the 45 Mamiya I had (and yes, I did test them side by side before deciding which to keep, and yes, my 45 was a VERY good copy, the 55 had a hard time getting better than that). I agree with Guy that the 55 LS is one of the best lenses for the Phase system, however if we are talking extreme wides the 28 is an impressive achievement of its own (even with the slightly soft corners on the FF backs).

    That said, Paul has a very good point when he talks about features vs price; generally speaking, I tend to think that in order to get the newest and (supposedly) best stuff we try and convince ourselves that the old stuff was - well - crap is not, of course, and in the Phase line there are many examples: the 80 LS is not that much better than the 80 Phase, if at all; the 150 LS, for what I saw, is not better than the 150 Phase; and the 55 LS could be the same compared with the 55 Mamiya. Of course, there is a feature issue here: if one needs high speed flash sync, then there is no context, go for the LS; but, for instance in the case of the 150, if you need .5 meters closer focus range, then go for the old. And so on...
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    Re: 55mm Mamiya & Schneider

    My idea to maybe buy the 55 Mamiya instead of the 55 LS came after testing the 150 Mam against the 150LS. The LS is 150% of the price of the Mam in my country, and obviously (for me) this price difference is made by the leaf shutter, better ergonomic and better sunshade but not by the glass quality. As far as I saw the AF and glasses of both lenses are equivalent.

    This comparison was carefully made (tripod, MUP, remote shutter, controlled lightning, adjusted histogram and same C1 settings) and nevertheless made me first think after the first round that the Mam was better - then that the Schneider was better after a second test - and finally to conclude that those lenses give comparative sharpness and contrast when their 'super sharpness' area is exactly identically positioned.
    This test was pure pixel-peeping and a single variable, like distortion 'on' for the Schneider (existing profile in C1) and 'off' for the Mam (no profile in C1) altered the comparison results.

    So the glass quality of both 55mm could also theoretically be of comparable quality. But what Guy says breaks that hope.
    Jack's feedback in his Mamiya lens overview is a bit more positive:

    55 AF: I've shot two different copies of this lens and both were quite good. Not as high of contrast as the newest D lenses but as sharp. They have the old style cheapie body and focus ring, but a very good performer for the money.

    55 LS: Great lens, on par with the 80 and 110, and nice edge falloff when used wide open, very good corner to corner at f5.6, outstanding at f8 up.


    The current pricing of the Mam (500eur for a new model) and the chance to get a copy as good as the one Paul got are very tempting, even if no clutch on the Mamiya version is quite disturbing.

    At least peacefulness follows decisions, even the wrong ones...

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: 55mm Mamiya & Schneider

    AnGy,

    If you were testing the Phase/Mamiya 150mm D series against the Schneider 150 LS---it's no wonder that you saw both lenses as more or less "equivalent." Both are considered new lenses "developed for digital." If you were testing the older Mamiya 150mm f/3.5 developed in the film era, though a good lens, I seriously doubt you would find it even remotely equivalent to either the D series of Schneider lenses.

    With that in mind, the older film-era Mamiya 55mm AF is good but pales in comparison to the new 55mm LS, but the difference isn't nearly as marked between the two----or not nearly as much as the difference between the 150D/150LS and the older 150 f/3.5.

    You can find good older lens copies but there is less lens variation (better quality control) with the newer D series and LS lenses.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: 55mm Mamiya & Schneider

    I still find it rather disappointing that there is still so much sample variation between lenses at this level. It seems even with the LS & D lenses based on various comments on this forum, albeit perhaps less than with the older lenses.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Re: 55mm Mamiya & Schneider

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    AnGy,

    If you were testing the Phase/Mamiya 150mm D series against the Schneider 150 LS---it's no wonder that you saw both lenses as more or less "equivalent." Both are considered new lenses "developed for digital." If you were testing the older Mamiya 150mm f/3.5 developed in the film era, though a good lens, I seriously doubt you would find it even remotely equivalent to either the D series of Schneider lenses.

    With that in mind, the older film-era Mamiya 55mm AF is good but pales in comparison to the new 55mm LS, but the difference isn't nearly as marked between the two----or not nearly as much as the difference between the 150D/150LS and the older 150 f/3.5.

    You can find good older lens copies but there is less lens variation (better quality control) with the newer D series and LS lenses.
    Yes,the comparison was made between the 150mm Mamiya 150 D f2,8 and the Schneider LS F3,5.
    I don't know the lens history of Mamiya but, indeed, the 55mm f2,8 design looks much older than the 150mm D F2,8.

    Regarding sample variation, I did test 2 Mam 150mm. The one my dealer gave me to make the comparison with the Schneider LS, and the one I did purchase after the test.
    From F4,8 to F8,0 they were both razor sharp but my purchased copy is a bit weaker full open - not by much but the difference is noticeable...

    I just used for the first time my Mam 35mm f3,5 non 'D' with my IQ180. This lens is completely out resolved by the sensor and will stay in my bag as back up. I more and more suspect it will be the same game with the 55mm Mam

  9. #9
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    Re: 55mm Mamiya & Schneider

    Quote Originally Posted by anGy View Post
    I just used for the first time my Mam 35mm f3,5 non 'D' with my IQ180. This lens is completely out resolved by the sensor and will stay in my bag as back up. I more and more suspect it will be the same game with the 55mm Mam
    I don't think so .. the 55mm is a complete different story. The 35mm was allways known for its softness (especialy in the corners) und lower contrast. It was beaten by the Pentax 35mm in every comparison i've ever noticed.

    I own an old 55/2.8 as a part of my old Mamiya AF equipment, the SK 55 LS comes with my DF. I don't need these focal lenght very often, but in my point of view, the main differences are (of course) leaf shutter and better coating (flares, color rendering, local+ genaral contrast) .. resolution/details/sharpness are very close (P65+). I hope i'll find the time to search some examples for you during the next week.

    In Europe (especially in GB) you can catch a copy of the Mam 55/2.8 for around 200–250,-€. Just get one (or two or three) and look by yourself .. if you're not satisfied, just throw it back in the bay .. you won't lose money. Or just sit in your car and come over for your own comparision of my copies

    Best regards
    Martin

    ps. sorry for my poor english .. but be sure .. it would be much more brutal if i would try it in french or dutch .. or wallon
    Last edited by DoubleM; 11th December 2011 at 00:40.

  10. #10
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    Re: 55mm Mamiya & Schneider

    Nearly two years ago, when the 55LS was first available, I tested one (loaned by Phase) against my own 55 Mam. (I presented the results on this forum but have taken down the pix since).

    At f11 there wasn't a lot to choose, though the LS was better. But as the aperture got wider the difference grew, especially in the corners. Suffice it to say I rushed out and bought my own 55LS, and as Guy says, I have found it to be very sharp. Indeed, it is my most used lens on the P1 DF.

    The 55LS and the 150D are the two lenses you'd have to pry out of my cold, dead hands!

    Bill

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: 55mm Mamiya & Schneider

    Or in Guy's case he'd now have to prise it back out of my cold dead hands ... Sorry Guy. (although I know that he loves his 60mm T/S lens more now)
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 10th December 2011 at 18:26.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: 55mm Mamiya & Schneider

    I'm testing the 60mm this week but one quick outing and it's already killer. I miss my 55 no doubt but I feel good since Graham got it. Like to keep those cherished lenses close by. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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