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Thread: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

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    Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    Hi Good Folk,

    I'm looking to this forum and it's long time readers for their expertise and advice for entering the MFDB world. I have been a long time shooter of 35mm full frame digital and while convenient, have been finding my more critical work to be more methodical in nature and usually under controlled or addition of strobes.

    I'm looking to get into the Mamiya 645 system and have narrowed it down to the AFDiii or DF. I know the AFD iii was the last true cross platform system that could take a film back, but i've heard concerns over the longevity of the shutter mechanism compared to the DF. Most of what I've read is that the two bodies are very similar save AF improvements, but I wonder how dramatic this is between the bodies as I'd be using AF primarily for portraiture.

    Outside of that, are there any compatibility issues I should be aware of for lenses that would limit their use? (ie can older M645 lenses be used on the DF).

    All your feedback is appreciated.

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    DF:
    - Only accepts digital backs
    - Better Autofocus: faster, more accurate, less hunting
    - Better overall durability and build quality
    - Accepts Schneider LS lenses
    - Accepts V Grip Air

    AF (aka AFD3):
    - Accepts digital backs and film backs
    - Does not accept Schneider LS lenses
    - Does not accept V Grip Air
    - Lower cost

    Otherwise every lens that the AF accepts the DF will also accept.

    The DF+ makes additional improvements to autofocus speed, accuracy, an reduces autofocus hunting. It also adds a autofocus calibration feature.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    Ditto what Doug said above. In re: to auto focus of AF vs DF, it's better but nothing dramatic. Marginally faster but noticeably more accurate.

    Haven't tried the DF+ yet.

    Also, the AF loves to eat batteries even when turned off. Mine would kill them in two days without use. The DF does still drain but dramatically better. Stock up on good rechargables or consider the ijiji (spelling) or P1 battery offering.....

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    Also, I'm not aware of the price difference but the DF+ includes the rechargable battery pack.

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    The "trick" on the older Mamiya and even Phase bodies is to use only Energizer Lithium AA batteries.

    On the newer Phase DF, the new rechargeable Li-ion pack (aka EJJI) is a "must-have" and seems to have reduced or gotten rid of any bugs that imho are power related. Don't use rechargeable AAs. I don't know if the new EJJI is compatible with older Mamiya bodies. The DF+ comes with the rechargeable Li Ion pack.

    ken

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    I think if it were me I'd look at either the DF or DF+ so long as you aren't thinking of using film.

    Ken is spot on regarding the battery requirements. I picked up a pair of the EJJI last year and have never had any problems whatsoever with the DF.

    The DF+ has slight improvements over the DF chiefly (to me) is the slightly (my term) better/faster auto focus. Again if it were me and I could spare the extra change I'd opt for the DF+ and get it over with.

    Now all you're left with is deciding on the digital back!

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    What I recall, from around the time the AFDiii was a current camera, is that people hated it with a passion. If I were to jump to MF, I'd go for the DF+ no question, but how to justify the price of a back? Ahhh!

    I did the wrong thing and downloaded a bunch of Raw files from the IQ180 and also D800, which it wipes the floor with, but to get one means selling half the house. What's that people say about ski masks on here?

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    Re a back. Think long term instead of short. What do you use it for? Landscape/product work then maybe a tech cam is in the future. Or people and weddings.

    "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here" it isn't just a quote.


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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    I've used a 5DII for the longest time in the way I tend see that people use medium format: tripod, methodical shooting, only center AF point, flash, etc. So I don't see any loss, just gain. Tech cam sounds nice, but landscape/arch/product is not my forte.

    So far I've been using PhotoAcute to increase my 5D's resolution to 80mp (basically multi-shot for any camera you want), but it leaves a lot to be desired for reproduction work and is useless for anything that moves.

    What I really want to know is how the look of the 150D 2.8 compares to the 85LII, since it's my go-to lens, and may as well be glued to the camera.

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Kolor-Pikker View Post
    What I recall, from around the time the AFDiii was a current camera, is that people hated it with a passion. If I were to jump to MF, I'd go for the DF+ no question, but how to justify the price of a back? Ahhh!

    I did the wrong thing and downloaded a bunch of Raw files from the IQ180 and also D800, which it wipes the floor with, but to get one means selling half the house. What's that people say about ski masks on here?

    Your best bet is buying a new back where a DF+ comes at a great discount when purchased together which also includes a 80 LS lens. Contact the dealers here as they can usually work out something even on a demo back or used one as well.

    If I was buying I would go for the DF+ no question
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Kolor-Pikker View Post
    So far I've been using PhotoAcute to increase my 5D's resolution to 80mp (basically multi-shot for any camera you want), but it leaves a lot to be desired for reproduction work and is useless for anything that moves.

    What I really want to know is how the look of the 150D 2.8 compares to the 85LII, since it's my go-to lens, and may as well be glued to the camera.
    I'm sure you'd agree that Photo Acute is pretty limited in what it can do for you. It's a good way to get the most out of a limited system in some specific uses, but it does not do NEARLY what it claims in it's marketing (shocker) and is a huge hit on workflow and productivity. Comparing it to, say, an IQ180 is, well, not fair for either system :-).

    The 150D/2.8 is my favorite lens on any camera platform. Shockingly sharp, but not harsh; beautiful out of focus transitions, razor thin DOF if desired, but also looks great stopped down, virtually no distortion or chromatic aberration. There is really not one bad thing to say about it. If you follow my posts here you know that I don't say that about every lens; for instance I'd be glad to tell you I don't have a lot of love for the Phase One 35mm D. It's just that the 150D really is just that good.

    Biggest difference between the 150D/2.8 it and the 85/1.2 (which I used a lot for weddings and portrait) is that the 85/1.2 is NOT sharp wide open, even at 22mp. So while the DOF is very thin the in-focus areas do not pop nearly as much as they could if the in-focus areas were razor sharp.

    Your local Phase One dealer can provide you sample files from the 150D with whichever back you're looking at - at least we (Digital Transitions) could. Moreover they can set you up with a demo or rental-towards-purchase to evaluate it with your own lighting/shooting/subject styles.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Kolor-Pikker View Post
    I did the wrong thing and downloaded a bunch of Raw files from the IQ180 and also D800, which it wipes the floor with, but to get one means selling half the house. What's that people say about ski masks on here?
    That's a pretty easy problem to solve really.

    An Aptus-II 12, Aptus-II 10, and P65+ are all significantly less expensive than an IQ180 and have the same or very close image quality. We (Digital Transitions) have a variety of pre-owned backs with warranty, dealer support, and low shot counts. They can also come bundled with a new or pre-owned DF or new DF+ at a discount from the stand-alone price for the body.

    Finding a bank to rob that has 19k cash-on-hand is significantly easier than finding one with 50k cash-on-hand :-).
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    I'm sure you'd agree that Photo Acute is pretty limited in what it can do for you. It's a good way to get the most out of a limited system in some specific uses, but it does not do NEARLY what it claims in it's marketing (shocker) and is a huge hit on workflow and productivity. Comparing it to, say, an IQ180 is, well, not fair for either system :-).
    Well, it works well enough for flat things, and gets rid of some of that digital "edge" too, when printing over a meter. But yeah, I'd really rather do without it, and stitching is even more trouble for about the same result with a 4-shot stitch.

    Your local Phase One dealer can provide you sample files from the 150D with whichever back you're looking at - at least we (Digital Transitions) could.
    You probably will too, as there are no MF dealers in Moscow you see, at least none that I'd want to deal with I also live part-time in NY, though I don't expect to be there till March.

    An Aptus-II 12, Aptus-II 10, and P65+ are all significantly less expensive than an IQ180 and have the same or very close image quality.
    Aye, but it's not entirely the image quality that's selling me, but also the workflow of the IQ series as well (focus mask, useful screen, friendly UI, etc.) that I suspect I may not be able to do without. I do see some really great deals on the Aptus-II 12 though.

    Finding a bank to rob that has 19k cash-on-hand is significantly easier than finding one with 50k cash-on-hand :-).
    We don't keep money in banks here, you're better off breaking and entering the posh home of a nouveau riche with a gold toilet in the bathroom. I'm serious

    Do take note of what I say online with a big honking grain of salt, I have a strange sense of humor.

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    Warning...
    Do not try the 150D, whatever you do just don't.
    The urge to buy will be uncontrollable.
    Side effects include insomnia, nausea, a lighter wallet, and sharper files.
    After looking at the files, should you have an erection lasting over four hours, call Jill at 212-555-1212. She would like to meet you.
    -bob

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    I'm sure you'd agree that Photo Acute is pretty limited in what it can do for you. It's a good way to get the most out of a limited system in some specific uses, but it does not do NEARLY what it claims in it's marketing (shocker) and is a huge hit on workflow and productivity. Comparing it to, say, an IQ180 is, well, not fair for either system :-).

    The 150D/2.8 is my favorite lens on any camera platform. Shockingly sharp, but not harsh; beautiful out of focus transitions, razor thin DOF if desired, but also looks great stopped down, virtually no distortion or chromatic aberration. There is really not one bad thing to say about it. If you follow my posts here you know that I don't say that about every lens; for instance I'd be glad to tell you I don't have a lot of love for the Phase One 35mm D. It's just that the 150D really is just that good.

    Biggest difference between the 150D/2.8 it and the 85/1.2 (which I used a lot for weddings and portrait) is that the 85/1.2 is NOT sharp wide open, even at 22mp. So while the DOF is very thin the in-focus areas do not pop nearly as much as they could if the in-focus areas were razor sharp.

    Your local Phase One dealer can provide you sample files from the 150D with whichever back you're looking at - at least we (Digital Transitions) could. Moreover they can set you up with a demo or rental-towards-purchase to evaluate it with your own lighting/shooting/subject styles.
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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Kolor-Pikker View Post
    ....
    Do take note of what I say online with a big honking grain of salt, I have a strange sense of humor.
    And if you couldn't tell, you'll fit in just fine here in Dante's Inferno....

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Warning...
    Do not try the 150D, whatever you do just don't.
    -bob
    Not to fuel Dante, but there is someone selling a 150D in the B&S

    http://www.getdpi.com/forum/gear-fs-...tml#post482422
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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Warning...
    Do not try the 150D, whatever you do just don't.
    The urge to buy will be uncontrollable.
    Side effects include insomnia, nausea, a lighter wallet, and sharper files.
    After looking at the files, should you have an erection lasting over four hours, call Jill at 212-555-1212. She would like to meet you.
    -bob
    Haha, thanks for the warning, maybe it's a good thing the local shops here don't have it in stock. Maybe.

    Not to fuel Dante, but there is someone selling a 150D in the B&S
    Hmm, I'm not in the habit of owning lenses I don't have the system for, I passed on a 80mm 1.9C a long while ago because I didn't see myself hanging out in MF land anytime soon.

    The only lenses I've bought for my Canon in the past 3 years are the 85L and 70-200 f/4, so my needs are pretty clear, a short and long telephoto, and maybe the 55 LS just because I've had to start shooting wider recently. 3 Lenses is more than enough to last for me.

    Biggest difference between the 150D/2.8 it and the 85/1.2 (which I used a lot for weddings and portrait) is that the 85/1.2 is NOT sharp wide open, even at 22mp. So while the DOF is very thin the in-focus areas do not pop nearly as much as they could if the in-focus areas were razor sharp.
    It's a suspicion that I figured would be so, the 85L can go to 11 when you need it to (it MAKES light), but it only really comes into it's own when you stop it down to at least f/2. I've seen crops on CI comparing the older 150/3.5, 150/2.8 and the 120/4 macro, and the 150/2.8 D seems as sharp wide open as the macro is at f/4.
    Last edited by Kolor-Pikker; 16th January 2013 at 04:43.

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    Don't remind me jagsiva, it pains me to think that I just missed the sale on that body and grip. I want to thank everyone for their input. I knew the forum wouldn't let me down - now it comes down to the matter of finding an older leaf back.

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    Uh oh...

    Digital Transitions has a deal going on now where they throw in a free DF+ with 80mm LS and another lens of your choice if you get an IQ180/60.

    This potentially brings the system price down to where I can actually afford the 180. I think Dante just opened up a portal to hell under my feet and what do I do? drop Lance an email of course.

    Things are getting interesting.
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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    I did a lot of stitching of 5DII and 1DsIII files. Even at 100MPixels, they are lacking compared with a 39MP P45+ file, especially one taken on a tech cam. One thing that isn't obvious until you use a MFDB is the much more accurate colours, tonality and, because of the lack of AA filter, sharpness. On seeing the first files from the P45+ I leaped up and said 'at last, that's how it actually looked!'. I never got that from any Canon file, no matter how stitched, or carefully shot or colour profiled.

    And the physical bulk of the systems seem to force a different approach - a more muscular approach which somehow shows in the files - you have to commit more to the shot! I've also found old lenses such as the manual Mamiya 55 F2.8 to be very nice, sharp lenses. Having older coatings, it's quite bad on flare (ditto with tech cam lenses), but with care and LCC in Capture One, they produce beautiful results - even after nearly a year I still find I'm goggling at the quality. Which is such a vindication of a big investment.

    I bought an old AFD on ebay which works ok - but the battery compartment is dodgy so I sometimes have to hold the battery in place for the camera to work. Not ideal. One of the new Ejji batteries would definitely sort that out. I used the camera paired with the 75-150 Phase One lens for some garden photography last summer and the results were just wonderful - I'm still reeling from the colours, sharpness and boke. Mostly I use it with the 55 and manual focus at infinity so AF isn't important, but reliability would certainly be a bit more assured with a DF or DF+.

    Capture One is a big part of why the images look so much better - using LCC gets rid of vignetting and dust and version 7 is very impressive for colours, highlight and shadow recovery and sharpness.

    I find I can spot DSLR images a mile away now - they somehow have a 'kludgier' look. Don't ask me to define that, I'm no scientist! A combination of poorer lenses and narrower colour gamut/DR I suspect.

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    Re: Phase One/Mamiya Body 645 Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Osbourne View Post
    I did a lot of stitching of 5DII and 1DsIII files. Even at 100MPixels, they are lacking compared with a 39MP P45+ file, especially one taken on a tech cam. One thing that isn't obvious until you use a MFDB is the much more accurate colours, tonality and, because of the lack of AA filter, sharpness. On seeing the first files from the P45+ I leaped up and said 'at last, that's how it actually looked!'. I never got that from any Canon file, no matter how stitched, or carefully shot or colour profiled.

    ....

    I find I can spot DSLR images a mile away now - they somehow have a 'kludgier' look. Don't ask me to define that, I'm no scientist! A combination of poorer lenses and narrower colour gamut/DR I suspect.
    Interesting experience. I do wonder if it's got something to do with a sensor based on CCD, or maybe something about the lenses too? Or maybe the dyes used for the bayer filter? The geek inside me wants to know; but test charts don't show.

    I'll have to just see for myself then when I get my hands on a MFDB. Best comparisons are always those you do yourself.
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