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Thread: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

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    Member Richard Osbourne's Avatar
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    Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    Currently using the old MF 55 lens and it's actually pretty good - sharp across the frame at F16. But it's handling of flare when pointed at the sun leaves a lot to be desired. I'm using it for panoramas so don't need AF. Here's an example:

    Richard Osbourne Art Images | Latest Panoramics | P3F22 Autumn, Thetford Forest, Norfolk, UK

    Can anyone tell me how the 55 AF or even the Phase 55 LS are with flare? I'm reluctant to get the LS because of weight and cost - it's 10x the price of the 55 AF!

    Thanks in advance.

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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    The Phase SK 55 mm LS is my most used landscape lens (actually it's probably my most used lens, period. It's the one I leave on the camera.) and is significantly better than the Mamiya AF 55 it replaced. Flare is not an issue at least in my usage.

    I'm afraid I have never used the older MF version of the 55 so cannot comment. My guess is that the SK lens coatings will be state of the art.

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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    Richard - have you thought of trying out the 50 shift?

    Can't comment on flare (I don't think I've shot a 360 pano with it, but will check), but it's a damn fine lens and can be picked up for a pittance.
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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    I am in the same boat as Bill in that my SK 55 LS is mostly welded to my DF camera. I had the AF version before it and it was a fine lens but the LS is superbly sharp and renders beautifully to my eye at least. I never really ran in to flare issues with either but it really depends on your usage really - I don't often shoot in to the sun in my compositions so your mileage may vary.

    The good news with the older AF and MF versions of the 55mm glass is that they are almost 'free' as medium format glass goes. I almost literally gave away my 55AF, not because it wasn't any good - it was - but because I just wanted to reduce the clutter in my home and they seem unloved, but undeservedly so. For the price, why not just try it and see. You really can't lose much even if you decide not to keep it.

    Quote Originally Posted by gerald.d View Post
    Richard - have you thought of trying out the 50 shift?

    Can't comment on flare (I don't think I've shot a 360 pano with it, but will check), but it's a damn fine lens and can be picked up for a pittance.
    +1 on that. The shift mechanism is a bit quirky for panos in so far as you have rotate the lens for left/right but optically it's actually a great lens available for peanuts compared to it's abilities.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Senior Member malmac's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    Richard

    It just happens that I use a SK55LS on my IQ180, and like others it is my favourite landscape lens.

    Also I just shot three frames a couple of days ago which feature lens flare on the 55mm lens. If you send me your email address I will dropbox you the three RAW files to have a look at.

    You can email me direct at [email protected] if you are interested.

    One shot is at f11 and the other two at f6.3 and all three are at iso100.

    Your call.


    Mal
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    Member Richard Osbourne's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    Thanks all for your contributions, very useful.

    I've no doubt that the LS is state-of-the-art - it would certainly do my panoramas justice - but if I can get away with one tenth of the expenditure, I'd like to.

    50 Shift is an interesting suggestion as I'd use it for shifting the panorama up rather than using it to stitch 3 frames. I'm using a panorama head for rotating the whole camera. Haven't had a lot of success stitching shifted-up panoramas - the shift tends to cause odd parallax errors when using panorama heads but that may be just using Canon TS-E lenses.

    My old 55 MF is similarly glued to my old AFD - the quality really is exceptional and I've found a neat trick for getting huge DOF: take one frame at infinity, take another at 3m and blend them in Helicon Focus. It works a treat for forests where you have trees in the foreground. It just isn't so good near the sun.

    I think you are right Graham - it might be worth trying the AF as it's hardly a big risk.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Osbourne View Post
    ....

    I think you are right Graham - it might be worth trying the AF as it's hardly a big risk.
    Yup, good advice to try the old 55AF. It's just the start of those small baby steps toward the 55LS...

    ken

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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    Richard - if you're getting odd parallax errors with the TS-E's, it could be because you're shifting the lens, and not the camera? If this is the case, you may want to check out Stefan's lens collars. HCam & Hartblei - Photography Pro Gear
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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    I have found the Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 N lens (645 manual focus) to be far superior to the older Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF which was excellent on film but is certainly lacking on higher-resolution cameras, especially like my IQ180. The 55mm LS (which I do not own but have used) is an excellent lens as others have said, and I cannot say if it is better or worse then the 55mm f/2.8N because I have not done a direct comparison. I would be inclined to assume that the LS version from SK would be better but I have been very much surprised by the performance of the Mamiya N lenses all around, the 150mm f/2.8 is very very good and even the 150mm f/3.5 is surprisingly good.

    a few of my early tests were done with the 55mm f/2.8 AF on the IQ180 for reference of this lens / back pairing.... see the EXIF
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianhi...7628133846667/
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    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    Sorry for the off topic comment but It is interesting how many commented that the 55mm is their favorite landscape lens. I recently purchased an older Rodenstock 55mm and it instantly became my most used focal length. Strange how I managed without it so long.
    Ed Cooley Fine Art Photography
     
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    Member Richard Osbourne's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    Gerald, I think you only get the kind of parallax correction you are talking about when stitching using the full range of shifts - ie. left, middle and right - and don't move the camera. It doesn't affect panorama head stitching which requires the camera to be revolved around the nodal / no parallax point of the lens.

    Brian, that's interesting as I'm very pleased with the quality of the 55 manual focus lens as well - everything except its flare handling is sparkling at F16, certainly on a P45+. I don't detect any issues at the edges of the frame so, as you say, it's good for larger sensors.

    Maybe I should stick with what I've got - seems to be a familiar theme with gear right now!

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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    Quote Originally Posted by etrump View Post
    Sorry for the off topic comment but It is interesting how many commented that the 55mm is their favorite landscape lens. I recently purchased an older Rodenstock 55mm and it instantly became my most used focal length. Strange how I managed without it so long.
    This Apo-Sironar digital design is a great one. and it actually covers film in the 6x7 formats with great aplomb.
    Super lens.
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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    Have 55AF, 45AF, 50 SHIFT M.

    Of these copies the 45 seems to have been created to be used at F16, because it's where it has the best resolution, (not to be confused with DOF).

    55AF is quite good at f8/f11, losing a bit at f16

    50S is between both, good at f8/ and starting to lose form that on and quite degraded at f16

    never tried 55 LS but if it is much better than 55AF, then it is superb because i think the 55AF is already very good, and as to my copies concerned, the best of the 3 lenses. this one has no weak corners. i made some tests against a 55-110 zoom and at least that zoom copy, was one of the worst lenses i've ever tried with mamiya.

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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    Used the 55AF today for first time, it's a very sharp lens (shooting repro at f16), gives my 85LS a serious run for it's money, has very good corners and cost about $200, what's not to like?
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    Re: Mamiya 55 F2.8 AF - How does it handle flare?

    I also found the 55 Mamiya to be a very good lens. I tested three copies of it and found there is a significant variation between lens. So if you have a good copy keep and use.

    I kept the best copy. It was in very poor condition cosmetically but the performance was by far the best. Two stops better in the corners compared with the worst copy. The problem i had with it was the plastic barrel has started to become sticky and seems to be melting. There must be some ageing problem with the plastic. I noticed that one of the other lens used a different kind of plastic on the barrel and it was ok. I stuck black tape around the lens and its fine to use. Has anyone else had problems with the plastic construction?

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