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Thread: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

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    Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    Can anyone comment on how this older lens from Mamiya would fare in front of an IQ180?

    J R

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    Eh. Ok, but don't expect much. You're much much better off with the 55mm LS.

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    Re: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    That's what I was afraid you were going to say...but I guess I shouldn't expect much for $300!
    J R

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    Re: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    For $300 I'd go ahead and try it just to see, you can always resell it later...
    (I have the 55LS on a 180 and it does do very well)
    Don Libby
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    Re: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBERNSTEIN View Post
    Can anyone comment on how this older lens from Mamiya would fare in front of an IQ180?

    You will be very happy with the this lens, if it's as good as mine. Sharp corner to corner from F 5.6 out. Even with an IQ180. It's an older design, AF is slow and may hunt a bit. The lens will not have as much contrast as the newer 55LS, but it is still a great lens. Light weight and very powerful.

    The Lack of DOF is however very evident. My only issue with this lens was the extreme lack of DOF, even by F11. It's a focal length I favor and one of the reasons I moved to a Tech solution for movements, i.e. tilt to help on the DOF.

    Many times people consider the 45mm and 55mm to have the same characteristics. I own both, and the 45mm does not have the same degree of resolving power my 55mm has.

    Paul

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    Re: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    The 55 LS is my favourite MF lens and, after the 150, the sharpest. If I could only have one lens, that would be it. My older Mamiya 55 was "OK" but really not up to snuff for an 80 mpx back.

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Caulfeild-Browne; 1st April 2015 at 17:02.

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    Re: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    JR, I just picked up the Mamiya 55-110 for $250. For people you chine in with "you're better off with the 55LS", we'll if course you are! But the real question bring asked is is the more expensive option worth the price difference? There are 2 steps in Mamiya/Phase lens hunt. There are the non D kebs s, the D lenses, and the LS lenses. The price difference between the non D lenses and the LS lenses is a Gulf. Many times costing 10-15 times as much.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    Imho, if you have less than a FF MFDB and shooting at 39Mpix or less, you can get away with less expensive options. Once you cross the threshold into a full frame sensored MFDB, 60Mpix and especially 80Mpix----you really are doing yourself a disservice to skimp on lenses. That's my .02. Sure there are those rare gems that can hold up and produce, but in general that has not been my experience. You spend $30-$40K for a new 80 megapixel MFDB presumably for image quality. (Okay, even for a used IQ180 you're still dropping a lot of coin). I just don't think the lenses are where I'd want to skimp.

    Those of us in Dante's world have already bent over once, bending over a second time ain't gonna hurt that much....

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    Member Richard Osbourne's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    I use the 55AF a lot for panoramas on my IQ260/DF+. Works well, but it is prone to flare if you get anywhere near the sun - all the contrast in the image disappears even quite a few degrees either side of the sun. I have to use a big Lee lens hood and that helps (also a filter holder). I would have liked to use the 55LS but I'll probably move over to the Schneider 60XL on tech cam - much higher quality again.

    One surprise of the 55AF is the decent depth of field and corner sharpness at F11-F16. Overall colour, sharpness, contrast, are pretty good - especially considering the price. I'm sure the 55LS is a step up again of course, but it's a testament to the 55AF that I've not replaced it in 2 years of use.

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    Re: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    There seems to be a lot of lack of information here, also because the marketing divisions of companies seem to want to label things "new" all the time to get folks to buy in.

    As far as I'm concerned the whole SK branded lens thing is mostly that - branding exercise, like how you can get a whole series of Zeiss lenses made by Sony and Leica lenses by Panasonic, but none of which are designed or manufactured by them. It's like buying a Vuitton (though I am not a fashionable person in the least so the reference may be off) bag designed, made and sold by let's say the GAP. (On second thought that may be a lucrative business model I should pursue). One hopes that better QC is in order but that's not a guarantee by any stretch.

    In any case I've read various things about this but I seem to recall (along with a number of Phase lenses) that the 55mm lens formula being pretty similar from the AF to the D to the LS, with the main difference being simply the addition of the LS. YMMV, but I think the main difference with the older and the newer lenses may simply be improved manufacturing tolerances, which obviously are important though not a high resolution redesign like certain HR lenses often mentioned in Dante's inferno. I certainly did not see a dramatic improvement with my LS copy other than high speed flash sync.

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    Re: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    For sure, some lenses received not much more than promises of "better lens coatings" or QC in their production. Don't forget the upgraded silver band on the lens barrel is worth the price of admission. (28D/LS, 35D, 45D, 80D/LS, 120D, 75-150D/LS). And for sure, lenses like the 120mm were always sharp and not much to improve with the D versions other than different computer chip interface. Hard to get excited about the very competent 80mm D other than getting the LS.

    But there are several notable exceptions. The 150D and 150LS----there is absolutely no comparison to the older 150AF. It simply is not the same formula. Other great lenses of note are the 110LS and the 240LS. My version of the 55LS is a substantial change from the older 55AF; it's not the same lens. And the 40-80LS? Waiting....

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    Re: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    Hey, thanks for all the great replies!

    I think I'll give the 55mm AF a try and put a big ol' hood on it and see what happens. Not much of a risk. On the other hand, $4000-$6000 for the LS (or similar tech cam lens) isn't an impulse buy for me.
    J R

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    Re: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    If you will use this lens with the IQ180, you will be disappointed with the quality. The 55 LS is much sharper. That's why you bought IQ180, not IQ140. You've lost money only once.

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    Re: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 AF for digital

    All LS lenses are modyfied old Mamiya AF lenses accept new zoom lens and maybe the 110 mm. So thay all have the same classic lensdesign based on classic german lenses ( distagon, planar, sonnar). The improvements are made in higher production standarts and newer (better contrast) coatings.the Schneider-like lenses are still mamiya lenses with Schneider LS shutters and supposed german coated glasses. Ofcourse the newer lenses will be sharper at larger apertures but not at optimal working apertures, mostly app 11. the 55 is a still a not problematic lens design, so even older lenses will perform well with digital backs. The problem will apear with wider lenses.
    to the 150 mm lenses: there are 4: the older AF 3,5/150 mm (based on older 645 non AF), the superior A verion 2,8/150 mm that was redesign as IF D version (closer focusing distance) and the 3,5/150 mm LS that is simply improved older 3,5/150 mm ( much better wide open). I think the biggest problem at developing better lens design at middle format for digital use will be the price: an Otus made for 645 format would be too big and too expensive. lenses like Rodenstock HR made for 645 AF cameras ( lens +focusing system, aperture, shutter, AF system) would also get ridiculos prices.
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