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Thread: Differences between AFD, AFD II, AFD III?

  1. #1
    Member johnnykurtz's Avatar
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    Post Differences between AFD, AFD II, AFD III?

    Hello,

    This is my first post here on GetDPI.com.

    I am a photographer who is currently using a Hasselblad 503CWD kit with CFV back and for reasons related to my eyes I feel I need an AF MFD system.

    I am a still life product photographer and shoot 95% of my time in studio with strobes.

    I am looking at the Mamiya AFD with ZD back, perhaps a Phase One. I am doing more and more editorial location work, so the portability of the AFD will be a plus as well.

    What I need to know, what are there major differences between AFD versions? I have read through all the PDF files from Mamiya for all three cameras and do not find that much that separates them, but would really like some real world opinions.

    Also, has anybody worked with both the Hasselblad CFV and Mamiya ZD backs, and if so, what can I expect going from the CFV to ZD? I love the files from the CFV, much better than what I was getting from my 1DS Mark III.
    Cheers, Johnny

    Johnny Kurtz Photography | Salt Lake City | My Blog

  2. #2
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Differences between AFD, AFD II, AFD III?

    Welcome to the forum!

    Here are the basics in a nutshlell...

    Major differences:

    AF speed faster in the AFD2 and 3; MLU is a mechanical lever on the AFD1, electronic button on the AFD2 and 3; metering is least accurate but okay on the AFD1, very good on the AFD2 and excellent on the AFD3.

    Low significance differences:

    Each model has a slightly different arrangement for implementation of MLU and self timer; each has a different selection of custom functions; each has a different accessory button layout.

    I would definitely go for at least a 2, and preferably a 3, though would not hesitate to use a 1 if that's all I had or for back-up.

    Re CFV v ZD file quality, frankly I think them find them very close in overall appearance.

    Hope that helps!
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  3. #3
    Member johnnykurtz's Avatar
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    Re: Differences between AFD, AFD II, AFD III?

    Jack,

    Thank you for the excellent information, this is just the kind of info I need.
    Cheers, Johnny

    Johnny Kurtz Photography | Salt Lake City | My Blog

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    Re: Differences between AFD, AFD II, AFD III?

    The big thing you'll notice in the end of the market (hopefully) is that the customer service and "sales" is much more personal.

    You should be able to find a dealer close by (or arrange a "working vacation" to go to a dealer and try many or most of the items you are choosing between.

    You will find unbelievable volumes of useful info on the net, and especially on these specialized forums. However, nothing will ever be quite as useful as taking on the background knowledge by reading and then going somewhere and actually shooting. Make sure you arrange to do a test that closely matches your actual workflow; shooting test charts is fun, but if you're an editorial shooter, then arrange a mock editorial shoot. Physical weight, lenses, processing software, ability to handhold, interface simplicity all come into play as much or more than the line-pairs of resolution or other theoretical performance specs.

    Not all 22 megapixel cameras are created equally and not all digital backs have the same workflow.

    Go and see.

    Doug Peterson, Head of Technical Services
    Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer | Personal Portfolio

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnykurtz View Post
    Hello,

    This is my first post here on GetDPI.com.

    I am a photographer who is currently using a Hasselblad 503CWD kit with CFV back and for reasons related to my eyes I feel I need an AF MFD system.

    I am a still life product photographer and shoot 95% of my time in studio with strobes.

    I am looking at the Mamiya AFD with ZD back, perhaps a Phase One. I am doing more and more editorial location work, so the portability of the AFD will be a plus as well.

    What I need to know, what are there major differences between AFD versions? I have read through all the PDF files from Mamiya for all three cameras and do not find that much that separates them, but would really like some real world opinions.

    Also, has anybody worked with both the Hasselblad CFV and Mamiya ZD backs, and if so, what can I expect going from the CFV to ZD? I love the files from the CFV, much better than what I was getting from my 1DS Mark III.

  5. #5
    Member jdbfreeheel's Avatar
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    Re: Differences between AFD, AFD II, AFD III?

    Johnny,

    With caution to be a complainer or troll on the subject of the ZD, I would caution you in going that route. There are a number of us here who have owned the ZD Back and many of us have had a number of problems with its use. To be fair, when everything worked, that 22mp chip created fantastic images. I loved them. However, practically, the ZD struggled in real world use. Some users reported color issues (namely purple color, noise, or even "worms" in the dark shadows), other have reported frequent lockups which required powering down and back up or taking out the CF card and putting it back in, and I (who may take the cake with issues on the ZD) had separate issues on two different ZD backs which included purple frames, snowy frames, purple and white striped frames, a date system that never stayed set correctly, and finally missing frames on the CF cards. Now, I, like many on the forums understand that those with issues often post more often than those with praise, so I certainly also caution you to read all posts of reviews with a grain of salt, however, I will say that in my dealings with Mamiya on my issues, it appears they too knew of the many issues related with the ZD. Of course they wouldn't say it outright (it was, of course, their product), but they seemed to imply that these multiple issues that I was dealing with were not unknown to them and not isolated to me. Ultimately, I upgraded to a Leaf back and, though more expensive, am incredibly happy. Others have upgraded to Phase backs and sing their praises too.

    I would just suggest that you test any back you are considering and see what feels right.

    Regarding camera bodies, I have owned the AFD, AFDII and now, the AFDIII and I would agree with Jack that they do get progressively better the newer you go. The AFDII seems to be the sweet spot (it's a remarkably good camera) which, if cost-cutting is needed, can be had for far cheaper than the AFDIII. However, having owned all three versions, the AFDIII does focus much faster (you mentioned wanting to use AF often) and there is no shutter lag on the AFDIII while there is slight lag in the I and II.

    I would, therefore also suggesting looking into working with a pro retailer that can put together a package for you that would, possibly, include the AFDIII or PhaseOne equivalent. Pro retailers, like Lance and Doug here on these forums (there are other great pro retailers that represent other brands too), know the ins and outs of the products and can help you make a sound decision.

    Lastly, one spec-based caution on the ZD back. There is no sync/shutter cord connection which means that you cannot use it with technical cameras such as the Cambo or Horseman models. While I know you mentioned wanting a body that uses AF so therefore this may not be a consideration for you, it does remind me to suggest that you also consider future use and 'upgrade' paths in case your use changes. With my Leaf Aptus, I currently use it on my AFDIII, a Mamiya RZ II-D Pro, and will probably get a technical camera in the near future.

    Good luck in your search. There's a ton of knowledge here on the forums.

  6. #6
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Differences between AFD, AFD II, AFD III?

    Knowing what I know now after owning the ZD and Phase backs i would just go right for the Phase back or actually any other back over the ZD. Nice back but in practice very limited to low ISO and being pretty darn slow in all respects. Besides some of the issue that some may have had, I don't want to risk anything and the ZD as nice as the files are I know the Phase back for instance is just rock solid and never had a back issue and I am already at 16k actuations on my Phase P25 Plus. I guess without going into all the details and reasons the bottom line as many may feel the same as i do just go for the gusto and get a Phase or Leaf back for the Mamiya body. I know the Phase so I can only speak of that but I do hear nice things of the leaf as well. As far as the bodies I like the AFDIII because of the shutter lag being almost non existent now. If not new than certainly many demo's out there from the dealers at good prices and for me i would not buy anything in MF without a dealer pretty much or without some warranty on a used one. If used either a dealer or someone I know very well. Just too much money to risk and the support from the dealers has been awesome for me. I went through CI for all my stuff.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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