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Thread: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

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    Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    Hi all,

    Now that I have pretty much completely negated the Nikon system from portrait gigs, I have realized that my 35mm is too wide for environmental portraiture with the Credo 40. somethign around 55mm would be ideal and the 55-110mm has been catching my attention. The prices are quite decent in the used market and I am wondering about this quite a bit.

    I have read Jack's notes in the excellent Mamiya lenses overview thread, but I am wondering how this compares with the 55 prime. Every other lens in my mamiya kit is a prime, but 55-110 is an extremely useful focal range for on location portraiture work and I simply can't ignore that.

    I have the 35, the 150 and the 210mm AF (Non D) lenses and am satisfied with all of them. If this zoom is comparable to them, I will be more than happy.

    Lastly, are there multiple versions of this lens I should keep an eye out for?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Re: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    Quote Originally Posted by synn View Post
    Hi all,

    Now that I have pretty much completely negated the Nikon system from portrait gigs, I have realized that my 35mm is too wide for environmental portraiture with the Credo 40. somethign around 55mm would be ideal and the 55-110mm has been catching my attention. The prices are quite decent in the used market and I am wondering about this quite a bit.

    I have read Jack's notes in the excellent Mamiya lenses overview thread, but I am wondering how this compares with the 55 prime. Every other lens in my mamiya kit is a prime, but 55-110 is an extremely useful focal range for on location portraiture work and I simply can't ignore that.

    I have the 35, the 150 and the 210mm AF (Non D) lenses and am satisfied with all of them. If this zoom is comparable to them, I will be more than happy.

    Lastly, are there multiple versions of this lens I should keep an eye out for?

    Thanks in advance!
    Lots of sample variation, and the lens is big and heavy. I worked with one for about a 1 year on my P45+, but found I preferred the images from the 55mm AF. BTW the 55mm AF is a sleeper of a deal. It doesn't have the image look of the more modern lenses, but that's pretty easy to gain back. But it's tack sharp, albeit with a pretty narrow DOF until around F11 or so. The 55mm AF is more plastic than metal, but they are now often quite a deal on the used market. I still have mine waiting one day for my XF to arrive.

    There used to be a lot of reviews on the 55-110, but it's no longer than popular. Mine was OK from 55mm to 80mm and not good at all at 110mm. I purchased mine new. Also if you can make the budge work, look for the 75-150, AF Mamiya brand, same as the Schneider/Phase One inside even the LS version and it's a killer lens. Not much heavier than the 55-110 was.

    Paul
    Paul Caldwell
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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    55-110 is fine with film and perhaps early generation MFDBs. I would not use it with current generation MFDBs.

    All of the older generation primes will be better suited within that range. 35, 45, 55, 80, 120. Your non-D 35mm, 150mm, and 210mm will all perform better than the 55-110.

    Next generation D series better, and latest versions LS generally your best choice. 55LS, 80D/LS, 110LS, 150D/LS. 80LS gets no respect and can be had for a song. 150D is stellar sharp and for whatever reason FMV has unfairly dropped steeply.

    I just consolidated and sold off my 35D, 55LS, and 80D, using the 40-80LS on the wide end for the XF. It is a beastly package, something to consider if you like hand-holding, primes are the way to go!

    ken

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    Re: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    Thank you gents for your advice!

    Looks like the prime might be the better option for me. I will have to work the wide shots separately then, but I guess that is ok.

    @Ken: I agree that the 80LS is a sleeper of a lens. I absolutely LOVE mine! Tack sharp and renders beautifully!
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    Re: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    BTW, are there multiple versions of the 55 Non D AF Prime?

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    Re: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    I don't think so, on the 55mm, as I recall Mamiya made the non AF, all metal and very robust and then came out with the 55mm AF, which is more plastic, but still does a great job. It won't have the contrast of a 55LS, with more modern glass design.

    There was the 45mm D, which some loved others not so much then Phase rebadged it still sell it I guess.

    The 45mm AF Mamiya was not as good as IMO as the 55mm AF, in fact a long way off.

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    55-110 is fine with film and perhaps early generation MFDBs. I would not use it with current generation MFDBs.

    All of the older generation primes will be better suited within that range. 35, 45, 55, 80, 120. Your non-D 35mm, 150mm, and 210mm will all perform better than the 55-110.

    Next generation D series better, and latest versions LS generally your best choice. 55LS, 80D/LS, 110LS, 150D/LS. 80LS gets no respect and can be had for a song. 150D is stellar sharp and for whatever reason FMV has unfairly dropped steeply.

    I just consolidated and sold off my 35D, 55LS, and 80D, using the 40-80LS on the wide end for the XF. It is a beastly package, something to consider if you like hand-holding, primes are the way to go!

    ken
    I wish I had known your 55LS was up for sale, I missed that one.

    Paul
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    Re: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    It was a package deal grouping my lenses towards the XF body and the 40-80.

    It's only money, right?

    The XF really really really has made my bread and butter work easier... but I still want to have a "simplified" lens line-up. The love is still with the Cambo when I shoot for me.

    Back to the thread----I forgot about the 75-150. Nice flexible lens. Much more capable than the 55-110. Focuses more slowly than the primes, but nice lens. On the wide side, the 55LS is worthwhile without breaking the bank. On the longer end, I know you like the old 150AF, but the big jump in quality without breaking the bank would be to find a 150D.

    ken

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    Re: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    I concur with Ken D., the 55LS is a great prime lens to have in your kit. I use mine mainly for environmental portraits it is crisp and tack sharp. My long range plan will be to trade up for the blue band 55LS, since I'm planning on doing a bit more back packing and visibly to me at least that lens looks more robust.

    On the long end of things, I actually use the 110 LS (at about f3.5) for my tighter portraits rather then my 150 LS. I use the 150mm LS for head to toe off center compositions, say where I have an athlete running up the stairs, and compose loosely with stadium seats on the left or right of the frame. It gives a nice bit of compression.
    I don't track the focus, I prefocus on a mark and it works well...when of course my shutter finger is not being lazy....
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    Re: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    We recently replaced our 55-110 with the new 40-80LS beast. The 40-80LS is much improved sharpness and range for us in the studio, but required us to locate a special extension plate to lift the Mamiya DF+ off the mount plate quite a bit so that it could actually be mounted and used. The 40-80LS extends quite a bit below the bottom of the camera right out of the gate. I guess I could have dropped some more coin on ALL NEW MOUNTING $Y$TEM$ like ArcaSwiss or RRS...but found this Mamiya riser plate locally which does the job....

    The main problem we had with the 55-110 was not sharpness (it was ok) but focus distance. It required a minimum of about 5ft (1.5M) closes focus distance which was a real pia. I think I bought it used for like $400 so not worth selling really, may come in handy someday we figure. The 40-80 once it sits high enough to operate is a very nice lens, not as sharp as our 120 Macro AF LS but when you are in its sweet spot, its almost as good. A little pricey though, I must say...it was either a new entire Credo40 kit or that lens...we went for the lens

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    Re: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    You know you're old when not only do you recognize that Mamiya "riser" but you also have one in the drawer...

    ken

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    Re: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    You know you're old when not only do you recognize that Mamiya "riser" but you also have one in the drawer...

    ken
    Ken, "Bath it....and bring it to me...."

    (I'm serious, I need a second one and can't find it anywhere. I will pay pay real Amerikun $$ for it

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    Re: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Egor View Post
    Ken, "Bath it....and bring it to me...."

    (I'm serious, I need a second one and can't find it anywhere. I will pay pay real Amerikun $$ for it
    PM sent.

    ken

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    Re: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    55-110 is fine with film and perhaps early generation MFDBs. I would not use it with current generation MFDBs.

    All of the older generation primes will be better suited within that range. 35, 45, 55, 80, 120. Your non-D 35mm, 150mm, and 210mm will all perform better than the 55-110.

    Next generation D series better, and latest versions LS generally your best choice. 55LS, 80D/LS, 110LS, 150D/LS. 80LS gets no respect and can be had for a song. 150D is stellar sharp and for whatever reason FMV has unfairly dropped steeply.

    I just consolidated and sold off my 35D, 55LS, and 80D, using the 40-80LS on the wide end for the XF. It is a beastly package, something to consider if you like hand-holding, primes are the way to go!

    ken
    I like the idea of the 40-80 mm but when I looked at it's weight vs the 55 and 80 together, I balked! However, I love the new 35LS so I'm carrying the weight anyway!

    Actually, when I'm hiking I find the 35 and the new 120 LS Macro cover about 90% of what I need. With 80 mpx one can crop the 35 extensively to a 55 or even 80 mm equivalent and the 120 can go to 200 equivalent with no trouble.

    Life is full of compromises!

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    Re: Mamiya 55-110mm on modern digital backs

    Thanks all for the lively discussion and feedback! I have pretty much decided to go with the non D 55 AF for now. I would love to have the LS versions of the 55 and the 150 in the bag, but as a hobby shooter with the occasional professional gig, I think I have to justify the ROI at some point

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