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Thread: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

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    MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Just curious...what's the advantage to using a given digital back on an RZ67 vs a 645AF? You lose autofocus and portability, and you get a smaller choice of lenses (many of which are slower).

    Are the RZ lenses that much sharper? Usually it seems people claim larger format lenses are LESS sharp, but perhaps in this instance, that's not the case...particularly since you are using a severely cropped central portion of the lens?

    I have both systems and some good 645 lenses. Not that I'll ever find an RZ67 digital back adapter that costs less than my entire RZ setup, but I figured I'd ask just in case.

    Thanks,
    Greg

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Hello Greg:

    Again with every camera system there are trade offs. I have both a RZ67 proIID and 645 AFDII with a Leaf Aptus 75S. The RZ is certainly not as easily a walk around camera and you do lose autofocus and fast shutter speeds since the RZ is limited to 1/400th. But you gain flash synch at all shutter speeds with the RZ, even up to 1/400th. With the RZ you will lose the ability for wide angle shooting because of the 1.5-1.6 crop factor with a 48 x 36mm sensor. But that is an advantage in the telephoto range giving much more apparent reach. My 350 APO RZ becomes a 525mm.

    Now as to lens quality, Mamiya makes fine lenses for both systems. Based on my personal experience owning both systems and fairly extensive lens collections for each, the RZ lenses, for me, have a unique presentation more commonly associated with fine German optics. Now not everyone sees the differences, but I see a 3-dimensionality to images shot with an RZ lens compared to many of the 645 AFD lenses. Some attribute this 3-dimensional look to better rendering of micro-contrasts. I don't know about the technical explanations, but I see and enjoy the difference. Now I don't have the newer AFD D-series lenses like the 28mm and 150mm, so I can't comment if those have that look I like, but from some of the jpegs posted on this site taken with those lenses, I suspect they might.

    Other advantages of the RZ over the 645 AFD include a RZ tilt/shift adapter with special short barrel lenses for t/s that will still give infinity focus. Again, no wide angle here with the RZ crop factor and a MFDB.

    So, I do find the RZ lenses quite sharp, sometimes sharper than the AFD equivalent for 645. I know others on here have owned both systems, Jack for instance, and hopefully they will weigh in as well.

    So is it worth the $1000 or so for an RZ/Mamiya digital adapter (I think only works with the pro IID), or $600-$700 for one of the others (Phase, Leaf, Sinar) and a synch/wake-up cable? For me it was worth it as I use each system based on what I am photographing. I do take the RZ out into the field for landscape if I am not needing wide angle....of course on a tripod. For more walk around, faster dslr-style shooting, I will always take the 645 AFD.

    Jeff
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Jeff,

    Thanks for the excellent input. That flash sync speed benefit would be CRITICAL for a lot of stuff I like to shoot (outdoor portraits)...I hadn't thought of it.

    Of course, I'd be shooting on a 24x36mm sensor for the foreseeable future, so my 110mm lens would became a....(subtract, carry the 2)....a 110mm lens in 35mm speak. (Gotta love that math).

    Actually, that would be quite useful for me. Using wider 645AF lenses, I could get by closer and with less flash power, and reduce the need for 1/400 over 1/125.

    I haven't even shot the RZ yet, but look forward to it. Regarding 3D effects, I know what you mean. My RB looked similar to my 645 (maybe worse), but that may have been my bad focusing ability more than lens issues. I got the B screen for the RZ to help me out.

    At $700, it'll be 2x what I paid for my camera, so I doubt I'll ever make the splurge, but...one can dream.

    I'll probably keep the RZ for rare family portraits and go back to using the 645 for "normal" use...but those 6x7 negs do make scanning that much easier.

    Much appreciated,
    Greg

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Also Greg, for what it's worth, a Brightscreen (www.Brightscreen.com) for the RZ, particularly the split with microprism collar makes it so much easier to nail the focus....easier than manually focusing the 645 AFD with Mamiya screen by far.

    Regards, Jeff
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Jeff,

    Thanks, but $279? That's almost as much as I paid for the camera.

    I got the split for $16, so I figured it would be good enough. (I assume the camera will come with the stock matte screen?)

    I just got a Minolta XG-7 with a KILLER split/microcollar screen, and now I understand what people mean about having a good screen...and also how much light it sucks up! Using a 3.5 lens is much harder than a 1.4...so I imagine putting something similar on a 645AF would be a hinderance.

    I might even convert my 58mm f/1.2 back from AF-mount to stock just to use it with that camera. Even with AF confirmation, I can never seem to get focus close enough.

    Did you take that avatar photo in the Santa Cruz Mtns? Looks like it's around my house.

    Greg

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    In a manner of speaking the RZ lenses are like view camera lenses because the elements are fixed ... focusing is done with a bellows. Less compromises for movement of lens elements like with a conventional lens.

    Watch for used adapters ... I got a Hasselbld V adapter for my RZ for cheap.

    If you have a prism finder focusing is very easy if you add a flip magnifier.

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Since RZ lenses cover 6x7 and Hasselblad lenses 6x6, how does that work?
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Quote Originally Posted by gsking View Post
    Jeff,

    Thanks, but $279? That's almost as much as I paid for the camera.

    I got the split for $16, so I figured it would be good enough. (I assume the camera will come with the stock matte screen?)

    I just got a Minolta XG-7 with a KILLER split/microcollar screen, and now I understand what people mean about having a good screen...and also how much light it sucks up! Using a 3.5 lens is much harder than a 1.4...so I imagine putting something similar on a 645AF would be a hinderance.

    I might even convert my 58mm f/1.2 back from AF-mount to stock just to use it with that camera. Even with AF confirmation, I can never seem to get focus close enough.

    Did you take that avatar photo in the Santa Cruz Mtns? Looks like it's around my house.

    Greg
    I know Greg....expensive. With the slower lenses and my aging eyesight, at least in dimmer light, it made a huge difference. Even focusing a f/5.6 lens is very easy. The avatar picture is from the Ho River Valley, the rain forest on the western side of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Now I wish my backyard looked like that....minus all of the drizzle, gloom and rain of course...

    Fotografz also makes a very good point regarding the RZ lenses. Because they do not contain internal focusing elements, RZ lens designs have fewer compromises than autofocus lenses.

    Carstenw, regarding the Hasselblad V adapter, fotografz may be referring to a V mount digital back adapter. I know Phase makes one and maybe even Leaf.
    Jeff T.
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Ah okay, that makes sense. I was wondering...
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    A V mount digital back adapter on the RZ, not a lens adapter.

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Turner View Post

    Fotografz also makes a very good point regarding the RZ lenses. Because they do not contain internal focusing elements, RZ lens designs have fewer compromises than autofocus lenses.

    Carstenw, regarding the Hasselblad V adapter, fotografz may be referring to a V mount digital back adapter. I know Phase makes one and maybe even Leaf.
    Well, I didn't see any drastic benefit between the RB lenses and my 645, but I understand the logic. Hopefully the RZ will be better.

    But then again, I had the luxury of pixelpeeping my 645 lenses with the digital back, vs. only a V500 scan on the RB.

    So, I gambled on a Leaf RZ67 adapter. I read that it's the only one that has the rotating capability...so let's hope it fits my Phase H10 back. It's an A17 adapter, so I've got growth room. Of course, the mask on the screen will be quite optimistic.

    So much for saving money by selling my RB...sheesh.

    Greg

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Greg you can use the attached tif printed on a piece of acetate for your RZ

    I've never used an old Phase back on the V-RZ adapter but since its contour follows the V series body it should be similar to the Aptus fit.

    Let us know how you get on

    Yair
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Ha, nifty..thanks. Let's hope it all works. I'll give an update.

    Greg

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    So, the adapter came. It looks great...it is completely manual, just the physical adapter and a couple cables (the X-sync trigger and a data line that must be proprietary for a Leaf 17).

    Surprising that every adapter doesn't have the rotating capability. It seems foolish to not put it in (and make the back only optimized for square backs).

    I actually need to machine off a smidge of one edge to make the H10 back fit...as it's slightly contoured on the left side.

    Alas, the RZ67 I bought is banged up all to hell, so I'm waiting to sort out my Ebay claim before I have the nerve to deal with the mod to shoot digital.

    I also got a nice 180mm soft focus lens which looks fabulous. Can anyone compare it to the f/4.5 regular lens? Any reason to use the latter lens?

    Greg

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    In addition to what's already been mentioned, another advantage to the RZ is the ability to quickly change from vertical to horizontal framing and still be able to utilize a waist-level finder -- and this ability IS available with the Mamiya RZ to 645 adapter plate. That coupled with the higher synch speeds and the relative cost required to get into the system make it a compelling consideration.

    Also, just think how far ahead of the game you'll be if somebody releases a 6x7 full frame chip! ()

    ~~~
    Re the 180 SF. It's an Imagon design using special sink-strainer disks to render its soft effect. The lens itself is designed leaving significant spherical aberrations uncorrected, and the sink strainer renders several lenses of slightly varying focal lengths and projection angles -- and hence focus accuracy -- as overlapping images on a single capture. This is how it generates the veiled highlight glow and soft edges. The real secret is larger aperture in the center of the disk being the dominant "lens" in the assembly; since it is centered and effectively stopped down, all of the nasty aberrations are for the most part negated from that aperture projection, thus imparting the dominant sharp image inside the glowy soft surrounding matrix. Note that a downside to this design is front Bokeh can look distinctly different from rear Bokeh and the result can be disturbing in some images.

    As for how it compares to the standard 180, they are completely different optical designs, so while the SF version gets pretty darn sharp stopped down beyond the central disk aperture, it is never going to absolutely match the primary optic's performance, especially at the wider apertures, due to the uncorrected aberrations.

    Cheers,
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    In addition to what's already been mentioned, another advantage to the RZ is the ability to quickly change from vertical to horizontal framing and still be able to utilize a waist-level finder -- and this ability IS available with the Mamiya RZ to 645 adapter plate. That coupled with the higher synch speeds and the relative cost required to get into the system make it a compelling consideration.
    Is it? From what I read, and what I see in this photo, it isn't. There isn't a second set of pin contacts visible. What am I missing?




    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Also, just think how far ahead of the game you'll be if somebody releases a 6x7 full frame chip! ().
    Yeah, once I sell my house to afford it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    ~~~
    Re the 180 SF. It's an Imagon design using special sink-strainer disks to render its soft effect. The lens itself is designed leaving significant spherical aberrations uncorrected, and the sink strainer renders several lenses of slightly varying focal lengths and projection angles -- and hence focus accuracy -- as overlapping images on a single capture. This is how it generates the veiled highlight glow and soft edges. The real secret is larger aperture in the center of the disk being the dominant "lens" in the assembly; since it is centered and effectively stopped down, all of the nasty aberrations are for the most part negated from that aperture projection, thus imparting the dominant sharp image inside the glowy soft surrounding matrix. Note that a downside to this design is front Bokeh can look distinctly different from rear Bokeh and the result can be disturbing in some images.

    As for how it compares to the standard 180, they are completely different optical designs, so while the SF version gets pretty darn sharp stopped down beyond the central disk aperture, it is never going to absolutely match the primary optic's performance, especially at the wider apertures, due to the uncorrected aberrations.

    Cheers,
    Hmm, interesting. So you're saying that using it without any discs will still be soft (possibly softer)? I guess I thought it was similar to the Minolta 100SF which was sharp when set to "0 softness". The instruction manual was unclear on this, and I assumed leaving out discs would render the sharpest image. Oops.

    The softness discs are pretty cool...similar in a way to the Minolta STF lens approach.

    Oh well, I overexposed the shots anyways thanks to the nonfunctional AE prism and my bad math, so I guess it wouldn't matter anyways.

    Guess I'll grab the regular lens and sell the SF. Or dump the whole RZ67 concept and stick with 645. Probably a smart idea.

    Thanks,
    Greg
    Last edited by gsking; 13th April 2009 at 09:05.

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Greg:

    The Mamiya RZ to ZD 645 adapter plate is different than the Phase one you picture and definitely allows for rotating the back between horizontal and vertical orientations. See: http://www.mamiya.com/mamiya-zd-back...7-pro-iid.html

    Re the SF lens, it is soft without the discs, but isn't actually softer because the disk is what makes for the multiple casts of images all overlapping on the final.
    Jack
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    I really like the rotating back of the Hy6 so I would agree that it could be a strong reason to use a RZ.
    Tom

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Greg:

    The Mamiya RZ to ZD 645 adapter plate is different than the Phase one you picture and definitely allows for rotating the back between horizontal and vertical orientations. See: http://www.mamiya.com/mamiya-zd-back...7-pro-iid.html

    Re the SF lens, it is soft without the discs, but isn't actually softer because the disk is what makes for the multiple casts of images all overlapping on the final.
    Jack,

    Thanks for all your input. It would be interesting to make a different aperture disc with a variable radial gradient like the STF lens. Sounds like the uncorrected nature of the lens, though, would make it less than optimal.

    I'm sure I'll sell the VSF...anyone want one brand new (used once gingerly?) It'll probably show up in the For Sale thread, as may the digital back adapter. Ironically, I bought it mainly just to see if I could see any difference in IQ from the RZ lenses vs. 645 lenses, but I'm sure none would be visible to my eye...at least for the costs involved.

    Greg

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Quote Originally Posted by gsking View Post
    Jack,

    Thanks for all your input. It would be interesting to make a different aperture disc with a variable radial gradient like the STF lens. Sounds like the uncorrected nature of the lens, though, would make it less than optimal.

    I'm sure I'll sell the VSF...anyone want one brand new (used once gingerly?) It'll probably show up in the For Sale thread, as may the digital back adapter. Ironically, I bought it mainly just to see if I could see any difference in IQ from the RZ lenses vs. 645 lenses, but I'm sure none would be visible to my eye...at least for the costs involved.

    Greg
    Don't be to quick to unload that lens ... it more fun than you can imagine ... unless all you are after is razor sharp results.

    If that is the case, then get your mits on a 210 APO and try that one. Make sure you use protective eye wear, or your eyes will get sliced clean through

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Don't be to quick to unload that lens ... it more fun than you can imagine ... unless all you are after is razor sharp results.

    If that is the case, then get your mits on a 210 APO and try that one. Make sure you use protective eye wear, or your eyes will get sliced clean through
    LOL...thanks. Yeah, I can always stop down to get sharpness, right? Heck, that's the ironic part...I shot at f/5.6 when I should have been shooting at f/8 or f/11 for proper exposure, where it would have been fully "corrected", right?

    The problem is I have the 150mm, 210mm (non-APO)...both with AF, and the 300mm f/2.8 APO, for my 645...at this rate, I'll never use them.

    On that note, does anyone know how an original AE prism (non-II) "works" on a Pro II if it hasn't been modified? I hear it won't work properly, but what are the symptoms? This one bounces all over the map 30% of the time, and shows meter-high or meter-low readings the rest of the time.

    It would be nice to know if this meter would be fine, if I could find a non-II body to put it on.

    Greg

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    The AE1 prism will work just fine on the RZ Pro2 -- it just doesn't allow manually setting the 1/2 step shutter speeds.
    Jack
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    The AE1 prism will work just fine on the RZ Pro2 -- it just doesn't allow manually setting the 1/2 step shutter speeds.
    See note here:
    http://www.keh.com/OnLineStore/Produ...7%20ae%20prism

    Apparently "stock" finders will not work. Since the seller was dishonest enough to sell a broken camera as "working", I can't trust that the non-functional AE prism is due to it being broken, the camera being broken, or it just not having been modified. He's obviously not a viable resource.

    So I'm trying to see if there's any benefit to buying a non-Pro II body if I can find one cheap.

    An email to Mamiya has not been returned. Go figure....poor customer service is the norm these days.

    Thanks,
    Greg

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Quote Originally Posted by gsking View Post
    See note here:
    An email to Mamiya has not been returned. Go figure....poor customer service is the norm these days.

    Thanks,
    Greg
    Customer service in medium format is generally the responsibility of the dealers and not the manufacturer; it just makes more sense since components in medium format companies are often mish-mashed between different companies. So when you buy used from an individual rather than used/new from a full service dealer you don't have that level of support.

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    Customer service in medium format is generally the responsibility of the dealers and not the manufacturer; it just makes more sense since components in medium format companies are often mish-mashed between different companies. So when you buy used from an individual rather than used/new from a full service dealer you don't have that level of support.
    Point taken, but then why have a link to [email protected] on the website if no one plans to actually monitor it and respond to requests? Seems rather silly to me.

    "Personal Assistance from Mamiya...via E-mail

    MAC Group offers personal assistance in the USA via E-mail, fax or phone. We will respond to E-mail promptly during the business week. "

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Quote Originally Posted by gsking View Post
    See note here:
    Apparently "stock" finders will not work.
    Interesting -- I've had two that worked just fine...
    Jack
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Interesting -- I've had two that worked just fine...
    Were they stock?

    MAC just replied...they say the erratic performance does not sound like a compatibility issue of that nature....just a broken prism. I'm thinking it may also be a bad connection, but nothing I do seems to ameliorate it.

    Oh well....more reason not to use it, and/or to not feel bad when I have to return it for my refund. :-)

    Greg

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    I think the prism took a complete dump. Ah it's no worse now. WLF on the way.

    On a good note, I discovered that a 2.5mm-jack wired earbud with microphone works as a PERFECT wake-up cable for my H10 back. I push the answer-call button and it closes the same circuit as a PC-sync trigger.

    It plugs in one side, and the PC-sync from the lens goes in the other.

    Slick, and only $2.50....vs. $90-500 for commercial solutions.

    Greg

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Greg,

    That's a fantastic idea! Did you splice a flash-sync connector to the cord? Can you post a picture? I need a longer cable for my view camera, and this looks perfect. I have a zillion of these things lying around.

    Cheers,
    Kumar

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Kumar,

    No, that was the funny part. Since there are two "C" ports on my back (left and right), I didn't need to splice anything. Either can be used, so it wakes up with one plug and triggers on the other.

    Of course, if I double-push the button, it'll set off the flash prematurely, because the back generates the output PC-sync on the second trigger.

    I expected to have to splice a button onto the wire, but realized it had one already. So even though it's a three-wire plug (with two insulator bands), vs. the PC sync being just two-wire (one band), it works perfectly.

    It's a Plantronics MX200...I got two shipped for $5.

    Greg

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Greg,

    Think I could splice a flash connector to the other end? I have a 132C, and don't need a wake-up cable. I have quite a few flash cables and earphones lying around. If it works, I'll save a lot of change!

    Kumar
    Last edited by FromJapan; 18th April 2009 at 16:48.

  32. #32
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    So you just want a PC-sync to 2.5mm plug to trigger the back from the PC sync? Is that your only need?

    My adapter came with one (coiled), but I also have another straight one I got from somewhere. I use it to attach my Metz 301 adapter to PC-sync.

    Something like this one? (on ebay).
    220356899281

    Greg

  33. #33
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Yes, that's exactly what I'm looking for. I have a couple of 6 inch cables, but on the view camera I need longer cables. Can you believe I can't find them in the stores here in Japan?

    Kumar

  34. #34
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Something like the Medalight PGTC? It's 3 meters. I didn't think "large format" was that large.

  35. #35
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Not that large I need an 18" or 24" cable.

    Kumar

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Yeah, that seems like an oddball size that no one carries.

    Bummer.

    Greg

  37. #37
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Kumar you can buy a DSLR remote release cable on eBay for $5 that'll give you the stereo jack and a 50-100 cm cable, then solder it to a pc jack and you're done

    Yair
    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
    e: [email protected] | m: +44(0)77 8992 8199 | yaya's blog

  38. #38
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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Thanks, Yair. I found one that might work: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=310135516562. A little long, but I've sent him a mail asking whether he has a shorter one.

    Kumar
    Last edited by FromJapan; 20th April 2009 at 06:47.

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    Re: MFDB on Mamiya 645AF vs RZ67

    Update:

    I had to modify the Leaf adapter slightly to fit the Phase One H10 back. The left side of the back is contoured, so it extended beyond the square "pocket" on the adapter. Nothing my Dremel couldn't solve.

    The rotating feature is incredibly useful, as expected (unless you have a square back, of course).

    The 110mm tests out very sharp both on film and digital. To satisfy my curiosity, I picked up a 110mm 645 lens so I can compare head-to-head.

    The complication of wind/wake/shoot is a bit cumbersome, but even my 5-year-old was able to pick it up quickly.

    And the film came out only mildy overexposed, which was nice. My focusing leaves a lot to be desired.

    Greg

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