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Thread: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

  1. #1
    jesperskov
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    Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Hi all;-)

    This is my first post.

    I currently own a Mamiya 645 AFD, and i am thinking of getting a Contax 645.

    My question is, how much different is the AF?
    Is it the same speed or is the contax slower?

    Hope someone can help me;-)

    Thanks

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    I had the Contax back in my analog years and unfortunately sold all that. I was pretty happy with the AF and I used the Mamiya recently during a workshop - I cannot tell that there is much difference in AF speed, but I had the feeling the Mamiya AF is more accurate. And it should even become fatser with the new Mamiya camera coming soon.

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    I have the Contax, and the AF is fine, but not speedy by any means. It is quite accurate though. Upgrading to the AFDIII might give you more. Perhaps Jack can chime in, since I believe he has owned both.

    The choice also depends on what lenses you need. The Contax 35mm is stronger than the Mamiya, for example, whereas the Mamiya 150mm is better than the Contax 140mm...

    And of course, the Mamiya is still supported. That doesn't bother me, since the Contax is rock-solid, but not everyone feels that way.
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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    I can't comment on the AFD... but is there any AF that is slower than that of the Contax? :-)
    The Contax AF is really accurate - within the tolerances AF determines technologically. Shooting larger apertures (and at closer distances or at steep angles) manual fine adjustment gives the required accuracy.
    As to AF operation the Contax has an additional AF button on the back of the camera you can handle with the right thumb. So you can leave the camera in manual mode but still can use AF all the time with this additional button - really handy. AFAIK the AFD lacks of such a AF button on the rear.

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Quote Originally Posted by jesperskov View Post
    Hi all;-)

    This is my first post.

    I currently own a Mamiya 645 AFD, and i am thinking of getting a Contax 645.

    My question is, how much different is the AF?
    Is it the same speed or is the contax slower?

    Hope someone can help me;-)

    Thanks
    Onwed both for quite some time and lots of shooting experiences.

    IMO, the later Mamiyas (II & III) are noticably faster than the Contax. In all fairness, the Contax is old AF technology verses pretty recent development in AF abilities. The Contax was frustrating in terms of AF abilities in more difficult light or moving subjects.

    Won't comment on other differences since you didn't ask

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    The Contax was frustrating in terms of AF abilities in more difficult light or moving subjects.
    Depends on the motif; shooting tortoises the Contax will be fine

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Pretty much what has already been said. I owned the C645 and AF was acceptable -- basically the same as on the AFD1. The AFD2 and 3 bodies move that up an entire order of magnitude and are quite a bit better, being both faster and incredibly accurate. My .02 is that for someone starting fresh, the AFD2/3 is a better alternative. The fact you already own the AFD1, I would recommend you stick with Mamiya since 1) you probably already own glass and 2) you can upgrade to an AFD2 body for a notable increase in performance at about the same price you'd pay for a C645 body.

    Note that even the best current MF AF is still only about equivalent to 3 generation old Canon or Nikon AF...
    Jack
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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    As many know, I am a fan of the Contax 645.basically in spite of the slow and sometimes inaccurate AF. It will focus on the 'busiest' part of the image, and that doesnt necessarily mean the subject you want.

    That said, the Contax is all about GLASS, the great Zeiss designed AF contax AND all the great Hasselblad -zeiss V series lenses (BTW you get AE sort of and focus confirmation)

    I do NOT believe the 150mm M is better than the 140mm but there is a very zeiss/german cool and sharp look to the contax lenses. The 140 is small and fast. I took it to Mont Blanc and got fantastic shots (I will post a few later)

    The body prism etc is rock solid ; no Tim Ashley" effects! (see his Mamiya comments)

    If you get the Contax, it is not perfect but you will be in a club that appreciates the quality of that camera. I cannot comment on service, I have about 20 items and after 4-5 years they are still in great shape.

    regards
    Victor

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    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    here is a 140mm Contax 645 shot

    and a crop

    looks pretty good to me
    and I think this was with P30 and I used AF

    Victor
    Last edited by gogopix; 25th January 2015 at 17:23.

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    there is a very zeiss/german cool and sharp look to the contax lenses
    I think here the myth of german glass, especially Zeiss, plays a role as well. I'm with Carsten here that it depends on the particular lenses. The Distagon 3.5/35 and the Apo Macro Planar 4/120 are top lenses. But the Distagon 2.8/45 and the Planar 2.0/80 are not really outstanding; stopped down they are very good but it really depends on what you expect from a lens (these are the four I am using so I can't comment on other lenses).
    As the initial question was about AF... the Contax is probably not the best choice. Though overall, yes, it's a great system if you can live with some limitations.

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Although I personally do not have the Contax 55mm F3.5 lens, the several that I borrow was fantastically SHARP. The 45-90mm zoom is also a nice lens, just a tad heavy in weight and a bit slow in the AF.
    I also use my Hasselblad V 60-120mm zoom on my Contax 645. This lens is HEAVY, but the sharpness is still.


    Evan


    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    I think here the myth of german glass, especially Zeiss, plays a role as well. I'm with Carsten here that it depends on the particular lenses. The Distagon 3.5/35 and the Apo Macro Planar 4/120 are top lenses. But the Distagon 2.8/45 and the Planar 2.0/80 are not really outstanding; stopped down they are very good but it really depends on what you expect from a lens (these are the four I am using so I can't comment on other lenses).
    As the initial question was about AF... the Contax is probably not the best choice. Though overall, yes, it's a great system if you can live with some limitations.

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Thanks Evan!
    Yes, I've heard about the sharpness of the 55mm and occasionally think about it.
    Would you say it's significantly better than the 2.8/45? The 45mm is quite impressive in the center but for good corner sharpness you have to stop down a lot (f8 or better f11)... at least with the P45.

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Thomas,

    I'm still shooting film. More transparencies over negative. I can't afford a digital back at this time, maybe a bit later on.

    The 55mm has a tighter FOV over the 45mm. The 45mm is tad wider and as you mentioned sharp in the center, but goes a bit soft at the outer corners. The 55mm I didn't have it longer enough to fully test it, but looking over my chromes, edge to edge it appears to be sharp. For the time being, I am using my Hasselblad 50mmF2.8 F lens from my Hasselblad 2000 system.

    I think that Marc had both the 45mm and 55mm Contax lenses. Maybe he or anyone else who has both lenses could chime in.



    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    Thanks Evan!
    Yes, I've heard about the sharpness of the 55mm and occasionally think about it.
    Would you say it's significantly better than the 2.8/45? The 45mm is quite impressive in the center but for good corner sharpness you have to stop down a lot (f8 or better f11)... at least with the P45.

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Quote Originally Posted by Evanjoe610 View Post
    Thomas,

    I'm still shooting film. More transparencies over negative. I can't afford a digital back at this time, maybe a bit later on.

    The 55mm has a tighter FOV over the 45mm. The 45mm is tad wider and as you mentioned sharp in the center, but goes a bit soft at the outer corners. The 55mm I didn't have it longer enough to fully test it, but looking over my chromes, edge to edge it appears to be sharp. For the time being, I am using my Hasselblad 50mmF2.8 F lens from my Hasselblad 2000 system.

    I think that Marc had both the 45mm and 55mm Contax lenses. Maybe he or anyone else who has both lenses could chime in.
    I can't really speak to a comparison of the 2 lenses as far as corner sharpness is concerned. I was using the Contax 645 with a Kodak digital back, which was square. When I shot film with the Contax 645 I as yet did not have the 55mm ... which was introduced later in the Contax 645's life span.

    One observation that both Irakly and I observed about the 55mm was the unique front Bokeh (Irakly still owns both lenses and shoots a 22 meg Phase One back with his C645). While many lenses have nice rear OOF Bokeh, not many also have beautiful front OOF Bokeh. The 55mm has it, and for that reason is a more desireable lens to me (based on personal shooting criteria).

    IMO, the Zeiss 40/4IF is better than either of the contax lenses if you're after corner-to-corner sharpness ... and providing manual focus 40mm works for what you shoot.

    Marc

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Marc,

    You stumped here. I am not familiar with the described Rear and then Front OOF Bekeh. Can you please explain that to me and maybe show some examples of it? Sorry to pester you on that..

    Regarding the Hasselblad 40mm CFE IF, I read all the writeups and the opinions on that lens here and wished I had the funds for that lens.
    But I do need to address a digital back issue that will work on my Hasselblad V and also my Contax 645. Hopefully something that will not break the bank or my pockets...


    Evan

    "While many lenses have nice rear OOF Bokeh, not many also have beautiful front OOF Bokeh"

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Bokeh, or out of focus (oof) lens rendering, usually has different characteristics depending on where they occur -- in front of the plane of focus (PoF) or behind the PoF. With some lenses, it is very similar, and can be good or bad. On other lenses it is very different and can be excellent to bad on one side, and excellent to bad on the other, and/or any combination in-between. Usually, it is unbalanced and the rear -- the oof area behind the PoF and further from the camera -- will render better than the front, or the area closer to the camera...
    Jack
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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Quote Originally Posted by Evanjoe610 View Post
    Marc,

    You stumped here. I am not familiar with the described Rear and then Front OOF Bekeh. Can you please explain that to me and maybe show some examples of it? Sorry to pester you on that..

    Regarding the Hasselblad 40mm CFE IF, I read all the writeups and the opinions on that lens here and wished I had the funds for that lens.
    But I do need to address a digital back issue that will work on my Hasselblad V and also my Contax 645. Hopefully something that will not break the bank or my pockets...


    Evan

    "While many lenses have nice rear OOF Bokeh, not many also have beautiful front OOF Bokeh"
    Front out-of-focus areas can often be quite ugly compared out-of-focus areas behind the plane of critical subject focus ... which is what we usually look at and compare. Both Irakly and I noted how smooth and delicate the front out-of-focus areas were with the Contax 55mm. I've not seen many wider lenses that are really good at this. Some Leica optics are, but it's not that common in my experience. Just an observation.

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Thanks a lot Evan and Marc - usefull info!
    Seems that I should take a look at the 55mm...

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    I have been looking for a decently priced one forever. They just don't come up for sale that often, and when they do, the price is very high, i.e. €1200 or so...
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I have been looking for a decently priced one forever. They just don't come up for sale that often, and when they do, the price is very high, i.e. 1200 or so...
    I think it's because it was one of the last lenses to come out for the C645 system before they closed shop. There just wasn't that many of them made.

    Plus, it's a somewhat odd focal length with a slightly slower maximum aperture, so people with a 45/2.8 and 80/2 didn't give it serious thought. By the time the true charms of the 55 became apparent, it was no longer available.

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Marc, what is the Zeiss 40/4IF ? Is it the Distagon T* 4/40 IF CFE for Hasselblad?
    I assume I'd need an adapter then?!
    Dou you know how the distortion is? Has it linear or moustache distortion?
    Thanks again!

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    I love the human condition... we started talking about Contax and Mamiya AF systems and their abilities on this thread, now it's all about Zeiss 40mm glass....

    glad I'm not the only one who wanders off on a different tangent...

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    Marc, what is the Zeiss 40/4IF ? Is it the Distagon T* 4/40 IF CFE for Hasselblad?
    I assume I'd need an adapter then?!
    Dou you know how the distortion is? Has it linear or moustache distortion?
    Thanks again!
    It's the latest, greatest 40mm from Zeiss. Highly corrected with an auto floating element for closer work. Does have some linearal distortion, which was the compromise to get tack sharpness across the field-of-view. I compared it to my 40 CFE with manual floating element, and the corners were much, much, much better with the 40IF.

    Marc

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    It's the latest, greatest 40mm from Zeiss. Highly corrected with an auto floating element for closer work. Does have some linearal distortion, which was the compromise to get tack sharpness across the field-of-view. I compared it to my 40 CFE with manual floating element, and the corners were much, much, much better with the 40IF.

    Marc
    thanks a lot! now that really sounds very interessting! (I am not familar with the Hasselblad lenses)

    So we are talking about this one: http://www.zeiss.de/C12567A8003B0478...708A003BF9B8#2

    and I'd need for example an adapter like this (MAM1 type): http://tinyurl.com/pzal4f

    right?

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Jack and Marc,

    Thank you for the explanation. Would anyone here by chance have an example of each to illustrate the difference to the untrained eye and individual such as me?

    Evan

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Front out-of-focus areas can often be quite ugly compared out-of-focus areas behind the plane of critical subject focus ... which is what we usually look at and compare. Both Irakly and I noted how smooth and delicate the front out-of-focus areas were with the Contax 55mm. I've not seen many wider lenses that are really good at this. Some Leica optics are, but it's not that common in my experience. Just an observation.

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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Marc,

    Is the difference that great between the 40mm CFE FLE versus the 40mm CFE IF? Are you referring to both film and digital where the differences are that pronounced?

    I guess that could explain why I see a lot of 40mm CFE FLE being dumped at prices near to the older CF FLE version.


    BTW, did you ever try the 45-0mm Zoom? The lens is sharp through the entire focal length, just slow in the AF department. I find the Hasselblad 60mm-120mm an even sharper lens. Too bad its heavy and not AF and meter coupled to the Contax 645...


    Evan


    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    It's the latest, greatest 40mm from Zeiss. Highly corrected with an auto floating element for closer work. Does have some linearal distortion, which was the compromise to get tack sharpness across the field-of-view. I compared it to my 40 CFE with manual floating element, and the corners were much, much, much better with the 40IF.

    Marc

  27. #27
    jesperskov
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    Re: Mamiya 645 AFD vs. Contax 645 AF

    Hi. All thanks a lot for all your reply`s;-)

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