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Author Topic: WANTED: Mamiya ZD users...!  (Read 14059 times)
WillyV.
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« on: October 03, 2006, 12:02:02 PM »
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Hi! I would really like to get some feedback on the Mamiya ZD from the users on this forum. I don´t want to hear about other digital backs or thoughts but feedback from you guys who really use the camera. What kind of software do you use? Why? The camera has gotten a though start with everybody saying different stuff about the camera but have they really tested it? I really think there´s a lot of thinking and not testing... In advance thanks for your time and feedback!
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abrehm
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2006, 12:08:33 PM »
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I too would be interested in a report of the ZD.  I have been shooting Canon Digital for a few years now and would really like to try out medium format for the first time.  I must say though that I dont want to invest $30k to do this which is why the ZD (and maybe the Pentax if they ever get it out) is so attractive.  

Andy
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ivan muller
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2006, 01:27:20 PM »
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hi
Ive had my ZD for a couple of months now. It was a big step for me because where i live, Johannesburg, there is no backup and any services would have to go back to Europe! . (Although thats the same for the other digital backs too) At least the ZD was a lot less and not much more than a 1dsii. so far so good. I use cs2 for working on my raw files and the mamiya software for browsing and opening the files quickly.On location I would use a 12inch laptop to view as the screen is blue and very contrasty. A new 3.2 ghz dual core and 2gigs of ram seem to be ok for relatively fast processing. I havent timed it. As far as filling up the buffer goes I have only on one occasion had a problem.( this elephant was really close and I just kept my finger on the shutter!) up to 200 ISO its ok, long exposures do get some noise but really only visible at 100% and mostly shadows only.

I have just returned from a week at Victoria falls  and  2 weeks at Mana Pools, Zambezi river. Very dusty hot and humid, and no electricity the last week! Although the sensor picked up a fair amount of dust, everything worked perfectly! Very handholdable, I even did a shot of some buffaloes with the 150 at 200iso at sunset and cropped I got a great a 10x13 inch print (on A3+ epson r1800) I have literally stopped using my canon because i like this camera so much. I am busy printing some images from this Zimbabwe trip and the images are great, pin sharp with smooth tonalities. When I could I used a tripod(manfrotto magfibre) which seems to be adequate for all the lenses except my 300mm.( I tend to get shutter vibration at lower shutter speeds, although with a heavier tripod this disappears.)

I like this camera because compared to the canon it slowes me down but not as much as my 4x5 used to and the quality is great. I havent experimented with different software because frankly I find all this endless debate and speculation on all these finer points a bit above my intellectual capabilities! I try to stick with what i've got and concentrate on taking more photographs.

The way I see it is that some guys tend to agonize for ever on what camera to buy and what will be the ultimate system. the price of the ZD takes alot of the angst out of the buying decision and I think enough owners have indicated their satisfaction with the image quality on these forums not to worry about that aspect of the camera.  I would rather look at the negatives and decide if you can live with them, bearing in mind the price advantage. And thats a big advantage!
Thanks Ivan
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Quentin
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2006, 04:15:39 PM »
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I have also owned my ZD for a couple of months.  I am very pleased with it.  Like most cameras, it has some faults, but the positives are many.

Image quality at low ISO is very high, at least the equivalent for good 6x7 drum scanned film (I have a drum scanner and used to shoot  6x7 film so I think I am qualified to say this).  In its standard set up, it has no AA filter, so images are sharp and detailed, but you get occasional colour artifacts at the limits of resolution.  These can be removed by using appropriate software, and generally I don't have an issue with this.

Dynamic range is also high.  I use the camera for stock photography  landscape etc.  Its not a fast camera, so its no good for sports.  

On the negative side, the rear screen is poor, with no 100% preview.  All its good for is checking composition and histograms.  I have no idea why Mamiya did not include a better screen, but maybe its to keep heat down, or maybe its a cost saving measure.  You get used to it, and shooting tethered in a studio, its not an issue.

If you compare the ZD to some other medium format solutions, it looks like, and is, excellent value.  As Ivan said, the price, compared with other megabucks solutions, takes the angst out of buying (although its hardly cheap).  Its just a big dslr, with vastly superior image quality at low ISO.

I posted some samples in this thread:
http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=11724

They are not perfect, but give an idea at least of performance at just above base ISO.

Also read the most recent ZD review on this site, as its quite useful.

I strongly recommend using SilkyPix raw decoder with the ZD.  Its better than the bundled PhotoStudio (which is OK).  Ramp up the quality settings in SilkyPix to the max, reduce sharpening, and its a quick and efficient way to work, with great results.  I rate SilkyPix above any other raw decoder currently available for the ZD.

Quentin
« Last Edit: October 03, 2006, 04:20:39 PM by Quentin » Logged

Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
ronno
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2006, 05:03:08 PM »
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This thing may be the deal of the century.
You can get a 150mm portrait lens used at B&H for $500:

[Mamiya Telephoto 150mm f/3.5 Autofocus Lens for 645AF]

And a new wide angle 35mm for $1350.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller...arch&Q=&ci=5326

Takes the sweat out of getting into MF.

I can not wait until this camera is available in the states!

QUESTION: how is the shooting speed when tethered to a computer?

Thanks!
-ronno
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Quentin
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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2006, 06:01:26 PM »
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Good point, the excellent AF lenses are not that expensive; the non-AF lenses that work in stop down mode are a giveaway.  Goodness only knows what Hassy are thinking of with their pricing  

As to shooting speed tethered, um, not sure, because although I have and do shoot tethered, I am not shooting quicky.  It all works well enough, but it takes a few seconds to transfer each file by firewire to the computer.  Mamiya digital PhotoStudio is actually reasonably good for tethered shooting.

Quentin



Quote
This thing may be the deal of the century.
You can get a 150mm portrait lens used at B&H for $500:

[Mamiya Telephoto 150mm f/3.5 Autofocus Lens for 645AF]

And a new wide angle 35mm for $1350.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller...arch&Q=&ci=5326

Takes the sweat out of getting into MF.

I can not wait until this camera is available in the states!

QUESTION: how is the shooting speed when tethered to a computer?

Thanks!
-ronno
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=78994\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
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« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2006, 06:23:32 PM »
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Quote from: ronno,Oct 3 2006, 05:03 PM

QUESTION: how is the shooting speed when tethered to a computer?

Thanks!
-ronno


Hi
It is easy to shoot into a computer & I have shot in both MAC/PC with no problems. The capture rate is the same as with flash cards incliuding the buffer. I always shoot RAW and now process my files with www.iridientdigital.com/products/rawdeveloper.html which does an amazing job with these files and is super fast! I also use a Canon 5D but the ZD is my camera of choice now. I use the ZD mostly with the 55-110 Zoom handheld. I tend to shoot at iso 50 most of the time. When Mamiya sells this camera they should inclide RAW processor. If Phase One comes on board just think how they could improve this camera. One thing about the ZD is that it has the same Dalsa chip as the Sinar E-motion 22 & Aptus 22. On Ad job I rent the Aptus 22 back and have the Zd as back up.
Thanks Denis
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Denis Montalbetti
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Kumar
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2006, 08:52:33 PM »
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Question to Ivan, Quentin and Denis:

Have you shot in low/available light? Can you post any examples? Do you think there is any significant noise? I'm waiting for the ZD back!

Thanks,
Kumar
« Last Edit: October 03, 2006, 09:07:21 PM by Kumar » Logged

ronno
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2006, 11:28:52 PM »
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Quote
On Ad job I rent the Aptus 22 back and have the Zd as back up.
Thanks Denis
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=79007\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Out of curiosity Denis, why do you do this?
Why not use the ZD for the ad jobs?

-ronno
« Last Edit: October 03, 2006, 11:29:31 PM by ronno » Logged
mcfoto
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2006, 01:35:39 AM »
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Quote from: ronno,Oct 3 2006, 11:28 PM
Out of curiosity Denis, why do you do this?
Why not use the ZD for the ad jobs?

-ronno

Hi
We do a lot of people and shoot quickly so the buffer rate with the ZD fills up to quick. However if I am shooting editorial I use the ZD with the Canon 5D as backup. One Ad job we did recently we had to shoot an extra item to finish the AD and I used the ZD. Now with the new RAW processor developer the ZD files are very close to Aptus 22 files at iso 50. But one thing Mamiya has to do with the ZD is speed up the buffer rate. I also own a 645 AFDII & AFD body. If Phase comes on board with Mamiya the ZD could be improved. We have also just quoted a job and if we get the sign off both the Aptus 22 & ZD will be used on two different set ups to save time.
Thanks Denis
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Denis Montalbetti
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2006, 03:59:53 AM »
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Quote from: Kumar,Oct 3 2006, 08:52 PM
Question to Ivan, Quentin and Denis:

Have you shot in low/available light? Can you post any examples? Do you think there is any significant noise? I'm waiting for the ZD back!

Thanks,
Kumar

Hi
What do you mean by this I could send you some MEF files by mail. My DSL is a pain. Contact me direct. Also Phase could be doing something with Mamiya by the end of OCT. ( If Mamiya walks away from the table on this one............... I truely think this is a good oportunity with the current market!!!) I shoot studio, plus I also take personal photos with the ZD (stock).
Thanks Denis
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Denis Montalbetti
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Kumar
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« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2006, 04:48:07 AM »
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Hi
What do you mean by this I could send you some MEF files by mail. My DSL is a pain. Contact me direct. Also Phase could be doing something with Mamiya by the end of OCT. ( If Mamiya walks away from the table on this one............... I truely think this is a good oportunity with the current market!!!) I shoot studio, plus I also take personal photos with the ZD (stock).
Thanks Denis
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=79035\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Denis, I shoot architecture and interiors, so that's what I'm looking for. Perhaps a restaurant or nightclub. If it's difficult to post images, it's okay. You could give us your impression of the noise levels in the kind of images you shoot. If Phase does a deal with Mamiya, we would have a choice of Dalsa or Kodak sensors, with the same software!

Cheers
Kumar
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Quentin
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« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2006, 07:30:45 AM »
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I tried a 4 sec exposure on a church interior at 50 ISO and it was almost zero noise, decoded with SilkyPix.

Quentin
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Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
ronno
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« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2006, 08:52:58 AM »
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Thanks for the feedback, I have a few more questions:

What makes the ZD files inferior to the Aptus files?

Do you think said differences will show in print? At what size?

Also, how would you compare the ZD's dynamic range to that of your Canon cameras?

Thanks@!
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mtomalty
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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2006, 10:04:40 AM »
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I tried a 4 sec exposure on a church interior at 50 ISO and it was almost zero noise, decoded with SilkyPix.

Quentin

What about longer?  4 seconds is not really that challenging for digital capture these days.

As  landscape photography fills a significant place in my revenue stream I often find myself
working in poor weather with marginal light and sometimes use a polarizer to remove
reflections from wet foliage in rainy or wet conditions.

Under these conditions it is not rare to find myself with exposure times of 20-30 seconds,even
during daylight hours.

Have you seen evidence that the ZD would perform well at exposures of this length.

My limited experience with recent generation Leaf backs (which use  chips from the same
source as the ZD) suggests that this is not the case and this is a major impediment that
has,thus far,kept me from dropping the $$ on one of their products.

Thanks,
Mark
« Last Edit: October 04, 2006, 10:05:49 AM by mtomalty » Logged
marcwilson
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« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2006, 10:06:53 AM »
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Quote
Quentin



Under these conditions it is not rare to find myself with exposure times of 20-30 seconds,even
during daylight hours...
..My limited experience with recent generation Leaf backs (which use  chips from the same
source as the ZD) suggests that this is not the case and this is a major impediment that
has,thus far,kept me from dropping the $$ on one of their products.

Thanks,
Mark
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=79064\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Mark, is this just with leaf backs or all digital backs you may haev tried?

Thanks,

Marc
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Quentin
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« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2006, 10:54:50 AM »
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4 secs is the longest I have gone so far.

Dynamic range:  I come from a Kodak 14nx which is known for its high dynamic range and the Mamiya beats it.  If another back has more, my view is, so what?  In absolute terms, the ZD has very wide dynamic range, and that's all that matters.  Eventually you have to stop comparing and start using.

Quentin
« Last Edit: October 04, 2006, 04:40:58 PM by Quentin » Logged

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mtomalty
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« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2006, 11:48:25 AM »
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Mark, is this just with leaf backs or all digital backs you may haev tried?

Marc,

In recent weeks,I've had access to Phase P45, Hasselblad CF-39,and Leafs Aptus75 for
various lengths of time.

Based on what I'm seeing firsthand,the P45 is champion when it comes to long exposure
noise control and it isn't a stretch to get almost perfectly clean files with exposure times
well in excess of 60-90 seconds. Phase claims much longer,but I don't have any firsthand
knowledge.
The CF-39 files were very clean (with only a handfull of hot pixels) up to the 45 seconds
I tested it to for a long exposure city skyline well after sunset when the building lights
balanced with the afterglow in the sky. This was nice to see because the experience I have had
with previous 22Mp backs from Imacon was thet the previous models seemed to max out
around 20 seconds before hot pixels became so numerous as to render the image useless
for most applications in print.
The Aptus75,unfortunately seemed to max out when exposure times exceeded 10-12 seconds
and,to date,I haven't been shown a solution that deals with the numerous hot pixels in any
significant way nor have i seen anything that suggests my processing techniques or test back
is sub standard.

Mark
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mtomalty
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« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2006, 11:58:13 AM »
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In absolute terms, the ZD has very wide dynamic range, and that's all that matters.  Eventually you have to stop comparing and start using.


Unfortunately,it's not all that matters if one regularly works under certain conditions and a
product being considered  for purchase can't meet professional standards that are met with
other choices.
BTW,I'm not suggesting the ZD doesn't meet these needs only that I haven't seen anything
posted that indicates that it does.
Mark
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ronno
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« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2006, 01:24:03 PM »
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BTW,I'm not suggesting the ZD doesn't meet these needs only that I haven't seen anything
posted that indicates that it does.
Mark
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=79073\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Mark, what specific standards are you referring to?
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