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Author Topic: Mamiya ZD back mini review  (Read 20356 times)
bcroslin
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« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2007, 09:26:11 AM »
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ISO 100 run through Lightroom with all sharpening and noise reduction turned off. The crop frame is at 100%.
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« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2007, 09:30:09 AM »
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ISO 200 run through Lightroom with all sharpening and noise reduction at defaults. The crop frame is at 100%.

NR is set at Luminance 0 and Color 25.
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bcroslin
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« Reply #42 on: November 08, 2007, 09:33:28 AM »
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And just for grins the same scenario shot with a Canon 5D at ISO 100.

NR and sharpening turned off.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2007, 09:41:27 AM by bcroslin » Logged

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« Reply #43 on: November 08, 2007, 09:37:50 AM »
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Almost forgot - here's a crop from the ZD back at ISO 100 with default NR (Color 25 Luminance 0) turned on in Lightroom.
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vgogolak
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« Reply #44 on: November 08, 2007, 10:00:11 AM »
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getting a lot more DR with back.

Enjoy it!

Victor
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bcroslin
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« Reply #45 on: November 08, 2007, 10:10:47 AM »
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getting a lot more DR with back.

And I believe that may actually be one of the issues when it comes to noise with the ZD back. It seems at times it's trying to do too much in the shadows. There is some minimal noise at ISO 100 with all noise reduction turned off. Dial in a little NR and hit auto levels in Photoshop and the files are beautiful.
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« Reply #46 on: November 08, 2007, 10:46:00 AM »
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After a few weeks of shooting with the ZD back these are my thoughts:

The back is FAR from perfect but for $7k it's the best bang for the buck in MFD. The LCD sucks and would be completely useless if not for the histogram. The previews take forever to appear and on a modern digital back that's unacceptable.

The buffer can be problematic if you're not paying attention. I recently photographed Dick Vitale and he's an animated guy. After a short period I hit the buffer and had to stop shooting. He's not the kind of guy that wants to stand still and so it was a little uncomfortable. For fast shooting you're better off with a DSLR or renting a Leaf 54s or A75.

A minimal amount of uniform noise will show up in fabrics at ISO 100 if noise reduction is turned completely off in your raw converter of choice. Just a little NR does the trick.

The files overall are crisp and the color is is dead on. It's always better with the ZD to shoot a gray card and not depend on the AWB.

The ZD back can handle long exposures with some color NR. I've gone to 10 sec's and gotten great results.

Now, would I have bought a ZD back again knowing what I know now - maybe. The first ZD back I received was defective. Purple worms, bad color noise at ISO 100 and shoot interrupting lockups. Mamiya was VERY responsive and replaced my back with a new one and things have been great ever since. With the price of used and refurb Aptus 22's dropping to around 10k I would consider one of those first before the ZD back. The larger buffer, fast previews and LC 11 software is worth the extra $3k IMO.

Unfortunately, the games that the back dealers like to play with prices and value-add warranties, etc. is just dumb. And here's where I'm going to probably piss a few people off - the process of buying a digital medium format back is akin to buying a car in my experience and we all know how much fun that is. How a refurb Aptus 22 goes from $16k to $13.5k in less than a month is beyond me. How the same back with warranty can be offered from another dealer for $10.5 is insane. Don't tell me about warranties and support - if I'm paying $7k or $10k or $25k I demand that the back work right out of the box with no if's, and's or but's! I shouldn't have to have my MFDB dealer on speed dial for support when I've paid $20k or even $7k. It's amazing that I can buy a Canon 40D for $1200 and it works and I don't need to call my rep at B+H to get the inside scoop on how to set the camera up.

Bottom line - I wish I had taken James Russell's advice 2 years ago and just stuck with my Canons. I've shot enough with the ZD back, Valeo 22, H3-39, Canon 1Ds MKI + MKII, 5D and even the new Nikon D3 to believe that the perceived quality of MFDB over DSLR's is more perception than reality. Factor in the difference in price and it just gets stupid.

Sorry for the rant at the end of this. I'm going to take the advice of Mark Tucker and shoot more pictures rather than shoot my mouth off any more.

« Last Edit: November 08, 2007, 11:02:30 AM by bcroslin » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: November 08, 2007, 11:31:23 AM »
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I agree on a lot but not on the difference.
I'm just back from a 12 day trip to the states were I brought both 5D and Leaf Aptus with the Mamiya 645AFD/II

The idea was to shoot with the 5D and some things with the leaf.
After one day it was painly clear that I would do ALL shooting with the leaf (and I did), I did some shots from grafitty and the more gritty parts of LA and with the 5D I was blowing out the sky constantly, with the leaf the sky was a nice blue tint, same goes for the shadows.

Resolution wise the 5D is nice but trust me, I did some landscape shots in the Desert and the 5D simply doesn't hold the detail as nice as the leaf.
I really thought I would use the 5D most of the time because it's lighter and more stealth  but I ended up with over 90GB of leaf files and 10GB of 5D files (mostly done on the halloween parade where I needed the high iso
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bcroslin
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« Reply #48 on: November 08, 2007, 11:37:05 AM »
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I agree on a lot but not on the difference.

Wait until you see the D3. It holds highlights unlike any other camera I've seen.

Let me backpeddle just a little bit. There is a quality difference between most MFDB and DSLR's but in my world of ink-on-paper it's not enough to justify the price difference. I'm not a pixel peeper. I just care what the files look like when they hit the page and from my experience it's just not that big a deal.
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palmerson
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« Reply #49 on: November 09, 2007, 05:52:29 AM »
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Hey Bob. I'm very pleased with my ZD back too. I got the newer back also and it works great.

During the last week I did my first big ad-job for German Mail with my new ZD back. And I received some interesting experience and info I want to share here. Most important was that the postproduction company (probably the best in town mabe even country) were absolutely pleased with the file quality and said that it's fairly enough for the 18/1 ad posters (I guess you call them billboard... smth. like 12by9 feet) and the data is good enough probably crop the files by 30%. The retoucher said he SEES no difference between the Leaf Aptus 22 and the quality the ZD back produces. Okay I shot on Iso 50 but still. I was in the Alpes almost 10 000 feet high on top of the mountain Zugspitze and at -10 C and some constant fine snow blowing towards the back it worked just fine.

Wasn't there a question about dynamic range or contrast the back can handle. I think its lovely. I'll attach this photo of my stylist in the alpes with sunlight from the back and no fill flash or anything used... take a look at the snow and the shadows. you'll find all the detail in both.

I also got a little thesis about the blobs that I want to share with you and know what you think.

I had an older back for rent (2-3DAYS) first until I got my new own one delivered. On the old back were some magenta blobs, on the newer one I haven't seen any of those so far. But I haven't shot on ISO 200-400. Because I know it is senseless and everybody who is interested in the ZD back should know too.

As a former (and still) 5d owner I'm not so sure if it is really an misproduction failure or more of an algorithm problem. When I shot in the studio towards an monochrome paper background with my dear 5D it sometimes happened to me that I had some sort of slight purple or green rings on the even backgroung part of the image, too.

So I and a more tech orientated guy from a gear rental, that I had a discussion with, came to the conclusion that the lag of detail information and by that contrast in an even background between the pixels is misleading the bayer pattern into a wrong, or at least no direction, so that it creates with its algorithms some sort of color info, where there is actually none. surely this is most likely to happen in blacks or dark tones as there is no or lttle information only.

The Mamiya is not very noise proved, so when you shoot on higher ISOs the "hot" pixels create some irritating detail information for the bayer pattern and that creates those purple blobs. As Mamiya has updated the firmware of the newer backs, it seems noise and blobs are less of an issue.

Hope my english is good enough that you understand what I'm talking about. And okay you have to understand the Bayer pattern and how it works.

can somebody with an older ZD back try to just update the firmware and see if there are changes?
« Last Edit: November 09, 2007, 06:18:25 AM by palmerson » Logged

palmerson
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« Reply #50 on: November 09, 2007, 05:57:30 AM »
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Sorry I repost image in a bit.
L
« Last Edit: November 09, 2007, 06:17:09 AM by palmerson » Logged

bcroslin
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« Reply #51 on: November 09, 2007, 08:13:42 AM »
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I was told by the Mamiya tech I dealt with that there was a hardware issue causing the noise. The recently manufactured backs have the hardware issue solved and the firmware was also updated.

I'd love to see an image from your shoot in the Alps if you can share.
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