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Author Topic: P45+ Mamiya report  (Read 15514 times)
eronald
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« on: October 27, 2007, 07:11:37 PM »
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Hi Folks,

 I just got my P45+/Mamiya delivered. This is as good a place as any to write up my notes.

 (Trick) I got the ZD screen for the Mamiya; this way I didn't have to fiddle with any viewinder masks.
 
 My first surprise is that the Mamiya is really usable. It's heavy, but it focuses with the same speed as an amateur dSLR, maybe even faster, and the results are sharp though not agressively so. The focus is spot-on when a definite focus area is available. I have no problem using it after my Canons. The viewfinder is "transparent" in the sense that I don't even notice it's there - the Hassy viewfinder drives me nuts every time I try it, somehow, I don't know why.

 My second surprise is how nice the ISO 400 setting is, even in rotten light. Perfectly usable for snapshots etc. The back's screen shows banding, the C1 preview does too at first, but then the bands miraculously vanish from the preview and an amazing smooth film-like texture emerges. This is perfectly equivalent to what I remember of Fujichrome 400 on my Hassleblad V series  in grain and sharpness.

  I find the back ergonomics and preview screen a bit limiting though - even the Leica M8 does better, in my opinion, with its dedicated buttons for a few functions and snappier screen.

 It would be nice to be able to use one switch to turn camera AND back on and off.

 C1 is having some H/V orientation problems with the files. I think I'm going to disable the back H/V sensor if I can figure out how to do that.

 So far, so good. I am going to try a still-life or two, then use the combination as my travel camera for a week, and see how it fares. Don't expect any cat pictures though.

Edmund
« Last Edit: October 27, 2007, 07:15:54 PM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
Fred Ragland
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2007, 07:32:44 PM »
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...So far, so good. I am going to try a still-life or two, then use the combination as my travel camera for a week, and see how it fares. Don't expect any cat pictures though.

Edmund
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What lenses are you using?

Thanks,

Fred
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2007, 07:34:12 PM »
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(Trick) I got the ZD screen for the Mamiya; this way I didn't have to fiddle with any viewinder masks.
 
 Edmund
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Congratulations on your P45.

I was just talking with Don Libby---Iron Creek Photography---about using the new AFD focusing screens for the ZD (available at B&H)---in attempts to have an OEM replacement screen and avoiding the "cheap" vinyl overlay/mask from Phase---or having someone mark/etch the Mamiya focusing screen.

How accurate are the ZD etch marks on the new Mamiya focusing screen----versus the Phase overlay?  If you place the Phase overlay on the ZD/AFD focusing screen---is it an exact match?

Thanks!

ken
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eronald
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2007, 07:42:27 PM »
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Fred,

 I'm using the stock 80 so far, and will test an old shift 50 mm tomorrow. The Mamiya with the 80 is a compact block (like the H) and ok for quick use. The 80 looks decently sharp - I do  mostly street images, and indoor fashion images at medium distances,  and want a decent travel camera for urban scenes where I often use a shift lens, but I don't need super-crisp at infinity like the landscape guys.

Edmund

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What lenses are you using?

Thanks,

Fred
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Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
eronald
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2007, 07:51:42 PM »
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Ken,

I was more concerned simply about inexact manual focus due to some displacement effects with the mask. An alternate screen seemed the best way to ensure this would not occur.

The question of accuracy of the etched frame lines is interesting - I'll try to arrive at an answer tomorrow with respect to the images, but I don't plan to use the Phase masks at all. Once I have a camera set up I try not to tamper with it.

Edmund


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Congratulations on your P45.

I was just talking with Don Libby---Iron Creek Photography---about using the new AFD focusing screens for the ZD (available at B&H)---in attempts to have an OEM replacement screen and avoiding the "cheap" vinyl overlay/mask from Phase---or having someone mark/etch the Mamiya focusing screen.

How accurate are the ZD etch marks on the new Mamiya focusing screen----versus the Phase overlay?  If you place the Phase overlay on the ZD/AFD focusing screen---is it an exact match?

Thanks!

ken
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Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2007, 01:44:00 AM »
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Hi
I know of a very well known landscape photographer here in Sydney using the same set & loves the 28mm lens.
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eronald
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2007, 08:16:31 AM »
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Some more entertainment. I took Mampy (Mamiya/P45+) out for a stroll in the local market. This was instructive, as expected:

Every single knob on the Mamiya seemed to get moved, in spite of the interlocks. Captures got wrecked all over the place:
- The meter dial got moved to spot.
- The exposure compensation dial got moved to minus something bad.
- The focus mode (S-C-M) dial got moved to in-between positions.
Obviously, I have some learning and some sticky-taping to do; I'm starting to appreciate the two-handed push-button approach of the Canon pro bodies.

Another minor annoyance, the image on the preview keeps bouncing from vertical to horizontal as I hold the camera flat to view the screen. I don't know whether this is normal or indicative of an orientation sensor failure. When in magnification mode the orientation reverts to horizontal.

Also, the Mamiya's battery insert seems a bit loose. But it works.


- exposure is unreliable (not as good as Canon!)
- focus is good.

On balance, the system is functional but the ergonomics of both camera and back really are about three generations in the past. The screen quality matches the degree of usability of the Phase menu system: One can live with it, but it doesn't convey any sense of satisfaction about the image just captured.

In spite of the above minor hassles, I'd like to say something very positive: The combo  focuses reasonably quickly, handles like a dSLR, shoots sharply, and from what I've seen so far outresolves any 35mm dSLR I've used, even handheld.

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Hi
I know of a very well known landscape photographer here in Sydney using the same set & loves the 28mm lens.
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« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 08:31:20 AM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2007, 09:11:52 AM »
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Ofcourse it outresolves anything 35mm DSLR! You will also find it will be sharper (I mean sharper without having to sharpening the bejesus out of it), has better tonal spread and transitions,etc..

Amazing to see. Everybody that has no MFDB reads about the quality being better than 35mm but everytime someone makes the step they are really impressed (sound surprised) by what they are being served.

Now, if only the cameras got a bit more like DSLR's from an ergonomical point of view

Good to hear you enjoy your Mampy sofar
« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 09:12:49 AM by Dustbak » Logged
eronald
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2007, 09:59:58 AM »
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Well, at the moment, while doing the street, I feel a bit like I'm shooting my 200mm F:1.8 Canon lens with a Holga finder. Because this is exactly what is happening in fact: the P45+ has 4x the rez of my Canon 1Ds, so with the stock 80 I have the reach of a 200mm lens in the 35mm format , at least (no anti-alias filter), zilch depth of field,  but it's impossible to tell through the finder exactly what will be sharp and what won't. In fact I cannot even see the details through the finder that will be visible on screen. I need a telescopic finder !

Edmund

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Ofcourse it outresolves anything 35mm DSLR! You will also find it will be sharper (I mean sharper without having to sharpening the bejesus out of it), has better tonal spread and transitions,etc..

Amazing to see. Everybody that has no MFDB reads about the quality being better than 35mm but everytime someone makes the step they are really impressed (sound surprised) by what they are being served.

Now, if only the cameras got a bit more like DSLR's from an ergonomical point of view

Good to hear you enjoy your Mampy sofar
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« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 10:01:27 AM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2007, 10:14:31 AM »
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Congratulations, Edmund--I'm glad you took the plunge.

Regarding the quality of the files being served, yeah, it is a bit of a shock for those of us new to MF how good they are--Dustbak, it's true.  You can "study" the situation, and you "know" they're better--why else spend crazy amounts of money--but there's no substitute for the actual experience of shooting and seeing those amazing results.  

Enjoy "Mampy", Edmund!

-Brad

P.S.  I think you mean Mampy has 4x the pixels (or twice the rez) of your 1Ds, no?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 10:40:35 AM by bradleygibson » Logged

Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2007, 10:19:36 AM »
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I need a telescopic finder !

Edmund
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Or decent multipoint AF

I seem to remeber arguing that with you about a year ago  

That AFing fashion you will miss the eyes every time on the catwalk

anyway - enjoy

S
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eronald
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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2007, 10:49:03 AM »
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Or decent multipoint AF

I seem to remeber arguing that with you about a year ago   

That AFing fashion you will miss the eyes every time on the catwalk

anyway - enjoy

S
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Morgan,

I don't think I'd argue that one - you're now preaching to the choir  
Maybe Mamiya can make a new modular body with super-AF and various decently placed focus points ?
I have a feeling in the end Hassy will win all, because they can actually get this done.

Edmund

PS. Bradley, yes 4x the pixels of the 1Ds, twice the rez. And no AA filter.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 10:53:56 AM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2007, 12:37:46 PM »
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Fred,

 I'm using the stock 80 so far, and will test an old shift 50 mm tomorrow. The Mamiya with the 80 is a compact block (like the H) and ok for quick use. The 80 looks decently sharp - I do  mostly street images, and indoor fashion images at medium distances,  and want a decent travel camera for urban scenes where I often use a shift lens, but I don't need super-crisp at infinity like the landscape guys.

Edmund
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Might be of interest: I was testing (probably a bit less formally than others might) the AF80, AF55-110, and a Biometar 80 yesterday (on AFD2 and P45).

At f11 (about 15 sec exposure at ISO50)
AF80 Sharp, clean, good contrast and saturation
Biometar Softer, clean, less contrast and saturation
AF55-110@80: As AF80, except a little chroma noise in shadows - quite surprised at how good this lens was and intend to investigate further!

Unscientific and uncomplete etc, but useful to me. I welcome any comments on lenses!

(I also tested the Sekor C 50 Shift, Sekor C 45mm, and the Hartblei 45SR, AF35, Sekor C 24 Fisheye, and  30mm Arsat Fisheye, but haven't had the time to review the results yet!   )

EDIT: I haven't yet had a problem yet changing dial settings accidentally. Admittedly, I don't do 'street' style photography. Is your camera new? ie the buttons couldn't be loose? ...or are you just really clumsy   ?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 12:48:44 PM by jonstewart » Logged

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eronald
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2007, 02:33:42 PM »
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Time for the proof of the pudding. Here is a B&W conversion of a fragment of an image from my breakfast exercise. Reduction from an unsharpened image with one of my own B&W recipes.

Edmund
« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 02:34:28 PM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2007, 02:38:15 PM »
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Now here is a 100% unsharpened crop of the gentleman at the centre of the picture, showing the quality of the Mampy focus, and the sharpness of the whole system, and the lovely film-like grain. Typically, a DSLR image would balckout the underside of the hat brim.

Edmund
« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 02:40:47 PM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2007, 02:43:40 PM »
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And for a finale, here is the whole image, a bit reduced

Edmund
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« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2007, 03:15:19 PM »
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And for a finale, here is the whole image, a bit reduced

Edmund
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Nice job Edmond,  
The color image does have a similar look  of 400 speed Portra  NC film except it appears a whole lot sharper.  my only complaint with MFD is the uneven skin tones around certain parts of the body, Nose, ears, neck, etc.    It is actualily that way or does digital just makes a bad thing worst. Film seemed to  be much kinder to people bodies in eveness of skin color rendition.   I understand why for superb  MFD digital skin tones you need the services of a really good digital retoucher.

db
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eronald
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« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2007, 03:23:30 PM »
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I haven't had a chance to look at the color issues yet, I'll make some custom profiles for my back, but I only have time to do that in two weeks time. My experience is that colors in C1 improve a lot with my own profiles - but then that's what I'd be sure to say

I think a lot of the issues with digital skin color actually come from IR/UV sensitivity where the camera is actually looking through the skin.  Ears seem to be prime targets for this effect.

It would seem that the new Phase backs have different filter glasses from the old batch.

Edmund

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Nice job Edmond, 
The color image does have a similar look  of 400 speed Portra  NC film except it appears a whole lot sharper.  my only complaint with MFD is the uneven skin tones around certain parts of the body, Nose, ears, neck, etc.    It is actualily that way or does digital just makes a bad thing worst. Film seemed to  be much kinder to people bodies in eveness of skin color rendition.   I understand why for superb  MFD digital skin tones you need the services of a really good digital retoucher.

db
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« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 03:24:51 PM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2007, 03:36:11 PM »
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I haven't had a chance to look at the color issues yet, I'll make some custom profiles for my back, but I only have time to do that in two weeks time. My experience is that colors in C1 improve a lot with my own profiles - but then that's what I'd be sure to say

I think a lot of the issues with digital skin color actually come from IR/UV sensitivity where the camera is actually looking through the skin.  Ears seem to be prime targets for this effect.

It would seem that the new Phase backs have different filter glasses from the old batch.

Edmund
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Edmund,

The IR/UV sensitivity would explain a lot of what I am seeing in the skin tones, 20 years ago I use to be a Bio-Medical photographer for a large teaching research hospital and we used UV lights as well as IR films to show medical conditions with photographic materials.  I guess that PhD  degree you earned comes in handy every now and then.  

Cheers,
db
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« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2007, 06:52:08 PM »
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Another minor annoyance, the image on the preview keeps bouncing from vertical to horizontal as I hold the camera flat to view the screen. I don't know whether this is normal or indicative of an orientation sensor failure. When in magnification mode the orientation reverts to horizontal.
Hi Edmund. Love that black and white conversion. The issue you're having with the preview jumping back and forth between vertical and horizontal is not normal (at least, I've never seen it on mine). Not sure how your switches and settings are getting misset - all of the switches seem to be a reasonable compromise between stiffness and ease of operation.

You're comments about IR and UV sensitivity are interesting - are you suggesting it might be useful to use a UV or IR cut filter on the lenses?

I'm still interested in trying one of your profiles. I never heard back from you after I sent you the sample images you requested.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 06:52:30 PM by Mort54 » Logged

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