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Author Topic: Choosing a mfd platform, please help.  (Read 3022 times)
adam tracksler
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« on: May 14, 2013, 06:57:01 AM »
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Looking at getting a mfd setup.

I am looking at buying a body and lenses first, renting a back and finally buying a back.

Right now I mostly shoot product and food in studio, and some location.i do some portraits, but would more than likely keep using my leica for people, since it is great for that, and terrible for tabletop studio work....

I'm looking at the mamiya rz67 pro ( probably @$500 with a 65 and 110 lens), and the mamiya AFD (@$900 with a 80 and 150 lens) . The 67 is cheaper, which means the back is closer to being purchased, but the AFD is newer, and all the hoo ha that goes with it.

Which is a more solid buy?

Thanks in advance.
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amsp
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 08:07:24 AM »
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I have both. For slower and more deliberate work the rz67 is my favorite, when I need more mobility & speed I grab the 645. The one drawback with the rz67 + digital is the crop factor of x1,5, which means no ultrawides, other than that it's a fantastic camera.
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 08:12:22 AM »
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As you might imagine neither body is "better". They each have advantages and disadvantages and different ergonomics.

By far the best option is for you to get your hands on both and see which fits your hands, shooting style, and technical needs best.

But I'll outline some of the technical considerations for you...

First, as mentioned above there is no very wide lens on the RZ platform for a digital back. You can use our Visualizer tools to see how various focal lengths will look with a given digital back. The platform doesn't matter for this, so a 110m lens will have the same angle of view with a given digital back whether it's on a view camera, RZ, or 645AFD.

Second, there are two types of RZ, the RZ Pro IID is the most recent and accepts M mount digital backs. The RZ Pro II is older and accepts V-mount and H mount backs with some limitations (specific back compatibility is based on whether the back needs wakeup). You'll have a much easier time in NYC and Miami (the two markets I can vouch for) renting a back which is compatible with the RZ Pro IID. EITHER of these bodies (RZ Pro II, RZ Pro IID) will need an adapter which is often more expensive than the body itself.

Third, the older AFD body is not officially supported on the newest Phase One and Leaf digital backs. It does work but it's occasionally glitchy. It'd be preferable, budget allowing, to have an Mamiya AFDIII or Phase One AF which are still fully supported by Phase One and Leaf.

I strongly suggest you find and work closely with a dealer during this process. Even with the forums and thorough research it's easy to make a "beginner" mistake like not taking into account the need for an adapter on the RZ platform.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 08:21:44 AM by Doug Peterson » Logged

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Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 08:19:34 AM »
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Looking at getting a mfd setup.

I am looking at buying a body and lenses first, renting a back and finally buying a back.

Right now I mostly shoot product and food in studio, and some location.i do some portraits, but would more than likely keep using my leica for people, since it is great for that, and terrible for tabletop studio work....

I'm looking at the mamiya rz67 pro ( probably @$500 with a 65 and 110 lens), and the mamiya AFD (@$900 with a 80 and 150 lens) . The 67 is cheaper, which means the back is closer to being purchased, but the AFD is newer, and all the hoo ha that goes with it.

Which is a more solid buy?

Thanks in advance.


Adam -

Just some quick thoughts. You say the RZ way gets you closer to the digital back being purchased because it's cheaper. It's $400 cheaper, does that really make that much of a difference on which DB you hang on it? How much are you planning to invest in the DB? Don't forget, for the RZ, you'll also need an adapter of some sort, which can cost over $400 even used, plus cabling.

They're night and day different cameras, but remember, for most DB's not necessarily exclusive. It is common to have 1 DB that can fit on both. For studio/product - on a tripod, I would opt for the RZ. You can always add the AFD (or newer Mamiya/Phase 645) later.


Steve Hendrix
Capture Integration
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adam tracksler
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 09:19:15 AM »
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Steve, I know that in the grand scheme of things 400 either way is not a huge deal.

I'm looking at Leaf Valeo 22/17 or the DCS Pro.

I know that I am looking at lower end older backs, but my budget is tight right now. (which is why Im actually looking more towards renting backs)

My questions are would either body prevent me from using backs (I know that trying to look into the future of camera hardware is a fools errand at best) in the future?

Here is the RZ67 Pro


And the AFD


To even get started with the RZ67 Pro, I will need an adapter? which looks like it negates the savings...

Is the glass much better with one or the other? (I'm currently shooting with an M8, so manual is totally fine with me, and I have a S5Pro for a SLR.)

Should I expand my horizons and look at another platform as well? Im at the very beginning of this journey....
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Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 09:58:29 AM »
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Steve, I know that in the grand scheme of things 400 either way is not a huge deal.

I'm looking at Leaf Valeo 22/17 or the DCS Pro.

I know that I am looking at lower end older backs, but my budget is tight right now. (which is why Im actually looking more towards renting backs)

My questions are would either body prevent me from using backs (I know that trying to look into the future of camera hardware is a fools errand at best) in the future?

Here is the RZ67 Pro


And the AFD


To even get started with the RZ67 Pro, I will need an adapter? which looks like it negates the savings...

Is the glass much better with one or the other? (I'm currently shooting with an M8, so manual is totally fine with me, and I have a S5Pro for a SLR.)

Should I expand my horizons and look at another platform as well? Im at the very beginning of this journey....




Both platforms have good compatibility with current and recent generation offerings from both Leaf and Phase One (to a lesser extent, older Hasselblad or older/newer Sinar DB's).

The RZ would require an adapter that costs over $900 new (and a $20 connecting cable).

It is a big horizon....

But I do like the platform selection - either of them - because it provides an easy way to utilize 2 different types of camera systems with the same digital back. If you can stretch to the Valeo 22, that would be helpful for lens coverage with the RZ especially. I still have quite a few clients shooting with Valeos. However, keep in mind that some of the Valeos are un-repairable (certain components are no longer available). This includes Valeo 6 - Valeo 17, I believe.

The glass is good on both. The RZ, paired with 22 megapixels, seems to be a favorite sweet spot, with my clients anyway....


Steve Hendrix
Capture Integration
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adam tracksler
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 10:23:53 AM »
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the RZ needs an adapter regardless of the back?
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2013, 10:36:49 AM »
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the RZ needs an adapter regardless of the back?



Yes, there is no native RZ interface for any digital back. Any digital back will need an adapter (which one will depend on which digital back). For the AFD, there is no interface adapter needed (nor cabling), the native interface of Mamiya will mount seamlessly.


Steve Hendrix
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FredBGG
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2013, 11:15:48 AM »
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If you are doing mainly studio, product and food you should keep in mind the usefulness of tilt shift lenses.

Neither the RZ or the AFD offer that much in that area and the prices of the tilt shift lens o two they have are very expensive.

Many people are using Fuji gx680 cameras that have a full range of tilt shift lenses. Actually all the lenses are tilt shift.
From 50mm to 500mm.

The cameras can be found on ebay for very good prices.

Kapture group makes an adapter and control box that lets you use digital backs on it.

What is even more interesting is that they make a stitch adapter that lets you shoot two shots and do a very simple stitch.

This would give you a huge 43 to 44 MP file and capture an image capture area twice the size of the top of the line
backs . The stitch adapter also lets you take full advantage of the angle of view of the wide angles
On top of a straight two frame stitch you can also use lens shift to increase the capture area, but for distant subjects like landscape.
This will give you a straight easy to stitch panorama of about 52 MP of a virtual capture area of about 6x11.8

The lenses are outstanding and made at the time in the same plant that makes the Hasselblad H lenses.

The Kapture group adapter for single shot with the control box is about $ 800 new, but you will save a heap of money on lenses
and would have a full range of tilt shift lenses.

Kapture Group

http://kapturegroup.com/solution/two.html

Fuji gx680



The Fuji system has some very nice viewfinder options that work very nicely with
the crop factor of using a digital back.


Regarding the Mamiya RZ it is also a nice option, but very limiter tilt shift options.
Regarding the lenses they are excellent and are plenty sharp to go even beyond a 22 MP back.

I owned both the RZ, AFD III, (phase One AF), DF and still shoot with the Fuji gx680.
Like many I found the AFD/DF to be problematic, but the RZ was a very reliable workhorse.
I would recommend the RZ over the AFD/DF. Lenses are very inexpensive and in some ways better.

IF you want more info on the GX680 send me a PM with your email and I can send you a system brochure and manuals I have scanned

Oh and one last thing. The RZ and the Fuji GX 680 are fantastic with film. The 6x7 or 6x8 negative size gives them a very nice true MF look
compared to 645 that back in the day was entry level MF.

Here is an example with the RZ:



and because we're on the internet a crop from the same negative (scanned with the relatively modest Epson v750)

EDIT: Close up crop of detail of the clothing removed as it seemed to bother someone.

Replaced with this detail... for everyone one who may be interested.



And here is an example shot with the Fuji gx680

larger here:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7057/6978333439_bef816f9f2_o.jpg



Crop from the same image.




Crop

« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 03:12:56 PM by FredBGG » Logged
JoeKitchen
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2013, 11:24:43 AM »
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Fred, love the second shot you posted.  

The Fuji looks like a nice camera system.  However, I would recommend that you, Adam, slow down right now and research all of the possible platforms, talk to those who use the platforms you are interested in and test them yourself.  After this, start worrying about prices.  Regardless of the platform, it is going to be expensive and I would think it is much cheaper to save and get the platform you are comfortable with than buying a cheaper platform only to become disappointed with (or envious of the platform you really want) and change later.  

Since this will probably be the main tool for you, I feel it would be better to save and buy the system that works best for you.  
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 11:32:25 AM by JoeKitchen » Logged

Joe Kitchen
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2013, 12:16:47 PM »
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I knew it was time for that crotch shot again!
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2013, 12:33:52 PM »
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Just so no one thinks I am a pervert, I meant the real second shot, not the not so tastefully cropped close up of the woman's crotch. 
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Joe Kitchen
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"Try not to be just better than your rivals and contemporaries, try to be better than yourself."  William Faulkner
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2013, 01:01:51 PM »
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I vote RZ.  Great lenses, cheapish, and no electronic interface between body and back to throw errors and lock-ups.  The AFd, while great with film, has some issues with digital.  The AFdIII and DF cameras appear much better, but I've never used them.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2013, 02:42:26 PM »
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I knew it was time for that crotch shot again!

 Roll Eyes
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adam tracksler
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2013, 05:10:52 PM »
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Testing is the hard part. I don't know anyone around me that is using mfd... Up in maine, it's pretty lonely...
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2013, 07:26:54 AM »
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I would do your research and plan a trip to Photo Expo in NYC this Fall.  Usually all of the MF companies come to the expo.  You could even schedule a meeting with a dealer while your down there. 

Are you in Southern or Northern Maine? 
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Joe Kitchen
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« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2013, 08:13:58 AM »
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I would do your research and plan a trip to Photo Expo in NYC this Fall.  Usually all of the MF companies come to the expo.  You could even schedule a meeting with a dealer while your down there. 

We'll be there Smiley.
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adam tracksler
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2013, 09:28:49 AM »
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I would do your research and plan a trip to Photo Expo in NYC this Fall.  Usually all of the MF companies come to the expo.  You could even schedule a meeting with a dealer while your down there. 

Are you in Southern or Northern Maine? 

Southern Maine. Right near NH and Mass.
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Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2013, 09:32:11 AM »
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Southern Maine. Right near NH and Mass.


Hi Adam -

Oh! Well, why don't you contact Dave McRitchie from our Boston office? He is out of the country today, but should be arriving back by Friday. I'll send you his contact info.


Steve Hendrix
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FredBGG
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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2013, 01:50:57 AM »
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I vote RZ.  Great lenses, cheapish, and no electronic interface between body and back to throw errors and lock-ups.  The AFd, while great with film, has some issues with digital.  The AFdIII and DF cameras appear much better, but I've never used them.

I had more lockups with the Phase One DF and Phase One Af with a phase one back than using the Fuji gx680 with the Kapture Group adapter and control box.
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