Sunday, March 16, 2008

First experiences with the Mamiya ZD Back

Any given (digital) camera model (more or less recent model) in the market is discussed on the web, somewhere in Yahoo groups or similar. Not so the ZD, of course the traditional Mamiya 645's are very common and you find plenty of hands-on info.
After a couple of rainy days I finally managed to bring the ZD out for some test shooting.

Mamiya AFD II, ZD Back, 120/4 Macro, 80/2.8, 55/2.5, 150/3.5 (plus Arsat 30/3.5 with adapter)
Gitzo Carbon tripod.

Very first (partly emotional) impressions (not based on objective technical tests yet):
  • The resolution and level of detail is amazing.
  • A very serious mirror sound on a "digital" camera. Not suitable for observing birds.
  • The screen is ridiculous small. Any 200$ cam has a bigger screen (but not 22Mpix).
  • Reviewing images is painful. But some backs dont even have a screen (at least the older ones)
  • It is slow. Of course, its MF, not point-and-shoot for auntie Ann.
  • It creates that "slower" and more appreciative way of working in MF.
  • Why do I need AF lenses ?
  • Why cant I lock the buttons to prevent the back from switching on by itself in the bag.
  • It looks good. The AFD II body look sturdy and professional.
  • Working with a tripod gives you so much more control (but removes speed).

With this camera you quickly will find some new old friends:
  • Sturdy tripod.
  • Cable Release.
  • Mirror Lockup.
  • ISO50 (any other ISO higher than 100 with this back is useless).
  • Spare battery.
  • Big CF cards and lots of them (or image tank).
  • Another camera if you are in a hurry.
More (technical) results follow.

(Mamiya AFD II, ZD Back, Arsat 30mm, Chinese Garden Singapore)

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