Mamiya 645 AFD II owners?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by timlayton, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. I am looking at a used Mamiya 645 AFD II camera and was hoping some current owners of the camera could comment on their likes and dislikes. Every system has its pros and cons and I am trying to figure out if there are any deal breakers for me in regards to this camera.
    I am currently looking at the 645 AFD II for a couple of reasons. Most of my photography is large format landscapes and there are times when I would like to have an autofocus 120 film camera with me on my hikes and adventures that is fast, easy to use and will still produce good quality negatives and slides. I run across different interesting opportunities that I just don't have time to get setup for with my large format gear and so the most important features for me would be autofocus, AE metering and good quality lenses. An accurate meter would be very important to me because I would mostly be shooting slide film with this camera and I would need to be able to trust the meter in the camera. The option to add a digital back in the future is a plus but have no plans to do that at this time.
    I thought of Mamiya because I have a RZ67 Pro II that I bought new back in the 90's and it has always been a good camera with excellent quality lenses. It is just too big for what I am looking for and everything is manual on the camera. My goal is to have the camera readily available and ready to shoot when I am out hiking or exploring.
    Based on your experience with the AFD II do you think it would be a good fit for how I would like to use it? Since my only option is to order something used online I don't have the opportunity to hold one in my hands before ordering.
    Your comments and any insights are appreciated.
  2. Tim,
    I'm just curious, why not an AFD (AFD I, if you will)? It's considerably cheaper and there are almost no differences between them. I actually prefer the mechanical mirror lock up lever on the AFD to the little electronic button on the AFDII. Both models equally tick everything you've expressed on your wishlist.
    And yes, I think that the AFD/AFD II would suit your needs rather well.
  3. Ray, thanks for the fast response. To your point the AFD is absolutely an option. I didn't know about the mechanical lockup so that is good news and cheaper is always a good thing! Any experience with the 45mm AF f/2.8, 80mm AF f/2.8 and/or the 120 f4 MF macro lens? I suspect they are all good quality lenses. Also interested in comments on the accuracy of the AE meter when shooting slide film.
  4. Tim, Yes, that is an excellent camera. I actually have the AFD, and I also agree, I prefer the manual mirror lock up switch. The AFD II may be a little "happier" with a digital back, but if that is not something you are planning to do in the near future, or ever, there is no advantage at all to the AFD II compared to the AFD.
    I have the 80mm lens, which is the "normal" lens with this camera. I also have the 45 and a 150. The 150 is an excellent portrait lens and mild telephoto. The 45 gives a quite large field of view with this camera. All the lenses focus accurately, though not instantly or quietly, (at least not compared to modern Canon lenses and the like). As for the meter, I always use either my incident meter or meter off a grey card. The Mamiya is no better or no worse than any in camera reflective meter, meaning you need to know it's limitations and how to compensate for the 18% grey reading the in camera meter is trying to obtain. If you meter snow with no positive exposure compensation, then you are going to get underexposure. That is not the fault of the Mamiya, it is just the typical function of any reflective meter. So if you are going to shoot slide film especially, get a good handle on how you need to interpret and compensate for the in camera meter, or ideally, use a hand held ambient meter or meter off a grey card.
    The camera is not huge, but it is not compact and light either. However, it is certainly no monster like an RZ, and is totally usable as a camera to carry on landscape adventures. I do suggest using a tripod and mirror lock up if shutter speed starts getting under 1/200. It is a big mirror slapping around and of course depth of field is less, all things being equal, as compared to the same focal length with a 35mm camera. You should be used to all that with the RZ though.
    Final point. I have all this for sell. The camera and lenses are in excellent + condition. I'm just not using it enough to keep it sitting in the closet. I have been intending to put it all up on Ebay, but just have not got around to it. I would much prefer to sell it directly rather than paying the fees to Ebay and Paypal. Email me off this list if you are interested and I will do some research and work up a price. I am in Tennessee by the way. Here is my email:
    I can also send you some links to plenty of photos I have taken with the camera.
  5. Tim,
    My only AF lens is the 55-110 mm zoom, which works very well for me on my cropped-format digital back. I haven't used it enough on film to tell if it's as good out to the corners of the full 645 format. Autofocus performance is pretty fast, about as good as other "screwdriver" AF systems I've used.
    I use a lot of manual focus M645 lenses on the 645 AFD: 24/4, 35/3.5, 55/2.8, 80/1.9, 110/2.8, 200/2.8. I never used a MF 80/2.8 or MF 120/4, but I used have a MF 150/3.5 which was very good. Whatever people say about these MF lenses will equally apply to the AF ones, because where AF versions exist, in most cases they are optically the same as the MF "N" versions. There are also a few 2nd generation, redesigned AF lenses, which have a "D" designation, and a much higher price tag.
    The 120/4, in all its guises, is rated as one of Mamiya's best ever optics. Check e.g. the reviews on KEH, where a Nikon user says it's better than any Nikon macro/micro lens. I do intend to get one some day.
    The AE meter on the AFD is very reliable, as long as you remember to keep your eye close to the eyecup to keep out stray light (or use the eyepiece shutter blind when it's on a tripod). Digital is of course more tolerant than slide film because of the post-exposure adjustments, but I find I rarely have to make eV corrections afterwards. There's also excellent auto-bracketing on the Mamiya, configurable to full, half or 1/3 stops if you wish to really cover your options with slide film.
  6. It turns out the AFD II camera I was considering was sold to someone else before I got back to them. Post that event I stumbled onto a Contax 645 system that I was considering. My impression based off of research and observation is that I can get into the Mamiya system for about half the cost as the Contax and while the Zeiss glass is probably better than Mamiya it should be more than fine for my needs. I did a lot of digging and found some good charts comparing the different Mamiya 645 AFD models and based on my needs I will go with either a AFD II or III. The II gives me the ability to bracket in 1/3 stops which I find critical for slide film and also the option of using a newer model digital back if I ever wanted to do that. I think both systems are really quality rigs but since this is not a critical purchase for me I am going to go with the Mamiya based on the cost factor and it does meet my needs. I own several other Mamiya systems (RZ67 Pro II, Mamiya 7 Rangefinder, C220 TLR) and they have been exceptional over the years. I suspect if I held up two prints side by side no one could tell which camera was used.
    Thanks for your help and comments. Very helpful.
  7. Good topic.
    I have a AFD II, plus a Phase One digital back, 35mm, 45mm, 45mm Hartblei tilt-shift, 80mm, 55-110mm, 105mm-210mm and 300mm manual focus. I use a Lowe Pro S&F web vest/pouch/belt setup and carry all my gear on hikes. The weight is not bad.
    Beyond the quality of the combination of Mamiya lens and the digital back, what amazes me about the camera is the TTL meter. While I use both a spot and incident meter, when I use Aperture Priority and measure the histogram on the Phase One back, I am very impressed with how accurate the internal meter is.
    I have to admit that there is a down side to the Mamiya physical layout; it is not as "helpful" as the Contax 645 system. The physical layout of the Contax dials are better that the LED screens on the horizontal top surface of the Mamiya. It is not much of a problem when handholding the camera, but since 99% of my work is on a tripod at full height it is not too easy to see the LED at a shallow angle. But considering the trade-off - that Contax is out of business, equipment is twice the cost of Mamiya and that the digital back options are feigning - I am not complaining.
    Plus side - Mamiya & Phase One / Leaf have a great partnership and it will ensure the continued production of equipment. Considering that Hasselblad has gone closed-system, Mamiya is the best choice.
    As for AFD vs. AFD II - no significant difference worth mentioning.
  8. I use both an AFD and an AFDII and find little difference.
    The 120 macro is an excellent lens when used for what it's designed to do, but it's soft when focused to infinity.
    Don't overlook the standard 80mm lens just because it's "normal". It's an amazing chunk of glass.
    Much of my work is aerial photography for clients who want very large prints. I shoot with a 150mm f2.8 which is the very best lens I own, and I own a bunch of great lenses.
    Because shutter speed is most important in aerial work, and depth of field isn't important (you're always shooting at infinity) I use it wide open all the time and it's just brilliant. (see attached.)
  9. Oops. File was too big.
    Here's a smaller version.
  10. Tim,
    Me again. To help your decision, I must comment on your comment:
    I will go with either a AFD II or III. The II gives me the ability to bracket in 1/3 stops which I find critical for slide film​
    - so does the original AFD - I just checked mine. You can set bracketing to 0.3, 0.5, 0.7 or 1.0 stops.
    and also the option of using a newer model digital back if I ever wanted to do that.​
    - so does the original AFD - e.g. Capture Integration recommend an AFD as a very affordable "back-up body" for those who shoot the latest backs on the latest bodies.
    I must agree with the comments which you and James both made on the Contax vs Mamiya. The Contax has class and ergonomics, but the Mamiya has more lens options (especially when the non-AF lenses are included), and a much lower system price tag. One could debate, lens by lens, whether "the Zeiss glass is probably better than Mamiya"...but there's no debate as to whether Zeiss' 180-degree fisheye, shift lens, soft-focus lens, tele-zoom, 200-300mm f2.8 APO teles, compact mirror tele, and 500mm teles are better than Mamiya's...since such Contax/Zeiss lenses don't exist!
  11. Ray, thanks for the response. I must have read the chart that I found from Mamiya wrong. I googled around and found a Mamiya AF/AFD/AFDII comparison chart. For whatever reason they didnt include the AFDI.
    Now that I think about it the AFDII allows 1/2, 2/3 and full stop bracketing in addition to 1/3 stops. Oddly enough I really want the 1/3 stop increments because of slide film so that is a bonus for me. It would be nice to have the other options, but not necessary for me personally.
    I can't recall where I found the information stating the AFD would not take the latest generation backs but glad to know that was wrong. I honestly probably would never get a digital back for it, it was more of a low-cost way to protect my investment over the long run.
    Thanks again Ray for catching my misunderstanding... I appreciate it.
  12. Tim, you're very welcome; just glad to help.
    I googled around and found a Mamiya AF/AFD/AFDII comparison chart. For whatever reason they didnt include the AFDI.​
    I know the chart you are referring to, and it is very informative. Pity they didn't continue to add to it when the later bodies were introduced.
    There never was an AFD I - the AFD is the AFD I, if you know what I mean; people sometimes add the "I" suffix just to make it clear they are not talking about the II or the III! The AF line to date has been 645AF, 645AFD, 645AFD II, 645AFD III (just to confuse matters, this is the same as the PhaseOne 645AF), 645DF. Improvements across these 5 models have been very modestly incremental, with the most significant changes in my view occuring at the AF-> AFD and AFD III -> DF transitions. We await the next model which Mamiya and PhaseOne are developing together; speculation and rumour range from it being another modestly incremental "645DF II", to a radical new design which would be quite unlike its 5 predecessors. Whatever it is, I'd love if they went back to interchangeable viewfinders.
  13. Ray, I talked to The Mac Group this morning because I needed the manual on the extension tubes. Long story short after reading and re-reading this thread as well as digging around on the net and considering all of the variables I ordered an 645AF this morning with a 45mm and 80mm lens and extension tubes. The 45 will be perfect for my landscapes and the 80 will also work for some landscapes as well as be a great option with the ext. tubes when I run across a closeup opportunity on the hikes. Does anyone know if the TTL meter in the 645AF compensates for the ext. tubes or will that be a manual compensation required?
    After a lot of thought and consideration I realized I didn't really want the digital back option and with such little difference between the AF and AFD models it was a no brainer based on the price. It should be here tomorrow afternoon so I will have it for my next project this coming weekend. BTW Ray, your very first comment is where I ended up!
  14. Tim,
    Congrats on your purchase; hope you'll enjoy it.
    The TTL meter does compensate for the extension tubes. One thing about the "AF" tubes is that they do not actually permit autofocus with the AF lenses (they don't transmit the "screwdriver" torque from the body), but they do at least permit auto-aperture control with the AF lenses.
  15. There seems to be a general assumption that Mamiya optics are somehow inferior to Zeiss as found on the Contax 645 system. I've had many years of hands on experience with both systems and have never found this to be the case.
    In particular I'd point to the Mamiya 120mm macro, the 75-150mm zoom, the 150mm D, the 300mm apo, the 28mm D, and the 45mm D as absolutely world class lenses.
  16. Greetings to one and all,
    I am totally new to med. format. I finally made the decision to buy after I saw Gary's aerial photo that he submitted in a
    previous post..WOW!!!

    Bidding on Mamiya 645 AFD Camera w/ Film Back -CLEAN! 75-150 MF-C Zoom lens CLEAN! Super plus cosmetic
    condition Shows little light scratches and no paint wear Prism looks bright and clear Meter is active and untested for
    accuracy Shutter sound strong Film back works- advances smoothly Includes: Film back with 120/220 insert and dark
    slide Body cap See Photos!

    It'll be here next week.......I have a lot of homework to do upon its arrival.......looking forward to'll keep me busy in
    my old age.......the mush is already starting to take up residency in the grey matter. Comments, please. Thank you.
  17. Bob, wondering if you got your AFD camera kit yet?
    The 75-150 mm C Zoom lens is not very common (made only for a short period in the mid-1980s, I think), so I would be interested in how it performs for you. There's a very expensive, autofocusing 75-150 mm D Zoom lens now, which people say is amazing on digital backs. It may or may not share optical similarities with the older lens.
  18. Hello,

    I happen to be a member for half a year, now. At first I had a question about repairing a Pentax 500mm tele, the old one and a nephew from the big Tak., but unfortunately I did not get an answer. The repair is done now, and the lens is well working again. It suffered from a loose anti-reflectionring inside. This ring was disturbing the lightparth. For that the frontelements (three pieces of big glass) had to be removed to get a reach on this ring.

    Just minutes ago I read this thread about Mamiya, another object of my interests. My eye fell on comments on the MF 75-150mm telezoom, from which I can't possible find any information about it what so ever.

    Specially what Gary Ferguson said (Dec 29, 2011; 07:39 a.m.): "In particular I'd point to the Mamiya 120mm macro, the 75-150mm zoom, the 150mm D, the 300mm apo, the 28mm D, and the 45mm D as absolutely world class lenses."

    I hardly can't agree to him: I don't have any info about this 75-150mm lens.

    Perhaps I tell first you something about my experience with Mamiya.

    I bought one M645 in the beginning of the 80th of the former century, with a standard 80mm f2.8 and a wide 55mm f2.8. Both lenses are now out of order (sticking aperture, separating elements), but I did make beautifull photo's with it. The body is still working flawlessly, although it shows some wear from use. Since I also use a Pentax K200, and since I have seen the pro’s and contra’s of digital, I was more thinking about the old fashion way of photographing then about digital. I am no analoque fetish but I pity the way people, myself included, take the ease of throwing a nice photo away since it fast done so. It makes me in a way lazy and everybody kows what I mean with it.
    However, I am neither a professional photographer. Photographing was a side need to my profession: designer with a whish now and then to have a photo as quick as possible. Since I learned at the academy about how to photograph I was able to do a nice job. But is was nmo more than a refining of my design.

    Today I have more time to spent on photography. So I bought secondhand lenses from Pentax as well as from Mamiya, included some bodies: Pentax filmbodies and one Mamiya filmbody, the Mamiya 645Super. Mamiya lenses I have (I like lenses in almost any aspect) are from 35 mm to 500mm and between, and this peculiar 75-150. From many lenses I have read the comments (the 120mm f4 macro is the best, I will have this one sooner or later) but I can’t find anything about the slight telezoom 75-150mm. I even can’t find its elementconstruction (how many). Also the sunhood is hard to find.

    Is there any who can help me?
    It is a Mamiya Sekor C 75-150mm f4.5 manual focus. The construction looks to me very steady and solid, the frontring is 77 mm., its builnr. is 10745, engravingcharacters are from before 2000, the bayonet only shows very slight wear (almost not used).

    A remark: The older lenses have a nice performance on the outer construction. Mamiya, as well as Pentax used paint for the engraving marks on the lensbarrel from which this paint glowes in the dark (complete dark) when hard blue light is shining on the barrel. Specially hard blue light from LED’s (so called black-light makes almost any paintcolour glowing).
    Orange, red and green paint lights up so you can read it easily in dark conditions. Also the old M645 body and its prism has this typical paint (fluor?), but the modern equipment has not. You see the fifference easily! Pity about the modern stuff.

    Coming back to my question for info about the 75-150mm: is there anyone who can help me?
    I hope there is.
    Anything may help me: an internet url, an old website or info-website about older Mamiya equipment, a copy from a manual, a list/agenda of productions, reviews, exploded views or diagramms, anything.

    Many thanks for your help.
    When you have perhaps a question and I know answers, please ask me.

    Peter Coene

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