Tony Howell Photography

Mamiya Lens Tests by Tony Howell

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Phase One LogoPhase One 645AF

Camera used for these tests

Phase One 645AF (same as Mamiya 645AFD III) with P45 digital back 39 Megapixels resolution

Produces 112mb (8 bit) files suitable for huge prints.

Manually-focused images using Mamiya FD 402 focus magnifier, tripod, no wind, bright but overcast. I used glasses but am not great at focusing (long sighted!). I still prefer it to AF though. Mamiya Electronic release used. I'm not technically-minded, I'm only interested in how lenses perform in real situations. These tests are not comprehensive, but will hopefully help anyone interested in buying these products, or anyone who already owns them but hasn't tested them yet (why haven't you!). I'm just sharing this information because I looked for it on the web, but couldn't find enough about these lenses. Mamiya lenses are excellent if you understand how to get the best from them, and they're at bargain prices on the used market.

Mamiya 120mm macro for 645AF

Brief Summary: - Manual focus lens with superb resolution, good corners (this is where a landscape photographer like me, who loves sharp foregrounds needs good results), centre best at f8. I would use this lens at f16 if I needed to achieve good depth of field in a hurry, but for best results would stack several frames at f8, or an f8 on top of an f22 depending on how much depth of field was required (f-stop stacking). The best Mamiya/Phase One lens I've ever used. All four corners and the centre are excellent. I use it more for landscapes than macro, but it is also a magnificent macro lens. Performed well wide open at f4. Highly recommended lens 10/10.


Okay, here's the subject I used to do this brief test. Exciting eh?! But useful.

Lens Test

Manual Focused images using Mamiya FD 402 focus magnifier, tripod, no wind, bright but overcast. I used glasses but am not great at close-ups (long sighted!).

Centre at f8 (my focusing was slightly out, so a little down from centre). The best result: -

Lens Test

Centre at f22. Contrast, colour and sharpness somewhat lost due to diffraction, but still usable if pushed: -

Lens Test

Bottom Left Corner at f8 (still in the zone of sharp focus). Stunning: -

Lens Test

Bottom Left Corner at f22, still okay, but contrast and sharpness somewhat lost
to diffraction : -

Lens Test

The bottom right corner showed similar results to the ones above.

Top right corner at f8 (out of the zone of sharp focus). Acceptable: -

Lens Test

Top right corner at f22, sharper due to the small aperture. If doing landscapes where sky is at the top I wouldn't
use f22 as the sky doesn't need to be sharp, but if doing architecture I'd f-stop stack: -

Lens Test

The top left corner showed similar results to the ones above - sharper because of the smaller aperture.

Macro shot - 3 images at f8 stacked


Here's a recent shot followed by a 100 % crop: -

Sandymouth Beach

1/4 sec, f16 ISO100, 120mm Macro, tripod.
100 % crop: -

Sandymouth Beach

I would recommend doing your own tests with all your lenses. I learn a lot from doing this, and know what to expect from this lens when out in the field.

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Mamiya 120mm macro review | Mamiya 105-210mm review | Mamiya 55-110mm review
Mamiya 300mm review | Mamiya 50mm Shift lens review