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 50mm f4 Shift lens for 645 and 645AF

Brief Summary: - Wide Angle fixed lens, manual focus, with very good resolution, good corners (much better than my Mamiya 35mm due to the larger image circle of this shift lens, as good as Mamiya 35mm when shifted), centre best at f8. CA (Chromatic Aberration) in corners when shifted, but can be removed with software. A lens which surprised me at how good it was for landscape (not so sure about architecture because of the CA) 8/10.

50mm Shift

Okay, here's the subject I used to do this brief test: -

Lens Test

Centre at f8 (a little down from centre). Compared to the best lens I own (Mamiya 120mm macro) this is very close in terms of sharpness, a significant result: -

Lens Test

Near top left corner at f8. CA visible but very sharp with good contrast: -

Lens Test

Same image as above, with 6mm of shift applied. No CA visible: -

Lens Test

The entire shifted view: -

Top off centre at f8 shifted, still good, but CA visible (cyan fringing): -

Lens Test

I recommend this lens for landscape, it's nice and sharp without any shift, and I do use it shifted with care. It's
not as good as the Canon 24mm TS-E II, but is only 15% of the price. If architecture was my thing, I'd probably be
using large format digital or a Hasselblad 'H' digital with tilt/shift adaptor

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

Suspension Bridge

6 seconds at f11, ISO 50, 7mm of shift, tripod.
100 % crop: -

Suspension Bridge

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