Tagged: review

Frank Doorhof on the Credo 60

DoorhofDutch photographer Frank Doorhof has just purchased a Leaf Cred0 60 as an upgrade from his Aptus-II 7. Known for his fashion, glamour and celebrity portraits, Doorhof also teaches photography workshops worldwide.

In a remarkably short time of owning his new Credo 60, Doorhof has published a detailed review of his new acquisition. Complete with specs and many sample photos, this is one of the first comprehensive reviews we’ve seen on any Credo model.

Beginning with an interesting comparison of current DSLRs versus medium format cameras, Doorhof explores depth-of-field, speed, and f-stop range. He stresses the quality of the detail he can pull from the Credo 60, and that the speed of one frame per second holds up during a fashion shoot.

Doorhof gives high marks to the Credo 60′s display. When his workshop was doing outdoor work in direct sunlight, one of his students had difficulty seeing the back of a Nikon display. In comparison, the Credo 60 delivered full detail at 80% brightness. He calls the Credo 60 display “amazing.”

He cites the USB3 support and batteries as other highlights. Here’s a quote from Doorhof’s conclusion:

I LOVE the new Credo 60, it’s a very “sexy” back with a great display and it’s FAST. The resolution is nice (and I can’t wait to do some real detailed shots with this back). Color and sharpness are amazing like I’m used from Leaf, the “roundness/3D” look is even better than with my old AptusII 7. USB3 is a really good addition seeing that Apple is dropping Firewire800 from their MacBookPro series.

Doorhof also rates the Leaf Credo 60 as a “better buy” over the Phase One IQ. He wraps up his review with a 100% crop from an earlier shot in the review. The detail is stunning.

Don’t miss the full review here. Learn more about Frank Doorhof’s workshops, DVDs, or his photography at his site.

Mil-Leica on the Mamiya DM28

Mil-LeicaWisconsin Photographer Troy Freund has a blog called Mil-Leica, where he shares info and photos taken primarily with Leica cameras. Freund recently posted about his initial testing with a Mamiya DM28.

He includes several bullet point observations and some test shots. “The camera was great to work with. Though larger even than my Leica R8+DMR, it still felt good in my hand and wasn’t hard to hold,” Freund writes.

Check out Troy Freund’s site for more of his work.

Leaf Aptus-II 80MP “R” Shines in British Journal of Photography Article

The British Journal of Photography, one of the industry’s most respected and widely read publications, has just released an article reviewing Cambo’s Wide RS Anniversary Edition “pancake” shift camera. This in-depth article also provides an excellent breakdown on the benefits of pairing Cambo’s camera with the Mamiya 80MP “R” back and Leaf Capture workflow software.

This article is the second British Journal of Photography article reviewing the 80MP Leaf Aptus-II digital back. The first one was released six months ago and can be accessed here.

The comparison includes the following excerpts:

“To complement this competent camera, I had the use of the Leaf Aptus II 12R back, an 80-megapixel, 645-format unit that delivers a 240MB file (as an eight-bit TIFF) of 10,320×7752 pixels, which are just over five microns in size. The Dalsa-made sensor measures 53.7×40.3mm, which effectively covers 100 percent of a 6×4.5cm frame.”

“It’s all too easy to drop expensive digital backs when mounting or remounting them so, to overcome such hazards, Leaf engineers have somehow found room to rotate the sensor within the casing of the Aptus back. A large and convenient thumb wheel on the left-hand side of the housing turns the sensor from vertical to horizontal, with a positive click stop at each limit. This is such a pleasure to use in any kind of shooting that it would be perverse not to buy this “R” version of the back, especially as it doesn’t cost any more money.”

Click here to read the full report.

Karen Nakamura on the RB67 Pro

Karen Nakamura has put together a review of the Mamiya RB67 Pro. It goes into some fine detail on the history of model, which was first introduced in 1970, with substantial improvements over the past 30 years.

©Karen Nakamura

Nakamura explains modifications she’s done to her RB Pro, including mounting an RZ waist level finder on it, “which confuses everybody,” she writes. She warns you won’t be able to use your RB hood after this conversion without replacing the screws a second time. She also reports this modification is physical, and there are no working electronics between her RB body and the RZ hood.

The review also contains interesting sections on lenses and an auxiliary handle.

You can see more of Karen Nakamura’s work at photoethnography.com.

Matt Beardsley on the Mamiya RZ33

Matt Beardsley recently posted a review of the Mamiya RZ33 on Photoarts Monthly. In this informative article, Beardsley covers all the basics and answers many questions photographers new to medium format cameras may have. He provides some beautiful product photography of his own, showcasing the camera and the RZ67 Pro IID, lenses, and the DM33 digital back, including its various menus. Be sure to view the slideshow at the end of the piece to see all of these.

Going into considerable depth on the DM33, Beardsley raves about its menus and options, including the industry-leading feature of having twelve options for color space. He also points out the RZ33 is one of a shrinking number of bodies which can accept a film back. “I can say the RZ33 gets top marks for beefy build quality. In fact, it might be the only one that feels worthy of its price tag,” he writes.

Beardsley ends his review with the following summary paragraph.

“The classic Mamiya RZ67 line lives on in the RZ33, a big, mechanical camera with both the RZ’s classic, straight-forward machinery and a highly sophisticated 33 MP digital capture system. The camera has a few unique features: a rotating back for landscape or portrait orientation, an all leaf-shutter and widely available line of highly-regarded lenses, a digital back that can also operate on a Mamiya 645DF camera, and the ability to accept a film back (available here as a $4,250 film back kit). Though more modernized and compact digital medium format cameras are available in roughly the same price neighborhood (notably, the Hasselblad H4D-40) the Mamiya RZ33is a unique creative tool, with undeniable character. It is certain to find a place in contemporary photography.”

Thanks, Matt. Love your product shots, and hope to see more soon.

Phase One Sekor AF 110mm Named One of Six Best Portrait Lenses

The British Journal of Photography has listed the Phase One Sekor AF 110mm f/2.8 LS D as one of the six best portrait lenses. Stating the lens is “designed to be critically sharp,” the David Kilpatrick also writes, “What sets this lens apart is the 1/1600s leaf shutter flash synchronisation speed, the first leaf shutter to exceed the 1/1000s sync of the linear-motor Rollei SLX lenses unveiled in 1970.”

Thank you for the great review, David. Cheers!

Kirk Tuck Reviews the Mamiya DL28


Noellia give the Alien Bees Ringlight a test flash. Camera: The Mamiya DL28. Degree of difficulty: Not much

© Kirk Tuck

Kirk Tuck Reviews Mamiya DL28 (requires login, reprinted by permission below)

Another Camera Paradigm Shift… Mamiya Gets Sensible.

If you’ve read my stuff here this year you probably know that I’ve had the opportunity to test a couple other medium format digital camera systems. And every one of them had a unique selling proposition. But the one thing they all seemed to have in common was price tag on par with the sticker price of a nice BMW automobile. If you’ve read my reasons for wanting a MFDC you know why I want one. If this is your first visit then let me bring you up to speed.

I’ve always liked the way the longer focal lengths we used on film medium format cameras created portrait images. The sharp areas were really sharp and then the images rolled out of focus very gracefully until the backgrounds were just a gorgeous amalgam of softness and mystery. Somehow I’ve never been able to get precisely the same effect with shorter optics (giving the same angles of view.…) on 35mm style digital cameras.

We also loved the sweeping image area of the larger format in film and by extension in digital precisely because it rendered images with a much greater subtlety than the smaller formats when all other parameters were equal. In digital capture the sheer quantity of pixels goes a long way to making images look smoother and cleaner. The larger pixel wells (when compared to high res 35mm DSLR’s) also contribute to very wide dynamic ranges. In the Mamiya DL 28 system the Leaf back is rated at 12 full stops of d-range which is almost two stops more than the best DSLR’s (excepting the exceptional six megapixel Fuji S5 pro).

Finally, it is only in the MFDC realm that you are able to shoot with a true 16 bit imaging file. This means lots and lots more gradations between tones and colors. The big drawback to MFDC’s has always been the price of entry. But that’s the paradigm that Mamiya shifted. The entry price has plummeted. The new camera package is just shy of $15,000. That includes the latest Mamiya AFD3 body (usable with both film and a range of digital backs.…), a newly computed 80mm lens that’s been optimized for digital capture, and a newly released Leaf 28 megapixel back with an enormous touch screen.

Still a bit more money than a Canon 1DS mk3 or a Nikon D3x but maybe a much better investment in the long run. How could that be? Well, for starters the sensor industry isn’t standing still but none of the 35mm style bodies are currently upgradable. That means a big breakthrough in sensor technology demands the purchase of yet another body. With the Mamiya system it means trading in the back and keeping the camera you know. It means being able to buy a back up body at a much lower price. And while DSLR’s keep improving so do the MFDC’s.

The latest from Mamiya goes a long way toward separating a portrait specialist from the pack. With state of the art autofocus, digitally optimized lenses and an open standard interface for a wide range of backs, it may be the most scalable, practical and sensible professional system on the market today.

The DL28 is state of the art in a number of ways that give it leverage against competitors. The Leaf back uses a new generation LCD screen on the rear that presents a lot of real estate for checking composition, histograms and relative color. The back is also a touch screen and it makes setting capture parameters very straight forward. Your clients will love the way this camera tethers to laptops and workstations because they’ll be able to see your work writ large.

The well protected touch screen keeps the camera design sleek and pared down. I think it’s the nicest designed of all the MFDC’s on the market. Note the battery for the back at the bottom of the camera. The camera itself takes six conventional double “A’s”. The back is good for 250 exposures per charge while I shot over 1200 exposures without budging the battery indicator for the body.

So why would you want to spend the money on one of these? Well, if you are in the business of providing carefully composed and styled images to art directors or big portraits to families, this system will give you a better image than you’ll get with the latest generations of DSLR’s. If you aim for the top of the markets you serve the difference in price will certainly be offset by the sheer quality improvement. In some ways it’s an intangible but to the really picky customers you can rest assured it’s noticeable!

The second reason is pure marketing. If you are truly the best (and most expensive) of the suppliers in your market your customer may want to know why you shoot with the same kind of camera as uncle Bob. You may think the gear doesn’t matter but if you are in competition with someone who is equally proficient and just as personable as you (I know, that’s hardly possible.….) the choice of shooting gear may just tip the scales in someone’s favor.

If you were a Mamiya shooter back in the film days and you still have your gear you’ll be pleased to know that all the AF lenses work flawlessly while all of the manual 645 lenses can be mounted and used with manual aperture stop down.

Given my recent article about surviving the recession how can I justify singing the praises of a $14,000 camera system? Simple, if it can give me the edge over several of my close competitors it could pay for itself in a week’s worth of shooting. Besides, I’m not saying you need to rush out and purchase one of these without regard to the overall market. I’m sure there will be plenty in rental and I think you’ll be wise to try one on the next large scale production you book. Caveat!!!!! If you are a fast paced wedding photographer who routinely slams out 4,000 available light shots per wedding then no medium format camera system is currently for you. The frame to frame time is too slow (less than one per second), the autofocus isn’t as speedy as that on a Nikon D3, and the luscious, elegant files are Raw only and far too big to make speedy,templated processing fun.

If you are a methodical worker, a portrait photographer, still life shooter or architectural shooter one of these will certainly raise your game to a higher level.

Other News. Making Book.
My second book is wending its way through the production process and will become available at Amazon.com and at quality bookstores around the country on April 1st, 2009. It’s all about studio lighting and it’s aimed at advanced amateurs and working
pros. We all know a lot about photography but I might know different stuff than you. It’s already up for presale on Amazon .

So, the year is just about over and it’s been an interesting one. Who would have thought that the world financial markets would have collapsed so quickly? And who would have thought that we’d have four full frame DSLR’s to choose from in one year?
No matter what you photograph keep in mind that experts claim it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master your craft. There are no shortcuts. So dig in and go. Shooting is the only way to practice shooting. Don’t hang up your camera when the paying jobs
wrap up. Take days and weeks to shoot self assigned work that buoys your spirits and refreshes your mind.

I hope you have marvelous holidays and that your part of the world is peaceful and prosperous.
See you all in January.

About the author:
A final note: I’ve just finished my second book. It’s really the Minimalist Guide to studio lighting and it’s packed with demos and examples. It should be available in the Spring of 2009. In the meantime my first book, Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for location Lighting, continues to sell very well. It is available at most camera stores and at online vendors such as Amazon.com.

I am currently working on my next book which is a handbook for commercial photographers and people who are interested in becoming profitable, commercial photographers. Unlike the bulk of technical books on the market, none of these is obsessed with lighting young women in skimpy costumes. Instead, I’ve tried to concentrate on giving readers some insight into the kinds of photography that generate the bulk of photographer income: Business portraits, product shots, lifestyle shots, food photography and more. I’m always looking for your feedback so feel free to e-mail me directly at kirktuck@kirktuck.com

Kirk studied Electrical Engineering, English and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. Began teaching in the college of fine arts at UT in 1981. Left the University in 1984 to become the director and creative director of a regional advertising agency in Austin, Texas. The agency was Avanti Advertising and Design. We did retail advertising for the first "category killer" book store, Bookstop, Inc. Their 124 stores were purchased by Barnes and Noble in 1987 and I took advantage of the sale and transition to leave the advertising agency and begin a career as a freelance photographer.