This is more or less the camera that started film photography for me. The focus falloff and rendering was just so surreal compared to full-frame and crop-sensor cameras that I had been shooting with. Unfortunately, the cost of entry was a little steep for a digital back. After doing some research I stumbled upon film cameras. And so it began. Now that was a few years ago.
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You can ask many a fashion or wedding photographer. It can also be had for a fraction of the cost of a Contax. Curious about this relatively undervalued workhorse? The obsession was nowhere near the level of high school me with Cindy Crawford or college me with Laetitia Casta getting those posters laminated was a good idea but I was smitten enough to collect magazines that she was featured in.
That camera as it turns out, was a Mamiya AFD. None of the above of course ever happened. However the opportunity to finally be able to shoot this camera recently has rekindled this sentimental mission ;. It was released in Japan in September followed in December by the AFD, a virtually identical version made compatible with some digital backs not produced by Mamiya at the time.
These all retain the ability to use either film or a digital backs, easily switching from one to the other quickly, even mid-roll if desired. Similarly, the Mamiya AFD bridged the divide between film and digital in the professional medium format market. The camera features few menus, opting for buttons or dials operations of all the major functions and the camera controls are intuitive and well laid out.
The camera has an amazingly accurate metering system and autofocus that is surprisingly snappy. Mamiya AFD has an internal autofocus motor that communicates with the lens via a small blade on the lens mount.
The blade connects to a holder on the back of the lens that then actuates the movement of the lens focusing apparatus. A control dial on the exterior of the camera body is where the aperture is selected, as the lens has no aperture ring. Its optical construction includes 6 elements in 5 groups. The camera uses TTL phase-difference detection AF that activates in low light and has a maximum working range of 20 feet. One source of griping is that the ISO settings on the film magazines are a bit fiddly with the small buttons.
The film back requires a battery so that is a bit annoying as well. The camera is well balanced and fits well in the hand and handles well like intended. It really does feel like a 35mm SLR on steroids. However, I found the thumb wheel to be in an awkward position.
I love proper magazines, you can swap out mid-roll and you could even go from shooting film to shooting a digital back without a hitch. You reliably get the full shots from a roll. I even managed to get 33 shots out of a roll of Speaking of which, the magazines accept both and film by just switching around the pressure plate.
One really sweet feature is the camera has a data imprinting function that allows you to superimpose camera settings as well as the date on the photograph. Scanned on a Canoscan f with Vuescan. I enjoyed shooting with the Mamiya AFD more than I thought I would and was impressed with its ease of use and handling.
The finder is nice, the autofocus was accurate even in continuous mode for most street candid scenarios. The metering system is impressive and accuracy is paramount when shooting slides.
Some people like the clinical sharpness one would expect from Mamiya and the 80mm lens is a shining example. I've been in Japan for 11 years, initially as a graphic designer for a major ad agency then after the earthquake said fuck this shit, became a freelancer and never looked back.
Your email address will not be published. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Viewfinder: Fixed prism viewfinder magnification x0.
Switches between Average and Spot modes depending on the relative contrast within the overall image. Spot mode will be automatically selected when the brightness within the measured range is lower than the brightness of the overall picture by about 1. The Average mode is selected when the Spot exposure metering value is the same or brighter than the Average value. When the difference between spot and average is between. Mamiya AFD Ergonomics The camera is well balanced and fits well in the hand and handles well like intended.
Mamiya AFD Other Features One really sweet feature is the camera has a data imprinting function that allows you to superimpose camera settings as well as the date on the photograph. Previous In your bag No: — Robert Timothy. About The Author. Related Posts. Leave a reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.
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An Owner's Review of the Mamiya 645AFD
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Mamiya 645 AF and 645 AFD series
It was released in Japan in September These retain the ability to use either film or a digital back, switching from one to the other quickly, mid-roll if desired. The cameras have a new bayonet lens mount incorporating several electrical contacts, to support the use of AF lenses. Many of the features of the AF are retained from Mamiya's previous series of 4. However, the camera is not built in the modular way that those cameras were; the power film winder is built-in, as is the AE prism viewfinder; a waist-level finder cannot be used although there is a right-angle eyepiece attachment. As in previous camera series, the prism finder has settings for spot S or center-weighted average A metering, and a setting A-S in which the camera automatically selects one or other of these, or an exposure between the two, based on the variation in brightness in the scene. The viewfinder eyepiece has a shutter to keep out light when the camera is used away from the eye, and built-in diotric adjustment.
Mamiya 645 AFD III - SLR camera - medium Specs
Camera Geekery: Mamiya AFD