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Ordo Aug 12, 2009 4:48 PM

Migrating from Mamiya 7
Given the fact that Mamiya will never offer a digital back for my Mamiya 7, what would be the DSLR equivalent option?
I mean: getting detailed 1 meter prints.

Mark1616 Aug 12, 2009 5:58 PM

What sort of environments? There are MF digital options or the high quality 35mm cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony, all of which would be looking at mixed to the right lens.

Having said that I've had good A1 prints from 10mp cameras as long as the original shot is sharp and the per pixel detail is high.

peripatetic Aug 13, 2009 3:15 AM

You're probably asking in the wrong place. And there is no easy or uncontroversial answer.

For colour photography the new set of 20Mp DSLR cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony will give very similar results to drum-scanned 6x4.5 if you get your processing right, compared to consumer-quality scanners like the Coolscan 9000 they will compare well with 6x6. The new 65Mp medium format backs are generally held to be exceeding 4x5 system quality. There is also the new forthcoming Leica S system, which looks very exciting (with exciting prices too).

For BW it's a lot more complex, digital has a harder time competing.

The forums and articles/reviews over at luminous-landscape hold a wealth of experience of this sort of thing. I don't there is anyone here at Steves who regularly uses anything more than DSLRs.

A few links you might find interesting:

In the second link you can substitute Sony A900 / Canon 5DMk II / Nikon D3X for the Canon 1DSMkIII - they are almost identical in terms of resolution.

Ordo Aug 13, 2009 1:30 PM

(Probably the forum was that of DSRL. Sorry. May be an administrator can move the post).

Thanks for the answers. The articles are interesting peripatetic. Would like to see printed tests.

I’ve checked both. Mamiya DL and Leica S systems. And Hasselblad H3DII-50! They are indeed superb. But let’s admit it: all of them are super professional cameras and have proscribed prices.

Mamiya 7 (65 and 150) lenses are outstanding and for a traveler amateur like me they render pretty amazing results.
I will investigate top DSLRs like both of you suggested. Thanks.

Mark1616 Aug 13, 2009 4:18 PM

As you've intimated already Ordo, good glass is key as even a great body won't give you the benefits if you don't put the right lens on the front.

I would look at the system and the lenses you are likely to want to use in the future to get a 2-3 year figure etc.

How soon do you need to purchase as we are getting close to one of the big camera shows which takes place in Sept and often there can be new releases? You might see a Canon 60D and Nikon 400D, although not likely to be full frame you might get the results you desire for a great price from an APS-C camera.

Ordo Aug 13, 2009 5:01 PM

I'm not in a hurry Mark. I'll wait.
But let me say that I hate Mamiya for not offering some kind of digital back or adaptators for the owners of this pretty expensive lenses.
Thanks for your time.

Mark1616 Aug 13, 2009 5:06 PM

I agree that it is a pain not being able to get a digital back but the cost of R&D to just make one fit and work well is pretty high so they have to look at the potential returns and unfortunately the 7 is not likely now to have enough users who haven't already switched to justify this.

If they did, I'm sure it would be a great camera to get to play with, I love the results from larger formats.

peripatetic Aug 14, 2009 2:33 AM

I also love MF film, especially in BW.

About 3 months ago I had to decide whether to upgrade my 5D to a 5DMkII or purchase a Mamiya 7II or the new Bessa III folder with a high-end flatbed scanner. It was a very close call, but in the end I decided to go the easy and practical route with the 5DMkII.

But unlike you I don't routinely make very large prints. I will someday still end up with a Mamiya 7II I'm sure, but what decided me against it this time was simply the convenience of digital - and my desire for great output without the time involved in film or film+digital workflows. If I didn't have to squeeze my photography into a busy life I would probably have gone with the Mamiya. :-)

They couldn't make the 7 into a digital system because of the acute angle-of-incidence from the rangefinder lenses. Same problem as Leica with the M8 basically.

In your shoes I would have a very long look at the Sony A900 and the Zeiss lenses.

Ordo Aug 14, 2009 10:57 AM

What amazes me is the quality of the prints I get, the image textures and detail. It’s like the Mamiya lenses put their own personality in my picks. Nothing I can share in the web.
But remember the extreme limitations of this camera relating the pretty long minimum focus distances. Of course you can crop a lot.
I’ll carefully study that Sony A900. Thanks!

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