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Leica M9 or going to Mamiya DM22
Old 04-02-2019   #1
nutmeg
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Leica M9 or going to Mamiya DM22

Hi everyone,

I really enjoy my M9 and doesn't have much to complain about it...

But yesterday I saw in a second hand shop a huge Mamiya 645df + DM22 +80mm lens for 1200€.

It is not little money so I'd like to ask you guys if I could get a "better" image quality with this set up than with my M9 and solid glass I already have?

Thanks for your comments!

(Quite new to the forum so feel free to move the thread to an other more appropriate section)
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Old 04-02-2019   #2
nightfly
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The short answer is yes. The image quality will be better.

The longer answer is that it will be different. Shallower depth of field, more subtle color gradations. Like with film, medium format digital is a different look and due to the size and weightiness of the camera, you shoot differently, slower, more deliberate.

I have an M9 as well and was missing medium format. I almost bought a Pentax 645D or maybe a 645Z (the D has a CCD sensor like the M9 and I tend to like that look). But wasn't prepared to carry around such a big weighty camera. The variety of inexpensive, very good quality glass was compelling.

I ended up selling my Mamiya 7 kit which I wasn't using much and getting a Fuji GFX 50R, their new medium format digital rangefinder. More modern and lighter and cheaper than anything else on the new market. Amazing image quality, much different than M9 but I tend to save it for special projects rather than grab and go like I do with my M9. I would think the Mamiya setup you are considering would be even more like this.

Not sure if that helps.
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Old 04-02-2019   #3
willie_901
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The perceived image quality will be superior to the M9. This is really an apple and oranges comparison. The DM22 listed for $10K in 2009. Back then, Forum reports and reviews were very positive.

More sensor surface area means more total signal-to-noise ratio. This means more dynamic range. The DM22 raw file DR spec is 12 f-stops. The 16 bit ADC insures quantization noise will be low. Perceived shadow region image quality will benefit the most.

You already use a CCD sensor, so you know how to avoid or minimize CCC bloom artifacts due to sensor over exposure. The DM22's higher DR will make this even easier.

When you use raw files, the color rendition should be versatile and flexible.



I have no idea how the lenses compare.
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Old 04-02-2019   #4
nutmeg
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Thanks for your input, guys!

And do feel the 1200€ are a fair price for this system in 2019?
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Old 04-02-2019   #5
Bill Clark
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For the photographs I made in my business, full frame 35 digital worked just great. I sold a few large prints (50x40 was my largest).

I found that the set up was even more important than the camera used.

Your name used, reminds me of a receipe I learned from Jacques Pepin for Lasagna. One of the ingredients is spinach, that after a short steam in the micro, some nutmeg is added to the spinach which gives it a nice flavor. My retirement hobby, cooking. Eating delicious food is one of the greatest pleasures in life.

I hope this helps you with your photography journey and maybe after you discover Jacques.

By the way photographing food is deliciously fun!
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Old 04-02-2019   #6
rfaspen
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The price seems good. We don't know the condition of the gear though, but it seems like a reasonable price to me if all the bits are in good order.


Like said above, the image quality will be better. The kinds of images you shoot with the MF kit will be different than with the M9 -- just because of ergonomics. That might be fine. If you're interested in improving your landscapes, the MF kit will be a huge improvement. If you're interested in improving your candid shots, the MF kit might not be as versatile as the M9. You get the idea.


Would you have to give up the M9 to get the Mamiya? Sure would be nice to have both worlds available to you...

Last edited by rfaspen : 04-02-2019 at 09:53. Reason: spelling error
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Old 04-02-2019   #7
rulnacco
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The quality you can get from a medium format digital back, even a relatively elderly one, is simply stunning. I've got a Sinarback 54M that I picked up for around $850 on eBay. (It's actually my second one, but I won't bore you with the details of all that.) I originally shot it on the back of a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II, and now I use it on a Hasselblad 553ELX.

It's so old--roughly 12 years now--that you have to shoot it tethered: it has no screen, no battery, no memory card slot or other storage. And it's only 22 megapixels. But it's 22 *glorious* megapixels. It actually kills my Nikon D810 with its 36MP. That's partially because it basically has the same resolution in the end--I prefer a little less oblong crop than the 3:2 ratio of the DSLR, so I frequently throw away bits, especially at the bottom, from the D810's files to crop a bit more square. The 4:3 ratio of the MF sensor is a little bit nicer, in my opinion, and leaves me about the same file size as I would have after cropping a D810 shot.

The older sensor won't necessarily give you the best color and apparent sharpness straight out of camera, compared to a modern DSLR--which has many adjustments sort of baked in, even if they can be tweaked considerably. However, it just feels as if you can do more to manipulate the files to get what you want; it's kind of like, I think, using really good movie film and shooting it a little flat, and then having lots of latitude in color grading it afterward.

To give you an example of what a file from an old back can produce, have a look: http://www.presquevu.com/apa071.jpg. Make sure to blow it up to full size, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

(By the way, this points out something else--I really think the Mamiya RZ lenses are sharper than my Zeiss Hasselblad lenses. That particular portrait was shot with the 180 W-N, and it just pops a little more than the lenses on my Blad, although they're no slouches either, certainly.)

I wouldn't give up an M9--I'd *love* to have one to complement my M3 and M6--but depending on what you shoot primarily, you might find digital medium format more useful. But if you can afford to keep both, there's no reason not to--and double your pleasure!
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Old 04-02-2019   #8
Ko.Fe.
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Whooping 22mb and highest iso at 400.
Have you seen pictures from it? They are availible on Flickr.
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Old 04-02-2019   #9
nutmeg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Clark View Post
For the photographs I made in my business, full frame 35 digital worked just great. I sold a few large prints (50x40 was my largest).

I found that the set up was even more important than the camera used.

Your name used, reminds me of a receipe I learned from Jacques Pepin for Lasagna. One of the ingredients is spinach, that after a short steam in the micro, some nutmeg is added to the spinach which gives it a nice flavor. My retirement hobby, cooking. Eating delicious food is one of the greatest pleasures in life.

I hope this helps you with your photography journey and maybe after you discover Jacques.

By the way photographing food is deliciously fun!
Very good! yes I have been cooking professionally and nutmeg is a spice you can find in almost any recipe in Germany. Freshly moved from France to Germany my first chef told me about the wonders of the nutmeg.. The Nickname came from here ;-)
If you like nutmeg, use it abusively in combination with parsley or saffron.. and german food naturally!
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Old 04-02-2019   #10
nutmeg
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Guys, many thanks for your inputs! I'm gonna pull the trigger on this one..
Naurally the Leica M9 with a compact summicron/summilux 35 is for me like the perfect set up for many things of the everyday life. I can't let it go. Never. Actually when I leave my home I never forget: keys, wallet, M9, cigarettes.. (some say I should leave the cigarettes ;-) )

I know a bit Leica, Canon digital cams and lenses in general but nothing about Mamiya. Is there something special I should worry about when testing/buying this cam?
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Old 04-02-2019   #11
nutmeg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rulnacco View Post
The quality you can get from a medium format digital back, even a relatively elderly one, is simply stunning. I've got a Sinarback 54M that I picked up for around $850 on eBay. (It's actually my second one, but I won't bore you with the details of all that.) I originally shot it on the back of a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II, and now I use it on a Hasselblad 553ELX.

It's so old--roughly 12 years now--that you have to shoot it tethered: it has no screen, no battery, no memory card slot or other storage. And it's only 22 megapixels. But it's 22 *glorious* megapixels. It actually kills my Nikon D810 with its 36MP. That's partially because it basically has the same resolution in the end--I prefer a little less oblong crop than the 3:2 ratio of the DSLR, so I frequently throw away bits, especially at the bottom, from the D810's files to crop a bit more square. The 4:3 ratio of the MF sensor is a little bit nicer, in my opinion, and leaves me about the same file size as I would have after cropping a D810 shot.

The older sensor won't necessarily give you the best color and apparent sharpness straight out of camera, compared to a modern DSLR--which has many adjustments sort of baked in, even if they can be tweaked considerably. However, it just feels as if you can do more to manipulate the files to get what you want; it's kind of like, I think, using really good movie film and shooting it a little flat, and then having lots of latitude in color grading it afterward.

To give you an example of what a file from an old back can produce, have a look: http://www.presquevu.com/apa071.jpg. Make sure to blow it up to full size, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

(By the way, this points out something else--I really think the Mamiya RZ lenses are sharper than my Zeiss Hasselblad lenses. That particular portrait was shot with the 180 W-N, and it just pops a little more than the lenses on my Blad, although they're no slouches either, certainly.)

I wouldn't give up an M9--I'd *love* to have one to complement my M3 and M6--but depending on what you shoot primarily, you might find digital medium format more useful. But if you can afford to keep both, there's no reason not to--and double your pleasure!

mmh.. I can't believe this pic is "only" 22Mp. Insane!
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Old 04-02-2019   #12
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I just picked up a Leaf AFi II 7 for my Hy6. This is a relatively old 33mp digital back with a 1.1 crop factor.

The images are stunning. My D810 is a very nice camera, but at low ISOs it just doesn't come close. It also seems to enlarge or upres much more easily. 150% enlargements in PS show no obvious degradation, and that makes a massive 75mp image.

Your issue though is moving from an RF to a bulky MFD camera. It's just different worlds.
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Old 04-03-2019   #13
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If everything is in good order, I think the price is very good

The 400 maximum ISO setting is not really an issue.
  • The photo site conversion gain can be optimized for maximum dynamic range or maximum low-light sensitivity or set to compromise. (link) Most marketing directors tell the engineers to use a compromise design. It seems Mamiya decided to maximize dynamic range.
  • Typically these cameras are used on a tripod for static subjects. In low light simply increase the shutter time.
  • In a studio, off-camera lighting negates any disadvantage from an ISO 400 maximum.
  • In other circumstances use raw files and push the image brightness in post-production. I have not seen data for the DM22, but I would expect a two stop push (similar, if not equivalent to ISO 1600 when the camera is set to 400) would be fine. You may have to experiment with different camera ISO settings (lower ISO settings require a higher post-production push to brighten the inage). The setting you want to use is the highest ISO setting where photon noise level is much higher greater than the camera read noise level. You can shoot a gray card to visually determine the optimum combination of camera ISO setting and push-production raw-file brightening.
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Basically, I mean, ah—well, let’s say that for me anyway when a photograph is interesting, it’s interesting because of the kind of photographic problem it states—which has to do with the . . . contest between content and form.
Garry Winogrand
williamchuttonjr.com
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Old 04-03-2019   #14
nutmeg
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Thanks for your input!

with the M9 I never shoot above 640ISO so it shouldn‘t be that different.
On a sunny day it should be doable hand held..
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