upgrade to Medium Format – Fujifilm GFX or Mamiya RZ67 Pro II?

 Fujifilm GFX or Mamiya RZ67 Pro II?

Advice on what to choose: Fujifilm GFX and Mamiya RZ67 pro II are my options

It is been almost a year now since i discovered the Mamiya system  in the closet and started planning some shoots in order to use it. My partner Vangelis and founder of Land Art Productions nvested on it back in 1995 .

Medium format was always expensive. Also in the analog days. 3 to 4 million drachmas (Greek currency) back in 1995 was considered as a lot of money.  But this was a top quality tool for these days . 120 film in a format of 6×7. Huge frame size. Difficult in operation. The technical knowledge in order to get a correct frame out of these cameras  had to be perfect.

The size of this camera is huge compared to an X100S or a dslr and the complexity impressive. Body backs pentaprism lenses etc. There is a motordrive and a handle missing on the shot above.

I first shot some film with the camera but after a while i started my research over the internet of a possible upgrade to digital. There are very few people who still use this camera nowdays as a digital but it was one of the most converted  models at the start of digital age. One of them is Ryuuzaki Julio. He has made many explanation videos in detail about the upgrade and modification. frank doorhof used to own one but i do not know if he still uses it.(his review here)

With a little research i found that the lowest cost for such an upgrade can be 3000 to 5000 euro. Always talking about used  camera back and a digital back adapter which costs 1000 euro.

with a digital back of 33 to 40 megapixel and the adapter i mention above i will have an integrated system of medium format. Lenses i have start from 50mm(which is considered wide angle at 6×7) 110 mm f2.8 and 250mm f4.5 with 2x teleconverter.

Meantime of my research Fujifilm GFX  anouncment takes place . An important reason to make me think  i  have to choose between the one or the other.

In one hand a Mamiya with a full series of lenses with it’s downsides because of outdated technology  and in the other hand a brand new system with the latest technology but a more expensive investment.

Pros and Cons of the two systems without even have tested both of them (in a digital way)

Mamiya RZ

Pros

A  series of lenses preowned (do not have to pay for them)

Both film and digital available in one system

Leaf shutter lenses

upgradeable  digital backs option with bigger sensor size

Cons

old system

limitation on shutter speed to 1/400

Manual focus

Difficult operation


Fujifilm GFX 50s

Pros

Modern and latest tech system

Autofocus

compact size compared to Mamiya

Cons

smaller sensor size

More expensive for a complete system

lack of 1/125 flash synch speed

no leaf shutter lenses

In the case of GFX it will be easy to  make a testing happen. Or directly for fujifilm or through a renting.  On the other hand it is difficult to find  a Mamiya  converted  to digital  in order to  test it.

i want to be able to use the fujifilm GFX outdoors with combination of flash. I know i can use ND filters in order to keep my shutter low and aperture open. But 1/125 shutter speed in some situations is not enough.

fujifilm announced the H mount  adapter which will give the ability to use H mount  leaf shutter lenses. But how does this work? How the camera bypass the mechanic shutter and uses the lens shutter?

If the above works does it mean that we can hope for a fuji series leaf shutter lenses fully functional (autofocus etc)?

View camera adapter is also a very important accessory. It will extend the camera functinality into studio.

Mamiya RZ67 pro II thoughts

I buy the digital back  adapter(hopefully find second hand) and a cheap old digital back and i start working with it. In the future i am able to upgrade to a better digital back.  i  must first find a solution for focusing. In order to be sharp it needs a good effort and maybe a good magnification loupe. The Mamiya one is not so strong or i may start wearing glasses.

One way or another  there is a serious amount of money on both situations. I will do the step only when a serious project is near the corner. In no way i want to work  for financing fuji or Mamiya

I ll appreciate any of your help on the above questions in order to be able to make a clear decision. I hope i will be able to test the GFX soon and i am sure that i will be impressed. Mamiya  already impressed me  and i will be more if it will be upgraded. But i must decide wisely! If any of you has experience with Mamiya i would like to hear it

Do i miss something?

Best Regards and Images,

 

2 Comments

  1. Wilson March 5, 2017 at 20:12 #

    I agree with David, I have the same doubt, I have Mamyia RB67 and 6 lenses, I bought all lenses brand new,I had Leaf Digital Back Aptus 17, now doesn’t work anymore. I decided to go for FUJI GFX because now CAMBO has GFX adapter so I can use my RB lenses, I believe will work fine because the sensor is larger so probably I can get sharper images from the center of the lenses. Have a Look CAMBO ACTUS Mini. I know is not cheap but you can have a new full system camera and you can use your RB lenses Tilt and Shift aswell.

    Regards

    Wilson

  2. David Schneider March 5, 2017 at 18:44 #

    I think if you are patient, there will be an adapter to use of those lovely (and large) Mamiya lenses to be used on the Fuji GFX. Someone will make one. I also think that many amateurs/hobbiests will buy the GFX and then sell it because they will have so many out of focus images due to shallow DOF.

    While the GFX is a smaller camera, the sensor is probably larger than you’d find on a back for the RB. It also can easily be used outdoors. I know when I had an RB67, it was a muscle builder to bring it outside, even with tripod. Also, backs for the RB are not all that inexpensive so the difference may not be as much as you think.

    Looking down at the waist level prism of an RB67 is like looking through a large window. But with the push of the control button on the GFX, you can enlarge your focus point to a great degree so manual focus should be more accurate.

    If I remember, if you go with a digital back for the RB67, there are cables that need to be connected and that can be a pain to use. Is it a two step process to take an exposure?

    One great thing about Fuji is how they update their cameras with free firmware upgrades. All my Fuji X cameras were better a couple of years after I bought them than when brand new. It will be no different with the GFX. It will be a better camera next year than it is now.

    I currently have a Hasselblad H3D2-39 and four HC lenses and there’s a good chance I’ll look for a used GFX myself in a year.

    Good luck.

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