Melbourne Portrait Wedding Photographer | Aryan Aqajani | Australia

Mamiya RZ 67 Pro IID and DM22 Digital Back


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As some of you know, I have been shooting exclusively film with my RZ67 Pro IID. I really cannot express how I feel when I shoot with this beautiful camera. Although it may be a bit heavy for some photographers, there are lots of goodies about it which makes the pain go away after seeing the results! On the other hand, although I believe that still Mamiya 645 AFD III is a very good camera for someone who like to shoot both film and digital in a smaller lighter package, it does not give me the same feeling I get from the RZ!!! That is why I decided to hook up my Mamiya DM22 back (basically it is Leaf Aptus-II 5 with Mamiya branding) to RZ67 PRO IID body! In this case, an adapter plate is required so that the camera and back can communicate with each other. It is called, Mamiya HX-701! Unlike Phase One backs, there is no need to use a wakeup cable with a Mamiya/Leaf back! The back simply attaches to the adapter and there you go! A clean solution to convert your legendary film camera into digital! However, there are still problems with such system as it is with any other camea system on the planet! You cannot do everything with a single camera system! Cameras are tools so you have to pick up the right tool for the job!

In my opinion, these are some Pros and Cons about this system;

Pros

. Ability to shoot both 6×7 film and digital
. Amazing razor sharp lenses with beautiful rendering
. Leaf shutter! So you can sync flash up to 1/400s
. Bellow focusing
. Ability to use two tilt/shift lenses, 75mm f/4.5 SB and 180mm f/4.5 SB (need a separate adapter)
. Ability to use polaroid back
. Massive, super bright viewfinder

Cons

. Heavy!
. Almost 1.5 crop factor when you shoot it with a 36x48mm sensor like DM22 or Phase One P25+ back.
. Widest angle lens for such setup would be 50mm f/4.5 which is roughly 37mm in 35mm format!
. Need to get a viewfinder mask so the viewfinder would look virtually a bit smaller!

Here is a couple of shots I did when testing the digital setup.

 

10 Responses to this post
  1. Posted on October 24, 2012 by Kendell Linh Healy

    Aryan – you are such a gifted artist. I have the leaf aptus 65 back on mine with the digital plate. Unfortunately the digital plate doesn’t play well with the aptus 65 so I had to cover the electronic connections and use a small sync cord from the aptus to the lens. The other day I removed the mask from underneath the focusing screen for a film shoot. Wow that felt good.

    • Posted on October 24, 2012 by Aryan Aqajani

      Thank you so much Kendell. Which plate have you got? HX-701? This plate should be used with RZ67 Pro IID and if you still have some problems, it may be your lens! Since most of these used lenses have been collecting dust, you should do a CLA as far as I know! And if you are using HX704 plate with RZ67 Pro II then you do need a sync cable! On the digital back, have you set the camera to Mamiya RZ67 Pro II?

      • Posted on June 14, 2013 by Tim

        I had this exact same issue with an Aptus 75. Older Leaf backs will not work with the HX-701. Only Leaf Aptus II backs will and their Mamiya branded equivalents.

        • Posted on March 13, 2014 by Aryan Aqajani

          That’s good to know :)

  2. Posted on November 28, 2012 by Alex Benza

    What lens can you recommend with RZ&Leaf? Are the all sharp compare to AFD 150 lens (for me these are the best with 120 macro on 645)? Now I’m using 645 AFDII with AptusII-6 and very disappointed with resolution of Mamiya 645 80 2.8 lens. So what is your opinion?

    • Posted on November 29, 2012 by Aryan Aqajani

      Alex, I have 50mm f/4.5 ULD, 110mm f/2.8 and 180mmm f/4.5 SB at this stage and all of them are sharp with great tonal transition and very very low distortion and CA! I am going to either get a 75mm f/4.5 SB and/or 65mm f/4 LA. All the newer RZ lenses would do great with a 36x48mm digital back so rest assured! Comparing them to Mamiya 645 lenses, the sharpness is quite the same but overall, I prefer RZ lenses since they have a different look to them, specially with bokeh! The only drawback I face is almost 1.5 crop factor with such sensor size!

  3. Posted on January 25, 2013 by Natalia Mansano

    Good morning!

    Would like to know if it’s possible to buy only the Mamiya DM22 back. I’ve goto two RZ bodies and a good kit of lenses. Would like to keep it I simply love it. I’ve visited a website and they only sell the digital back with the camera. I’m from Switzerland will try to find it here. Thanks and looking forward hearing from you.

    • Posted on February 25, 2013 by Aryan Aqajani

      Sorry for the late reply, just saw it! I have no idea about Switzerland but I know you can purchase the back only in the U.S. new or used or if lucky find a nice used one from forums like GetDPI or Landscape. Cheers,

  4. Posted on April 16, 2013 by Robert Sinclair

    Aryan – I noted the following above “Unlike Phase One backs, there is no need to use a sync cable with a Mamiya/Leaf back! The back simply attaches to the adapter and there you go!”.

    In recent years I’ve been shooting my RZ67 ProIID with the Phase One P45+, P65+ and now the IQ180 and none have required sync cables. I simply attach the back to the adapter on the RZ body and start shooting.

    The only issues I’ve encountered are; 1) the drain on the RZ battery reportedly caused by the P1 back and have learned to remove the battery between uses; and 2) the lenses I have, not having been designed for hi-rez digital capture, are not as sharp as newer digital glass (like Rodenstock on my Linhof), but the results are still impressive and have their own wonderful character, somewhat softer or film grain-like. The only sync cables I’ve needed for the Phase One backs are when shooting with the Linhof M679 technical view camera.

    Thank you for your posts on the RZ67 and sharing your images.

    • Posted on April 18, 2013 by Aryan Aqajani

      Hi Robert, oops my mistake! I should have wrote wakeup cable not sync cable. Just fixed it :D

      You are right about the battery drainage or the RZ however, no need to remove the batter as fas as I know! I just set it to the orange dot! Regarding the lenses, it is very obvious that large format lenses are in a different league so I think it would be more fair to compare RZ glasses probably with newer Mamiya/Phase One glasses!

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