Long regarded as the brand of the working pro, Mamiya has a reputation for workhorse cameras and worldclass lenses. If you’re on a budget and you’re looking for a medium format camera system, check out the new Mamiya DM22. With a list price of $9,995, it’s the most affordable digital medium format option on the market today — yet it has all the features and versatility required for professional-level work.
“For photographers who want and need to move up from a 35mm DSLR, the DM22 is an excellent choice,” says Mamiya Product Marketing Manager Mike Edwards. “For any demanding photographic specialty — whether it be portraits, landscapes, fashion and product photography, fine art reproduction, or industrial/scientific applications — medium format delivers superior image quality, and the DM22 does it with unmatched value.”
He adds, “People are conditioned to think only about megapixels in spite of all the other factors that go into making a digital camera really shine. With the DM22, the sensor size and the bit depth make a huge difference in image quality. People who have never worked with a medium format camera before are always stunned by the results.”
The DM22 offers many of the features of its more expensive siblings, allowing almost any photographer access to a truly professional medium format system.
The DM22 system has three parts: a 645 AFD III body, a DM22 digital back and an 80mm f/2.8 Sekor lens.
The AFD III body, like the AFD II, has a focal plane shutter; but it also improves on the AFD II with faster autofocus speeds, custom controls and serial communication to digital backs. This is one fast camera. Edwards observes, “The DM22 shoots a little over a frame a second — and in the large sensor world, that’s certainly the fastest thing out there.”
As for the 22-megapixel digital back, it has a premium 48 x 36mm sensor, true 16-bit/channel RAW files and a 12-stop dynamic range. The ISO range is 25 to 400, allowing shooting in low light, and there is a 6 x 7cm LCD screen for easy viewing.
The included 80mm f/2.8 lens has a wide focusing ring, an AF/MF clutch for critical focus subjects and advanced optical coatings to ensure optimal contrast. In addition, the AFD III is compatible with all Mamiya 645 lenses, both autofocus and manual focus, with a choice of 14 lenses currently in production. Older 645MF and Hasselblad lenses can also be used in stop-down mode via an adapter.
The DM22 supports both tethered and cable-free shooting, along with image storage via FireWire™ or compact flash cards. The system also allows you to go analog by adding an optional film back.
While some companies are moving away from modular camera systems, Mamiya considers them just as viable in the digital age as they were in the film age.
“You can mix and match as many pieces as you want — they’re not mated together,” says Edwards. “This level of flexibility can be a real lifesaver. For example, with other digital cameras, if something happens to your shutter, you’re out of business — but with Mamiya, you can simply switch components and keep shooting.”
Edwards illustrates how this can work with the Mamiya RZ. “The RZ is probably the most popular camera Mamiya ever made, very big in the portrait and commercial advertising world,” he explains. “Lots of pro photographers made an extensive investment in that system. Now, if they want to use it digitally, they can add a Mamiya DM back. Then, if they want to go a smaller, handheld camera, they can pop the same digital back onto a smaller Mamiya body. The idea is that you can switch back and forth between whatever camera platforms are right for the shoot.”
RAW File Processing
The DM22 creates RAW files in the Mosaic format, HDR-type. When it comes to RAW file processing, Mamiya users have unrivaled flexibility. There are two software applications right in the box: Capture One™ 5 and Leaf Capture™ 11. You can also choose to process your files with Adobe Photoshop® CS4 or Adobe Lightroom® 2.
“The DM22 has the widest software compatibility for processing RAW files of anything in its class,” says Edwards.
“The bottom line is, you won’t have to learn any new software. More likely than not, you can continue to use whatEver software you’re using now to process your RAW files.”
Apple iPhone®/iPod® App
Studio photographers shooting in tethered mode have welcomed Mamiya’s new Leaf Capture Remote 1.0, an app that transforms an Apple iPhone® or iPod® Touch into a remote image viewer. “This is the first application that allows realtime remote viewing of medium format images,” says Edwards.
During a shoot, anyone on the set can access high-res images via a standard Wi- Fi network. Viewers can pan and zoom using their compatible Apple devices. Edwards observes, “It’s a good way to maintain a working distance among people; everyone doesn’t have to huddle around a single monitor or crowd the assistant.”
Leaf Capture Remote 1. 0 is free and available for download at Apple’s iPhone App Store. It supports any Mamiya DM or DL medium format digital system.
DM28, DM33 and DM56
For photographers with bigger budgets, the new Mamiya DM28 has all the features of the DM22 plus 28 megapixels, a 44 x 33mm sensor and an ISO range of 50-800. List price is $14,990.
For even more powerful performance, the DM33 and DM56 offer record high flash-sync speeds of up to 1/1600 second via three new leaf-shutter digital lenses: the 55mm f/2.8 D L/S, the 80mm f/2.8 D L/S and the 110mm f/2.8 S L/S. Combined with 30 percent faster autofocus speeds, the DM33 and DM56 set a new DSLR standard for demanding shooting situations. List prices are $19,990 and $32,490 respectively.
Mamiya has been synonymous with excellence and innovation in cameras and lenses for over 50 years. The company continually improves its products with state-of-the-art enhancements, and the DM system of DSLR kits and digital backs has helped make Mamiya the brand of choice for professional photographers worldwide. For more information, visit www.mamiya.com.
Cynthia Anderson is a writer and editor based in Yucca Valley, California.