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Leaf AFi 7 review and opinions - By Frank Doorhof Peter from Leaf Benelux visited me and brought along a Leaf AFi 7 camera with two lenses a 90mm MF and the 180mm AF. In my review I will be using those two lenses…

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Old August 10th, 2008, 02:02 PM
Frank Doorhof Frank Doorhof is offline
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Default Day 3

Well too little time today to go out to Urk to do some testing, but I will do it tomorrow if it's not raining.

Some more thoughts.

I have used the 180mm most of the time in the studio.
Although I LOVE the lens itself I do have one negative note on the lens, the focus distance is great for 3/4 and head/shoulders but for a close portrait it's not usable.
I have an extension tube with the lens which I can use but when I want to switch from closeup to portrait I have to switch again.
I don't know for the other lenses so read this only as remark on the 180mm, if I would buy the AFi for portrait work I would opt for another lens which can focus closer.
This is one of the great things about the RZ67ProII it can focus pretty close (not macro close but close enough for portrait work).

Sharpness of the 180mm and depth (3D look) is wonderful and the lens has a very nice smooth appearance in the skin tones, actually about the same diference I got when I switched from the 645AFD/III to the RZ67ProII.
It's funny actually because when you look at it it's a strange way the quality goes up for me.

I shot with Canon L glass and upgraded to the 645AFD/II with mostly second hand glass and the 120mm Macro new.
But all glass outperformed my L glass although it's very difficult to compare the system.
HOWEVER when I changed my camera to the RZ67ProII I found that with those older lenses my Aptus22 performed a considerable step better, especially in the way the skin looked (less digital ??, and that's a bit weird to say about a digital setup but I think you know what I mean).
With the AFi I also see a wonderful smooth picture with amazing detail without looking harsch.

There is one thing that even with the AFi/Aptus bugs me (but also the Phase one and Imagacon backs have this problem) and that is the more harscher transfers in the skin between the hard shadows and skin, on the 5D this drove me nuts, on the Leaf it's almost never a problem but I still see it.
Maybe when we switch to 32bits backs it's perfect :D
But please place this in the context, you can see it in ALL digital capture devices, and I name it here because systems like the AFi are so perfect that it's a bit hard to swallow that there is still one minor annoyance in the picture. On the other hand the perfect capture device will probarbly never excist and when we look at what is perfect for me the Leaf products are pretty close to perfect.

One of the things that for example would be a reason to upgrade is higher ISO range, at the moment ISO400 on the Aptus 22 is usable if I convert to B&W or stay on smaller prints, with the AFi I have shot a very quick test on ISO800 expecting winter on the artic but that did not happen. My 5D still looks better on ISO1600 but the 800 on the Aptus is getting the label, usable for print work if there is no other choice (even color), the 33MPs are of course great for this because when you look at 1:1 crops there is noise to be seen, a bit higher than my Aptus 22 on ISO400, but because there are more pixels when you zoom back to app 22MPs the noise is much less visable.
I will shoot some pictures with it tomorrow and upload that also to show the noise.

I also shot some pictures during the workshop with the 90mm manual focus and I decided it was time to really test the AFi with some jumpphotography.
This is one of the hardest things to do, you have to freeze the moment at exactly the right moment.
When I did these kind of shots with DSLRs it was very easy, aim count down, model jumps just wait for the moment and shoot and bingo.
The first time I used my 645AFD/II in a workshop I had to appologize to the group (I owned the camera for a week and did not yet do jumps) and picked up the DSLR again, the model was already back on the ground before I shot.

After a few sessions of testing I can shoot jumps just as easily with the 645AFD/III as with the DSLR, when I switched to the RZ67ProII the funny thing was that I had the feeling it was not much slower than the 645AFD/III and I even got the feeling it was a bit quicker.

I expected that I would need at least 5-10 jumps before I could freeze the right moment, here came the surprise.
The first jump I shot with the AFi went wrong, but positive, the model was not yet in the air.
After that EVERY jump was frozen at the moment I wanted.
I don't have a tabel with times (shutterlags) but I have the feeling that the AFi is VERY fast, a bit slower than my 5D but faster than the RZ67ProII.
But what mostly caught my attention was the ease in which I did the jumps.
Since I switched to MF cameras the jumpshots were always like the camera was working a bit against me, let's write that down a bit differently.
With the 5D it's was very very easy to take the jumpshots, with the MF system I had to counteract for the shutterlag, when you have done this a few times it becomes easy again, with the AFi I had the funny feeling the camera was much faster than my other system, at the moment I'm looking for information on shutterlags compared to the 645AFD/III so don't see this as a fixed part of the review YET, it's just a feeling.

One of the strong points of the AFi is the ease of focussing.
When you use a AF lens this is not so obvious, in the studio AF is still not as quick as the Canon but very workable, outside the AF is quick, app the same as the new AFDIII from Mamiya, still slower than a Canon but you DO get a much more accurate focus.
When you switch to manual focus often the story becomes different.

For the 645AFD/III I still often aim and use the electronic guide for accurate focus, recompose and shoot.
With the RZ67ProII I needed a new screen because the original screen is just too dark to focus in the dimm studio lights (outside it's a breeze).
With the new focusing screen in my RZ I got two aids which helps with the focus and because the screen is so much brighter it's also possible to just do it by eye.

Now enters the AFi.......
First there is a focushelp like on the Mamiya 645AFD/III (it shows you which way to turn the lens and when it's in focus, in practice this system works great).
But I find that I hardly use the aid (even in the studio) the image just pops into focus and it's very easy to see when it's in or out of focus.
For me that is a big PLUS in this review for the AFi, because if you buy the older MF lenses (not everyone can spend a fortune on lenses) the way you are able to focus will make working with the camera a good experience or a very bad one.

So also here the AFi shines.

More tomorrow.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 04:10 PM
Georg R. Baumann Georg R. Baumann is offline
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Default that a confession?


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Old August 10th, 2008, 04:16 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Can you shoot the same pose with the same lens from the same position with the RZ and the AFi to demonstrate the differences you seem to be referring to. What could be the factor which might make the image appear different to you?

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Old August 11th, 2008, 02:30 AM
Frank Doorhof Frank Doorhof is offline
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Is wat a confession ?

The focussing distance with the RZproII is closer, I would say app half.
So you can get better closeup work.

The differences between the RZ and the AFi are VERY VERY close, on an internet version this is not seen, and full res images are also hindered by the MP difference.

What I meant with the piece was that the AFi is very good, I did not expected the RZ67ProII to be better than the 645AFD/III because I used the same back, but it was.
When I compare the AFi to the RZ67Pro I see the same subtle things that made me happy with the switch to the RZ67ProII.

In other words, it's a very very detailed and smooth image without much of the harschness we know from digital.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 02:45 AM
Georg R. Baumann Georg R. Baumann is offline
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Originally Posted by Frank Doorhof View Post
Is wat a confession ?
Hi Frank,

I was just kidding ;)
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Old August 11th, 2008, 07:18 AM
Frank Doorhof Frank Doorhof is offline
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I know but I love to get the joke LOL.
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