This article originally appeared on the Adorama Rental Co. Blog.
The adaptor attaches to the body in the same way as a film back. The digital back then directly mounts to the adapter. On the adapter is a fixed cable which connects to the Mamiya RZ67 body at the L bracket port under the lens. Another cable connects the lens to either the adapter or the digital back. All these are needed so that the electronic back can record the image when the shutter is fired. After setting the shooting mode to M (multi), you are good to go! All the mechanical functions on the body will work like normal except the ability to rotate the back, since rotating it would sever the communication between the electronic pins.
It’s best to use this setup on a tripod, or in the hands of a very patient photographer. The camera can get heavy to hold for a long period of time and is not designed for rapid shooting. If you are only using a CF card, it is important to be aware of how long it takes to process. Not allowing for the couple of seconds it takes for proper processing could lead to corruption or communication errors. Tether to a computer to speed things up. While this will be faster, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on the computer during shooting to make sure the files are downloading properly.
Also be aware of the crop factor. Using a 6×4.5 format back on a 6×7 body plus lens factor will definitely effect the composition. Masks to preview the crop are included in all Phase kits, though they are not put in the viewfinders by default. But we will gladly insert them for you if requested.
Though it seems there are many scary steps to making sure this system works properly, with a little time and patience you can take full advantage of this exciting setup. This option continues to give photographers the ability to take advantage of shooting digital with classic medium format film bodies. For those raised in the digital age, it is an avenue to experiment with camera systems that were not as convenient to use before.
With the MamiyaRZ body and the Phase One digital back, you can get that feeling of really being able to slow down and compose the shot. Peering into the RZ viewfinder and adjusting the bellows brings you one step closer to going under the dark cloth.