Will the ZD steal the thunder from lower- megapixel models, such as Canon’s 16.6MP EOS-1Ds Mark II or Nikon’s 12.4MP D2x? That’s doubtful, considering the lower price of these cameras, their superior AF, exposure and metering systems, their wider and faster burst modes, and more extensive accessories (including lenses and flash units). It’s also likely that the smaller battery on the Mamiya ZD will deliver only a fraction of the images that those CMOS-based SLRs can capture. But pros who already own a Mamiya 645 AF, in addition to several expensive Mamiya AF lenses, should be drawn like a magnet to this camera. (Current 645AFd owners, on the other hand, will probably opt for the 22MP Mamiya ZD back, which has the same sensor and image-processing capability, but at a lower price.) The Mamiya ZD will primarily attract those special photographers who value image quality above all else, and can’t wait to show off this megapixel champion.
Mamiya expects that most pros will be interested in this camera for its potentially ultrahigh image quality—not for its AF speed and burst performance. On that front, it packs a great deal of promise. According to Mamiya and the CCD’s manufacturer, Dalsa, the ZD sensor provides the highest image quality available in an integrated SLR. The ZD also uses a new Dalsa ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) to help speed image processing and storage. How good is the image quality? We’ll find out for sure when we test a production version of this camera, but the specs for this sensor are impressive.