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Thread: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

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    Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    I was thinking of selling my D810 and get the 645Z. I am semi retired and take mainly Portraits, family shots and some landscape. Not sure if this is a good move. I was going to wait for Photokina in Sept and see what comes out then, I see Hassy has a Mirrorless BUT not in my Budget. Any opinions or first hand experience is appreciated. Thank you

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    It is never a bad idea to wait until Photokina. To be honest if it was one year earlier I would have recommended the 645Z but now it's year 2016 I would advise against it, because (read: rumors say) a 35mm format Sony sensor with ~72MP could be imminent. If it weren't for the earthquake in Japan I would have expected the new products sooner.

    As for portrait, if you like bokeh (DOF control, aka isolation of main subject from background), then medium format digital is a bad choice as a Nikon 85mm f1.4 G easily beats all current digital medium format lenses, not to mention something like the 200mm f2.0. If you shoot location with flash a lot then it's worth the money to get the X1D for the 1/2000s sync.

    As for family shot, the 645Z isn't a good choice because the AF performance is way too below today's standards. The AF module of the 645Z looks like the same as found in the APSC Pentax'es, hence covering only a very small region of the 44x33 sensor, and the AF speed is very slow when compared against a D810. I would not recommend you selling your D810 at this stage.

    As for landscape I would not go for the 645Z because it's too heavy and it lacks wide angle options (simply no lens is wide enough). It also lacks fast lenses for the Milky Way.

    Rumors of fullframe Pentax 645 utilizing the 100MP Sony sensor could also be real so why not just wait until Photokina?

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    What are you missing in your D810 that you want to move to a 645Z?

    For formal portraits I would choose the 645Z, the focus fall-off is a bit nicer with the bigger sensor and I don't like 3:2 for this purpose. For informal portraits and family shots I'd pick the D810 always, much faster, more portable and easier to handle. For landscape I'd go with the 645Z again, 4:3 ratio and slightly more pliable files. But more convenient lens options on the Nikon might negate this for you.

    All in all, I think I wouldn't switch at this point in time either. I'm not a big fan of waiting for future equipment to come out, but I don't believe the step from the D810 to the 645Z is all that big. Both cameras can produce similar resolution in real world use, though the D810 is probably a little easier to use to its full potential. Then again, if you believe that you can take better images with the 645Z, who am I to contradict you? If you like the look, why not? Some people give up a lot more speed and convenience to get the look they wanted than that.

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Normally I'm a big proponent for MF, but in this case I wouldn't switch either unless you have clients that would pay more for MF. I think as stated above, it's important to ask what you'd gain with the 645z that the D810 doesn't give you. Of course you gain resolution, but for portraits and family shots even 36mp is overkill in my experience as no one prints those pictures large. AF performance and focus point selection with the D810 makes it a lot easier to nail focus with the D810 vs. the 645z if portraits and family shots are your main thing. For family shots, the D810 is going to make it a lot easier to get informal shots....it's faster (startup, FPS, etc) and AF is better. When I had my Nikon system, the D810 + 70-200 f2.8 VRII was my favorite combo and didn't leave me wanting much when I was taking pics of people (engagements, wedding, portraits, etc). There are other lenses for the Nikon system as stated above (such as the 200mm f2.0, 85mm f1.4, etc) that are special for portraits/family work that don't have Pentax equivalents, and for the price of the Pentax 90mm you could probably find a used 200mm f2.0. As stated above, the D810 also has faster wide lenses and is better for Milky Way shots, something I consider important for landsacpe photography. The 645z isn't necessarily a bad choice for all of the above (cameras these days are rather subjective after all), but you've already got a phenomenal camera with the D810 and the D810 is better suited for your primary needs IMHO. I sold my Nikon gear to pay off bills and finance other gear, but I still wish I had the D810/70-200 VR II specifically for portraits/familys/etc.

    If you do decide to pick up a 645z, I would get a used one or wait until after Photokina. You're well aware of Photokina and the Hasselblad announcements, but the 645z is over two years old and there's bound to be something new around the corner. Even if the new offerings aren't your thing, the current price of new/used 645z's will most likely come down by this fall/winter thanks to new announcements. Just my two cents, good luck with your decision!

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    The 645Z sensor makes the switch worth it. That sensor beats all others except for the 100MP. The new Pentax SDM lenses are excellent. Landscape=25mm; portrait=90/2.8 macro and even the old 150/2.8 is terrific to use on the Z..
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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Semi retired from what? Were you a full time photographer, now shooting part time?

    If not, then enjoy your retirement because life is short … to short to waste time debating and waiting.

    They say wait for Photokina, then you wait for the new stuff to actually be available, then wait until they straighten out the new camera's functions and firmware, or get lenses out for it, at which time you're only a year away from the next model of that camera, so why not wait for that … and so on.

    Now is the time for new adventures. Challenge your mind with new approaches. Break with the routine and toss those comfortable old pair of shoes. Despite common wisdom that says "it is the person that makes the photos", sometimes switching formats is just the kick the rear you need.

    Personally, I never shoot portraits with 35mm, and my MFD camera has less resolution than my 35mm … because MFD renders differently and seems more suited to portraiture IMO.

    You weren't specific as to what type of "family shots". Is it kids or grandkids playing soccer? Or what? Then the question is do you need a 36 meg 35mm DSLR for that … let alone a MFD? I use a rangefinder for candid "family" work. I just learned to anticipate … a dying skill it seems these days of 2000 AF points and laser focus : -)

    What kind of landscapes? Do you frequently trek out into the wilderness, climb sheer cliffs … or are you a more casual "landscape of opportunity" working out of your car like me

    - Marc
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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Thank you all for your pros and cons. Marc, I will agree with you that I am 69 now and retired from Shooting weddings etc. I do them on a need to do to keep me going. Been shooting since 1972 and Cant give it up totally.
    I do buy now and why wait for later like you said. Plus, I don't want to pay the high price of NEW arrivals.
    I will keep the D810 and try out the Pentax 645D. I can always sell it. Thank you all again.

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Hi,

    Did you hear of manual focus and magnified live view?

    I guess that about half of my shooting is on tripod, manual focus and magnified live view. With the "Blad" it used to be the same, except the P45+ back not having live view. Using a 3X monucular instead.

    Now, AF can be quite useful. I still prefer the precision of magnified live view. Shooting with the "Blad" in dark spaces was just a waste of time. With the A7rII I just push a few buttons. Magnified live view is great. The focus of AF can be moved over a large part of the screen.

    It may be a joy shooting with that old stuff. Just to say, I like it a lot. But if you care about bringing home perfect pictures you care about what modern technology gives:

    • Perfect manual focus
    • Pretty decent AF
    • A hefty amount of DR


    I would say that both the Pentax 645Z and the D810 are probably great. The Pentax 645Z probably has some edge, using the best lenses. But, mostly I guess it would be the Nikon 810 coming out on top.

    Personally, I find it is great that we have something like 399 AF points. So, we can choose the AF-points that are a good match for our subject. Or, if time is on our side we switch to magnified live view and focus manually. Having new technology at our fingertips is great and is it great that we can use old technology as well.

    Best regards
    Erik




    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    You weren't specific as to what type of "family shots". Is it kids or grandkids playing soccer? Or what? Then the question is do you need a 36 meg 35mm DSLR for that … let alone a MFD? I use a rangefinder for candid "family" work. I just learned to anticipate … a dying skill it seems these days of 2000 AF points and laser focus : -)

    What kind of landscapes? Do you frequently trek out into the wilderness, climb sheer cliffs … or are you a more casual "landscape of opportunity" working out of your car like me

    - Marc
    Last edited by ErikKaffehr; 2nd July 2016 at 08:47.

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Quote Originally Posted by rollsman44 View Post
    Thank you all for your pros and cons. Marc, I will agree with you that I am 69 now and retired from Shooting weddings etc. I do them on a need to do to keep me going. Been shooting since 1972 and Cant give it up totally.
    I do buy now and why wait for later like you said. Plus, I don't want to pay the high price of NEW arrivals.
    I will keep the D810 and try out the Pentax 645D. I can always sell it. Thank you all again.
    I would recommend the 645Z instead of the 645D. Z prices are more aqffordable now than ever before.

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    This is a difficult question that probably can be answerd in any direction depending on who answers.

    I would ask myself some questions. Am I asking this question from the paying customers view or is it from my on creative view?

    I'm quite sure that the majority of your paying customer is more than satisfied with the quality from your Nikon. The Nikon is for sure more versatile, but maybe a tad les inspiring. If you go for the Pentax as your main and only camera you maybe have to challenge your self a bit more but also maybe plan your image more before the shoot. The Nikon will probably give you the ability for some more spontaneous images in the moment.

    I would say that most of my paying customer would be satisfied with the technical image quality of my Nikon D810, but thats not why the are hiring me. They are hiring me for my ability to create the image. I have to stay creative all of the time to sell the idea of the image to the customer so they will be hiring me. And to stay creative we need to be inspired. Sometimes this can be a workflow to maintain the right feeling, and that is for some of us the medium format.

    You also have to consider your on shooting style. For me, I'm more comfortable and make better images with my Nikon D810/ D3x when I'm shooting wedding, graduation and portraits on location. But for studio work and landscape I prefer my Hasselblad H4D-50.

    This is just my thoughts and not a answer to the question.
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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Yes it is a difficult question.

    The D810 is imho the best actual 35mm camera. The main feature is ISO 64 and seriously, that's rock. It need some very good lenses to pull the best out of it like the Zeiss line (manual) or best Nikkor primes. The possibility's with this camera are tremendous and the only limit is us, not the camera. I do not know what will bring Nikon next but... why more ? More MP ? More DR ? More what ??

    For the major parts of the photographers a D810 is already overkill by a large margin.

    You are retired, 69, after a life of weeding and commercial photography. We live only twice but you should also please yourself. What a headache !

    Medium format by today standards worth it, imho, only if you jump in the big sensors arena, 54x40mm, if you buy the good lenses for it and if you take you time to master it. That come at a villain cost and a fair amount of frustration because of the villain price and features offered ...

    The 645Z is a 35mm on steroid like all sensors of this size. it is here... but not really here. You'll not get what you really expect. Those camera are good for the ones who can offer themselves such tools and it won't give you THAT much latitude over the D810 (~8% IQ gain / ~80% ease of use less).

    That said if you really want to please you sell the lenses who are not perfect. Buy yourself a Zeiss 135f2, or the new milvus 85 for portrait. Buy yourself a Zeiss milvus 35f2 or a distagon 21 for landscapes. Even if manual focus it will be quicker than MF to compose and shoot. The D810 telemeter is just perfect.

    If you really want to please yourself go real medium format 60 x 70mm. For portability find a second hand mamiya 7ii and two lenses, find a second hand Nikon coolscan ED, find a little lab or a second hand jobo processor and you'll be satisfied like a kid at Christmas EVERY times you'll dry your rolls and start to scan it.

    And you keep your D810.

    This is one of the purest way to really enjoy photography because of money. Money today can buy you super toys at electronic speed. So you want something really really hard (it is a bit like sex and women outside weeding, a subtle mix of adrenaline and culpability), then the time come you can afford it but then your head is about to explode : ..."did I made the good choice ??? Yea I made the good choice. ... really ?? I do not think so. Hooo blimey it is such a toy I'm sure now, it is the one ! really ??" ...

    Then you click "validate transaction" and wait till the postman knock you door. You get the box, you open it ceremoniously, the world do not exist at this very moment. You read the manual and screw a lens, turn on the device to test it, remember that you forget to buy a big fat SD card...

    After a week of use and autosatisfation you'll start to have some pain with your shoulders because the whole set + tripod is quite heavy. You also notice you'll need better lenses to resolve the sensor better and the good lenses aren't cheap at all.

    And you start to think deeply : ... whyy ??? hoo why did I sold my D810 ??? ...

    When you'll scan mamiya 7ii slides... your eyes will get dazzled away by purity and authenticity. You'll know that you've made it, you'll see this as the archetype of photography, the true meaning of it, deep inside your experienced brain.

    I say that only to avoid you dissatisfaction. You have no time to waste your time with doubts and dissatisfaction.
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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Quote Originally Posted by Hulyss Bowman View Post
    Medium format by today standards worth it, imho, only if you jump in the big sensors arena, 54x40mm, if you buy the good lenses for it and if you take you time to master it. That come at a villain cost and a fair amount of frustration because of the villain price and features offered ...
    Days ago you spoke highly of the Hasselblad X1D

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Quote Originally Posted by rollsman44 View Post
    Thank you all for your pros and cons. Marc, I will agree with you that I am 69 now and retired from Shooting weddings etc. I do them on a need to do to keep me going. Been shooting since 1972 and Cant give it up totally.
    I do buy now and why wait for later like you said. Plus, I don't want to pay the high price of NEW arrivals.
    I will keep the D810 and try out the Pentax 645D. I can always sell it. Thank you all again.
    It sounds like you mirror my own experiences. I'm semi-retired from my advertising career and from owning a photo business on the side (Fotografz, LLC) … like you, I also still shoot a wedding, portrait or small commercial job from time-to-time for a few operating bucks. IMO, at this stage of life, the more important thing is to keep the mind active and the juices flowing so you NEVER stop growing.

    IF you keep the Nikon, then you may want to consider something even more different from a Pentax MFD. (Not dissing Pentax in any way, just saying that in the aggregate it may not offer a different enough experience/results to grow/challenge you).

    I've pretty much kept to three different and distinct types of camera systems that I've been slimming down to necessary "retirement" items: A B&W Leica MM Rangefinder, some sort of 35mm focal-plane shutter kit, and a MFD with Leaf-Shutter lenses. Each does what it was designed to do better than the other two. So, it is easy to select which one to use for each creative challenge or idea, (although, I'll admit to considering the MFD first because I'm biased to the results I've gotten compared to a FF DSLR or Mirrorless 35mm including my current Sony A7R-II). The obvious exception to this is when I select the Leica MM for exploring decisive moment street and candid humanistic B&W work, (which doesn't fit into your listed scenarios).

    A couple of used choices could be: A Hasselblad H4D/40 or 50 with just a few key lenses. Or a Leica S2. The H4 is the first H model featuring True Focus APL which is an unsung stroke of genius IMHO and experience. The S system is a dual shutter type camera so offers the best of both worlds, although the CS lenses may be to pricey even used.

    I exclusively use MFD for portraits and group shots (Environmental portraiture, bridals and formals at a wedding, business portraits, etc.). I also use it for ALL commercial work in studio and out. I don't fret about high ISO since I don't shoot any of this work in crappy light … ever.

    I use 35mm for travel by air, vacation walkabouts, long lens work, fast moving subjects, the convenience of a zoom lens, and low light scenarios … and the truth be told, for stuff that I just need to get but don't all juiced up about (like wedding processionals and cake cutting must haves, or family shots destined for Facebook. I honestly do not give a rats bottom for standard 35mm gear, but it is a necessary evil for some type of work.

    Enjoy your retirement and get on with it now … tick-tock!

    - Marc

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    Question Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Quote Originally Posted by rollsman44 View Post
    I was thinking of selling my D810 and get the 645Z. I am semi retired and take mainly Portraits, family shots and some landscape. Not sure if this is a good move. I was going to wait for Photokina in Sept and see what comes out then, I see Hassy has a Mirrorless BUT not in my Budget. Any opinions or first hand experience is appreciated. Thank you
    D810 is fine, keep it and don't waste money in other system, If I understand you have problems taking with you cumbersome & heavy camera's and optics the choice to get into medium format it's not a good idea.

    As by you said the Hassy X1D is out of your budget, Pentax 645z and two lens is out of your budget too.

    I suggest: Keep the 810 for the next four Year's around 2020 maybe MF it's affordable, lighter and with performance far over the current models, as technology is improving and IQ get better and better Year after Year, maybe in some year the MF develops for the masses becoming a true way to obtain images that are far from what is coming from FF, maybe, if not, continue keeping the 810.

    Domenico.

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    Days ago you spoke highly of the Hasselblad X1D
    Yea because someone can afford it for me. If I had to pay for it I would not buy it.

    And I still say that M7ii experience and "rendering" is over what digital MF can produce in therm of authenticity.

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    It is never a bad idea to wait until Photokina. To be honest if it was one year earlier I would have recommended the 645Z but now it's year 2016 I would advise against it, because (read: rumors say) a 35mm format Sony sensor with ~72MP could be imminent. If it weren't for the earthquake in Japan I would have expected the new products sooner.

    As for portrait, if you like bokeh (DOF control, aka isolation of main subject from background), then medium format digital is a bad choice as a Nikon 85mm f1.4 G easily beats all current digital medium format lenses, not to mention something like the 200mm f2.0. If you shoot location with flash a lot then it's worth the money to get the X1D for the 1/2000s sync.

    As for family shot, the 645Z isn't a good choice because the AF performance is way too below today's standards. The AF module of the 645Z looks like the same as found in the APSC Pentax'es, hence covering only a very small region of the 44x33 sensor, and the AF speed is very slow when compared against a D810. I would not recommend you selling your D810 at this stage.

    As for landscape I would not go for the 645Z because it's too heavy and it lacks wide angle options (simply no lens is wide enough). It also lacks fast lenses for the Milky Way.
    Hey,

    Regarding bokeh - yes technically you can get less on a 35mm system, but personally for me I prefer the bokeh rendered by the lenses on my 645z. Sticking in the pentax camp, the 150/2.8 might not be the sharpest lens in the world at 2.8 but has the most beautiful look about it. Going out of pentax the hassy 110/2 (used with a adapter) is just incredible.

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Quote Originally Posted by gavincato View Post
    Hey,

    Regarding bokeh - yes technically you can get less on a 35mm system, but personally for me I prefer the bokeh rendered by the lenses on my 645z. Sticking in the pentax camp, the 150/2.8 might not be the sharpest lens in the world at 2.8 but has the most beautiful look about it. Going out of pentax the hassy 110/2 (used with a adapter) is just incredible.
    Hi, I can't comment on beautiful look or ugly look, but 150/2.8 in 44x33 format is equivalent as 118/2.2 in 35mm format, and 110/2 in 44x33 format is equivalent as 87/1.6 in 35mm format. You could easily find lenses for 35mm format to achieve better DoF control, e.g. 135/1.8 and 85/1.2. To me, being able to separate the main subject from the blurred background is the most important thing because it distinguishes my photo from ordinary iPhone pictures.

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Competing with the iphone crowd is for people that bought their first DSLR with kit lens. I don't see how that comes into play in this decision at all. It sounds a little insecure. Just focus on the light and composition and you will have 99% of the iphone crowd beaten, even if you shoot with an iphone.

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Quote Originally Posted by JeRuFo View Post
    Competing with the iphone crowd is for people that bought their first DSLR with kit lens. I don't see how that comes into play in this decision at all. It sounds a little insecure. Just focus on the light and composition and you will have 99% of the iphone crowd beaten, even if you shoot with an iphone.
    Nope. My point is on DoF control - bokehliciousness (read: degree of background blur).

    Given the same light and composition and technique from the same photographer, the easiest way to distinguish from an iPhone picture is to create bokeh. A kit lens does not have fast aperture so is not suitable for the job. Pentax also lacks fast lenses (and the sensor size is not big enough to compensate the slower lenses compared against 35mm format) so is not good for DoF control either. Actually no digital medium format is suitable for this job. Yes, Hasselblad 300/2.8 may do a good job if someone can manage to adapt it via Alpa FPS to an IQ3 100MP but that is still no match against a Sigma 200-500/2.8. You'll need the Zeiss 1700/4 to beat 35mm format but how many can afford one...

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    voidshatter,

    ...bokehliciousness...
    Without doubt the finest photographic term ever coined.

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    Nope. My point is on DoF control - bokehliciousness (read: degree of background blur).

    Given the same light and composition and technique from the same photographer, the easiest way to distinguish from an iPhone picture is to create bokeh. A kit lens does not have fast aperture so is not suitable for the job. Pentax also lacks fast lenses (and the sensor size is not big enough to compensate the slower lenses compared against 35mm format) so is not good for DoF control either. Actually no digital medium format is suitable for this job. Yes, Hasselblad 300/2.8 may do a good job if someone can manage to adapt it via Alpa FPS to an IQ3 100MP but that is still no match against a Sigma 200-500/2.8. You'll need the Zeiss 1700/4 to beat 35mm format but how many can afford one...
    No, you were explicitly talking about the amount of background blur, caused by depth of field, not bokeh. You even said you couldn't comment on beautiful look or ugly look. Bokeh is the quality of the blur, not the amount. A Leica- SL 24-90 zoom for instance is much smoother than almost all the cheaper primes from Canon in that focal length, although DOF is larger in most cases, and to most people that would constitute good bokeh. What you seem to be looking for is maximum blur, ie an almost solid background with as few features as possible irrespective of how the lens renders the subject. The downside to that approach is that although you generally get pleasing images, you often lose all context in your image, which is very important to most wedding photographers and for family shooters as well.

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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    Quote Originally Posted by JeRuFo View Post
    No, you were explicitly talking about the amount of background blur, caused by depth of field, not bokeh. You even said you couldn't comment on beautiful look or ugly look. Bokeh is the quality of the blur, not the amount. A Leica- SL 24-90 zoom for instance is much smoother than almost all the cheaper primes from Canon in that focal length, although DOF is larger in most cases, and to most people that would constitute good bokeh. What you seem to be looking for is maximum blur, ie an almost solid background with as few features as possible irrespective of how the lens renders the subject. The downside to that approach is that although you generally get pleasing images, you often lose all context in your image, which is very important to most wedding photographers and for family shooters as well.
    I do agree with you that there are factors affecting the quality of bokeh, like onion circles, fringing on discs etc. Ideally we want smooth transitions everywhere. However I still prefer to have a lens with stronger degree of blur. That is why I love the 200mm f/2.0 lens so much.

  23. #23
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    Re: Opinions Needed: Nikon D810 or Pentax 645Z

    I have the 645z and it is a great camera. I love it. It's easy to use, tuff and reliable. But it is huge! It is also somewhat awkward to carry around. Not necessarily by that hand grip, which is comfortable. But on a strap using the factory lugs the camera kind of hangs on an angle against your body and it gets annoying after a while. I guess what I'm saying is either keep the d810 around for that type of scenario...or sell it and get something smaller and more opposite than the 645z. I have my eye on a Ricoh GR....keep it in the family

    I recently acquired my new system and only have the 55, 120 macro (manual focus) and the 150 2.8 The 150 is great for portraits, but does have some CA wide open...so be aware of that. The 120 is actually also great for portraits...maybe a tad too sharp but it has a very neutral/transparent look to the files that is quite nice. It is easy to manually focus with live view. That focus peaking is fantastic on this camera.

    I hope that helps. I would say go for it, there are good deals on them right now. I got mine through popflash photo and saved quite a bit compared to the big stores.

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