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Choice to make or 645z vs. H5D-40

kknd

New member
Hi everyone!
I`m new user on this forum, so my first words should be "hi everyone" :)
Well, the question i need help to be resolved is - which one to buy, Pentax 645Z or Hassy H5D-40? Couldn`t find any comparing tests on the internet, so i've decided to try make thru it with your help.
I understand that these two are very different cameras, made for different tasks. Hassy made to shine in studio at the first place and break down twice a month, pentax made to perform good everywere, and to crush bricks under heavy rain, but...i`ve found a severe amount of test shots from hassy, and to my opinion, it`s definetly sharper and more detailed than pentax shots i could find (and i`ve found a lot), even considering the sensor resolution difference. Can`t get rid of that feeling.
And that`s a question.
You see, my work consists of nearly 50/50 studio/outdoors shooting. Also i make a lot of video. All i do now i do on my old canon 5dmk2, and it`s quite good actually. So, for me hassy would be and that`s no question a big leap of IQ in studio shootings. And for outdoor and video i still have canon workhorse. So hassy is an addition, not the replacement.
On the other hand, pentax is an IQ leap in any kind of shooting i could put it in, exept maybe sports. And handheld video. Maybe. So that`s a replacement, not addition.
So, the question is - is hassy really considerably sharper and provides beter IQ than 645z? I`m not asking about reliability or iso speeds or any other obvious pros of pentax, just about sharpness and details.
Because that`s only thing that important for me now to go and buy one of these, and there`s no option for me to go and try both.
If anyone, ho tried both of this cameras help me and make my doubts go away, i would be extremely thankful. Cmon, wise guys, really desperate fo help :)
PS sorry for some grammar issues - english is not my native.
 

torger

New member
I haven't used any of these cameras but read a lot etc, and as far as I understand so yes the quality of Hasselblad lenses is generally better so you will have a sharper file.

However, while the 645z lenses are not top notch many of them are rather good, and some of them are not so good. When looking at samples one need to consider which lens is being used, it may not be one of the better ones.

You may find LuLa's recent review helpful. Although it does not contain any pixelpeep samples it discusses lens quality. As said there, if you prefer a camera with 8 in image quality and 10 in usability rather than the other way around, you'd probably go for the 645z. If you need that tenner in image quality, it's probably the Hassy.

You also have the skin tone factor, while Hassy is proven in studio portraits the 645z is a bit new, I haven't really heard what the verdict is concerning skin tones, other than that you should not use Adobe's default profiles but rather Pentax's own (unsurprisingly).

I think most will agree that in ideal conditions (ie studio conditions) the Hassy will provide better image quality, but whether this difference is relevant or not will be a matter of taste, which you will have to decide for yourself.
 

fotografz

Active member
Not sure where you got the information that a Hasselblad H5D/40 is going to break-down twice a month.

My H4D/40 never failed me even once, nor the H3D-II/31 before it. I understand that any brand can have its share of issues occasionally, but the H system is generally known for reasonable reliability and is just as good as any MFD system on the market, sometimes better.

I think you will be hard pressed to find someone that has both a H5D/40 and a Pentax 645Z to provide a direct user comparison, especially side-by-side comparisons of IQ.

Having used a H4D/60 and H4D/40 extensively, all I can do is point out a few mistaken impressions you have about the Hasselblad.

To keep my opinion in perspective … I no longer have a horse in this race. I retired from most commercial work and now use a dual shutter Leica S2P for what little paid work I do, and for my own personal art photography.

If I had not retired, I'd now be using a H5D/200 and a H5D/40. Pentax was never on my radar because it is a focal plane shutter system.

The H5D/40 is more than a studio camera. It is quite at home doing location work. I used a H-40 for outdoor portraits, shooting weddings, travel work, and out of studio commercial assignments. In each case using both available light and/or professional strobe lighting.

The two functional advantages it provides are True Focus APL (which has been improved even more on the H5 camera), and high sync speed when using lighting (especially outdoors).

Neither the Pentax (1/125 sync), nor the Canon (1/250 sync), can match the ambient control and action stopping shutter speed provided by the H5's 1/800 sync when working with strobes.

Having used Canon, Nikon extensively, I can say neither offers the ability of using the focus-recompose technique on subjects like a portrait, landscape, or product as quickly and accurately as True Focus can. TF allows you to focus using the center AF spot anywhere in the frame and recomposing … where it then automatically corrects focus due to the recomposing … even if the focus point is now at the very far edge of the frame. In the time it takes to wheel the focus point of a Canon I've already taken the shot on the Hasselblad. For sure the Pentax cannot do that.

Then there is tethered work in the studio … connected to Hasselblad's Phocus software, the H5D is fast and offers various abilities for clients to remotely view images on an iPad. It can also be used with Adobe LR for tethered work if you prefer. I'm not sure the Pentax even has the ability to work tethered (perhaps someone else can clarify that).

Neither the Pentax nor the Hasselblad is as fast to focus in poorer light, or anywhere as good for focus tracking as the Canon.

The Hasselblad lens offerings from 24mm to 300mm are state of the art optically, are consistent lens-to-lens, with many legacy lenses having been re-designed for digital capture. The HC50-II is one of the best medium wides I have ever used, including the ones I now own from Leica.

I believe the combination of optics and use of a CCD sensor adds to impression of acuity you observed. You are not alone in that observation.

The Canon beats the MFD cameras for high ISO, and the Pentax beats the H45D/40 after ISO 800 but the H5D/40 does a very good ISO 1600 if exposed carefully and a proper WB is used. Only you can determine if you need more than 1600 from a MFD system in actual practice. I never did, I used a FF 35mm in that type of light because it could focus faster.

IMO, the Canon/Hasselblad offers the most versatile combination allowing the broadest range of solutions … but that depends on how much you use lighting, and whether the Pentax is vastly superior to the Canon for video work.

In the end you are in a great position no matter which way you go.

- Marc
 

voidshatter

New member
The Pentax 645Z features a Sony CMOS sensor, which provides extraordinary dynamic range. However there are several limitations:

a) According to diglloyd's tests, the current digital lenses offered by Pentax are limiting the image quality (compared against Sony A7R + Zeiss lenses);

b) The flash sync of the 645Z is only 1/125s, while the H5D/IQ2 series could give you 1/800s to 1/1600s;

c) You lose the fun to play it with tech cam!
 

torger

New member
That the Hasselblad H can be a bit unreliable, especially in outdoor scenarios with moisture etc, I hear now and then from various users. How widespread this is I cannot know, but I do think it's true that Hasselblad H has got this reputation. More precisely, the reputation is great camera body when it works, could be more reliable though.

I think all indications are that the 645z body is etter fit for outdoor conditions than a Hasselblad H.

Concerning reliability I have noticed that MF users generally have a different expectation than DSLR users (photojournalism, wildlife etc). When an MF user says "it's reliable" it may still mean that they may have some occassional hickup in tethering or having to reboot the camera or back once in a while, and certainly this is no problem when you shoot in the studio, while a photojournalist or wildlife photographer that only get one chance to capture the moment must be able to trust the camera at all times.

That Hasselblad would be any worse than other MF brands though is less sure. My experience with Leaf and other user's reports show similar issues with reliability.

I'm a landscape photographer that hikes with the gear, the tent I sleep in can be soaked with moisture when waking up in the morning, the temperature can be -30C in the winter. As such a user you will look at reliability from a different angle than a studio photographer. I consider my MF gear be reliable enough, but it's not "photojournalist DSLR-reliable", and I doubt any MF system with detachable back live up to that grade, while the 645z might (a bit early to say).

Concerning tethering -- there is no tethering solution for the 645z yet, it's coming, but we don't know how good it will be. So clearly, if studio work is the most important the Hassy will be better, and if outdoor work is more important the 645z has a stronger case.
 

Ken_R

New member
Hi everyone!
I`m new user on this forum, so my first words should be "hi everyone" :)
Well, the question i need help to be resolved is - which one to buy, Pentax 645Z or Hassy H5D-40? Couldn`t find any comparing tests on the internet, so i've decided to try make thru it with your help.
I understand that these two are very different cameras, made for different tasks. Hassy made to shine in studio at the first place and break down twice a month, pentax made to perform good everywere, and to crush bricks under heavy rain, but...i`ve found a severe amount of test shots from hassy, and to my opinion, it`s definetly sharper and more detailed than pentax shots i could find (and i`ve found a lot), even considering the sensor resolution difference. Can`t get rid of that feeling.
And that`s a question.
You see, my work consists of nearly 50/50 studio/outdoors shooting. Also i make a lot of video. All i do now i do on my old canon 5dmk2, and it`s quite good actually. So, for me hassy would be and that`s no question a big leap of IQ in studio shootings. And for outdoor and video i still have canon workhorse. So hassy is an addition, not the replacement.
On the other hand, pentax is an IQ leap in any kind of shooting i could put it in, exept maybe sports. And handheld video. Maybe. So that`s a replacement, not addition.
So, the question is - is hassy really considerably sharper and provides beter IQ than 645z? I`m not asking about reliability or iso speeds or any other obvious pros of pentax, just about sharpness and details.
Because that`s only thing that important for me now to go and buy one of these, and there`s no option for me to go and try both.
If anyone, ho tried both of this cameras help me and make my doubts go away, i would be extremely thankful. Cmon, wise guys, really desperate fo help :)
PS sorry for some grammar issues - english is not my native.
Wow, those are VERY different cameras. Image quality wise the Pentax 645Z will crush a H5D-40 at any iso in any condition. No question. The H5D-40 has a good but older CCD sensor, superb at low iso but not so much at high iso. The Pentax sensor also has a bit more dynamic range. Color depth might be similar.

Now, that said, one not only uses a camera by itself. There are the lenses! and software. So think of it as a system.

I for one love the Hasselblad H lenses. They all have leaf shutters so they sync with flash up to 1/800 sec and they are all high quality (in AF, build and feel and optical performance). It is a really nice system. The digital back itself it is good but the lcd is bested ( by a lot) by the one in the 645z (and even by the one in the 645D) and specially the one in the PhaseOne IQ backs.

The PhaseOne IQ backs are a great alternative and the IQ140 is a VERY nice back that can be had at a good price. Mate it with a H4x and you can use it with H lenses and still have the option to mount it on a tech camera.

The Hasselblad and PhaseOne backs also work great tethered. The Pentax, not so much.

Hasselblad and PhaseOne have great service and support (specially if you buy from a dealer, I use DT in NYC). With Pentax if the camera needs any repair expect to be without for 10 weeks, yes, two months! Search around there are some "horror" stories about this.

So as you can see image quality of the camera is just one factor of many to take into consideration.

As a System, which includes service and support, the Pentax still has some improving to do. As a camera body the 645Z is probably the most integrated, user friendly, versatile and superb medium format digital camera ever made.

I had a 645D and liked it but sold it mainly due to the lack of service and support and and also the variable lens quality. (some are very good, others not so much, build quality and feel of the lenses are a notch (or several) below Canon L lenses)
 

fotografz

Active member
That the Hasselblad H can be a bit unreliable, especially in outdoor scenarios with moisture etc, I hear now and then from various users. How widespread this is I cannot know, but I do think it's true that Hasselblad H has got this reputation. More precisely, the reputation is great camera body when it works, could be more reliable though.

I think all indications are that the 645z body is etter fit for outdoor conditions than a Hasselblad H.

Concerning reliability I have noticed that MF users generally have a different expectation than DSLR users (photojournalism, wildlife etc). When an MF user says "it's reliable" it may still mean that they may have some occassional hickup in tethering or having to reboot the camera or back once in a while, and certainly this is no problem when you shoot in the studio, while a photojournalist or wildlife photographer that only get one chance to capture the moment must be able to trust the camera at all times.

That Hasselblad would be any worse than other MF brands though is less sure. My experience with Leaf and other user's reports show similar issues with reliability.

I'm a landscape photographer that hikes with the gear, the tent I sleep in can be soaked with moisture when waking up in the morning, the temperature can be -30C in the winter. As such a user you will look at reliability from a different angle than a studio photographer. I consider my MF gear be reliable enough, but it's not "photojournalist DSLR-reliable", and I doubt any MF system with detachable back live up to that grade, while the 645z might (a bit early to say).

Concerning tethering -- there is no tethering solution for the 645z yet, it's coming, but we don't know how good it will be. So clearly, if studio work is the most important the Hassy will be better, and if outdoor work is more important the 645z has a stronger case.
I'm only speaking from direct experience using H's for over 10 years. I have been caught in a monsoon downpour, shot in driving snowstorms, horrible tropical humidity, etc., to no ill effect … but may well have just been lucky each and every time. I've also used it to shoot stuff where there is no second chances, not just repeatable studio work. Personally, I think people think these cameras are more fragile then they actually are. But that's just me. A little care goes a long way.

The only non-direct experience, internet hear-say I can forward is that from the Hasselblad website where amongst the improvements they announced …

>More accurate focusing with True Focus II
>New Immediate Focus Confirm
>New print ready Jpeg files
>Larger and more ergonomic buttons
>Larger, easier to read display style
>Updated Graphics User Interface
>More programmable buttons
>New and improved weather sealing
>New and faster processors implementing Hasselblad Image Processing Architecture

Of course, a camera that offers modular viewfinder choices and a removable back has to be more vulnerable even with improved weather sealing compared to a camera that is not modular … Like my S2P and the Pentax.

- Marc
 

JorisV

New member
Image quality wise the Pentax 645Z will crush a H5D-40 at any iso in any condition. No question.
Pretty strong statement. It would be interesting to know what makes you so sure...

The PhaseOne IQ backs are a great alternative and the IQ140 is a VERY nice back that can be had at a good price. Mate it with a H4x and you can use it with H lenses and still have the option to mount it on a tech camera.
You will be fine as long as you stick with HC lenses. The HCD lenses are not very well or not at all supported by Capture One.
 

stngoldberg

Well-known member
I have owned the last three series of H cameras from the H3d39 to the H5d50.
Any breakdowns that have occurred on these three cameras have been my fault; the H5D50 which I have had for 15 months has never failed me....I use it every day
stanley
 

torger

New member
The Hasselblad H5D-40 uses a Kodak/TrueSense sensor, ie not as good in terms of technical performance as the Dalsa in IQ140, and worse still than the Sony CMOS in 645z. So yes, in DxOmark-style performance the H5D-40 will indeed be behind in pretty much every aspect in every condition. That does not mean that the H5D-40 sensor is bad, not just state of the art.

However, not all shooting styles involve pushing shadows 4 stops and peep for noise. Do look at pictures and evaluate color and texture. Some like the Hasselblad/Kodak/Phocus look. If you like that better it may be tricky to replicate with the 645z or say an IQ140.
 

JorisV

New member
So yes, in DxOmark-style performance the H5D-40 will indeed be behind in pretty much every aspect in every condition.
I assume that is the same DxOMark that tested the Leica M9 sensor and found it to be inferior in image quality… :ROTFL:
 

Charles Wood

New member
This is probably the most accurate assessment of the 645Z, Pentax and Pentax lenses, all contained in one article, that I've yet read:

Pentax 645z In-Depth Review

You can go to www:imaging-resource.com and download RAW/DNG files at various ISO settings.

One area where the 645Z reigns is in extremely high ISO performance. The video capabilities of the Z are nothing to get excited about. I don't own a Z, the older D instead. The Z or the Hassey decision is yours to make. If I was making the decision about video (assuming image IQ to be paramount) I would sell the 5DII and go to a Panasonic GH4 or SONY A7s.
 

torger

New member
I assume that is the same DxOMark that tested the Leica M9 sensor and found it to be inferior in image quality… :ROTFL:
Yes, the measurable aspects. And those are true, they do quality measurements, but as said the results are not too important in practical image making. Those that tonemap much will not want a noisy sensor though, but if you don't any fairly recent and large sensor will deliver on a technical level.

DXO doesn't measure "look" as it's subjective. My impression is that studio / portrait photographers are more dependent on look, while landscape photographers often desire high technical performance more. Skin tones is not a factor in landscape (rarely bokeh either), and you often need to relight the scene a bit in post-processing, which make technical aspects of performance show.
 
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JorisV

New member
DXO doesn't measure "look" as it's subjective. My impression is that studio / portrait photographers are more dependent on look, while landscape photographers often desire high technical performance more.
All very true.

I shoot people and the look of the files, the skin tones, the character and the rendering of the lenses is much more more important to me than the number of MP and clinical (corner) sharpness of the lenses.
 

Charles Wood

New member
All very true.

I shoot people and the look of the files, the skin tones, the character and the rendering of the lenses is much more more important to me than the number of MP and clinical (corner) sharpness of the lenses.
I would agree and certainly that is why Phase and Hasselblad are strong in your market. But I have to wonder, not being a portraiture, studio or wedding photographer, how many of you who do portraiture and wedding work, rely on software to a larger degree than in the past, to correct/enhance skin tones and add other attributes of a positive nature, to your final output? I've seen the promotions for that type of software but I've never investigated it.
 

modator

Member
Hi KKND,
I had the h4d-40 since it's debut and I can say it was a perfect camera, balanced and precise, the autofocus is very good too, plus it has true focus, the lens are high quality too...
NEVER the camera "break down" in studio nor in location nor in mountains etc...
Two months ago I've changed to the new H5D-50c that has the same CMOS sensor of Pentax... to me it's a true improvement of the performance of my H system lens/accessory,
the sensor enable photography in situation where before was restricted to flash or tripod with long exposure... the quality is still at the top...
I look at Pentax seriously especially for the price.. but on the lens / accessory side to me is not interesting... it's like buying a sport car with wooden wheels...
Finally, If You can afford the 50c is the right choice, maybe starting with a single lens for the first month, then You can buy all the H lens Your work needs month by month or day by day You will not be disappointed !
 

Landscapelover

Senior Subscriber Member
I've owned several MFD systems including Leica S, Phase One IQ 260, P25+ (DF+, Cambo/Alpa) and Hasselblad H4D-40. They are outstanding systems and I love them. I am not a good seller so I've still kept all of them.

I've just bought the Pentax 645Z and been very impressed in its performance especially its high ISO. It's had almost everything the Nikon D800 has with water resistance. It is a perfect "hand-held MFD". It's a dream camera for a stary night and milky way. ISO is useable to 6400 and even 12800.

Although the lens quality are not as good as the Leica (no others do), the cost is markedly less especially in an honest 2nd hand market (from Japan). I bought it because of the 25mm lens and have thrilled with its quality. The 24mm-Leica will cost me $8, 000.

Don't cross it out unless you want to use the back with a tech camera, the Holy Grail of landscape photography and money drain. Read this link in LUL by M Reichman. You'll save lots of money with a top-notched sensor. I don't know about the service, something to consider too.

Pentax 645z In-Depth Review

Pramote
 
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arashm

New member
Hi
Just wanted to jump in with a few words, I'm a commercial/advertising photographer and shoot rented MF all the time. I don't own any as we rent based on needs and budgets.
Hasselblads have been probably the most stable platform I've shot on, Sure I've had issue's with them, but then again I've had issue's with Canon, nikon and Phase as well....
I've never even seen a Pentax 645z in person, so have absolutely no opinions on it, but if you shoot studio, the lack of tether kills the option for me 100%... (Honestly I don't know what Pentax is thinking not coming out with tether when the camera was announced.)
One of the biggest selling points of the H series for me is the "True Focus" it's so good and works so well, if I'm shooting a person/model, I always take the H over anything, also IMHO Iso 800 is quite usable on the H4D-40/H5D-40 (haven't shot with the 50c yet).
As well since it sounds like I'm ranting :) , never understood this Studio/outside thing, what makes a camera a studio camera? Personally I've dragged anything and everything I've had over the years (8x10-MF-D/SLR/ Polaroid/Holga....) on location with me (winter/summer/rain or sun).
As you see attached, H4D-40 Tethered in -3C outside shooting a lookbook for a designer... worked out great!
Good luck with your choice.
 

jduncan

Member
I've owned several MFD systems including Leica S, Phase One IQ 260, P25+ (DF+, Cambo/Alpa) and Hasselblad H4D-40. They are outstanding systems and I love them. I am not a good seller so I've still kept all of them.

I've just bought the Pentax 645Z and been very impressed in its performance especially its high ISO. It's had almost everything the Nikon D800 has with water resistance. It is a perfect "hand-held MFD". It's a dream camera for a stary night and milky way. ISO is useable to 6400 and even 12800.

Although the lens quality are not as good as the Leica (no others do), the cost is markedly less especially in an honest 2nd hand market (from Japan). I bought it because of the 25mm lens and have thrilled with its quality. The 24mm-Leica will cost me $8, 000.

Don't cross it out unless you want to use the back with a tech camera, the Holy Grail of landscape photography and money drain. Read this link in LUL by M Reichman. You'll save lots of money with a top-notched sensor. I don't know about the service, something to consider too.

Pentax 645z In-Depth Review

Pramote
Like all reviews take it with a grain of salt. At the beginning he says:
The rub is that as the 645z gains in popularity (and this article will likely play a role), this set the tone of the article.

Best regards,
J. Duncan
 

torger

New member
Hi
Just wanted to jump in with a few words, I'm a commercial/advertising photographer and shoot rented MF all the time. I don't own any as we rent based on needs and budgets.
Hasselblads have been probably the most stable platform I've shot on, Sure I've had issue's with them, but then again I've had issue's with Canon, nikon and Phase as well....
I've never even seen a Pentax 645z in person, so have absolutely no opinions on it, but if you shoot studio, the lack of tether kills the option for me 100%... (Honestly I don't know what Pentax is thinking not coming out with tether when the camera was announced.)
One of the biggest selling points of the H series for me is the "True Focus" it's so good and works so well, if I'm shooting a person/model, I always take the H over anything, also IMHO Iso 800 is quite usable on the H4D-40/H5D-40 (haven't shot with the 50c yet).
As well since it sounds like I'm ranting :) , never understood this Studio/outside thing, what makes a camera a studio camera? Personally I've dragged anything and everything I've had over the years (8x10-MF-D/SLR/ Polaroid/Holga....) on location with me (winter/summer/rain or sun).
As you see attached, H4D-40 Tethered in -3C outside shooting a lookbook for a designer... worked out great!
Good luck with your choice.
The 645z like the 645D is not really intended to compete head on with Hasselblad and Phase One, but rather be another alternative, see it as a 35mm camera with a larger sensor. It has the live view the high ISO the weather proofing, multipoint auto-focus etc what you'd expect. Tethering is secondary for the target audience. However, they will add it and then it may compete more head on with Hasselblad and Phase, depending on how successful it is.

What makes a camera a "studio camera" is the design and target audience. Lack of great high ISO and lacking general sturdiness (ie not built like a tank) but instead focus on features like tethering and leaf shutters is to me what make a camera a studio camera from a design perspective. One can argue that simply costing a lot makes it a studio camera as it tends to make photographers more careful with the system and they should be when trying to catch photos in outdoor conditions where the best tripod position might be in a stream. And then when you see sales of these cameras it's mainly to photographers that use it in a studio. That doesn't make it impossible to use outdoors of course.
 
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