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Thread: Pentax 645D vs S2

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    Super Duper
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    Pentax 645D vs S2

    Has any of you guys handled both the S2 and the Pentax 645D and could comment on size of bodies?
    I find the thought of a more "compact" MF camera appealing.
    Is the S2 + lens more compact than the 645D?

    Lenses: I feel the difference in lens quality for 35mm lenses between different brands is bigger than that of the lens quality of different MF-systems.
    Would you share this opinion or do you S2 users see anything in the Leica S2 lenses which you do not see in MF lenses from other brands?

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    With respect to the glass, I fear that this could be the optical equivalent of bringing along a knife to a gun fight ...

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    While it may seem the case, I have to say that way back in film days I shot the Pentax 645 for a little bit -- the glass was impressively good. Of course a digital sensor inspection to the corners may reveal more warts than I could discern on film.
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    With respect to the glass, I fear that this could be the optical equivalent of bringing along a knife to a gun fight ...
    Graham, japanese knifes are quite popular and have a very good reputation these days here in Germany

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    I haven't heard of many "Wow!" reactions to the optical characteristics of Leica's S2 lenses, but maybe I missed them.

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Have no experience with the 645D, only can say that the IQ from the S2 test shots (of course with Leica glass) is really stunning and eye opening. Will Pentax glass hold up or even be better?

    I think the differences will be marginal again and if counting in the price difference then the 645D should be the CLEAR winner.

    But there is always the red dot and the belief that Leica is better - sometimes they even are, this is the tricky thing and it is hard to know when.

    In terms of design and look of the camera there is the clear winner already - S2!

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    I own a Leica (R8) and six R lenses....so I'm speaking as one of the converted. Always dreamed of owning a Leica....glad I finally could afford it (used). But I can't afford (and probably wouldn't spend the money on it if I could) a new M9 or new M series glass ($$$$), not to mention an S2 system. I guess my comment was more about that special "Leica look" which has always attracted people to Leica lenses.

    My recollection is that many folks who initially tried the S2 felt that special Leica look was missing from the S2 lenses. Just my impressions from posts I followed for a few months after the S2 became available.

    Value for $$, it's hard to beat the 645D. The Pentax glass was always pretty darn good (I know my P67 lenses never let me down, but that's just MHO). Not the best perhaps, but very good. I hope that when Pentax releases more lenses specifically designed for the 645D, these will be even better than the older Pentax glass.

    As to whether German glass is superior to Japanese glass.....well, I think there are many folks who believe the Hasselblad H-series lenses made by Fuji are, for all practical purposes, the equal of Zeiss and Leica lenses. I know, I know....to some folks, that's a comment bordering on heresy.

    Gary
    Last edited by bensonga; 29th November 2010 at 21:14.

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Shooting the H lenses myself I must say that I like them even more than Leica lenses - especially when used with Phocus. Beautiful colors, rendering OOF, shallow DOF (even larger sensor than S2) tack sharp where you focus, almost no CA and flare etc. etc.

    All the new Leica glass - for M as well as for S - seems to be perfect, but it is made SO PERFECT, that some may feel that they lack typical looks they are used to from former (pre digital) times, when lenses - even Leica lenses - had more flaws. I think that all this discussion about look, boukeh etc becomes pretty academical today given the really small differences.

    Coming back to 645D and price - I must say for this price tag I would have not hesitated a minute to buy one instead my H3D39 if it would have been available last year. I might even rethink and get out of the H system in order to start over with the 645D and some zooms as this system seems to me very good. And I am almost sure that for the current pricing of the S2 and lenses I will not be happy to spend this amount of money.

    Time will tell.
    Last edited by ptomsu; 29th November 2010 at 22:54.

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Regarding compactness ... search out Guy and Jack's initial review of the S2, and the size comparison to the Phase camera. If I recall correctly, when comparing body + lens as you mentioned, there was less difference than one would suspect. Obviously, the handling is different with the S2 .... which is its appeal to some folks.

    One thing that'll be lighter and easier to carry for absolute sure is your wallet after purchasing the S2 kit over the Pentax.

    Lenses are all in the eye of the beholder ... depending on what an individual wants/desires/needs. Being a lifelong Leica nut-case, I had expected something different from the S2 optics. Where it is one of the driving reasons many bought into the S2, it is one of the reasons I did not. To clinical and lacking in character, even compared to the more contemporary ASPH M glass. I shoot primarily people, where others have different priorities.

    The other barrier I couldn't quite get over was the inability to use the back on a tech or view camera with full movements ... with lenses that provide the undisputed best IQ over any MFD system including Leica. This barrier would also apply to the Pentax ... but at the price difference, one could secure a separate DB for a tech camera ... like a P45+ for the added long exposure ability.

    -Marc

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Marc,
    I have to agree that the few images I saw from the S2 on the net and also some in the LFI-magazine appeared to be bitingly sharp and somewhat clinical look.
    From first impression I would prefer what I get from my 80 Schneider or 110 Zeiss. Also I once had tried the Mamiya 150 when I had a Mamiya ZD and that lens was fine for my taste too.
    I would really be interested to see side by side comparison between a Leica 120mm image and the Pentax 120mm or 150mm, or between the Leica 70mm and the Pentax 75mm.

    With the body I am not sure. On one side I find the simplicity of the S2-design great (coming from Leica M) - on the other side the posibility to access several functions directly (Pentax 645D) without having to go into the menue could make the use of such a camera faster and more DSLR like.



    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Regarding compactness ... search out Guy and Jack's initial review of the S2, and the size comparison to the Phase camera. If I recall correctly, when comparing body + lens as you mentioned, there was less difference than one would suspect. Obviously, the handling is different with the S2 .... which is its appeal to some folks.

    One thing that'll be lighter and easier to carry for absolute sure is your wallet after purchasing the S2 kit over the Pentax.

    Lenses are all in the eye of the beholder ... depending on what an individual wants/desires/needs. Being a lifelong Leica nut-case, I had expected something different from the S2 optics. Where it is one of the driving reasons many bought into the S2, it is one of the reasons I did not. To clinical and lacking in character, even compared to the more contemporary ASPH M glass. I shoot primarily people, where others have different priorities.

    The other barrier I couldn't quite get over was the inability to use the back on a tech or view camera with full movements ... with lenses that provide the undisputed best IQ over any MFD system including Leica. This barrier would also apply to the Pentax ... but at the price difference, one could secure a separate DB for a tech camera ... like a P45+ for the added long exposure ability.

    -Marc

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Regarding compactness ... search out Guy and Jack's initial review of the S2, and the size comparison to the Phase camera. If I recall correctly, when comparing body + lens as you mentioned, there was less difference than one would suspect. Obviously, the handling is different with the S2 .... which is its appeal to some folks.

    One thing that'll be lighter and easier to carry for absolute sure is your wallet after purchasing the S2 kit over the Pentax.

    Lenses are all in the eye of the beholder ... depending on what an individual wants/desires/needs. Being a lifelong Leica nut-case, I had expected something different from the S2 optics. Where it is one of the driving reasons many bought into the S2, it is one of the reasons I did not. To clinical and lacking in character, even compared to the more contemporary ASPH M glass. I shoot primarily people, where others have different priorities.

    The other barrier I couldn't quite get over was the inability to use the back on a tech or view camera with full movements ... with lenses that provide the undisputed best IQ over any MFD system including Leica. This barrier would also apply to the Pentax ... but at the price difference, one could secure a separate DB for a tech camera ... like a P45+ for the added long exposure ability.

    -Marc
    Marc,

    fully agree - especially WRT separate back like P45+ or P65+ together with a tech camera, if you spare as much money buying the 645D.

    Had a closer look into the Pentax lineup - K5 and 645D - and I must say I am getting impressed. Even start rethinking my complete lineup as a K5 could replace my DSLR (D700), the 645 my H system (cheaper and maybe same quality - quod erat demonstrandum) and if I really need then a separate back for tech camera.

    I think this way I would not bind more money as I have today, but allow for relatively cheap MF upgrades as the next generation 645D-II would appear.

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    Marc,
    I have to agree that the few images I saw from the S2 on the net and also some in the LFI-magazine appeared to be bitingly sharp and somewhat clinical look.
    From first impression I would prefer what I get from my 80 Schneider or 110 Zeiss. Also I once had tried the Mamiya 150 when I had a Mamiya ZD and that lens was fine for my taste too.
    I would really be interested to see side by side comparison between a Leica 120mm image and the Pentax 120mm or 150mm, or between the Leica 70mm and the Pentax 75mm.

    With the body I am not sure. On one side I find the simplicity of the S2-design great (coming from Leica M) - on the other side the posibility to access several functions directly (Pentax 645D) without having to go into the menue could make the use of such a camera faster and more DSLR like.
    I think you'd benefit from a hands on with both cameras. I am suspicious of the Pentax viewfinder with that little peep-hole eye piece. The S2 is pretty nice in that area. On the other hand, some of the ergonomics of the Pentax are very well thought out ... right down to the dual mounting plates on bottom/side.

    I'd also suspect the Leica S2 will smoke many other 120 Macros for pure clinical sharpness usually so desirable with macro work ... compared to more aged lenses. However, that's changed recently with Phase and Hassey. Still haven't seen a 120 Macro to equal the Zeiss Contax 120/4 for a balance between clarity and character. But then, I haven't tried the newer 120 Macros.

    The Zeiss 110/2 is the "Character King" no doubt ... but that lens can be used on most any focal plane shutter camera. The closest thing to it for my H4D is the 100/2.2. Close, but no cigar

    -Marc

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Having spent a little time lately with the Hasselblad H4D-50 (a week is certainly not enough time to form a complete evaluation but it is what it is) I have to say that I really liked the color and sharpness I was seeing from that sensor and the few Hasselblad lenses I had access to. The images seemed alive ... if that makes any sense. It's probably not relevant to the current discussion, but I found it interesting. Just a bit less size and weight and I would've been able to take the camera anywhere with a handstrap. For me, it was a narrow miss especially since it also offers a single power source. As I didn't have to worry about the tech camera proposition, an integrated sensor and body made more sense for me. True Focus is an amazing technology if you do a lot of focusing and recomposing ... which I do. Hopefully, other manufacturers will develop some kind of version that is similar.
    Last edited by KurtKamka; 30th November 2010 at 03:11.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    I guess i will address this. Not sure of the Pentax glass myself but they do have a long history of being very good and I did shoot the 6x7 for a time being but obviously with film. Now I have handled and shot the S2 glass along with Phase glass in our review and I think I said the first day it was announced many moons ago is the Leica glass may just lack character compared to lets say a 80 R lux lens and as it turns out I was right. The S2 glass is very good but it is also somewhat clinical in look and in all honestly not any better than some of my Phase lenses in IQ. Yes the build is extremely nice and solid as a rock. Leica is very well known for quality build not lacking in the S2 for sure. They are heavier and bigger than the Phase lenses in same focal lengths but the body makes up for it in being lighter so total weight I think was maybe a touch in favor of the Leica but by a very small margin. Regardless leica lenses where never light weight either in all there lines M, R and S are all heavy glass which also makes it a solid build so nothing really negative here on that, if anything more positive because the are very smooth and built like a tank. Now my 80 was just as equal to the S 70 and the 180 S was equal to the 150D so no gain here and like Hassy some Phase lenses have character in them like the new LS glass I really love. If you where to classify the S lenses in a group I would put it in the more clinical group. They are very very sharp and more like the Summarit/Summricon class in M and R but maybe what some of us wanted was more Lux looking which they are not IMHO. Leica in my view set out to build very sharp glass from wide aperture down the scale. They did that and if it has a edge anywhere it would be more in the wide open area. Which most of us know that is Leica's trait even in the M and R class.

    So end of day when compared with Phase and Hassy the S2 does very well indeed if in some area's above them. The ergos are really what you most likely are buying when it comes to the S2. Glass wise maybe in some cases better but most likely on the wide open side. As one that spent some good time with it let me say i would not sell my Phase for the S2 because of the glass but more the ergo's but knowing i would not lose any quality in the process. So yes would I like to switch over it's a yes and a no. My no has more to do with maturity in system than anything else, not to mention coming up with a lot of cash. LOL

    How they will fair against the Pentax will be interesting but we need to remember above all else this is MF not 35mm and lenses here are important no doubt to end IQ. It is not the same as 35mm as your really trying very hard to squeeze every drop out of the glass for IQ. MF you really don't have that much of a worry since the sensor is so big right from the get go it is not a major are of concern like 35mm, at least that is what I figured out after spending a good amount of time in MF. Even some cheap old Mamiya lenses still produce great images quality. Now maybe not as good as the D series or the S lenses but the difference is minimal compared to 35mm.

    Honestly not sure i would sweat it here with the Pentax as it seems to be very good from what we have seen so far. It will never be a Mature Phase system nor will it ever be a built like a rock S2 system but it just may prove to be very good as it is. The bottom line to me is your here in MF land the rules just changed and for the better.
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    One thing which makes sense as well is the multi point AF in the Pentax which one could use instead of focus-recompose-technique.
    Hasselblad has developed true-focus as a solution but how do we handle this (problem?) with phase/S2/Hy6? (I do with manual focus)

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    One thing which makes sense as well is the multi point AF in the Pentax which one could use instead of focus-recompose-technique.
    Hasselblad has developed true-focus as a solution but how do we handle this (problem?) with phase/S2/Hy6? (I do with manual focus)
    I was thinking that as well, but actually the area of the Pentax AF points is limited to a pretty small area, which definitely does NOT cover the usual 2/3 rule composition - if you like to follow that somehow. What that means, you still need to recompose even if you use the outer AF points of the 645D.

    I think the issue is that the AF was designed for the APSC Pentax bodies, where it pretty nicely covers the necessary areas of the frame so you do not need to recompose.

    But this would (could) have been a killer feature of the 645D.

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    I think the big uncertainty with the Pentax is.....how soon will they be releasing new lenses and how extensive will the new lineup be? From what I've read, the current lineup of FA (autofocus) P645 lenses are not available for sale new in the USA, so other than the new 55mm lens designed for the 645D, a 645D buyer is limited to purchasing used 645 A/FA series or P67 lenses. Early adopters of the 645D are most likely to come from existing 645 and 67 owners, who already have a collection of lenses that can be put to good use.

    I'm hopeful that Pentax will follow thru with a nice lineup of digital spec glass for the 645D. They certainly have shown an ability and willingness to build some nice prime lenses for their 35mm digital line of cameras.....and they've got a long history in 6x7 and 645 lenses to build upon.

    Gary

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    I think the big uncertainty with the Pentax is.....how soon will they be releasing new lenses and how extensive will the new lineup be? From what I've read, the current lineup of FA (autofocus) P645 lenses are not available for sale new in the USA, so other than the new 55mm lens designed for the 645D, a 645D buyer is limited to purchasing used 645 A/FA series or P67 lenses. Early adopters of the 645D are most likely to come from existing 645 and 67 owners, who already have a collection of lenses that can be put to good use.

    I'm hopeful that Pentax will follow thru with a nice lineup of digital spec glass for the 645D. They certainly have shown an ability and willingness to build some nice prime lenses for their 35mm digital line of cameras.....and they've got a long history in 6x7 and 645 lenses to build upon.

    Gary
    This is one of the questions. From the initial design to the final mass release of a lens typically takes 18-30 months. I have zero inside knowledge one way or the other as to whether or not more lenses were started well before the release of the body.

    Typically this is where we (as a medium format dealer) would have some knowledge for direct public release or at least reassuring hints - but with Pentax there just isn't that network in the US (at least that we are privvy to).


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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    the question is: is it faster to get a new Leica lens or to find a used Pentax lens (for 1/10 of the money)

    but I really agree that Pentax should have offered at least 3 new lenses with the release of the 635d, maybe the 55, a wide angle and a 150?/120

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    by the way, in Germany there are several online stores which offer new Pentax lenses for the 645 system

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    I got to fondle the Pentax 645D at PPE and I have to say that the balance is as good as Hassy or Phase cameras. They currently offer a 55mm digital lens but they also announced a 28mm digital lens at Photokina. The camera I handled was a production model and I was allowed to shoot test shots with my own SD cards. The mechanical actions of body are buttery smooth and I can see myself handholding this camera a lot. Other niceties include an in-viewfinder spirit level (very useful for me as I am beginning to think my eyes are crooked) 11-point AF and compatibility with a wide range of DSLR accessories.

    The viewfinder is very bright and the eyecup worked well even with my glasses on. I am working hard to get one in for review, but availability is scarce (for now).

    Here are some sample shots that I took at the booth. I have not had time to really play around with them to get the look perfect, but they show impressive amounts of detail and DR.


    Sample Shot #1 from 645D by Carlos Echenique, on Flickr


    Sample Shot #2 from 645D by Carlos Echenique, on Flickr

    Both were shot handheld with the 55mm lens.
    Carlos Echenique | Carlos Echenique Photography |Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II | Olympus Pen-F - M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS, M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    The upcoming WA for the 645D is actually a 25/4 according to Ned Bunnell of Pentax USA. He says it will be available early 2011.

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Let's hope that within a few years, the lineup of lenses available in the USA for the 645D will be as extensive as this.....whether newly designed specifically for the 645D or re-issued FA series (many of which are thought to be quite good).

    Gary

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by surfotog View Post
    The upcoming WA for the 645D is actually a 25/4 according to Ned Bunnell of Pentax USA. He says it will be available early 2011.
    Quite right. I fat-fingered the focal length.
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    Has any of you guys handled both the S2 and the Pentax 645D and could comment on size of bodies?
    I find the thought of a more "compact" MF camera appealing.
    Is the S2 + lens more compact than the 645D?
    While I haven't handled the Leica, I have seen photos and a video from someone holding it in his hands, and yesterday I was in a berlin photo store who had a 645D presentation, where I could go outside and take a few frames. To me it is clear: The Pentax is quite bulky, no comparision with a DSLR- style camera like let's say a Mamiya ZD SLR. Weight is ok, the lens attached was the new 55mm AF lens, it was as big as a normal 645 AF lens. So i am quite sure the Leica is smaller. The Pentax rep told me that 645d is available from January 2011 for a "kit" price (with 55mm lens) of 12.000 Euro. Quite steep, I personally am not interested, however the smaller DSLRs like the new K5 are quite neat with an apparently impressive DR at base ISO that exceeds what MF backs can deliver (like the Nikon d7k).
    As the light was already quite low I just did 1 shot with ISO200 (= base ISO) and then ISO400 and 800. At ISO800 there was quite some noise in the dng files.

    Not an in-depth impression I can give, just some basic facts. Of course the S2pro with 2 or 3 lenses will be a lot more expensive!

    regards
    Bernhard

  26. #26
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    well... even though the S2 doesn't have the look associated with great M glass, i do find the glass to have something special in it's rendering from the samples i've seen. It's not the special "m"-oomph I was looking for, but it is cream of the crop imo.

    The pentax bugs me and intrigues me at the same time. I'm a HUGE pentax fan, and I think it'll be a game changer from a feature/price combination. The IQ seems nice as well... but it just ends there for me so far from what I've seen. Nice. I really would like to try it in person.

    I can't wait for there to be more samples available because the pentax seems to have revved-up dslr IQ to me. It's visibly better than dslr, for sure, which is great.... but still not convinced. Definitely not "$10K convinced" given the amount of quality second hand gear on the market.

    There I said it... IMO the pentax ain't cheap either. On paper it seems a bargain, but $10K plus lenses and accessories is a lot of money for a camera, no matter how you slice it. It is a lot of camera performance wise though, for that price, given many of the used MF equivalents.

    The S2 does have something special, it's just not the classic leica look. From that side of things, I don't think there is a winner... just preferences. In an IQ battle, I'd side with the S2. But that's just my pref.

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    well... even though the S2 doesn't have the look associated with great M glass, i do find the glass to have something special in it's rendering from the samples i've seen. It's not the special "m"-oomph I was looking for, but it is cream of the crop imo.

    The pentax bugs me and intrigues me at the same time. I'm a HUGE pentax fan, and I think it'll be a game changer from a feature/price combination. The IQ seems nice as well... but it just ends there for me so far from what I've seen. Nice. I really would like to try it in person.

    I can't wait for there to be more samples available because the pentax seems to have revved-up dslr IQ to me. It's visibly better than dslr, for sure, which is great.... but still not convinced. Definitely not "$10K convinced" given the amount of quality second hand gear on the market.

    There I said it... IMO the pentax ain't cheap either. On paper it seems a bargain, but $10K plus lenses and accessories is a lot of money for a camera, no matter how you slice it. It is a lot of camera performance wise though, for that price, given many of the used MF equivalents.

    The S2 does have something special, it's just not the classic leica look. From that side of things, I don't think there is a winner... just preferences. In an IQ battle, I'd side with the S2. But that's just my pref.
    Right, preferences is what largely remains, but preferences are the most important thing in buying decisions - would you agree?

    A 645D with 3 lenses should be available for less than 20k$, while for a S2 you will end up around 35k$ - or in a similar relation anyway. If preference is the cheapest system (cheap is of course relative) then the 645D will be very interesting and you will not care as much about S2 look and feel and other hully gully ....

    If your preference is the look of images you would have maybe different possibilities for decision and so on .......

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    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Right, preferences is what largely remains, but preferences are the most important thing in buying decisions - would you agree?
    Completely the point of my post... along with the fact that a camera costing more than $12K, probably closer to $15K or $20K (after lenses and all) just STILL isn't cheap. $20K gets you a new h4D-31 kit plus an extra few lenses... or a similar Phase product...

    So, IQ becomes more of a deciding personal pref for me than feature set or price (since I can't afford any of them )... and that's where the Pentax still doesn't shine for me (as of now). Again, my pref.

    All that aside, the original post was between the s2 and 645D, and I side with the S2 on this one as far as IQ and body-style (albeit with somewhat less experience than many here on this forum).

    "Hully Gully"... love that phrase.

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Shelby,
    you are quite correct in your assessment. None of these systems are "cheap" and a considerable amount of research and testing needs to be done before one decides to commit to any system. Any camera you use, amateur or professional, needs to work with you, not the other way around.

    How does the body feel in your hand? My sister has complained to me that the Olympus E-PL1 (quite possible the smallest, lightest interchangeable lens digital camera on the market today) felt heavy and unbalanced to her. OTOH, I have a hard time not covering up something important on it with my big mitts.

    Do the lens choices fit your shooting style? Studio shooters have different lens requirements than outdoor shooters. Does the range of lenses offered meet your needs?

    How well does the camera integrate into your existing workflow? If you have a method that works, does the camera force you to greatly modify what you are doing? Can your workflow be adapted or will you have to adopt a workflow for one type of camera and a different one for the other? This assumes that you have not centralized on a single MFD systems and have abandoned other camera systems. (Some folks like to dive into the deep end first.)

    Are the files worthy? No amount of money will help you if the files produced by the camera are not what you need (not up to snuff). if the files cause you more work instead of less, then think twice about said camera system. I switched from Canon to Nikon because the files produced greatly shortened my workflow due to much less post-processing required.

    The Pentax pricing, while not cheap, is a big step in the right direction. If the MFD makers want more market penetration, they have to stop catering to the affluent photographers (there are fewer of those every day) and start thinking in terms of the economies of the second decade of the 21st century.
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by etrigan63 View Post
    Are the files worthy? No amount of money will help you if the files produced by the camera are not what you need (not up to snuff). if the files cause you more work instead of less, then think twice about said camera system. I switched from Canon to Nikon because the files produced greatly shortened my workflow due to much less post-processing required.
    And this ties SSSOOOO integrally to how you shoot. I found that if I decide I'm going to shoot MF in the same fashion that I'm going to shoot 35mm... then I need a body/back that has low mirror slap and decent higher (400-800) ISO... otherwise those great files are ruined by technically imperfect shooting (camera shake) due to not being able to use a high enough iso to get the shutter speeds up... regardless of which system I choose.

    So... my decision currently is to let my canons do the hand holding (mostly) and go to a slow methodical RZ67, mostly on a tripod, for ultimate file quality. With that decision made, then the sensor "signature" becomes a more over-riding factor in my choice, not it's abilities at higher iso (so I can have higher shutter speeds).

    Between the 645D and the s2 (arguably two of the more hand-holdable systems in mf-land), that decision is taken care of, somewhat, by the design of the system even though I see clear evidence of camera shake in bunches of the online 645D samples, and Marc spoke a long time back about the S2 still needing great technique due to it's resolving powers (camera shake still evident if you're not careful)... so then it seems that sensor/lense "look" come back into play as do individual prefs for ergonomics.

    SSSOOOO many variables.

    Great discussion, though.

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    The pentax bugs me and intrigues me at the same time. I'm a HUGE pentax fan, and I think it'll be a game changer from a feature/price combination. The IQ seems nice as well... but it just ends there for me so far from what I've seen. ... the pentax seems to have revved-up dslr IQ to me. It's visibly better than dslr, for sure, which is great.... but still not convinced. Definitely not "$10K convinced" given the amount of quality second hand gear on the market.
    +1 to all that Shelby. I have been dreaming about about a digital Pentax 645 for years, and from a form and feature standpoint I really think they nailed all that I wanted. But, and it's a big BUT, the image quality that I have seen in the posted shots really doesn't excite me much. Sure the resolution is there, but the color depth is not. And while $10,000 is a great value for a new medium format camera, it is still a lot of money.

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    And this ties SSSOOOO integrally to how you shoot. I found that if I decide I'm going to shoot MF in the same fashion that I'm going to shoot 35mm... then I need a body/back that has low mirror slap and decent higher (400-800) ISO... otherwise those great files are ruined by technically imperfect shooting (camera shake) due to not being able to use a high enough iso to get the shutter speeds up... regardless of which system I choose.

    So... my decision currently is to let my canons do the hand holding (mostly) and go to a slow methodical RZ67, mostly on a tripod, for ultimate file quality. With that decision made, then the sensor "signature" becomes a more over-riding factor in my choice, not it's abilities at higher iso (so I can have higher shutter speeds).

    Between the 645D and the s2 (arguably two of the more hand-holdable systems in mf-land), that decision is taken care of, somewhat, by the design of the system even though I see clear evidence of camera shake in bunches of the online 645D samples, and Marc spoke a long time back about the S2 still needing great technique due to it's resolving powers (camera shake still evident if you're not careful)... so then it seems that sensor/lense "look" come back into play as do individual prefs for ergonomics.

    SSSOOOO many variables.

    Great discussion, though.
    If you want a MF camera with very well controlled mirror slap then the H system is a great answer. You can adjust in many steps the mirror pre release, and I found for my applications of handheld shooting the 50ms (or 100ms) are just perfect. I could not complain about a single shoot not being sharp because of mirror slap

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_Green View Post
    +1 to all that Shelby. I have been dreaming about about a digital Pentax 645 for years, and from a form and feature standpoint I really think they nailed all that I wanted. But, and it's a big BUT, the image quality that I have seen in the posted shots really doesn't excite me much. Sure the resolution is there, but the color depth is not. And while $10,000 is a great value for a new medium format camera, it is still a lot of money.
    Well,

    then the H4D31 or H4D40 are the perfect answer for you

  34. #34
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    If you want a MF camera with very well controlled mirror slap then the H system is a great answer. You can adjust in many steps the mirror pre release, and I found for my applications of handheld shooting the 50ms (or 100ms) are just perfect. I could not complain about a single shoot not being sharp because of mirror slap
    Ah yes... but then the price is the big gotcha for me, lol! If I had $20-$25K right now, I'd buy an h4d-40 today along with the 80, 100/2.2, and one semi-wide. But, alas.

    I have looked at a pre-owned h3dii-22... still is on my list... just so I can use those great HC lenses (especially the 100/2.2)

    As it is... RZ67IID and a nice, lower res back for careful work is what I'm going for. I'm not shooting kids and weddings any more, so hand holding is only needed when shooting musical events and my own family. The 5DII works just great for that stuff.

    Sorry to take this thread so off-topic....

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    Senior Member KeithL's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    I have looked at a pre-owned h3dii-22... still is on my list... just so I can use those great HC lenses (especially the 100/2.2)
    You'll be lucky to find one!

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    The true be told, most any of these 30+ meg systems are so close in IQ that it's hair splitting at it finest ... magnified by marketing hype and purchase justifications. Yes, incremental improvements are there for the taking ... just cough up a King's Ransom + sell your blood and important body parts.

    A camera like the S2 offers an obviously different form factor primarily based on familiarity and ease of migration from 35mm DSLR form factor to a MFD with a similar user experience. The aspect of hand-holding is the primary criteria of that form factor migration ... on a tripod the difference evaporates. As stated, hand-holding presents a whole other level of issues with any MFD system regardless of form factor.

    Lens draw, and emotional impact are becoming more over-looked as the criteria becomes more and more analytical and clinical in nature ... IMO mostly because it can be proved with charts, graphs and pixel peeping to the 4th power ... primarily for marketing purposes and purchase justification. No lens maker would dare make "artistic" lenses these days ... like the flawed, but delicious Zeiss 110/2FE. We have no one to blame for this except ourselves.

    Shelby, what comes to mind is the masterful use you made of the lowly Siggy 50/1.4 on your A900 ... with all it's warts and resulting emotionally powerful images. If Sigma ever made identical optic characteristics for my MFD I'd get in line for it ... as it is the 100/2.2 has to be it for my MFD system and 75/1.4 for the M system.

    I think you'd be stunned at the IQ from a lumbering RZ and an older Aptus 75 (not even the s version) ... and every lens made for it (including the clinically precise APOs) could be had for the price of one S2 lens ... or less ...

    -Marc

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    In a word "character"

    I agree with Marc it's our own fault. The pixel peeping charts this is better than that junk is meaningless. Some of us just want to shoot NICE images. I love my Phase kit no question but as soon as the Schneiders came out I jumped all over them. Look is what I want, it's what separates us from the mundane.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    In a word "character"

    I agree with Marc it's our own fault. The pixel peeping charts this is better than that junk is meaningless. Some of us just want to shoot NICE images.
    Absolutely - too true. I'm in a different league, but currently exploring the limiteds and the Zeiss ZK lenses on the Pentax K5 - they don't win MTF competitions, but they're NICE - nice to use, nicely made, and produce nice images.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Let's not forget because of the different nature of each company, the Pentax glass will certainly be improved substantially, while the Leica lens line will remain about the same for many years.
    Eduardo

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    While it may seem the case, I have to say that way back in film days I shot the Pentax 645 for a little bit -- the glass was impressively good. Of course a digital sensor inspection to the corners may reveal more warts than I could discern on film.

  40. #40
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Shelby, what comes to mind is the masterful use you made of the lowly Siggy 50/1.4 on your A900 ... with all it's warts and resulting emotionally powerful images.

    {snip}

    I think you'd be stunned at the IQ from a lumbering RZ and an older Aptus 75 (not even the s version) ... and every lens made for it (including the clinically precise APOs) could be had for the price of one S2 lens ... or less ...

    -Marc
    Why thank you, Marc.

    You describe exactly what I'm after at this point in my life... compelling images. This is why I don't, so far, get all jazzed about the 645D (or the S2 for that matter). Lack of special-ness in much of what I see (not all!).

    One of the older combos I've seen images from that seem especially nice is the aptus-22/RZ combo (and by extension, the 75, I'd guess). Just a real synergy there. I'm sure time will come very soon when more character-laden 645D and s2 images will be more common. Don't get me wrong, I've seen good stuff out of both...

    We have it so good these days to even be having this discussion.

    Guy... totally agree!

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    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
    You'll be lucky to find one!
    tell me about it!

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    like the flawed, but delicious Zeiss 110/2FE
    *******
    Had mine out yesterday afternoon, shooting rotting logs in the woods at f/2. It may be a flawed lens but it has a personality.

    Steve

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by Uaiomex View Post
    Let's not forget because of the different nature of each company, the Pentax glass will certainly be improved substantially, while the Leica lens line will remain about the same for many years.
    How do we know this? I mean, I hope so and you are mostly likely correct, but with companies buying other companies it's a matter of faith rather than a matter of fact. Hopefully new technology allows new lens design to match characteristics of digital files better than the older film lenses, but until there are out on the street for some typical usage, it's speculation. A good bet for sure, but still speculation.

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Reading through the responses above, I am a little surprised that nobody seems to be taking into account the fact that the 645D is a 4:3 format camera and the S2 is a 3:2 format camera. For me, cropping images is something to be avoided to the greatest extent possible, because I am always seeking to achieve the best possible IQ from my equipment, and as such, I cannot bear to throw away ~15% of an image's pixels during post processing to crop it into a more pleasing (to me, anyway) shape and I don't seem to be able to pre-visualize compositions I can't see on a ground-glass or LCD. To be honest, the 4:3 format was one of the factors behind my decision to move up to MF digital rather than to buy a Nikon D3x or some other high-res DSLR.

    I understand that the 3:2 format is an important part of Leica's sacred legacy, so it makes sense Leica would so spec the S2, but I'm surprised that a camera's native format doesn't appear to be an issue for this forum's many pros, who are often incredibly picky about other aspects of a product's performance. Although I'm not a potential S2 buyer for other reasons (i.e., cost, although I suppose I could be persuaded to overlook this if the camera's performance was so much better than its competition in every other respect that I couldn't afford not to buy one), this fact alone certainly gives me pause ... is this really a complete non-issue for everybody else and I'm the only one who feels this way? <puzzled>

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Re whether 3:2 (Leica/35mm) vs 4:3 (645) format images result in unwanted cropping or throwing away of a part of the image.....doesn't it depend on what your usual print size is? For me, I rarely print on paper larger than 11x17 or 13x19 inches.....and for those paper sizes, if I want to make maximum use of the paper space, I'm better off with a native 3:2 format image (if I've done the math correctly). On 8.5x11 inch paper, I would be better off with a 4:3 format image, but I've usually got more than enough resolution so I'm not too concerned about having to crop a bit off the image for a Letter size print. I think that only if I regularly wanted to print on 17x22, 20x24, 24x30 etc size papers would I be better off with a 4:3 format image.

    Gary

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    As Gary said, it really depends on the ultimate destination for your images. I print 16x20 of cropped images from my D700, but I have gone as far up at 20x30. Any MFD will give me a hell of a lot more pixel to work with, that's a certainty. But if I don't print 40x60 will they be wasted?

    Not if the image meets my standards.
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    Re whether 3:2 (Leica/35mm) vs 4:3 (645) format images result in unwanted cropping or throwing away of a part of the image.....doesn't it depend on what your usual print size is?
    Not for me, it doesn't. I generally compose my images right to the edge of the frame in-camera and that's also the image I expect to print. Perhaps it's just me, but I won't allow paper size to affect my compositions and it doesn't bother me to trim excess paper from my prints depending upon their size. YMMV, obviously...

    (As a humorous aside, my father absolutely hates to see any part of the screen of his 16:9 format 52" flat-screen be blacked-out because a program was filmed in something other the 16:9 format. Whenever this happens, he always uses the stretch and/or zoom commands on his remote to expand the image so that it covers the entire screen, regardless of the negative effect this has on the IQ, because he can't stand to "waste" any of the screen area that he paid for!)
    Last edited by Audii-Dudii; 3rd December 2010 at 19:49.

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    Not for me, it doesn't. I generally compose my images right to the edge of the frame in-camera and that's also the image I expect to print. Perhaps it's just me, but I won't allow paper size to affect my compositions and it doesn't bother me to trim excess paper from my prints depending upon their size. YMMV, obviously...
    Well that can be the case regardless of whether you have a 3:2 or 4:3 format image, so I must not be understanding your original post correctly and this idea of wasting or throwing away 15% of the image.

    I remember that Pentax used to make a point in the marketing of the Pentax 6x7 that this format scaled up nicely for 8x10, 11x14 or 16x20 enlargements. I still like the 6x7 aspect ratio of my P67 transparencies....but it doesn't fit as nicely on my 11x17 and 13x19 inch paper. I must be like your dad in that respect....hate to see the wasted space on the paper and sometimes I'm even tempted to crop my P67 image to the correct aspect ratio (for the paper) and then bump the enlargement up a tad to fill it.

    Gary
    Last edited by bensonga; 3rd December 2010 at 23:52.

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    Reading through the responses above, I am a little surprised that nobody seems to be taking into account the fact that the 645D is a 4:3 format camera and the S2 is a 3:2 format camera. For me, cropping images is something to be avoided to the greatest extent possible, because I am always seeking to achieve the best possible IQ from my equipment, and as such, I cannot bear to throw away ~15% of an image's pixels during post processing to crop it into a more pleasing (to me, anyway) shape and I don't seem to be able to pre-visualize compositions I can't see on a ground-glass or LCD. To be honest, the 4:3 format was one of the factors behind my decision to move up to MF digital rather than to buy a Nikon D3x or some other high-res DSLR.

    I understand that the 3:2 format is an important part of Leica's sacred legacy, so it makes sense Leica would so spec the S2, but I'm surprised that a camera's native format doesn't appear to be an issue for this forum's many pros, who are often incredibly picky about other aspects of a product's performance. Although I'm not a potential S2 buyer for other reasons (i.e., cost, although I suppose I could be persuaded to overlook this if the camera's performance was so much better than its competition in every other respect that I couldn't afford not to buy one), this fact alone certainly gives me pause ... is this really a complete non-issue for everybody else and I'm the only one who feels this way? <puzzled>
    I agree, but that specific subject was beaten to death when the S2 was initially launched ... as was the fact that you can't use all that S2 resolution on a tech camera, or view camera with full movements, that utilize optics that no MFD SLR can match, including Leica. A lot of MFD folks use Alpa, Cambo, Sinar, Rollei, etc. bodies with their MFD backs (something I don't think you can do with the Pentax either ... right?)

    It is what it is, and doesn't seem to be a deterrent to those who want the S2 form factor over the modular MFD with a 4:3 format.

    -Marc

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    Re: Pentax 645D vs S2

    You can choose 3:4 in the d3x viewfinder by the way. yes you loose some pixel but framing works fine.
    For me the interesting thing is that I get along fine with both ratios.
    The only thing I often dont like is to have to crop afterwards because often it seems I frame the subject in a way it fits good in the viewfinder and sometimes it doesnt work any more if I have to crop it to a different format.



    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    Reading through the responses above, I am a little surprised that nobody seems to be taking into account the fact that the 645D is a 4:3 format camera and the S2 is a 3:2 format camera. For me, cropping images is something to be avoided to the greatest extent possible, because I am always seeking to achieve the best possible IQ from my equipment, and as such, I cannot bear to throw away ~15% of an image's pixels during post processing to crop it into a more pleasing (to me, anyway) shape and I don't seem to be able to pre-visualize compositions I can't see on a ground-glass or LCD. To be honest, the 4:3 format was one of the factors behind my decision to move up to MF digital rather than to buy a Nikon D3x or some other high-res DSLR.

    I understand that the 3:2 format is an important part of Leica's sacred legacy, so it makes sense Leica would so spec the S2, but I'm surprised that a camera's native format doesn't appear to be an issue for this forum's many pros, who are often incredibly picky about other aspects of a product's performance. Although I'm not a potential S2 buyer for other reasons (i.e., cost, although I suppose I could be persuaded to overlook this if the camera's performance was so much better than its competition in every other respect that I couldn't afford not to buy one), this fact alone certainly gives me pause ... is this really a complete non-issue for everybody else and I'm the only one who feels this way? <puzzled>

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