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Thread: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

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    Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Hello everyone, Dutch Marc here.

    I have been following this Med Format forum for a while now, and love the input and feedback you members give. Great source for support & tech Know-how

    I was lucky enough to get my 1st hands on experience with the PhaseOne DB during the CI weekend in Carmel.

    I would love to get started with a DB from Phase or Leaf but have been hold back by the price point and the "vortex" I might get sucked into :-)

    I have seen many post about PhaseOne, Leaf etc but did not find information about the pentax 645d unless I missed it.

    Are there any member that have any experience with this camera or would like to share there insights/opinion about the pentax 645d.

    PentaxWebstore.com:645D 645D

    Looks like this might be a good "get-started MF" camera.

    Reading stories about used eBay items etc, made me look at this model..

    Any input is much appreciated !

    Grtx Marc

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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Hi Marc:
    Look further down on this page, there is a long thread about the 645D. I own one, and it is the most straight forward digital camera I have ever used. Mirror Lock Up is an external switch. Turn it to activate and disengage lock up.HDR bracketing is accessed via an external button. Legacy lenses are dirt cheap.
    I highly recommend you read the thread.
    Dave in NJ

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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Marc - Dave has pointed out a great thread to read. If you have any further questions, you'll find the 645D owners on this group very willing to assist (myself included).

    All the best,
    Ed

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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    I first start with a Phase P25+ back, which I still use. When I was looking to buy another Phase system, I found the 645D. There was no question which I wanted. If you do not need to put a back on a technical or view camera and you want an SLR, then the 645D is great. (The Pentax is by far a better camera than the Phase body and the images are at least equal and better if you shoot at ISO1600 and want unlimited bulb exposures--the many Phase/Leaf backs are limited to exposure time.)

    As folks have said, there is quite a 645D community here. Most of the images I have in my gallery are from this camera. I also have a few from the RX-1.
    Last edited by Shashin; 3rd June 2013 at 11:38.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by DutchMarc View Post
    Hello everyone, Dutch Marc here.

    ....
    I would love to get started with a DB from Phase or Leaf but have been hold back by the price point and the "vortex" I might get sucked into :-)

    ....
    Grtx Marc
    Sorry, Marc. You'll note that there is no separate 645D forum, so opting for the Pentax doesn't grant you a pass from Dante's Inferno.

    ken

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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Hi, I had the 645D for a few weeks with a few lenses.

    Bottom line: For landscape and wide angle use the D800E is the best value by far and the file is superior in most aspects. For people and general photography including landscape the 645D is great if you are looking into medium format. Its a great camera to use. Its easy to use and reliable.

    But, To really handily beat the D800E in landscape / wide angle use you need to get into a tech camera and lenses and at least a P65+ or IQ160. Although a P40+ or IQ140 might do because the tech wide angle lenses are really good and the phase backs produce a really nice file to work with.

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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Being a D800 and 645D owner, I have the opposite reaction--I much prefer the 645D.
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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    I am with Shashin. As an owner of a D800E and a 645D, the 645D files (when used in conditions that favour it - i.e. when low to medium ISOs can be used) are much nicer than the D800E files. The D800E gets used by me only when I need to shoot high ISO or if I need continuous shooting of files without a dark frame (e.g. star trails). The D800E files are very good, and they do represent better "value" in that they are nearly as good for much less money, but putting that aside, the 645D files are better for me personally when conditions favour it.
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    As Shashin and Ed have expressed, I too am in complete agreement. I've used the D800e for a considerable amount of wide work along side the 645D which I currently own. Although each camera has their strengths and purposes, especially for certain applications, when files from both cameras are compared in the senario you described, there was no question in my mind which files I preferred and that was those from the 645D.

    Dave (D&A)
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Considering lenses, Nikon has a much better selection specifically designed for digital photography. the D800's dynamic range is unmatched even beating Phase One's IQ. A cameras dynamic range, Imo, is probably the most important technical aspect to consider after lens choice. It can save the day in many unuseable images. The high ISO capability of the D800 is actually remarkable and quite useful too. Lastly, the entry price point to depreciation in MFD is astounding. I'd consider a Leica S over the 645D because of Leica's amazing glass!

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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Agree with all of those points. There are certainly situations in which the D800E has advantages - which is why I own one, and I am very happy with its performance overall. However, with the right lens, at the right ISO and ensure that DR is managed, I do prefer the 645D files. They certainly contain more detail; but, more importantly, the sense of depth and the tonal rendition are just more pleasing to my eye.
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    While there are a few dogs in the Pentax 645 film lenses, there are some lenses that have no problem working with the sensor. As far as lenses not working well on a D800, just check the threads. There certainly lots of folks not happy with Nikon optics. As far as DR, both cameras do really well. I find the D800 great with shadows, but the 645D better in the highlights. Neither is lacking.

    As far as ergonomics go, the 645D wins hands down over the D800. The viewfinder is larger, brighter, and clearer. The layout is better and the operations more intuitive. The two tripod sockets are great.

    I have not found the depreciation with the 645D that great. They seem to hold their value from what I have seen. Certainly no worse than a D800. And I am sure a Leica S would be a wonderful camera with Leica glass, but at a price that would be out of the OPs price range--actually out of a lot of people's price range, but that is what you get when you spend $40k+.
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    As Shashin has pointed out, a number of legacy Pentax film lenses work well with the camera, whose larger sensor places less demand on the lenses. It's not unusual for film lenses to hold up on the larger MF sensors, e.g., note the recent excitement over the Leica S/Contax adapter. Many used Pentax MF lenses are incredible bargains compared to Nikon or Canon counterparts. Two recent examples in telephotos:

    Pentax M 67 800mm F 6 7 Ed If Lens w 1 4X Rear Converter 6x7 67II EX 027075028890 | eBay

    Pentax A 645 600mm F 5 6 Ed If Lens Mint 0027075002159 | eBay
    Last edited by tsjanik; 4th June 2013 at 06:06.

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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    The standing GetDpi advice regarding any camera is to get your hands on one if at all possible.

    I won't speak to any 35mm choice because you didn't ask about that ... you asked about MFD. Personally I agree that MF Digital is a different world of imaging with a look and feel you just can't get with smaller sensor cameras ... and the experience of using MFD can be a delight as long as you grasp the areas where it excels and those that are the domaine of other formats.

    IMO, 33 to 40 meg is a sweet spot, with a very nice balance between over-all versatility, performance and resolution. I've had all sorts of MFD cameras and backs and feel the best of the lot were the 33 meg and 40 meg versions for what I tend to shoot. Not to fussy for more casual shooting, and quite capable of stunning results when locked down and fussed over.

    My current camera is a Leica S2 with the CS lenses ... a system I could not have possibly afforded when starting out in MFD years ago. If I were just getting into it on a budget, absolutely no doubt about it the Pentax 645D would be at the top of the shopping list. It is one of the more well thought out cameras with features and ergonomics that cameras costing twice as much don't have.

    Get your hands on one, and if it fits, get it ... you will not regret it.

    - Marc
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Some earlier models had issues with the rear dial, but overall this camera has probably not received the accolades it might deserve. Inclement weather is another reason to go with the 645D, as the weather sealing is quite good. I also read that the 645D can sync up to 1/500th with certain lenses. Good to know! The 645D also takes (2) SD cards, and personally I love SD cards, there cheaper, easier to carry around and basically foolproof.

    If MFD is your preferred format than the 645D is a good choice. If you just want the resolution of MFD then the D800 is good too. DXO has a great site for comparing camera sensors.

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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    I, too, use a 645D and Nikon D800E. If I want to work in a studied, deliberate manner, with utmost quality, I use the 645D. I make 24"x32" prints routinely. There is a delay between snapping the shutter, and the picture/histogram displaying, but for landscape work, no problem.
    Dave
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Capture Integration just received our demo 645D last week (with the 55mm). Initial observations on our part are mostly positive:


    Pros:
    - Image quality is good, specular highlights handled well
    - High ISO capability beyond most digital backs
    - Lovely viewfinder (though I'm not a fan of the tiny entry)
    - Nice detailed LCD
    - Love the handling of the camera - especially the grip, it is now my favorite MF grip
    - The 55m seems sharp across the frame
    - The AutoFocus is silent and works well.

    Cons:
    - Not many so far (but we haven't had it very long, we'll find something)
    - The small entry path to the viewfinder mentioned above
    - The long review time is a killer for me. I would have to shoot it like film and just forget about reviewing in most cases.
    - No tethering (or at least no robust tethering solution I'm aware of as yet)


    For $7K, if you can live with the cons, it is worth considering.

    https://captureintegration.com/pentax-645d/


    Steve Hendrix
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    Steve Hendrix, Sales Manager, www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
    Digital Cam: Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar Authorized Reseller
    TechCam: Alpa | Cambo | Arca Swiss | Sinar Authorized Reseller
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Steve, since you are a Pentax dealer, why don't you think the Pentax tethering solution is robust?

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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Steve, since you are a Pentax dealer, why don't you think the Pentax tethering solution is robust?
    Hi Shashin -

    It's real early, so I do not yet know - this only from some anecdotal feedback. I have not even had time to investigate tethering, which is why I wrote no tethering or no robust tethering that I'm yet aware of. I should emphasize the "I'm yet aware of" and also that I haven't devoted energy into this yet. And by robust tethering, I mean on the level of say, a Phase One digital back with Capture One. That to me would be robust tethering. If the 645D gets anywhere near that, that's a great thing.


    Steve Hendrix
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    Steve Hendrix, Sales Manager, www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
    Digital Cam: Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar Authorized Reseller
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    I understand Pentax came out with tethering software for the 645D, but the distribution was very limited. Pentax USA does not seem very keen on the 645D. I was hoping you had some experience with it.

    So far, the most common solution seems to be things like an Eye-Fi card.

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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    I used the eyefi card with the 645D and it worked great. Its not tethering but it transmitted jpg's to my iPad perfectly. Even in direct mode! so there was no need to have the laptop around or even a wifi network.

    The high iso performace of the 645D is good and the long exposure image quality also, specially up to 30 sec and a touch more.

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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    The 645D does quite well at long exposures beyond 30s. I haven't taken many, but here's a crop of a night sky ; 8 minute exposure, with no noise reduction in post. Of course, I then had to wait for the 8 minute dark frame.

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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    I have done a lot of 5 minute exposures, which are also very good.

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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Totally agree that the 645D does surprisingly well for a MFD with high ISOs and long exposures (though not both together)... It really is a lot of camera for the money (at least in MFD terms).

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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    When/if they bring out a 645Dii, I hope the noise at base ISO is a little better than with the current model. Don't get me wrong, it's good as it is. But it is not the super-clean result you would hope for. In the pursuit of higher resolution and continuing with the great higher-ISO performance, it would be great if this were not overlooked.

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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Ed, my ISO 200 shots are virtually noise free; there is a very slight amount of luminance noise I can see at 300%. I don't mind it, maybe because it's film-like. Have you tried ISO 100? According to DxO increases the DR by a stop and I see no noise at all.

    Tom
    Last edited by tsjanik; 5th June 2013 at 15:26.

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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645d - experience and/or advice?

    Hi Tom,

    I frequently use both 100 and 200, depending on the situation - and find both to be pretty clean. 100 is very good, which is interesting because of the way in which the camera offers this up as an 'extended' ISO, suggesting that 200 is the base - which would normally lead 100 to have less noise but less DR. However, I have not found that to be the case (maybe 100 is the base and they only offer it as extended because some of the auto functions like highlight priority etc. require a stop below what you are shooting at?).

    Anyway, that aside, I have indeed tried 100 and find it to be excellent. But I do still feel that it could be better still given the sensor size.

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