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Author Topic: Excited about the Pentax 645D all over again?  (Read 35808 times)
peterurban
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« on: September 07, 2010, 12:22:14 AM »
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I know many of you got excited about a Pentax digital medium format 'promises' in the past and then .... nothing. But this time it seems real as Nick Devlin's preview report and video interview indicate.

Of course the prospect of putting a 40Mpix camera without a low pass filter into our hands at around $ 10K is exciting - even more so that there is already an extensive lineup of lenses available.

So what do you think? Is this one going to be a winner?
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Peter Urban
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2010, 12:52:46 AM »
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Hi,

Certainly a winner as it sells well in Japan. Also an option for those in possession of 645 lenses. Up to date autofocus is promising and it also seems that build quality is good.

MFDBs offer more flexibility, on the other hand.

Price is attractive, at least for camera without system. Are lenses as good as Phase/Hasselblad/Leica? Time will show.

Puts the Leica S2 in perspective, sort of...

Best regards
Erik
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2010, 06:36:53 AM »
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Certainly a winner as it sells well in Japan. Also an option for those in possession of 645 lenses. Up to date autofocus is promising and it also seems that build quality is good.

Price is attractive, at least for camera without system. Are lenses as good as Phase/Hasselblad/Leica? Time will show.

Currently, it looks like a hit in Japan for sure. Many of these guys are coming from the film version, yet I don't hear major complains, this is the ultimate test around here. Smiley

It will

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
michael
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2010, 08:11:56 AM »
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Which raises an interesting point Bernard. Do Japanese bloggers, web sites and magazine complain about bad design and product flaws the way that we do, or are they too polite?  Smiley

Michael
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Dave Gurtcheff
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2010, 08:33:57 AM »
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I know many of you got excited about a Pentax digital medium format 'promises' in the past and then .... nothing. But this time it seems real as Nick Devlin's preview report and video interview indicate.

Of course the prospect of putting a 40Mpix camera without a low pass filter into our hands at around $ 10K is exciting - even more so that there is already an extensive lineup of lenses available.

So what do you think? Is this one going to be a winner?
I just used a lot of ink & paper making a 22"x30" print at 240 dpi without ressing up. I down loaded a full size jpg made with a 645D and EXISTING MANUAL FOCUS 35mm f3.5 lens. Very impressive. The photographer's site allowing full res down loads has some fantastic work using a bunch of differnt old (MF & AF) lenses. His site is here:
http://ganref.jp/magazines/index/1/0/369
I have a shelf full of 645D lenses (7 of them); if the 645D were availavble here I would buy it today. Check out this gentleman's site. It is in Japanese, but you can make out the lenses used, f stop and shutter speed.
Best regards
Dave G
Beach Haven, NJ
www.modernpictorials.com
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2010, 09:30:17 AM »
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However good the camera might be, there is a definite stumbling block at that price (10,000 whatsits).

Frankly, for the money, I would rather have an M9 and that's still out of reach. Now don't misunderstand: as with Mercedes, BMW, small boats et al I can go write a good cheque. But that does not mean that I can really afford it! There is a wealth of difference (NPI) between the two propositions - the doing and the should I. In short, if it's pro, then of course you should do it; if for fun, then perhaps a dose of reality is what the doc should order.

No desire to spoil anyone's breakfast with this, but I do think that many just throw money away - even I have done so, but that's an age thing: the first one, concerning my 'blads, being a male menopause one; the later ones just desperation, buying solutions that really have to come from the mind instead. I was watching Bloomberg the other day, and somebody came up with a novel soundbite (novel to me) when he said that spending money should be as easy as running barbed wire through your fingers. I thought about that, and wish he'd said it a few years ago.

You really can learn from tv after all.

Rob C
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FearZeus
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2010, 09:46:37 AM »
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However good the camera might be, there is a definite stumbling block at that price (10,000 whatsits).

Frankly, for the money, I would rather have an M9 and that's still out of reach. Now don't misunderstand: as with Mercedes, BMW, small boats et al I can go write a good cheque. But that does not mean that I can really afford it! There is a wealth of difference (NPI) between the two propositions - the doing and the should I. In short, if it's pro, then of course you should do it; if for fun, then perhaps a dose of reality is what the doc should order.

No desire to spoil anyone's breakfast with this, but I do think that many just throw money away - even I have done so, but that's an age thing: the first one, concerning my 'blads, being a male menopause one; the later ones just desperation, buying solutions that really have to come from the mind instead. I was watching Bloomberg the other day, and somebody came up with a novel soundbite (novel to me) when he said that spending money should be as easy as running barbed wire through your fingers. I thought about that, and wish he'd said it a few years ago.

You really can learn from tv after all.

Rob C

I never did see the fascination with people and money. If there something I desire, I buy it and enjoy life. I don't want to leave this world with a bank full of money (is that a hobby?).

I will leave this world with what I entered it with - Nothing.

I guess everyone is different Wink
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BrendanStewart
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2010, 10:49:13 AM »
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I couldn't agree with that more ^

14bit and FP shutter put the Pentax out of my interest. 10K can buy you a Hasselblad H3DII-31 these days. Amazing system with incredible software and lenses.
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bcooter
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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2010, 11:42:45 AM »
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I never did see the fascination with people and money. If there something I desire, I buy it and enjoy life. I don't want to leave this world with a bank full of money (is that a hobby?).

I will leave this world with what I entered it with - Nothing.


(Off Topic)

I agree . . . come in with nuthin', leave with nuthin".


BC
« Last Edit: September 07, 2010, 02:04:19 PM by bcooter » Logged
peterurban
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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2010, 11:45:50 AM »
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Which raises an interesting point Bernard. Do Japanese bloggers, web sites and magazine complain about bad design and product flaws the way that we do, or are they too polite?  Smiley

Michael

Michael, what's your previous experience with that - do you find that Japanese bloggers are not critical enough by western standards? Any examples from the past?

I guess the interesting questions are ...

- Can the Pentax 645D compete with other MF offerings when it comes to image quality?

- Will it stand high enough above the upcoming high-end DSLRs in terms of IQ to justify buying into the system (I suspect the new Canon 1Ds will get close in terms of pixel count but will probably still utilize a low pass filter).

- How will the MF back market adjust in terms of pricing - I guess the flexibility of an open MF back system is still appealing to many ...

- And the $10M Question: Are the lenses good enough to unleash the potential of the sensor and compete with other MF systems (I know, somewhat connected to the first question in the list)

The reported high ISO capabilities are exciting for the MF world - I hope we'll see a more detailed test / report soon Smiley
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Peter Urban
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2010, 12:23:01 PM »
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Hi,

I wouldn't go the Leica route for image quality. If you need something small for travel, street shooting or just the joy, it's OK. But, regarding image quality it has always been that bigger is better. I'm pretty sure that the Pentax is solidly in the MF territory, with a decent autofocus. To me it seems that the Pentax may have the same image quality as the Leica S2 and best AF in the MF market for a third of the price, if you also put in some lenses. Seems like a good buy to me, especially if you have a couple of old lenses.

There are some indications that the old lenses may not be good enough to match the sensor, but they would probably still be usable.

On the other hand, I probably won't buy a Pentax 645. My Sony Alpha 900 is probably good enough for the prints I make. Also I usually want to be able to carry my equipment and I guess that MF gear would be heavier than the Sony/Minolta stuff I carry now. In my guess we would also need a heavier tripod to fully utilize the bigger format.

Best regards
Erik
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2010, 12:32:59 PM »
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Hi,

Just as a general observation, Pentax seems to realize the need for new lenses for digital. Both Phase and Hasselblad essentially developed new lens lines. The new lenses for the Hasselbald H# series outperform the old Zeiss lenses at least regarding MTF data presented by Hasselblad and it seems that the new lenses for Phase One deserve some respect.

Another question is alignment and focusing accuracy. In this area it is well possible that Pentax could have an advantage, because the back is fixed.

Best regards
Erik



Michael, what's your previous experience with that - do you find that Japanese bloggers are not critical enough by western standards? Any examples from the past?

I guess the interesting questions are ...

- Can the Pentax 645D compete with other MF offerings when it comes to image quality?

- Will it stand high enough above the upcoming high-end DSLRs in terms of IQ to justify buying into the system (I suspect the new Canon 1Ds will get close in terms of pixel count but will probably still utilize a low pass filter).

- How will the MF back market adjust in terms of pricing - I guess the flexibility of an open MF back system is still appealing to many ...

- And the $10M Question: Are the lenses good enough to unleash the potential of the sensor and compete with other MF systems (I know, somewhat connected to the first question in the list)

The reported high ISO capabilities are exciting for the MF world - I hope we'll see a more detailed test / report soon Smiley

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MattBeardsley
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« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2010, 12:57:28 PM »
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I couldn't agree with that more ^

14bit and FP shutter put the Pentax out of my interest. 10K can buy you a Hasselblad H3DII-31 these days. Amazing system with incredible software and lenses.

I agree with Brendan, it'd be a hard sell to skip the Hasselblad.  Smart move for them, selling the H3DII-31 at $10k..  I'm excited to see the Pentax, though, I had a hard time giving up my first DLSR, a "Pentax *istDS," to upgrade to full frame Nikon.  Pentax is a creative company, giving good thought to user interface.
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Matt Beardsley, Oakland, CA
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FearZeus
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« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2010, 02:58:42 PM »
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So what are our options around $10K?

Hasselblad H3D II - http://www.calumetphoto.co.uk/item/339-022B/

Pentax 645D - http://www.japantrendshop.com/pentax-645d-dslr-camera-p-833.html?currency=GBP&utm_source=googlebase_GBP&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=googlebase_GBP

Mamiya 645D with Leaf Aptus II 5 - http://www.calumetphoto.co.uk/item/010-00555A/

I'm sure there are other options...

Personally I went down the Phase one back & linhof techno for landscape work, those lenses new digital lenses make even the hasselblads look average.

Are there other comparable systems other than the ones listed?

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BrendanStewart
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« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2010, 03:12:20 PM »
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Personally I went down the Phase one back & linhof techno for landscape work, those lenses new digital lenses make even the hasselblads look average.


I don't know if i'd go that far. The lenses are nice for sure, but the minimum aperture is different, which can matter if using flash in bright daylight for some folks... In most bodies the sync speeds are the same 1/800 (Not including the new 1/1600th.) And it's LS110 2.8 vs. HC100 2.2.  Not really similar.

I think Hasselblad is still the manufacturer to beat in some lenses like the HC100 and HC35-90.

.02
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ndevlin
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« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2010, 03:22:51 PM »
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Lenses


I'll be interested to study the issue of lens performance. I did a few shots with my AF 80-160 and I didn't see any obvious problems. This will require careful testing, but Pentax has always made really fine lenses at really attractive prices.  Their "limited" line for the K-mount are a case in point. They have no trouble making good glass. The real attraction will be the new super-wide Bill talked about, and the weather sealing on new "D" series lenses.

The dedicated lenses, like the Digitars, are phenomenal. No one can seriously expect the Pentax lenses to touch them. But for most of us, the convenience of a point-and-shoot AF field camera way outweigh the quality differences.  A little wind will level that playing field in a hurry!

Options for the Money

It's interesting how people's perception of value differs.  For me, 35mm FF is not a rival to MF. Never will be. First of all, MF just has better IQ. How much better we can debate all day, and whether it is 'better enough' to matter for mass-repro applications is also a question mark. For fine-art prints, MF will always have some edge, especially a low ISO. More important for me in many cases is the shallower D-O-F, which give the 'look' people often talk about.  

The 645D is really not a lot more  camera physically than a 1DsIII or D3x. So it's more of a horses-for-courses question.

Equally, I would never buy a 'Blad because of the leaf shutters. They make the lenses so FREAKIN HUGE! When I got a trainer this spring I told him my goal was to get six-pack abs and be able to lift the 35-90 (not afford, just lift). Similarly, I despise Phocus. When I tried to use it last year it was phucking awful. (In fairness, I hear the new version is much better).  I feel similarly about C1's "sessions".  For me, out-of-camera DNGs are the cat's meow.  Not that I am "right" about any of these preferences - for many the 'Blad or Phase might make a ton more sense (ie: any studio shooter).  But based on private responses to the article and video, there are a LOT of photographers to whom to (dis)advantages of the Pentax are very attractive.

Price

The price is sweet, and dreadful.  Ten grand for a camera?Huh?? Only ten grand for a fully integrated MFDSLR!!!!!! Pick your side.  There are enough profligate spenders and idly rich folks to keep the Pentax assembly plant humming for years. 'Blad and Phase have been about as responsive to the marketplace on price as they can be. I still think, however, that the 645D will represent truly market-leading value at the price. There is a real difference b/w the  31MP and the 40MP chip, and you get a really well thought out and user-friendly camera thrown in.  

For many, many people, the top-end 35mm cameras, like the 5DII and A900 are everything they need for a fraction of the price. Personally, I think it's wonderful that people without ultra-deep pockets can gain access to that level of image quality. But that will never stop those who can afford it from seeking more.

Can't wait to shoot with it!

- N.

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« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2010, 05:29:41 PM »
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I don't know if i'd go that far. The lenses are nice for sure, but the minimum aperture is different, which can matter if using flash in bright daylight for some folks... In most bodies the sync speeds are the same 1/800 (Not including the new 1/1600th.) And it's LS110 2.8 vs. HC100 2.2.  Not really similar.

I think Hasselblad is still the manufacturer to beat in some lenses like the HC100 and HC35-90.

.02

Brendan, since FearZeus referred to the "linhof techno", he was talking about view camera digital lenses (Rodenstock & Schneider) being better than the Hassy's, not the Phase/Mamiya/Schneider ones for the 645AFD/DF.
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BrendanStewart
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« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2010, 05:58:54 PM »
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Brendan, since FearZeus referred to the "linhof techno", he was talking about view camera digital lenses (Rodenstock & Schneider) being better than the Hassy's, not the Phase/Mamiya/Schneider ones for the 645AFD/DF.

Woops. Smiley My inner fanboy coming out. Apologies.
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tho_mas
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« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2010, 06:46:29 PM »
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If I'd start today…

if I'd need AF a lot I'd go for Hasselblad, as the recompose AF seems to work absolutely great.
if I'd like a platform to use for a 645 SLR and a tech camera I'd go for Phase or Leaf as Hassy backs need external power, which is annoying in the field.
In the latter case 645-camera-wise I'd go for Contax unless I'd need leaf shutter lenses. Due to the quality of the lenses, the simplicity of the camera and the fact that the Contax system provides anything you need (vertical grip, WLF …). If I'd need leaf shutter lenses the Phase camera would be the sole option left. I think in this case I'd skip the 645 camera and would only use the tech camera…
if I'd need high ISO I'd go Hasselblad or Pentax as this latest Kodak sensor seems to do very, very well at ISO800 and even ISO1600 (which begs the question why the S2 with the same sensor technology looks so aweful at mid range and higher ISO).
If I'd need clean base ISO I'd probably not go for Pentax (also not for S2).
If I'd need movements occassionally I'd go for Hasselblad due to the HTS adapter.
If I'd need movements very often I'd go tech camera (with Leaf or Phase).
If I had some legacy Pentax glass I'd go for the Pentax in a second.
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uaiomex
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« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2010, 10:43:59 PM »
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I was a while ago. Not so anymore. We are about to see dslr's for over 32mp's now. In the case of Canon and Nikon, they are finally working on every level of their lens lines to extract every bit of resolution of these "tiny" 24x36m sensors. In a year or so the 5D3 will come out with this new sensor for less than 3Kusd. I could write for the rest of the evening about all the bells and whistles that every japanese dslr's maker do every 3 years to make those bodies exciting to own. It is a very tough act to follow for the considerable smaller MF manufacturers.
Every year I get more stocked on Canon top of the line glass. This alone makes it very hard for me to save money. MF cameras need to evolution at a faster rate or else. Just faster enough to survive while 24X36 sensors get so dense that real resolution increase would get next to impossible. Then, if time permits, and technology helps, a new glorious era for medium format photography will begin. I can assure guys that I would be delighted to see that happen. The Pentax 645D is a nice try, but a little too short. (imho)
The only thing that would get my heart pounding nowadays would be Hasselblad coming with a CFV39 back with an inner revolving sensor!  
Now, that would be a smart move!
Eduardo
« Last Edit: September 07, 2010, 10:50:46 PM by uaiomex » Logged
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