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Pentax 645D

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9 64,500 Wed March 26, 2014
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $8,913.56 9.56
Pentax 645D

Pentax 645D
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Pentax 645D
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Pentax 645D
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Pentax 645D
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Pentax 645D
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Description:
PENTAX Japan introduced the medium format PENTAX 645D digital SLR on March 11, 2010. The camera boasts a 40MP Kodak sensor with an image area of 44mm x 33mm, is weather resistant, and specified to work down to -10 degrees C. It is fully compatible with the PENTAX 645 A and FA lines of medium format lenses (listed in our lens database). It can also use the PENTAX 6x7 lenses in Av and M exposure modes with open aperture metering.

In July, 2011, Pentax announced a limited version of the 645D in order to commemorate its winning the Camera Grand Prix of 2011.

In December 2012 the firmware was updated to 1.30 to support in-lens shake reduction.

Pentax 645D
Year introduced
2010
Mount
PENTAX 645 AF2
Sensor
40 MP CCD, 7264 x 5440 pixels, no low-pass filter
Image size
33 x 44 mm
Color Depth
3 x 14 bit (RAW)
Dust removal / alert
DRII (ultrasonic) / Yes
Pixel mapping
Yes
Meter range
2 to 21 EV (ISO 200, 55mm f/2.8 lens)
Meter pattern
m (77 segments) c s
ISO range (expanded)
200 - 1000 (100 - 1600)
Expanded dynamic range
Yes, highlight and shadow
Exposure modes
HyP, Sv, Av, Tv, TAv, HyM, X, B
Program modes
Auto, Normal, Action, Depth of field (two), MTF
Scene Modes
None
Exposure compensation
+/-5 EV
Exposure lock
Yes
Shutter speeds (auto)
30s - 1/4000s (stepless)
Shutter speeds (manual)
B, 30s - 1/4000s
Mirror lock-up
Yes
Self timer
Yes
Continuous shooting
1.1 fps up to 13 frames at 40MP RAW, 1.1 fps up to 15 frames at 40MP JPEG
Shake reduction
Yes, with dedicated lenses. No in-body SR
Auto bracketing
Yes
HDR mode
Yes
Multiple exposures
Yes
Built-in flash
No
TTL flash
No
P-TTL flash
Yes
Sync speed
1/125s
Flash exposure comp
-2EV to +1EV
Autofocus
Yes (SAFOX IX+, 11 focus points, light wavelength sensor)
Autofocus with SDM
Yes
AF Assist
No
Front/Back focus corr
Yes
Power zoom
Not applicable
Lens correction
Yes
Viewfinder
0.62x (with 55mm lens), 0.85 (with 75mm lens), 98%
Viewfinder type
Trapezoid prism finder
Diopter adjustment
-3.5 to +2.0
AF Points in viewfinder
Yes
Exchangeable screen
Yes
Depth of field preview
Yes
Digital preview
Yes
Live view
No

Video/Movie Mode
No
Camera controls
2 control wheels
Many dedicated buttons
One programmable user mode
File format
PEF, DNG, JPG
Memory card type
SD, SDHC, SDXC with firmware 1.01 and higher, two SD card slots
Tethering
Yes, with optional software
Back LCD
3 in. 921,000 pix
Top LCD
Yes, reinforced glass
Weather resistant
Yes
Battery
D-LI90 lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery grip
No
Size (W x H x D)
156mm x 117mm x 119mm
Weight
1400 g (1480 g with battery and two SD cards)
Latest firmware
Version 1.33


Comment
Lens compatibility: PENTAX 645 A, 645 FA, 645 D FA and 645 DA. With an adapter also PENTAX and TAKUMAR 6x7 and 67
Other: Embed copyright information in EXIF
Image plane indicator
In-camera RAW development
Megapixels: 40.0
ISO Range: 100-1600
Weight: 1.4kg
FPS: 1.1
LCD: 3.0"
In Production: Buy the Pentax 645D
Type: Professional Medium-Format
Weather-Sealed: Yes
In-Depth Review: Read our Pentax 645D in-depth review!
Manual: https://www.pentaxforums.com/content/645dmanual.pdf



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New Member

Registered: January, 2010
Location: Auckland
Posts: 18

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 26, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax 645D: Yes | Price: $8,900.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image Quality, Ergonomics, Durability
Cons: Dynamic Range a little dissapointing

I bought this camera 13 months ago second hand but as new from a US retailer. Since I bought it I have run 6 different cameras alongside each other including a full frame Sony a850 and various high grade lenses. My 35mm DSLR cannot compete with the 645D and the Sony system is being sold. I am also selling an infrared camera, leaving only the 645D, a serious (Foveon sensor) compact, one infrared- DSLR and a point and shoot for casual and clinical work (I am a medic).

I am now using my 645D for all serious photography when I can carry it with me.
My lens line for the 645D is::

x645 35mm, 75mm, 300mm and a 80-160mm

x67 135mm macro, 55mm f4 (new version) 105mm f2.5 and 200mm

All the lenses are superb including the somewhat maligned 135mm macro (see my review of this lens).

What about the camera:

Positives
The camera delivers consistently beautiful and rich photographs, bursting with detail and refinement that cannot be captured with the 35mm format. Its simply a question of sensor area.
The camera is not overly heavy and handles well - mechanically its an objet d'rt
The large mirror is damped very well with less mirror slap than much smaller cameras
Viewfinder is bright and big - really wonderful
Makes all my other cameras feel like toys - this is a real photographers machine
Robust
Electronic level sensor
Range of superb and inexpensive legacy lenses from x 67 and x 645 range
Design, design and design
Much less expensive than competition yet still a superb piece of engineering

Negatives:
The dynamic range is lower than I had expected (DXO lab tests bear this out). Sky blow outs can be an issue with slight overexposure on bright days. So underexpose slightly and this issue disappears. Shadow detail is very good
White balance (when set at auto) is not as good as many 35mm DSLR cameras. Can be corrected easily in Lightroom
No live view

Notes on Usage
For landscape purposes the top ISO of 1600 is quite adequate, but clearly this speed ceiling is quite anachronistic by 2014 standards
Long exposures can produce quite noisy images even at low ISO's. Use of the long exposure NR feature totally eliminates this issue and produces crisp, smooth files
There is a real difference in the quality of files from ISO 100 to 200. The ISO 100 ("expanded sensitivity") option is disabled by choosing other menu options (such as dynamic range adjustments). It is VERY difficult to find this in the instruction manuals and I suggest that for absolute image quality the DR should be left on default (off) and ISO 100 used, with a tripod, and care with exposure taken. These are all after all conventional photographic skills that any photographer should understand.

Comments
This was the best equipment purchase of my photographic career. This camera however is really a high grade landscape tool.

Ricoh - Pentax seems to have a vision of the future.

It will be interesting to compare it to the 645Z in the near future. The newer camera will be essentially have a different market in mind. Clearly it is aimed to be a medium format camera that does it all for a bigger market (well heeled or pro!).

It will gain in many ways as the transition from a CCD sensor to a CMOS sensor will allow for live view, video and a much higher ISO ceiling. However there is still a school of thought that holds out that the image quality from a CCD is superior to CMOS and there are technical reasons to support this, despite the huge progress in CMOS sensors over recent years.

From my own perspective if I wanted a MF camera that does it all I would choose a 645Z, but I have other cameras that do it all and still have reasonable IQ. I doubt that for landscape use the 645Z offers any real advantage over the 645D, especially considering that the files from CCD sensors have a more filmic, analogue look (than those from CMOS sensors). This is arguable, but I believe it to be to be a real but fine difference.

For those with unlimited funds possessing BOTH cameras could be an option.

UPDATE
July 22nd 2014
Shooting in low light flourescent lighting (no flash allowed in a competitive event) in an indoor Ski slope in Auckland I have had reasonable success shooting at ISO 1600 with the images 'pushed' to ISO 6400 (from two stops under exposed). These conditions are about as bad as it gets in terms of capturing sharp pictures with the shifting white balance of flourescent lighting. The technical hurdles using a CMOS sensor would have been greater still as the rolling shutter of CMOS sensors would produce colour banding at shutter speeds faster than 1/60 sec.
Not all sensors are created equal. CCD still has a place.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 4

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 14, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax 645D: Yes | Price: $4,500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: image quality, price, viewfinder, low light
Cons: image writing to the card a little bit slow

I bought this item used before one year ago. It operates perfectly. the image quality is nearly perfect. It gives me the idea that i am shooting with film while i am getting best digital photography quality. The camera is well built and feels great in hand. It even felt from my hand from one meter but it didn't have any issue whatsoever after that.
   
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2013
Posts: 36

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 9, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax 645D: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Awesome quality
Cons: What they said

If any of you decide to upgrade again. I really want this camera. I have k-5 now and I am on the 3rd camera body, film, k10d and now the k-5. I just know if I have a better camera than the competition I could really make some money. I need the clarity. The area is flooded with photographers and I have the skills now and since I have health issue I really want to focus on my creatively while I get well and can't work. I have commercial space and it my dream to develop the space. Please contact me if your ready to upgrade in the future please or if you want to look at my work.... rocktours@live.ca
   
Pentaxian

Registered: January, 2009
Location: East Bay Area, CA
Posts: 5,579

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: September 3, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax 645D: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: amazing image detail, many affordable legacy lenses available
Cons: no way to cancel dark frame on exposures over 30 sec.

I rate this camera at a solid 9.5...rounding up to 10 in the absence of fractions.

I decided to upgrade from the Pentax K5 to the mighty 645D and must say, am pleased beyond all expectations at this purchase.If you are shopping for a larger than full frame, ie medium format camera, you may already know that the Pentax comes in at well under the price point of nearly every competitor. This is attractive. In my research, I had read of a lack of lenses for this platform, but as a landscape shooter, I tend to use manual focus and M mode to have full control over my image; I was pleasantly surprised to very easily find an array of available older lenses as well as a couple of new ones to add to my kit. I have nine 645 lenses, mostly primes, that cover the focal range I need for my style of shooting.

My rig now includes the DFA 25mm, A-35, A-45, D-FA 55, A-75, 67 SMC 105, A-120 Macro, FA-150, and the A-80-160 (yes, a zoom, icky). Overall, the quality of the glass is exceptional, in my opinion, on par with the wonderful K-mount FA Limited primes (31, 43, 77). I have a few favorite lenses already, but let's get back to the camera.

Figuring I'd need some time to adapt to using a new camera, I downloaded the manual a few days before the camera arrived so I could look it over. Well, it turns out, the 645D was designed nearly identical to the K7, K5, K?? series DSLR's, so the learning curve was nearly nothing. Handling was surprisingly easy, since the buttons are all laid out in the same places as my trusty K5. The first day I took out the 645D for some night shooting, I found my fingers slipping comfortably onto my dials, ISO button, AF back button, AE-L, up/down arrow buttons, etc...everything was in a familiar place. This is a huge plus if you want to switch bodies at your shoot. The 645D adds a few well chosen extra buttons and knobs to take advantage of the larger body real estate which I find to be very smart. There is a dedicated bracketing button in virtually the same spot I had programmed the "RAW" button on my K5 to invoke bracketing. How convenient! The AF selection dial has changed to a knob on the 645D and easy to find and change as needed. The mirror lockup function has come out from the user menus and exists as a large knob on the front of the camera. For my night shooting, I discovered I can feel for that in the dark easily. A clever adaptation was to tilt the top LCD screen so one does not need to look completely over the top of the camera to read the settings, nice! Despite the larger size, the hand grip is extremely comfortable under long fingers, or longer fingernails, etc. I don't see ever using this as a hand held camera for my landscape photography, but the weight is not that bad. The horizontal and vertical tripod mounts are a godsend.

hmm, how bout some minor quibbles? OK, I haven't figured out if it is possible to turn off the dark frame subtraction that engages on all exposures longer than 30 seconds. If this is not offered, I would hope they get a firmware fix to make it possible because not everyone wants to wait for NR following star trail shots, for example. Also, I would like some easy way to close or cover the viewfinder when shooting ND long exposures to prevent light leakage. I have not determined if that is an issue with this mirror box, but assuming it is, I prefer to have a cover.

The images? Holy cow, they are amazing. I find details I never thought I would see in my images and the colors are stunning. Resolution is killer, or course, and the shallower DOF characteristic of MF is really a treat on portraits and bokeh shots. My computer is running a bit slower with the large files, but I would not have it any other way now that I am spoiled seeing all the extra detail in the images.

This is an exceptional camera and an excellent value among medium format cameras.







   
New Member

Registered: August, 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 7

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: August 26, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax 645D: Yes | Price: $9,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fantastic IQ
Cons: Slow writing to SD cards

I moved from years of Canon shooting (5DII most recently) to the 645 earlier this year, and I could not be more pleased. The IQ is fantastic - as a landscape shooter who likes to print really large (as in 2 X 4 feet), this is the camera I've needed. Good selection of glass on the used market, so I've been able to cover the range of wide-to-medium focal lengths that I mostly shoot. I have an ongoing diary of my experiences with the 645D on my Website at:

http://www.cksandbergphoto.com/cksandbergphoto/Pentax_645D_Diary-Practical_Review.html

While the 645D with medium-length lens is heavier than my 5DII, I find the overall balance in the hand to be better, and less tiring over the course of a shooting day. Love the controls, but I wish Pentax had included one fast CF slot. I save RAW to one card and JPEGs to an EyeFi card in the other slot, and the delay in writing is tedious. That's the one place I miss the 5D.

Overall, a tremendous bargain and a purchase I am very glad to have made.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2008
Posts: 418

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: June 30, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax 645D: Yes | Price: $9,995.95 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: It's a medium format sensor in a modern DSLR body
Cons: cost

I purchased one of the first 645Ds in the US. Pre-ordered in October 2010, delivered in December (shipped by the Pentax store without signature required! Left at my front door by UPS - what are they thinking?). I was very concerned about spending 10k for this camera. I had been using a 67II and 645N and scanning with a Nikon 9000 and happy with the results. Short summary- no regrets. It has the interface of a K-5. No shake reduction or the high ISO performance, but the resolution is on par with scanned 67 film. How the first reviewer gave this camera an "8" is a mystery to me. The only negative he mentioned is 14 bit color which is a non-issue, as that data is meaningless. For me the camera is nearly perfect, I don't like the grip quite as much as the 645N and it's certainly less attractive, but the performance is remarkable.
   
Forum Member

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Russia/Moscow
Posts: 55

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: June 25, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax 645D: Yes | Price: $9,900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sensor, resolution, price, rock-solid body, superb ergo, awesome viewfinder, great park of optics
Cons: no live-view, dynamic range is a little bit worse comparing with Nikon D3x

-huge sensor size, comparing with 35mm cameras (but still a crop-camera in terms of 645 film)
-killer resolution 40 Mpix
-very affordable price - under 10.000$. Pentax 645D retire Leica S2 (which is using the same sensor) in terms of price (more than double price over Pentax. No comments.)
-rock-solid body with weather-sealing
-superb ergonomics (I can assure you as a former Nikon-fanatic. And Nikon always produces top-notch cameras in terms of ergonomics)
-not so big weight, if we compare it with Nikon D3x, for instance
-awesome viewfinder
- great park of optics from film-age.As for me, i use pentax 645 35mm f3.5 with manual focus, and pentax 645 150mm f2.8 with autofocus

There is no substantial flaws in camera design. But here is some notes:
-no live view option (but great viewfinder, as i said higher)
-dynamic range is a little bit worse comparing to Nikon D3x (but that is not problem, we can take 2-3 shots with different EV and than combine it in Photoshop)

fast-and-raw samples:

still photo
daylight nature
evening cityscape
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2011
Posts: 573

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 10, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax 645D: Yes | Price: $9,600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great Image Quality, Easy to use, great grip
Cons: Big, no scene selction modes

This is a really well thought-out camera. For its size, it is comfortable to hold and the grip is very secure. The large mirror box actually helps with holding with verticals. The buttons are large, given to a single function, and are placed so are not confusing. The viewfinder is really nice, both in the size, eyepiece, and the information displayed. The active dials and what they change are indicated in the viewfinder, the top LCD display, and monitor. Functions can be assigned to the dials. The electronic level is a nice touch and is displayed in the viewfinder and top LCD for left/right level and on the monitor for both left/right and front/back level.

The exposure modes are nice, but I miss those scene selection modes like sports, sunsets, and fashion.

I have not had any real problems with the lens selection. Having a large choice of inexpensive secondhand lenses is great for the wallet. Being a developed system, it is nice to be able to find accessories like the Refconverter (really nice to have for tripod work), macro tubes, and 67/645 lens adapters. The Pentax waterproof remote is really nice as well, especially for bulb exposures.

The entrance fee is high, but compared to the competition, it is almost affordable (and when you can get some really nice glass for much less than the competition, it really is cheap). This is a really great all-round professional camera, both in the field and in the studio. It produces great files and is quick and easy to use.
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 1

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: April 1, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax 645D: Yes | Price: $10,499.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast Focus, Price Point for Medium Format, lots of glass available
Cons: 14bit RAW, Small Grip, Small eye piece,

Pros Fast Focus, Price Point for Medium Format, lots of glass available
Cons 14bit RAW, Small Grip, Small eye piece,
Rating 8
Price (U.S. Dollars) 10,499
Years Owned Demo Unit
I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Feels like a DSLR in the menus and operations. Lets a user get into the Medium Format market for almost half the price of your standard Hasselblad/Phase One.

Camera Review
This week I was booked to shoot some marketing material for Canada Olympic Park. On Tuesday The Camera Store gave me the Pentax 645D to try out. They wanted to shoot a behind the scenes video of sports and “Medium Format” cameras.

The Pentax performed great all day. I was used to the focusing speed on the H series from Hasselblad and this new Pentax was a real treat as far as focusing speed goes.

Unlike the Hasselblad digitals and Phase One backs that both shoot in 16bit RAW, the Pentax shoots 14bit, similar to a Nikon Raw format. I was initially a little concerned about this, for large prints. After working a couple of the files in PS, these 14bit files are still pretty stellar.

There is a large selection of both focal plane and leaf shutter glass available for the 645D. This is a nice little bonus, as my Hasselblad system has a very limited number of lenses available. The Hassy is also only “leaf” shutter, so you are limited up to 1/800th of a sec for shutter speeds. The Pentax 645D’s ability to accept both leaf and focal plane means you are able to jump up to 1/4000th if the job requires it.

For about half the price of an entry level Hasselblad or Phase system, the Pentax is a killer choice. I can definitely see this camera making a larger presence on the lifestyle and wedding circuit. The 645D has the ability to give you that unparalleled fall off and D.O.F. in a medium format (not to mention it shoots a native 18×24 @ 300dpi).

We shot for about 4hrs on Tuesday and the Pentax battery barely dropped a bar. Usually when you’re shooting winter sports the batteries in the bigger cameras take a pretty big hit. This camera held up throughout the shoot.

For those of you only running laptops to do your editing and worry that a digital medium format file will bog down your system to no end… Don’t. The files are a modest 50-70mb each, and being 14bit, they won’t murder your machine’s RAM, whether you use PS, Lightroom or Capture One.

Overall, we had a great day of shooting at C.O.P. and I really enjoyed shooting with the Pentax 645D.

You can check out the behind the scenes video: YouTube - Medium Format Snowboard Photography with Ryan HK
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