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Pentax 645NII

Reviews Views Date of last review
3 55,028 Tue February 23, 2016
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $350.00 9.00
Pentax 645NII

Pentax 645NII
Pentax 645NII
Pentax 645NII

The Pentax 645NII is the most advanced medium-format 645 film body from Pentax.

Year introduced
Pentax 645 AF
Meter range
2 - 21 EV
Meter pattern
m (6 segment) c s
ISO range
Film type
120 and 220 roll film, 70mm film
No. of exposures
120 film: 16, 220 film: 33, 70mm: 95
Data imprint on film
Exposure modes
P, Tv, Av, M, B, X
Exposure compensation
+/- 3.3 EV
Exposure memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
30 - 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
6 - 1/1000s, B
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
Half step speeds in M and Tv
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Multiple exposures
Built-in, 2 fps
Built-in flash
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Yes, (3 points)
Autofocus sensitivity
-1 - 18 EV
0.76x, 92% (vert), 93% (hor)
Viewfinder type
Keplerian telescope
Diopter correction
-3.5 - +1.5
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
41.5 x 56 mm
6 x AA
External battery pack
Size (W x H x D)
147 x 109 x 117 mm
1280 g
Accepts leaf shutter lens for flash synchronization to 1/500s.
Accessories: 120 and 220 film backs, 70mm film holder. External battery pack

Comparing the Pentax 645, 645N, and 645NII:

Year introduced198419972001
MountPentax 645 APentax 645 AFPentax 645 AF
Meter range3 - 19 EV2 - 21 EV2 - 21 EV
Meter patterncenter-weightedm (6 segment) c sm (6 segment) c s
ISO range6 - 640012-640012-6400
Film type120 and 220 roll film, 70mm film120 and 220 roll film, 70mm film120 and 220 roll film, 70mm film
No. of exposures120 film: 15, 220 film: 32, 70mm: 90120 film: 16, 220 film: 33, 70mm: 95120 film: 16, 220 film: 33, 70mm: 95
Data imprint on filmNoYesYes
Exposure modesP, Tv, Av, M, B, XP, Tv, Av, M, B, XP, Tv, Av, M, B, X
Exposure compensation+/-3 EV+/- 3 EV+/- 3.3 EV
Exposure memory lockNoYesYes
Shutter speeds (auto)15 - 1/1000s30 - 1/1000s30 - 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (manual)15 - 1/1000s4 - 1/1000s, B6 - 1/1000s, B
Shutter speeds (mechanical)NoneNoneNone
Half step speeds in M and TvNoNoYes
Self timerNoYesYes
Mirror lock-upNoNoYes
Auto bracketingNoYesYes
Multiple exposuresYesYesYes
WinderBuilt-in, 1.5 fpsBuilt-in, 2 fpsBuilt-in, 2 fps
Built-in flashNoNoNo
TTL flashYesYesYes
P-TTL flashNoNoNo
Sync speed1/60s1/60s1/60s
Flash exposure compNoNoNo
AutofocusNoYes, (3 points)Yes, (3 points)
Autofocus sensitivityNot applicable-1 - 18 EV-1 - 18 EV
Viewfinder0.75x, 92% (vert), 93% (hor)0.76x, 92% (vert), 93% (hor)0.76x, 92% (vert), 93% (hor)
Viewfinder typeKeplerian telescopeKeplerian telescopeKeplerian telescope
Diopter correction-5 - +2-3.5 - +1.5-3.5 - +1.5
Exchangeable screenYesYesYes
Depth of field previewYesYesYes
Image size41.5 x 56 mm41.5 x 56 mm41.5 x 56 mm
Battery6 x AA6 x AA6 x AA
External battery packNoYesYes
Size (W x H x D)147 x 109 x 117 mm147 x 109 x 117 mm147 x 109 x 117 mm
Weight1320 g1280 g1280 g
CommentAccepts leaf shutter lens for flash synchronization to 1/500s.
Accessories: 120 and 220 film backs, 70mm film holder
Accepts leaf shutter lens for flash synchronization to 1/500s.
Accessories: 120 and 220 film backs, 70mm film holder. External battery pack
Accepts leaf shutter lens for flash synchronization to 1/500s.
Accessories: 120 and 220 film backs, 70mm film holder. External battery pack
Price History:

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Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,437
Review Date: February 23, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax 645NII: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Size, ergonomics, uses AA batteries, good lens selection, quick auto focus, light
Cons: Interface is hard to switch to for DSLR users, no interchangeable film backs, 93% viewfinder frame coverage, ISO adjustment method

The 645NII is a really great camera with some serious capabilities. It feels like a K-3 or K-5. It's not meaningfully larger, given that it's a medium-format camera. It's also not a whole lot heavier, even with six AA batteries in the grip. The only odd things about it are that what DSLR users will think of as the on-off-DoF preview button is the drive mode button. The on-off button is in the back. One great thing about the on-off button is that the chirp is in the middle, so it's easy to switch just to on.

There are a few things about the 645 that I've grown to not enjoy so much. First, the 92% frame coverage is on par with upper-mid-range SLRs, not competitor pro-range SLRs. I recognize that making a prism for a 645 that magnifies at 0.75% and has 100% frame coverage would be exceedingly hard and expensive, but 92% is a LOT of framing surprise when the film comes back.

I'm also not a huge fan of how the ISO is adjusted, though I don't have a better idea for how it could be done. I suppose that, but the time this camera was released, many 35mm film cameras had dials and not buttons, like this. Perhaps one or two dials would have made setting the ISO easier. It's not something one has to do often, but because it has to be done with every roll of 120, it is a pain. A good way around this is to shoot blocks of the same ISO.

There's no dark slide and the film back can't be removed mid-roll. This differentiates the 645 from the competing Mamiya systems that allowed film back switches during a roll. That's one of my favorite features about my RB67 and RB67 ProS, but does frustrate me a bit with the Pentax 645 and 6X7.

The camera has a LOT of pro's: auto focus, auto wind, great meter, good and fast lenses, and a familiar, SLR-like feel. Overall, it's a great 645 camera even if it lacks a few refinements.

Registered: March, 2007
Location: Greater Copenhagen Area
Posts: 423
Review Date: August 24, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax 645NII: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Handling, extensive data imprint on the film, custom settings and MLU
Cons: None

If you have used the Pentax MZ-5/5n/-3 35mm camera, you will find right at home with either the 645N or 645N II. The ergonomics are very similar and logical.

The Pentax 645N and 645N II are practically identical. The viewfinder is exactly the same. AF and metering are the same. The N II version came out just a few years after the 645N and incorporated some very minor changes that make it possible for the user to enable some settings that only can be set by a service mechanic on the 645N like 15 or 16 images to a roll*), EV compensation in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps, the frame counter counts down instead of up and the like (there are 10 such user enabled settings on the 645N II in all. See page 76 of the user manual:
Both cameras have imprinting of exposure data and focal length on the edge of the film, but the II version has a bit more information (and smaller characters that can be at bit harder to read).
The 645N has a shiny exterior finish, and the 645N II has a very nice satin finish.
Button layout is practically identical and handling therefore the same.
Information in the viewfinder is the same: focus confirmation, F-stop, shutter speed plus bracketing and exposure compensation (if acitvated). Frame number and iso are only shown on the top display.

The major difference: 645N II has MLU, the 645N (and the 645) do not. Some say MLU isn't necessary, as the mirror is very well dampened in all three Pentax 645 cameras. That is true, in my opinion, and I have rarely used it. (I forget it's there.)

I have set my 645N II to the same settings as the sister 645N, so the custom settings have little use for me. (It would be very confusing to have the frame counter count up on one camera and down on the other ...)

As I have set my N II to handle exactly like the N version (so that I can use them side by side) and rarely use MLU, I think either one is good. If the 645N is easier to find (and it is) and cheaper than the 645N II (it regularly is), go for the 645N. It's a great camera. But the 645N II is top of the class

*) The original 645 can only take 15 images on a 120 roll, but on the 645N/N II the default setting is 16. Some maintained that the film would curl around some of the sharp bends in the film backs, and with the closer spacing necessary for 16 images to a roll, this curl could create cause unsharpness (uneven film plane). Therefore there is an option to revert to the 15 images to a roll setting on the 645N and N II. I have never experienced any unsharpness due to film curl and shoot 16 images to a roll on both my cameras. (With 15 images to a roll, the curl (if any) will never be in the image area.)
I think some other 645 cameras (like Contax) have had problems with the film not being held perfectly flat, but not the Pentax 645s.
That is perhaps one advantage to the film backs not being interchangeable in mid-roll. There are no dark slides on the Pentax 645 backs, so the film is held tight against rails in the camera just like on a 35 mm camera.

[Edit:] One more point: the 645N II has 'half speed steps in M and Tv': "The shutter speed dial between 1/1000 and 4 S can be set to half step by pressing the up/down button. The set shutter speed will be displayed in the LCD panel and in the viewfinder".
This could be of interest for those who shoot mostly color landscapes on slide film.

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Elko, Nevada
Posts: 1,304

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 3, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax 645NII: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Reliable, Reliable, Reliable, Great Ergonomics
Cons: A little fiddly to load in the beginning. A bit big.

This is my all-time favorite camera. I have shot hundreds of rolls of film in this camera and it has never once let me down. The lens selection is awesome and the lens quality is amazing.

Ergonomically it is a dream to use. Even though it is a large camera, once you start shooting you really forget about it. It is simple to use it in Program Mode, just put all the dials on Green. If you want to use Aperture Priority, just set the aperture wherever you want. If you want Shutter Priority then set the Shutter wherever you want. If you want Manual Mode, set both the shutter and the aperture to whatever you want.

The meter is amazing. I can shoot in Matrix Metering and be very confident that I am getting good shots. But then, if I am really into highlighting something, I can use the spotmeter to get exactly the reading I want in a specific part of the image.

The viewfinder is great. It is huge! And I particularly like the fact that you are seeing in landscape mode when you put it to your eyes. If you want portrait, flip it just like you would any SLR. And there are even two tripod sockets so you can flip the camera to the tripod orientation that you want. I have two quick release plates attached to mine so I can quickly change orientation of portrait to landscape and back again.

I am not a pro, but I use this camera for everything. I even shoot grandkid sports with it and get amazing results. I am learning new things everyday, but this camera makes the process fun.

The 645N is the same camera without the mirror lock up so it should be just as much fun.

If you are interested in shooting medium format, this particular camera makes this entire process very easy, especially if you are experienced with 35mm. The only thing that will take a little practice is loading the film.
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