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04-26-2016, 05:45 AM   #1
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Transition from Full Frame to Pentax 645z MF...lens choice ?

Hi to everybody!

I'm new to the Forum...and I'm here for asking advice about the subject topic.

After many years spent shooting full frame with several brands (Canon, Nikon, etc...) I would like to move in the MF world. The only accessible system to me is the Pentax 645z, but for budget reason my initial configuration should be limited to the Camera Body with only one lens.

My typical photo-works involve either Studio session (Fashion, Portraits, Book) or Landscape shooting. Obviously they require very different lens tools, wide angle or similar for Landscape, medium telephoto for Studio, so I will eventually choose one out the two fields to start with.

Since my transition from FF to MF system is basically related to image quality reason, I'm expecting to catch the best of the MF world from body & optics. I know there are not so many optics available for Pentax645z, several primes and a few zooms. Among them only three/four are recent designs, implementing feature like "internal focusing".

Therfeore I should like to have suggestions from 645z user regarding the lens choice, both for Studio and Landscape, taking into account their experience and the current market scenario.

Thanks in advance for your replies.

04-26-2016, 07:37 AM   #2
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While I'm not a medium-format shooter, my suggestion would be to pay attention to the angle of view your most useful full-frame lenses offer you in your current system(s). Then look for 645 lenses covering those angles of view and use that to assist your selection.
04-26-2016, 08:01 AM   #3
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In full frame, what were the general lenses that you would use?


04-26-2016, 09:06 AM   #4
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This will probably be a good starting point, as it lets you see all the lenses that are available:
Pentax Lens Search | PentaxForums.com

For studio work, a lot of people like the 90mm macro or the older 120mm macro.

For landscapes, the DA 28-45mm has become a very popular choice, especially now that the 25mm prime is discontinued.

It's also hard to go wrong with the D FA 55mm F2.8 as a starter lens

Best of luck with the transition!


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04-26-2016, 01:28 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum, enjoy that MF once you get your hands on her and do let us know if it meets your IQ requirements.
04-26-2016, 02:29 PM   #6
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If you are only getting one lens due to cost, don't even look at the 25 or 28-45. But if it is some kind of self-imposed limit to one lens than by all means get the 28-45. Everyone seems to like it and the images are fantastic.

If you don't mind manual focus there are some very inexpensive lenses available that could give you a few lenses while you figure out what you really want.
I started with the A 45/2.8, A 75/2.8, and A 200/4 and you can get all of those for just a few hundred dollars. The 45 and 200 have gotten some bad reviews (and also good ones) but my copies seem to be very good to my eyes. Maybe because I usually stop down. I added a A 35 later on and it's expensive compared to the other A lenses but still cheap compared to more modern lenses.
Then I added a couple of zooms, the 45-85/4.5 and 80-160/4.5. I use the 45-85 a lot and the IQ is great. It's a handy landscape range. The 80-160 is less highly regarded and not a focal range I use as much but I have been happy with it when I do use it, especially considering price. I use it for people shots a lot and bokeh is nice and smooth.
I also have a SMC 67 300/4 (adapted from 67) and it's also been great. A couple of small issues a lot of old lenses face but nothing that prevents me from getting the images I want from it.

So maybe I'm just too easily impressed but all of those less expensive lenses have performed very well for me.
My only disappointment was a Zeiss F-Distacon 30mm fisheye (adapted from Hasselblad mount) which I could never get to focus properly on far away objects so I sent it back.
04-26-2016, 07:15 PM   #7
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Welcome to the forums.
04-27-2016, 01:46 AM   #8
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Thanks to everybody for your reply!
My current full frame lens system mainly includes: Zeiss Distagon 15 mm f/2.8, Canon 70-200 f/4 L IS and Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC USD
So for Landscaping I should best appreciate the DA 28-45 but unfortunately is well beyond my initial budget, therefore I believe I cannot afford this purchase for a while.
On the other hand considering the Studio activity the 80-160/4.5 could be a viable solution just to be compared either with 120mm f/4 macro or 150 mm f/2.8.
Each one of them fit within my initial budget...it will be a trade off between optical quality performance and flexibility (the 80-160 focal range is very attractive but what about resolution?).

04-27-2016, 07:49 AM   #9
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On paper the 80-160 probably isn't as good and that 120 is supposed to be one of the sharpest 645 lenses. In practice I see nothing lacking with the sharpness of the 80-160 that makes me think I should have used something else. Plenty sharp for my needs!
04-27-2016, 11:01 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattb123 Quote
On paper the 80-160 probably isn't as good and that 120 is supposed to be one of the sharpest 645 lenses. In practice I see nothing lacking with the sharpness of the 80-160 that makes me think I should have used something else. Plenty sharp for my needs!
Thanks for your comment mattb123!
Can you tell me something regarding the focusing speed of the 80-160 ? Any issue ?
On the landscaping side what is your suggestion for a starting optics (excluding 28-45 for budget reason) ?
04-28-2016, 08:47 AM   #11
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Sure. I haven't had any trouble focusing but I probably haven't really tested it very thoroughly with my landscapes and portraits. Seems fine.

My go-to landscape lenses are the 45-85 and the A 35 but I also use the 80-160, 200, and 67 300 if I'm looking for a longer shot.
04-28-2016, 10:27 AM   #12
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Since both studio and landscape work is best done on a tripod, an autofocus lens is not an absolute necessity. Thus the A 35 f/3.5 would be a fine choice. The FA version is three times the price. You can stitch together panoramas and also crop for portraits if you need a more compressed perspective. If you really want auto focus, go with the FA 45 f/2.8. which would be a bit better for the studio work. Again, stitch or crop as needed. Otherwise, just get a 75. You can't go wrong with that standard basic lens.
For Studio work, perhaps one of the 80-160 zooms. They are very well rated and almost perfect for portraits etc..
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