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12-31-2010, 08:34 PM   #1
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645N II Vs 67 II

I am brand new to the Pentax Forum, this being my first input. I found the forum while searching for information on replacing my current medium format camera, a Yashica MAT124G, with another medium format camera having interchangeable lenses. Based on price, reported satisfaction, availability, and operational similarity to the 35mm and DSLR cameras that I already have, Iíve pretty much settled on either the Pentax 645N II or the 67 II.

For landscape and macro photography, it seems to me that having the largest film area that can be reasonably used will result in the greatest amount of detail, and therefore will result in the most satisfying photo. This assumes that film would be the same across the board and that lens quality would also be the same.

On this basis, the Pentax 67 II would appear to be the best candidate for me. However, most of the forum discussions seem to be on the 645 in its various forms. (There is a huge amount of discussion of the 645D, which to me is a step backwards, spending large amounts of money for lesser quality photos.)

Using 35mm as a reference, the 645 gives 1 Ĺ times the35mm picture area while the 67 gives 2 ľ times the 35mm area, or 1 Ĺ times more than the 645. Poking around on the various used camera sites, it appears that there isnít much difference in price between the 645N II and the 67II. The 67II is somewhat bigger and heavier but not a lot and this isnít a big deal to me since Iím not going backpacking with either one.

Am I missing something here? Is the 645N II distinctly enough better in photographic quality than the 67 II to make up for having only 2/3rds the picture area? Are there other attributes of the 645N II that make it a better, more satisfying camera to own and use?

12-31-2010, 09:42 PM   #2
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Pentax 67 shooters need to carry heavier gear, and to deal with the shutter shake problem to get real sharp images, both need dedication, discipline, and quite some technical expertise. Pentax 645 don't have these issues and is much easier to master.
12-31-2010, 10:01 PM   #3
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AF is a big plus for the 645NII as well, especially for moving targets. Metering and control layout is excellent and like the 67, lens quality and selection is superb.

I've been meaning to try out the 67, but the manual focus would begin to get troublesome with my subject matter.
01-01-2011, 12:52 AM   #4
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You can look at the postings in the MF section (post your medium format) and see results from 645, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9 and 4x5 cameras. Not many macros posted though.


Last edited by tuco; 01-01-2011 at 09:21 PM.
01-01-2011, 02:17 AM   #5
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There is no question that you need (want) both . And if you are able to live without AF you can actually afford both for the price of full AF system .
  • The 645 with 3 lenses 45/55 + 75 + 120/150 is a terrific travel/carry around system with great negatives and easy handling. It is nice to have 15 shots per roll when you are travelling and no or limited access to 120 films. The weight of the system is about 2/3 to 1/2 of a 67 system with equivalent focal lengh lenses - I think.
  • The 67 by reputation is a great system and you can see the results posted in the forum. The alternative that offer the same size of negative is a Mamiya RB67 system. I have never handled either so cannot speak of either but I shoot 6x9 and I think that there is a lot of value in a large negative. Technicaly there is the aspect of the size of the largest print with a maximum x4, x8 resizing...but there is also the subtle details in tonality. Not to discount the fact that when you have 8 shots in your roll, you sure take the time to make them count and I think that this helps certain aspect of photographic skills.

  • There is also the hasselblad 500 system as a middle of the road with 6x6. I have a 500CM with 50/80/150 that has been CLA so in great condition but I still feel in retrospect that I would stick with either 645 + 67 or 645 + 6x9.This is of course very personal.
Edit: Not kidding myself it would be likely 645+67+6x9

If there is a store that carries either around you might get a better feel by handling them. In any case good luck in your purchase.

Cheers,

Luc

Last edited by lbenac; 01-01-2011 at 08:06 AM.
01-01-2011, 03:37 AM   #6
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By my calculation, the 645 has 2.7 times the area of 35mm film, whilst the 67 has 4.5 times the area.

Both the 645NII and the 67II offer spot, centre weighted and matrix TTL metering. The min sync speed for flash is 1/60 s and 1/30 s for the 645NII and the 67II, respectively.

The 645NII has AF and the 67II is manual focussing only but with an automatic diaphragm.

The 67II takes 10 shots with 120 film and 20 shots with 220 film. The 645NII can take 16 shots with 120 film and 33 shots with 220 film. Neither can be changed easily at mid roll.

Both offer mirror lock up. The shutter and mirror lift mechanisms in the 645NII are very smooth with almost no vibration; in the 67II, the vibrations levels are higher and can sometimes be a problem, but MLU helps a lot.

A number of lenses manufactured by different companies (Carl Zeiss Jena, Schneider, Arsat, and others) can be fitted to the 645NII via inexpensive comercially available adapters. The 67II takes only Pentax 67 lenses.

For serious shooting, I'll almost always choose the 67II over the 645NII - that big negative size is really hard to beat.

Best, Alan

QuoteOriginally posted by antiquerookie Quote
I am brand new to the Pentax Forum, this being my first input. I found the forum while searching for information on replacing my current medium format camera, a Yashica MAT124G, with another medium format camera having interchangeable lenses. Based on price, reported satisfaction, availability, and operational similarity to the 35mm and DSLR cameras that I already have, Iíve pretty much settled on either the Pentax 645N II or the 67 II.

For landscape and macro photography, it seems to me that having the largest film area that can be reasonably used will result in the greatest amount of detail, and therefore will result in the most satisfying photo. This assumes that film would be the same across the board and that lens quality would also be the same.

On this basis, the Pentax 67 II would appear to be the best candidate for me. However, most of the forum discussions seem to be on the 645 in its various forms. (There is a huge amount of discussion of the 645D, which to me is a step backwards, spending large amounts of money for lesser quality photos.)

Using 35mm as a reference, the 645 gives 1 Ĺ times the35mm picture area while the 67 gives 2 ľ times the 35mm area, or 1 Ĺ times more than the 645. Poking around on the various used camera sites, it appears that there isnít much difference in price between the 645N II and the 67II. The 67II is somewhat bigger and heavier but not a lot and this isnít a big deal to me since Iím not going backpacking with either one.

Am I missing something here? Is the 645N II distinctly enough better in photographic quality than the 67 II to make up for having only 2/3rds the picture area? Are there other attributes of the 645N II that make it a better, more satisfying camera to own and use?
01-01-2011, 08:00 AM   #7
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I’ve used both the 645N and 67II almost exclusively for the past several years. They are very different and complementary cameras. It is really nice to have access to both bodies, since each excels, depending on the application. Here’s a nice review of the 645 and 67: Pentax 645NII.

I agree with leping’s comments and if you’d like to see some of his results with 67 see his website: Leping Zha Landscape Photography

The 645N or NII can be as easy to use as a point and shoot camera and the lenses are no larger than Canon’s 35mm offerings. Vibration (mirror or shutter is virtually nonexistent). The 67 lenses are larger and heavier, but the real limitation of the 67 is the shutter shake that becomes an issue at slow shutter speeds (1/30 -1/2 s). If you get a 67 body and any 67 lenses (which are still cheap and plentiful on ebay, unlike the 645 lenses), you can use those same lenses on a 645 body with an adapter. Coming from a TLR, the noise and shutter shake of a 67 will require an adjustment.

PS A correction to ARCAISA’s otherwise accurate reply: the 67II gets 21 exposures on 220 film, the 67 gets 20. The frame spacing is reduced in the 67II compared to the 67, allowing the additional frame.
01-01-2011, 08:10 AM   #8
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Does it still makes sense to talk about 220 unless you have a huge stach in the freezer? My search to find some for purchase only came back with the general consensus that 220 could not be purchased anymore - specially in B&W?

Cheers,

Luc

01-01-2011, 08:22 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thomas Quote
I agree with lepingís comments and if youíd like to see some of his results with 67 see his website: Leping Zha Landscape Photography
Hello Leping,

I just checked your (his) web site and specially liked the gallery with IR shots.
I was a little bit surprised by the home page with a description of your (his) history made in a third person narrative mode (wondered if I was on the wrong page for a second) but as I said really liked the IR gallery.

That is a good argument in favour of the 67...

Cheers,

Luc
01-01-2011, 10:30 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by lbenac Quote
Hello Leping,

I just checked your (his) web site and specially liked the gallery with IR shots.
I was a little bit surprised by the home page with a description of your (his) history made in a third person narrative mode (wondered if I was on the wrong page for a second) but as I said really liked the IR gallery.

That is a good argument in favour of the 67...

Cheers,

Luc
Hi Luc,

The infrared works were out of a converted Canon 5D not the 67. You can tell from the 3:2 aspect ratio -- I never crop my composition. I hate Canon bodies absolutely but have to still use it since multiple advantages with IR in the sensor and AF systems over Nikon, my much preferred 35mm system. For one I can't check sharpness at focus point at 100% pixels without multiple (actually 6) pushes which drives me continuous crazy while with Nikon bodies it is one touch. Canons are for ladies not photographers unless they have special needs.

I was a mechanic for many years. I modified my heavy Gitzo 1548 tripod so that I can hang my 35lbs+ backpack to the center column vert securely high up nearing the disk. Then of course MLP, long soft release and self-timer, plus all my body weight over the body to further dampen the shutter vibration, and never bother with 1/8 and 1/15 speed.

It is not mirror but the horizontal traveling of the shutter, which creates an internal torque so that the camera will shake, actually twist or rotate horizontally. With a laser pen you can easily see how the beam jump on a wall easily even on a tripod. As the result the landscape shots are not sharp (through my 22x loupe or after scanned either drum or Imacon/Hasselblad) if the above techniques are not applied, but if I only shoot vertical I can get away with much flimsy setups such as a Bogen 3021. You can clearly see the blur pattern is always horizontal. 67II (I went through 3 bodies and thousands of rolls) is little bit better than the old 67 but not by too much.

Even I use all the damping techniques mentioned above, avoided triggering with slightest amount of wind, and with focusing untouched, with the long 67 lenses (80-160 at the long end, 165, 200, and especially the 300 ED IF, some times with 1.4x) I could manage to get out one really sharp chromes in every 3-4, for reasons I still don't fully understand, so I often got hand cramp from film winding and shutter pushing in exciting days. If you only print 20x24 you may not need to waste so much film, but if you look close the 48x60 in my client's lobby you know what I am talking about. The 300 ED IF is specially hard because it is such a super sharp lens by itself, and any vibration will show clearly. I also learned I have let the camera stand on the tripod (actually my heavy Arca-Swiss B2G Giant head which helps) and let the long lenses hang out, not to use the collars on the lenses themselves. Letting the 67 hang on the lens end is calling for failures.

I have never got sharp results with the 2x on film, no matter what I do. I read people had to resort to two tripods to use long lenses on the Pentax 67. However, when I tried it with the 300 ED IF on a Canon 5DII (before I converted it to IR at maxmax.com) I get sharp results on the 5um spacing sensor, thus I learned the problem is not the Pentax optics, which is second to none to me, but still instability in the support, or inadequacy of my shooting method. That time the Canon was hanging from the lens and you see how different it is when you have the Pentax 67 at the same position.

All these said, I love the Pentax 67 system and still use it when possible. But, I repeat what I said, it needs thorough testing and understanding, and you can not be lazy or wish you can get good result without carrying heavily, unless you only shoot wide angle (even I did see horizontal blurs with the 45mm lens on a 3021, my first tripod before I found it has a big play and does not resist any twist force).

Thank you,

Leping

Last edited by leping; 01-01-2011 at 11:39 AM.
01-01-2011, 01:00 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by leping Quote
Hi Luc,
The infrared works were out of a converted Canon 5D not the 67. You can tell from the 3:2 aspect ratio -- I never crop my composition.
I still like it...

Regarding the use of the 67 I cannot comment at all as I have only seen images posted on the web and they look just fine but my limited experience is that the proof in the pudding is when trying to make a 11x17 or larger then the real quality of the negative/scan shows.
I think that Tuco is our local expert for 67...
I have also read some good feedback on Berlebach wooden tripod for heavy camera...wooden tripod are certainly good looking.


As far as general use of tripod I got very satisfactory results for print up to 13x19 with a middle of the road carbon tripod and either 645 or 500CM.

Cheers,

Luc
01-01-2011, 01:13 PM   #12
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To the OP...

I see you are in Portland. The last time I was in Blue Moon Camera (St. Johns district) they had a Pentax 67 on the shelf. I don't remember which body (6x7, 67, 67II), but it might be worth your while to go in and see how it fits your hand.


Steve
01-01-2011, 01:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by lbenac Quote
I have also read some good feedback on Berlebach wooden tripod for heavy camera...wooden tripod are certainly good looking.
Good looking, stable, and surprisingly light...but at a price


Steve

(would love to have a Berlebach...)
01-01-2011, 01:46 PM   #14
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A simple test is to shoot the 67 with the 90mm LS lens in pure leaf shutter mode totally eliminating the camera's shutter because it's locked open. Then shoot the 90mm as normal. Get your scanning electron microscope and study the results. Hopefully what you'll discover is that the 67 with its faults will not prevent you from taking an award-winning shot.

Last edited by tuco; 01-01-2011 at 02:38 PM.
01-01-2011, 01:50 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Good looking, stable, and surprisingly light...but at a price


Steve

(would love to have a Berlebach...)

I have been considering buying a basic one 3032 I think directly from them. The shipping is very reasonable and the customer service has a very good reputation.
But then again it adds up to 300......

Cheers,

Luc
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