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01-04-2011, 12:08 AM   #1
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645D Confusion

Hi Guys,

I have just joined this forum as I am seriously considering the purchase of a 645D.
A bit of background - I currently use a Nikon D3x with a 70 - 200 f2.8 for the bulk of my work. I shoot wildlife in Africa and make large AO size black and white prints which I sell.
I'm interested in the potential of digital M.F. for the type of work I do and the Pentax seems to fit the bill and the budget.
As I'm intending on basically duplicating the kit I already use only now in M.F, I was thinking of buying the body with the new 55mm lens and then trying to get a SMC FA 300mm f4 which, if I understand correctly, will pretty much give me the focal lengh of my 70 - 200 f2.8 on my DSLR.

Will this lens work well with the new 645D?
Also, is the 150 - 300mm worth a look?
Finally, what are the prospects of hand holding such a set up?

Any advice anyone can offer will be gratefully received.

Happy New Year to you all,
Cheers,
Chris

01-04-2011, 03:40 AM   #2
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Check this for lens compatibility...:

http://www.pentax.co.uk/en/group/128/product/17972/body/downloads/media/8fe0...ble_lenses.pdf
01-04-2011, 05:47 AM   #3
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Hello Chris
I just received my 645D a week ago and I can say, generally I am very happy with my camera. It handles very well just like the Nikon D3x. I am testing the autofocus right now and I am happy with the performance, what is very funny, it does not like red colours. The Pentax autofocus some how can not lock precisely on reds. The Nikon autofocus is faster obviously but I want to use the Pentax mostly for landscapes, so no problem for me. What I am not happy with is the new 55mm lens, compared to Nikon 1.4 50mm is terrible and I think even a Nikon 24-70mm 2,8 is better. I am using the new Nikon 70-200 VRII lens, it is a fantastic lens and probably is hard to beat but I have no experience with Pentax Fa 300mm.
Right now I am waiting for the other Pentax lenses and I hope very much, that they will be better, otherwise I let the Pentax go, what I would be very sorry. What I really want to try is the 645 Fa 35mm, but so far no one posted a real experience on this forum, hopefully some one will test it very soon.
Sorry for my English
Zsolt
01-04-2011, 07:42 AM   #4
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Chris, the FA 300mm f/4 does work with the 645D. I have one and it seems like a very good performer for me, so far. The combined rig is not light, but certainly hand-holdable. I've not had time to do much more with it than some simple, mundane shots around the yard. I'm going out for a serious shoot this coming weekend and hope to have some more interesting results then.

Whether it is suitable for the use you described is a little harder to say. The 645D certainly is not targeted as a wildlife / action camera by its design, generally it's considered to be targeted squarely at landscape photography, studio work (especially if a tethering solution is added), and similar, slower-paced applications.

Compared to modern DSLR's the 645D will be heavier, slower AF with fewer & more limited focus point choices, slower frame rate, smaller buffer, and lacking in image stabilization. If you rely heavily on qualities like these for your wildlife work in Africa, then the 645D's design is going in the wrong direction for you. But if there's an important subset of your work where these kinds of camera features are not a big factor, then the 645D probably could create some excellent results for you, above the level of the D3x. On the upside, the 645D itself is very robust and well sealed. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to use my 645D for any wildlife applications where I could apply it; for the rest I have Canon DSLR's that would be my tools of choice.

I can't speak to the Pentax 150-300mm lens, since I haven't been able to find one. I would say that experience with the new 55mm is mixed; if you go for a 645D you should evaluate that lens carefully to see if it meets your criteria. I had one and sent it back.

01-04-2011, 02:06 PM   #5
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Original Poster
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the replies, you make some interesting points here. Much of the wildlife portraiture I do tends to be quite static, I would love to see an AO size print of the attached, Elephants at Etosha, made with a 645D for instance.
I have also attached a recent portrait which I always seem to frame with a square crop in mind which makes me suspect I'm destined to shoot in M.F.

Good news Royce about weather sealing, any camera body taken into Namibia needs it. Good news also in regards to hand holding with a 300 f4 attached although I do have the choice of a window mounted holder if required. If you do shoot over the weekend, I'd be interested to hear how it goes.

After what you Zsolt and others have said, I don't think I'll be forking out for the new 55mm lens. Seems a poor choice to launch such a ordinary lens with such an important camera. Any other lens suggestions for my portraits?
Thanks again, Chris
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01-04-2011, 02:30 PM   #6
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Hi
Diglloyd just tested and put on his site the review of 645 A 120mm makro. He states is the best lens so far he tested on the Pentax. Very good news indeed...
Zsolt
01-04-2011, 05:06 PM   #7
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For what it is worth; Andy Rouse, the wildlife photgrapher used the Pentax 645NII for wildlife hand-held when he was still using film; including the FA 300/4. He claims in his book, "Life in the wild", that the Pentax AF gave him just as many keeprs as his top-of-the-line Canon, but the metering of the Pentax was far superior.
01-04-2011, 06:55 PM   #8
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Chris, those are a couple of fine photographs! Anything in that vein, the 645D will fit right in. Of course more action-oriented shooting is possible if you rely more on luck, repetition and timing. There are examples like the Andy Rouse note from Pål. You won't have the convenience and features of a blazing fast, auto-everything 35mm DSLR but you can always drop back to the D3x for situations where the 645D is going too much against the grain.

The 645D should make a very good showing at A0. I've not done any large scale prints from mine yet but looking at things like the inherent image clarity, shadow tone detail and noise structure, the files blow my Canon files away. The 16x20's I've done are incredibly clean.

While the 645D body is weather sealed, bear in mind many of the vintage lenses -- while optically great -- are not fully sealed. Dust in the imaging chamber could be an issue, though fortunately the 645D does have a sensor-shake dust busting system as one of its modern conveniences.

The 55mm may work for portraiture though it's perhaps a bit on the wide side. The two issues with the 55mm that I've personally seen so far include a lot of strange smearing and bright specks on the innermost surface of the rear element group (looks like a flaw in the final polishing routine during manufacture), and less-than-stellar corner sharpness. If the former issue is corrected, the latter may not be a big problem in portraiture though for my purposes in landscapes and architecture for example it was not really desirable.

I'm looking to the manual focus 67 format 105mm f/2.4 for portraiture, used with the 67-to-645 adapter. This lens is more in the range of what many would consider a portrait focal length, about 82mm in 35mm equivalence. If manual focus doesn't deter you, I think this lens is really well suited to portraiture. Got mine last week and hope to try it out in the near future. Check out Chris Willson's work (Travel 67); he uses the 645D + 67 105mm a lot as a go-to combination. I think he's got several others in use as well, but posts mostly work from the 67 105mm and the new 645 55mm.

The 645 A or FA 120mm f/4 Macro is probably a good choice for portraiture as well, if you can find one. I have an "A" variant coming, just missed the FedEx delivery person this afternoon in fact. Will have it in hand tomorrow and again hope to get in some licks with it before long. Having a full-time day job really cuts into my shooting time...

01-04-2011, 08:24 PM   #9
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Last week I delivered a 30x40 to a client shot with my 645d and it looked awesome. I have printed this size with my 5d mkii and they never look as good as that print.
01-05-2011, 12:38 AM   #10
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Thanks again guys.
Royce, I actually tried out a 645D today for the first time and it certainly feels right. I was expecting it to be heavier somehow but the example I handled had the new 55mm lens on not a 300mm f4!
I would have purchased it there and then but I'm still a bit concerned about finding a 300mm f4 FA lens. My experience with manual focus 67 lenses wasn't great and I have owned all of the portrait lenses you mention although probably should have given them more of a go than I did but I was fed up with all the hassle of film and focussing dirty 67 lenses after purchasing the D3x. In truth, I had pretty much the entire 67 kit and sold the lot after holding it for only a year! Anyway...
At this stage I'm thinking I will try to find a FA 300mm f4 lens first and take it to the store and try it out with the 645D and make a decision. I can always buy a few of the lenses you mention for portraiture as they seem pretty cheap these days.
I've tried to find Travel 67 but can't seem to conduct a search on this forum that isolates his work. Thanks again Royce and I look forward to seeing what you shoot this weekend.
01-05-2011, 03:01 AM   #11
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What was the problem with the 67 lenses, Joburger?
01-05-2011, 03:36 AM   #12
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By the time I received this kit, I'd already begun using the Nikon D3X. The 67 lenses seemed cloudy to me and the viewfinder too dull and difficult to achieve critical focus. Plus there was the hassle of getting film processed and scanned only to finally get it up into CS4 only to find the D3x files were sharper and had better detail.

I should add here though, in fairness that this camera system previously belonged to a very famous photographer and had shot the Rolling Stones, Clint Eastwood and loads of others with excellent results. Perhaps I should have given it more of a go but in the end I sold the lot in a Pelican case on Ebay and through in my lot with Nikon D3x.

I have two bodies and seven pro lenses and have been pretty happy with the system and have sold lots of work taken with it.
The M.F. bug however keeps bugging me and I'm wondering what the 645D might do for my work, particularly because I sell large prints.
The question is though, do I buy 67 or 645 A lenses and give them a second go on the new 645D body, fork out for some FA lenses (assuming I can get some!)or wait for Pentax to develop some dedicated and no douby expensive lenses for the 645D?
That's were I'm at tonight.
01-05-2011, 05:13 AM   #13
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I was asking because I am thinking of getting the 645D body myself and get an adapter for my 67 lenses. I come from Nikon (D700) and have used my P67II for a year or so and absolutely love its results and the sharpness of its lenses.
I won't go for the highly risen prices of 645 FA lenses and won't even buy the new 55mm, I think, as it is not supposed to be that good, people say.
01-05-2011, 07:19 PM   #14
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Chris, that may be a good strategy if the 300mm f/4 is a piece of "anchor" kit for your envisioned use. If you find one and try out the 645D and decide not to go for it, I'm sure you can resell the lens for no lost money.

I'm not sure if Chris Willson is here on pentaxforums.com. Google for "Travel 67" and you'll find his site, blog and Flickr presence. He has a 67 film system, hence his interest in using the adapted 67 lenses on the 645D. He's based in Japan and was one of the first I found posting (in English) about the 645D.

Your D3x is pretty much the top of the heap in 35mm land. You'd have to decide what level of creature comforts it would be worth doing without, to guide what kind of lenses to try for. A lot of people don't want the hassle of manual focus, which I can understand. For my landscape work I'm mostly in a slower paced mode, and always did manual everything on my Canon DSLR's anyway, including manual focus. So I'm pretty comfortable with where the 645D is at. For me it's not a step backwards in any meaningful respect except for the lack of live view.

We are in early adopter territory with the 645D. The release of such a major new body with only a single new lens (the 55mm, not exactly issue-free) makes for an odd situation. I think this is a simply a side-effect of the decision to greenlight the release of the 645D in Japan first for the legion of established Pentax shooters, riding the coat tails of all the classic glass out there amongst photographers who are already very well adjusted to it all with film. We're not really seeing the release of a whole new digital system (not like what Leica did with the S2), and it's going to take time for more of the key pieces to come out based on whatever plans Hoya has in place.

In landscape & architecture work, for example, I really need some solid wide angle shift or tilt-shift options. Hopefully somebody will step up and cater to that market since it's close to the bulls-eye Pentax is aiming at with the camera...
01-05-2011, 07:37 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by da40 Quote
Hi
Diglloyd just tested and put on his site the review of 645 A 120mm makro. He states is the best lens so far he tested on the Pentax. Very good news indeed...
Zsolt
Diglloyd is correct,
I just went out and shot for the first time my new 645D with an A 120mm Macro lens,
I was shooting landscape at infinity and the lens performed very well.
I wish I could say about my 75mm 2.8 FA, i did the exact same shot set at infinity focus and it is clearly not as sharp.
Ugg more testing tomorrow with it in better light.
But the 120mm Macro is a keeper.
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