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11-10-2011, 09:24 AM   #1
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General Questions Regarding The 645NII and Lenses

I finally got a 645NII! It didn't come with a lens, though the price was fair. Can you good folks stop snapping up all the good cheap optics because it's becoming very difficult to put together a bargain kit... ;-)

Anyways what's the standard hood for the 75mm FA 2.8? Is the FA 45mm 2.8 really that bad? And does anyone make any cheap extension tubes? I noticed that the on-brand Pentax ones are pricey for the set...but could be worth it.

Any other general tips would be well appreciated! Like, what are your favorite lenses that can be had for under $1000 dollars?

11-12-2011, 09:54 PM   #2
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Not the regular folks... sellers. Have you notice that you are loosing to bidders with very high trans numbers. The few months ago I was bidding and finally lost to a person with over 23,000 transactions and the item reappeared a month later for almost double the price.
11-12-2011, 10:48 PM   #3
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Lens

Congrats on your new purchase. You will have a great time with this camera.

I am lucky enough to have several lenses to choose from for my 645Nii, but there are three of them that get regular use. The others come out only occasionally. Part of my preferences are obviously built on how I use my 645Nii, which is primarily as a landscape camera, and secondarily to record birthday parties or other family events. Your intended uses may be different so you may find that there are other options that may be more to your liking.

My all time favorite lens is the A 35mm. This lens gives absolutely stunning results and is far and away my favorite landscape lens. Although it is a manual focus lens I do not find this limiting at all with landscapes, and the 645Nii is relatively easy to focus.

My favorite for events is the FA 45-85 zoom. This is my go-to lens for birthday parties, etc. It functions quite nicely as a landscape lens as well, but since I picked up my 35mm this zoom doesn't get much use in this area anymore.

Finally, I love working with the FA 75mm 2.8. This is my walk around lens and I use it whenever I am out and about but not positive what I want to take pictures of. In truth, this lens is the one that is on my camera most of the time. The other two go on it when I have a specific reason to use them.

As for the FA 45mm, I have one and I do use it once in awhile. I really haven't noticed that my copy is all that bad but I really haven't enlarged any of the images to the point where problems would be evident. And since I picked it up around the same time as the 35 it really hasn't had a lot of use.

If you are looking for one lens to start with I would strongly recommend the FA 45-85. With prices going up I don't know if it fits into your budget limits but I suspect you can find one below $1,000 if you are patient. It is worth the wait. It may be a little bulky but it is very sharp and the focal range is very useful. Another good option is obviously the FA 75mm. It is a couple of stops faster than the zoom, so it is more useful in low light situations, and it is very, very sharp. In fact, it may be the sharpest of the batch. It is also a very trim and handy lens.

Anyway, good luck with your new camera. Enjoy it as it is one of Pentax's great ones and I am sure it will give you some great images.

Last edited by Pioneer; 11-12-2011 at 10:59 PM.
11-13-2011, 08:22 AM   #4
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I'm more of a primes guy because I like to keep things simple. I'm glad that 75mm is great, I think that's where I'll start. Prices seem high on KEH. The're asking 400 bucks! Or maybe I'm just used to things being dirt cheap... I used to pretty much only use the 80mm on my Hasselblad when I had it, so I imagine that'll be the case with the 645NII.

I have been shooting mostly with my K-5 and an X100 for a while now, but I have to say that Portra 400 can not be denied. Everytime I see medium format work I feel like I'm missing out. I'm happy now that I pulled the trigger on the 645 and get get some work done on film, and start building a 645D kit... :-) ...for the day hell freezes over and I can justify dropping 10 grand.

11-13-2011, 09:31 AM   #5
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10 Grand!!!

QuoteOriginally posted by Sperdynamite Quote
...for the day hell freezes over and I can justify dropping 10 grand.
That is a fact. I love shooting medium format, and I love my 645Nii, but I am not ready to spend 9 or 10 grand on a digital, at least not yet. To justify that I would almost literally have to sell off everything else I have. But...I have seen some darn nice results from it!

Personally I still enjoy shooting film very much and the results from the 645Nii is still very hard to beat. The newer color films from Kodak (I hope they keep coming with their market troubles) are giving gorgeous results. They also seem to scan really well so I'm happy right now.

As for the lens prices, I'm not too sure what is going on there but prices on all 645 lenses have jumped since the new 645D came out. I blush when I think about how much I had to pay to get my FA 150-300. MysteryOnion may be right, it may be speculative sellers bidding and reselling now that there is new interest from buyers.

The 75 is a terrific lens and you will certainly not be disappointed. It certainly can bring home the goods. You may want to look into buying a camera and lens combo, then selling the camera to lower your lens cost, that is how I bought my 75 way back when. However, I think it is an unfortunate fact that you will pay more for 645 lenses now that the D is out.

Enjoy and let us know when you get your lens.
11-13-2011, 11:21 AM   #6
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I got my FA 75 with my 645n. Paid less than 600 for the package which included the film back too. It is a very sharp lens indeed. It is also very light and small and I have been able to handhold it at slower speeds than I would be able to with other lenses with still sharp results. Another very sharp lens is the 120 f/4 macro, which is exceptional.
11-13-2011, 12:12 PM   #7
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Welcome to the 645 club!

I have a 645n and thoroughly enjoy it. I can personally recommend the 35mm, the 55mm, the 75mm (of course!) and the 120 macro. I also have the 200mm but don't use it much because it doesn't give much more reach than the 120. Good glass, though. As far as extension tubes go you're unlikely to find any non-Pentax tubes out there, too small a market. George Ury is showing a set for a good price; I've dealt with him and was pleased.

Prices have indeed gone up. I lucked into my 35 which seems to be new old stock - I wonder if I should mail in the warranty card! - for about half what KEH has asked for and apparently got for a bargain example recently. BTW, KEH is a good dealer, I intended no disrespect.

The 120 in addition to focusing to 1 to 1 continuously makes a fine portrait lens, about like a 75 on a 35mm rig.

You might keep an eye out for the RF converter. Since the 645's don't have an interchangeable finder system low level shots are much easier with the converter, 'specially for those of us getting older. Be aware that the RF converter is unique to the 645's; the relatively common converter for the K mount cameras will not fit.

The results? Big negatives that I think my Beseler B23 could enlarge to sharp 16 x 20's or bigger, if I could afford a new easel and the paper, trays, etc.. There is a quality to medium format which seems unobtainable in smaller negatives. Scans on my Epson 700 are wonderful. I may have to spring for some drum scans some time and pay someone to make some HUGE color shots.
11-13-2011, 12:16 PM   #8
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I forgot to mention! Since 220 film is increasingly rare, the 220 inserts for the 645 are often cheaper than the 120 inserts. The 220 inserts can be "converted" to 120 inserts in about 5 minutes using a proper jeweler's screwdriver and taking care not to lose a tiny screw. Of course the insert will still say 220, but hey! a little marking tape will remedy that. The thread for the conversion is on this forum.

11-13-2011, 12:24 PM   #9
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Here's the link for converting 220 inserts to 120 film: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-medium-format-645-6x7-645d/101062-...agazine-2.html You'll note that Pentax denies the wisdom of making the conversion, probably a CWA statement, since a number of us have made the conversion with satisfactory results. Of course, YMMV.
11-13-2011, 01:27 PM   #10
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Well for now they still make Portra in 220, so I'm probably just going to get a few 220 cartridges and use those. They're preferable at a wedding anyway, or in a portrait sitting. If they totally discontinue the 220 lines later I'll make a change.
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