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11-23-2011, 09:42 AM   #1
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Will the 645D last?

I have just joined in the hope that I might see enough noise and be convinced that the 645D is alive and kicking and in use.

There is some argument that the real comments come from those who are not on the forum but I am not looking for unbiased opinion, I would like to hear from the Pentaxians !!!

Apart from the price and weather seal I am trying to work out the longevity of this product. Its almost the same position as a Leica S2. Kodak sensor (just sold) no more than 3 new lenses apart from a adaptor solution, company changing hands, 5 years to come to market, update is a fork lift upgrade, no real know 2nd hand market or value yet.

I so want to buy one of these babies, but am convinced that a second hand PhaseOne Back with 31 mil pixels will provide greater longevity, residual and the ability to upgrade if prices level off for only an extra couple of 1000 pounds.

I so want Pentax to survive, I had an ME Super and always missed the Pentax until the K5 - but alas I am a Nikon shooter and so looking for more quality for landscape, but the 6000 or $10,000 for the camera seems a high risk strategy.

No support for second body for a pro shooter (is this really a high end consumer product), limited lens access, new lenses are priced above true value compared to other lens manufactures.

Sorry that my first post is a request for info, but it is the reason I joined the forum.

Any ideas and thoughts from the collective, are the photos really worth it, i saw the Nikon D3X comparison and it was close, but in real use, future proof anyone got thoughts and ideas on this ?

11-23-2011, 10:45 AM   #2
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"only three lenses?"

I the 9 months that I had the 645D I have used 9 lenses that auto focus and another 4 that manual focus from Pentax All 67 Pentax lens using the OEM pentax adapter give full aperture linkage.
FA's 33-55 45-85 80-160 35 45 75 150 200 300 A's 35 55 75LS 120M and P67 400EDIF/4 with the pentax adapter. Also the 30arsat fisheye and 45 Hartblei TS using a P6 to Pentax 645 adapter, full manual.

Pentax lenses for the 645D range from 25mm to 1200/8(P67):
A - 35 45 55 75 75LS 120M 135LS 150 200 300 400 600 45-85 80-160 (manual focus)
FA - 35 45 75 120M 150 200 300 400 33-55 45-85 55-110 80-160 150-300
P67 Super tele's 400 600 800 1200
FA-D 25 55
11-23-2011, 11:16 AM   #3
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You might be interested in reading the PF review of the 645d, which also compares it to the d3x: Pentax 645D Review vs. Nikon D3x - Introduction (edit: oops, missed your line about already seeing it)

The 645D won't disappoint you for landscape photography. However, I would never buy one, and here's why:
1. The camera is hands-down too expensive. Unless landscape photography is the only thing that you do and you get paid very well for these photographs, burdening yourself with such an expense is hardly justifiable. (but if someone can sponsor you, then by all means take advantage of it!)
2. The camera has a limited number of applications compared to canon/nikon full-frame bodies or even a K-5.
3. The camera could become obsolete in a few years
4. New lenses aren't readily available, and I would say that $5000 for a 25mm landscape lens might be a bit excessive! If you already have 645 lenses then using older lenses would be reasonable, but buying a new camera and then having to look for lenses on the news market isn't exactly pro-friendly.

With that said, should you get a 645d, Adorama has a lot of used lenses in stock. You can also check our marketplace

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11-23-2011, 11:30 AM   #4
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While it's a good idea to think about the future, I think there is a point you just need to decide if the device will accomplish your immediate needs. If you are so worried about it, chances are it is a bad purchase for you or above your means so you are second guessing.

Obviously, it's not a cheap camera, but compared to other new digital medium format cameras it is reasonable.

It's a great field camera with the 55 or 25mm WR lenses.

I'm sure it would be nice in the studio as well, but the Pentax flash system isn't the greatest with wireless flash options.

I used one for a short period of time and can say if I had the discretionary income to buy one and some lenses, I would. It has amazing depth of field capabilities thanks to the larger sensor. It also has the function level of a current generation DSLR, which is great. One negative I noticed was that it is slow dealing with such large files. I'd like to see an internal refresh with a faster processing engine. Considering the type of camera it is... I wouldn't say it is much of a problem though. I would be slower and more methodical when using it compared to my APS-C DSLRs.

Edit: I should also mention that Ricoh specifically mentioned their interest in the 645 system when they acquired Pentax. I think that is a sign they want 645 to be a long term offering.


Last edited by sjwaldron; 11-23-2011 at 11:36 AM.
11-23-2011, 11:55 AM   #5
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I don't have a 645D, but its nice to read posts about them from time to time. One post that caught my eye, was from a fellow who wondered aloud, how many 645D units Pentax actually sold. So, he started searching the web for posted images and then using the embedded EXIF meta data to look at the unit's serial number. Now all of this assumes a linear set of serial number sequences for the units, but here is his post. The only really large gap in his observed serial number list is between 5000 and 7000 (found another post with the gap narrowed).....If indeed there actually are 10,000 645D units sold within a year, that is 1) quite an accomplishment and 2) should provide some pretty good longevity of interest in the market from Pentax.

Also, another good indication is the resale price of 645 lenses. Prior to its announcement, the used 645 lens prices were pretty low. I can remember seeing a complete kit - body and 3 lenses for $300 to $400. After the announcement, the prices rose to what they are today. Also, you no longer see 654 film kits bundled with 3 lenses for anything near that price.

The other item is thinking of selling 10,000 units at $10,000 apiece, results in $100,000,000 if my 'rithmitic is right (running out of fingers and toes on that one). So then let's say for the sake of argument that the production costs are 25% and the marketing/retail cut is 25%, that brings the potential profit to $50M - I know its not pure profit - sunk R&D costs, production may run higher, cost of spares and future warranty costs, etc. this also is not quite in line with the rule of thumb retail cost is 3x the production cost. So, even at $33M its not bad. Even if you bring it down to $20M its not chump change.


Last edited by interested_observer; 11-23-2011 at 12:26 PM.
11-23-2011, 01:52 PM   #6
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And there should be a portraitlens in 2012. Zooms are announced for 2013 and 2014.
11-23-2011, 02:30 PM   #7
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10,000 units a year of a $10,000 camera would be a smashing success. I'd be surprised if it's half of that. Even at that rate, it's probably worth continuing to make them as a loss leader. It's the finest camera in the world for what it's good at. Pentax can't say that about any other product they have ever made. Bragging rights are worth more than the profit from actual sales in this case. The 645D probably sells more K-5s and K-rs than you'd think.
11-23-2011, 02:50 PM   #8
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Hello,

- if lasting is a question of commercial life as a photographic system, better ask the question to Ricoh ;
- if it is a question of durability of anyone's SLR, just try to seek after-sale users, i haven't seen any on the internet yet ;
- if acquiring the 645D is for duty as a job tool for you, better think twice of the real use and income, but also compare the full cost and performances to other medium formats systems (and e.g. you will see that in terms of autofocus speed/acuracy, the 645D remains unbeaten within it's class) ;

but if you just want to have pleasure or fun, think this equipment is just a "motorcycle cost" spending - so what ?

11-23-2011, 07:35 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by sanzari Quote
No support for second body for a pro shooter (is this really a high end consumer product), limited lens access, new lenses are priced above true value compared to other lens manufactures.
You mean like a Leica S2? Well, since you have a $20K+ budget, you can actually buy two 645D bodies for the same price. That would give you an immediate backup.

I have had no problems getting lenses in the US. And if you live in Japan, you can buy new or used very easily.

Can you support your statement that the new Pentax lenses are actually more expensive/less value than the other manufacturers? I have not found that to be the case.

I have used this camera in the field, on the street, and in the studio. Except for the lag on playback, I have not found this camera to be wanting.

I have a Phase One system in the studio. For me the Pentax was a much better fit outside the studio--the Phase back is getting really long in the tooth and the Pentax offers so much more. Price difference, even for second-hand Phase equipment, is not much. You don't even have a MFD and already you are thinking of an upgrade? I have a Phase P25+ in the studio and it is an old, some would say obsolete, back, but it makes beautiful images so why do I need to upgrade?

For me, the price was well worth it. It is not like I need to upgrade this camera--I make 12 foot panos and 5x4 single image prints from this camera and already it has more information in the files that can really be seen by a viewer.
11-23-2011, 11:47 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I've had the 645D for a year now - LOVE IT!!

I've shot:
- Studio portraits
- On location portraits in full sun and at night in low light, outdoors and in clubs
- Landscape in all weather and lighting conditions
- Wildlife
- My kids' birthday parties
- Holiday snap shots
- Shows and events at clubs
- Macro

The 645D may be seen as, or promoted as, a specialist tool only for the serious landscape shooter or studio work - but it is NOT a one trick pony.

The lens thing has already been addressed - there are a lot of great lenses out there that will work with the 645D, no adapter needed. I'm shooting with the new 2.8 55mm prime, an older 645 4/120 Macro and an Arsat 30mm wide angle. The Arsat and Macro were second hand and combined cost me less than AUD$800.

I'm not a pro, no one pays or sponors me - I just REALLY like my photography and have always had a thing for larger formats. I'm married with kids, have a mortgage and am on a single income (mine).
I could easily have a mid-life crisis and blown ~$10K or more on a new jetski or motorbike, or an overseas holiday. Going from a APCS sensor pentax and wanting to go full-frame or bigger I wouldn't have got a lot of change, if any, from a new D3s and a lens or 3. If I'd done that, no one would have batted an eyelid ... but $10K on a single, non Canon/Nikon camera, HOLY CRAP!!

I've shot with a lot of film gear, I've used a lot of gear from Nikon and Canon, I had long term loans of Hasselblad and Phase One gear before settling on the 645D. Never had a single 2nd thought or regret since picking up my 645D.
11-24-2011, 01:52 AM   #11
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Great feed back all.
Yamanobori and warped I love the angles you present. I do not have Leica budget in fact there in lies the problem. The analogy was both using kodak sensors and we are all guessing were that is going.
In fact dropping $10,000 on Nikon gear gets you a few lenses but I take you point. My concern with Pentax is support when it goes wrong. I have heard cameras go wrong.

I agree with the P25+ comments it was actually this one or P30+ that I was looking at. But phase is in cuckoo land on pricing. It's my belief all these companies see the future but refuse to believe their company will be affected or more likely their management is not willing to change the model. My examples are if IBM had dropped the prices of the mainframe unix and like would never have taken off.

There are similar analogies but for the camera we know Nikon will produce a 36 megapixel shortly , ok it will not be a larger sensor but now is the time for phase etc to drop the prices and give the film boys that are left and the aspirationals a shot. Instead they continue to operate as a monopoly or cartel with hasselblad and we see these basted inflated prices for secondhand.

Hence back to Pentax they have done an amazing thing with he 645. 12foot pano amazing , warped I'm with you on the family man single income baby school fees so I have to remain married and more cameras (expensive ) have to be justified.

Thanks for the tips on Japan for lens availability, I am based in the UK and we get the butt end of most things here including VaT at 20%. I know Aus has its ever increasing cost of living , where does not these days. But I have friends in Japan so there is an angle.

I am so sorely tempted now to go rent or borrow one of these babies to spend a day shooting. I am a wedding photographer by day and always thought for parts of the wedding it might be quite neat. But no bride needs a 40 mega pixel image.

Next trip is Africa and close up work with elephants. Thoughts of the camera in the heat?

On my intro page someone stated possibly Adam, I would get lots of feedback and input at Pentax forum. He was write. Sound advice as opposed to the crazed mumbling that often exits at other forums or generic places.

Thank you sincerely to all who have read and more to those who posted.

Lastly with a lens release planned each year time to save :-) and I hoped Ricoh would be after Pentax for this baby and perhaps a full frame. We all have to watch Fuji now radical different and a lot of fun. Perhaps a collaboration now they have part with Nikon. Fuji sensor technology worries canon in a statement from the past so perhaps Pentax will pick that up.

My heart still says Pentax, my head is still worried about when the Pentax 645D ii will come if at all. Now I am sounding like a dpreview poster. I know I know stop typing and go take some pictures.
11-24-2011, 01:59 AM   #12
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Just typed a huge thank you response and it's gone nowhere!!!

I will hate on in case it's a spam thing but it was 10 minutes of creativity thanking you all especially warped and yamanobori.
11-24-2011, 04:57 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by sanzari Quote
Great feed back all.
Yamanobori and warped I love the angles you present. I do not have Leica budget in fact there in lies the problem. The analogy was both using kodak sensors and we are all guessing were that is going.
In fact dropping $10,000 on Nikon gear gets you a few lenses but I take you point. My concern with Pentax is support when it goes wrong. I have heard cameras go wrong.

I agree with the P25+ comments it was actually this one or P30+ that I was looking at. But phase is in cuckoo land on pricing. It's my belief all these companies see the future but refuse to believe their company will be affected or more likely their management is not willing to change the model. My examples are if IBM had dropped the prices of the mainframe unix and like would never have taken off.

There are similar analogies but for the camera we know Nikon will produce a 36 megapixel shortly , ok it will not be a larger sensor but now is the time for phase etc to drop the prices and give the film boys that are left and the aspirationals a shot. Instead they continue to operate as a monopoly or cartel with hasselblad and we see these basted inflated prices for secondhand.

Hence back to Pentax they have done an amazing thing with he 645. 12foot pano amazing , warped I'm with you on the family man single income baby school fees so I have to remain married and more cameras (expensive ) have to be justified.

Thanks for the tips on Japan for lens availability, I am based in the UK and we get the butt end of most things here including VaT at 20%. I know Aus has its ever increasing cost of living , where does not these days. But I have friends in Japan so there is an angle.

I am so sorely tempted now to go rent or borrow one of these babies to spend a day shooting. I am a wedding photographer by day and always thought for parts of the wedding it might be quite neat. But no bride needs a 40 mega pixel image.

Next trip is Africa and close up work with elephants. Thoughts of the camera in the heat?

On my intro page someone stated possibly Adam, I would get lots of feedback and input at Pentax forum. He was write. Sound advice as opposed to the crazed mumbling that often exits at other forums or generic places.

Thank you sincerely to all who have read and more to those who posted.

Lastly with a lens release planned each year time to save :-) and I hoped Ricoh would be after Pentax for this baby and perhaps a full frame. We all have to watch Fuji now radical different and a lot of fun. Perhaps a collaboration now they have part with Nikon. Fuji sensor technology worries canon in a statement from the past so perhaps Pentax will pick that up.

My heart still says Pentax, my head is still worried about when the Pentax 645D ii will come if at all. Now I am sounding like a dpreview poster. I know I know stop typing and go take some pictures.
There are some good second hand dealers in the UK. Ffordes in Invernessshire are excellent, usually have a good range, and the 645n I bought from them was down as signs of use, and I can't see them! They have a website and their delivery is quick, and prices are fair. Availability at Dale Photographic in Leeds isn't as high but they are also good to deal with.
11-24-2011, 08:04 PM   #14
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I went though keh.com in the USA for my 4/120mm Macro, was here in Aust' 3 days later.

If you've got internet access, a credit card or paypal then location really isn't an issue.

Aside from the resolution and sensor size, don't forget the other bits and pieces that you'd expect from a Pro camera, like the weather sealing. I've been out in heavy rain, copped a splash from a spa/hot tub and also got caught by a wave and the camera never missed a beat.

I've taken a tumble holding the camera and the body got the slightest of scuffs on it and kept on going.

Battery life kicks butt compared to the Phase 1 and H'blad products.

Just a few other things to think about
11-24-2011, 10:51 PM   #15
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I just received my two year warranty in the mail from Pentax Canada and was alsi informed that I can still buy some of the older lens "Brand New" They are not cheap but cn be had and being new lenses are covered with a full warranty. I switched from the D3X and I have to say I love this camera more and more each day.

Dan
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