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12-03-2011, 07:08 PM   #1
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FA Limited equivalents in Pentax 645 mount and lab processing costs

Hi MF users, I am toying with the idea of getting a 645N. As a K mount user I am drawn to using primes - the FA limiteds and the FA*s are my favourite. I was wondering if you have any suggestions for similar FOV and quality lenses in the 645 mount. From my understanding the FA 120 macro is highly regarded and I may try to acquire that.

The other question I had was about the price of processing a 120/220 film through a lab. Is it about twice as expensive as a 35mm film roll processing? Are there online services that turn out to be cost effective? Thank you in advance for your help.

Edit (might as well add a third question): Are modern flashes such as the Metz 48 compatible with the 645N?

Last edited by mccarvindh; 12-03-2011 at 07:15 PM.
12-03-2011, 07:32 PM   #2
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Almost all 645 lenses are quality lenses, but some are better than others, so definitely refer to the reviews

Modern flashes will work on the 645N as long as they support TTL. (not just P-TTL)

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12-03-2011, 07:36 PM   #3
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Thank you very much Adam for your prompt response. I was browsing the lens reviews when I saw your message!
12-04-2011, 09:17 PM - 1 Like   #4
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645 Lenses

Most of the FA 645 lenses are very good and it can be difficult to tell any difference unless you are shooting test charts or brick walls. My personal favorites are the A 35mm f3.5, the FA 75mm f2.8, the FA 120 f4 Macro, and the FA 200 f4, but the FA 45-85 zoom is a very high quality lens and is so versatile I end up using it more than the others. I try not to like it because it is larger and heavier than my favorite primes, and is slower, but it is so good that it is almost impossible to see any differences between it and the primes.

Since the 645D came out the prices on FA lenses have climbed upward like rockets and it can be tough to find decent prices on these lenses. Fortunately the A series lenses, while requiring manual focus, have the electronics to accomodate the auto focus systems of the 645N.

I send out my color and slide film for developing. Right now my costs are around $6.50 for develop only, another $6.50 for pretty good budget scans, and another 40 cents each for prints. It can start to add up pretty quickly. That is why I shoot more black & white than color as I develop that myself. The costs are certainly higher but one nicely exposed and developed chrome will hit the "Oh My God" button in you and you will be hooked for life. The results can be that good if you do your part. What you see on your computer screen is a VERY poor relation to what you will see in a good print.

As Adam mentioned, almost any decent flash that recognizes TTL will work great with your 645N. P-TTL was not an option back then. My main flash units are the Pentax AF 280T and the Pentax AF 500FTZ, but I have also been known to use the older Vivitars like the 285HV, and they work just fine as well. One thing I have noted over time is that my 645 shots really do seem to respond better to good, daylight fill flash than my 35mm seems to, especially when I am taking pictures of one of my grandkids birthday parties. My old Vivitar 285HV set at 1/8 flash output is almost perfect for this and will fire without any noticable pause or change of batteries for an entire party in this mode.

My 645Nii is one of my favorite cameras, and is the one that I have used the most this year. I am sure you will have great fun with it.

12-04-2011, 09:59 PM   #5
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Thank you Pioneer for your detailed response. As of now, I am no longer toying with the idea of getting a 645N.................. I have just won one on ebay! I am in! So your guidance through your timely post is very much appreciated. Will keep you posted as I stumble my way through the MF experience.

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