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11-20-2012, 09:54 AM   #1
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Pentax 645D newbie questions

I am thinking of buying a 645D or Leica S2 (used/ex-demo)
The Leica is around 96% more expensive. The MTA curves of the Leica lenses looks amazing, although I understand these are not the only important thing.

I will be doing mainly people pictures, landscape and architecture. I am strictly amateur.

So some question to Pentax folk, particularly as I am leaning towards the Pentax due to the available of low price used A and N lenses (sorry if i using the terminology incorrectly) as well as the new FA/DA lenses being half the price of Leica.

1. I am finding it difficult to obtain detailed reviews of the 645 D lenses, is there a good site for this ?
2. What is the difference between FA and DA lenses, or are they the same ? (I am confused with all the lens markings)
3. Can the latest hassleblad lenses be used on the 645D with a convertor ?
4. I was thinking of starting with the Pentax SMC FA 645 150mm F2.8 (IF) Lens and Pentax SMC D-FA 645 55mm F2.8 AL (IF) SDM AW Lens . Are these well rated ?
5. What is the most frequented medium format forum ?

Again, sorry for the newbie nature of these questions

Many thanks in advance

11-20-2012, 10:12 AM - 1 Like   #2
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1. We will soon be posting a review of the D FA 55mm, so stay tuned for that. Few people offer complete reviews, though, because there isn't really any competition or variety when it comes to any individual lens. But do check our user lens reviews !
2. D FA lenses only support SDM autofocus and have no aperture rings, and are otherwise the same as AF lenses. DA lenses will only work on the 645D and not film cameras (because they only cover its cropped image circle)
3. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-medium-format-645-6x7-645d/129753-...ck-lenses.html
4. They're both pretty good. The 55mm is nice and small and sharp, but it does suffer from a little bit of corner fringing. Here are some reviews of the 150mm (have you seen our lens review database at all?): SMC Pentax-FA 645 150mm F2.8 [IF] Reviews - 645 Telephoto Primes - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
5. No idea, ours is pretty big though

Not to discourage you from getting the 645D, but we are also currently conducting a review of it against the Nikon D800E, and the Nikon is actually better in terms of high-ISO performance and dynamic range, and the 645D's resolution advantage is very, very small. Maybe you should wait until Pentax upgrades the 645D and includes a bigger sensor!

Adam
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11-20-2012, 10:31 AM   #3
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Colonel,

Adam was being humble (he's the pentax forums site administrator). This site is the best resource for all of the above questions that you have.

I Have the 645D and think it's not only a better deal, but better camera than the Leica, which to me is more of a status symbol than anything else. They don't have many lens choices. The 645D is a wonderful camera to work with, especially for landscape and portraits. I wouldn't use it much for wildlife or sports though, as there are better cameras out there for fast paced shooting.

1). The lens database on this site is a great resource, and I found it useful for choosing my 645 lens kit. I've found nothing better out there on the internet. Pentax 645 Medium Format Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

2). There's currently only one 645 DA lens, which is the 25mm DA (not to be confused with the 25mm D FA). The DA 25mm was a USA re-release of the D FA 25mm, which was released about a year earlier in Japan. The DA is for the cropped 33x44mm sensor of the 645D, whereas the D FA will work on both the 645D and other 645 film cameras. Also, if Pentax releases a full(er) frame 645D upgrade in the future, you won't be able to use the 25mm DA, as it will vignette (though one may argue this won't matter as much as a larger sensor will result in the existing lenses being much wider with their field of view).

3). Look at Adam's advice.
4). I don't have that lens so can't speak for or against it.
5). The best info is on this site...plus you can ask questions on the forum!

Good luck!
11-20-2012, 10:37 AM   #4
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many thanks for the great reply

I guess one advantage of the maturity of the 645D platform are the discounts available now
I am interested in medium format due to the artistic side (e.g. Bokeh) and detail

I have used the D800E and it is excellent.
However the Teledyne sensors in both the S2 and 645D are not really great for ISO performance. These are strictly good light cameras!

11-20-2012, 11:24 AM   #5
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Interesting MF comparison here, if anyone hasn't read:
Is a medium format camera right for you? - British Journal of Photography

also interesting S2 to D800E comparison from Ming:
An unfair fight? 35mm vs Medium Format: Nikon D800E and the Leica S2-P ? Ming Thein | Photographer
11-20-2012, 11:25 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by colonel Quote
However the Teledyne sensors in both the S2 and 645D are not really great for ISO performance. These are strictly good light cameras!
I agree, the 645D isn't as good for IQ once you get past 30 sec exposures...it gets noisy, plus the dark frame thing that slows you down considerably. BUT, it's amazing how much you can pull from the dark areas that are under exposed using camera RAW on the 645D files. Blows away anything I'd been able to do in the past. Not sure how it compares to the D800, but from what I've read the dynamic range is very similar between the two.
11-21-2012, 12:48 AM - 1 Like   #7
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The most popular and biggest medium format forums are the "luminous landscape" and the "getdpi" forum. There you will find all answers to your questions about the S2.
The 150mm FA is a very good lens. The autofocus is very fast and the bokeh excellent. This is the best portrait lens you can get for the Pentax right now. You could also consider the 75mm FA which is sharper than the 150mm at all aperture settings and cheaper too. The bokeh of course is not as good as with the 150mm.
The 120mm is probably the sharpest lens in the current lineup, but has only f4.0, slow autofocus and a not so great bokeh. There is also coming a new 90mm D-FA in December, which will probably be the best short telephoto then.
With the 55mm D-FA you get a very good, weathersealed 43mm lens (in 35mm terms) which is very sharp from f2.8. It has also very nice color rendering and excellent bokeh, due to its 10 rounded aperture blades. I highly recommend this lens.
I would go with the 150mm FA and 55mm D-Fa. Or you take the 75mm FA instead of the 55mm. Then you just need to add a wide angle like the 35mm A and you have a very good setup to start with.

Btw, you will not find one person that says that the d800e files are better than the Pentax 645D files. And considering the prices of the lenses, the 645D is a bargain.
11-21-2012, 08:17 AM   #8
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Right now is a great time to buy the 645D, as the body price has dropped from 10k to $8800 USD and the used lens prices have dropped significantly...I'd say about 30% drop in price since I assembled my kit last spring. The only downside is that a 645D update may be in the works, but there haven't been any immediate rumors about it's release, so we still have at least a few months to maybe a year or two until that happens.

11-22-2012, 09:47 AM   #9
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thanks all
I agree now is a great time to buy
another question. what is the largest aperture lens one can get for the 645D mount, which is good quality ?
i.e. trying to reach or improve on f1.4, or f1, for 35mm equivalent ?
11-22-2012, 11:37 AM   #10
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This question is not easy to answer. I would say the depth of field is very thin with a 2.8 lens. Coming from Canon full frame, I would say it is comparable to a 1.4 lens in 35mm terms. With my 55mm D-FA 2.8 I get smoother results than with my old Canon 35mm 1.4. The depth of field from the 150mm 2.8 is also very thin. Unfortunately Pentax doesn't offer any faster lenses. But you can also adapt Hasselblad lenses, which allows you to use the 110mm f 2.0.

Here are some examples for the different lenses. First one from the luminous landscape forum, second from one of the forum members here.
11-23-2012, 08:07 AM   #11
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If you're looking for razor thin deep of field you might also want to consider the 645 120 Macro. Wide open at f4 the dof is a couple of millimeters and the bokeh is creamy smooth.
11-23-2012, 05:42 PM   #12
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I've just received 645 A 120 a a 35 and 67 75 2.8 Al lenses. All incredible quality and an absolute steal at current prices in my humble opinion. When using manual focus on these old lenses, you quickly forget autofocus - superbly damped focus rings and so solid.
11-23-2012, 05:44 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by parks Quote
I've just received 645 A 120 a a 35 and 67 75 2.8 Al lenses. All incredible quality and an absolute steal at current prices in my humble opinion. When using manual focus on these old lenses, you quickly forget autofocus - superbly damped focus rings and so solid.
I love my 645 35mm A, favorite lens on the 645D!
03-11-2013, 05:33 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by parks Quote
I've just received 645 A 120 a a 35 and 67 75 2.8 Al lenses. All incredible quality and an absolute steal at current prices in my humble opinion. When using manual focus on these old lenses, you quickly forget autofocus - superbly damped focus rings and so solid.
i went with the 645d,the lieca is way too high and the lenses are sky high. with the 645d go to keh and load up on lenses.
04-11-2013, 06:21 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ryan Tischer Quote
Colonel,

Adam was being humble (he's the pentax forums site administrator). This site is the best resource for all of the above questions that you have.

I Have the 645D and think it's not only a better deal, but better camera than the Leica, which to me is more of a status symbol than anything else. They don't have many lens choices. The 645D is a wonderful camera to work with, especially for landscape and portraits. I wouldn't use it much for wildlife or sports though, as there are better cameras out there for fast paced shooting.

1). The lens database on this site is a great resource, and I found it useful for choosing my 645 lens kit. I've found nothing better out there on the internet. Pentax 645 Medium Format Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

2). There's currently only one 645 DA lens, which is the 25mm DA (not to be confused with the 25mm D FA). The DA 25mm was a USA re-release of the D FA 25mm, which was released about a year earlier in Japan. The DA is for the cropped 33x44mm sensor of the 645D, whereas the D FA will work on both the 645D and other 645 film cameras. Also, if Pentax releases a full(er) frame 645D upgrade in the future, you won't be able to use the 25mm DA, as it will vignette (though one may argue this won't matter as much as a larger sensor will result in the existing lenses being much wider with their field of view).

3). Look at Adam's advice.
4). I don't have that lens so can't speak for or against it.
5). The best info is on this site...plus you can ask questions on the forum!

Good luck!
stick with the 645 or 67 lenses, unless you already have suitable hassey lenses.they are toooo expensive. the 645 and 67's are quality lenses.
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