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03-01-2013, 08:16 PM   #1
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Opinions on 645D in general use.

I've a good deal for a 645D and I do shoot with tlrs and 67.

On film for 66 and 67, I have been 'stingy' due to processing costs and time.
So I have mainly shot family portraits with them.

The 645D is 'free' once I buy it.
So I'm pondering if it can serve me for a more general role (ie. Family, streets, travels,)

My concern is ISO performance and handling in this role.
Limited to iso 800 or 1600 (to maintain quality)
Constrained by less DOF (so need to stop dwn) and slower lenses.

So does anyone use their 645d (or 645) as a general camera?
What are your thoughts on it in this role?
Or is it more of a tripod and fair weather, slow workflow camera?

03-01-2013, 08:19 PM   #2
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I've handled one during a Pentax event, and it's sorta BIG for regular use. Depends on what you are used to, though.
03-01-2013, 08:36 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
I've a good deal for a 645D and I do shoot with tlrs and 67.

On film for 66 and 67, I have been 'stingy' due to processing costs and time.
So I have mainly shot family portraits with them.

The 645D is 'free' once I buy it.
So I'm pondering if it can serve me for a more general role (ie. Family, streets, travels,)

My concern is ISO performance and handling in this role.
Limited to iso 800 or 1600 (to maintain quality)
Constrained by less DOF (so need to stop dwn) and slower lenses.

So does anyone use their 645d (or 645) as a general camera?
What are your thoughts on it in this role?
Or is it more of a tripod and fair weather, slow workflow camera?
Having used it for several weeks I'd say it's too heavy for general use. You need a tripod.

Also, compared to newer FF bodies, its high-iso performance isn't up to par.

Adam
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03-01-2013, 10:58 PM   #4
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I support you pinholecam.... USE it!

It's down to one's own experience to judge what is best... It's the same concept, M4/3 or APS-C? Or APS-C vs FF?
Unless you're comparing diff models of the same class, then i'd believe asking for other's opinions would be good...

03-01-2013, 11:47 PM   #5
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Original Poster
Thanks for the inputs so far.
Keep them coming.


QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
I've handled one during a Pentax event, and it's sorta BIG for regular use. Depends on what you are used to, though.
QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Having used it for several weeks I'd say it's too heavy for general use. You need a tripod.

Also, compared to newer FF bodies, its high-iso performance isn't up to par.
Thanks for the inputs guys.
I've actually tried one, which is why I have my doubts on my type of usage.
My impression coming out from the trial was that its a slow workflow camera .
Incredible IQ when used 'right'.
But very punishing if one is lazy (eg. no tripod; never look for better lighting).
Hard to use indoors handheld w/o lighting aids too.

But a 645D is a tempting devil indeed with the IQ it promises.



QuoteOriginally posted by SyncGuy Quote
I support you pinholecam.... USE it!

It's down to one's own experience to judge what is best... It's the same concept, M4/3 or APS-C? Or APS-C vs FF?
Unless you're comparing diff models of the same class, then i'd believe asking for other's opinions would be good...
I wish it was that simple friend.
But based on my short trial, I have doubts.
Which is why I'm trying to learn what others experiences are (and how maybe they have worked round it; or not..... )

I'm a generalist. Thats the problem.
If I'm just a landscape shooter without limitations on time due to family, I'd have not qualms buying.
03-02-2013, 12:05 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Well, I am sure you will get lots of opinions. I could go on and on about it , having used one regularly since Dec. 2010. I have tried many things with it. Without a tripod and some patience , there are way less keepers than smaller formats. I see your flicker has a lot of K30 and Q .These 645D cameras have very shallow depth. Very precise. I dont find it casual at all . Having said that I am taking it backstage to a concert tomorow, hand held......because the keepers are out of this world, but only in largish prints. If i didnt print A1 regularly I would sell the camera tomorow.
03-02-2013, 02:15 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Here is a snipit of a post I made on Luminious Landscape:

"Now for the medium format vs dslr discussion. Well before the d800 a dslr did not even cross my mind. It came down to in most circumstances I got the same quality image as was coming out of 16-20mp dslr with my 40mp medium format; sharpness, focus, higher iso, motion, etc. resulted in an image that could only be printed to that size and not show image imperfections. However, on that rare 20% occasion you yield an excellent image. And thats what it was all about using the medium format. However, now with the advent of the d800 the game has changed. Sure, it is still a battle to pull the full resolution but there is more in your favor with the dslr and image stabilized auto focus lenses. I would have a d800 now to make a decision if I wasn't living in Namibia... But I am. Now on the other hand I like the 6x7 and square format so a digital medium format is a good ratio to crop to that..."

Now I should highlight by saying I use the Pentax 645D for landscape and wildlife photography. I successfully use lenses up to the 645 A* 600mm. I use tele lenses from a vehicle, handheld, and tripod mounted. I have got that perfect image quality from all methods. Don't let anybody tell you it can't be done. It was been done in the past. Photographers use to use Pentax 645 and 67 systems to photograph wildlife all manual focus on larger negatives. It just takes practice, patience, and a bit of luck. These are moving subjects with thin depth of field captured using manual focus and slower systems. Look at Andy biggs who I have had several conversation with. He is using a 60mp medium format back with a 300mm 2.8 manual focus; he sold off all his Nikon gear in search of the quality picture over quantity.

I am purchasing a Kenyon Labs gyro right now to use the system for aerial photography. Most people call me stupid for making that attempt. But look, aerial photography use to be done with large format cameras back in Bradford Washburn's day. I imagine I will end up using the gyro on the ground also to stabilize handheld shots and shots from a vehicle.

I say if you want the challenge then go for it. If you like the aspect ratio or even more square it is the best option. If anybody thinks that just because the D800 comes close in resolution now, do you really think Pentax is only going to make one 645D ever? The keep making lenses so obviously there is still a market... Keep in mind that most of the best performing lenses on the D800 are manual focus anyways. At least there are great performing AF lenses for the 645D and Pentax keeps releasing some great ones every year.
03-02-2013, 08:46 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
So does anyone use their 645d (or 645) as a general camera?
I do.

I sold my whole Nikon equipment when I bought the 645D.

And with the new 90mm lens with IS, handheld photography makes more pleasure then ever

But I am not representative, I am just a foolish amateur...

03-03-2013, 05:26 AM   #9
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I used a (Pentax) 645D as my 'everything' camera for just under a year. The extra mass increases inertia, and makes hand holding at slower shutter speeds a bit better. With the 55mm normal lens, it fitted into my largish shoulder bag, and was with me pretty much all the time.

When there were low light situations, I sometimes struggled, but then that's always been the case.

Also carrying a solid tabletop tripod, increased the likelihood of those captures where the medium format quality just shines.

Enjoy your 645D, should you buy one.
03-03-2013, 05:20 PM   #10
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I use my 645D for all kinds of things. I've had it since Nov. 2010; the more I use it, the more I want to use it.

It's not a perfect system. It is larger & heavier than a DSLR. Aside from the brand-new 90mm macro lens, it has no in-body or lens-based image stabilization nor a very high max ISO, so it's clearly not designed for handheld low-light work. It has no Live View, which would be a useful focusing aid especially on a tripod. It does demand some reasonably good technique due to having high resolution and shallower depth of field compared to most DSLR's.

But it's a very well designed camera for photographers, and a ferociously capable image-maker that produces amazing results in the hands of anyone paying attention to it. I was a long-time Canon full-frame and APS-C user. But since getting my 645D the only time I went back to the Canon was the first time my 645D went out of service due to me stupidly being caught out with it in a heavy down-pour. The 645D was down for several days to dry out in a sealed box with silica gel packs, during which time I went back to my 5D Mk II and was not happy. My 645D went down a second time last year with a blown shutter, and this time I bought a 2nd 645D rather than be without this camera system to complete my active project at the time.

I shoot it handheld and on a tripod. Mostly available light, a bit with flash. I will shoot up to ISO 1600 (the max) without worrying too much because the noise is quite grain-like and not ugly digital artifacts; 100, 200, 400 are without much concern and 800 is very usable. I use focal lengths ranging from 25mm to 300mm, primes & zooms; mostly FA 645 auto-focus lenses but also some A 645 manual lenses, and even a few 67 manual lenses. I've had it in hot humid Caribbean locations, bitingly cold Alberta Rockies winter locations, scorching hot dusty Arizona desert locations in summer, windy & volcanic dusty lava field locations in Iceland. I use it for landscapes, architecture, macro, wildlife, travel, street, some people work. I don't try using it much for action work like auto racing, sports, flying birds or other similar situations where a high frame rate with a deep buffer is beneficial.

I really like the system, it fits my work very well. It can't do everything, but most of what I want to do it can do. I would expect to retire my 645D bodies if Pentax comes out with a newer model offering a couple of features I'm looking for (Live View for one thing). Otherwise I'm going to keep on using them by preference for the majority of what I do...

Last edited by Royce Howland; 03-03-2013 at 05:35 PM.
03-03-2013, 11:48 PM   #11
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I agree with Royce and have used the 645D as a travel photography camera on various trips, including some hand held street shots at night and it's not as bad as some posters would like you to believe. The camera is big, yes, but so is a Nikon D4. The weight between the two cameras is not that far apart. At the end of the day it's up to your shooting style and what you make of the camera. A Pentax 6x7 is a tank and yet many have used it as a general usage camera and for street shooting. You certainly don't need a tripod to get good images out of the 645D, but as with any camera a tripod will give you the ultimate quality if you are making large prints. Some people expect the 645D to be some magical device that will produce great images with a point and shoot approach. This is simply not going to happen, this camera has not been designed with the high speed spray and pray approach in mind so don't expect to shoot sports with it. There is a general anti digital medium format sentiment on many forums you should watch out for, but don't let it discourage you from trying it.
03-04-2013, 01:25 AM   #12
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I would definitely have it if and when i can afford it.

Simply put, it's akin to comparing a mobile phone camera to a "proper" DSLR. You'll never know until you try it.. It's 2 completely different levels, i think you would know it since you do shoot film MF.

Take the leap of faith.. I would, if i were you...

Oh! And i'm a generalist too! Portrait is landscape and landscape is portrait, it's just descriptive terms. Get what i mean? Haha!
03-04-2013, 02:36 AM   #13
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if you use the 64D w/ a 75 lens it becomes a very portable camera and you can generally use it indoors at 1600 iso at f2.8 if people are not moving and you have a steady hand.. for outdoors the 645D is the ultimate medium format camera.. i use the 645D as my point-n-shoot travel camera..
03-04-2013, 06:12 AM   #14
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I've had mine since December 2010 and agree with all the comments from owners above; from: you can use it as a point-and-shoot with the 75mm to it gives its best results when used carefully. If you have been using 67, the size should not be an issue for you, if you were using a K-5, maybe. It's a great camera with a number of inexpensive top-notch lenses available on the used market, e.g., the 120mm A is available for a few hundred dollars, is a superb lens and worth owning just to see the build quality. I have a K-5 as well, which I use only when high ISO, SR and size are issues. The K-5 and 645D use the same battery, which very convenient; you can use the 645 lenses on the K-5 as well, but in practice that's not very practical. You won't regret getting a 645D

Last edited by Thomas; 03-04-2013 at 10:33 AM.
03-05-2013, 12:24 PM   #15
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Although quite needless to say that yes it is quite heavy, I still use it like a regular camera while acknowledging that there are many short comings using it that way.

Inappropriate uses of 645D - a set on Flickr

But, all in all, you will be surprised how well one can adapt to carrying a huge brick, once start getting some interesting results.
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