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05-10-2013, 03:39 PM   #1
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buying a 645n?

I have been trying to learn what I can about the 645n and from what I have read the 645Nii had some more bells and whistles but I don't think I really need to jump up to that body. My question is that as I have gone on line to try and get an idea of price, it seems that on ebay most of the pentax 645 compatible bodies and lenses come from Japan. The 645n seems to be roughly half the price of the 645nii from Japan but on KEH the 645nii is less than the japanese prices. Is this just a case of supply and demand in different markets? The british ebay prices also seem higher for the n model. I don't want to buy "cheap" because in the long run that always is more expensive, and I like the idea of having someone stand behind what they have sold. Other than KEH are there other reputable dealers in used material. I do know about B&H and Adorama, Just kind of curious about fair prices and where to find the 645n in this country. THanks and sorry for a wondering post. Norm

05-10-2013, 04:31 PM   #2
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Well, I bought one off ebay this spring at the delightful price of $285 (with a FA75mm lens!!) from an estate sale which the seller was not familiar with the camera's value. I figured that the pair should have gone (in really good condition) for around $800 +/- 100 or so. The n doesn't have mirror lockup apparently and a couple of more things. As the nii seems to go for about twice the n I said - what the heck - and got the n. I had been using the original 645 and honestly the n is light years better than the original 645. My research this spring was that a very good 645n copy should be around $600 or so. YMMV
05-10-2013, 05:06 PM   #3
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I have the 645Nii and love it. The differences between the 645N and Nii are not huge.

I bought the Nii mainly because of the "film flatness" issue that is apparently solved by the 645Nii's custom function giving you the ability to shoot 15 shots per roll vs the standard 16.
This is caused when you leave the camera for a long time between shots, the film makes a sharp turn around a corner and can become unflat.

If you use the roll fairly quickly (eg portraits at events/weddings), this isn't meant to be a problem.

Other than that mirror lockup and a more modernised camera body texture more akin to Pentax's current cameras can be found on the 645Nii.

Both have amazingly large and clear viewfinders, much better than any DSLR of today, and are great to use and hold!
05-10-2013, 05:17 PM   #4
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If you had a chance to by the 645nii with a camera back included would you choose the 120 or thee 220. I am looking at KEH and the camera bodies with either film back included seem to be the same price. Any suggestions as to which one is a good starter one? Thanks Norm

05-10-2013, 05:40 PM   #5
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Choose the 120 back. Much easier to find film. I have a 645N and I love it. Get the FA 75mm f/2.8 lens (autofocus) if you can. This setup isn't much bigger than a professional DSLR/lens combo. For me the 645Nii wasn't worth twice the price of the 645N. I have never experienced the "film flatness issue".
05-10-2013, 06:34 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kwebbfam Quote
Choose the 120 back. Much easier to find film. I have a 645N and I love it. Get the FA 75mm f/2.8 lens (autofocus) if you can. This setup isn't much bigger than a professional DSLR/lens combo. For me the 645Nii wasn't worth twice the price of the 645N. I have never experienced the "film flatness issue".
+1 definitely get the 120 back. The FA 75mm f/2.8 is also a great choice.

I'd also add a manual focus A 150mm f/3.5, probably my favourite lens for the 645 right now, and can be found for great prices.
05-11-2013, 12:05 AM   #7
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Here in Tokyo the 645n is available for about $250-$300 in decent condition, without any lens. The 645nii usually is over $400.
I would say that unless you have very bad eyesight or intensely dislike manual focusing, get the A series manual focus lenses. They are optically excellent and the viewfinder of the 645n is big and bright. It also has a focus confirm LED that helps with manual focusing. Finally, with regard to the film insert, of course 120 film is much more readily available, but it only takes about 60 seconds and a tiny screw driver to convert a 220 insert to a 120 insert or vice versa. So if you find a cheap 220 back don't hesitate.
05-11-2013, 07:40 AM   #8
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I have seen a 645nii with a grid screen. That adds 30$ to the same camera without it. Is that a worthwhile accessory. I have read all I can and am not sure. I would love to hear anyone's personal experience pro or con. Also, any idea on the body cap size? Thanks Norm

05-11-2013, 04:38 PM   #9
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If you search the forum, you'll find that the 120 and 220 inserts can be modified very easily, i.e. the 220 can be turned into a 120. All you need is a very little screwdriver.
05-15-2013, 01:49 PM   #10
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According to The Luminous Landscape the mirror lock-up on the 645nii makes no difference in the image quality. I've had no problem with shooting 16 frames in my 645n even with film usage spread over a couple weeks. As I remember the 645nii imprints the lens used in addition to the shutter/fstop that the 645n does, that would be a nice addition, but not worth the considerable premium!

From what I've read the 645n is well worth the extra cost over the original 645, having a much brighter screen, exposure imprinting, auto focus and/or focus confirmation, and a really intuative operation. While Ken Rockwell is often pretty opinionated, in his discussion of the 645 family I think he is on the mark.
05-17-2013, 06:06 AM   #11
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The 645n does imprint lens focal length if using an AF lens.
05-17-2013, 06:29 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by revdocjim Quote
The 645n does imprint lens focal length if using an AF lens.
Right you are! Since I've never been able to afford AF lenses that datum slipped what's left of my mind.
05-17-2013, 12:18 PM   #13
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My wife has a 645, and I have both the 645n and the 645nii. Frankly, they are all excellent cameras -- very durable, quite ergonomic and wonderful to use. I bought the 645n only because I liked the metering and the more traditional shutter speed dial. And I wanted a second body, so I went looking for another 645n but stumbled across a really good deal on eBay on a 645nii and got that, instead. That said, I see no real advantage whatsoever of the 645nii's features over that of the 645n -- certainly not enough to warrant a significant price disparity. As others have noted, the mirror lock-up is really not needed at all with the 645 series cameras unless you intend to shoot with very long lenses and/or very low light.

As for the 120 v. 220 film holder -- you will pay more for a 120, likely, but you need it. It is virtually impossible to find 220 film rolls anymore, and quite expensive to acquire the necessary reels for it (if you intend to process your own film ever). Conversely, the 120 film is quite easily gotten.

You are, in my opinion, entering into the very best Pentax camera series with the 645. Congratulations!!
05-17-2013, 05:35 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by tlong423 Quote
My wife has a 645, and I have both the 645n and the 645nii. Frankly, they are all excellent cameras -- very durable, quite ergonomic and wonderful to use. I bought the 645n only because I liked the metering and the more traditional shutter speed dial. And I wanted a second body, so I went looking for another 645n but stumbled across a really good deal on eBay on a 645nii and got that, instead. That said, I see no real advantage whatsoever of the 645nii's features over that of the 645n -- certainly not enough to warrant a significant price disparity. As others have noted, the mirror lock-up is really not needed at all with the 645 series cameras unless you intend to shoot with very long lenses and/or very low light.

As for the 120 v. 220 film holder -- you will pay more for a 120, likely, but you need it. It is virtually impossible to find 220 film rolls anymore, and quite expensive to acquire the necessary reels for it (if you intend to process your own film ever). Conversely, the 120 film is quite easily gotten.

You are, in my opinion, entering into the very best Pentax camera series with the 645. Congratulations!!
Wouldn't a regular Paterson system 4 or 5 tank/reel be able to do 220 film? There were a lot of those, and I still have a few left that I used when shooting 645 film back in the day (and I think, but do not remember 200%, that I also used 220).
05-17-2013, 06:00 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by tclausen Quote
Wouldn't a regular Paterson system 4 or 5 tank/reel be able to do 220 film?
You know, it was a little presumptuous of me to bloviate on the subject since I am only used to working with stainless reels / tanks. It could very well be the Paterson system could accommodate 220 -- good catch!
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