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03-04-2014, 12:23 AM   #1
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My new 645 is in the mail!

After playing around with a Mamiya C2 for a couple of months, I decided to upgrade to something that would make rectangular pictures.
I tracked down a 645N with a 120 back and an A200 f4 lens. The guy says it all works just fine. $200 for the whole pile. On its way.

So now I need:
35mm or 45mm (preferably 35mm) for outdoors stuff
75mm for portrait-type stuff
120mm macro for pictures of orchids

150mm because its cheap
or
80-160mm instead of 150mm

Should I stick to A lenses and manual focus to stay cheap & sane, or should I just get a couple of A lenses to get me going and then get FAs?
Should I sell the 645N to someone who wants to invest in autofocus lenses, then buy a manual 645, preventing me from getting LBA for FA lenses?

I have plenty of redundant equipment to sell off to make room for this big guy.
Maybe I will sell the Canon gear for real this time.

03-04-2014, 02:24 AM   #2
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Autofocus from the nineties was more of a gimmick than something actually usable, and the 645N was not one of the good ones even from that era. So unless you are planning to upgrade to 645D (and even if you are), I wouldn't select based on just autofocus. The A series look better and usually have better focus rings.

I've never used the 35, but I hear good things about it. You can get the A 35 cheeap-ish on ebay if it's not mint.
The 45 is not a bad lens, but even so, it's perhaps the weak link in the line up.
The 75 is a must have. Small, light, sharp and with a nice feel to the focus ring.
The 120 is just a really solid macro.
The A 150 is a nice portrait lens, but it has the problem of a somewhat long minimum focus distance. The FA 150 is faster and focuses closer. I opted for both.

I'm not really into zooms, but people rave about the 45-85 and the 80-160. I guess they're nice if you're into that sort of thing.

But above all, Congratulations on a very nice camera.
03-04-2014, 03:02 AM   #3
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For short telephoto to long I would advise to get FA as it is very cumbersome to focus these lenses.
For wide to normal save money and get the A lenses.

I currently own 2x 645n bodies, 35, 45, 55, 150 in A. And also have 75mm 45-85, 80-160 in FA.
03-04-2014, 10:00 AM   #4
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I went with AF for my 35, 75 and 200. I went MF with the 120 macro, but would buy the AF version if I could do it over again.
I think if you go AF, they tend to hold their value better which may not be a concern.
Some of the AF lenses have different (better) optical formulas than their MF equivalents.
The 150mm f/2.8 is on my short list. It appears to be an amazing lens; a better option for portraits than using my 120mm Macro.

03-05-2014, 04:12 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by topace Quote
Autofocus from the nineties was more of a gimmick than something actually usable, and the 645N was not one of the good ones even from that era. .
Strange. Andy Rouse, the wildlife photographer, used the Pentax 645N and said the AF gave just as many keepers as his EOS gear. He has images of dancing Sifakas to prove it....
03-05-2014, 06:47 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
Strange. Andy Rouse, the wildlife photographer, used the Pentax 645N and said the AF gave just as many keepers as his EOS gear. He has images of dancing Sifakas to prove it....
That is strange. I remain far from impressed with the AF of the 645N, but perhaps since I didn't use film gear in the Olden Times, I'm just spoiled.
03-10-2014, 10:47 AM   #7
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I have two Pentax 645 bodies - the N and the N II - and seven lenses - four A-version and three FA version. Both the N and the N II use the Safox IV autofocus module, and I am pretty impressed with how snappy and fast the FA lenses are during autofocus, the age of the system considered. My FA 200 mm sometimes hunt a bit, but the FA 75 and FA 45 are very quick to hit correct focus.
The only A-lens of mine that I find difficult to focus manually is the A 80-160. It is a bit big and heavy and not very fast at F4.5 wide open. I would have liked to have that lens in the FA-version for ease of use, but the A-version I have is optically just as good.

Generally, A-lenses have a bit better build with more metal and less plastic, whereas the FA-lenses command a higher price, but often come with a better hood in addition to the ease of auto-focus. If a 645D is ultimately on you wish list, FA-lenses are the ones choose.
03-10-2014, 01:56 PM   #8
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I just got it today. No lens yet. Boxed separately, arriving tomorrow.
With no lens, all I can do is drool and say that the 645N is a really good looking camera. Better looking than the original 645, though I would have kept the flat, angled-plane style for the pentaprism.

I don't require autofocus and don't expect to be moving to a 645D any time soon. Of course, autofocus never killed anyone. I like that the option is there.
It takes the same shutter release cable as my SF1. Maybe they should ride together in the same bag. "The Big Bag of Auto-Focus Beasts".

03-11-2014, 07:36 PM   #9
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I feel like you. I ordered a 645d from japan and a 75mm af lens, and the lens is here but still waiting on the body. The tracking web site says it has been at JFK airport for a couple of days. Very excited.
03-11-2014, 08:10 PM   #10
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That's a big investment. At least up front, anyway.
I'm sure this 645N is going to nickel and dime me.
At two frames per second, she's a Velvia-Eating Monster.
The Yen is down, so I ordered 5 rolls of 220 from Tokyo.
If I don't get prints, that's just about $1 per frame end-to-end.
03-11-2014, 11:22 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by AquaDome Quote
After playing around with a Mamiya C2 for a couple of months, I decided to upgrade to something that would make rectangular pictures.
I tracked down a 645N with a 120 back and an A200 f4 lens. The guy says it all works just fine. $200 for the whole pile. On its way.

So now I need:
35mm or 45mm (preferably 35mm) for outdoors stuff
75mm for portrait-type stuff
120mm macro for pictures of orchids

150mm because its cheap
or
80-160mm instead of 150mm

Should I stick to A lenses and manual focus to stay cheap & sane, or should I just get a couple of A lenses to get me going and then get FAs?
Should I sell the 645N to someone who wants to invest in autofocus lenses, then buy a manual 645, preventing me from getting LBA for FA lenses?

I have plenty of redundant equipment to sell off to make room for this big guy.
Maybe I will sell the Canon gear for real this time.
I have a 645N... it's wonderful, the best ergonomics of any camera I have ever owned. Stick with it -- do NOT get rid of it in favor of the older 645. North Coast Photo in Carlsbad, CA is a good act -- see North Coast Photographic Services ... Ken Rockwell uses them for his film shots, and they are friendly and helpful. Have fun!
03-12-2014, 01:42 AM   #12
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Thanks Jon. I got the 645N. Its a beautiful camera. Thank you for the pitch for North Coast Photo. I will check them out.
03-12-2014, 02:53 AM   #13
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I'm a little late to the party but I'll add my experience. The A 35mm is a fantastic lens, the A 45mm (as someone said before) is a little weaker - not so impressive. I have the original 645 but always wanted to upgrade to a 645N or Nii for the ergonomics, the spot metering and (if I recall correctly) a better finder. But I never got around to it as I could not justify the expense. I made some money with my 645 system (architecture mostly) but then other interests and obligations took over. I still have a Zoerk-adapted Mamiya 50mm shift lens that I haven't used in years.
03-14-2014, 02:20 AM   #14
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There are numerous reasons why the N is superior to the original and almost all of them are unrelated to AF. The finder is brighter, the focus confirm helps with MF, especially with WA lenses, the data imprint on the film is wonderful, the ergonomics are greatly improved, and on and on... I have been very happy with all A lenses (35mm, 55mm, 75mm, 120mm, 150mm and 200mm). I'm very tempted by the 300mm but don't currently have the funds for it... Of course I have nothing bad to say about FA series lenses since I've never used them but definitely prefer the prices of A series lenses!
03-14-2014, 10:26 AM   #15
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When it rains, it pours

I picked up another "pile" of MF goodness Wednesday evening. Two more 645s, plus four more lenses. I only wanted the 55mm, but the price was by the pound. He had a little Olympus around his neck, so I guess he's moving to smaller format. He says, "They both work real good." I know where he lives, but for the price, my expectations will likely be met.

My home for wayward 645s now accommodates:
2 cosmetically used 645 cameras with a single 120 insert between them.
1 pristine 645N with 120 and 220 inserts
A Primes: 45mm, 55mm, 75mm, 150mm, all acceptably above my minimum standards.
A Zoom: 80-160 - Aperture is not symmetrical. Looks like it might have been dropped. Otherwise like new. And HEAVY.

My original artistic endeavor was to shoot 120 slide film and use the resulting transparencies backlit in a sculpture (no prints, no scans). The 645N is definitely the camera I will use for that. We'll call her Marge. The other two I'm debating what to do with. We'll call them Patty and Selma (they smell like cigarette smoke). One of these could be a B&W monster, but that monster would eventually want its own cave (darkroom). That leaves the other for Ektar or Portra. If they all work 100%.

So far, I have WAY MORE than I bargained for two weeks ago. If I don't get a whole bunch of use out of these this summer, there shall be some dismissals come Autumn.
I also don't have that A 35mm I wanted for architectural B&W. The going eBay rate is more than I have invested in this whole kit. Let's see what shakes loose in the coming months.
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