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04-18-2008, 09:13 PM   #1
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Pentax 67

I was wondering if anybody here has any experience with the Pentax 67 system. I'm looking for something better than 35mm but without the portability issues of 4x5. I've had a chance to toy around with a 645n and I'm curious whether it'd be worth it to go for the larger film size.

Pros of 6x7 system:
Larger film size
slightly cheaper initial cost (6x7 w/ttl prism, hand grip, 105/2.4 lens EX $678, BGN $488 versus ~$650 to ~$800 for 645n body)

Pros of 645n:
Autofocus
Auto exposure
smaller size
slightly more useful flash sync speed (1/60 vs 1/30)

Any suggestions?

04-18-2008, 11:03 PM   #2
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I've been thinking of getting a 645n just in case a 645D *ever* drops...grab a couple lenses cause they'll go up in price as long as Pentax keeps them backwards-compatible. Shhhhhhhh...

I guess I would ask...I assume you're developing your own film. 120 looks a lot easier than 6x7...equipment-wise. Also, from what I hear the 67 has a loud shutter, so if that could be an issue (street, etc) you might look at another cam.

I would like to hear other opinions though...in the next couple years I want to get into MF and developing.
04-18-2008, 11:29 PM   #3
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Format size does matter. I own 35mm, the 67 and a 6X9 field camera. I have not owned the 645, but have considered it on a number of occasions.

The 67 will produce wonderful images but can disappointment due to vibrations caused by the mirror (solved with MLU) and shutter vibrations (most noticeable when using short exposure times).

The 645 system is much more modern with built in features that are more advanced than what is available for the 67. That aside, format size does matter.

Do you plan to process and print the negatives? Do you plan to use a film scanner and print the images digitally? Choice of methods and equipment matter as much as choice of camera.

Personally, I am rapidly approaching retirement and look forward to a far less hectic life style that what I presently enjoy. I will return to traditional photography and my main tool will be my trusty Horseman VHR and, of course my 67. I own 2 dedicated film scanners that cover 35mm up to 6X9. I am really looking forward to getting back into it.

So, the choice will be yours. Fully take in account how and what you plan to do and make your decisions. I certainly wish you all the best but, be forewarned, you will have a mountain to climb. Success will be your ultimate reward but it will come at some cost.

Bob
04-19-2008, 01:33 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advice, Bob. I plan on shooting transparencies and scanning them in myself (for now; if I find an image that is really, really good I'll have it professionally scanned). I've read all about the loud shutter and vibrations of the 67, but with MLU and a good tripod that should be taken care of, no (or at least the vibrations)?

04-19-2008, 03:47 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
I guess I would ask...I assume you're developing your own film. 120 looks a lot easier than 6x7...equipment-wise.
The 6x7 is shot on 120 film. As are 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x8, 6x9, etc. etc. (Of course, depending on individual camera models, the same holds true for 220 film).
04-19-2008, 04:15 AM   #6
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You commented on the 4x5 'portablity issues'. The 6x7 is even larger if size is what you are referring to. I've owned the first version of the 6x7 (no meter) and when shooting landscape photography, there was no comparison. Incredible image quality in those large negatives/prints. It's noisy and slow with the issues listed above but once you get used to it's limits, it's a joy to use and view the images.
The prices today of this system and it's parts are a small % compared to when these were still in production.

Another thing to consider. I've never owned or really researched the 645 system Btw. I read that Pentax is no longer doing flash upgrades/reprogramming for the 645N cameras. But the 645nII is user programable just like the PZ-1p. So I'd say if a 645 is considered, avoid the N version and get the NII or first version. These cameras have an internal battery that holds the data for the camera (similar to firmware). If the battery dies the data is lost and Pentax would do the re-install. If this is true, then you have to get a unit with working internal batteries and replace the internal batteries every year or 2. They were originally designed to last 4 years.

So I'd look into this first before going with a 645N. If it's correct this is a stupid move on Pentax's part but maybe the guy in the USA that does Pentax repairs (Eric??) will have a firm answer.

I also have a question about lens compatablity. Using the adapter for the 6x7 lens to 645 mount, is there any loss of function (aka, M42 > K mount)
04-19-2008, 04:36 AM   #7
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Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but I seem to recall a demonstration years ago where someone stood a coin on edge on a 6X7, then tripped the shutter. The coin didn't tip over. The point was to demonstrate that even though the shutter/mirror mechanism in the 6X7 was awfully loud, the vibrations were well dampened. Does anybody else remember that demonstration?
04-19-2008, 11:32 AM   #8
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Peter, are you saying the 67 is bigger than a 4 inch by 5 inch large format view camera? That would really surprise me.

04-19-2008, 12:05 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
The 6x7 is shot on 120 film. As are 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x8, 6x9, etc. etc. (Of course, depending on individual camera models, the same holds true for 220 film).
Isn't the "standard" back 220? Don't know...still casually thinking about MF.

Personally, I would just do 120 for availability reasons...
04-19-2008, 12:21 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by clawhammer Quote
Peter, are you saying the 67 is bigger than a 4 inch by 5 inch large format view camera? That would really surprise me.
I mean physically bigger and heavier. 1760g (3.87 pounds) with viewfinder vs 1280g for the 645. The 645 is a more box shaped chassis where the 6x7 of course is a classic "SLR style" so it's taller and wider. Add a lens and you have a heavy kit. IMO you should have the grip for better handling as well.

Film size is the same (120 or 220) for both but the image sizes are different. 56 x 41.5 mm (645) vs 55 x 70mm. The measurements are not in inches but rounded off centimeters. 6 Cm x 4.5Cm which equals 2.2.04 inches x 1.634 inches. (1 inch = 2.54 Cms or 25.4mm)
04-19-2008, 01:01 PM   #11
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Ok, I get where the confusion is. I stated that I want something better than 35mm but more portable than 4x5. when I say 4x5 I'm referring to view cameras that take film that is 4 inches by 5 inches, focus via a bellows, and usually require a tripod (often they are mounted on a monorail to provide easier movements). 67 refers to the Pentax 6x7cm Medium format camera, and 645/n/nII refers to the Pentax 6x4.5cm Medium format camera

Yes, I can believe that the 67 is larger and heavier than the 645.
04-19-2008, 01:42 PM   #12
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I have both the 67 (newer 6x7) and the 645n and the 67 gives far superior images to the 645 because it is twice as large to start with. With the newer 67 and mirror lock up the vibration is not an issue, the camera is not that hard to hand hold with the handle and the meter is very accurate. I also had mine modified by Pentax so it double exposes for when I was doing weddings. The big drawback for the 67 is the flash sync, which is very slow (1/30 sec), but there are leaf shutter lenses (shutter in the lens) that will allow any sync speed you want to use.

I have a 645 and a 645n and find the 645n a far easier camera to use not counting the AF. The 645n is easier to hand hold than the 67, shoots twice as many images on the film, either 120 or 220. Unlike the 67, with the 645 you need a different back for each film type, where with the 67 you just set the camera for 120 or 220.

They are both great cameras, but you really get a rush when you put a 67 slide down on the light box and look at the seemingly endless resolution and DR.

Tom
04-19-2008, 02:12 PM   #13
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Mamiya RZ67?

Just to gum up the works, have you considered the Mamiya? Depending on what you want to shoot, it might have some advantages. All the lenses have leaf shutters so you can sync flash at any speed, revolving film back so you can shoot portrait or landscape without flipping the whole camera, and of course interchangeable film backs so you can switch film mid roll. I see that KEH has a number of kits of various configurations from about $550 to just over $1000. The 110mm lens is sharper than the 90mm, and I'd avoid any of the kits that include a winder. They make a hell of a racket and they're not much faster than advancing manually. As for viewfinders, I had both the waist level and prism finders in my kit, and I did most of my shooting with the waist level.

My 2
04-19-2008, 02:18 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by clawhammer Quote
Thanks for the advice, Bob. I plan on shooting transparencies and scanning them in myself (for now; if I find an image that is really, really good I'll have it professionally scanned). I've read all about the loud shutter and vibrations of the 67, but with MLU and a good tripod that should be taken care of, no (or at least the vibrations)?
I and many other 6x7 shooters i personally know, have had no problems with mirror vibration. I have excellent results even at 1/30 of a second hand held. Sharp as a tack.

Don't let that sway you.

Not to say a tripod would help, as it does.

You can get a decent 6x7 and a lens on ebay for instance for about a 1/4 of what i paid for mine in 2001.
That was $1100.00 for a 6x7 MLU and a 90 F2.8 LS lens.

BTW transparencies look FANTASTIC from a 6x7.

Dave
04-19-2008, 02:27 PM   #15
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Groundloop, I don't plan on doing any portraiture or anything like that with it. I would mainly be using it for landscape/nature stuff. I'm a fan of wide angle and have my eye on the pentax 45mm for the 67. Does mamiya have a simialr lens? I'm considering the pentax route because I'm familiar with pentax- I have absolutely no knowledge of the mamiya system.

edit: is there an advantage to getting the 67 vs 6x7? Is there a difference, or are they really the exact same camera and I'm just confusing the model name? From what I understand, the 67 is a later version of the 6x7... is that correct?

Last edited by clawhammer; 04-19-2008 at 02:37 PM.
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