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07-24-2014, 07:28 PM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by mreichmann Quote
OK, so now that they're shipping I just spent about $15,000 buying a 645Z and four lenses for my personal use. What does that tell you?
Assuming that the $15,000 are your personal money, this tells me that you are either buying a camera for yourself that you have trouble wholeheartedly recommending to others (nothing wrong with that) or that your review fails to express the appreciation you have for the camera.

A third, though unlikely, possibility is that $15,000 is not that much money for you as it is for most, and you are prepared to spend $15,000 on a "nice to have" gadget. After all, your review states
"Michael's take is that just a couple of years ago the 645Z would have generated want bumps, but now, hardly at all.
AFAIC, there is a time to evaluate a product and there is a time to analyse the gap between FF and affordable MF. Mixing these two aspects in one piece and throwing in some "logical tension" just makes the camera look worse than apparently you think it should be seen.

Since you are always emphasising how LL reviews are different to regular reviews in how they report on a personal experience, are you going to add your purchase decision to the review? I cannot think of a more personal statement regarding the merit of a product.

N.B., you can dismiss my observations about apparent LL preferences (to avoid the term "bias") as figments of imagination of an irrelevant person, or you could reflect on them and ask yourself whether you really want to create this impression to readers. Your choice.


Last edited by Class A; 07-24-2014 at 09:15 PM.
07-25-2014, 02:51 AM   #47
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Well my take on it is this.

LL made a good "first impressions article" and it was exactly that, an article, not really a review in full, but the addition of ISO samples brings it into review territory.

It think that MR made a correct impression of it. However, you can't compare an A7R to the 645Z, but the D810 you can. I travelled Tasmania in the cold last winter with a Nex6 and while it was good, it was very difficult to use with gloves, really pissed me off. The larger bodies are much better for field use.

The 645z is that, a field use camera that offers everything that you need minus a few issues that we should see with the next generation camera. Ie electronic first curtain shutter, the Z still suffers from shutter shake on the 300mm between 1/120th and 1/4 sec. Also it needs an electronic viewfinder, there is absolutely no need for a field camera to have an optical finder, EVFs are better, full stop.

I think that Nick and MRs comments on slowing down when using the hassy are true, but to say that the Z provokes run and gun as a problem is all rubbish. I had a distinct turning point in my photo taking timeline and it was when I bought a Leica M9. It slowed me down and better pictures were the result. That is now ingrained in me and the Z benefits from my technique. Any good photographer knows they need to slow down and if you don't, then you haven't hit that crucial moment of enlightenment.

Finally, you can't compare the Z to Fuji or Olympus, the image quality is in another league, regardless of size.

Also, you can't buy a 645Z and then complain about the size, you know how damn big it is before you bought it. I have used heaps of bodies in the field and the 645D/Z is by far the best to use, along with a 1 Series Canon. I get to the shooting location, put my bag on the ground, pick a lens and fit it to the body, then walk around looking for the right spot before I set up the tripod. I have never used a better to hold camera than the 645D/Z, it just fits and the weight goes away.

I have more to say on this but need some time to think.

Oh, by the way Michael R, which lenses did you buy. I am keen to know what you found good enough to purchase as I have a few spots to fill?

Cheers, Scott
07-25-2014, 06:35 AM - 1 Like   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote
Well my take on it is this.
The 645z is that, a field use camera that offers everything that you need minus a few issues that we should see with the next generation camera. Ie electronic first curtain shutter, the Z still suffers from shutter shake on the 300mm between 1/120th and 1/4 sec. Also it needs an electronic viewfinder, there is absolutely no need for a field camera to have an optical finder, EVFs are better, full stop.
Scott,
This is just one paragraph that is completely untrue.Especially on a field camera - IMHO of course.
Not the electronic first curtain, but the EVF part of it.
If there is one thing I do not want in a field camera it is an EVF, but that probably comes from working in the arctics and not a warmer climate.
EVF's will freeze up, just as the lcd on the back, I see it every winter on my digital gear, the OVF is the one thing that allow me to keep shooting digital on longer winter trips.
A camera without an EVF would be a summer or short trip camera and not a real film camera suited for arctic work.

Last edited by Duplo; 07-25-2014 at 07:16 AM. Reason: careless spelling
07-25-2014, 07:01 AM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote
there is absolutely no need for a field camera to have an optical finder, EVFs are better, full stop.
Wow. Professional or not that's a bold statement.

07-25-2014, 07:10 AM - 2 Likes   #50
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Class A...

Let me address your questions, even though they are couched in aggressive terms, as was your initial post.

I have been an educator and author in the field of photography for some 40 years. This, in addition to being a photographer, of course.

For the past 15 years I have published The Luminous Landscape web site, which with more than 1 Million readers monthly has long been the world's largest site devoted to the art and craft of photography. Yes, there are larger, such as DPReview, but that's an equipment site. We cover a much broader range of topics.

But, whereas cameras are just one part of the photography scene they are what many people are fixated on, so we try and review the latest and greatest to the extent we can. And this means reviewing those items which we ourselves are most interested in.

The way this works is that many manufacturers send us gear for review (often before release and under NDA) because of our broad reach and influence. We take that responsibility seriously because we know that a review that has major errors and undue bias can damage a product launch.

But we also (and have always) simply called it as we see it. We NEVER accept any form of financial or other gifts, donation, bribes or other considerations. If there is a press event and other journalists are being comp'ed their travel as well, we accept that. But otherwise the only thing that drives our reviews is what we think of the equipment.

If you take the time to read the many hundreds of reviews on LuLa you'll see that we have praised products from companies such as Leica, Sony, Phase One, Panasonic, and also damned their stupidity, design errors and arrogance. We simply call things as we see them.

We also, (and this is directly to the point of this exchange) purchase equipment for our own long term use. Then, at the end of one to two years we sell it, and purchase whatever else is then new and which seems like it would be a good choice for our personal work for a couple of years.

The reason for this is that I am first and foremost a photographer, but I also am a reviewer. A week spent with a pre-production sample can tell me if a product is going to be a winner or a dog, but is nowhere near enough to know how well it might perform in the long run.

So, directly to your question... No, the 645Z didn't raise any "want bumps", because since the 645D the cameras world has moved on in the past few years. Products like the 36MP Nikon's, and Sony A7r have their advantages, and the Nikon's and Sony camera's that have incredibly high ISO capability similarly appeal for other needs. (Now including the 645z)

But, as someone who has owned and used various Pentax medium format gear over the years I have great respect for the cameras, and have found them to be very productive tools.


I therefore have just purchased a 645z with 35mm, 55mm, 120mm and 300mm lenses. No, it didn't create want bumps, but a week with a pre-production sample has convinced me that it likely will be a highly useful system for my landscape work for the next couple of years. Leica and Phase One both have new cameras coming at Photokina, but the 645z, it seemed to me, and based on what I know, offers the best combination of price / performance value, and so that's how I've chosen to spend my own money. Indeed, when I review new MF systems over the next couple of years the 645Z will be my new benchmark, just as once a Hasselblad and Phase One both were.

I hope that this helps you understand how LuLa and I function. Sometimes we piss off companies and individuals because we don't say what their each wished we had. But, we always just call it as we see it, and we also put our own money where's our mouths are.

Michael

Last edited by Parallax; 07-25-2014 at 07:44 AM.
07-25-2014, 07:54 AM   #51
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Michael,
Thanks for sharing your additional thoughts here.
I for one found the article interesting and positive.
07-25-2014, 07:56 AM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Welcome mreichmann. Kind of you to join and offer your observation directly to the Forum members.
Ohhhhh...THAT mreichmann...


Steve
07-25-2014, 01:07 PM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by Duplo Quote
Scott,
This is just one paragraph that is completely untrue.Especially on a field camera - IMHO of course.
Not the electronic first curtain, but the EVF part of it.
If there is one thing I do not want in a field camera it is an EVF, but that probably comes from working in the arctics and not a warmer climate.
EVF's will freeze up, just as the lcd on the back, I see it every winter on my digital gear, the OVF is the one thing that allow me to keep shooting digital on longer winter trips.
A camera without an EVF would be a summer or short trip camera and not a real film camera suited for arctic work.
I see your point. I have never had an evf or LCD have that happen.

As an acceptable trade off, how about an electronic hot shoe and an add on evf like what sony have, that would work.

Electronic focussing offers superior accuracy every time plus superior framing and digital overlays. You can bump the gain in low light and zoom in to 100% for fine focus. I stand by my statement on the evf but understand that if people still require an ovf, leave it in there but offer the option. Heck, a tilting external evf would be superb.

I am 32 and along with a lot of other people my long distance sight is going downhill and I can't get surgery just yet so an ovf is just a framing tool for me.

By the way Duplo, when your screen dies, how do you keep shooting, checking histogram and image review anyway?

Scott

07-25-2014, 10:06 PM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by Duplo Quote
Especially on a field camera - IMHO of course.
FYI, this is a field camera...



Chamonix 045N-2 4x5 Field Camera.

The 645Z is a ruggedized medium format digital SLR that is very appropriate for use in the field, but it is not a field camera. (Sorry, could not resist.)

Field camera - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Steve
07-25-2014, 10:15 PM   #55
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Dear Michael,

QuoteOriginally posted by mreichmann Quote
Let me address your questions, even though they are couched in aggressive terms, as was your initial post.
I respectfully disagree that my post was "couched in aggressive terms".

I would appreciate if you could regard my post as it was meant to be: factual.

I'm serious about "respectfully" because I hold you in high esteem as a photographer -- I find many of your images to be excellent including the cover of your latest "Mexico: The Light and The Warmth" book -- and I also highly appreciate that you publish critical thoughts like "But sometimes 'retro' just means 'regress'.". Personally, it puzzles me how the vast majority jumps on retro looks like crazy without noticing the regress but even so it seems obvious to me, you are one of the very few voices to thematise this issue, so kudos to you.

You may also notice that in my original post I apologised for perhaps being too sarcastic, but explained why I was using drastic language.

QuoteOriginally posted by mreichmann Quote
For the past 15 years I have published The Luminous Landscape web site, which with more than 1 Million readers monthly has long been the world's largest site devoted to the art and craft of photography.
That is great and I congratulate you to your success, but I also observe that this has nothing to do with our discussion.

Popularity is no measure of correctness/merit/fairness. Popularity only means that you are doing something right in terms of making the site popular. It does not mean that there is no room for criticism.

With the reach and influence of your site, you have some power. With power comes responsibility, IMHO.

I personally feel that if a site has the power to influence purchase decisions then reviews should be as fair as possible. It would not be acceptable for me to write more favourably about product A because I happen to personally use it and give a lukewarm account on product B because I did not spend the time to get properly acquainted with it. Such an approach would be a 100% OK for a private blogger who is just publishing their opinion. Again, I personally feel that if that private blogger's site got so big that it actually makes an impact on model success then the blogger should better spend as much time as possible with product B, read the manual twice, etc.

I understand it is very hard to familiarise oneself with a new product and monitor all developments, etc., but whenever someone points out room for improvement, it would be great if that were greeted more welcoming. For instance, in February 2014 you wrote about Pentax
"Their Q series mirrorless isn't taken seriously, and their DSLRs, while quite nice machines, don't really blaze any new ground."
At that time, the K-3 had been announced four months ago. If the K-3's optional anti-aliasing filter is not blazing new ground, then I don't know what is.

Before that Pentax had squeezed out the best ISO 80 (genuine, not fake Canon-style) APS-C performance out of a Sony sensor, introduced 100% viewfinders to the entry level, etc.

Pentax as a brand has a hard time as it is given the dominance of Canon and Nikon. Pentax is by no means the right choice for everyone, but for some people it is and it does not help when review sites fail to recognise the unique features of Pentax cameras. Sometimes, it is the whole package (built-in image stabilisation, weather-sealing, ergonomics, quite shutter, small primes, ...) that makes a product unique and I, personally, expect better than a simple analysis that concludes that the K-7 is not the best in any category (as in does not have the highest amount of MP).

QuoteOriginally posted by mreichmann Quote
If you take the time to read the many hundreds of reviews on LuLa you'll see that we have praised products from companies such as Leica, Sony, Phase One, Panasonic, and also damned their stupidity, design errors and arrogance. We simply call things as we see them.
I have read many of them.

Please note, that I'm not alone in being puzzled by some of your statements in your reviews. You may say that it is your opinion and that one cannot please everyone, but if you were to say that, I'd respond that the problem isn't your opinion, but that I feel that you don't look enough before you "call things as we see them". I'd furthermore say that it is not compatible with the power of your site to stretch logic in one review and use plain reasoning in another review. While these may be your irrational thoughts, I feel that they are not good enough to potentially influence millions of readers. A "nagging sense" or "felt like a greater subtly of micro-contrast" are not objective enough, AFAIC, to be included in a review that will potentially influence millions.

Even if you don't intend it, such vaguely based evaluations open the door for favouring one brand over the other. Reviewing of high-end audio is full of unsubstantiable claims that may very well be just be the result of unconscious appreciation of the more reputable brand or the more expensive product. No one can ever prove vague claims wrong, because they are only expressions of sentiments, instead of falsifiable statements, but they are nevertheless suitable to influence purchase decisions. Have high-end audio magazines been popular? Yes. Does that mean they have always published reproducible evaluations justifying their endorsements in an as fair as possible manner? No.

QuoteOriginally posted by mreichmann Quote
Indeed, when I review new MF systems over the next couple of years the 645Z will be my new benchmark, just as once a Hasselblad and Phase One both were.
I hope your future Hasselblad and Phase One reviews will also compare the cameras to the Sony A7 series and the Olympus Micro 4/3rds system, questioning their price tags. If your opinion is indeed that the 645Z should be compared to these camera systems, the same should apply to future Hasselblad and Phase One models, correct?

Regarding the "questions" you were intending to answer:
I only asked one question which was
"Since you are always emphasising how LL reviews are different to regular reviews in how they report on a personal experience, are you going to add your purchase decision to the review?"
and you did not answer it.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this question because, as I said, I cannot think of a more personal statement regarding the merit of a product and "personal" seems what your site is about. You spent ~$15,000 on a 645Z plus lenses, why not tell your readers instead of just us?
07-25-2014, 10:38 PM - 1 Like   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by EssJayEff Quote
With the exception of the terrible video problem, I read it as a very positive review. Their big concern was where the 645Z resides within the current marketplace in relation to FF 35mm camera and their price points. The only quibble I had was their comparison of the way you might work with the camera vis-a-vis the Hasselblad: the latter makes you slow down ("The fact it's hard to use makes me a better user") while the Pentax, being easier to handle might lead one's work to suffer. ("I'd prefer the 645z's usability and durability for sure. But in work-style, I like what the Hassy makes me do. If I need or want speed and convenience, I use a smaller system.") I just can't buy that argument. Just imagine . . . the 645Z would let you do BOTH!




Their comparison of working with the z and the Hasselblad is ridiculous. A good photographer slows down when he needs to and moves fast when time is of the essence and his camera allows it. They could conclude that the Hasselblad is a better camera for photographers with limited skill whose subjects always sit still and are lit with unchanging light.
07-26-2014, 06:14 AM - 1 Like   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Dear Michael,

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this question because, as I said, I cannot think of a more personal statement regarding the merit of a product and "personal" seems what your site is about. You spent ~$15,000 on a 645Z plus lenses, why not tell your readers instead of just us?
I will be launching a Pentax 645z "diary" on LuLa in the days ahead. This will allow me to explore in much greater depth the pros and cons of the camera.

It will appear not soon after I launch my new not-for-profit fund for photographers, less than a week from now.

Oh yes, and Pentax and my dealer need to first deliver the camera, of course.

Michael
07-26-2014, 09:52 PM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Dear Michael,


I respectfully disagree that my post was "couched in aggressive terms".

I would appreciate if you could regard my post as it was meant to be: factual.

I'm serious about "respectfully" because I hold you in high esteem as a photographer -- I find many of your images to be excellent including the cover of your latest "Mexico: The Light and The Warmth" book -- and I also highly appreciate that you publish critical thoughts like "But sometimes 'retro' just means 'regress'.". Personally, it puzzles me how the vast majority jumps on retro looks like crazy without noticing the regress but even so it seems obvious to me, you are one of the very few voices to thematise this issue, so kudos to you.

You may also notice that in my original post I apologised for perhaps being too sarcastic, but explained why I was using drastic language.


That is great and I congratulate you to your success, but I also observe that this has nothing to do with our discussion.

Popularity is no measure of correctness/merit/fairness. Popularity only means that you are doing something right in terms of making the site popular. It does not mean that there is no room for criticism.

With the reach and influence of your site, you have some power. With power comes responsibility, IMHO.

I personally feel that if a site has the power to influence purchase decisions then reviews should be as fair as possible. It would not be acceptable for me to write more favourably about product A because I happen to personally use it and give a lukewarm account on product B because I did not spend the time to get properly acquainted with it. Such an approach would be a 100% OK for a private blogger who is just publishing their opinion. Again, I personally feel that if that private blogger's site got so big that it actually makes an impact on model success then the blogger should better spend as much time as possible with product B, read the manual twice, etc.

I understand it is very hard to familiarise oneself with a new product and monitor all developments, etc., but whenever someone points out room for improvement, it would be great if that were greeted more welcoming. For instance, in February 2014 you wrote about Pentax
"Their Q series mirrorless isn't taken seriously, and their DSLRs, while quite nice machines, don't really blaze any new ground."
At that time, the K-3 had been announced four months ago. If the K-3's optional anti-aliasing filter is not blazing new ground, then I don't know what is.

Before that Pentax had squeezed out the best ISO 80 (genuine, not fake Canon-style) APS-C performance out of a Sony sensor, introduced 100% viewfinders to the entry level, etc.

Pentax as a brand has a hard time as it is given the dominance of Canon and Nikon. Pentax is by no means the right choice for everyone, but for some people it is and it does not help when review sites fail to recognise the unique features of Pentax cameras. Sometimes, it is the whole package (built-in image stabilisation, weather-sealing, ergonomics, quite shutter, small primes, ...) that makes a product unique and I, personally, expect better than a simple analysis that concludes that the K-7 is not the best in any category (as in does not have the highest amount of MP).


I have read many of them.

Please note, that I'm not alone in being puzzled by some of your statements in your reviews. You may say that it is your opinion and that one cannot please everyone, but if you were to say that, I'd respond that the problem isn't your opinion, but that I feel that you don't look enough before you "call things as we see them". I'd furthermore say that it is not compatible with the power of your site to stretch logic in one review and use plain reasoning in another review. While these may be your irrational thoughts, I feel that they are not good enough to potentially influence millions of readers. A "nagging sense" or "felt like a greater subtly of micro-contrast" are not objective enough, AFAIC, to be included in a review that will potentially influence millions.

Even if you don't intend it, such vaguely based evaluations open the door for favouring one brand over the other. Reviewing of high-end audio is full of unsubstantiable claims that may very well be just be the result of unconscious appreciation of the more reputable brand or the more expensive product. No one can ever prove vague claims wrong, because they are only expressions of sentiments, instead of falsifiable statements, but they are nevertheless suitable to influence purchase decisions. Have high-end audio magazines been popular? Yes. Does that mean they have always published reproducible evaluations justifying their endorsements in an as fair as possible manner? No.


I hope your future Hasselblad and Phase One reviews will also compare the cameras to the Sony A7 series and the Olympus Micro 4/3rds system, questioning their price tags. If your opinion is indeed that the 645Z should be compared to these camera systems, the same should apply to future Hasselblad and Phase One models, correct?

Regarding the "questions" you were intending to answer:
I only asked one question which was
"Since you are always emphasising how LL reviews are different to regular reviews in how they report on a personal experience, are you going to add your purchase decision to the review?"
and you did not answer it.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this question because, as I said, I cannot think of a more personal statement regarding the merit of a product and "personal" seems what your site is about. You spent ~$15,000 on a 645Z plus lenses, why not tell your readers instead of just us?
I can see how your posts may be perceived as aggressive.
07-27-2014, 07:28 AM - 1 Like   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by robertchow999 Quote
I can see how your posts may be perceived as aggressive.
Me, too----the first one at least. And rude to boot. You directly accused the guy of being a shill, and then waved off his whole enterprise as "Ludicrous Landscape". That goes beyond disagreeing with someone on factual points by a wide margin in my book.

I think the site is highly useful, as long as one accepts the articles within their own terms, as user reviews. I find these user reviews especially useful because the users are either professionals or pretty high end amateurs, and because the gear they report on is typically higher end stuff or more esoteric---and thus gets much less discussion on other sites, such as the famous/infamous DPR. And since some of this gear is exactly the type of stuff I'd consider using, their discussions of it are helpful. I don't consider them definitive. Don't hold your breath for instance waiting for DPR to review the 645Z, or its compatibility/use with older A or FA lenses. Thus it's places like LL or Ming Thein's blog where you get this sort of "appreciation", and I accept that it is not going to be a bench testing situation, and that the statements are going to be highly colored by their own shooting preferences and methods. I filter what I need from what they are saying.
07-27-2014, 08:42 PM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by EssJayEff Quote
With the exception of the terrible video problem, I read it as a very positive review. Their big concern was where the 645Z resides within the current marketplace in relation to FF 35mm camera and their price points. The only quibble I had was their comparison of the way you might work with the camera vis-a-vis the Hasselblad: the latter makes you slow down ("The fact it's hard to use makes me a better user") while the Pentax, being easier to handle might lead one's work to suffer. ("I'd prefer the 645z's usability and durability for sure. But in work-style, I like what the Hassy makes me do. If I need or want speed and convenience, I use a smaller system.") I just can't buy that argument. Just imagine . . . the 645Z would let you do BOTH!


Who would want to shoot videos with a MF camera, might as well get a professional Cam...
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