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07-16-2014, 07:50 AM   #16
CDW
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thomas Quote
I have no idea who would get a 645Z to shoot video, but I feel safe in saying that not many still photographers give a hoot about video.

Tom
You're correct about using the Z to shoot video. It is not state of the art in that respect but neither are any of the current crop of DSLRs when compared to the video efforts of Panasonic or SONY with their mirrorless designs. On the other hand, you're only partially correct about still photographers not giving a hoot about video. Many of us take video quality as seriously as we do still image IQ.

07-16-2014, 07:52 AM   #17
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A copy of the comment I just made on Youtube, but unfortunately the video performed exactly how I expected... :-(

There is nothing different about the video implementation on all 'new' Pentax cameras since the K-01 / K-30 days. The generic video software being bundled with camera is just a huge let down ~ with it's limited bitrates (Pentax seem to prioritise smaller file sizes now over image quality?!) , and focus peaking that shuts off when you need it most etc. The killer for me is that HORRIBLE warping/jello inducing software based 'Movie SR' image stabilisation during video, producing a type of warp can't be corrected in post production and they still crop the image even when you turn it off in the menus, which means you lose even more image if you stabilise in post production yourself later?!

I really do hope that Pentax/Ricoh listen to their customers on this on. IF you're going to include video capabilities on your device, then IT IS going to be reviewed, and a performance like this one (indicative of the whole DLSR range) will actually hurt more than it helps. Producing the equivalent of heavily compressed JPEG quality for video, and calling that the High Quality setting is just offering something that is not fit for purpose, especially on a huge sensor camera at this price point. It undermines all the great developments of this new camera overall and attaches negative press.

The APS-C flagship K-3 is in the same boat. The hardware is all there, that's the frustrating point, which as your testing team pointed out simply means the Pentax firmware development team just has to dedicate some effort to this area and this could be great. Plus they could roll that back out to their existing customers as a video focussed firmware update also. ;-)

Thanks for the comprehensive review. Stills wise, I really liked the comment about how the resolution is actually very similar to FF, if you crop to similar aspect ratios for instance. Most Pentax DSLR's have mechanical image stabilisation in body and weather sealing at an affordable price ~ that really is a fairly small market in video terms.

Last edited by richandfleur; 07-16-2014 at 07:58 AM.
07-16-2014, 08:15 AM   #18
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Very nice review. On an excellent camera.

Things to improve:

For stills:
- tetering has to come and work properly.
- Leaf Shutter lenses for pro's.

For Video:
- ProRes is the thing to put out.
- HDMI full support during filming
- some off the quirks maybe can be handled in Firmware
- for this the PRIME III is not powerfull enough.
07-16-2014, 08:33 AM   #19
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Great review Jordan, Chris and crew! I already bought mine anyway but it's nice to see coverage of this camera. The 645Z is an important development even though it's not going to be for everyone...

07-16-2014, 08:41 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Royce Howland Quote
Great review Jordan, Chris and crew! I already bought mine anyway but it's nice to see coverage of this camera. The 645Z is an important development even though it's not going to be for everyone...
Thanks for watching Royce! I'll keep an eye on your ongoing 645Z impressions here on the forums.
07-16-2014, 10:14 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by richandfleur Quote

Stills wise, I really liked the comment about how the resolution is actually very similar to FF, if you crop to similar aspect ratios for instance. Most Pentax DSLR's have mechanical image stabilisation in body and weather sealing at an affordable price ~ that really is a fairly small market in video terms.
Since many medium format aspect ratios are 4:3, the 4:3 is part pf the look of MF. I have the D800E and as I prefer the look of 4:3 aspect ratio, I often crop the 36mp image down to 4:3 which means to get an aspect ratio I like, I have to have a maximum 32.2 mp image size, 9mp smaller than the 645Z. So it cuts both ways. I very rarely crop to 3:2 as it is too letterbox IMO, the panoramic formats of 16:9 and 16:10 are different animal entirely. With the Nikon I will often live with the 3:2 aspect ratio, one of my main reasons for upgrading to the Z was my love of the 4:3 which for me has more depth. YMMV, of course.

For me 4:3 is part of the different look of medium format.
07-16-2014, 11:32 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by CDW Quote
You're correct about using the Z to shoot video. It is not state of the art in that respect but neither are any of the current crop of DSLRs when compared to the video efforts of Panasonic or SONY with their mirrorless designs. On the other hand, you're only partially correct about still photographers not giving a hoot about video. Many of us take video quality as seriously as we do still image IQ.
OK, I stand corrected; nonetheless, I think the Z is of more interest to still photographers and would have liked the review to cover more comparisons to the 810 or A7r.
07-17-2014, 04:03 AM   #23
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With a decent video engine, recording ProRes, or CineDNG, the 645Z could have easily matched the Canon 'Cinema' range - the EOS C100/300/500 - but add in the preexisting lenses for it's mount, and guys like me are wishing it was 4K capable.

If Pentax wants to be serious about video, the APS-c based cameras could be made in to fantastic HD cine cameras, having the Medium Format sensor doing 4K would have been a simple and logical next step for us Cinematographers - it would have created a new option to keep customers, and given others a viable alternative - all of the EOS Cinema range are stupidly over priced, and none of the competition in the 645Z's price bracket - from GH4 with Yaghe, BMD 4K, Ursa and Aja Cion can match sensor size or characteristics.

QuoteOriginally posted by TCSJordan Quote
I feel they made a huge oversight by underserving the video crowd, as filmmakers will pay a lot for a unique aesthetic, which the 645Z certainly could provide.
Got it in one.

It would have a unique 'look' to it's vision, and that appeals anywhere where you don't want your product looking the same as everyone elses.
This is the reason people are choosing the Bolex D16, or the Kinefinity KiniMini4K - They don't look the same as every other camera out there.

Heck, at the RRP listed, if it did 4K 4:2:2 out of its HDMI, you could add the new Atomos recorder to the price and still beat the EOS range for value for money.

QuoteOriginally posted by TCSJordan Quote
The external recording was so bad that Chris and Nick just threw the footage away.
This doesn't suprise me actually - I've been suspecting recently that the output send to the HDMI port is AFTER the down-conversion to the resolution used by the on board LCD screen, and then line doubled to be a 1080 signal - Did the footage have 'jaggies' along nearly horizontal shapes in the image?

Edit: Listening to the round up at the tail end of the review, I can see you've run in to the same issues with the low data-rate that I have with my K-01, and that I'm sure K-3 owners do to.
To shoot at 1600 or 3200 you absolutely must light a scene to avoid the data loss that occurs in CoDec in the black and near black areas of the image.
And the description of the blockiness that was seen in the external recorder does sound very much to what I see on playback.
That need to roll and check exposure - I get that when using stop-down metering of K-M lenses.
K-A lenses in the A position give correct live view when the body is controlling the exposure.
(I have no idea about the 645 lenses and whether their Iris is controlled the same way.)


Last edited by PiDicus Rex; 07-17-2014 at 05:03 AM.
07-17-2014, 10:06 AM - 1 Like   #24
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Great review - too bad I won't be able to hit Calgary when I'm up in Canada. I'd like to see an actual store that carries Pentax gear.
07-17-2014, 12:07 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by TCSJordan Quote
Here's the 645Z field test video I shot
Hi Jordan - Just a question relating to this type of work.
What sort of camera would you normally be using to make this type of production? ( I don't do video but rather trying to get a handle on the difference in the gear used)

Last edited by ak_kiwi; 07-17-2014 at 03:11 PM.
07-17-2014, 02:19 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by itshimitis Quote
Since many medium format aspect ratios are 4:3, the 4:3 is part pf the look of MF. I have the D800E and as I prefer the look of 4:3 aspect ratio, I often crop the 36mp image down to 4:3 which means to get an aspect ratio I like, I have to have a maximum 32.2 mp image size, 9mp smaller than the 645Z. So it cuts both ways. I very rarely crop to 3:2 as it is too letterbox IMO, the panoramic formats of 16:9 and 16:10 are different animal entirely. With the Nikon I will often live with the 3:2 aspect ratio, one of my main reasons for upgrading to the Z was my love of the 4:3 which for me has more depth. YMMV, of course.

For me 4:3 is part of the different look of medium format.
I agree, when he said that, I immediately concluded that for the 3:2 D800 and D810 to produce a 4:3 image, they were going to lose some pixels. It's all relative, I guess.
07-29-2014, 12:37 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by TCSJordan Quote
The image you saw was what was recorded to the SD card.
Did you contact Pentax about your experience?

It seems very odd to me that you could see shadow detail on set that did not make it to the card.

It wouldn't beyond Pentax -- as others have posted video seems to be a neglected stepchild for them -- but still it seems silly that they don't seem to be able to record the detail they can show during the preview.

It is very sad that Pentax got worse with video IQ. The K-5 (II) still used the mechanical sensor stabilisation instead of that horrid software solution they are using for the K-3. The K-5 (II) also used Motion JPG as a recording format which was very bad in terms of space efficiency (file size) but excellent in terms of avoiding compression artefacts.

It is nice that the K-3 (and 645Z?) can record using H.264 and that software image stabilisation is there in case noise from the sensor movement would be bothering, but why don't they make these alternatives optional, allowing people to opt for mechanical stabilisation and space-inefficient but very detailed Motion JPG recordings?

I'm not a video shooter myself and actually wouldn't mind a CCD sensor in a camera for still photography, but it seems tragic that Pentax could have created another Canon 5D Mk II for MF video with very little effort but did not manage to.

BTW, I was puzzled by a few comments from the DDG experts:
  1. "Native ISO 200 is too low": The lower the native ISO, the better. A higher native ISO just means that there is less dynamic range and that you need neutral density filters earlier. The term "native ISO" just refers to the lowest ISO possible without using intentional overexposure combined with pulling down exposure in post. The K-5 (II) has a native ISO of 80 which made the K-5 the king of the APS-C sensor performance chart at DxOMark for a long time.
  2. "It tops out at ISO 3200 already.": I'm not sure they realise that ISO numbers need to be converted between sensor formats (just like focal length and f-stops) in order to allow numerical comparisons. An ISO of 3200 on (crop) MF equates to ~ISO 5320 on FF and ~ISO 11972 on APS-C. If a dedicated video camera uses an even smaller chip than APS-C then its ISO numbers will be even less comparable.

Last edited by Class A; 07-29-2014 at 03:49 AM.
07-29-2014, 03:31 AM - 1 Like   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thomas Quote
OK, I stand corrected; nonetheless, I think the Z is of more interest to still photographers and would have liked the review to cover more comparisons to the 810 or A7r.
I shot comparsion closeup portrait two weeks ago with 645Z & 90M at f/2.8 ISO 100 and D810 & 85G at f/2.2 ISO 140 (try to match DOF) using some cheap studio lights. After balancing colors (which from Nikon (portrait mode) were awfull), 645Z was far better at gradients, far better dynamic range (I measured it in PS for to be sure), just beautifull... Nikon was just flat & boring. Altho it was very expensive and I am not satisfied with a lot of things on Z, I would not go back to D800E/D810 even if it someone give it to me for free.
I shoot a lot of portraits outside against the sun and I would not believe what I saw first time from 645Z. I love this camera, it is almost dream come true.

Last edited by dgdb; 07-29-2014 at 03:37 AM.
07-29-2014, 12:31 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
Another Pentax fail
Predictably...Pentax is doomed


Steve

---------- Post added 07-29-14 at 12:35 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
Any ideas?
Don't you know Lauren? There is no way in Hell that you can use any Pentax product professionally for your high-profile video work.


Steve

---------- Post added 07-29-14 at 12:37 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by TCSJordan Quote
The Pentax 645Z is very unique for filmmakers as it gave the opportunity for a larger format look not yet seen digitally, with the closest comparison being 70mm film. As a videographer, I was hugely excited when the camera was announced. I figured if Pentax did it right, they could have the 5D MK II of the medium format world on their hands.
You nailed it. It is a shame they did not realize the potential.


Steve
07-29-2014, 07:55 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Don't you know Lauren? There is no way in Hell that you can use any Pentax product professionally for your high-profile video work.

Steve
I was hoping for something unique concerning the video on the 645z so I could make a reasonable pitch to justify the $$$ for the 645z. I am surrounded by Canikon, and it's an uphill battle when I break out my Pentaxes during my work.

Yes, I am making a huge impact on the people that see my gear, and I make recommendations almost daily to go Pentax. It's working, in that some people realize it's not about the gear.

I was hoping that I might get a few 645z cameras into the stable and seal the deal on Pentax.

As it stands now -without some kind of #K video - the 645z would be a hard sell, and I would be accused of favoring a brand over technical impartiality.

Right now the K3 is doing exceptional work, but I am up against the wall to recommend a system for others moving forward. I even have a few open positions I want to fill - and I put Pentax - as a preferred camera for the role based on my workflow.

I am hoping for one last thing to come from Photokina that would make recommending a Pentax possible and reasonable.

The Canikony folks present a huge bias in the professional work place. Justified or not, it's the way it is.
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