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08-13-2014, 03:42 PM   #1
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645D vs 645Z

This one's directed to those who have used both. What's your impression of one vs the other? Is the Z clearly worth twice the price, or is the D the better option for certain styles (i.e. someone who virtually never uses high iso). And I'm not looking for a specific style for me, more general comments that anyone looking to get into digital MF might find useful.

08-13-2014, 07:12 PM   #2
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I think the Z is worth the extra 3.5k without a doubt, not only for the greatly improved high iso performance, but also the resolution bump and increase in dynamic range at base iso. The D is too close to current full frames to be worth the drop in versatility IMO.

The Z also has one other big advantage, and that's the addition of live view. This helps ensure accurate focus (thanks to the magnification feature) and composition (the ovf doesn't provide 100% coverage), plus the fact that it can tilt is very convenient for when you're on a tripod (aka almost always).
08-14-2014, 11:29 AM   #3
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I am not yet convinced the 645z has a resolution advantage if conditions are becouming harrder, i.e. landscape, sky completely cloudy, a lot of low contrast details. Off course, resolving a little bit more in direct sun light, with high contrats, is easier, but even then 40 vs. 50 MP is not alot. The full size Pictures I have seen up to now are all disappointing in terms of Details, not really bad, but not yet reaching what I get using my 645D.

So there is certainly the higher dynamic range, 2 stops more. But this is only an advantage if there are really more than 12 stops in the thing you take photos of. Very often, there are only 6 to 10 stops. So it is a bit like a car being able to run 150 miles an hour. Nice, if you are on an empty German Highway, as there is no Speed Limit. But not a big difference to a car just doing 100 mph, if you are on an American Highway.

I have chosen not to buy the 645z. I will buy a second 645d instead, just to be on a safe side if mine Needs repair. Might have been choosing different if the 645z would have had a Nikon Multicam 3500 AF module or something really equivalent, but it hasn't. It is better than the 645D in terms of AF, sure. But still far away from the top AF modules Canon and Nikon have. So I stay with the Nikon DSLR for Action photography. And use the 645D for landscape, I have rarley things having more than 12 stops dynamic range, nor use more than ISO 400 frequently for htese things. I can save a lot of money like that!

The very hihg dynami range can in many cases in the landscape also bee achieved by using a 2 stop graduated filter on the 645D. That's a bit more work,, but a lot cheaper (an MC Version build of glass, not plastic, costs 200 to 250$). And the high ISO becomes intersting with the combinatation of a Multicam3500.

A used 645D is in the 3500$ range. That's a good Price!

Last edited by donesteban; 08-14-2014 at 11:34 AM.
08-14-2014, 11:51 AM   #4
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Thanks Adam. I definitely think live view is a good selling point.
Donesteban, good feedback. You're seeing the same prices for used D's I am. For the price of a Z you could get a D and one of the expensive DA lenses. I think these are the trade offs that someone buying into this system would want to better understand.

08-15-2014, 08:09 AM   #5
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As a long time user of a 645D in all kinds of applications, I can assure I plan to have a Z in my grasp before the year end, and before my trip early next year to Antarctica.

All of the issues which Donesteban downplays in his discussion I have found to be of significant importance in may shooting experiences, apart from the increased resolution, which is a nice plus but not a really big deal. OTOH, the dynamic range improvements, the far greater usable ISO range, and the addition of Live View with magnification and the tilt LCD (much like live view on the K3, which is mandatory to get the best out of the 200mm macro A series lens I have for that camera) are very useful, especially with the manual 67 lenses I like to use for specific applications.

This is not to say a 645D isn't a good deal at $3500 or so (much less than even the current new price), but the extended envelope of the 645z in comparison is a pretty big deal (IMO) and well worth the money. BTW, I am not a professional photographer, just another dedicated amateur hobbyist- for a professional, it should be a no-brainer.
08-15-2014, 10:37 AM   #6
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Thanks jonmarsh, good feedback. I'm not a pro either but have been saving for a Z since it was announced. I also plan to use 67 lenses, and given how much I use live view with the K5IIs I think I would regret not having it.
08-15-2014, 10:58 AM   #7
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Well, in my text there is one thing to be understood correctly: I sometimes need high ISO, too. 3200 or 6400 happens from time to time. But I almost don't need that high ISO to take photos of things not moving, in almost all the cases I need this to take photos of moving things. So the 645Z won't do the job for me there, ist AF might not be as bad as the 645D for action photography, but it is still really far away from the top AF cameras Nikon and Canon are offering.
So I am just covering the high ISO part by a different body, combined with a 28-70/2.8 AF-S, having really fast AF. The 645Z will only do the high ISO Job, if it is not for action photography. For example to take photos in Antarctica at low light, standing on a ship that is moving, there a tripod won't really help.
The D700 I own, plus the 28-70/2.8 were a bit more than 1000$. Still much cheaper than buying a 645Z instead of a 645D.

I am just not seeing any resolution advantage of the 645Z compared to the 645D at ISO 100 or 200 so far - would be happy to see RAW pictures convicing me the 645Z is really better there. At those ISO, thy only advantage ist the higher dynamic range - only applying if you really need more than 12 stops. This happens to rarely for me, maybe for 20 or 30 shots a year? That's not enough to justify the extra $, knowing some of he shots can be done by using a graduated filter, too.

One more thing: The Pentax service here in Switzerland is quite bad. Medium format things go to Hamburg (Germany). And there they only can fix the easy things. If the camera is more heavily damaged, Hamburg is sending it to Japan for repair. I have done this exercise with a 645N that fall off a back pack. It takes 3 months. I don't want to be without any digital 645 for 3 months. I can afford a second 645D (used) now, but getting 2 645Z is a bit tough from a money point of view.

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