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08-14-2014, 10:31 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 485
Attended the Ace Photo 645Z event on Aug. 13 2014

Thought I'd give a tiny report, as Pentax Senior Marketing Manager, John Carlson was in attendance. That bit up front:
  • No Pentax presence at PDN Expo in NYC this year. A disappointment for me---I was hoping to put my hands on the 28-45...
  • Unlikely that a firmware upgrade would be able to fix the video codec (which I suspected, as it's also a processor issue...)
  • Unlikely a firmware upgrade could solve the low flash synch "problem", either, w/o a redesign of the camera itself (his opinion). He acknowledged that the low synch speed was unfortunate. I didn't ask about LS lenses. A couple of people in attendance were surprised to see I had the 75 and the 135---thanks to the marketplace here!
  • He said they were making the cameras as fast as they can---possibly they underestimated demand.
  • I told him about the helpful post here yesterday about the new availability of 645 lenses at B&H. We talked a bit about the previous availability issues, and he confirmed that previously they just weren't leaving the Japanese market, where they sold really well. Ricoh has different ideas, though, hence the new availability.
  • He seemed very pleased with the Ricoh support so far form his perspective. Ricoh's got deep pockets.
  • I sent my comment along---that getting a hold of the little things (focusing screens, that sort of thing) was not as easy as it should be, and he agreed. I tried to get across what a wonderful and definitely pro-grade camera this was, but that it needed to be supported completely, accessories too. And I suggested they needed a Pro service as well (which they supposedly had in 2008).
Anyway, very nice guy, no "attitude".

The event was sponsored by Ace Photo in Virginia, where I was able to get my camera (very much thanks to them, btw). Also in attendance was the Pro Photo rep and my old and dear friend who is the independent mid Atlantic Pentax rep, as well as an independent rep for other stuff, including Wescott. So, Pro Photo strobes and Wescott soft boxes were being demo'd also.

There was a demo 645 Z, of course, and a Pro Photo trigger on top (manual). Everything worked fine, and also they had a Flu Card in the camera pushing the files over to a Mac. Based on what i was seeing, that worked just ok. Fine for product or repro, but seemed to me a bit slow for a model if they were really active. It was hard to tell how fast the shots were transferring over because of the lag involved, or whether you could keep firing away and the computer would catch up and/or the card ---they had the model there for us fat, older, balding, mostly unattractive guys to shoot. She was in her 20's. Just kinda sad, you know, such a cliche...also a guy dressed up as Darth Vader, which was sort of random. But, plenty of black with white highlights to check out DR...

I just shot in the background with available light, which was atrocious mixed lighting, so a good test of the camera. I don't think I took a single shot below 1600, so once I process I'll give a report there. Mostly shot at 6400, because i'm very curious how that will look. Tried to test out my whole lens collection.

The Pro Photo guy said there were no plans for a dedicated trigger for the Z or Pentax. They would need the electronics details from Pentax first, and then an internal decision about whether it would be worth it...I'm holding out hope that Phottix will do something, because I like the Odin which I have for Sony and its blasted flash ridiculousness it inherited from Minolta, but maybe for Pentax I'll go with Cactus---the price is certainly right...

There were no presentations, and that would be the one thing i would say that could have been done better---I would like to have heard from the reps, Ace's Bill Lee, and John Carlson in that format. It was a total of3.5 hours of driving for me so I wouldn't have mined at all a bit more time in a more formal presentation and Q&A. If you have questions feel free to ask.

08-16-2014, 06:44 PM   #2
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I was also there. I was glad that we could walk around with the camera and try out different lenses.
I was pleasantly surprised that with the 55 mm lens, the combo was much lighter than I expected.

They also had a GR there that I played with too. I was impressed with it. Very compact, light, with a great sensor and features.

My thanks to Ace Photo for hosting the session. I hope they get some sales out it.

David
08-16-2014, 06:59 PM   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 38
Thank you for the event report.

When you refered to the low flash sync "problem" do you mean the 1/125sec max sync speed or something else?
And seeing as you have the two LS lenses did you get a chance to try them out on the Z? If so I am most interested to know how that went and if everything works as intended.

What was the crowd like that turned up to the event? When I went to the one in Sydney it was mostly working photographers from all different genres who had turned up to see if a medium format would be right for their business model.

Cheers
08-17-2014, 09:25 AM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 485
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Dreamsong Quote
Thank you for the event report.
You bet. Not much to really report, wish there was more.

QuoteQuote:
When you refered to the low flash sync "problem" do you mean the 1/125sec max sync speed or something else?
Yes, that.
QuoteQuote:
And seeing as you have the two LS lenses did you get a chance to try them out on the Z? If so I am most interested to know how that went and if everything works as intended.
I did not use them there, but have done experiments at home, and yes they do work---it's all manual all the time, so there's experimentation involved and dialing -in, but it works for sure. But they are slow shooters, needing cocking every time, so no multi-frames per second, even at the Z's rate of speed. Of course lots of strobes will be taxed, too, at higher FPS. Find them if you need them. They're rare birds, but not really pricey.

QuoteQuote:
What was the crowd like that turned up to the event? When I went to the one in Sydney it was mostly working photographers from all different genres who had turned up to see if a medium format would be right for their business model.

Cheers
I wasn't really kidding about the crowd in my post---there were a couple of pros there, but they seemed low-grade. I think the comparisons between Australia and the U.S. are very imperfect, and there is maybe no comparison between Sydney and the very oddly provincial Washington DC, especially the northern Virginia suburbs where ACE is located. There would be few pros in the DC area I would think that would be interested in this camera---the sort of pro work that dominates there is journalism and events (including weddings), so, a fast shooting DSLR crowd. I would think working pros interested in this camera would be more into the fashion, architecture, and product photography genres. The DC area oddly is not a hotbed of good/interesting architecture except the historical stuff, there's no fashion (it's been said: "Washington is Hollywood for the unattractive."), and no manufacturing---although I suppose there's food and marketing photography. NYC and LA would maybe better correspond to Sydney. Just my thoughts, could be entirely wrong.

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