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11-11-2014, 03:15 AM   #1
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Now the 'Z' has been out a while, how does the 'D' compare?

I asked a similar question a good few months ago, but I think it was too early to get properly considered views, so I'd like to know the opinions/views of those of you who have experienced both cameras.

From reading around I would expect to get lots of plus points for the 'Z' in terms of handling and high ISO capabilities, but my interests are mainly Landscape, with the possibility of some Weddings in the future, so the basics of high image quality are what I'm most interested in. Is the 'Z' really that much better than the 'D' in their basic functions?

11-11-2014, 07:37 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by LennyBloke Quote
I asked a similar question a good few months ago, but I think it was too early to get properly considered views, so I'd like to know the opinions/views of those of you who have experienced both cameras.

From reading around I would expect to get lots of plus points for the 'Z' in terms of handling and high ISO capabilities, but my interests are mainly Landscape, with the possibility of some Weddings in the future, so the basics of high image quality are what I'm most interested in. Is the 'Z' really that much better than the 'D' in their basic functions?
Well, I too am interested. Mainly because all that buzz about how the CCD sensors would remain superior at base ISO vs the new CMOS seems to have totally evaporated.
11-11-2014, 08:23 AM   #3
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It is odd that there have not been any responses. I guess the camera is so expensive that there are very few users so far, especially ones with experience of both the Z and D.
11-11-2014, 10:00 AM   #4
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I've owned the D and presently own the Z, but I'm not sure how much my opinion would really matter; I'm a semi-advanced amateur.

For me, both camera's files are excellent, but I do prefer the P645D's colors out of camera over the Z, but everything else is in favor of the Z. The high ISO ability of the Z is outstanding; handheld photos are far more possible, whereas I always felt the P645D was at home on the tripod. The AF is better, liveview is a huge benefit & everything like tethering that comes with it. I still find myself using mirror lockup and the tripod, and maybe I've been trained by the 645D, but I think both cameras are helping me improve the quality of my pictures.

But, all that said, a used D can be had for under $4000 and it's still a great camera. I wouldn't hesitate if that was your budget. If I still owned the D knowing what I know now, I would probably keep it. The Z is better at handheld work, but I feel with either camera I would want a specialized DLSR for wildlife and such. The Z can do it, but it's just not as good at it, IMO, and that's more about the system than either camera.

11-11-2014, 10:03 AM   #5
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Not sure if this helps or not, but it's worth a read:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/48-pentax-medium-format/273514-past-10k-m...er-review.html
11-11-2014, 06:47 PM   #6
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I owned a D and now have a Z. The D was, and is amazing, perhaps even slightly more ergonomically pleasing than the Z, which is just a bit busy with buttons/controls. I'm a landscape shooter so nuances and differences that might be critical for portraiture or wedding photographers, are somewhat irrelevant to me. In film days there were far more differences among film stocks than the differences, real or imagined, between the D and Z sensors. Above ISO 400 it isn't a contest, the Z walks away. I also thought my D was capable of wringing out just about all my legacy lenses could deliver but I've found to my pleasant surprise that I'm seeing even more detail with the Z.

I also had a K3 as backup but regardless of weight/bulk issues, for landscapes/nature (no animals) I found myself not using the K3, so I sold it. I use a GH4 primarily for video and occasional stills and an Olympus ZX1 P&S that I can carry with me everywhere and not worry about the loss too much if it should get stolen. As for the Z, it's simply an amazing value.
11-12-2014, 01:15 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Femtometer Quote
I've owned the D and presently own the Z, but I'm not sure how much my opinion would really matter....
Your comments matter to me - what I'm looking for is real-world differences, not just somebody preaching that the Z is the best thing since sliced bread. You've pointed out where the Z is better, but also acknowledged where the D is still a contender. Thank You.

---------- Post added 11-12-2014 at 08:21 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by CDW Quote
... I'm a landscape shooter so nuances and differences that might be critical for portraiture or wedding photographers, are somewhat irrelevant to me. In film days there were far more differences among film stocks than the differences, real or imagined, between the D and Z sensors. Above ISO 400 it isn't a contest, the Z walks away. I also thought my D was capable of wringing out just about all my legacy lenses could deliver but I've found to my pleasant surprise that I'm seeing even more detail with the Z.....
Thanks to you also, I still have the mindset that Landscapes are usually shot at low ISO, so although the high ISO capabilities of the Z are unspeakably superior it appear the D is still relevant in its limited way.

Thanks to Narual for the link too

Last edited by LennyBloke; 11-12-2014 at 01:22 AM.
11-12-2014, 06:18 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by LennyBloke Quote
Your comments matter to me - what I'm looking for is real-world differences, not just somebody preaching that the Z is the best thing since sliced bread. You've pointed out where the Z is better, but also acknowledged where the D is still a contender. Thank You.

---------- Post added 11-12-2014 at 08:21 AM ----------



Thanks to you also, I still have the mindset that Landscapes are usually shot at low ISO, so although the high ISO capabilities of the Z are unspeakably superior it appear the D is still relevant in its limited way.

Thanks to Narual for the link too
Just info to you if you are considering buying used D, that D has shutter rated to 50000. That is not much (for me).
But the sound from it is awesome, more punchy, more metallic (also less discreete) :-)
Z has many features you will love and it is worth every penny.

11-12-2014, 06:22 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by LennyBloke Quote
I still have the mindset that Landscapes are usually shot at low ISO, so although the high ISO capabilities of the Z are unspeakably superior it appear the D is still relevant in its limited way.
Well, yes in daylight. I've been shooting right now after twilight and the onset of night. Going for a Whistler Nocturne or Pictorialist (Steichen, in this case) vibe sort of thing. Or Porter, but in the dark. I've been experimenting with various ISO's to find a sweet spot between shutter speed, aperture, and the ISO. Needing a higher aperture for most of these shots (so far, we'll see...) means f8 and smaller with medium format. That starts slowing down the shutter speed into the seconds range with low ISO's---not a problem on the tripod, but a problem if there is any breeze, even the lightest one, on the leaves over time, if I want to have them be still, which is an open question right now as I feel my way around this new series.

So, there are situations where the Z's higher ISO's are very handy in landscape shooting.

BTW, to everyone: my hilarious new "problem" with my Z night shots is.....too much light! Just shaking my head....

I'll post one once I get the processing down for them, although these are the sorts of things that need to be a print (and a large one at that) to "read right". They'll look only so-so or even poor on screen.
11-13-2014, 03:31 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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There are many times when a landscape shooter has no choice but to shoot handheld. I shoot landscapes and cityscapes and there are occasions when tripods aren't allowed or practical. I shot this shot in Dublin in a walkway where using a tripod would have been inconsiderate and would actually have affected the shot negatively:

This is shot at 3200 ISO which the D wouldn't have been able to do:



Much of the shooting I was doing in Ireland was handheld because I was limited on time, plus the light was constantly changing due to a very showery day - very common in UK and Ireland - but the light was fantastic. I do quite like the flow of shooting handheld and the majority of what I shoot is handheld. Now I have very steady hands and have been able to shoot handheld at 1/15 with no camera shake with lenses without VR/IS/OS. I use tripods mainly when I am using my Lee Filters. So yes, this does mean that I often don't shoot at base ISO, but the Z has the capability to deal with this. There was still detail in the shadows of the shot above that I could pull out, so great DR even at 3200 ISO. I also was shooting at -1 EV to protect the highlights.

The D is a great camera - I had one before the Z. I had a tendency to take a D800 out with me as well as the D, often using the Nikon more because of being able to handhold more. I bought a D800E as well, and used that more than either. I haven't actually used the D800E since i bought the Z. I always preferred the files of the 645D over the D800E, but I found the D800E more practical. The changes with the Z have changed all that. I've sold my original D800 and the D, and will hang on to the D800E and I have the lens system from 14 - 24, 24 - 70 70 - 200 f/4 Macro 200 f/4 and 300 f/4 plus the excellent Zeiss 35 f/2. I've learned the lesson of only having one system with me when I went to the Lake District with just the D and the sensor developed a fault.

The Z is a stupendous camera. I'm looking at taking a course or two to help me get more out of it, as I think my work is good, but I think it could sparkle more. Look at MikeSF's work to see what you can already get from the D. Also Ryan's work too. But don't assume that all landscape work needs to be on a tripod. I like to be mobile and raise my camera to my eye regularly. Where tripod work and the Z come together is on live view.
11-13-2014, 09:06 PM   #11
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itshimitis' reply above is as good a one as you could ask for, in terms of how the Z adds enormous versatility to the landscape shooter. Add to that interiors, architecture, still life, and more.
11-17-2014, 04:31 AM   #12
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I'd nearly convinced myself it was time to go for a 'D', but then itshimitis posts a shot that is quite typical of the sort of thing I like to shoot and reminds me that the 'D' wouldn't have coped

If I could actually commit to doing weddings again then I could justify a 'Z' but I've not taken that step yet.

From the comments I've read I would probably sum up the 'D' as "Great", but the 'Z' is "Great" with more flexibility and usability
12-04-2014, 05:46 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgdb Quote
Just info to you if you are considering buying used D, that D has shutter rated to 50000. That is not much (for me).
But the sound from it is awesome, more punchy, more metallic (also less discreete) :-)
Z has many features you will love and it is worth every penny.
they have stretched the range of the 645z over the D, but since mine is for fun not profit, i'll stick with the D and it's shortcomings.
12-04-2014, 02:11 PM - 1 Like   #14
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I have to shoot handheld with my 645D quite often, too, because I like the light of sun and clouds changing quickly. But up to now this was rarely an issue. Typically I can leave it at ISO 200 (Minimum with Highlight protection), sometimes I have to go up to 400. That's still no Problem.
I remember doing hand held shots at much less light, too. But using the 55mm SDM, I had quite good success rate at 1/15. Yes, they are not as sharp as using a tripod when checking at 100%, but still good enough for a 18x24" print. There are two methods to achieve this: Using the two seconds self timer, or suing the continiuous mode with 3 shots, throwing away the first shot in almost all cases, that one is blured because it contains the shaking of pressing the shutter.


1/15 together with ISO 800 is quite a lot. And for emergency cases, even up to 1600 might be OK with the 645D. I had the choice: Upgrade to 645Z or get a second 645D as backup. I Chose the second one. To understand this, you have to know that here in Switzerland, they don't do any repairs for the medium Format. They snd all of them to Hamburg, in Germany. Just the shipping part in two directions takes 3 to 4 weeks. And in Hambrug, they do the common things. If it is more diffult (for example, camera fell down, a lot of things to replace), they thend to send it from Hamburg to Japan - then back to Hamburg, then back to Switzerland. Happend to me with my 645N. Took 3 months. I don't want to be without any digital 645 in case it falls on the ground.
12-09-2014, 08:44 AM   #15
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The "D" is fully the match of the "Z" in IQ at ISO 100 and 200 (but not better imho). Handling-wise and in all other respects, the "Z" is a better camera, being three-to-four years newer. If you would ever have considered buying a Hassy H4D-40, then a "D" is great value for you. If they ever get down to around $3000 US, they will be a steal.
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