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12-29-2014, 03:51 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Pentax 645D vs 645Z

This topic is most likely beaten to death, and I apologize for starting it as an introductory sort of thread on these forums. To keep it short, recently I've bought the Pentax 645z (kit with the 55mm) new as well as used:

- 35mm 3.5 (mint, one dust spec behind the rear element) - 600e
- 45-85mm 4.5 (mint, minor discoloration on the hood mount) - 600e
- 85-160mm (mint) - 650e
- 200mm - 250e
- 90mm macro - 1500e

Got the Metz 64 A-F1 digital for pentax and the remote.

As a nikon user, I'm already used to the sony sensor technology (own 800/810 bodies) so the 645z is the only rational upgrade and only currently available technology that's a step up from the best DSLRs. Everything said about the Z is true, it's a hand-holdable marvel of a camera which is hard to fault really. But I'll reserve judgment and form an opinion after using for at least 6 months. What I'd like to point out is the actual difference between the Z and the D.

Namely, before splurging the funds for the Z, I've actually bought a mint, 2400 actuation D model for 2500E with a minor scuff on the LCD. I've used it for 2 days and took available light pictures, most of which on a tripod and almost all on base ISO (200 I believe, I didn't know if ISO 100 is base or one of the expanded modes that's why I kept it at the default 200. The upper limit was 1000 on the camera before enabling expansion).

What I've came to conclude, watching the pictures now from both cameras, is that at base ISO the picture from the D is better, organic like. I can't actually give a proper analogy but if anyone had a plasma TV and then switched to a good LCD one, if you're a perfectionist you'd most likely like the colors/tonality of the plasma panel. There's that magic which is hard to describe. The grain pattern, the contrast, it has something special.

Now, for everything else, shot-to-shot time, handheld use, high-iso use, I mean everything but base ISO, the Z is a night and day difference.

Unfortunately, the D is now 1400km away from where I live and the store doesn't have an online order form, but I kinda regret returning the used D. I would probably buy it to use it alongside the Z and only for rare, special tripod occasions.

A random snap with the camera sitting on a table aimed at a random chair..



12-29-2014, 06:17 PM   #2
Ole
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I have used the "D" as well as the "Z" and agree that the "D" images have some magic to them. I believe that what you have experienced is the difference between a CCD sensor and a CMOS sensor. Unfortunately the CCD sensor technology lost out to CMOS due to among other things noise and the slow read speed (the slow burst rate of the "D" was due to the sensor that couldn't spit out its data faster than 1.1 fps).

We had a similar discussion when the Pentax APS-C sensor DSLRs switched from CCD to CMOS and that discussion also had some merit.

Technology moves forward, not always to the better in all aspects.
12-29-2014, 06:27 PM   #3
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Beta / VHS?
12-29-2014, 06:44 PM   #4
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I still have a ist DL and a K10D for that very reason. I do have the K5iiS, wonderful camera as well, but I have only used it once for a softball shoot. I guess I really should put it up for sale one of these days.

I already shoot the Pentax 645Nii, but when I step to digital it will be the 645D.

BTW - if you are about to tell me there is no difference, don't bother. I have already been told that by a lot of people, but the difference does exist in my eyes.


Last edited by Pioneer; 12-29-2014 at 06:50 PM.
12-29-2014, 06:57 PM   #5
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Interesting. Thanks for the post.
12-30-2014, 01:21 AM   #6
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I will say that I look back on some of my 645D images and they have a certain pop that the Z images lack, but the Z if far more usable for accurate focus, image review and the files have almost endless latitude for adjustment before falling apart.

Makes for a better experience all up.

I have just created custom profiles for ISO 100 through 6400 for the Z and they make a difference, a must for a camera of this level.
12-30-2014, 02:42 AM   #7
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One trick pony

645D with it's slow response/write speed and shot-to-shot time, 50k shutter life (presumably) nowadays is a one-trick-pony almost, a camera that should be used at base iso. As such, on a tripod, for long exposures or landscapes is really viable especially bought used in a good condition as a second body. But considering contenders such as the Nikon D810 which are new at that price, who knows how smart of a decision is to keep or buy a D nowadays.
12-30-2014, 06:54 PM   #8
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wha? really?
You just convinced me to keep my D.


12-30-2014, 09:23 PM   #9
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What 2351HD says. You need to have both.
12-31-2014, 12:30 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikeSF Quote
wha? really?
You just convinced me to keep my D.
Mike, there is a big BUT to all of this. When you look at a properly focussed Z image at 100%, the detail is astonishing and blows the D away in my view, you just go WOW.

But the processing latitude it there.

For the night work that you do with your 645D, the Z is amazing for that and wont disappoint.
12-31-2014, 12:38 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Both taken with the Z. The Tree is the 28-45 and the Bridge with the 55.
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PENTAX 645Z  Photo 
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PENTAX 645Z  Photo 
12-31-2014, 01:27 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote
...

For the night work that you do with your 645D, the Z is amazing for that and wont disappoint.
well that is good to know. I will upgrade eventually but given that I always shoot at ISO100 and do not need burst, video, nor AF points, the specs of the Z so far haven't convinced me there would be any real improvement for my type of shooting, except for the Live View and fold out screen.

---------- Post added 12-31-2014 at 12:28 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote
Both taken with the Z. The Tree is the 28-45 and the Bridge with the 55.
lovely!
at this size, however, I cannot see any difference in what I can get with the D.
12-31-2014, 08:03 AM - 1 Like   #13
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Try this: in LR5 create a local adjustment brush with clarity only, set middle-strong, but with low flow, and work it over the areas you think lack "snap". Also de-sat them slightly if they are skin tones, and/or drop global red saturation a few points.

After spending a few hours contemplating side-by-side comparison shots between the "Z" and an H4D-60, I came to the conclusion that much of the 'CCD thing' has to do with a certain specularity the CCD renders. After hours of play, I found I could make the "Z" file virtually match, though I have yet to produce a curve which exactly emulates the CCD at base ISO. Pretty sure it's possible, pretty sure it's beyond my skills or concern.

Another suggestion: try some of the excellent film preset from outfits like VSCO. Dial down the effects on modern C-41 emulations and you may find it matches the CCD better, or that it matches the 'film feel' everyone goes on about better.

Data is just data. The art is in the massage....

- N.
01-03-2015, 01:35 PM - 1 Like   #14
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Very helpful LR brush trick, Nick! Thank you! I have found this trick (boost clarity - and sharpness - with low flow brush), reduce red channel a touch for skin tones, has done the trick to make my CMOS files "match" my CCD files a bit more. There's still the matter of "pixel architecture" (not sure that's even a word) that seems more organic with CCD, but then again, who knows...it's close enough, with the benefits that the CMOS sensor provides.
01-09-2015, 01:43 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ashwinrao1 Quote
Very helpful LR brush trick, Nick! Thank you! I have found this trick (boost clarity - and sharpness - with low flow brush), reduce red channel a touch for skin tones, has done the trick to make my CMOS files "match" my CCD files a bit more. There's still the matter of "pixel architecture" (not sure that's even a word) that seems more organic with CCD, but then again, who knows...it's close enough, with the benefits that the CMOS sensor provides.
Hi Ashwin, I remember your 645D review on Steve's site, are you still using your 645 system?

It was your review that got me into the 645D, cheers.

Scott
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