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02-21-2015, 03:39 PM   #1
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Hand holding 645D?

Is hand holding this clunky beast doable and if so is it the Pentax equivalent of riding a donkey from Birmingham to Brisbane (and back again). What is the minimum shutter speed and highest ISO combo you would risk for a hand held portrait in subdued light with for example the 80mm f2.8 lens?

02-21-2015, 03:54 PM   #2
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It's definitely doable, but only as a last resort in my opinion. With a lens like that I'd try to keep the shutter speed at 1/250s or higher. The 645Z is technically better for hand-onlying thanks to its high-ISO capabilities (even ISO 12800 is safe to use), but IMO you may as well use an APS-C or FF camera if you don't plan on using a tripod, as you'll be putting the 645D's added resolution to waste.

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02-21-2015, 04:48 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
you'll be putting the 645D's added resolution to waste.
this makes sense even to me but am not sure what you mean about wasting the added resolution? Do you mean the amount of camera shake will most likely be such that it is noticable unless you view the image at a similar size to one made with an APS-C or FF camera? If this is the case then it would not be a bad thing as it would mean with one camera one could both have as good a hand held image as with a FF and also the option to mount the camera on a tripod and get the full benefit of the later sensor? Or is this poppycock?
02-21-2015, 05:32 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by windhorse Quote
Do you mean the amount of camera shake will most likely be such that it is noticable unless you view the image at a similar size to one made with an APS-C or FF camera?
More or less, yeah. Plus, remember that there's no stabilization except with a select few lenses. Depending on the degree of camera shake/instability, you might get results equivalent to a camera with much lower resolution. You should try it out yourself to see what I mean.

There are plenty of samples on this page both hand-held and on a tripod that you can compare:
Pentax 645Z Review - Sample Photos | PentaxForums.com Reviews

At shutter speeds around 1/180s-1/250s, photos taken with the 25mm and 55mm looked fine, but a 1/500s 200mm photo had noticeable camera shake. As I said before, I wouldn't recommend hand-holding a medium format camera except as a last resort.


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02-21-2015, 06:02 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I photographed many times with the 645D hand held, and I enjoyed it a lot. Having said that, I do enjoy shooting the 645Z this way a little more, simply because it's more responsive, and the greater range of ISO provides more exposure options in available light. Either way, I wouldn't call it "last resort". If David Burnett could shoot the 2012 Olympics with a 4x5 Speed Graphic hand held, then I guess we can photograph hand held with a Pentax 645 digital rig.

Most of my photography is done on a tripod, but I grew tired of carrying multiple systems awhile ago. I'm slowly divesting everything outside of my Pentax 645 kit. So if I want to shoot indoor candids, street, events, wildlife or whatever else, the Pentax is what I reach for because it's the camera system I want to photograph with, and most often I don't have any other "large" system available. (I do have a Sony pocket camera, and a camera phone.) If you use anything enough, you tend to get good at using it to its maximum potential, within whatever relative strengths & weaknesses it has.

Depending on lens, available light, shooting technique, etc. the D (or Z) may or may not produce the highest resolution / lowest noise images of which the camera is capable. That might be perfectly fine; not all photographs need the highest level of technical quality to achieve the purpose.

Maximum ISO is whatever I need for the exposure I want. Noise tolerance is a personal choice. Though normally I preferred a lower ISO, I shot up to ISO 1600 on the D many times with results usable for what I needed. I try to do more or less the rule of thumb of keeping the shutter speed at or above the reciprocal of the focal length. With the caveat that this rule of thumb is from 35mm full frame equivalent focal lengths, and assumes no stabilization. And the further caveat that sometimes blur, very shallow depth-of-field, or other characteristics are creative choices rather than flaws...
02-21-2015, 06:06 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
More or less, yeah. Plus, remember that there's no stabilization except with a select few lenses. Depending on the degree of camera shake/instability, you might get results equivalent to a camera with much lower resolution. You should try it out yourself to see what I mean.

There are plenty of samples on this page both hand-held and on a tripod that you can compare:
Pentax 645Z Review - Sample Photos | PentaxForums.com Reviews

At shutter speeds around 1/180s-1/250s, photos taken with the 25mm and 55mm looked fine, but a 1/500s 200mm photo had noticeable camera shake. As I said before, I wouldn't recommend hand-holding a medium format camera except as a last resort.
better save my pennies for the upcoming FF then,

as it is sure to be CCD.....not

maybe if lucky the price of the Z will also be effected and go down a bit by then

meanwhile probably 2 cameras in the hand (small for hand hold and larger for tripod) is probably better than one in the bush, yes.

---------- Post added 02-21-15 at 06:10 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Royce Howland Quote
I grew tired of carrying multiple systems awhile ago.
+1
but does not this also mean getting used to living with what you miss out on by not doing so?

one attraction of the 645D is it was the closest one could get to MF image quality with DSLR ergonomics, even though at that time it was so expensive not everyone could buy one. Now that crown appears to be taken over by the 645Z, also so expensive not everybody can buy one, whereas the price of the used 645D is coming down to about the same level as a top end FF DSLR.

Last edited by windhorse; 02-21-2015 at 06:13 PM.
02-21-2015, 06:33 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by windhorse Quote
but does not this also mean getting used to living with what you miss out on by not doing so?
Yes, sometimes that's entirely true. Then I just set the camera aside and enjoy the experience.

Other times it means taking a different kind of photograph in a situation due to the different characteristics of the camera I have with me. That's why I said things like blur or shallow DOF sometimes can be creative choices rather than flaws. If I can't get a high-res, razor-sharp, noise-free, front-to-back-DOF shot in a situation, maybe I can get a creatively blurred, grainy, shallow-DOF photo at a respectable 11x14 or 8x10 print resolution. Not everything has to be pushed to the N'th degree by using a camera system tailor made to a certain style of photography.

Obviously I chose the Pentax 645 digital kit for some unique strong points it has. But that doesn't mean there's a narrow band of suitable uses for the camera, or that I use it only in situations where those strengths are the only things that matter. I'll photograph with my 645's anywhere and everywhere I possibly can...

Last edited by Royce Howland; 02-21-2015 at 08:51 PM.
02-21-2015, 06:47 PM   #8
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I doubt the price of the Z will drop anytime soon. It's already extremely competitive and it seems that enough people are willing to pay the price. With that said, a small incentive at one point or another certainly wouldn't hurt, for instance a kit/lens bundle rebate.


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02-21-2015, 07:59 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I doubt the price of the Z will drop anytime soon. It's already extremely competitive and it seems that enough people are willing to pay the price. With that said, a small incentive at one point or another certainly wouldn't hurt, for instance a kit/lens bundle rebate.
If by soon you mean this year I agree.

But would you not have said the same about the 645D two years ago?

2015: Today B&H $4499

2013: $6,996

Original price at launch $9,995

02-22-2015, 05:12 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Royce Howland Quote
Yes, sometimes that's entirely true. Then I just set the camera aside and enjoy the experience.

Other times it means taking a different kind of photograph in a situation due to the different characteristics of the camera I have with me. That's why I said things like blur or shallow DOF sometimes can be creative choices rather than flaws. If I can't get a high-res, razor-sharp, noise-free, front-to-back-DOF shot in a situation, maybe I can get a creatively blurred, grainy, shallow-DOF photo at a respectable 11x14 or 8x10 print resolution. Not everything has to be pushed to the N'th degree by using a camera system tailor made to a certain style of photography.

Obviously I chose the Pentax 645 digital kit for some unique strong points it has. But that doesn't mean there's a narrow band of suitable uses for the camera, or that I use it only in situations where those strengths are the only things that matter. I'll photograph with my 645's anywhere and everywhere I possibly can...
Fully agree; where can I put my signature?
02-22-2015, 05:19 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I handhold many of my shots and did with the D as well as the Z.

There are two factors in my opinion. To handhold a high resolution camera and get pinsharp images at 100% you need to master a good handholding technique and use your breathing also to ensure your body is as still as it can be. I've used shutter speeds below the focal length equivalent and still got pin sharp results. It's more difficult with the D than the Z as the frame rate is much lower, but often you can take three frames in a row using good technique and you will find that the 2nd is often the sharpest.

Secondly, it depends whether you want to pixel peep or print your images. There isn't (yet) a monitor where you can look at your images at full resolution without pixel peeping. If you are printing then you can see in full resolution if you have a printer that will print it at highest quality. At this point viewing distance comes into play. To truly enjoy a large shot do you look at it with your nose touching the print or put it on your wall and admire it from a more appropriate distance? Henri Cartier Bresson famously said : "Sharpness is a bourgeois concept". I think we get too obsessed in the modern digital world about sharpness. How many great shots with atmosphere are deleted because they aren't pin-sharp at 100%? I would hazard a guess at too many.

Of course there is a tipping point when there is too much movement, but I don't think we should obsess about always using a tripod as that is too simplistic. Sometimes you will miss a shot with quickly changing light by using a tripod or hesitate to take it because of the effort of removing your pack and getting the tripod set up. I will frequently frame up handheld and see what shutter speeds I get. With the Z I can usually afford to underexpose a bit because of the dynamic range - except with blue skies as then the horror of posterisation comes into play.

If using the tripod means you wouldn't have taken the shot, then shoot handheld. Learn good camera holding technique and use any solid supports near you to help keep things steady. If you have a shot that has the emotion and atmosphere that you wanted, but it's not quite pin sharp, don't delete it. Think about the viewing distance, NOT the resolution. Too many images (including my own) stay locked away in a computer. Obsessing about sharpness isn't going to get them released from the prison that is the hard drive.

Last edited by itshimitis; 02-22-2015 at 05:23 AM. Reason: How did mac turn frames into thrombus???
02-22-2015, 07:42 AM   #12
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Hi!
Since I bought my 645D (almost 1 year ago) I have used it handheld only, except for when shooting when dark, e.g. dusk and dawn. Practise makes perfect. 😉
02-22-2015, 08:41 AM   #13
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Re: handheld shooting. Sure, because sometimes absolute sharpness isn't the be-all and end-all of photography. However, to maximize resolution it's 1/3x focal length.

- N.
02-22-2015, 12:12 PM   #14
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I've used the D for a short while before switching to the Z, and both cameras are fairly easy to hand hold, the Z is just more so because you set ISO to auto and forget about it. In good daylight I got very crisp images from the D shooting at 1/125th with the 55mm, and on the Z nothing has changed because the higher resolution has been offset by a smoother mirror and shutter action. If shooting moving subjects with the 55, I'd recommend more like 1/250th SS to be absolutely sure.

If we figure camera shake as a factor of linear or angular displacement of the camera+lens in space, then the amount of shake should be inversely proportional to the size of the sensor if we keep resolution the same, or relative to the pixel pitch to be precise.
The 645D has a pixel density equivalent to a 23.5MP full-frame 35mm sensor, so it should require a bit more care to hand hold than a 5D3, but less than a D800, and the same would go for the Z as well, since it's only equivalent to 30.5MP FF. This is of course assuming that your hands shake the same amount holding all cameras and that they have a roughly identical amount of mechanical vibration.
02-22-2015, 12:54 PM   #15
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Hmmm.... maybe I ought get a shoe box, fill it up with sand, paint it black, stick an old enlarger lens on the front and go chase an ambulance then come home, get a cup of strong coffee and figure out if I should pixel peep or not? It sounds like a LOT depends on who is holding the camera though good to learn from you guys factors such as pixel pitch, focal length and shutter speed and concerns about image quality (why else buy a 645D) limit what can be done to last resort or non-bourgeois photography that is perhaps an oxymoron.

Anyway enough BS!!

Two practical questions:
1) What percentage of your 645D keepers do you shoot hand held rather than on a tripod?
2) Do you have another camera you use instead of your 645D for hand held shooting?



Last edited by windhorse; 02-22-2015 at 05:39 PM.
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