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04-13-2015, 03:44 PM   #1
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645D or 645Z for rent/hire

I likely was just given a slightly short notice opportunity to spend about 12 days in Scotland at the end of May - beginning of June. 95%+ of what I shoot are B&W landscapes with the other 5% being random wildlife, color, cityscapes, etc. My primary camera is a Canon 6D, but if you've seen any of my recent posts I picked up a 645N in January to explore medium format and film. I'm hoping to acquire a 645D in 2016 (assuming they are still readily available), but am curious if it would benefit me to spend the extra $30 US to have the 645Z for the entire trip.

I know the basic differences are CCD vs CMOS which equates to no video and no LiveView, but while LV is helpful at times, it certainly isn't a requirement. AF isn't an issue as almost 100% of what I shoot is MF and I'll probably stick with my DSLR for any wildlife shooting I stumble upon. File sizes also aren't an issue, the 40MP files from the 'D' are plenty big and I can easily handle the 51MP 'Z' files.

Basically I know that I will be perfectly happy with the 'D' (based on paper specs), but since the rental price difference is basically negligible, I was wondering what your thoughts were about renting the 'Z' instead.

I currently own the 45mm & 75mm A lenses, will be acquiring the 150mm A and will be renting the 35mm FA lens (to compensate for the "crop factor" of the digital camera). And as I mentioned above the use of this camera would be nearly 100% B&W landscapes, with the occasional color photo of probably a sunrise or sunset. I've certainly done research on all the products involved, but since I've never physically held either camera I was wondering what your thoughts here would be about carrying the two. Conventional wisdom states that since I desire to own the 'D' I should rent that to try it out, but on the other hand part of renting is getting our hands on that which we cannot own.

Thanks in advance, and I hope this isn't too poorly received.

04-13-2015, 06:14 PM   #2
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Alternatively, does anyone here know if there are locals stores in Edinburgh that offer a D or Z for hire?
04-13-2015, 07:14 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fr3nzy Photography Quote
I likely was just given a slightly short notice opportunity to spend about 12 days in Scotland at the end of May - beginning of June. 95%+ of what I shoot are B&W landscapes with the other 5% being random wildlife, color, cityscapes, etc. My primary camera is a Canon 6D, but if you've seen any of my recent posts I picked up a 645N in January to explore medium format and film. I'm hoping to acquire a 645D in 2016 (assuming they are still readily available), but am curious if it would benefit me to spend the extra $30 US to have the 645Z for the entire trip.

I know the basic differences are CCD vs CMOS which equates to no video and no LiveView, but while LV is helpful at times, it certainly isn't a requirement. AF isn't an issue as almost 100% of what I shoot is MF and I'll probably stick with my DSLR for any wildlife shooting I stumble upon. File sizes also aren't an issue, the 40MP files from the 'D' are plenty big and I can easily handle the 51MP 'Z' files.

Basically I know that I will be perfectly happy with the 'D' (based on paper specs), but since the rental price difference is basically negligible, I was wondering what your thoughts were about renting the 'Z' instead.

I currently own the 45mm & 75mm A lenses, will be acquiring the 150mm A and will be renting the 35mm FA lens (to compensate for the "crop factor" of the digital camera). And as I mentioned above the use of this camera would be nearly 100% B&W landscapes, with the occasional color photo of probably a sunrise or sunset. I've certainly done research on all the products involved, but since I've never physically held either camera I was wondering what your thoughts here would be about carrying the two. Conventional wisdom states that since I desire to own the 'D' I should rent that to try it out, but on the other hand part of renting is getting our hands on that which we cannot own.

Thanks in advance, and I hope this isn't too poorly received.
I do not own either camera. However, I have had a chance to try both. Other than the obvious higher resolution of the Z, which is significant, the two cameras in my opinion are two different animals. The Z is much more responsive. I am seriously considering the Z for purchase. Yes the price difference is substantial but so is the quality of the images and the camera itself. I will be selling the images I create with the camera so the higher initial acquisition price quickly becomes a non issue.
04-13-2015, 11:34 PM   #4
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I owned a D and now the Z. I would suggest the Z. It's higher ISO performance will allow you to handhold under lower light conditions, if necessary. The ability of the Z to pull up detail out of shadow areas or push in post when the file is underexposed, is extraordinary. Plus about 2 EV more dynamic range than the D. Faster file processing. Too many pros vs cons, in my opinion, not to go for the Z. Rent the Z in the US, get the insurance, and take it with you. Years ago I rented a SONY a900 for a trip to Patagonia and the rental company had no problem with it.

04-14-2015, 04:53 AM   #5
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Having owned/used both, I definitely suggest the Z, especially if the price difference for renting one is negligible. The handling of the two cameras weighs heavily in favor of the Z as it's so much faster and smoother in operation. With the D anything you do you have to wait forever for it to finish processing. Want to chimp a shot? better wait 3+ seconds, and when you're always on the move, this feels like forever. The Z also features on-sensor dust reduction, which seems suitable for trips with regular lens swapping, and the fact that the legacy Pentax glass isn't weather sealed.

In terms of exposure, both cameras also handle differently due to the sensors, the D you ETTR as per usual with any normal digital camera, while the Z you try to avoid over-exposing even a bit. To give you an example, in the image fragment below, the left side is how I shoot, and on the right in how much you can expect to push the shadows. On the D I would likely have had to bracket shots and do exposure blending.



And here is a 100% crop of the central portion, I shot this hand-held and corrected verticals in Photoshop, so it's not as sharp as it could've been.

Last edited by Kolor-Pikker; 04-14-2015 at 05:01 AM.
04-14-2015, 12:29 PM   #6
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I'm going to go against the grain and recommend the D because the Z outperforms it in every way without introducing any new sins. Why the counterintuitive advice? Because you'll never be satisfied with a D after using the Z.
04-15-2015, 02:25 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by robertchow999 Quote
I'm going to go against the grain and recommend the D because the Z outperforms it in every way without introducing any new sins. Why the counterintuitive advice? Because you'll never be satisfied with a D after using the Z.
Not sure if the way you worded your advice is going against the grain

My reasoning is that since OP is doing a specific project within a limited timeframe while traveling, it would be best to eliminate any possibilities of failing to capture the needed images, otherwise it's just rote tourism. Being able to zoom in 16x via live view to triple-check your focus will come in handy for landscapes, while on the D you either depend on the autofocus or setting hyperfocal distance to get everything in, guesswork in other words.

But, seeing as OP is shooting in Scotland, a lack of dynamic range will hardly be detrimental as everything will likely be gray, just don't expect to shoot hand-held below ISO400~800.
04-15-2015, 02:46 PM   #8
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Hey guys, thanks for the advice. Honestly, I assumed most people were going to say something along the lines of "If you plan to purchase the D, rent the D." Obviously I get that the Z outperforms it in pretty much every respect for my intended use, and you all have certainly made the case in support of renting the Z.

Given that I shoot film on a 645n, I'm fairly used to not having LiveView or even a review afterwards. I'm thinking that since I'm mostly doing land/seascapes the lack of LiveView won't be too crucial since I will still have the ability to review my shots. My next question, which could be the final deciding factor, is, can you zoom in on the image review on the 645D?

Thanks for the advice, you're certainly pushing me a bit more towards the 'Z' but I'm still listening if more folks want to chime in.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kolor-Pikker Quote
But, seeing as OP is shooting in Scotland, a lack of dynamic range will hardly be detrimental as everything will likely be gray, just don't expect to shoot hand-held below ISO400~800.
I really hope I luck out and this isn't too much the case. While I shoot/process almost exclusively in B&W, I enjoy colorful sights with my eyes!

04-15-2015, 10:28 PM   #9
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Yes, you can zoom in to review with the D.
04-19-2015, 03:24 PM   #10
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Calumet will rent the Z:

https://calumetrental.co.uk/pentax-645z-medium-format-digital-slr-body-55mm-lens

They have a branch in Glasgow. Lenses they will courier but not the body.
04-20-2015, 06:50 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Bassie Quote
I'm going to go totally against the grain and suggest you take the 645N and shoot film.
Shooting film in this day and age, may as well go straight for the bigger films sizes, like 67 to 4x5. Get superior results compared to digital cameras in some aspects if you're going to trouble yourself.
04-20-2015, 08:42 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Bassie Quote
I'm going to go totally against the grain and suggest you take the 645N and shoot film.
The 645n will absolutely, already be in my bag. Since I picked it up this past January, it has been with me right along side (and sometimes in place of) my DSLR. That being said, I don't want to have to rely on any one tool/camera while I'm traveling. Since I'm hoping to pick up a 645D/Z in 2016 to sit full-time in my kit, I'm hoping to use this as a perfect time to try before I buy. All the while, handily using the same lenses from my 645n kit.

Certainly an excellent suggestion, though!
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