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05-09-2015, 03:28 AM   #1
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645d for enthusiast?

Hello,
as I'm new to this forum, I'd like to introduce myself.
I'm Alex and from Germany...as there is no comparable forum in German I hope to gather a lot of information here.
I shoot almost landscape only, mostly from tripod, mirror lock-up, manual focus and stopped down to f8-16 on 35mm cameras.
I worked with 5dII and 6d for a couple of years now and enjoyed all the amenities of a chunky DSLR.

Now I found some second hand offers on the 645d for a little bit more than $3.000. So there would be a little bit more than $1.000 to invest in lenses.
I also found out that one could use the cheaper A/FA lenses to save some money - and now all of a sudden I'd like to upgrade.

I'm only an enthusiast photographer and have no need for higher resolution, I don't print photos larger than 50inch (usually).
But I still recognize the snappier pictures out of the 645d - even on the internet. As a complete setup could be the same price as the Canon Setup I need to rethink the situation.

I got a couple of questions and it would be awesome if you could help me:
1) Which A/FA Lenses are real bargains here?
I'm looking for 33-55 (Zoom); 80/90; 150; 250
2) What disadvantages will the 645d have over the 6d other than no live-view?
3) Is manual focus on the 645d as easy as I imagine at the moment? (big and bright viewfinder)
4) Last but not least I would be interested in your opinion wheather this upgrade makes sense to you or do you think I just went nuts here?

Thank you very much for welcoming and supporting a newcomer!

05-09-2015, 06:17 AM   #2
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Here is some information that you have asked about
1) Which A/FA Lenses are real bargains here? - I'm looking for 33-55 (Zoom); 80/90; 150; 250 - The forum has a very extensive lens database. Since the database has been started so long ago, and the reviewers have acquired their lenses much longer ago, the average prices are affected by this (folks may have bought 20 years ago). The best places for current prices are the completed sales at ebay and KEH.com.There has been a number of threads here on the Forum on 645 lenses. They are very good discussions. Use the search capability in the upper right hand corner of each of the pages. Just reading through the threads is an education.

As I understand it, the 35 (the widest lens available for a reasonable cost, 25mm for $5K) and the normal 75 are good lenses. Others will have better information. Also, with an adapter, you can use the Pentax 67 lenses. There are a couple of additional brands that can be adapted too. However the P645's registration distance it long so that eliminates a lot of other 645 brands (like Contax).


2) What disadvantages will the 645d have over the 6d other than no live-view? - Size, weight, you have a shift lens but no tilt lens.
3) Is manual focus on the 645d as easy as I imagine at the moment? (big and bright viewfinder) - The Pentax 645 is based on the hardware and software from the K5. So you also have focus confirmation, catch in focus, and the green button on the back that helps meter all manual lenses.
4) Last but not least I would be interested in your opinion wheather this upgrade makes sense to you or do you think I just went nuts here? - There are a number of folks here doing the same as you. I am sure that they will be along to add their experience and opinions.


Last edited by interested_observer; 05-09-2015 at 02:48 PM.
05-09-2015, 06:25 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by alex3985 Quote
1) Which A/FA Lenses are real bargains here?
The "most popular" list on this page sums things up pretty nicely:
Pentax 645 Medium Format Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

The A 120mm macro is among the best lenses, and the 75mm is of course a very cost-effective way to get started. The FA 150mm is good too, better than the FA 200mm. Later on as your budget allows, I would also recommend at least getting the D FA 55mm from among the new lenses. I personally don't recommend the older zooms because their image quality isn't up to par with modern offerings / prime lenses, IMO.

QuoteOriginally posted by alex3985 Quote
3) Is manual focus on the 645d as easy as I imagine at the moment? (big and bright viewfinder)
It can potentially be challenging at times due to the lack of live view, though it's only really an issue for fine adjustments of close-up subjects. Live view really spoils us these days, but the viewfinder is indeed quite large (bigger than on your two cameras). It's shy of 100% coverage, however

QuoteOriginally posted by alex3985 Quote
4) Last but not least I would be interested in your opinion wheather this upgrade makes sense to you or do you think I just went nuts here?
Since you're a landscape shooter you're definitely not nuts for considering the 645D, and we'd always be here to help if you went down that route With that said, since you're already invested in Canon lenses, I would also consider the 5DS. The image quality of the Nikon D800E was comparable to that of the 645D, so I wouldn't be surprised if the newer 5DS pulled ahead of both for landscape use.

This might prove to be an interesting read to help with your decision. Obviously the fact that the 645D has become so cheap changes things a bit:

Nikon D800E vs. Pentax 645D Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

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05-09-2015, 07:19 AM   #4
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got nearly all the FA Primes for the 645D. If you have a specific question you can ask me in German via PM.

-Linus-

05-09-2015, 08:35 AM   #5
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Why not? Enthusiasts pay that much for FF cameras and lenses anyway.
05-09-2015, 09:02 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the support and encouragement - especially the link about the lens rating.

What makes me wonder a bit is why anyone would pick the 645 FA-lenses instead of the 645 F-lenses if af is not needed.
Ratings for similar FL is almost the same sometimes even better on older lenses.

As you recommend not to use the old zoom my setup could be this:
A 35mm; A 45mm; A 55m; FA 75; A 120/150mm

Can there be made any improvements to that line-up and still stay within that price range?
Is the newer FA 33-55 up to the digital sensor?
05-09-2015, 11:12 AM   #7
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I think that if you're going to shoot stopped down on a tripod, many of the FA lenses may not make sense for you and you'll be fine with the A glass. Some designs like the 150mm are different between A and FA but not necessarily better or worse.

If you can find a 645D that has the 55mm included or separately for a good price then do pick it up, it's an incredibly flexible and quality lens that you can maybe do 90% of your photography with.

The 120mm makes for an excellent studio lens, but I just don't like it as much as the 150mm for outdoors... it's twice the weight and bulk and at f/8 and infinity focus the 150mm has sharper corners, at least my samples do.
05-09-2015, 11:54 AM - 1 Like   #8
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Welcome Alex!
"I shoot almost landscape only, mostly from tripod, mirror lock-up, manual focus and stopped down to f8-16 on 35mm cameras. " - This also describes me exactly, lol.

1) A lenses I recommend are A35, A75, A120Macro and the 67 105/2.4 (with inexpensive adapter). I also have the A80-160 zoom and though I am not a zoom shooter, that thing has surprised me with great images.

2) disadvantages: I am not a chimper and prefer to keep my LCD playback disabled, but if you do like to review shots frequently, this camera is slow for that. The only disadvantage that I've noted with the 645D is for exposures longer than 30sec, there is an obligatory dark frame subtraction. So a 2minute exposure takes 4 minutes before you can shoot again.

3) MF on the 645D is super easy visually and yes, viewfinder is large and readable.

4) upgrade makes sense as you will surely notice greater detail in your images, even at web sizes, as have I.

Good luck!

05-10-2015, 10:15 PM   #9
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just a thought, if you plan to shoot only landscapes the 45-85mm a and the 80-160mm a should cover everything. they are great lenses. if 45 mm isn't wide enough, stitch 2 or 3 together. the 80-160mm will cover distant scapes. I use my 645D for everything, so I know it will be great for landscapes. these lenses from a used source will keep cost down.
06-13-2015, 12:26 AM   #10
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I'm a recent purchaser of a second-hand 645D and I also bought a new (second-hand, but stored and never used) FA 45-85. That lens has impressed me so far and I got mine for a bargain price of about A$500 (say US$400).

The other lenses I have, from having bought a P645N film camera and slowly building up a cheapish lens collection, are: A 45/2.8, A 75/2.8, A 150/3.5, A 200/4 and the previously recommended P67 105/2.4. Of those prime lenses I like best the 105/3.5 and the 200/4 albeit from fairly limited shooting so far. I don't find manual focus lenses a drawback since there is always a focus confirm indication in the bright viewfinder.

I also have a Sony A7R and the quality from that is great, so I may not keep the 645D if I don't think it's giving me a compatible image quality, although I certainly recognise the benefits of CCD sensors in midtones. I also have a Leica M9 and I know and love the CCD look. I got rid of my Canon 5D Mk III in the last few months and have no regrets.

Last edited by lenticular; 06-13-2015 at 12:33 AM.
06-13-2015, 08:39 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Hi Alex!

No experience with Canon digital gear, and still new to the 645D, so I cannot really address your first three questions. As a hobbyist returning to Pentax (again), I have an opinion on the fourth.

QuoteOriginally posted by alex3985 Quote
4) Last but not least I would be interested in your opinion wheather this upgrade makes sense to you or do you think I just went nuts here?
Why not? As mentioned above, enthusiasts/ hobbyists and the like spend similar money on full-frame/ flagship bodies/ top-notch glass. No reason why you should be excluded from using a 645D if you can afford to do so.

I don't know about you, but in my case the joy of photography extends to the gear. For me, photography isn't just about the image - it's also about enjoying a hobby that has proven to be a major source of relaxation and stress relief, and part of that enjoyment comes from using gear that I find fun during use. The 645D ticks that box. There are some other reasons I went 645D instead of something like a D810, but the enjoyment factor is my most prominent reason for gear choices these days.

I recently took advantage of the Adorama close-out deal and picked up the 645D + 55/2.8 kit. Still thinking about lenses for later down the road. Like you, my primary use for the kit will be landscape, so I'll be following this thread to read members' responses to your first three questions.

Enjoy!
06-14-2015, 07:32 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentikonian Quote
Hi Alex!

No experience with Canon digital gear, and still new to the 645D, so I cannot really address your first three questions. As a hobbyist returning to Pentax (again), I have an opinion on the fourth.



Why not? As mentioned above, enthusiasts/ hobbyists and the like spend similar money on full-frame/ flagship bodies/ top-notch glass. No reason why you should be excluded from using a 645D if you can afford to do so.

I don't know about you, but in my case the joy of photography extends to the gear. For me, photography isn't just about the image - it's also about enjoying a hobby that has proven to be a major source of relaxation and stress relief, and part of that enjoyment comes from using gear that I find fun during use. The 645D ticks that box. There are some other reasons I went 645D instead of something like a D810, but the enjoyment factor is my most prominent reason for gear choices these days.

I recently took advantage of the Adorama close-out deal and picked up the 645D + 55/2.8 kit. Still thinking about lenses for later down the road. Like you, my primary use for the kit will be landscape, so I'll be following this thread to read members' responses to your first three questions.

Enjoy!
Well said Gordon.

I have 645D for the same reason. I can say that if you desire AF speed, low light High ISO ability, low weight, 645D is not the camera. You'd be much better off with 645Z, or current full frame available in the market.

Shooting with 645D is just different than full frame DSLR. It slows you down and every turn of focus, every peak in the viewfinder is a real enjoyment. Nikon D810 can't even compare.

At low ISO's for portrait and landscape, coupled with some FA primes, it is an amazing machine. I use my 645D with 55, 75, 90, 150, and 300 FA primes and they're amazing. Even the old FA primes (without SDM/DC motor), they're fast and quiet. FA150 specially deserves the mention because of its price point.
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