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06-27-2015, 08:34 AM   #1
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How many fault free shutter actuations on your 645z?

I am looking to purchase a 645Z and see on the net some shutter issues. Just curious how many shutter actuations do you have on your Z trouble free?


06-27-2015, 11:06 AM   #2
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Location: Calgary, Alberta
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I had two shutter failures on my first 645D, so I'm quite familiar with this issue on the earlier generation of Pentax digital 645. The first failure was at ~36K actuations, the second was at ~25K. Pentax rated the 645D shutter for 50K actuations, so my results fell quite a ways below that expectation.

The 645Z has an improved shutter design, rated for 100K actuations. Exiftool reports my Z's shutter count as ~8.5K but I know that number is wrong; counting 645Z DNG files in my catalog, there's about 13.1K and I've deleted many of them while editing various shoots. So I'm going to estimate the total actuations being at least 20K. Either way, I have no shutter issues to date on the Z. I still have a pair of D's with the single Z, so my shooting volume is now spread between different bodies rather than piling up only on one. (My first D was the only body I had for the first two years of using this system, so it took 100% of the workload.)

Also, I did say I've had no shutter issues with the 645Z, but full disclosure. The first Z I bought had a DOA autofocus mechanism and was exchanged by my dealer in 24 hours. The second one suffered a broken cable release socket not long after I got it, and spent 10+ weeks back at Ricoh for repairs. (Meaning it got no shutter usage during that time. I suspect during the visit to the shop, they reset the internal shutter count which is why exiftool now gives the wrong count.) That same body just had the cable release socket break again, so it's going to have to go back to the repair shop sometime. These issues plus a pair of 645D shutter failures plus the spontaneous disassembly of my DA 25mm lens, all of which took incredible numbers of weeks to be repaired, do mean I've got some real issues with reliability and more importantly with Pentax/Ricoh service levels.

Still, my anecdotal feeling so far with the 645Z is that the shutter and mirror assemblies do seem to have a better "feel" than I remember from the middle range days with the 645D. Well before my first D's first shutter failure, there seemed to be something off about it. Nothing like that on the Z so far, both TTL and in Live View. When I shoot it I shoot it heavily, in some demanding environments.

Pentax claims to have really upped the spec on the 645Z shutter, in part to support the extra burden of Live View mode, and the faster shooting rate (~3 fps vs. ~1 fps on the D). So far I tend to believe the new shutter design is better. So if you're thinking about the system, I would say shutter issues are not a reason to hesitate. You may have other reasons to hesitate, if the risk of repair situations like mine would be a big problem for you. Not everybody can afford to run multiple bodies, or is willing to have expensive camera systems down for many weeks of repair if something does go wrong...

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