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02-13-2016, 11:18 PM   #1
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I have decided to skip the FF... MF?

After doing some research and sitting back and looking at my current gear situation I'm putting 90% of my purchases on indefinite hold and will focus on going medium format this time next year. I'm going to pickup a couple more soft boxes and a portable battery pack for my lighting gear, but that's it, no more lenses, no more cameras until I can go MF. In a few months I plan on putting most of my Pentax gear up for sale, holding onto the FA Limiteds for sure, but trying to decide between parting with the K5 or the K3. I don't really use either since I got the Nikon's, and I use them even less since I picked up the Fuji. I could be fine just sitting pretty on all the gear I have. But....

I keep getting the chance to work with medium format, and I freaking love it. I use my 645 film and 75mm f2.8 camera quite a bit, and just love what I get out of the thing.



But, earlier in the spring and again in the fall I got to handle the 645z and the 55mm f2.8 and I'm just in awe of what I got out of it. The detail, the color rendering, it's all pretty magical. Then, in January and then again last month I got to use an IQ250 from Phase One... oh my god... But I can't afford that much camera. You can really see the difference that 16bit files give you incredible color detail. Its kind of the difference you see from most 12bit cameras to the 14bit cameras, it's just that much better. The depth is unreal. But, I can't justify owning a camera worth more than my car. One things for certain though, the focus fall off, the detail, and the color rendering of medium format cannot be beat.

I'm primarily a portrait shooter. 90% of what I shoot over the past two years has been portraits and I'm focusing more and more on headshots, fashion and fine art nudes. Naturally a ton of my time is spent in studio. So this brings up my first concern with the 645z... flash sync speed. It's a little scary shooting at 1/125 with a format that picks up every hand motion and more, even with studio strobes you need to tripod it or have an incredibly steady hand at that sync speed. I hate shooting on a tripod.


I'm also really torn on lenses. My budget will be around $13,000 CAD by that time if I stick to the plan. This will allow me to pickup, at todays prices, a 645z, a 55mm f2.8, and a 80-160mm f4.5. But I'm not sure if these are the lenses I actually want.... What I do know is that on my D810 my three most used lenses are my 50mm f1.4, 135mm f2.0 DC, and my 70-200mm f2.8. The 55mm f2.8 is close enough to 50 (= 43mm actually) which I'm okay with. The 80-160 will fill my short tele range and give me some flexibility, giving me an equivalent of about 50-140mm on a 35mm camera in terms of field of view. Which will cover the majority of my most used focal ranges. But would it be smarter for three primes? 55mm, 120mm, 200mm for example, with a 35mm coming the following year.



And how does the old 75mm f2.8 from the first film era hold up? I can't imagine well?


I've been humming and hawing of going medium format since last May. I've almost done it a couple of times, even back in August almost sold it all to get Fuji XT1 and Pentax 645z systems only. I couldn't do it because I also do a ton of on location shooting and nothing can beat my D810/D800 for on location strobe use with my Profoto strobes for the extra flash sync capability. So now I'm going to attempt to do this without purging any of my current gear.

02-13-2016, 11:46 PM   #2
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Regarding the flash sync speed, have you seen this?
Priolite: Sync Speeds Up To 1/8000s With Pentax - Third-Party Announcements | PentaxForums.com

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02-13-2016, 11:54 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
yes I have. unfortunately not an option I'm willing to explore. First off, I got a 3 light setup of Profoto strobes with various soft boxes and other modifiers already. Even if I sold the heads and got adapters I'd be spending a ton of money on the Priolites. Then I have to deal with the issue of no Canadian distributor. I'm a huge supporter of buying local. I have only bought one item in my kit online and it came down to timing (no Canadian stock of Profoto B1 heads and I was heading to do a fashion session in the rainforest, so I ended up getting it from B&H). Even then, I don't even think B&H or Adorama carries Priolite anymore either. For those two reasons I can't even put Priolite on my radar.

Local strobe vendors are actually very, very poor with the three brands carried locally being Profoto, Elinchrome, and Lightrein/Rimelite. All three are amazing lighting systems, there is no question about that. If I expand my reach to Calgary I could add "Strobepro" which, from what I can tell, are the same products as the Adorama Flashpoint units.
02-14-2016, 12:49 AM   #4
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I envy your situation and commitment and as highly as I regard the D810, moving up to MF is a smart move that will separate your work from the competition. As much as zoom quality has improved over the years, unless you really need the convenience, I think going all primes makes the most sense in terms of weight/bulk/quality/aperture.

In MF, I'm still shooting film with my 645 and love my 35mm f/3.5 and 75mm f/2.8, but it looks like your priorities are more on the long lenses. I'm not sure you're aware, but the sensor on the 645Z is not the same size as the film coverage on the 645, and thus the 55mm on the 645Z will be fairly similar in terms of FOV to the 75mm on the 645.

My suggestion would be the 55mm, keep your 75mm, the 150mm f/2.8 or the 200mm f/4 if you really needed the reach or compression. The 135mm f/2 DC....are you referring to the Samyang manual focus K-mount? Am I wrong in thinking they don't make K-mount to 645 adapters? Even so, I think you'd regret that in terms of quality although the low price is hard to ignore.

02-14-2016, 02:19 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wired Quote
I keep getting the chance to work with medium format, and I freaking love it. I use my 645 film and 75mm f2.8 camera quite a bit, and just love what I get out of the thing.

But, earlier in the spring and again in the fall I got to handle the 645z and the 55mm f2.8 and I'm just in awe of what I got out of it. The detail, the color rendering, it's all pretty magical. Then, in January and then again last month I got to use an IQ250 from Phase One... oh my god... But I can't afford that much camera. You can really see the difference that 16bit files give you incredible color detail. Its kind of the difference you see from most 12bit cameras to the 14bit cameras, it's just that much better. The depth is unreal. But, I can't justify owning a camera worth more than my car. One things for certain though, the focus fall off, the detail, and the color rendering of medium format cannot be beat.
The IQ250 and 645Z actually utilize the same sensor, and since Sony sensors have the ADC units integrated into the actual photo cells, they are all 14-bit at the sensor regardless of which camera maker gets their hands on them. The Phase back does output 16-bits at some point, but the more technically-minded users of LuLa and GetDPI are currently unable to quantify what they do this for.
There is however a difference in the electronics supporting the sensor, as well as the CFA, which actually renders the Phase, Leaf and Hasselblad versions of this sensor with having less sensitivity and dynamic range, in exchange for higher color purity, and of course they also have the benefit of having their own Raw converters; Capture One is known for working magic on Phase camera files. Chances are that the differences you noted are in the approach Phase took with color rendering and demosaicing.

QuoteQuote:
I'm primarily a portrait shooter. 90% of what I shoot over the past two years has been portraits and I'm focusing more and more on headshots, fashion and fine art nudes. Naturally a ton of my time is spent in studio. So this brings up my first concern with the 645z... flash sync speed. It's a little scary shooting at 1/125 with a format that picks up every hand motion and more, even with studio strobes you need to tripod it or have an incredibly steady hand at that sync speed. I hate shooting on a tripod.
I rarely use strobes for anything but product shots, but I was under the impression that stopping power under flash is a factor of flash duration rather than shutter speed, assuming ambient light is low enough not to factor into the exposure. Having high sync speeds with flash is more about killing ambient light, as when using flash outdoors.

QuoteQuote:
I'm also really torn on lenses. My budget will be around $13,000 CAD by that time if I stick to the plan. This will allow me to pickup, at todays prices, a 645z, a 55mm f2.8, and a 80-160mm f4.5. But I'm not sure if these are the lenses I actually want.... What I do know is that on my D810 my three most used lenses are my 50mm f1.4, 135mm f2.0 DC, and my 70-200mm f2.8. The 55mm f2.8 is close enough to 50 (= 43mm actually) which I'm okay with. The 80-160 will fill my short tele range and give me some flexibility, giving me an equivalent of about 50-140mm on a 35mm camera in terms of field of view. Which will cover the majority of my most used focal ranges. But would it be smarter for three primes? 55mm, 120mm, 200mm for example, with a 35mm coming the following year.
I'd sooner get the 150/2.8, it's closer to a 135mm lens in practice. It can be a fairly soft or insanely sharp lens depending on which aperture you use it at, f/2.8~5 it has a soft-focus thing going on, while at 6.3~11 it's sharper than the macro. The 120mm is more of a handful, being heavier and focusing more slowly. I have used an 80-160 in a shop, but not enough to form a solid opinion... I think I'll wait for the updated version that Pentax is teasing on their roadmap.

Last edited by Kolor-Pikker; 02-14-2016 at 02:25 AM.
02-14-2016, 06:06 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kolor-Pikker Quote
I'd sooner get the 150/2.8, it's closer to a 135mm lens in practice. It can be a fairly soft or insanely sharp lens depending on which aperture you use it at, f/2.8~5 it has a soft-focus thing going on, while at 6.3~11 it's sharper than the macro
I purchased mine new a few weeks ago and its pretty sharp wide open, just not at MFD or close to it - it is crazy sharp from 5.6 onwards as you say. Definitely a good alternative to Nikon's 135DC.
02-14-2016, 08:25 AM   #7
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Sounds like the 55 and the 150 are definitely the first two lenses to take home. Thanks!
02-14-2016, 10:02 AM   #8
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Unless you're shooting very aggressive movement, synch speed won't be much of an issue, especially for portraiture. You might consider just buying one Priolite that you can pull out and use as a main light when you need to absolutely freeze action, or if you're in a large city, rent the Profoto Pro-8 and take advantage of its action-freezing flash duration that it offers. Also, if you keep your Nikon, you can use the Profoto B1's in HSS for those times when you need to freeze action. I do hope that the plethora of new battery-powered lights coming out will offer HSS for the Pentax 645z

02-14-2016, 12:05 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dShelly Quote
Unless you're shooting very aggressive movement, synch speed won't be much of an issue, especially for portraiture. You might consider just buying one Priolite that you can pull out and use as a main light when you need to absolutely freeze action, or if you're in a large city, rent the Profoto Pro-8 and take advantage of its action-freezing flash duration that it offers. Also, if you keep your Nikon, you can use the Profoto B1's in HSS for those times when you need to freeze action. I do hope that the plethora of new battery-powered lights coming out will offer HSS for the Pentax 645z
No north American distribution for priorite is a big turn off for me. Let alone not Canadian reseller
02-14-2016, 12:19 PM   #10
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While considering your lens selection I would also suggest the 45-85 zoom. It has been a terrific lens for me all the way from the film days through to the 645D. Not quite as wide on digital as it is on film but it is astoundingly sharp from 5.6 through 16, even with digital. The 150 is another awesome lens as is the 35.
02-14-2016, 04:23 PM   #11
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Thanks. I'm not too worried about the wide end though. The 150, the more that I look into it seems like an awesome choice for me.
02-14-2016, 04:50 PM   #12
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What if the K-1 comes with an adaptor which communicates with your 645 lenses Luke?
02-14-2016, 05:34 PM - 1 Like   #13
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The 150 is bloody awesome. Yeah it's a bit soft at 2.8 but for people work it's brilliant.
02-14-2016, 08:37 PM   #14
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Have you looked into eBay to stretch your lens dollar? I picked up most of my lenses from shops in Japan (all in great condition) for less than half (generally around a third) of what they would cost new. At this point I have the new 35 DFA (not and eBay purchase), an old 45 A, the 55 DFA, a 75 FA (seriously love that lens), a 105 A (picked up with the 45 on a lark from a small used camera shop), the 120 FA macro and the 80-160 FA that you're looking at. The 80-160 is my go to studio lens, but the 35 and 75 split time everywhere else.
02-15-2016, 01:53 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by gavincato Quote
The 150 is bloody awesome. Yeah it's a bit soft at 2.8 but for people work it's brilliant.
Two quirks I want to throw out is that the 150 also has a lot of green/magenta fringing wide-open, and it doesn't handle direct/back-light very well, so it pays to keep the lens well-shaded. Probably not a big surprise, since this is a trait of many portrait lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by LA_Photographer Quote
Have you looked into eBay to stretch your lens dollar? I picked up most of my lenses from shops in Japan (all in great condition) for less than half (generally around a third) of what they would cost new. At this point I have the new 35 DFA (not and eBay purchase), an old 45 A, the 55 DFA, a 75 FA (seriously love that lens), a 105 A (picked up with the 45 on a lark from a small used camera shop), the 120 FA macro and the 80-160 FA that you're looking at. The 80-160 is my go to studio lens, but the 35 and 75 split time everywhere else.
Really always a good idea to buy the lenses used. I bought the camera new at B&H just as it came out, but three lenses I got for $2600 from a friend, I paid him based on the average eBay prices for those lenses as they were at the time. In all I spent about $11k including extras.

Last edited by Kolor-Pikker; 02-15-2016 at 02:13 AM.
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