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03-11-2016, 05:48 AM   #1
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Pentax 645z decision vs D810 - struggling

Iím a current Nikon D810 owner, struggling over whether I should purchase a Pentax 645z or not? - Hint I definitely want to, the camera ticks all the boxes, but Iím not sure if I am being ridiculous or not.

What do I shoot? I shoot portraits, fine art, documentary and studio mainly. Iím not professionally shooting, but I am extremely ambitious about creating serious long term work. Photography is my passion, but I also hope to make it commercially viable in the future.

I have had brief love affairs with Medium Format film, but kept selling and reverting back to digital due to cost of film, the extra time needed to scan film and archive it + tinker with the colours in post processing. The idea of MF digital has always been what I have been waiting out for, but have consistently put it out of my mind due to the cost being too prohibitive. 645Z is actually possible albeit a big stretch.


Points in favour of the Pentax 645z:

- Iím not a fan of 2:3 ratio of the Nikon D810 and almost always crop to 4:3 ratio - Iím drawn to the idea of a viewfinder that shows me 4:3, so that I donít have to imagine how a crop will look.

- If I do crop the image of the D810, it takes the sensor size approx 36-32 meg pixels - vs the Pentax 645z

- A thing that always runs through my mind is; if I start shooting a project on my D810, will I always regret it eventually that I didnít shoot it on a larger format in the future. I think investing all that time and money into a project, will you then feel like you shouldíve shot it on something that will stand the test of time - be able to print massive if the need arises.

- Weather sealed with 55m - very cool

- medium format vs full frame


Points against the Pentax 645z:

- Relatively high cost £6000 for Pentax 645z and 55mm 2.8 lens offer at the moment - that would pay for a mamiya 7ii and 80mm lens, with about 3,704 shots of film (process and scan) - although itís very expensive and difficult in the UK. In other words - digital would only be cheaper after the point of taking 3,700 medium format film shots.

- Would have to keep the D810 probably for video work and more Ďrun and gun situationsí or as a backup? Thus adding to the cost.


In conclusion: The 645z seems to tick a lot of boxes for me: digital, potential huge prints, 4:3 ratio, Medium format. I want the camera quite badly, but am quite honestly still scared at the price and whether I am making a Ďpoorí decision, in terms of what it will gain me over the D810 or similar DSLR.

I keep thinking I will buy the 645z in the future, but seems like projects undertaken not with D810 wonít compare.

03-11-2016, 06:06 AM   #2
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Just personally, when in situations like yours, I ask myself first if my current equipment is actually limiting me and second if there's any chance of making the piece of equipment pay for itself through sales of images over a reasonable payback period. I know you say you don't shoot professionally - neither do I - but there are plenty of opportunities to make sales - particularly if you can bring something less common to the party - and asking the question forces you to ask yourself if you're good enough. If the answer is 'no' then I'd be inclined not to buy (unless money is no object, but I guess you wouldn't have posted if that were the case) - but if it's 'yes' it's probably worth the gamble - that's my thoughts, anyway.
03-11-2016, 06:11 AM   #3
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If you are going to keep de D810 it is not a vs question but a can I afford it and do I want to spend that much money on it question. Maybe you should rent one to see whether it is something for you or not. When comparing with a Mamiya 7 II it is a 60x70mm sensor vs a 44*33 one. A massive difference. It is 2.89 times more surface, that's a bigger difference than between 35mm and the 645z (only 1.68 times bigger surface).
03-11-2016, 06:18 AM   #4
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A few questions may give you a a good headstart into the decision...

Q1. Is your work eventually going to become a billboard print?
Q2. Will you be shooting in rain and or inclement weather more than 50% of the time?
Q3. Does your D810 not allow you to shoot in extreme or inclement weather or rain?
Q4. Do you need focal lengths less than 100mm for most or all of your work?

alternatively

Qz. Is a client lined up to pay for your work that will involve a billboard print?

03-11-2016, 06:27 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ffking Quote
Just personally, when in situations like yours, I ask myself first if my current equipment is actually limiting me and second if there's any chance of making the piece of equipment pay for itself through sales of images over a reasonable payback period. I know you say you don't shoot professionally - neither do I - but there are plenty of opportunities to make sales - particularly if you can bring something less common to the party - and asking the question forces you to ask yourself if you're good enough. If the answer is 'no' then I'd be inclined not to buy (unless money is no object, but I guess you wouldn't have posted if that were the case) - but if it's 'yes' it's probably worth the gamble - that's my thoughts, anyway.

I think the main limit I see is in regards to potential print sizes, and this idea of creating a body of work only to wish it was done on medium format rather than standard FF size. The main benefit I see creatively and physically is shooting and seeing in 4:3, as shooting 2:3 is quite frustrating when I will inevitably crop in post.

I think it's pretty unlikely to make back the cash via print sales for example, so as mentioned, it is more of a personally funded venture at this point. That's not to say I don't make any money from photography... I do.
03-11-2016, 06:27 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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If you don't need the high ISO, how about getting your feet wet with the 645D first and see how you like it?
03-11-2016, 06:30 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
If you don't need the high ISO, how about getting your feet wet with the 645D first and see how you like it?
Yeah I am considering this, I guess the thing that is holding me back is the thought of spending more time buying and selling gear than actually shooting. Probably a good idea though
03-11-2016, 07:19 AM   #8
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I think renting one to try out, as previously mentioned, is a great idea. Then you'll have a real world personal sense of what you'd really be missing without the 645z, and whether it's worth the expense for your personal use/pleasure.

03-11-2016, 08:25 AM   #9
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+1 to the rental idea. The 645d works well by all accounts in the studio or anywhere you control lighting easily.
03-11-2016, 08:29 AM   #10
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I've heard some issues with flash synch speed for some guys with the 645D. But if thats not an issue the 645D's files are pretty amazing from what I've seen. Especially at that price it could be an option to get the 645D and use the D810 in situations where the 645D doesn't work well.
03-11-2016, 08:51 AM   #11
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When I faced this decision recently, I just got a 645d instead. The low cost made it's 'experimental' nature affordable enough that I'm not sweating the choice.
03-11-2016, 08:58 AM   #12
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Yeah I think rental is a good choice. It would cost about £170 for rental for the 645z and 55mm so I might give it a go.

I guess the sensible thing would be to wait for the 645z to actually come down in price, give it another year or two to be less of a financial risk. I can get together the money, I am just concerned that it will be unwise to do so. Nevertheless I am very keen on the camera for the reasons I mentioned previously.

Personally, I think I'd definitely rather go for the Z over the D, however I guess I could start that way and build up some glass - I'm not really looking for a lot of lenses. 55mm 2.8 for normal, a 35mm a for wider situations and some form of lens better for portraits 120 F4 macro or the 75mm probably. There's still potential to loose a heck of a lot on the D version though, so I am not sure if this is the right choice at the moment either. Maybe waiting is a good idea.
03-11-2016, 09:38 AM   #13
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key questions

- what do you want to do?
- which lenses you want to use?
the pictures of the 645z are impressive ! with 150mm lens, but the camera is very very slow
the 810 is faster and image is very fine with 58mm lens, other lenses less convincing
03-11-2016, 09:42 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ikwashier Quote
- what do you want to do?
- which lenses you want to use?
the pictures of the 645z are impressive ! with 150mm lens, but the camera is very very slow
the 810 is faster and image is very fine with 58mm lens, other lenses less convincing
Looks like the Nikon Police has gotten wind of your plans.
03-11-2016, 09:48 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by D1N0 Quote
Looks like the Nikon Police has gotten wind of your plans.
lol - I'm going to be using 35mm 55mm and 75mm/120mm lenses for Pentax is what I'm looking at.

I shoot a lot of portraits, mostly environmental and documentary / fine art projects.
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