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06-26-2016, 04:44 PM - 1 Like   #1
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645z - do I need a backup?

I recently ordered a Pentax K1 then backed out at the last minute recently because analysis paralysis got the better of me. My reasons for considering it were two-fold

a) to get more focal lengths for creative landscape photography since my only landscape body and lens at the moment is the 645z and 28-45.

b) as a backup in case the 645z had a failure (particularly problematic if I was on a photo trip). I simply would not want to be using my Canon 5D3 gear for landscapes any more.

I realize I can solve problem a) by getting more 645 lenses and realizing the full potential of the system. I could get the 35, 55, 75 and 120 or just get the 55, 45-85 and 80-160 for the same or much less cost than the K1 and 24-70. Given that the sweet spot for my photography is covered by the 28-45 the extra lenses would give me more options and I would still be using that sweet 4:3 ratio 50mp sensor.

However this would still leave me with problem b). I have had it drilled into me over the years to always have a backup camera but I wonder how other users cope with this issue and how reliable the 645z. Obviously if I can avoid dropping it or having it stolen it will probably be fine and I can not worry about a backup? Who is using a K1 as backup and is it good enough to avoid IQ disappointment after using the Z? (BTW any backup camera I have has to be able to print HUGE). Who doesn't have a backup and doesn't think it is needed?

Just for fun here's a pic I took on the weekend

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06-26-2016, 04:49 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Well, with pixel shift for most landscapes the K-1 should more more than capable of satisfying your requirement of being able to print huge. You can keep costs down (and maximize image quality) by opting for a sharp prime over the 24-70mm walkaround zoom, say the Samyang 24mm F1.4 or 35mm F1.4. You could also go for the 15-30mm as it overlaps nicely with the 28-45mm in terms of field of view.

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06-26-2016, 05:06 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Well, with pixel shift for most landscapes the K-1 should more more than capable of satisfying your requirement of being able to print huge.
Completely agree. And even without pixel shift you can easily go print big. And if you want some very huge, a blowup through photoshop plugin or just a good photoshop image resize is enough, as huge to very huge prints are usually done at equivalent 150pp.

K-1 has a great sensor and great primes available.
06-26-2016, 05:40 PM   #4
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Another option might be a 2nd hand 645d. Then your lenses are completely compatible.

06-26-2016, 06:06 PM   #5
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The 645D is beat by the Nikon D810, and the K1 beats that even without pixel shift, and when you throw in pixel shift it gets even better, so, I'd do one.
06-26-2016, 06:17 PM   #6
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I think it makes sense to have a backup if you are somewhere where you can't just buy another camera straight away i.e. remote landscape trip.

I'd reorder the k1 if I was you.

I was intending to get a 2nd 645z but i'm holding off now hoping a successor will be announced within 6-12 months. If my current 645z dies i'll just go out and punish the credit card and buy another one. It's been very reliable thus far.
06-26-2016, 07:08 PM   #7
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The primary backup to my 645Z is a 645D. Actually a pair of them, since originally I had 2 D's to back each other up, and simply didn't get rid of one when I got the Z. The value of the D kinda plunged upon the launch of the Z, and it was worth it to me to hang onto all the bodies while sorting out some stuff. (I figured the used value of the D's would level off, and getting rid of one or both of them later wouldn't cost me much more than the decline in value that hit once the Z shipped.)

I have a separate "backup" system consisting of a Sony a7R but I never use it because it doesn't really do what my 645 system does, the way I want it done. I'd rather give up the functionality that I lose by dropping down from the Z to the D, if necessary, than by dropping the entire system down to 35mm. Plus, when I travel, I don't want to carry 2 systems. It's easier and more effective in my mind to carry a single system with 2 bodies that share common lenses and all other accessories.

The 645D's needed backup since I had several major failures with them; that's why I had 2 of that model. The Z has been much more reliable, for the most part. It did have a cable release socket failure within weeks of purchase that took the camera out for 10 weeks for servicing in Japan. The socket failed again a few months after repair but I just haven't sent it away again. The Z has stood up to all the punishment my gear takes, with no issues other than the broken socket.

If money was no object, I'd have a pair of 645Z's. Maybe I'll end up there. But I'm also looking into the new Hasselblad X1D, and will look for what else comes out in the realm of digital MF over the next year or so from Fuji, hopefully Pentax and perhaps Sony. Another brand of camera would put me back into a full set of different lenses again which I don't really want. After a 2nd 645Z, my next best backup would be a more compact mirrorless Pentax 645 body with a new line of compact lenses, and compatibility with bigger 645 glass via adapter. We'll see what shakes out...
06-26-2016, 07:15 PM   #8
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Yes I actually also considered a 645D as backup but I rejected this idea because of weight but also because I know it just wouldn't ever get used except for a failure, whereas the K1 would get used more for uses other than landscape. I also don't want to go the A7R with adaptor route, so for me it was a choice of K1 or no backup.

BTW I also have had the remote socket failure. I have not had it fixed I just now have the wireless remote permanently attached with a lanyard to a strap lug and actually I prefer it now

---------- Post added 06-26-16 at 07:23 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by gavincato Quote
I think it makes sense to have a backup if you are somewhere where you can't just buy another camera straight away i.e. remote landscape trip.

I'd reorder the k1 if I was you.

I was intending to get a 2nd 645z but i'm holding off now hoping a successor will be announced within 6-12 months. If my current 645z dies i'll just go out and punish the credit card and buy another one. It's been very reliable thus far.
My concern about backups is not so much that I couldn't find a camera store within a couple of hours drive (although that can be a big concern for more remote area's of australia) of wherever I am shooting and get a hire camera through my insurance policy it is more the opportunity cost. It takes a lot of time and effort to get to locations and I want this effort to be productive.

---------- Post added 06-26-16 at 07:26 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Well, with pixel shift for most landscapes the K-1 should more more than capable of satisfying your requirement of being able to print huge. You can keep costs down (and maximize image quality) by opting for a sharp prime over the 24-70mm walkaround zoom, say the Samyang 24mm F1.4 or 35mm F1.4. You could also go for the 15-30mm as it overlaps nicely with the 28-45mm in terms of field of view.
I'm not considering pixel shift in my calculations as I have heard it has issues with movement even with the movement correction turned on.

I considered the 15-30 but by the time I add a new SW150 or similar filter system to it it, becomes very expensive and I think I need some longer focal lengths more than wider. If I get the K1 I'll wait for the Irix 15mm to come out and see what that costs.

06-26-2016, 07:37 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gyroscope Quote
I'm not considering pixel shift in my calculations as I have heard it has issues with movement even with the movement correction turned on.
You correctly point out that movement causes unavoidable issues, even with motion correction on.

To be clear, pixel shift is only appropriate for scenes that are perfectly still. In my opinion, movement (wind, instability in your setup, or moving objects in the scene) completely eliminates the benefit that pixel shift resolution would otherwise deliver. Motion correction identifies parts of the image with motion (by comparing the two PSR green channels to each other) and disables pixel shift interpolation in those areas.

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06-27-2016, 12:04 AM   #10
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I own a 645Z and I recently purchased the K1 as a backup. There are some assumptions about Pixel Shift that aren't quite accurate. Heavy movement of foliage, water, etc. in landscape shooting will create some visible issues. My experience so far is that they're easily correctable in PS with cloaning or other tools, or taking one conventional frame before the pixel shift group and using the single frame for any necessary clean up or correction.

The four shots necessary take about 1-1.5 seconds if the shutter speed is high. The two stop improvement in dynamic range and noise reduction allows the use of higher ISO than normal. ISO1600 in pixel shift looks as clean as ISO 400.

I'm liking the color out of my K1 as much or more so than what I'm getting from my 645Z. Post is faster with files from the K1 and it's more agile in the field. I originally went to the 645D and then the Z, to create files that allow me to print very large images for my customers. I'm confident I can create the same size files with the K1 in the normal mode. Judging so far, the pixel shift files offer superior resolution and color gamut over the 645Z.
06-27-2016, 07:31 AM   #11
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<Judging so far, the pixel shift files offer superior resolution and color gamut over the 645Z.>

That is a bold statement...
06-27-2016, 08:15 AM   #12
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I own both bodies. It isn't so much measured resolution as perceived resolution. If pixel shift was usable under all conditions my 645Z would be for sale. I'm not the only one who believes this.

http://diglloyd.com/blog/2016/20160221_1110-PentaxK1-SuperRes-PentaxFlowers.html
06-27-2016, 09:27 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I can easily believe the results of pixel-shifting, at its best, rival the current state of ~50MP crop-645 capture. The idea of super-resolution has been around for awhile. Aside from the few cameras supporting sensor pixel-shift, super-resolution has been mostly a multi-frame technique blending multiple shots with desktop software. Putting it in the camera is simply an extension of the technique that can also take advantage of in-camera reduction of de-mosaicing issues. A Foveon type result working around the Bayer array, if you will. I don't think there's any doubt that Foveon images can be enlarged beyond the level possible with Bayer images, and enjoy greater tonal and colour resolution than Bayer images.

Unfortunately, super-resolution suffers from the same limitations as do other multi-frame techniques like stitching, depth of field frame stacking, and HDR -- for best results it requires largely static scenes. And there's always potential manual frame blending & retouching work to fix stuff the software couldn't handle automatically.

I prefer the look of the larger sensor & optical platform of 645. (And would shoot even larger if it was feasible to do so in digital, in a cost-effective way.) But if & when super-resolution comes to 645, I'll happily use it in the situations where it can work. Same as I do with stitching, DOF stacking and HDR, all of which I employ when needed to augment the camera's limits.

It remains that, for my purposes, a K1 (or virtually any other 35mm system) still wouldn't be close enough to my 645Z in enough circumstances to be considered a "backup". For me, a backup system is one that lets me keep doing my main work, how & for the purposes I want to do it, if a primary piece of kit goes down. For me that means my current benchmark is a 645 digital system. Of course others will make that trade-off decision differently. Which is why these threads usually are challenged in providing "answers" to an OP... it's all subjective. What's right for one person is useless for another. Mainly we can share what we've personally chosen & why, and perhaps the OP can glean some decision criteria from that...
06-27-2016, 10:27 AM   #14
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Royce, I basically agree with you. I personally consider the K1 a more than suitable backup for the 645Z because I can use it for some situations where the Z is simply not appropriate or capable. The K1delivers results that I prefer over D810s that I've used. I know now that even a single frame image from the K1 can create a four foot wide image that most customers at a normal viewing distance would not be able to distinguish from a Z image.

A major caveat to add to my prior statement is that to fully appreciate pixel shift at this point, requires the use of SilkyPix for processing. It is an incredibly flawed piece of software. It refuses to run on my Mac with Yosemite, I have to run it on a prior version. It will only process one initial frame with subsequent attempts failing with a Fail to Complete Processing error message, requiring an exit and reload. The ideal solution would have been for Pentax to provide total processing in camera and provide a RAW output.

My dream future system would be a mirrorless 645 system with image stabilization and pixel shift, similar to the new Hasselblad at 1/2 to 3/4 of the cost.
06-28-2016, 02:51 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the input. I'm now thinking in a different direction. Since I already have a lot of Canon glass it makes sense to just sell my 5D3 and 7D (both of which get little use at the moment) and get the 5Dsr. I have ordered a 55 f2.8 and will probably get the 80-160 or 120 macro which will give me a well rounded 645 landscape kit. A 5dsr will perform quite well as a landscape backup but also performs general duty/architecture/travel/wildlife with all my existing glass something the K1 can't do.
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