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12-07-2016, 08:43 AM   #1
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Pentax 645 to Fuji / Hasselblad? Anyone considering the switch?

Hey all,

The "affordable" medium format market is about to get more crowded next year with some interesting options (if Hasselblad will actually start producing their already 6 month old camera).
Wondering who's considering switching over? I know a lot of lower budget pros (like myself and colleagues) and serious non professional practitioners are waiting to see how these cameras perform in the real world.

I went into my old shop in Chicago the other day and played with the Hasselblad X1d and the form factor is wonderful, reminds me of the old Mamiya 7 but even a bit more compact, really nice camera to hold - sturdier than the Mamiya for sure. Software still needs work as the internet has noted. The fuji looks less inspiring but has some great lens options and still smaller than the Pentax. They've also really stepped up their game with their x series and I feel like they will only get more robust in their options.

Too early to switch yet, but it seems like both of these companies look like a safer long term bet. The Pentax service and communication issue has been a disaster for everyone I know, (months for repairs and then repairs not being satisfactory or messing up other aspects of camera) and with one email to Hasselblad corporate I already got connected to a local sales rep who has assured me of good communication and US facilities to back up my purchase/repairs if needbe. Like a real guy called me on the phone. Pentax has NEVER called me back no matter how many times they'd promised in the past. Like that one time they shipped me my new 645D without a battery charger.... That alone could be worth the extra $ it takes to buy in. I'm still putting clicks on my 645D and haven't had any issues, but seeing as I am a walk around/location photographer mirrorless looks great to me. My 645D has been sitting at home in favor of Sony mirrorless for the past year, only using the 645D for jobs these days, not personal work. It seems like the IQ/Sensor aspect is no reason to switch, but aside from that, I don't want 100 mp from Pentax, I want better support and more usable features (better flash sync for one - prob not happening with the focal plane).

I usually reevaluate my workhorses every 5-7 years - it's coming time for that. I like to keep a 35mm and 645 system running (ditched Nikon for Sony - one year in happy about it) Wondering how others are feeling who know more about Pentax as a company maybe. Any good reasons to stay on course other than I already own lenses (not big enough reason for me, I have mostly legacy lenses so my biggest investment is in the body).

I guess the long and short of this post is - how much faith do you have in Pentax to continue to evolve and try and service its customers? It seems like Pentax is just a vanity project for Ricoh these days, which isn't that reassuring...Maybe I'm wrong.
Cheers.

12-07-2016, 08:49 AM   #2
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It will be interesting to see if the hasselblad service is actually that good. Talk from a sales rep is cheap.

The fuji does look very nice!

QuoteOriginally posted by petrakka Quote
Hey all,

The "affordable" medium format market is about to get more crowded next year with some interesting options (if Hasselblad will actually start producing their already 6 month old camera).
Wondering who's considering switching over? I know a lot of lower budget pros (like myself and colleagues) and serious non professional practitioners are waiting to see how these cameras perform in the real world.

I went into my old shop in Chicago the other day and played with the Hasselblad X1d and the form factor is wonderful, reminds me of the old Mamiya 7 but even a bit more compact, really nice camera to hold - sturdier than the Mamiya for sure. Software still needs work as the internet has noted. The fuji looks less inspiring but has some great lens options and still smaller than the Pentax. They've also really stepped up their game with their x series and I feel like they will only get more robust in their options.

Too early to switch yet, but it seems like both of these companies look like a safer long term bet. The Pentax service and communication issue has been a disaster for everyone I know, (months for repairs and then repairs not being satisfactory or messing up other aspects of camera) and with one email to Hasselblad corporate I already got connected to a local sales rep who has assured me of good communication and US facilities to back up my purchase/repairs if needbe. Like a real guy called me on the phone. Pentax has NEVER called me back no matter how many times they'd promised in the past. Like that one time they shipped me my new 645D without a battery charger.... That alone could be worth the extra $ it takes to buy in. I'm still putting clicks on my 645D and haven't had any issues, but seeing as I am a walk around/location photographer mirrorless looks great to me. My 645D has been sitting at home in favor of Sony mirrorless for the past year, only using the 645D for jobs these days, not personal work. It seems like the IQ/Sensor aspect is no reason to switch, but aside from that, I don't want 100 mp from Pentax, I want better support and more usable features (better flash sync for one - prob not happening with the focal plane).

I usually reevaluate my workhorses every 5-7 years - it's coming time for that. I like to keep a 35mm and 645 system running (ditched Nikon for Sony - one year in happy about it) Wondering how others are feeling who know more about Pentax as a company maybe. Any good reasons to stay on course other than I already own lenses (not big enough reason for me, I have mostly legacy lenses so my biggest investment is in the body).

I guess the long and short of this post is - how much faith do you have in Pentax to continue to evolve and try and service its customers? It seems like Pentax is just a vanity project for Ricoh these days, which isn't that reassuring...Maybe I'm wrong.
Cheers.
12-07-2016, 08:55 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by bobbotron Quote
It will be interesting to see if the hasselblad service is actually that good. Talk from a sales rep is cheap.

The fuji does look very nice!
Sure, but the fact that I got a call unprompted already blew me away (Maybe I have Stockholm syndrome from the Pentax folks?). He also sells to stores, not to people like me, he just acted as a liaison and promised to continue to do so if I need it, but I can't buy through him. They have a US facility that serves as a base. At this point communication alone is quite valued. Then there is the fact that the camera itself addresses the issues of flash sync and size, two of the biggest things to the way I work personally.
12-07-2016, 09:45 AM   #4
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Fuji service

I have had good service from Pentax Canada in regards to CLA work on my various Pentax cameras, but definitely NOT the level of service I am getting from Fuji Canada. I had to take in my X-T2 and 23mm f1.4 lens late last week as the lens became stuck on. I have received 3 calls from Fuji inside service rep discussing the progress of the repair and to discuss the reasons for the problem. Turns out it was a loose mounting screw on the lens and they are going to cover the service under warranty. 3 calls! That's service.

12-07-2016, 10:02 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
There has been a fairly credible rumor (started by kenspo, I believe) circulating that the next step in the Pentax 645 system is a full-framed (i.e. true 6x4.5 sensor) version, which "small" MILC cropped MF digitals won't be able to match, since to do so would require entirely new mounts and lens lineups so it might pay to wait a bit to see how the situation plays out.
This would be a really cool one up.
12-07-2016, 10:15 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Since I have a bit of an investment in 645 lenses, the alternative would have to be very enticing for me to switch. The Hasselblad in particular looks amazing and I do have some lust for it but I think the likelihood of getting one anytime soon is pretty slim. I'll be more likely to pick up a Z once they are replaced with whatever comes next. Unless of course demand for my images goes through the roof. Then maybe I'll get them all!
12-07-2016, 11:05 AM   #7
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I use and stayed with Pentax for two reasons: 1) lens quality and price; 2) durability/reliability of the camera. Some of the best service comes from companies that make their profit from servicing and companies that often have poor service are that way because their equipment is too well engineered and repairs is not a source of income. For example, I've owned Hondas and Toyotas most of my life because they rarely need repairs and service. I can do most of my own maintenance. When I have gone to the stealership for parts or repairs, it's not a pleasant or good experience. When I lived in Europe and drove a VW, it needed constant tinkering, but the stealership was a well oiled machine that knew how to make the hospital visit much less painful.

In the same way Phase One has become the digital MF default studio system, Hasselblad was in the film era. To me the big selling point of a Hasselblad are Zeiss optics. But I still prefer my Pentax for its reliability, durability, and price. I consider myself an open minded photographer, but once I used a Canon, a Fujifilm, (and many others) and find they aren't my cup of tea, I rarely go back exploring although it is wise to keep looking as nothing is constant except change.
12-07-2016, 11:13 AM   #8
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I made the"switch" to Hasselblad. While I still use my pentax gear and carry it everywhere in the car (as a kind of beater camera), the H5D-60 is my go to rig.
Hasselblad service has been incredible. As you would expect. And if I want to try a new lens or other piece of gear I just contact my rep and it shows up a couple of days later for me to evaluate.
Build quality is ridiculous. Image quality is untouchable. Lens clarity is so far beyond tac sharp I can not even begin to describe it. (and I am comparing this to a lot of my FA* and limited lenses)

There is only really one issue. Its heavy, bulky and hard to pack. That being said most of my photography is being done on long hikes so if you are not in shape and prepared to lug 35+ pounds of gear around you may want to look at something other than medium format. If most of your work is in the studio I would say go for it - you WILL NOT regret it.

Just get used to adding another 0 to the price of everything


Last edited by OldSchoolPentax; 12-07-2016 at 04:10 PM.
12-07-2016, 11:24 AM   #9
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I have no plans to ditch my Pentax digital 645 kit, there's just too much satisfying and right about the system for me to consider giving it up. And I think Ricoh will continue to develop the system in ways that are useful to me. But the system isn't perfect or fully fleshed out, as we all know. Besides the level of (or should I say "lack of") professional grade service, which fortunately isn't a daily problem, there's the issue of some holes in the lens lineup for some things I want to do. Pentax is moving very slow with its lens roadmap, and probably will never add certain things I'd very much want to see, such as a wide angle tilt-shift.

The new Fuji system doesn't look compelling for my purposes, so I'm not paying much attention to it. Except to be curious about the effects on other vendors that may be triggered by Fuji entering this market. But I am much more interested in the Hasselblad X1D, especially if the HTS tilt-shift adapter will be supported on it. A lighter weight, compact body with fast flash sync and image quality at least equivalent to my 645Z, plus the potential for wide angle lens movements via the HTS adapter? Yeah, almost certainly that's something I would get into, to supplement my Pentax kit.
12-07-2016, 12:22 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
as nothing is constant except change.
So true. Change is good but it is costing us to try all these new things. And to switch systems is a costly endeavor. Pentax got a head start but as you all know the fame lasts only 15 minutes!! Who would have thought that the mighty Nikon would be in trouble some day. Change in camera technology is good for the soul but bad for the wallet!

I wanted to get into the 645Z game but after getting the K1, I am gonna stay put until the next big leap. The results I am getting from the K1 so far, are way beyond my expectations. A full-frame Pentax 645 would be something worth saving up for.
12-07-2016, 12:48 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I find the Fuji and its conceived lens portfolio incredibly attractive and I was blown away by it initially. Especially the 23 and the 110mm/2 lenses, just what makes me salivate. I had all those odd Fuji cameras during film days, the GSW690, the big 680, and some large format lenses, and I loved those cameras and lenses. Then there is lots of talks about adapters and there seems to be a good chance for adapters for the Mamiya 7 lenses and the Rolleiflex lenses. Thus, it would only make sense for me to get one.

After my initial excitement wore off and I had more time with my 645Z and 645D I once more appreciated what fantastic cameras they are. The native lenses are great, and I am a big fan of the 400, the 300, the 150, the 25, and some of the 67 lenses, but in addition to those I have a plethora of adapted lenses, macro and portrait, and it would make little sense for me to change those setups. Thus, the 645z and 645D are certainly plenty of camera and I occasionally wonder (between episodes of GAS) how much camera one really needs. The Pentax 645 system is just so photographer friendly, almost more so than the CANIKON consumer models, but with an eye for the professional.

I guess I'll get one of those GFXes eventually, but perhaps not with the same sense of rush and excitement that I had at photokina. Also, a new 645 body with even higher MP would be great, and perhaps we'll see some more 645Z price reduction.
12-07-2016, 10:17 PM - 1 Like   #12
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I've considered moving out of my 645Z but not to a Hasselblad or Fuji system. I've found my K-1 delivers image quality that more than meets my needs for the market where I live most of the time. I'll probably continue using my Z for some travel photography on the mainland. Internationally, it's becoming more difficult to travel with large systems thanks to airline restrictions (Qantas comes to mind) and refusal to allow even one ounce over their posted limited.

The reality is the Hasselblad and Fuji systems that will use the same sensor as the Z, won't really bring any significant image quality improvement, if any at all, that the average wall art buyer could discern. They might be a bit lighter than the Z for photographers that want a slightly lighter load to carry.

One thing to remember. Pentax pricing is such that it's fair to say by the time the Hasselblad ships, you'll be able to buy two 645Z bodies for the cost of one Hasselblad. A spare body can alleviate to some extent the Pentax history of poor service and repair.

Last edited by CDW; 12-07-2016 at 10:21 PM. Reason: additional text
12-08-2016, 09:36 AM   #13
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I will keep my 645z and use it with my telescopes for astrophotography, until it is completely outdated, which will not happen in the next 3 to 5 years. That's for the camera body. On the other hand, some of you might have seen in another thread that I do not like Pentax lenses at all. So I might end up with getting the Fuji and see if its lenses match my need. (Probably not, but I have to try to tell.) Two weeks ago I had a chance to play with Hasselblad X1d for a short while. I like its incredible light weight and compactness, but I do not appreciate its user interface. Its lack of focal plane shutter is the game stopper for me, meaning that I can't hook it up with any telescopes or 3rd party lenses. So I won't consider X1d. Only the Fuji one is on my radar at this moment.
12-08-2016, 11:00 AM   #14
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No interest in Hassy, but what specifically makes it better than the now 3-year old 645Z? Besides more megapixels, which every new camera has more megapixels than the previous model.

---------- Post added 12-08-2016 at 10:05 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by mikeSF Quote
No interest in Hassy, but what specifically makes it better than the now 3-year old 645Z? Besides more megapixels, which every new camera has more megapixels than the previous model.
i looked it up. It does not actually have more megapixels than the Z, it costs more, the lenses are few and cost WAY more, it has an electronic viewfinder(yucky), no tilt screen, i presume less weather sealing, touch screen which typically won't work in rain, orange button(ok that's really cool), etc... Wait, what was the question?

Last edited by mikeSF; 12-08-2016 at 11:07 AM.
12-08-2016, 12:06 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikeSF Quote
No interest in Hassy, but what specifically makes it better than the now 3-year old 645Z? Besides more megapixels, which every new camera has more megapixels than the previous model.

---------- Post added 12-08-2016 at 10:05 AM ----------



i looked it up. It does not actually have more megapixels than the Z, it costs more, the lenses are few and cost WAY more, it has an electronic viewfinder(yucky), no tilt screen, i presume less weather sealing, touch screen which typically won't work in rain, orange button(ok that's really cool), etc... Wait, what was the question?
Love it that you quoted yourself and had that metacognitive misfire. The main issue and interest that I perceive was the superior Hassy support, communication, and customer service. To me, you pay for that upfront when buying into their system. The major functional difference that I perceive are the leaf shutter lenses (the camera has no focal plane shutter) which makes it more compact, quieter, and can flash sync at any speed up to 1/2000" which is great for fashion, weddings, etc, for fill flash. Of course, there is also a downside to leaf shutters in the lenses such as cost, durability, etc.
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