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10-05-2017, 07:08 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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K-1 or 645D? I did it (not the sensible choice)

Last week I sold my K-3 because I realized I have so much fun with my K2DMD, LX and 67ii, that the K-3 stayed at home too often.
So I decided to ditch APS-C and look for something new. I've kept all my lenses which are 35mm compatible, including my excellent 31mm limited MIJ.

I've had a look at the K-1 since its long awaited release and it is such a fantastic camera. But today I pulled the trigger and bought an almost new 645D + DFA 55mm for a reasonable price.
Comparing data sheets, reviews, this forum etc. that wasn't the "right" decision. The K-1 is smaller, newer, faster and has a "better" sensor in almost every aspect. The 645D is a heavy beast with some quirks, slow AF, slow buffer etc. So why would any sane person decide against the K-1 in favour of the old 645D?
The 645D has a big CCD-sensor and produces lovely skin tones at base ISO comparable to my late K10D I was so happy with. I've tried to achieve that look all the time with my K-3 and serious Nikon bodies that I borrowed for events (absoluetly great and reliable workhorses!), but that was always a tough (and time consuming) job for me. I'm sure that there are many skilled lightroom artists that can achieve a comparable look with calibration, local adjustments and other tricks, but I'm just spoiled by Portra film and my old K10D...

Another point is that I'll be able to use my 6x7 lenses without the limitation of green-button metering, because the aperture is coupled with the body even with the 645-67 adapter.
Green-button metering with K-lenses has never been reliable enough for my taste due to the mate-screen dependency (fast apertures always overexposed, slow apertures vice versa) and using live view is too cumbersome for me when shooting outdoor portraits. I really like using the aperture ring on the lens because I learned photography this way when I was a kid (with an old K2DMD I still love ). Maybe some day I'll find the venerable AB-82 split screen for the 645D and than I'll have a similar analog feeling again. The 645D is not for every day use, but hey, that's what smartphones are for! (don't kill me!)
Right now I'm just happy I decided this way and wanted to share this feeling

10-05-2017, 07:11 AM   #2
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Seems like for you this was a good fit.
10-05-2017, 07:12 AM   #3
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Personally, I would likely have made the same decision.

And if you're feeling in the mood to sell a kidney, there is an AB-82 on eBay for the absurd price of $250 Haven seen one of the AA-82 micro prism versions, but I'm still looking
10-05-2017, 07:38 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Your choice just shows there is no such thing as the universally best camera. In some cases, the exact same reasons that one person hates a certain camera (e.g., "slow" performance, or bulk, or rendering) are the same reasons another person loves it.


The spectral responses of CCD and CMOS cameras are simply different. That implies that no amount of post-processing can truly convert a CMOS image into a perfect replica of the CCD one. The exact spectral make-up of the light from scene as measured by a CCD camera is simply not in the data coming out of the CMOS image. That said, BigMacCam has created a set of presets that do a good job of approximating the CCD look (Get "that CCD look" with the K-3 / K-3II and Lightroom - PentaxForums.com).

Enjoy your 645D and best wishes in finding the venerable AB-82 split screen!

10-05-2017, 08:20 AM - 1 Like   #5
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great narrative of your thought process leading to your decision. For my purposes (landscape, studio, portrait), I would definitely opt for 645D over K-1 for the large CCD sensor. Having used both, the CCD (if you do not require high ISO) is superior in rendering to much less expensive(but efficient) CMOS.
However, once you get above ISO 800 on the CCD, it starts falling apart whereas the CMOS typically hold up past ISO 6000 IMO.

Congrats and welcome to the MF-ers Club!

Last edited by mikeSF; 10-06-2017 at 08:02 AM.
10-05-2017, 11:09 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I owned the 645D, now the Z, and I look back at the RAW files from the D and in my opinion they hold up against almost anything currently available, when used below ISO 800. I've shot wildlife, handheld, with the D at ISO1600 in Zion National Park and the results were excellent. The colors do have a look that are hard to duplicate with the Z. This same opinion is shared with a couple of other photographers I know who have also owned both bodies.
10-05-2017, 12:55 PM   #7
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Do you think a 645D with a 28-45mm would produce better (landscape) images than a 645Z with a 35mm A? I have the first set-up and could only afford a 645Z if I sold the 645D & 28-45mm.
10-05-2017, 01:43 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sarnian Quote
Do you think a 645D with a 28-45mm would produce better (landscape) images than a 645Z with a 35mm A? I have the first set-up and could only afford a 645Z if I sold the 645D & 28-45mm.
If you're shooting style doesn't require the use of high ISO over 800-1600, I would say the 28-45mm is the lens of choice vs the 35mm A (which I own). My 35mm seems quite prone to flare whereas I noticed far less when I once used the 28-45. The 35 is also less contrasty than the 28-45. The sensor in the Z will allow you to extract more shadow detail but the difference isn't nearly as extreme as the comparison between SONY and Canon sensors in this respect. If it were me, I'd keep the setup you have. The ten megapixel difference in sensor size is almost meaningless unless you're displaying ultra large prints aimed at the pixel peeper crowd.

10-05-2017, 02:30 PM   #9
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Many thanks for your thoughtful reply, CDW.

The 28-45mm is such a great lens (in more ways than one!) that it gets the very best out of the 645D. At the end of the day I guess a great sensor with a lesser lens is no better than a great lens with a lesser sensor.
10-07-2017, 11:14 PM - 3 Likes   #10
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Split screen for the pentax 645D

I own both the 645D & Z. If I could keep only one it would be the D for the uniqueness of that sensor and having purchased it new would lose too much on the deal compared to the Z which I purchased used. I was very happy with the D & the only reason I bought the Z was that I put a bid on a 1000 shot Z,55 & 90mm lens no else decided to bid on. As for the focus screen, when I bought my 645D I only had manual focus lenses and wanted a more accurate manual focusing experience than the standard screen provides. I searched in vein for the AB- 82 or whatever its called split screen version. I did come across the all microprism version for a reasonable price but decided to try something else first. I took the old standard screen from my original pentax 645 film camera(first version), snapped off the tab to the side as they have a different position to the later pentax 645's. Using a nail file I smoothed out the remaining squared off sections at the base of the tab. This is important as the first time I tried the old screen on my new D the focus was slightly out. Upon investigation the screen wasn't sitting perfectly flat on the holder and I thought I had just hacked a screen for nothing and wasted my time. Turns out I had not filed quite enough of the tab base square section off to let it sit in the surrounding holder correctly. Once I had removed all traces of the tab, it fitted perfectly and presto, I had a combined split/ microprism screen that I was use to and did make manual focusing considerably easier and a lot more enjoyable experience. You have to remember to put the screen facing the same way as it came out of your film camera as you no longer have the positioning tab to prevent from putting it upside down in the camera. Also no longer can you handle the screen with tweezers via the tab so I just used new cotton gloves & handled from the edges & a good blow down with a rocket blower before you re-install. I still have it in my pentax 645D now as I tend to use that camera more with manual focus lenses and the Z more with AF lenses. Only downside is a slightly darker finder but I can always change back to the original screen but haven't been tempted to even when using AF lenses. Metering ,AF and all functions remained unchanged.
10-08-2017, 10:49 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I took the old standard screen from my original pentax 645 film camera(first version), snapped off the tab to the side as they have a different position to the later pentax 645's. Using a nail file I smoothed out the remaining squared off sections at the base of the tab.

This is an outstanding piece of information. I'm going to try out your solution myself.

Would you happen to know the actual Pentax designation of the screen you modified ?

Last edited by postnobills; 10-08-2017 at 10:58 AM.
10-09-2017, 04:13 AM - 1 Like   #12
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Split/microprism screen

Im pretty sure its a UC-21, Ive since sold the pentax 645 film body and instructions so I cant be 100% percent certain although a web search seemed to indicate this was the original screen for the first pentax 645. They are a lot easier and cheaper to find than the AA/B- 82 and I prefer the combination focusing aids as opposed to only split or microprism options, as neither can be ideal under certain situations & slower lenses.
10-09-2017, 03:19 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DIGIDOWNUNDER Quote
Im pretty sure its a UC-21, Ive since sold the pentax 645 film body and instructions so I cant be 100% percent certain although a web search seemed to indicate this was the original screen for the first pentax 645. They are a lot easier and cheaper to find than the AA/B- 82 and I prefer the combination focusing aids as opposed to only split or microprism options, as neither can be ideal under certain situations & slower lenses.
EXCELLENT. I just ordered one.
10-09-2017, 03:37 PM   #14
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I love my 645D and bought it when I was getting impatient for the K-1 to come out. I've since bought the K-1 too but I still don't regret the D purchase and it still gets regular use.
The 45-85 is great but the 35 is maybe even better for landscapes. It does flare under certain conditions that most other lenses would flare in too. My 35 needs a hood but even without one as long as I'm not shooting into sun I get excellent results. You might as well get them both!
10-09-2017, 03:45 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
That implies that no amount of post-processing can truly convert a CMOS image into a perfect replica of the CCD one. The exact spectral make-up of the light from scene as measured by a CCD camera is simply not in the data coming out of the CMOS image. That said, BigMacCam has created a set of presets that do a good job of approximating the CCD look (Get "that CCD look" with the K-3 / K-3II and Lightroom - PentaxForums.com).
People often discuss replicating the CCD look, and maybe some actions/presets get coloring close. But no amount of processing will replicate the noise-free ISO 100 of a CCD sensor. That said, no amount of editing will get a high-ISO image from a CCD sensor to be as clean as a high-ISO CMOS image.

Even more than color, I think the greatest advantage of CCD is the noise-free ISO 100 shots.
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