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05-21-2018, 09:06 AM   #1
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Upgrade from 645D to 645Z now or better wait until next 645 is out?

Hi


A lot of speculation in this question, but I am finding it hard to make up my mind. And of course I do not expect any obvious answers, more like getting the temperature out there.


The 645Z is a noteworthy upgrade to the 645D in my view. I am happy with the 645D and the results I am achieving (the photographer needs to improve, the gear is good), but of course having more DR, better focus control with live view should be useful. So I could upgrade, but do not have to.



One thing that is holding me back is that Pentax does not seem to have a clear roadmap for the 645 line. 100MP chip ordered, but is it coming, is it going to be DSLR or mirrorless? Is there going to be a successor to the 645Z at all? So I keep on waiting and wonder if I am doing the right thing.



There is one certainty though: I do not see any alternative to the Pentax 645 at this point in time in the market for someone like me who does not get on with EVFs.



Appreciate your thoughts.


Best
Rainer

05-21-2018, 09:37 AM   #2
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Good question. Since the 645z was introduced a while ago, you may consider getting a 645z second hand, in that case, you limit drop of value compared to buying new. If a new 645 model appears, you can still resell the 645z at minimum loss and get the newer model.
05-21-2018, 10:13 AM   #3
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There are many 645Z bodies on the used market as many medium format photographers migrate to mirrorless. Biz-engineer's suggestion of buying used is a good one. One issue is the quality of older legacy P 645 lenses, along with the cost of new P 645 lenses. The newer Fuji glass is excellent and is one of the reasons, along with size and weight reduction, that several photographers I know who were shooting with the Z, have moved to Fuj.
05-21-2018, 11:23 AM   #4
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4 years for 645D, and also for 645Z in 2018 : it is time for a new 645.

---------- Post added 21-05-18 at 11:27 ----------

But, if they keep the same building logic than for the former models, and skip "K-1 hardware mimetism", we might have to wait until next APS-C flagship to see this new medium format.

05-21-2018, 02:36 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by CDW Quote
There are many 645Z bodies on the used market as many medium format photographers migrate to mirrorless. Biz-engineer's suggestion of buying used is a good one. One issue is the quality of older legacy P 645 lenses, along with the cost of new P 645 lenses. The newer Fuji glass is excellent and is one of the reasons, along with size and weight reduction, that several photographers I know who were shooting with the Z, have moved to Fuj.
Hmmm. How good do lenses need to be? How big do people actually print? My experience is that the Pentax lenses, used with a modicum of technique, perform as well as the sensor.

Fuji makes great lenses and they always have. But so does Pentax.

Where the Fuji has a real advantage is in the ultra-wide end of the range. But again, how many need that?

And nevermind that I can buy basically every lens ever made for the Pentax for the price of one used 28-45. The handful of lenses Fuji has are, I'm sure, excellent, but it's still a handful.

I think mirrorless is a wave. It may wash away SLR's, or it may recede leaving us wondering why it was a thing. But I'm with others in preferring an optical viewfinder and real ground glass.

Then again, I was never that into rangefinder cameras, either.

Rick "sensing a major attack of G.A.S" Denney
05-21-2018, 03:10 PM   #6
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the new and legacy glass for 645 is quite good. I swear by the A lenses such 35mm, 75mm, 120mm, heck even the 80-160mm has surprised me on the D and also the Z. Those are all in the $75-$300 range.
05-21-2018, 03:32 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Z or Zed is usually the end of the line, although one should know that never is never.

In looking at the link below, you've probably already know the pros of upgrading from the D to the Z. The question is, look at the common weaknesses. If that was put into a new 645ZII, would that be enough for you to wait for the next model, or are you fishing to see if the Z will come down in price with a ZII on the horizon?

https://www.imaging-resource.com/cameras/pentax/645d/vs/pentax/645z/

Last edited by Alex645; 05-21-2018 at 05:19 PM. Reason: missing link
05-21-2018, 03:47 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by rdenney Quote
Hmmm. How good do lenses need to be? How big do people actually print? My experience is that the Pentax lenses, used with a modicum of technique, perform as well as the sensor.

Fuji makes great lenses and they always have. But so does Pentax.

Where the Fuji has a real advantage is in the ultra-wide end of the range. But again, how many need that?

And nevermind that I can buy basically every lens ever made for the Pentax for the price of one used 28-45. The handful of lenses Fuji has are, I'm sure, excellent, but it's still a handful.

I think mirrorless is a wave. It may wash away SLR's, or it may recede leaving us wondering why it was a thing. But I'm with others in preferring an optical viewfinder and real ground glass.

Then again, I was never that into rangefinder cameras, either.

Rick "sensing a major attack of G.A.S" Denney
I can only speak from my own experience. I owned the 645 D and Z, primarily because I was making large, gallery sized prints for customers. Into my semi-retirement, I find the K1 perfectly adequate for my landscape and nature photography. Other photographers that I personally know who were shooting with the Z, and still sell very large prints, have moved to Fuji because of their ultra wide lens and lighter body. I also think the odds are Fuji will be around supporting digital medium format for a long time. As for Ricoh continuing development of the 645 line, whether SLR or mirrorless, we have no idea other than guesses and hopes.

As for optical or electronic VF, I must be one of the few that is agnostic and currently work with both.

05-21-2018, 04:37 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by CDW Quote
Other photographers that I personally know who were shooting with the Z, and still sell very large prints, have moved to Fuji because of their ultra wide lens and lighter body. I also think the odds are Fuji will be around supporting digital medium format for a long time. As for Ricoh continuing development of the 645 line, whether SLR or mirrorless, we have no idea other than guesses and hopes.
Fuji have only just started digital MF photography, their long-term intentions are completely unknown - the benchmark has to be the Hasselblad X1D - this will be around for a long time (at a price).

As someone who is looking at a D or Z as a first MF digital - and deciding not to go for the K-1 - the D is 'affordable' (if I can find the right deal), the Z is 'expensively affordable' (there aren't many available used in the UK). I doubt there will be a much better Ricoh 645 than the Z in the pipeline, as it is, it's an SLR for a fraction of the cost of any other MF digital SLR while delivering similar output to those costing 3x more.

John.
05-21-2018, 04:40 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by CDW Quote
I can only speak from my own experience. I owned the 645 D and Z, primarily because I was making large, gallery sized prints for customers. Into my semi-retirement, I find the K1 perfectly adequate for my landscape and nature photography. Other photographers that I personally know who were shooting with the Z, and still sell very large prints, have moved to Fuji because of their ultra wide lens and lighter body. I also think the odds are Fuji will be around supporting digital medium format for a long time. As for Ricoh continuing development of the 645 line, whether SLR or mirrorless, we have no idea other than guesses and hopes.

As for optical or electronic VF, I must be one of the few that is agnostic and currently work with both.
I agree on the short lenses. Fuji was smart to come out with a 23 right off the bat--it's a differentiator.

And the lightness, there's no arguing that, though by the time I carry all the other stuff needed to make sharp big prints, the difference in the camera isn't all that great. My preferred roll-film camera for this target, however, has been a Pentax 67, which is no lightweight. For a carry-around camera, though, it's going to be easier than the 645.

The Pentax is positively miniscule compared to my Sinar P.

There are great Fuji cameras that no longer exist. One of the best cameras they built, the GX680, lasted in production only 18 years. Pentax is already over half that with the 645D and 645Z. The GF670 was being made less long than the D/Z. I'm not exactly sure Fuji has the reputation for sticking with its camera offerings in the long term, though it's true that few were really system cameras like the Pentax. But Pentax has been loyal to its 645 lens mount since 1984. I don't know what Ricoh will do, but I do know what they have done.

Rick "shade of the arguments in photojournalism back in the 60's between Leica M2 users and Nikon F users" Denney
05-22-2018, 06:39 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by r4heim Quote
Hi


A lot of speculation in this question, but I am finding it hard to make up my mind. And of course I do not expect any obvious answers, more like getting the temperature out there.


The 645Z is a noteworthy upgrade to the 645D in my view. I am happy with the 645D and the results I am achieving (the photographer needs to improve, the gear is good), but of course having more DR, better focus control with live view should be useful. So I could upgrade, but do not have to.



One thing that is holding me back is that Pentax does not seem to have a clear roadmap for the 645 line. 100MP chip ordered, but is it coming, is it going to be DSLR or mirrorless? Is there going to be a successor to the 645Z at all? So I keep on waiting and wonder if I am doing the right thing.



There is one certainty though: I do not see any alternative to the Pentax 645 at this point in time in the market for someone like me who does not get on with EVFs.



Appreciate your thoughts.


Best
Rainer
"A lot of speculation... I am finding it hard to make up my mind..."

Thank you to the OP - i see that telepathy works !
I have been thinking about moving up to medium format for several months. My hesitation is the ? of what Ricoh/Pentax intends to do - both because the 645Z is getting long in the tooth and because, frankly, of the alternative choices that are out there.

I am a Pentax jingoist (a term i prefer to 'fanboy'). But does loyalty have its limits ?

I like the idea of smaller/lighter - hence the Fuji medium format camera is attractive. It gets good reviews and i have read that firmware updates have addressed some of its initial problems. On the other hand, Fuji's MF lenses are expensive and it doesn't have the decades of significantly less expensive legacy glass of Pentax medium format.
And - did I say that I am loyal ? (But - I also posed the question of limits to loyalty.)

Thoughts? Please weigh in! I welcome others' thoughts and speculation, advice, even thinking out loud.
Thank you.
05-22-2018, 07:01 AM   #12
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In my opinion 645Z is nowadays a very worthy upgrade, having in mind D version. It image quality is up to date with the newest cameras on the market, no worries if it comes to downsizing in this area, thus You receive better AF.
05-22-2018, 09:47 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnha Quote
Fuji have only just started digital MF photography, their long-term intentions are completely unknown - the benchmark has to be the Hasselblad X1D - this will be around for a long time (at a price).
Fuji has collaborated with Hasselblad in the past, FWIW, so they have experience in MF film, and their expertise in small format digital easily translates to MF digital. I don't own a Fuji product but as an observer it's easy to see that Fuji is doing all the things to promote their brand that Pentax is not doing at the moment. Fuji has established a website for owners as well as professional services support, they are pushing development of the APS-C products to compete on a level with SONY including video, they have a roadmap for new MF lenses. Unlike Pentax, Fuji actually operates their own service center in the US. As to the future and longevity of the brands, I would bet Fuji has by far the best financials of the three brands, disregarding parent companies of Hasselblad and Pentax.
05-22-2018, 10:13 AM - 5 Likes   #14
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It's really easy to get lost in the speculation of what will or won't happen. Here's what I know, and this is profoundly true for all the medium-format digital camera makers: If the cameras don't sell well enough, they will be discontinued. This is true no matter what they say. Fuji has been more than willing to exercise that option in the past, both with cameras and with film. Hasselblad was actually a holdout, as was Leica, but both have repositioned themselves as making what look to me like fetish items for the very wealthy amateur. Fuji and Pentax are both targeting more of a pro market, but let's face it, the bulk of both will be sold to amateurs who are perhaps not as well-heeled as those targeted by H and L.

The problem with digital is the same as the problem with desktop computers back in the 80's. The technology has this appearance of moving so fast that we can become paralyzed. But now only gamers worry about technology in home PC's--most just buy something and it works.

We see a camera like the 645z and we think it's grossly out of date simply because it happens to be four years old. This is insanity. I just upgraded my Canon 5D--made in 2005, to a Canon 5DII, made in 2009. Yes, newer cameras do more stuff, maybe, but I have shot weddings on that 5D without it ever once making me sorry I had it. I upgraded simply because I had run into a situation where I needed a bit more resolution.

Digital cameras will not have that longevity, of course. Battery technologies are the worst of it, I think. How long will I be able to get Canon BP511 batteries for the old 5D (the 5DII uses different batteries, about which I was not that happy, to be honest). But Canon is still making them all available, despite being somewhat undercut by the third-party industry. Another aspect of sustainability is the availability in the secondary market of stuff that attaches to it. Here, Pentax rules the earth, unless you want to adapt stuff. Zillions of 645 lenses were made back when 645 was the standard portable commercial format. These lenses are all quite competent, and in return for not being absolutely state of the art, they are cheap and easy to get. Hasselblad lenses can be adapted to the Hasselblad X1, I suppose, and there are possibly adaptations that can be made with the Fuji. In the case of the Hasselblad, one does not get the same level of integrate one gets from a Pentax FA lens from the 90's. Even the modern autofocus versions of most Pentax lenses are cheap by medium-format standards. What this means is that 20 years from now, if I can get batteries, and if I have a computer that can read the files, I can still make photographs as good as the ones I can make today.

Do I really care if Pentax never has a successor? No.

Back not that long ago, 4x5 camera equipment was either targeted to amateurs and cheap, or targeted to professionals and expensive. I owned a Calumet 4x5 camera that was in the former category. It was perfectly competent, but it was unpleasant to use. Also, it would not let me use the short lenses I wanted to use. So, I bought a Cambo SC--also targeted to amateurs, though of much newer and more modular design. I made photos with that for about 15 years. Then, about 15 years ago, pros were suddenly abandoning high-end large-format cameras. So, I bought a Sinar F, and then upgraded that to an F2 (for very specific reasons, by the way). That camera was a joy to use compared to the Cambo. I paid less in the early 2000's for that Sinar than I paid in the 80's for that Cambo, buying both pre-owned. A few weeks ago, I came across a Sinar P--their high-end model from the early 70's--for less than what I paid for the F. I bought it mostly because it was so modularly interchangeable with my F2 that it could seemless integrate into my photography. Every lens I have bought for large format has been old, or at least pre-owned, until the market tanked and I could get newer stuff for cheap. So, the question for me is: Is Sinar a long-term company supporting 4x5 large format film photography? NO. It has been done with film for many years, and their current (eye-wateringly expensive) camera is targeted to digital backs. But owning a Sinar is sustainable for many years to come--there are lots of them, and lots of the things they need will continue to be traded back and forth by their owners.

The 645z is a great camera. At some point, it will no longer be the best camera, but it will always be a great camera. For its foreseeable lifespan, there will be batteries, memory cards, and lenses that can be easily obtained. For its foreseeable lifespan, software will support it, even if it's not Pentax software. Even if Pentax abandons the 645 market altogether, the 645z will still be a great camera, and photographers will mourn its passing.

My Pentax 67's are at greater risk than the 645z--I depend on a now-old Nikon scanner to scan the negatives. If that fails, I may be figuring it out with the 645z and the 120mm Macro. But for now those cameras are decades old and still completely usable as intended. And they still make great photos.

So, my advice is the same it was in the 80's for computers: Buy a current model late in its model cycle to get the best prices (or buy used), and then use it. I didn't get the 645z until this year. I'm glad that doesn't invalidate the photos I made last year.

Rick "digital cameras are not throwaway cameras just because there are technological improvements" Denney
05-22-2018, 03:18 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by CDW Quote
Fuji has collaborated with Hasselblad in the past, FWIW, so they have experience in MF film, and their expertise in small format digital easily translates to MF digital. I don't own a Fuji product but as an observer it's easy to see that Fuji is doing all the things to promote their brand that Pentax is not doing at the moment. Fuji has established a website for owners as well as professional services support, they are pushing development of the APS-C products to compete on a level with SONY including video, they have a roadmap for new MF lenses. Unlike Pentax, Fuji actually operates their own service center in the US. As to the future and longevity of the brands, I would bet Fuji has by far the best financials of the three brands, disregarding parent companies of Hasselblad and Pentax.
In the UK, Fuji made their XPro1 APS-C work by giving away two free 300+ lenses with every 1100 body sold. There are already a lot of Fuji GF refurbished cameras (2000 reduction) & lenses (1000 reduction) available in the UK (why are so many being refurbished?). Fuji need a roadmap for MF lenses - Pentax hit the ground running with about 14 existing FA lenses (some being very desirable & exotic pieces of glass), all of them working seamlessly with the D & Z. What additional lenses would you really need? PENTAX 645 Z - RICOH IMAGING EUROPE S.A.S. Fuji have 6 primes, a zoom and a teleconverter.
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