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11-29-2018, 11:03 AM - 1 Like   #1
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is a 645D worth buying today?

I'm a film shooter. I have a dig camera that i bought 8 years ago for things like little league and for travel a little.. but I primarily shoot landscapes and sometimes portraits, which I still shoot on film and enlarge in a dark room. I just love the results when printed and for me thats why I shoot picts, to print and hang on a wall for display. I hardly ever post online. but I do scan negs. I have a 6x9 ektar neg that I scanned and had printed vie a lightjet recently and the results where great.


so I thought I would take another look at digital again for landscapes. when I shoot 35mm I use nikon and my digital camera is a nikon D700 which gave great results when used. so my first look was at a D850. But I have a pentax 645N, which does not really get used, along with a P67ii which is my primary tripod camera. I never really liked 4x5 or 8x10 as Im a hiker and liked the portability of MF cameras. I have the pentax 67 to 645 adapter and have used the 67 lenses on my 645n and got great results. So my thoughts also went to the 645Z. with the reduced pric it is a very interesting option. but the thought of paying a lot of cash for a new digital camera, not liking it and then forcing myself to use it....

so a local add for a very low shutter count for a 645D came into view. A fair price that if its not for me I can resell it for what i pay or a small loss if needed. yes its a CCD sensor. But shooting landscapes on a tripod as well as portraits with lights, I will shoot at the primary ISO 95% of the time, so no real need for high ISO shooting, its not me. I did read the 850 vs 645z thread and there are some good points. But I'm wondering how a 645D would work for me and for what I shoot. I would have to rethink my printing output, but it is what it is. the 645D would be used for color only as I love shooting B&W film and never digital replacing it as B&W digital . the end results just aren't there IN MY OPINION (this is not meant to start a dig vs film war. I just prefer B&W film results. sorry for the shouting).

lots to think about, too many questions. so, is a D645 relevant today or not? I dont imagine I will ever print larger than 20x24 if that helps. when I enlarge, the biggest I usually do is 16x20.


many thanks.

john

11-29-2018, 11:32 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by destroya Quote
D645 relevant today or not?
I'm just shot for hobby.

I'm torn between new K-1II or Used 645D. As I have several 6x7 lens, I think I'll go for the 645D next year. But before, as a mater of training, I'll get a K10D to get me used to the ISO range (both similar 100 - 1600)

Depends of the feeling with de K10D, if I go for the 645D then I'll save for a new 645z or its successor... or I'll stay with the K-1II for a while.
11-29-2018, 11:35 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I have both the 645D and K1. I really prefer the colours and sharpness I get out of the 645D when the lighting is good. The K1 is much better at low light, autofocus, IBIS, dynamic range, and overall speed. Of the two, the 645D behaves much more like a film camera, which I prefer. With prime lenses, it isn't even that much heavier than the K1.
11-29-2018, 01:03 PM   #4
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For landscapes and portraits I often wish I had the 645d that I rented once. If I already had a range of lenses for it I'd have one even if I had to sell off a bunch of other gear. Does that answer your question?

Good luck with your decision!

11-29-2018, 01:52 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I had the 645D and sold it. Great images at low ISO but very limited camera. I would also question investing in Pentax MF when Fuji and others have shown up with more modern mirrorless designs.
In addition, Full Frame sensors have similar resolution to the 645D (like the sony A7RIII) and are more flexible and extensible systems.
11-29-2018, 03:10 PM - 7 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by spartan Quote
I had the 645D and sold it. Great images at low ISO but very limited camera. I would also question investing in Pentax MF when Fuji and others have shown up with more modern mirrorless designs.
In addition, Full Frame sensors have similar resolution to the 645D (like the sony A7RIII) and are more flexible and extensible systems.


So, weíll advise a guy who already owns P645 lenses and film cameras to spend ten grand (including a lens or two) for a new Fuji mirrorless camera, instead of about two grand for a 645 D. Ooookay. But itís a bit like the ďforumĒ member of 1955 asking whether he should consider a Sinar Norma view camera for tripod landscape photography, and being told to get a Speed Graphic instead because itís more portable, lighter, and has a rangefinder. That they both use 4x5 film is not enough to make them meaningful competitors for the tripod use case. I simply would not want to use a Fuji on a tripod in bright sun (or, in all honesty, particularly in bright sun).

The 645 D will not seem limited to a film photographer. It works well up to at least ISO 400, which is already faster than film that most landscape photographers would consider using in any rollfilm camera. The ability to tolerate very high ISOís is like magic in many circumstances, but a film photographer committed to tripod use will have already developed the technique to manage that limitation.

The only real limitation is the lack of live view, but I use that on the 645z about once in a hundred photos. Focus confirmation works with any lens on the 645D (or the N and NII, for that matter).

I do not believe it is easy to get the same results using a full-frame camera, though one can get close. 16x20 prints will require 17x enlargement and significant cropping from a 24x36 sensor. The 645D files will be enlarged 12x and will use nearly all of the image. Iíve seen 16x20 prints from D850ís and 5Dsís that were sharp enough, but they did not have the tonal density and smoothness of prints from the 645D and the Leica S that used the same Kodak sensor.

I think the OPís plan is a good oneóit provides enough image quality to give his experiment with digital a fair test while mitigating the risk of the major technology change.

Rick ďformat size and shape still countsĒ Denney
11-29-2018, 04:37 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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I would get the 645D no question if you are coming from film.

Focus is critical with the 645D for getting the right DOF, but I am sure that you have that covered coming from full size medium format film.

The dynamic range of the 645D is actually very good at base ISO, I have taken some stunning images with that camera and been able to recover shadows easily.

Just beware that your current 645 lenses will not be as wide angle on the 645D due to the crop sensor.
11-29-2018, 04:47 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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My experience may be helpful, I have a P6x7 outfit with a few lenses and the 645 adapter (I had already envisioned renting a 645Z at some point - the practicalities of renting the gear with a 100% credit card deposit as an amateur ended that idea!). I've shot loads of roll film in the past in 645, 6x6 & 6x7 formats, not necessarily tripod mounted but I'm comfortable with slow film and slow working. Six months ago I bought a mid-milage 645D for similar money to a K-1ii from a very good Pentax specialist dealer with a year warranty. I've never shot video, used LiveView or high ISO on my K-5, the 'limitations' of the 645D are not significant to me (I did buy a right-angled viewfinder attachment for 'waist level' shooting due to not having a flippy screen - it works well).

I shoot it like an MF film camera - slowly concentrating on the images, rarely shooting more than a dozen frames in a session. The form-factor of the camera is so close to a typical MF camera, it encourages me to shoot it the same way. All of the P6x7 lenses I've tried have produced good or better results (I'm not worried about scientific levels of sharpness, the larger format is far more important). The limitations being wide-angle focal lengths - the P6x7 45mm is good but only equivalent to around 35mm (FF). Since buying the 645D I've also bought 33-55 & 45-85 645 AF zooms and prefer these to P6x7 lenses for the convenience of them having a native mount. The 33-55 has some negatives according to the reviews, but it's the only wide-angle I can justify and I needed the extra width - in practise, it works well for my needs.

Although I still shoot MF film, getting high quality scans is expensive and considerable hassle (I need a better scanner and computer), the output from the 645D obviously eliminates this. Print wise, I've been experimenting with lab produced A2 prints (the largest the 645D will go at 300dpi) and there's easily enough detail in them for me.

Since buying it I've also bought an original K-1, but my preference will always be the 645D when I want to get serious. Medium format digital always seemed way out of my reach and totally un-justiable - a used 645D (and some P6x7 lenses + adapter) suddenly made it do-able. Having accessories common to my other Pentax cameras (batteries, chargers, flashguns, IR remote controls) really help reduce the overall cost when considering it as a 'system'. It's perfectly feasible to carry only P6x7 lenses, the adapter and both 645D & P6x7 bodies to give the best of both worlds, a 645/N(ii) would work similarly with native 645 glass.

I'm very happy with my choice and the results it gives.

John.


Last edited by johnha; 11-29-2018 at 04:58 PM. Reason: Updated comments about the 33-55
11-30-2018, 03:32 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by destroya Quote
yes its a CCD sensor
I have an *istDS and moved to a Nikon D700 because they say it's the CMOS sensor that provides the colors closest to CCD's.
I sold the D700 and bought the 645D just because it has a CCD sensor. I didn't hesitate just because it. I love those sensors and how they render colors without any post-processing.
I had to learn when to NOT shoot, but it's not really a true handicap. I shot concerts in low light with it, and just at 800 ISO it performed well enough. Even some shots at 1600 were acceptable.

For landscapes, as has been said, it's capabilities are just more than enough, just check the galleries around (the infamous thread about "your medium format pictures" here, for example.
11-30-2018, 04:53 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rdenney Quote
So, we’ll advise a guy who already owns P645 lenses and film cameras to spend ten grand (including a lens or two) for a new Fuji mirrorless camera, instead of about two grand for a 645 D. Ooookay. But it’s a bit like the “forum” member of 1955 asking whether he should consider a Sinar Norma view camera for tripod landscape photography, and being told to get a Speed Graphic instead because it’s more portable, lighter, and has a rangefinder. That they both use 4x5 film is not enough to make them meaningful competitors for the tripod use case. I simply would not want to use a Fuji on a tripod in bright sun (or, in all honesty, particularly in bright sun).
The Sony a7RIII is about 2.5 grand so if this is about Money, the cost is a wash. He has Nikon Lenses so the 850 is another option for Full Frame.
My general point is that I see little investment by Pentax in MF and one buys into a system...where is the future of this system.
This is the main reason I sold off my 645D. And at the resolution of the 645D, one could get the Nikon or Sony but much better performance and High ISO

Last edited by spartan; 11-30-2018 at 04:58 AM.
11-30-2018, 07:55 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by spartan Quote
The Sony a7RIII is about 2.5 grand so if this is about Money, the cost is a wash. He has Nikon Lenses so the 850 is another option for Full Frame.
My general point is that I see little investment by Pentax in MF and one buys into a system...where is the future of this system.
This is the main reason I sold off my 645D. And at the resolution of the 645D, one could get the Nikon or Sony but much better performance and High ISO


Sorry, but offering 24x30 mm of sensor to make a 16x20Ē print just isnít the same as using 33x43 mm of sensor to make that 16x20, number of pixels notwithstanding.

And you offered Fuji as an alternative, not Sony.

Even vintage 645 lenses resolve well at that enlargement, but resolving from small format will take newer and higher-end glass.

Making a decision based on future sustainability is a different dimension, but so far weíve seen no evidence of Pentax abandoning 645, even if they are not extending it at the moment. Even if they did abandon it, youíre offering advice based on that to a film photographer making photographs using equipment long out of production. I still use a Canon 5D, made in 2005, and it still makes the same photos that earned its classic status. The file formats, memory cards, and batteries are the same as used by Pentax in small cameras.

Itís a matter of fulfilling requirements based on needs, and the OP didnít present a need for superb performance at high ISO.

Rick ďsize matters, no matter what they tell youĒ Denney
11-30-2018, 09:28 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I do not need high ISO. I will be shooting at base iso for 95% of what I shoot. I never got the point of being able to to shoot at ISO 1 million or whatever it is just because I can. kinda like shooting digital is free, as in no film costs, so I will shoot 500 pictures of my feet, my cat, the ground only because I can. hmmmm

I just see a digital camera as another tool in the chest. I will use it just like I do my film cameras. last time I went to yosemite I shot a total of 16 rolls of film, so like 150 or less images, while a guy nest to me for some time bragged out loud that he shot like 1000 images in the last 10 minutes only because he could. I aim for a 75% keeper rate, so I shoot very subjectively.

yes size does matter, in terms of sensor size. and I have no desire to buy into another system. I dont really expect much of a quality gain in output from a pentax MF system and a fuji or hasselblad. Im not a feature guy. I would use manual focus even if I have auto focus lenses, just like the control it gives me, so I dont need 1000 focus points.


it was just an idea, given the price point has dropped to make it a viable option when going digital. yes its an older model, but does that matter? All I care about is the end results and I am guessing that the 645D could help me produce them.
11-30-2018, 10:24 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I wouldn't worry about it being an old camera, it's main limitations (compared to a Z) are:
High ISO: not really an issue as Rick points out.
LiveView/Focus peeking: I've never used either.
1 fps shooting/slow card writes: not an issue for me.
No flippy screen (makes a handy WLF): I've bought a Refconverter (and used it once).
No video: I don't care for it.

Maybe in it's favour (YMMV) it has a CCD, the output of which many people spend a lot of time trying to recreate from CMOS sensors.

Some of the above might be limitations for some uses but not for careful composition and landscapes (where it's about 90% as capable as the Z for half the cost).

In the UK there aren't many used D/Zs about, it's about finding one at the right price/place/time. In my case that was a D with a one year warranty, but it could easily be that Zs start to become available for not much more than current D prices. When I bought mine, a used Z was £1000 more than the D I bought - that's a hefty premium, putting it definitely the wrong side of the 'justifiable' line.

Having bought the D, I wished I'd bitten the bullet long ago and bought the last of the discounted new ones with the 55mm lens bundle when they were being sold off after the Z was released. I did think about it at the time...

John.
11-30-2018, 03:21 PM   #14
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If you know itís limitations, and can live with them, then itís worth it at the right price. For a main camera if you do professional work, is very limiting. The image quality is incredible in the studio and daytime outside. As good as the best Full Frame modern cameras. But interiors, late afternoon and night exteriors is not nearly as good, itís below average. You cannot use iso above 400, and even at 400 you lose quite a bit of quality.

I was planning to buy a Z to replace my D as my main camera, but in the end I bought a Sony A7RIII for $2,200 (new) and 3 lenses for $1,000 Sony 28mm F2(new), Zeiss 55mm F1.8(used), and Sony 85mm F1.8(used). And the quality is a bit better than the D in studio and daylight, and lightyears better at high ISO. Plus itís got liveview, excellent video, and the autofocus is increŪble, both in stills and videos. It would have cost me about $4,000 just the Z body(used).
11-30-2018, 11:58 PM - 1 Like   #15
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sensor split

the main downside to the 645D was sensor split. uneven exposure in the two sensor halves. showed up at the worst times. all three bodies that I owned or auditioned had the problem. loved the D until the second I could get my hands on a Z.........

never want to deal with a D again , for any reason........
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