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11-16-2019, 07:01 PM   #1
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Pentax 67 vs 645d vs 645z with 67 Lenses

Over the last couple of years, I've managed to get a hold of a few Pentax 67 lenses (mostly through trading other equipment I didn't use anymore). Last year, my Pentax 67 stopped taking pictures. I'm not exactly sure what is wrong with it, but it just doesn't take any pictures. I can load film, go through it, but nothing actually "records" on the film. It's been about a year since I last tested it, so I can't really remember if there is anything else going on. Since I was still in the process of learning how to use the camera, I can almost guarantee I did something to bust it.

I'm now in the process of getting the camera repaired, but I was also debating purchasing a Pentax 645d or a 645z and using the 67 lenses exclusively on either camera. I'm almost certain I'll get the 67 repaired, but the digital medium format bug is definitely there. I don't mind having to shoot fully manual, but don't know if it's really worth the money.

Does anyone have any experience with my situation? Anything I may not be considering?

11-16-2019, 08:32 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Well, one can use 6x7 lenses on a 645d or z of course. I have, as I have both 6x7 and 645n systems, and this year upgraded to a 645z. Honestly, as I already had a collection of A and FA 645 lenses, much prefer those than the 6x7 lenses. Is it worth it get the 645z? Yep, sure is IMHO. But I'd really try to have a few lenses made for the 645 mount.
11-16-2019, 09:49 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
Well, one can use 6x7 lenses on a 645d or z of course. I have, as I have both 6x7 and 645n systems, and this year upgraded to a 645z. Honestly, as I already had a collection of A and FA 645 lenses, much prefer those than the 6x7 lenses. Is it worth it get the 645z? Yep, sure is IMHO. But I'd really try to have a few lenses made for the 645 mount.
I can completely see how more modern 645 lenses would work better on the d or z. I'm just wondering if it would be worth getting a 645 system if I only plan on using 67 lenses (in the immediate, at least).

I guess what I'm wondering is if the 67 lenses would be good enough, or if I'd be let down by the lenses. I have a Sony a7r3 and purchased a kipon 0.7 focal reducer adapter so that I could use the 67 lenses on it. The results are fine, but nothing to get excited about. I wonder if they'd be any better on a 645 system than they are on the Sony. The resolution on the Sony is pretty close to the 645d, but the sensor size isn't.
11-16-2019, 10:17 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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"I guess what I'm wondering is if the 67 lenses would be good enough"...

What!?


Let's start you on the bottom rung. There are a number of excellent performers in the big (and sometimes bulky/heavy) 67 lens neighbourhood, and a couple of stellar apo ones that will set you back a fair amount. You must be aware of the various designations of the Pentax 67 lenses that point directly to the era in which they came out, the earliest being the Takumars, which are not always good value or for that matter, nor are they the best optical performers; some are, but a lot more are not a patch on later iterations. Then came the Pentax 6x7 and finally, the SMC Pentax 67-designated lenses from 1989-1990 onward, with optical updates (although they are still old Biogon and Distagon optical designs), and cosmetic tweaks that bring a more modern and easy-handling feel. You will need an adaptor to use any lens on the 645Z, and there will be no electronic communication from the camera to the lens and vice versa. It's a rather clunky set up and from the feedback I have received from colleagues, not one that is going to please everybody making an investment in a digital body but using analogue lenses, particularly older types.


I have a few theories as to why your Pentax 67 stopped working, from the limited amount of information provided, and this sort of thing is very common with people who are not fully up to speed on the idiosyncracies of these cameras. They don't just stop working without a reason — something has to be done for that to happen! They do have their tricks and traps, but nothing the cluey and careful cannot overcome with confidence. I hope you have it reset or, at worst, repaired and bring it back into active service.

11-16-2019, 10:26 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
I can completely see how more modern 645 lenses would work better on the d or z. I'm just wondering if it would be worth getting a 645 system if I only plan on using 67 lenses (in the immediate, at least).

I guess what I'm wondering is if the 67 lenses would be good enough, or if I'd be let down by the lenses. I have a Sony a7r3 and purchased a kipon 0.7 focal reducer adapter so that I could use the 67 lenses on it. The results are fine, but nothing to get excited about. I wonder if they'd be any better on a 645 system than they are on the Sony. The resolution on the Sony is pretty close to the 645d, but the sensor size isn't.
I understood what you were considering doing. Long ago, when I didn't know a lot, I thought that getting used 645 lenses for my APS-c camera would give me better pictures because the lenses were so much bigger or better. I've since learned that isn't the case for a lot of reasons, some of which has been written about on this site somewhere. I believe that things like older 6x7 lenses with out modern coatings, on a 645z would be about the same experience was you've seen on your Sony - the results would be ok, just nothing to get excited about. If I recall correctly, my experience with my 6x7 lenses on my z were just that, ok but not really good. I recall some issues in metering with 6x7 lenses, some overexposure I believe. I really can't be more specific that that. I will say that my 6x7 300mm lens and 135mm macro lenses worked fairly well on the z.
11-17-2019, 01:36 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I bought a 645D and for a while only used 6x7 lenses with the Pentax adapter. When shooting this combination you get focus confirmation and Manual & Av exposure modes with open aperture metering (if the camera is set to another mode it simply drops seemlessly into the above). Once the lens is attached, apart from perhaps being bulky, operation is straight forward.

The 6x7 lenses are good enough for the D, some of the later 67 types are very good (45, 55/4, 55-100, 200/4). The biggest problem is a wide angle (with the crop factor), the A/FA 35mm is supposed to be very good, I went for the FA33-55 zoom which gets variable reviews but is good enough if you're careful.

Edit: The FA 645 lenses are more convenient, the FA45-85 is a very good 35-70 equivalent.

Last edited by johnha; 11-17-2019 at 02:50 AM.
11-17-2019, 04:57 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I've never had a 67 body but I do have (and use) seven 67 lenses on my 645Z.....manual focus aside, they're pretty seamless in operation.
11-17-2019, 06:03 AM - 1 Like   #8
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The latest 6X7 lenses perform wonderfully on my 645Z. I have a 75 mm f/2.8 AL, a 100 mm f/4 Macro, a recently acquired 55-100 mm f/4.5 Zoom and an M* 300 mm f/4 Telephoto and, altough they are heavy and manual-focus only, give excellent results with the original Pentax adapter. On A-mode, they provide automatic exposure with the 645Z. I mainly use 645 FA Zooms (45-85 mm f/4.5, 80-160 mm f/4.5 and 150-300 mm f/5.6) when I am in a hurry as they are Autofocus and lighter overall though. I'm a landscape photographer, I use a heavy tripod most of the time and my secret is "ALWAYS USE f/11" with 645 and 6X7 lenses.

11-17-2019, 08:02 AM - 1 Like   #9
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Just an aside to this conversation -- if you think you will be interested in IR work the limited tests I've done with 67 100mm macro and the 67 120mm soft show the lenses to have virtually no hotspots on an IR converted sony a7rii -- in fact these two lenses performed better than anything else I've tested so far. I did not have the chance to test any of the other 67 lenses and I just picked up the late version of the 67 55mm on ebay and I'm really hoping this performs as well as the other two lenses.
11-17-2019, 11:59 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
"I guess what I'm wondering is if the 67 lenses would be good enough"...

What!?


Let's start you on the bottom rung. There are a number of excellent performers in the big (and sometimes bulky/heavy) 67 lens neighbourhood, and a couple of stellar apo ones that will set you back a fair amount. You must be aware of the various designations of the Pentax 67 lenses that point directly to the era in which they came out, the earliest being the Takumars, which are not always good value or for that matter, nor are they the best optical performers; some are, but a lot more are not a patch on later iterations. Then came the Pentax 6x7 and finally, the SMC Pentax 67-designated lenses from 1989-1990 onward, with optical updates (although they are still old Biogon and Distagon optical designs), and cosmetic tweaks that bring a more modern and easy-handling feel. You will need an adaptor to use any lens on the 645Z, and there will be no electronic communication from the camera to the lens and vice versa. It's a rather clunky set up and from the feedback I have received from colleagues, not one that is going to please everybody making an investment in a digital body but using analogue lenses, particularly older types.


I have a few theories as to why your Pentax 67 stopped working, from the limited amount of information provided, and this sort of thing is very common with people who are not fully up to speed on the idiosyncracies of these cameras. They don't just stop working without a reason — something has to be done for that to happen! They do have their tricks and traps, but nothing the cluey and careful cannot overcome with confidence. I hope you have it reset or, at worst, repaired and bring it back into active service.
My question about whether or not they would be good enough comes from reading a lot of comments on other threads about people recommending getting 645 lenses instead of 67 lenses. I really have no reference with digital medium format and only had the 67 a couple of months before it stopped working. I have no doubt I did something to make it stop working, but I don't have enough experience to know what. The only thing I can think of is that I may have removed the viewfinder without removing the lens first. I think I remember reading somewhere that you're not supposed to do that. Again, I'm not entirely sure that's what I did (don't remember doing it), but it's the only thing I can think I may have done. I tried to take care of the camera as much as possible.

---------- Post added 11-17-19 at 11:02 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by johnha Quote
I bought a 645D and for a while only used 6x7 lenses with the Pentax adapter. When shooting this combination you get focus confirmation and Manual & Av exposure modes with open aperture metering (if the camera is set to another mode it simply drops seemlessly into the above). Once the lens is attached, apart from perhaps being bulky, operation is straight forward.

The 6x7 lenses are good enough for the D, some of the later 67 types are very good (45, 55/4, 55-100, 200/4). The biggest problem is a wide angle (with the crop factor), the A/FA 35mm is supposed to be very good, I went for the FA33-55 zoom which gets variable reviews but is good enough if you're careful.

Edit: The FA 645 lenses are more convenient, the FA45-85 is a very good 35-70 equivalent.
I'm debating getting a D instead of a Z because I'd like to only do manual focus. I know the Z is a much better camera, but I wonder if it's too much for what I'd like to do. I'd really like to focus on portraits and landscapes. The only thing holding me back is that the Z seems to be dropping in price pretty quickly and I don't know how good manual focus would be on the D. How was your experience with manual focus on the D?

---------- Post added 11-17-19 at 11:03 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Bob L Quote
I've never had a 67 body but I do have (and use) seven 67 lenses on my 645Z.....manual focus aside, they're pretty seamless in operation.
How's the focus peaking on the Z?

---------- Post added 11-17-19 at 11:05 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by travelswsage Quote
Just an aside to this conversation -- if you think you will be interested in IR work the limited tests I've done with 67 100mm macro and the 67 120mm soft show the lenses to have virtually no hotspots on an IR converted sony a7rii -- in fact these two lenses performed better than anything else I've tested so far. I did not have the chance to test any of the other 67 lenses and I just picked up the late version of the 67 55mm on ebay and I'm really hoping this performs as well as the other two lenses.
Had not considered that. I have an a7ii that was converted to IR. I will definitely be testing out my lenses.
11-17-2019, 01:00 PM - 1 Like   #11
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The 67 lenses are so numerous (in medium format terms, anyway!) and long-lived that it would be a mistake to generalise. Some of them wouldn't do justice to a modern, high-resolution camera like the 645D/Z. Others are worthy partners. Although I have some of the newer digital lenses, I still use some of the 67 glass. The 6x7 75mm f2.8AL is superb. The 6x7 200mm f4 (final version) isn't stellar but, in my view, better than the 645 equivalent. The 6x7 300mm f4 EDIF and 400mm f4 EDIF lenses are first rate and preferable in results to their 645 counterparts. Good results can be expected from the 6x7 55mm f4 (final version). And you get distinctive character from the 6x7 105mm f2.4 lens (not world class resolution, but a feel that you won't get with another lens). You can also use the 6x7 55-100 lens with confidence. So there are some good options. But the rest I am happy to let go, in preference to the 645 alternatives.

Hope this helps!

Ed
11-17-2019, 01:38 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
The only thing I can think of is that I may have removed the viewfinder without removing the lens first. I think I remember reading somewhere that you're not supposed to do that. Again, I'm not entirely sure that's what I did (don't remember doing it), but it's the only thing I can think I may have done. I tried to take care of the camera as much as possible.
If the viewfinder comes off, or is deliberately removed with a lens attached, then the lens must first be removed, then the viewfinder re-attached. This resets the aperture coupling chain. The tiny chain breaks very easily if forced by the aperture ring when it is not in the correct position. Repair is a little involved (OEM parts are not available, so robust stainless steel wire is effective as a substitute) and requires recalibration of the lens mount/focusing for correct focus at three points when reassembly is complete.
11-17-2019, 03:32 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote


How's the focus peaking on the Z?[COLOR="Silver"]
My MO with the Z is to use Liveview and peaking with all static subjects...even with 645-FA lenses.
11-17-2019, 03:41 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
I'm debating getting a D instead of a Z because I'd like to only do manual focus. I know the Z is a much better camera, but I wonder if it's too much for what I'd like to do. I'd really like to focus on portraits and landscapes. The only thing holding me back is that the Z seems to be dropping in price pretty quickly and I don't know how good manual focus would be on the D. How was your experience with manual focus on the D?[COLOR="Silver"]
I bought the D because Z prices even used were well over my budget (pipedream prices), the D came from a Pentax pro dealer with good warranty and a great reputation. More recently, Z prices have fallen. I already had the Pentax 67 to 645 adapter and that meant I could buy it body only without extra expense. I have since bought 645 FA lenses in 33-55, 45-85 & 80-160 for convenience.

Manual focusing on the D is fine, I usually use the focus confirmation on the centre point, and it's as easy as the K-1. When shooting something moving, I use the standard AF ground glass screen as the AF confirm LED is difficult for me to see quickly as I wear glasses (I still miss shots but no worse than when using a normal manual focus camera). I have bought a 645n micro-prism focussing screen for the D but haven't felt to need to install it.
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