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08-26-2009, 07:30 AM   #1
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oh dear, I bought a 645... advice?

I am not sure what happened but apparently I bought a Pentax 645N. It's a kit with 120 and 220 backs, a flash, FA 75/2.8 and FA 150/2.8. I haven't shot film in decades and have never shot medium format, but thought I would give myself a graduation gift. Actually, I didn't think I'd win the auction for under 600 euros.

After a whole bunch of research I decided the 645 format was best for me since it is a huge step up from APS-C digital while still being somewhat portable. I will need a tripod but have a decent monopod to help me for now.

Pentax seems the best combination of ease of use and high quality optics while being affordable. And, who knows, maybe the digital version will be released someday and I'll win a huge commission and be able to buy it.

But for now I wonder which accessories I should get? Things like focus screens, magnifying loupes, shutter releases etc. If anyone has specific recommendations that would be great. I have found it much more difficult to find info on 645 than digital.

Does anyone know if the camera manual is available online?

08-26-2009, 08:02 AM   #2
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Congrats! I just missed on an auction last week for a 645N w/ 2 lenses.

For starters: Pentax Manuals

Other than a tripod, the next thing I'd go for would be supplies for developing your film. B&W is not difficult and C-41 simply requires the temps be more precise.
08-26-2009, 08:30 AM   #3
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i don't know anything about the Pentax 645 system but make sure you give Provia 400X a shot, it's awesome stuff
08-26-2009, 08:46 AM   #4
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I found that site for manuals but the 645N is not there, only the other two models. I will read the 645NII manual and mentally delete those things that do not apply... not that I yet know what all those are!

As for developing, I do not plan on doing this myself. There is one place in town that will accept 120, but I have no details on what they support as they sell only basic Velvia and aren't that forthcoming. I need to talk to the dude who will actually be running the film. I did see a cart of Rodinal sitting around.

They charge 5 euros per roll developed or 10 with scanning. I will look into sending stuff to Dublin to get better rates.

I am thinking B&W since I want something different out of this. I will still run my APS-C digital system most of the time. This is for special shots!

08-26-2009, 10:02 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Pentax seems the best combination of ease of use and high quality optics while being affordable. And, who knows, maybe the digital version will be released someday and I'll win a huge commission and be able to buy it.
Also, assuming your lenses work on the new digital medium format camera, you can always rent the 645D for special assignments and keep film for day to day use. This is something I have been considering doing myself, but I'm trying to hold off on any more large camera purchases for awhile

I'm looking forward to seeing your pictures. Let us know how things go!
08-26-2009, 02:20 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Urkeldaedalus Quote
Also, assuming your lenses work on the new digital medium format camera, you can always rent the 645D for special assignments and keep film for day to day use. This is something I have been considering doing myself, but I'm trying to hold off on any more large camera purchases for awhile

I'm looking forward to seeing your pictures. Let us know how things go!
I'm somewhat skeptical on the availability of 645 Digital for rent... especially in Canada
08-26-2009, 05:38 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
I'm somewhat skeptical on the availability of 645 Digital for rent... especially in Canada
And certainly not in Ireland!!
08-27-2009, 05:22 PM   #8
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Advice

QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
oh dear, I bought a 645... advice?
Put the camera down slowly and back away from it--then turn around and run as far as you can.

If you don't ... well, your K-mount equipment will start collecting dust. You'll start spending more money on film and developing .. then you'll start thinking about doing your own developing ... then you'll want to convert a room in your house to a darkroom .... It's too late for me, but you can still get out! Save yourself before it's too late!

08-27-2009, 07:59 PM   #9
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He he he.... well, I am already thinking of developing B&W because no-one else will, apparently. Will look into getting a changing bag and developing tank so I don't have to light-proof anything. The biggest issue might be buying a decent scanner, since I have no money for this.

But I don't think my k-mount gear will collect anything but more great photos. The 645 is a supplement, not a replacement.
08-28-2009, 10:42 AM   #10
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Buffy's experience somewhat mirrors mine. When I got my Pentax 67II in '99 or '00, I hardly picked up my 35mm kit for a couple years--FA* lenses and all. Just dust 'em off every few months...The medium format just grabs you and shouts, "WOW!"

Never been motivated to do any developing or darkroom, partly because I did that decades ago in school and bought an enlarger and everything. Got it out of my system before moving to medium format.

But once you get a few rolls processed, you'll be hooked. Image quality is motivational!
08-28-2009, 11:36 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
I'm somewhat skeptical on the availability of 645 Digital for rent... especially in Canada
Yes, but if the 645 Digital is released at all, won't it be proof that miracles can happen?
09-01-2009, 12:12 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
He he he.... well, I am already thinking of developing B&W because no-one else will, apparently. Will look into getting a changing bag and developing tank so I don't have to light-proof anything. The biggest issue might be buying a decent scanner, since I have no money for this.
Yes, developing your own is the only way to go for BW and a must if you want more than ordinary. Since there are so many developers and film combos, it will take years to find your style. And it will take time to hone in on it too. I recommend not jumping around too much with film/developer combos until you have worked with one for a while. You need to fine-tune your development times.

If your bathroom does not have a window, it is easy to make a "dark" room for loading film into the development tanks. Just shove a towel under the door and hang a dark cloth over the door with thumb tacks. Tie a clip to the shower curtain to hang the film to unroll and remove the 120 backing paper and hang your negative there to dry too.

Yes, a good scanner is an expense and makes a difference in quality. But don't forget to get good scanning software too. Vuescan, for example, can scan multiple samples and passes to get better range on your negative.
09-01-2009, 01:26 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
I am not sure what happened but apparently I bought a Pentax 645N. It's a kit with 120 and 220 backs, a flash, FA 75/2.8 and FA 150/2.8. I haven't shot film in decades and have never shot medium format, but thought I would give myself a graduation gift. Actually, I didn't think I'd win the auction for under 600 euros.

After a whole bunch of research I decided the 645 format was best for me since it is a huge step up from APS-C digital while still being somewhat portable. I will need a tripod but have a decent monopod to help me for now.

Pentax seems the best combination of ease of use and high quality optics while being affordable. And, who knows, maybe the digital version will be released someday and I'll win a huge commission and be able to buy it.

But for now I wonder which accessories I should get? Things like focus screens, magnifying loupes, shutter releases etc. If anyone has specific recommendations that would be great. I have found it much more difficult to find info on 645 than digital.

Does anyone know if the camera manual is available online?
Congrats! I envy you!

Looking forward to lots of Irish scenery posted from you in the near future?
09-01-2009, 01:28 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
I am not sure what happened but apparently I bought a Pentax 645N. It's a kit with 120 and 220 backs, a flash, FA 75/2.8 and FA 150/2.8. I haven't shot film in decades and have never shot medium format, but thought I would give myself a graduation gift. Actually, I didn't think I'd win the auction for under 600 euros.

After a whole bunch of research I decided the 645 format was best for me since it is a huge step up from APS-C digital while still being somewhat portable. I will need a tripod but have a decent monopod to help me for now.

Pentax seems the best combination of ease of use and high quality optics while being affordable. And, who knows, maybe the digital version will be released someday and I'll win a huge commission and be able to buy it.

But for now I wonder which accessories I should get? Things like focus screens, magnifying loupes, shutter releases etc. If anyone has specific recommendations that would be great. I have found it much more difficult to find info on 645 than digital.

Does anyone know if the camera manual is available online?
I remember from when I shot Hasselblad that a large light table and a good loupe is really usefull.

Do you have a scanner that can take 6x4.5 negatives?
09-01-2009, 03:17 PM   #15
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progress so far

I do not yet have a scanner and am rather envious of the cheap prices Epson makes available in the USA on refurbished units. I have found the Epson V4490 for $100 and the Epson V500 for $150. I'm looking at double that or more plus shipping from the UK. These units have a built-in transparency unit that will handle 645, and provide for a Dmax of 3.4, which I have on good authority is fine for all but the most contrasty negs. The only difference is that the cheaper unit uses bulbs instead of white LEDs as a light source -- these may be less consistent and take longer to warm up.

By comparison, the Epson V700 is much the same but has Dmax of 4.0 and costs 470, which is more than I can afford.

I found the Pentax 645N manual.

For developing I will get a changing bag but am not sure which size is sufficient for 120?

Since shipping anything liquid is expensive and sometimes restricted, I will try out Ilford ID-11 powder developer.
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