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09-14-2009, 10:31 AM   #1
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How reliable is the P645N, been thinking to buy a 2nd hand or a new old stock

Hi there,

There's two choices in front of me now:

A) one is an excellent cosmetic condition (got a few dents at the tripod mount on the left hand side), 2nd hand 645N from a local seller, and
B) the other is a brand new old stock from a foreign seller. The price different is about 15% (but the shipping cost add up another 10%).

So the question is, should I get the new one because of the electronic components are newer (or, never used)? Or should I just buy the 2nd hand one because it's cheaper?

Thanks for the advise.


Last edited by nevin; 09-14-2009 at 10:37 AM.
09-14-2009, 11:17 AM   #2
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The Pentax 645's are among the most reliable cameras ever made....
09-14-2009, 01:12 PM   #3
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I have two 645N bodies, both purchased used. One was a salvage that was sent in to Pentax USA for a complete overhaul, new shutter box assembly, other parts. The camera comes back reset to factory specifications with a brand new shutter. The other 645N was a used one in nice cosmetic condition. The total cost for each one was within about 15-20% of each other - the overhauled one just a little more after all the work was done.

Anyhow, cut to the chase scene - the overhauled one is the one that gets used all the time while the spare one sits, even though cosmetically it looks a little nicer. I suspect I trust the overhauled one more - not that I have ever had verifiable reason to believe this.

So, if I were in your shoes I would err on the side of the new one (even though it has sat unused for almost 10 years?).
09-14-2009, 07:44 PM   #4
D W
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No problem with the three N's that I have used, two in pro studio shooting environment from 97-05

09-15-2009, 09:35 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
The Pentax 645's are among the most reliable cameras ever made....
I have a 57 year old Rolleicord still taking pictures ;-) Somehow I feel something with electronics to operate just can't claim the most reliable ever crown. 8-)
09-16-2009, 05:51 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
I have a 57 year old Rolleicord still taking pictures ;-) Somehow I feel something with electronics to operate just can't claim the most reliable ever crown. 8-)
I think he said it was AMONG the most reliable, not THE most reliable.

It is a very interesting question whether cameras with electronics can go the kind of distance of the old fully mechanical cameras. I've groused about electronics going on on cameras in the past, but then I realized that without the electronics, I had essentially the functionality of a camera like the Rolleicord. On the other hand, the 645 uses electrical components to fire the shutter. While many/most are going strong after 25 years, it is an open question whether those parts could go a half century. It is also an open question whether MF film will be around another 30 years.
09-16-2009, 08:35 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
...It is also an open question whether MF film will be around another 30 years.
No doubt. But I think BW film will stand a better chance of hanging around longer as an art form for those who want a different look than everybody else from there work.

I shoot a lot of BW. And I will not convert my digital to BW, period. It just doesn't do as good a job, has less light range, doesn't have the same look and feel in many situations and I'm old-school and consider it imitation BW. But surely advancements will improve that situation so time will tell.
09-16-2009, 01:43 PM   #8
D W
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Chemical B&W film with Optical B&W print is so much superior to what can be produced digitally that for real tonal range of a print it still has to be done the right way.

BTW - Inactive Rolleicord has been know to have a rusty or broken shutter spring.

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