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02-10-2010, 06:38 PM   #1
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Pentax 645N as replacement for 35mm?

Hi All,

I've been thinking about something and wanted to see if anyone had done the same thing and how it worked out for you.

I don't shoot much 35mm anymore for two reasons: I like the bigger negative and also some of may have seen my thread about Arthritis and Photography and bigger film and bigger cameras are easier for me to use. I was thinking about adopting the 645N as a general use system replacing 35 for the most part.

I'd likely use the zooms that are available but probably add a wide angle and short tele prime too. I'm not worried about the image quality with the zooms. I have a few books by Tim Fitzharris and he did some excellent work with them.

I guess my only concern would be the ability of the AF to follow moving kids and dogs as that's some of what I shoot. Any thoughts on this?

Any info is much appreciated.

Take care,

Jim

02-10-2010, 07:18 PM   #2
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I do,

the 645N does perform pretty good with film up to 100 ASA.
Scanned with my Epson V700 B/W or Color Positve give good results when printed up to 1*0,75 m (I've not tried any bigger).

Rollei Pan 25, Fuji Acros 100, Neopan 400, Velvia 100 are good.
Velvia 400 has a lower contrast and resolution.
I do not use Color Negative.

-Linus-
02-10-2010, 08:01 PM   #3
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I'm moving in that direction with the 645.

I have only had it about 6 months, but my sense is that like Linus, I may be shooting less color negative than I thought. Originally, I thought that was the reason for getting this MF camera. Digital is more like color slide rendition to my eyes, and the different look of color negs in a size that affords good picture quality were attractions to this format. However, I'm finding that only the Provia 160 gives quality that I am satisfied with, but I'm not all that enchanted with it yet.

The film that I have liked the most is Neopan, but Acros is on deck, and I am looking forward to it. Velvia will come after I've worked the kinks out. If this system continues to pan out, I don't know that 35mm film will get a lot of use.
02-11-2010, 12:25 PM   #4
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Neg film with the 645

To exploit the advantages of 645 v. your D200 you'll need a much better scanner than a V700. Similarly, if you want to trump that D200 in both resolution and dynamic range, you'll probably want to use negative film. I recommend Fujicolor Pro160s or Ektar 100.

Loading the film inserts may be a chore with your arthritis, as opposed to a camera that automatically loads 35mm and advances it to the first frame. But once loaded the P645 inserts are the slickest swap out imaginable in the field, with only one 1/4 turn fastener.

02-11-2010, 12:49 PM   #5
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Sure a Nikon 9000ED...

Sure a Nikon 9000ED would be much better, but having spend 2000€ on a film-scanner would kick a 645D far behind my fiscal horizon.

-Linus-
02-11-2010, 01:01 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by -Linus- Quote
Sure a Nikon 9000ED would be much better, but having spend 2000€ on a film-scanner would kick a 645D far behind my fiscal horizon.

-Linus-
The 9000 was what made MF attractive to me. It does reveal every bit of grain in the film, though.

I'm still trying to find the color negative film that makes me say "ah." Perhaps Ektar 100 will be the one.
02-11-2010, 04:26 PM   #7
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Nikon Coolscan 9000 ED

Is also a great scanner. Be aware, though, that films shot with best 645 lenses can still handily out-resolve even it, by about 30% (greater linear resolution).

Before I added 645 to the mix, I already owned what is arguably the best dedicated 35mm consumer desktop film scanner, a Minolta DiMage Scan Elite 5400. It has greater than 100 lp/mm resolving power. The 5400 dpi files from it are so close to the linear pixel dimensions of what 645 yields from the 9000 ED (~70 lp/mm) that I can't justify the expense of a 9000 ED purely for 645.

So if you want to replace 35mm with 645 for other compelling reasons (ergonomics, bigger viewfinder, b&w negs that are bigger), go for it. However if you're going for the greater detail, and scrape everything that's there off the film, you may be disappointed to find you need to get into much higher-end scanning than what is commonly available to noticeably out-resolve what can relatively easily (and inexpensively) be achieved from 35mm.
02-11-2010, 04:29 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ivan J. Eberle Quote
T But once loaded the P645 inserts are the slickest swap out imaginable in the field, with only one 1/4 turn fastener.
My Hasselblad hot-swaps at any frame with a push of a quick release. No turning a fastener required

02-11-2010, 05:14 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
My Hasselblad hot-swaps at any frame with a push of a quick release. No turning a fastener required
Yeah, but I won't pick that up with lenses for less than $300.
02-11-2010, 06:29 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
My Hasselblad hot-swaps at any frame with a push of a quick release. No turning a fastener required
And apparently you have the only Hassy back on earth that does not need a darkslide.
02-11-2010, 06:45 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ivan J. Eberle Quote
Is also a great scanner. Be aware, though, that films shot with best 645 lenses can still handily out-resolve even it, by about 30% (greater linear resolution).

Before I added 645 to the mix, I already owned what is arguably the best dedicated 35mm consumer desktop film scanner, a Minolta DiMage Scan Elite 5400. It has greater than 100 lp/mm resolving power. The 5400 dpi files from it are so close to the linear pixel dimensions of what 645 yields from the 9000 ED (~70 lp/mm) that I can't justify the expense of a 9000 ED purely for 645.

So if you want to replace 35mm with 645 for other compelling reasons (ergonomics, bigger viewfinder, b&w negs that are bigger), go for it. However if you're going for the greater detail, and scrape everything that's there off the film, you may be disappointed to find you need to get into much higher-end scanning than what is commonly available to noticeably out-resolve what can relatively easily (and inexpensively) be achieved from 35mm.
I'm not quite sure I understand this. A scan of a 35mm frame at a nominal 5400 dpi is 35% larger than a scan at 4000, but a 645 neg or slide has 270% more area than 35mm. How can that be the close to the same? 645 lenses generally resolve more poorly than the best 35mm lenses, so those negs should actually work better on a lower resolution scanner, if resolution is really the issue.

The 9000 scans at 4000 dpi in my experience exceed the capabilities of most film. Perhaps my eyes are fooled, but 4000 dpi scans appear to resolve every grain in a 645 negative and resolve grain well even in a 35mm Kodachrome 25 slide.

According to PopPhoto, the Nikon actually tested out at 67 lp/mm and the Minolta at 71 lp/mm--both excellent, but not much different in practical terms. The Nikon and Minolta are both scanning at dpi that are close to three times their actual resolution. I am not sure that pumping more dpi into a scan of a smaller film renders a scan that is equal in quality to a much larger film at a slightly lower resolution.

MF scanning is not without its problems. Some of my first shots with the 645 were less impressive than I expected, much as you described in the above post. However, I found the biggest quality factor in MF scanning is not the resolution of the scanner, but film flatness. Close examination of my scans revealed that the grain at the edges was not in sharp focus. An expensive glass carrier from Nikon cleared that up nicely, but introduced other issues, including 4 more surfaces to keep clean. Achieving a critically sharp, clean, well exposed and corrected scan from edge to edge, without dust or Newton banding (even with AN glass) requires careful work that rivals the effort I used to make in the darkroom.

Last edited by GeneV; 02-12-2010 at 05:15 AM.
02-12-2010, 03:24 PM   #12
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In the words of Eli Wallach in the movie, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, "... shoot, don't talk...". Though these shots may not be the best for comparing but they were the only ones I had that were similar in different film formats.

The first is 135 using Panatomic-X (yes, I still have some) scanned at 4000dpi on a Coolscan 9000ED
Next is 120 roll film using Ilford FP4+ scanned at 3000dpi on a Coolscan 9000ED
And the third is 4x5 using Kodak 320TXP scanned at 2400dpi on a cheaper Epson 4990

You need to view at full size to eliminate this sites scaling to fit the browser window size. The last picture is a machine I built to agitate my film. It does BW 4x5, 120 and 135.






02-12-2010, 03:53 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
In the words of Eli Wallach in the movie, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, "... shoot, don't talk...".
I believe the exact words of your namesake character were "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk." Great reference.
02-12-2010, 03:56 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
I believe the exact words of your namesake character were "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk." Great reference.
Hence, "... shoot, don't talk ..."
02-12-2010, 05:20 PM   #15
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That is an amazing agitator! I can't find out where you can add it to your shopping basket. Do you ship to Maryland, USA?

Amazing...

QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
The last picture is a machine I built to agitate my film. It does BW 4x5, 120 and 135.

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