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Forum: Pentax Medium Format 08-03-2014, 12:34 PM  
Post your medium format photos!
Posted By stillsandvideo
Replies: 15,875
Views: 2,625,579
I had the opportunity to get a hold of a 645Z early on and did a test using the Z mounted with a FA645 150mm 2.8 lens for some beauty shots. All test images were taken in a studio and the lighting used was a Broncolor Scoro battery pack (very stable and accurate color) using clamshell lighting with a Para 88 overhead and a small Broncolor soft box for fill on the lower, and a third rim light from behind. In my limited time with the Z, I quickly solidified my opinion that this camera has a lot to love. It's functionality, handling and ease of use for a medium format is unprecedented. I was pleased with the focusing and even the couple of lens I used exceeded my expectations (I frequently use Hasselblad lenses which never disappoint IMO so I was concerned about the IQ of the Pentax lenses. The performance of the 150mm and 55mm laid my fears to rest). My initial motivation for the test was to see how the Z would stack up to my Hassy CCD medium format, specifically regarding skin tones, color accuracy and that magic tone that CCD's tend to have. In spite of the overwhelmingly number of positives that I encountered with the 645z, I did experience a great deal of frustration in one area, color balance. No matter what adjustments I made, the skin tones were not accurate. When I tweaked the color temperature to favor the skin, the background went way off. If I adjusted the temperature to get the background accurate, the skin tones seemed to suffer. No matter what I did, I could not get both the background and skin tones to be true to life color, especially both at the same time. Thus, I set it on Auto WB and figured I would sort it out in post. When I shoot with the Hassy, the color is spot on for both the background and skin tones, both at the same time, with little or no fuss at all. With that said, I was able to make the anticipated adjustments in post and although it took some extra work, I was very pleased with the end results. Again, there is a lot to like about the 645Z. Lastly, I'm not sure if my frustration with the color accuracy in a studio environment was due to a driver issue (although the jpg was off as well), my unfamiliarity with the camera, or was due to the camera's processor, but it is certainly an issue that I need to look into more before I permanently replace my existing equipment with a Z. I've included a sample of the processed image and I plan on posted more samples at Stills and Video . If anyone else has had the opportunity to use the 645Z in a studio environment, I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences regarding color accuracy and skin tones.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 07-14-2014, 02:23 PM  
Pentax 645Z tethering
Posted By stillsandvideo
Replies: 45
Views: 12,161
I did a studio shoot this weekend with the 645Z and you are correct, there is no tethering at all at this time. Hopefully, it will get resolved asap, especially since it is a real disadvantage. Additionally, I had a problem with color accuracy. I routinely shoot a CCD Hassy in the studio because I really like its skin tones and the accuracy of the color. I decided to shoot both cameras side by side for a while in order to see how the 645Z fairs against a CCD's skin tones and to my dismay, the color on the Pentax was way off (e.g. greenish/blue background showed blue plus skin was a bit magenta). I did shoot in Pentax's own RAW format, not DNG and I expect that maybe Lightroom is not interpreting the RAW data correctly. I'm trying to sort it all out so I'd love to get some feedback from others that have some insight or previous experiences with color renditions of the PEF file format.

Regarding the Flu Card... I spent hours upon hours trying various configurations and settings only to be disappointed with the practicality of the transfer. In real life situations (in my case fashion or beauty shoots), fast transfers is vital and you can't loose your connection. I frequently lost connection between the laptop and FluCard, even after trying various settings and tips provided by a fellow photographer, and when it did work, it just took way too long to transfer even the smallest of JPG's IMO. Additionally, battery drain is pretty acute in a shoot where you are transferring 1 or 2 hundred images.

Not trying to be picky here. I think the 645z does a whole lot right and that Pentax is to be commended. But on the other hand, some things (like tethering, leaf shutter lenses, etc.) need to be addressed if they want to play in the MF league.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 07-11-2014, 03:46 AM  
1600 is the new 400
Posted By stillsandvideo
Replies: 11
Views: 1,564
Thanks for the post. I recently received a Z and will be running it through the paces in a studio environment this weekend (contingent my rental lenses arrive - Pentax hasn't shipped the rereleased lenses in the US as of yet). I'm curios as to whether or not you were able to formulate an opinion on color, skin tone, etc. between the D vs. the Z at low ISO's. I'm used to shooting a CCD (I only need high ISO on occasion) and I'm curios as to whether or not we'll give up anything for the high ISO capability. IMO, it is very hard to beat the look of CCD, especially for portraits and skin tones, there just something magical about it and I'm struggling with the thought of giving it up. Any of your thoughts on this would be most appreciated.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 07-09-2014, 10:15 AM  
645Z Tethered
Posted By stillsandvideo
Replies: 6
Views: 2,760
Thanks Chris. I second the Boo... not good for studio users. One thing about the Hassy's and Phases is that the software on both ends is rock solid when tethering and updates are timely. Oh well, I guess I'll take one step forward with the progressive operating system on the 645Z and another one backwards with their tethering. I guess life is always a compromise.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 07-09-2014, 08:49 AM  
645Z Tethered
Posted By stillsandvideo
Replies: 6
Views: 2,760
I was wondering if anyone has tethered the 645Z to Lightroom 5. I've tried but can't seem to get Lightroom to recognize the camera.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 07-09-2014, 03:55 AM  
645 Lens Rentals
Posted By stillsandvideo
Replies: 2
Views: 734
Thank you for the info hcc. I rented the 150mm for a week which should help with the testing of the Z in a studio environment for portraits.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 07-08-2014, 08:06 PM  
645 Lens Rentals
Posted By stillsandvideo
Replies: 2
Views: 734
I ordered a 645Z along with several lenses but only received the 645 Z and the FA 645 55mm 2.8 lens thus far. I'm anxious to test the camera for head shots in my studio and was wondering if anyone can recommend a rental house that rents out 645 lenses? I've ordered the 120 and 150mm but they aren't available as of yet. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 06-30-2014, 06:20 PM  
Post your medium format photos!
Posted By stillsandvideo
Replies: 15,875
Views: 2,625,579
I had the opportunity to try out the 645Z at a concert this weekend that featured blues legand Johnny Winter. Although I seldom shoot concerts, I thought it would be a really good test for the camera's focusing and high iso ability. This image was shot at 1/320 sec at f / 4.0, ISO 3200 using the 55mm F2.8 AL [IF] SDM AW (I shot manually but did use spot autofocus).

I deliberately minimized the post processing for the purpose of this post. There was no noise reduction applied at all, a bit of sharpening (20 in Lightroom which does indeed have the PEF driver as of the last release), a small bit of cropping for the sake of composition, highlights were increased by 1/3 of a stop and overall exposure increased by 1/2 stop.

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at the cameras ease of use and overall performance in such challenging conditions (high contrast conditions, low light, lights changing by the second, limited angle of view due to crowds, etc.) I usually use a Canon 1DX when I'm shooting a concert which IMO, has the advantage of very fast focussing and an extremely fast frame rate making it hard to miss the shot. The downside is that the grain at 3200 and above is not as pleasing as the 645Z's and the dynamic range isn't as good either. In fact, I was quite impressed with the 645Z's noise and dynamic range... it is easy on the eyes and if I had chosen to do so, the noise would have cleaned up easily.

Here's the image so you could formulate your own high ISO opinion. I'm off on an assignment but will post a couple of more images when I get the opportunity sometime next week.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 06-25-2014, 06:23 PM  
They're here !!!
Posted By stillsandvideo
Replies: 13
Views: 1,591
Did you receive any of the released lenses or just the body? I have one on order along with a few lenses that I prepaid as well. I was wondering if you received the body with some lenses or did you already have the collection of lenses in the photo?
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 06-16-2014, 03:50 PM  
I'm going to make the 645 jump, now a lens question...
Posted By stillsandvideo
Replies: 18
Views: 2,335
I was curious if anyone has compared the FA 120mm against some of the other leading medium format lenses such as the Hasselblad HC Macro f/4 120mm II Lens. My intention in asking is not to try to see if I could adapt the Hassy for the Pentax, it's just that I've used the Hasselblad 120mm extensively and love it... it's my goto lens for portraits, extremely sharp with nice contrast and bokeh - It's my personal reference. My reason for asking is that I'm thinking of possibly getting the 645Z but I'm concerned that the lenses won't measure up to the lenses I've grown accustomed to (I know I'll loose the benefits of the leaf shutter - I'm concerned with IQ, Bokey, Sharpness, Contrast...). Any input from those that have used both would be most appreciated.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-23-2014, 03:45 AM  
Coming from Hassy... need advice
Posted By stillsandvideo
Replies: 15
Views: 2,932
Although my concern about the 16 bits and a 14 stop dynamic range is somewhat important to me as for some reason, I partly equate it to the look of a CCD, the most critical consideration in my case is that I want to be sure I'm going to at least maintain the same tonal gradation, color and depth (for lack of better scientific terms) that I'm currently getting from my CCD sensor. It's hard to explain, but the look of the CCD at low ISO's, in a controlled studio environment, is magical IMO. It is imperative that I don't loose that look and those characteristics. I've had opportunities to shoot with a D800 and although it offers so much at such a reasonable price, when I switched to the H4D-31, I gave up pixels but gained so much in the tone, gradation and color accuracy of the images.The difference in the overall look was significant. Again, hard to explain but there is no doubt the CCD sensor that Hasselblads and Phase Ones (and even the 645D) have a very characteristic look. My possible switch to a CMOS MF is enticing but it is essential I don't loose the characteristics of the CCD look that I've grown so found of. Ultimately, if I could get that look, with high ISO capabilities, a modern operating system, and a higher frame rate, it would be a significant step forward for me. Here is a link to a sample file that I feel portrays the CCD type of look I am referring to. This file is a compressed JPG but it will hopefully provide a visual reference for you. http://www.caughtinthecamera.com/pics/Olga.jpg
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-20-2014, 04:15 PM  
Coming from Hassy... need advice
Posted By stillsandvideo
Replies: 15
Views: 2,932
I would like to thank everyone for the prompt feedback thus far. In response to why I want to go to a CMOS when I'm getting good results from a CCD and shoot under a controlled studio environment, it's because of the following: I'm currently shooting the HD4-31 and although I love the look that I'm getting, going from 31 to 50 megapixels can be advantageous at times (Note: I certainly agree that an increase in megapixels is probably not enough of a reason solely on its own, but nonetheless, it is still an advantage at times). Secondly, I do a fair amount of work in the boating industry. I use a FF Canon for that segment and I'm thinking that having a MF with the potential of shooting at a higher ISO, up to 3fps, multipoint focusing, etc., may give me the ability to expand my use of the MF for some of that work as well. As much as I respect all of the major brand DSLR's, there is nothing like the look you get when shooting with a MF under the right conditions (IMO anyway). If I could increase the frequency of my medium format shooting by using a CMOS MF and not sacrifice the special look and IQ that I've grown accustomed to with my CCD sensor, I'd be inclined to make the leap. That's what's driving my thinking at this time.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-20-2014, 09:28 AM  
Coming from Hassy... need advice
Posted By stillsandvideo
Replies: 15
Views: 2,932
I'm giving strong consideration to purchasing a 645Z. I'm currently shooting with a Hassy (which I love) and was debating going to the new CMOS Hasselblad but the price is holding me back. Thus, if the Pentax 645Z lives up to its specs and more importantly the IQ is top notch, I will most likely make the switch.

My work is mostly portraits (you can see samples of my work at Stills and Video) so I'm not concerned about the lack of leaf shutters, high speed sync, tilt and shift, etc. However, my current lens of choice is the Hasselblad 120mm macro which is an amazing lens IMO - incredibly sharp, tone and contrast is superb, has close focusing and great bokeh. Thus, I was wondering if any one on the forum has experience with the Pentax 90mm f/2.8 D FA 645 Macro ED AW SR especially relevant to PORTRAIT use. It's a bit short in focal length IMO so I'm open to any other lens recommendations if you think there is an alternative that is better suited for portraits.

Lastly, I'm very impressed with the 645z's specs but find it interesting that Pentax never refers to the dynamic range of the camera while Hassy and Phase sing praise about the 16bit 14 stop dynamic range of their new CMOS units. Could it be that the 645z's dynamic range and processing lags behind?

Any feedback would be most appreciated. It's always a bit unnerving to change camera systems and I'm trying to be sure it would be a wise move.


Thanks
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