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Forum: Pentax Medium Format 05-23-2013, 05:43 PM  
buying a 645n?
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 17
Views: 2,858
Re: the above assertion that there is a film flatness issue with the 16 shots on 120 inserts as with the P645 and P645N (and the NII without the custom function enabled). Who else has experienced this besides Pal Jensen? Enormously popular, there have been more Pentax 645s of all versions sold than any other MF SLR save the original Hasselblad and the Mamiya RZ67. They all use the same holders. If there was a film flatness problem it would be all over the net. This one fellow Pal who posts here makes this claim; when pressed on it awhile back, IIRC admitted something about using an old worn insert.

The best reasoning for the custom function for fifteen frames is it correlates to fitting 3 rows of 5 negs per 3-ring PE binder sheet (which will hold only fifteen 645 frames).
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-25-2013, 09:11 PM  
Shutter release cable for 645NII
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 4
Views: 1,904
Another question to ask is why with the P645NII Pentax went with a different cable release from the Cable Switch F, for what was essentially the same camera as the P645N?
I have a P645N, and have discovered that in adapting an F cord end with an inline 3.5mm jack so that I could use it with extension cables and other circuits, there is something odd about either about the additional resistance of a longer cable, or perhaps RF noise being introduced as if the cable becomes an antenna, that causes the half-depress metering circuit to "latch" (once triggered, it won't shut off). Happens with shielded jacks, and chokes don't fix it. Same short end of cable attached to a circuit with optical isolation (such as when using the Phottix Cleon II or a Yongnuo RF602) solves problem. May be the reason for the CS-105 and CS-130?
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 12-17-2012, 07:00 PM  
Pentax 645N just arrived -- first impressions
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 21
Views: 5,192
I also have the 645N and really like it for it's intuitive feel. Eminently hand-holdable down to ridiculously long shutter speeds (like 1/8s). I have only the 35mm SMC-A for it and highly recommend (the existence of this lens is why I got into the camera and the format.) Feel compelled to mention that while I've had a bunch of cameras I cannot think of another that became so transparent to the image-making process from the very first time I used it (though I don't suggest reloading the film cassettes at the beach the first few times without practice, as I did while a killer sunset unfolded).
And if there exists a better, bigger, clearer, and brighter viewfinder view than the 645N in all of SLR-dom, I've not found it.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-11-2012, 09:59 PM  
The full frame Pentax?
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 18
Views: 3,122
If they really wanted to differentiate themselves, a FF 645 with 60MP+ would be about the only way to do so at this late date.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 11-05-2011, 07:21 PM  
645N Shutter Speed Dail Fell Off
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 10
Views: 6,088
Hot melt thermal glue was good for a couple of years repair on my 645N whose shutter speed dial first came apart during a TSA inspection. Worked great--tough stuff-- literally a twenty minute repair start-to-finish with no camera dis-assembly required.

Second time it happened the spring loaded little center button thingy flew away and was lost at the beach. Boo-hoo. Hey, but I never did care much for the 2-hands required approach for swapping between A and Manual shutter speeds, anyway. Turns out here's a locking spring tab that the missing plastic lock-button release piece engaged with it's most bottom-pointing projection. One screw removed and this spring piece harmlessly drops down and out of the way, on the shaft. The dial, once hot-melt glued back on again, still has firm detents, just no hard lock at A. Also, it will spin down the shutter speed scale and X and B, going beyond 360˚ to come all the way back around again-- instead of having to change direction to return to A. I find this preferable. Again, no major camera dis-assembly and a twenty five minute job, start to finish.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 11-05-2011, 06:59 PM  
Pentax 645N or NII? Advice needed
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 15
Views: 11,839
Save your money and buy a 645N. It doesn't require MLU and it doesn't routinely curl film. At least this is true with my 645N.

I've only ever heard of one fellow who claimed that he had this film flatness problem with a 645N that this supposedly was resolved by switching to the 645NII. He's often been cited here but I don't see any large trend developing. (Wasn't he also using a decrepit old film insert that was suspect, as I recall?).

Anyhow, the film inserts are exactly the same with the 645 and 645N as used with the 645N II (which also shoots 16 frames unless you use the custom programmable option, btw. They all shot 16 frames out of the box!) There is a very nicely executed pressure plate on the film inserts, and going way back the camera was notable for it's film flatness in any number of reviews. It was always a top-seller in MF so there are a great many Pentax 645/645N bodies in circulation. The original P645 dates to about 1985, a dozen years before the P645N and more than 15 years before the introduction of the P645NII. Had there been any problem with film flatness, even an intermittent or occasional one, it would have been found and broadcast far and wide-- and had to have been resolved much, much sooner in that long production run.

A much more likely reason behind the Pentax 645N II having an option for 15 frames instead of 16 was that Printfile polyethylene negative sleeve pages became quite popular-- and held only fifteen frames per page (in three strips of 5). 16 frames is a PITA in such case. Programmable P645N II firmware made this an easy and cheap feature to offer.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 08-25-2011, 09:35 PM  
Any experiences/tricks on how to take off LX' top cover?
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 6
Views: 2,235
I too wouldn't do this just for cosmetic reasons. I've taken off the top covers and it's all too easy to bend them or turn up the edges as they are essentially glued on with silicone sealer in addition to the few screws and shaft collars and they've got to be coaxed/pried/sliced from the body. The cover pieces were commonly replaced with new parts when service was done at the factory repair center. They were relatively inexpensive parts.There was also a flood of covers that hit eBay (new top left and right, and bottom covers) several years ago and a flood of old LX's swathed in new covers after that. Serial numbers are stamped into the bottom covers... even the spare parts ones, so I've been told on the old MIR LX board some years ago.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 08-02-2011, 07:26 PM  
Pentax LX + udstyr
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 11
Views: 2,453
eBay has the Advanced Search feature where you can view what prices gear has recently sold for, and it's arguably the most current and practical pricing information.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 08-02-2011, 07:11 PM  
Getting into medium format film
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 21
Views: 4,355
645 is a wonderful format and the lenses can be terrific.

Best thing to recommend the Bronicas are that the lenses are all leaf shutters for fast synching (all except for the original model from the 1950s) and there's a TTL cell in the mirror chamber so that automatic daylight fill flash is possible without a metering finder. It's why they were so ubiquitous for wedding photography. Bronica ETRSi bodies are now extremely cheap used... but the automatic exposure finders alone are as expensive as a P645N body. Bronica winders are also slow and clunky add ons. The thing that killed them for consideration for me was that the between-lens leaf shutters meant that they don't focus very closely.

The P645N ergonomics are truly great, and the system offered for me the best bang for the buck. But the best reason for choosing the P645 system was the lenses, specifically the existence of the SMC-A 35mm f/3.5. It's quite spectacular and focuses extremely close.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 08-02-2011, 06:56 PM  
Should I get an LX?
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 29
Views: 4,295
It could be worth it to you to have the better brighter viewfinder. Another huge plus versus other Pentax film bodies is the weather- and dust-proofness. Personally, I find that the FB1/FC1 Action Finder is the best in the business for macro work, and the mirror lock up is a much used feature.

After using a PZ-1 for decade, the HyperManual Mode with Spot metering and the 1/250 synch are features I miss when using the LX.

Then after working with Nikon F5s for several years, I find myself wishing for 1/2 or 1/3-stop shutter speed increments while manually metering with the LX (and a more rugged motordrive build. The Motordrive LX and it's plastic case doesn't hold up to much bashing. Come to think of it, the MX is more ergonomic when used with the motordrive for the handgrip. Motordrive MX also has better build quality.)
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 07-17-2011, 07:42 PM  
Pentax D-FA 645 25mm f/4 AL (IF) AW Review
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 36
Views: 22,112
Has anyone tested this lens on a 645N/NII film body, with particular attention to how well corrected the CA is when you take the digital artifacts of a wide angle out of the equation?
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 07-07-2011, 11:44 AM  
Pentax PZ-1p for professional rigors
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 12
Views: 2,761
Don't know about the PZ1-p, per se, but I did buy a PZ-1 the first day they came out with it in 1992. Mostly got it for the 1/250th sync speed and the OTF flash sensor that worked with the AF280T as well as newer flashes. Really enjoyed it for the HyperManual Mode when used with the spotmeter. Only ever used it with MF lenses Took a lot of great photos with it. Beat the snot out of it for a dozen years, and it still works.

That said, there were any number of things that made it less than a top-flight professional offering:

-Multi-Segment meter was too biased toward overexposure for chrome films.

-It wasn't weathersealed like the LX. It entrained a lot of dust because the back had no compressible seal.

-Viewfinder was less than 100%.

-Shutter lag was considerably longer than the LX, so I missed a lot of peak of action stuff.

-It tended to eat $12 non-rechargeable batteries, and had cold poor coldsoak performance problems despite it being a 2CR5 Lithium.

-Worst of all, because of the way that it spooled film, it can put a crease in thin emulsions that looks and scans exactly like a longitudinal scratch. And no, it wasn't the little roller or arm. Almost drove me nuts til I figured out what it was. It never did this with Kodachrome, interestingly, but that might be because the unprocessed emulsion was thicker and/or the RemJet backing got scrubbed off in K14 processing. It was my Kodachrome-only camera for this reason.

Compared to the other flagships cameras of the era (Nikon F4, EOS 1N), that are now dirt cheap, there's not a whole lot to recommend a PZ-1 besides it being the only 1/250 synch Pentax body of the film era.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 01-31-2011, 04:38 PM  
645N or...
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 7
Views: 2,545
For me, the SMC-A 35mm f/3.5 lens for P645 was an amazing value and reason enough to consider the format. The 645N or NII are the best film cameras for that lens. Turned out to be one of my favorite camera/lens combinations ever.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 09-04-2010, 05:59 PM  
If i was going to get into Medium format - tell me why Pentax (or other)?
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 32
Views: 9,323
When I looked for a 645 system camera for wide-angle remotes, the criteria was that it had to offer the best ROI. The Pentax 645N won out over Bronica system because of all the features that come standard on the body (built in winder, metering, gorgeous viewfinder). Too the 35mm f/3.5 SMC-A is a stellar piece of glass that I found for cheap a few years ago. Only thing I'd change is it'd be nice to have leaf shutter capability with that lens. (But not at the expense of the 1' minimum focusing distance. Also Pentax has no TTL with it's leaf shutter lens implementation.)
Couldn't be happier with the results on Fujicolor Pro160S or Ektar 100 or Astia 100F.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 05-31-2010, 07:12 AM  
The time has come ... for 645N
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 32
Views: 8,983
No, you don't need to second-guess your initial choice if you're not planning on printing huge--and besides, for that you have the 4x5 already, right?

One thing that becomes apparent when jumping formats is that each has it's strengths and weaknesses.

For LF it's always touted as the moves (but rarely mentioned that the larger format requires them just to get everything in focus!). For your architecture and city-scapes this will be invaluable for keeping walls and buildings straight and putting the horizon somewhere other than in the middle of your frame. Tilt-shift lenses don't do this with as much flexibility. If you want 6x7 on a view camera you can always shoot a roll film back.

For 645 format the strength of what it does absolutely best of all are a little harder to define nowadays with so much overlap. One thing it does particularly well is wedding and portraiture in the field (using print films with tremendous dynamic range for shooting both bride and groom at noon on a sunny day-- white dress, black tuxedo).

I find that the relatively long shutter lag due to the large SLR mirror makes 645 a poor choice for action and wildlife. For this reason alone I would not invest in a super-tele for 645 (regardless of the 645D) since APS-C DSLRs trounce most every other option for telephoto work (Take my advice or leave it, but know that I've made a nice living at both wildlife photography and PJ).
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 05-31-2010, 06:42 AM  
New Pentax as good as FF?...
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 174
Views: 38,057
"What they need there is a screen that's made with some kind of design for manual focus."

Certain design features do not scale down with formats; for instance, with wide angles it's hard to get sufficient detail for manual focusing whatever the focusing screen.

I agree with the observation that no APS-C viewfinder is likely to ever hold a candle to a well-designed FF one. Viewfinder real estate is also large factor in why some of us prefer medium format cameras like the 645N over 35mm offerings.

Historically, a big bright viewfinder contributed greatly to the reputions other legendary cameras-- notably the Pentax LX.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 05-30-2010, 10:05 PM  
The time has come ... for 645N
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 32
Views: 8,983
I wouldn't put a 6 lb camera and lens on a 3 lb tripod and head, that's for sure (if only because I'd expect it to topple if bumped or of a stiff gust of wind came up).
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 05-20-2010, 07:13 AM  
Scanning MF film
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 32
Views: 8,880
Tuco, no offense taken. But you've compared apples to giraffes. Don't compare my D300 to a Hasselblad, I was comparing 135 slow-speed film to a very capable APS-C sensor that ranges to ISO 1600 comfortably. I'm shooting a lot of wildlife, and if Pentax had the lenses and features I needed (5 years ago) I would have preferred not to make the leap. As it is, my Nikkor 200-400 VR has macro-rivalling resolution (and focuses closer than 1:4.) and still there is no equivalent lens from anyone. (This would be like having a 600-1200mm lens in MF film. An f/4 version to boot.) It's this entire system that is so mind-blowingly good compared to what I was shooting (Pentax film gear in 135 for a quarter of a century). I could get equivalent results before only when all the stars aligned, off a tripod, shooting at ISO 100, etc.

It is in this context that 12MP beats 38MP, scanned from film. Shooting primes off a tripod, no, I don't believe my Nikon AF-S 17-35mm and D300 (or an F5 on Ektar, Astia, Velvia scanned) knocks the socks off 645 shot with my P645N and 35mm SMC-A on Ektar, Astia, or Velvia. I'm surprised by 135 and tiny dSLR sensors being as competitive as they are, however. Regardless, if I was not looking for other options like conventional darkroom printing from the same images and never needed to consider printing larger than 20x30", I could confidently abandon further seeking and jettison my 645 and 4x5. (But I am, and I do, and I won't).

And I do realize after all the magic bullet chasing that the best of dSLRs and 135 format film scanned exquisitely can rival or better larger film formats scanned sloppily-- which was the impetus to my jumping into this thread, to answer the OP's original question and spare him the potential grief.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 05-19-2010, 04:33 PM  
Scanning MF film
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 32
Views: 8,880
Yes, Steve, may be missing something.

First of all, these are area measurements so doubling of megapixels doesn't equate to a doubling in resolution. More significantly, DSLR captures are original images with no intergenerational loss. Scans involve some intergenerational loss due to optics, some much greater than others (the glass in the V750 being particularly noteworthy).

To minimize this generational loss, scans must be comparatively over-sampled to obtain the same level of resolution.

It's why a 12 or 15 MP image from a DSLR with decent glass can have equivalent or even better resolution than even my Pentax LX/100mm SMC-A Macro f/2.8 on Velvia scanned with a DMSE 5400 at 38MP. 12MP images from my D300 are so mind blowingly good that I'm shooting almost no 135 these days. I do still have quite a backlog from 30+ years of archives that need scanned yet. (I’ve had the scanner for 6 years! This might tell you something about why I’m not as keen on the workflow as I might otherwise be!)
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 05-19-2010, 08:52 AM  
Scanning MF film
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 32
Views: 8,880
The drum scanners I'm giving a hard look are the Howteks and Azteks.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 05-19-2010, 08:46 AM  
Scanning MF film
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 32
Views: 8,880
Spending upwards of $2000 on a Coolscan already seems rather extravagant for anyone on a basic budget--epecially for 645. Most compelling reason to scan your own 645s is for bigger prints. Otherwise, might as well get them scanned off the same Noritsu where you get your film processed. (Which scans rezzed down to web size look fantastic, BTW!)

There exist 35mm scanners that do a better job on 35mm than the Coolscan 9000. The Coolscan 9000 when used with 645 doesn't doesn't offer sufficient advantage over 135 format scanned on a better scanner to recommend it (at least it isn't sufficiently compelling to me, someone who's already a satisfied owner of a Minolta DMSE 5400 and also shoots 4x5). The CS 9000 admittedly is just about the perfect scanner for 6x7 and 6x9, but that makes it a niche scanner. Outside of that niche, better options exist, e.g. drum scanners.

Too, the choice of 645 format for scanning if not from an already-existing archive--or some clearly identified reason why the format is ideal for a particular niche use-- is a bit of a rabbit hole nowadays. The results from scanned 645 film are quite good but aren't going to blow away what can be done with a sub-$2K Sony FF dSLR (also exquisite) until/unless you drum scan at high resolution. Even then the differences are going to be subtle. So unless you need to also print conventionally in the darkroom, or require the dynamic range advantage of B&W or color negative film, the added expense and inconvenient workflow of processing and scanning film doesn't really have a lot to recommend it.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 05-17-2010, 06:40 PM  
Scanning MF film
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 32
Views: 8,880
I have a Minolta DMSE 5400. It's rather amazing with better than 90 lp/mm resolution. Files from this scanner look terrific printed natively 16x24 at 300 dpi and can readily be interpolated larger. I am confident that the best portfolio work that I've done in 35mm is at or above 90 lp/mm shooting (as when shooting my Pentax primes).

Don't have a V750, but V750 users almost universally mention that they won't print bigger than 16x20 from it-- when scanning 4x5!. So if you think you can get a 645 scan with a flatbed like the Epson V750 that will beat the best that the MDSE can do, you're probably going to be sorely disappointed.

I've been holding off on a Nikon CoolScan 9000 because I don't think it even it will significantly improve on the resolution with just 645 scans v. the DMSE 5400 from 135. Film area doesn't mean a whole lot, it's linear resolution that matters. Scanner resolution can also be restricted if your lenses can't achieve better. The Coolscan captures nearly 67 ppi... which is likely already beyond the upper limits of some number of P645 lenses.

An Imacon doesn't have ICE, incidentally. For that kind of cost, and the time spend dustbusting your scans, l'd rather get a good used drumscanner and wet-mount for the better defect handling and lower noise. (Good drum scanners are now selling for about what a Coolscan 9000 costs.)

If I shot more 6x7 or 6x9, the Coolscan might make more sense. But to have three scanners just to do what one drum scanner does better--for less money--really doesn't make any sense at all.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 05-10-2010, 08:47 AM  
Pentax 645D and LS lenses
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 25
Views: 10,962
Of course it's done with flash, and most commonly with several shoe mount units mounted remotely and dialed down to their minimum duration settings to achieve 1/15,000 or shorter to arrest wingtip primaries. A fast flash sync speed of 1/500 or faster is extremely useful to scale back the ambient light contribution, to prevent what otherwise records as a double exposure blurring or ghosting.

It's also why leaf shutter MF cameras, starting with Hasselblads and later the Rolleiflex 6000 series SLRs with the PQs lenses-- along with slow speed films-- were most often used. The Pentax leaf shutter lenses are poorly suited to remote hummingbird photography because they need manually recocked between shots.

(Which might explain why I'd hope Pentax pulls a hummingbird out of their hat here by incorporating an electronic shutter.)
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 05-10-2010, 08:23 AM  
The time has come ... for 645N
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 32
Views: 8,983
I have the Pentax Refconvertor for my 645N and it's a really nice piece.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 05-09-2010, 10:27 PM  
Pentax 645D and LS lenses
Posted By Ivan J. Eberle
Replies: 25
Views: 10,962
OTOH, the D70 (and D50 perhaps?) quickly became a favorite among hummingbird photographers for this very feature.
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