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Author Topic: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user  (Read 32580 times)

wockawocka

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Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« on: January 26, 2015, 02:46:51 PM »
Hi everyone.

I've been asked a few times by forum members that when I review the Pentax 645z if I could post it in the forum.

Here it is: http://chrisgilesphotography.com/blog/pentax-645z-review-pt1-the-journey/

There's a fair bit there to go through and I cover the dynamic range, ergonomics, flash system and if you're in the mood 5.4gb of Pentax raw files for you to play with.

Love Canon, Love the Pentax.

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Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« on: January 26, 2015, 02:46:51 PM »

Eldar

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2015, 03:23:14 PM »
Thanks a lot for a great review. You focused on the things that matter to me.

I have been on the fence for this system for a while, but decided that I wanted to see what the next 5DIV and/or 1DX-II would provide. But unless it turns out to be a real D810 basher, I may well be in line for a Pentax package.

Sporgon

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2015, 03:56:18 PM »
I think that if you really need and/or want 50 mp then you have done the right thing, irrespective of what Canon do with a higher mp FF sensor. 50 mp on a FF size sensor is a total waste in my opinion.

Personally I prefer to stick with FF and stitch for the sort of work I do. It is so easy to stitch now, especially if you are using a lens who's entry pupil is close to the camera body. Obviously with your portrait work you cannot stitch.


Dylan777

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2015, 08:21:37 PM »
I enjoyed your review. Now, where is that 35PM on medium format ::)

tolusina

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2015, 09:47:44 PM »
.....review the Pentax 645z....
Nice review, my bank account likes it not so much though.
Have you worked the Zed tethered with the FluCard, the Image Transmitter software or anything else?

I do quite like your flash solution. If I correctly understand your usage, you're using (or at least have the choice to use) P-TTL with the 540 on camera passed through the V6 plus manual RF remote control of 600s via the V6. Is that a reasonable assessment?
 
Is there any Zörk anticipated for the Zed's system future? Any other TS solutions found?
 
Any idea how Ricoh-Pentax service and support is?
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Danielle

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2015, 09:54:12 PM »
As a Capture One pro 8 user, their website still suggests only file support (no tether) for all pentax units. The 645 system is not listed however.

My bank account currently says no regardless but this workflow issue is a real problem to me. I need tether support and I don't want to go back to lightroom. Nothing against Lr but capture one works for me. I wonder if they'll support it fully at a later date. Otherwise I'll be going Mamiya or Phase One (it's when, not if).

If anyone knows more than me, feel free to educate.
In the end, only the image matters... Not what equipment you used to get there.

Omni Images

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2015, 10:01:37 PM »
I was agonizing over where to go for the past few months.
I had wanted to go to medium format for a long time but costs were just too high for me to do so.
I take a lot of shots, landscape/and water/surf etc and want to blow up big to frame or canvas, shots like say Clark Little does, or this guy even http://www.abc.net.au/local/videos/2014/10/27/4115488.htm#.VLNy_XnSOxo.facebook
So they are single shot frames, not able to stitch to get the enlargement quality I wanted.

I then saw the Pentax 645Z and went wow .... the price was within my reach ... so I did a lot of research... in my search, I found that second hand Phase One kits with P45+ backs were also within my reach.
So the agonizing went on ... I posted the question on medium format forums,  Pentax 645Z or P45+ .. as the prices were almost the same.
I know I would be almost going backwards with the CCD of the P45+ compared to the new CMOS of the Pentax, and is was only a 40mp, compared to the 50mp of the Pentax.

I opted to go for the Phase One 645DF+ and P45+, with a Schneider 80mm and Phase One 35mm lenses for AU$15K instead of the Brand New Pentax for around AU$12K with the std 55mm lens I think it was.

I just didn't like the feel of the Pentax, looking into the viewfinder was like looking down a straw, and it just felt plasticy and toyish ... The service reputation for Pentax was poor at best .. I found that even when looking at it, the guy in the shop wouldn't even put a battery in it for me ... so I just had to play with it dead and just manual focus it in the shop.

The winner for me was hands down the Phase One "SYSTEM" ... I intend to buy an Alpa technical body and then I'll be able to use all the top quality Rodenstock lenses out front with the digital back on.
Service from both Phase One dealers here in Aust was second to none, L&pFoto in Sydney and Specular in Melbourne.
They can take Schneider, Phase One and Mamiya lenses on the body.
Aquatech also make a water housing for the camera too, which is my next purchase.
The back will hold it's value to some extent and I'll try and up-grade as time goes on to the IQ backs.

But for now the image quality of this camera has astounded me, of course it's inherent in medium format.
I don't regret for one second buying into an older sensor, it's fine for what I wanted, low iso, the overall system of the Phase One is what swayed me .... to me the ONLY thing I saw going for the Pentax was the new sensor ... and it made it a hard decision, but the versatility and solid build of the Phase One system as a whole was what made it a no brainer in the end for me.
Oh and YES Danielle .. Capture One Pro 8
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 10:26:37 PM by Omni Images »

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2015, 10:01:37 PM »

Halfrack

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2015, 11:16:34 PM »
As a Capture One pro 8 user, their website still suggests only file support (no tether) for all pentax units. The 645 system is not listed however.

My bank account currently says no regardless but this workflow issue is a real problem to me. I need tether support and I don't want to go back to lightroom. Nothing against Lr but capture one works for me. I wonder if they'll support it fully at a later date. Otherwise I'll be going Mamiya or Phase One (it's when, not if).

If anyone knows more than me, feel free to educate.

No Capture One support at all - files or tethered.  Don't expect it as they are a competitor.  But it should help depress 40MP back prices - Credo 40's are like $12k in a kit.
"Me owning a lens shop is kind of like having an alcoholic bar tender." - Roger Cicala

Halfrack

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2015, 11:29:50 PM »
I just didn't like the feel of the Pentax, looking into the viewfinder was like looking down a straw, and it just felt plasticy and toyish ... The service reputation for Pentax was poor at best .. I found that even when looking at it, the guy in the shop wouldn't even put a battery in it for me ... so I just had to play with it dead and just manual focus it in the shop.

The winner for me was hands down the Phase One "SYSTEM" ... I intend to buy an Alpa technical body and then I'll be able to use all the top quality Rodenstock lenses out front with the digital back on.
Service from both Phase One dealers here in Aust was second to none, L&pFoto in Sydney and Specular in Melbourne.
They can take Schneider, Phase One and Mamiya lenses on the body.
Aquatech also make a water housing for the camera too, which is my next purchase.
The back will hold it's value to some extent and I'll try and up-grade as time goes on to the IQ backs.

But for now the image quality of this camera has astounded me, of course it's inherent in medium format.
I don't regret for one second buying into an older sensor, it's fine for what I wanted, low iso, the overall system of the Phase One is what swayed me .... to me the ONLY thing I saw going for the Pentax was the new sensor ... and it made it a hard decision, but the versatility and solid build of the Phase One system as a whole was what made it a no brainer in the end for me.
Oh and YES Danielle .. Capture One Pro 8

There are things going for the 645Z, but they only matter to certain people.  The sales and support channel is better with Phase or Hasselblad based on their existing channel.  There are existing sales folks whom have no business dealing in medium format gear, and it sounds like you found a few.

Strong points for the Pentax over the PhaseOne P45+:
- High ISO (100-204,000)
- 3 fps
- Live view with articulating screen and focus peaking
- Dual SD card slots
- Weather Sealed body and lenses
- AF points and tracking ability

Strong points for the Phase over the Pentax:
- 1 hour exposure time
- ISO 50
- lots of Leaf Shutter lenses (1/800th flash sync)
- CaptureOne & tethered workflow
- Technical camera functionality
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Omni Images

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2015, 11:53:53 PM »
Sorry to rain on your parade here Chris, it was a serious contender for me.

The sales guy had plenty of medium format experience ... and he wouldn't stop telling me how good he was. ....  It just felt cheap, plastic and crappy, that's all, after checking out LapFoto the day before, seeing all the gear, being taken up stairs to all the Alpa and Cambo gear, seeing the Rodenstock lenses... that stuff just ozzes quality ...

I agonized over the pros and cons of both .... and the list is a longer than just what you have there.
The Pentax was just a box, and that's all it was and all it ever will be.
The Phase One was a transformer as such.
The new up-grade path to say an IQ1 or IQ250 back would give me all the features that the pentax has and more.
Touch screen, focus and exposure peaking, live view ... high iso.
Some spoke of the "special sauce" just in the algorithms Phase One has to make or give that same sensor so much more than any other brand can extract out of it.

But for me the clincher was the ability to use it with a technical body, thus using Rodenstock lenses, for landscape, being smaller and lighter to lug to remote areas, as well being able to tilt shift etc.
Plus I want to take it in the water and Aquatech have a stock housing already for it.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 11:59:14 PM by Omni Images »

raptor3x

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2015, 12:38:00 AM »
Hi everyone.

I've been asked a few times by forum members that when I review the Pentax 645z if I could post it in the forum.

Here it is: http://chrisgilesphotography.com/blog/pentax-645z-review-pt1-the-journey/

There's a fair bit there to go through and I cover the dynamic range, ergonomics, flash system and if you're in the mood 5.4gb of Pentax raw files for you to play with.

Love Canon, Love the Pentax.

Great review, I have to admit I'm a bit jealous ;D.  Do you have any example of the two stop high ISO difference between the 645Z and the 1DX?  The DPReview samples seem to show them within a stop but I assume you must be seeing something to convince you otherwise.
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Danielle

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2015, 03:16:20 AM »
As a Capture One pro 8 user, their website still suggests only file support (no tether) for all pentax units. The 645 system is not listed however.

My bank account currently says no regardless but this workflow issue is a real problem to me. I need tether support and I don't want to go back to lightroom. Nothing against Lr but capture one works for me. I wonder if they'll support it fully at a later date. Otherwise I'll be going Mamiya or Phase One (it's when, not if).

If anyone knows more than me, feel free to educate.

No Capture One support at all - files or tethered.  Don't expect it as they are a competitor.  But it should help depress 40MP back prices - Credo 40's are like $12k in a kit.

Thanks, so thats what it means when they don't list it. But Thanks for verifying what I was thinking inside a bit. Credo 40 would do me I think. When the time comes, hopefully sooner than later.



Strong points for the Phase over the Pentax:
- 1 hour exposure time
- ISO 50
- lots of Leaf Shutter lenses (1/800th flash sync)
- CaptureOne & tethered workflow
- Technical camera functionality



Actually the Schneider Kreuznach and Mamiya Sekor leaf shutter lenses go up to a max speed of 1/1600th sec, flash sync at all speeds of course. The Hasselblad sync up to max 1/800th and the Leica S up to 1/1000th. The blad is only leaf shutter however and the pentax only focal plane shutter.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2015, 03:18:48 AM by Danielle »
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wockawocka

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2015, 04:08:35 AM »
Hi guys, thanks for the comments. It's early morning here so I've not seen the overnight comments so the questions I can answer, I'll address now:

Q. Have you worked the Zed tethered with the FluCard, the Image Transmitter software or anything else?
A. No, never. Tethered is something I've not or ever intend to use. But if I get the chacne to I will, and will publish the findings. I've heard the Flucard isn't exactly quick so I'd want to use it properly tethered.

Q. I do quite like your flash solution. If I correctly understand your usage, you're using (or at least have the choice to use) P-TTL with the 540 on camera passed through the V6 plus manual RF remote control of 600s via the V6. Is that a reasonable assessment
A. You understand it perfectly.

Q. As a Capture One pro 8 user, their website still suggests only file support (no tether) for all pentax units. The 645 system is not listed however.
A. It's a bit of a moan right now that Capture one doesn't. You can mess around with the Exif or something to get it to work, but they also block out Hasselblad too. I don't expect this to change. Lightroom does a great job though, especially with Hasselblad files also.

Q. The service reputation for Pentax was poor at best .. I found that even when looking at it, the guy in the shop wouldn't even put a battery in it for me ... so I just had to play with it dead and just manual focus it in the shop.
A. That's pretty bad. I didn't cover the service side of things but my findinsg in the UK were as follows. Regardless if you buy a Z in the UK or grey market Johnsons, the service people for the UK, will send everything back to Japan anyway other than for sensor cleaning. This is seen as a good thing by many. I'm platinum CPS and most of my stuff has to go back after a rushed repair. I don't like the idea of it going away for several weeks. However treating it more like a Modular system than a DSLR for a minute, the Hasselblad went back to Sweden and took 6 weeks. I can't comment of Phase UK or how they deal with it.

Q. Some spoke of the "special sauce" just in the algorithms Phase One has to make or give that same sensor so much more than any other brand can extract out of it.
A. If Phase one supply me with their IQ250 I'll happily prove that. Hasselblad have a special colour curve unique to them too, I think it was Torger on Luminous Landscapes who discovered it. BUt I've seen the files of the 50c and they don't hit me as anything special compared. But still, I need the body in front of me, one a tripod, shutters synched with the 645z to do any true comparison.

Q. Do you have any example of the two stop high ISO difference between the 645Z and the 1DX?  The DPReview samples seem to show them within a stop but I assume you must be seeing something to convince you otherwise.
A. I've only got what I have right now. It's something I need to do, agreed. It's mainly because I have been using the 645z on the right side of my Spider belt and the 5D3 on the left. I'm confident though that it's at least two stops better. There's a certain ISO I won't shoot above. On the Canon 1D3 it was 1600,  5D3 3200, 1DX was 6400. But I'll go higher on the Pentax 645z. You could then do lots of fanboy trolling and say 'I can push it two to three stops more in post even at ISO12800' but that's when factual performance starts to get ambiguous. I would say, on the back of the envelope, in decent light that you've got 4 stops extra if you really needed it. I wouldn't even say it's that pretty but the Canon files fall apart at high ISO. You can push a low ISO Canon 1DX file much better though.

The review is a work in progress. I'll be making note of the things I'm asked here and on other forums and will add to the review as time goes by :)

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2015, 04:08:35 AM »

Halfrack

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2015, 01:02:54 PM »
Actually the Schneider Kreuznach and Mamiya Sekor leaf shutter lenses go up to a max speed of 1/1600th sec, flash sync at all speeds of course. The Hasselblad sync up to max 1/800th and the Leica S up to 1/1000th. The blad is only leaf shutter however and the pentax only focal plane shutter.

If you have the lights that can do it, a p45+ or newer back, and are hard wired or using a Profoto Air or Skyport trigger, yes, it is possible to get 1/1600th.  If you're trying to kill the sun, yes 1/1600th matters.  But if you're trying to freeze motion, you're actually better to shoot with faster lights at a slower shutter speed.  No LS lens, you're at the same 1/125th sync speed on the Pentax or the DF+.

There are manual focus -A LS lenses  like the 135mm LS for the Pentax 645 and any Pentax 67 LS lens can be shot via adapter  (full manual).  Pentax has promised new LS lenses, so this issue should go away.  Pentax 645Z also can do HSS with their P-TTL speedlights - so you can 'sync' at up to 1/4000th of a second.
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AcutancePhotography

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2015, 01:08:32 PM »
The sales guy had plenty of medium format experience ... and he wouldn't stop telling me how good he was. .... 

If I based my camera purchasing decisions on the attitudes of Camera Store employees, I doubt I would ever buy a camera.   ;D

Some of them can be real opinionated jerks and others simply don't have the knowledge they think they have.
I shoot with a Camera Obscura with an optical device attached that refracts and transmits light

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Re: Here's my Pentax 645z review from a long term Canon user
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2015, 01:08:32 PM »