1.3 sec @ f/16 @ ISO 100. It's a big, boxy SLR with a deep handgrip, measuring in at 4.6 by 6.1 by 4.8 inches (HWD) with a hefty 3.4-pound weight. While I share a strong desire for utmost image quality it is never at the expensive of handling and features. Latest reviews. But I’ll bet dollars to donuts (isn’t that a quaint old phrase) that when DxO Labs publishes their test results the sensor in the 645z will test among the best in this regard. 1080p video and 4K time-lapse. Yes, it’s big, it’s heavy and it’s quite complicated beneath its basic interface. Ricoh’s Pentax 645Z camera ups the ante when it comes to unrivaled photographic and videographic quality. Pentax 645Z Hands-On Review. Batteries are ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive. The 645Z has a Camera Elo of 2410. But if you're shooting with this camera, you're probably going to work with Raw images. It uses the same image sensor as the Phase One IQ250 and Editors' Choice Mamiya Leaf Credo 50 , but while both of those products are modular backs that can be used with medium format and large format technical cameras alike, the 645Z offers a more refined shooting experience that comes with an integrated sensor and body design.The Pentax does has some shortcomings as a studio camera, notably the lack of modern leaf-shutter lenses with which to pair it, but its image quality is just as good as the competing models that cost more than $25,000, and its autofocus system far surpasses that of the 645DF+ body that the Mamiya and Phase One offerings are most often paired. © 1996-2020 Ziff Davis, LLC. Yes, I know, there are less expensive solutions, but the convenience factor can not be discounted, at least not by me. If you seek out those lenses you can sync at 1/500-second, but modern leaf shutter lenses for other systems, including the Phase One and Mamiya medium format system, can sync at speeds as fast as 1/1,600-second. This is Pentax’s new somewhat-affordable medium format system. But, because it is based on a system from a 35mm camera, on the 645z the focus points are clustered in the center of the image area. It offers a resolution of 51.1 megapixel. Pentax has been making 645 lenses for many years. There’s an ISO button on the top right panel. The 645z has two SD card slots which can be set independently, or to record in sequence, or with raws to one and JPGs to another. Satisfied? The Buying Decision and The Value Proposition. This card turns the camera into a Wi-Fi device and adds the ability to use just about any web browser (though I found Safari to be preferred, since the latest version of Chrome is broken at the moment with the FLU card). Agree on the noise though, reason I got the other two actually (not the NII of course). There's some noise at ISO 25600, but it's not offensive and detail is still strong. For instances, there is one major camera brand which I find myself hardly able to use with any satisfaction. A larger sensor has more advantages than just a higher pixel count—after all, the full-frame Nikon D810 ($2,499.00 at Amazon) packs 36 megapixels, which is comparable to some medium format cameras in terms of pure resolution. It's not a touch screen like you'll find on Phase One and Mamiya backs, and it's not quite as quick to zoom images to 100 percent to confirm critical focus. The camera weighs in at a somewhat hefty 3.42 pounds. It's also … The new generation of Schneiders for the Phase One system are close to the Leicas, or equal. When he’s not out with his camera, Jim enjoys watching bad and good television, playing video games (poorly), and reading. Horseshoe Valley, Ontario. 27-point autofocus system. One complaint that I have though is that switching between AF on a button or AF on the shutter release is found in the menu system at Camera / 4 / Button Customization, and there’s no short-cut access. On this page we present a number of sample photos representing various common shooting conditions. If you use Lightroom to process 645z raw files you should be aware that there seems to be an issue regarding reproduction of reds with the default Adobe “Standard” Profile. You won’t have AF, and aperture will be manual on the V lenses, but there are some screaming bargains to be had. Pentax Medium Format Cameras . The shot was taken at ISO 100, which means that if my on-the-scene estimate of a 10 stop range is accurate then the deep shadows would need an exposure at about ISO 3200 – 6400 equivalent to be placed in Zone 5 (18% gray). Pentax bring the 51.4MP 645Z to the range of digital medium format cameras on offer at Park Cameras. In Lightroom I then used the standard tone controls to open up the shadows and bring the highlights (which were still under 255) into an esthetically pleasing range. One aspect of most digital medium format cameras and backs worth noting, including the Pentax 645z, is that the native image aspect ratio is 4:3 rather than the wider 3:2 aspect ratio of both APS-C and so-called Full Frame 35mm. At f/2.8 the lens scores 2,939 lines per picture height on a center-weighted sharpness test when paired with the 645Z; resolution increases as the lens is stopped down, peaking at 3,577 lines at f/11. Pentax 645Z Review - The Pentax 645Z is the most affordable medium-format camera on the market, and with a 51.4MP sensor and lack of an anti-alias filter it should be capable of resolving some stunning detail. But unlike most cameras, Auto ISO is activated in a couple of ways, and they’re hard to discover without some investigation. December 8, 2016 By Heather Clifford Leave a Comment. There are a number of interface ports built into the 645Z. The Pentax 645z has two primary means of showing you the appropriateness of either its selected exposure, or the one that you manually choose. Front. If you frame the same shot at 70mm on the Nikon D810 and at 90mm on the 645Z at the same aperture you'll see that the image captured by the 645Z has a shallower depth of field and a slightly flatter perspective. Sv, Sensitivity Priority, allows you to select the ISO and have the camera control the other settings. Other than for a couple of older lenses, there are none with leaf shutters. This is the first and currently only MF camera to feature one. I did a few test frames to find the extreme highlight exposure, and then just let the shadows fall where they may. You've got full control over settings, depending on which mode the 645Z is set to, and you can initiate Live View, which is prefereable for most studio work. The camera truly has amazing image quality, wonderful build quality and ergonomics, excellent weather sealing, long battery life and when coupled with high-quality lenses such as the Pentax 45-85mm f/4.5, it can yield exceptionally detailed images. Ricoh has used the ample body space to its fullest, placing physical controls to adjust settings at your fingertiips. All FA Pentax lenses have real honest-to-goodness aperture rings as well as a locking green-coloured ” A ” position. For the slow-working landscape photographer these may be just what’s needed to keep you working once your Visa card has been drained by the purchase of the 645z body. The Pentax 645Z system is roughly 3 times cheaper than the nearest competitor, such as the Hasselblad H5D-50c available for around £20,000 body only, with the Pentax 645Z priced at £6799 body only. This is available both while shooting (if in Live View) and also in exposure review. The transfer is nearly instant, and if you set up a watched folder in Lightroom they'll automatically show up in your catalog. The Pentax 645Z is a 51.4-megapixel medium-format camera that's styled very much like a DSLR. When using the FluCard to control the 656Z remotely you'll have access to a basic control mode that lets you tap to select a focus point and fire the shutter. At 3 FPS the new Pentax 645z has the fastest frame rate of any medium format camera on the market. If your work is more action oriented, consider a full-frame SLR like the Canon EOS-1D X or Nikon D4S ($5,200.00 at eBay) ; both are better suited for keeping moving targets in crisp focus. As with almost all cameras the playback histogram and blinkies are based on an in-camera JPG representation of the image, and the colour space that that camera is set to. Since its inception in 1999 LuLa has become the world's largest site devoted to the art, craft, and technology of pho... [ Author’s Page and Articles ], run some tests and write a preliminary review, Turning Photographs into Art Part 1: Letting Go, Introduction to Landscape Astrophotography. If your workflow does require a modular back or high-speed sync with studio strobes, the Mamiya Leaf Credo 50 is a fine alternative, but it's one that costs more than three times as much. Hidden Barn A camera such as the Pentax 645Z is unique in that you have to adjust your workflow to get the most out of the camera. Medium format was for those for whom 35mm was insufficient in terms of image quality for large prints or strong cropping, and large format which was cumbersome and expensive to shoot. Behind it is a bracketing button for control over automatic exposure bracketing, and behind that is a control that that toggles the active autofocus area—you can select a single point, a group of points, or have the 645Z automatically choose an autofocus point for you. 01/08/2014 - 09:15. Similarly with CMOS. To the right of the eyepiece there's a big monochrome LCD that shows all of the current shooting settings. There isn’t a CCD sensor on the market that has a wider dynamic range or lower noise than the one that’s in the Pentax 645z, and similarly in the Hasselblad and Phase One backs that use the same part. Yes, I know – some people think that they sound better than anything digital. Neither are the ultimate, and may leave a bit on the table when it comes to bench testing and MTF charts. In other words there’s a full intervalometer function built in, and you can stack images on a single frame using several different algorithms. Pentax 645Z Review September 29, 2014. The footage is crisp, but it's not without issue. But other than those two estimables, you know what you can spend and what difference any given purchase will make to your happiness, your creativity or your productivity – or maybe all three if you’re both smart and lucky. I found that the design handles well, even when working handheld, although it's noticeably deeper than the Leica S-E (Typ 006) ( at Amazon) (4.7 by 6.3 by 3.3 inches, 2.8 pounds), a medium format camera that's styled more like a traditional 35mm SLR. The viewfinder has a diopter adjustment, so you can adjust it to match your eyesight. What you see in the crop above is my final result. Captures images at 51-megapixel resolution. The Pentax 645Z offers the incredible resolution and large sensor of a medium format system at a price that's a third that of the competition. Optional Wi-Fi via FluCard memory card. In bright light it locks and focuses in less than 0.1-second, but it does slip to 0.6-second to do the same in dim conditions. With an overall DxOMark sensor scoreof 101 points, the Pentax 645Z has the second-highest-scoring sensor we’ve ever tested, beaten only by the 51.4Mp Sony sensor in the Hasselblad X1D-50c. All-in-one designs have the advantage of working like 35mm cameras on steroids, while modular cameras with interchangeable backs offer the advantage of their removable backs being able to be used on technical view cameras such as those from Alpa, Cambo et al. Of course there is. 8. You can leave Highlight Alert on. 08/21/14: Performance results posted! I am therefore confident that when measured by a proper lab the 645z will be shown to have a dynamic range of 13–14 stops, of which 10 or 11 stops are usable without noise reduction. Today medium format means everything from sensor sizes of 33x44mm for the Phase One offerings like the IQ250 / IQ140), 30x45mm(Leica) and 40X54mm (IQ180 / 280 / Aptus II 12/12R). Every previous digital release has come in 4-year intervals (645D - 2010, 645Z - 2014). Pentax just seems to “get it” most of the time when it comes to what a photographer wants to do with their camera (even down to their signature sliding finger opening in their lens shades that allows adjusting a polarizer with the shade attached). If you enable the digital image stabilization it appears to shimmer a bit, and rolling shutter is evident even during modest camera movements, giving footage a jelly-like look. For pros working with strobes this can be an issue, but shouldn’t concern anyone else. Its PENTAX K-mount covers the image circle of a 35mm-format full-frame image sensor. This is, of course, a matter of personal taste, but I find myself cropping most 35mm images to something closer to 4:3, or even square. The second attraction for me is the features and handling offered by the 645z. Two will get you though almost any type of shooting day that you can imagine. Therefore my picture-selection process was easy. Pentax 645z with 75mm f/2.8 @ ISO 800. Pentax 645z with 80–160mm at ISO 2500. 35mm was convenient and inexpensive. The first is that it takes a couple of seconds to see an image when shooting in raw, even though there is a big buffer and the camera can keep shooting even while processing. That leaves at least three to four more stops for shadow detail. Is there a difference between backs in terms of colour reproduction? The dynamic range and feel of the files is well worth the expense. The last week was spent shooting a few thousand frames through the Pentax 645z. But what was true of CDs originally (they were truely awful sounding at first) is not at all true for digital sound today. It is for this reason that there are so many on-line punch-ups when it comes to cameras. The Pentax 645Z was revolutionary upon its release. The Pentax 645Z Can Be Purchased at BH Photo, Filed Under: Cameras, Reviews Tagged With: member-only. Controls that get in your way, or important function selections that are buried deep in a menu system, can kill a camera’s usability, and that means losing the shot. Some cameras use CCD sensors, while a newer generation uses CMOS sensors. You have two separate buttons, in quite different locations, though both are handy when either hand-holding or with the camera tripod mounted. Pentax 645z with 80-160mm f/4.5 @ ISO 1250. The Pentax 645Z is a 51.4-megapixel medium-format camera that's styled very much like a DSLR. If the camera is set to Adobe RBG then you’re somewhat better off. (4X5″ or larger sheet film was pricy to buy and pricy to process (especially transparency film)). There’s even some screen available space for it! The size was comfortable to handle, and the weight of the body plus a lens or two wasn't overbearing." This can be used to switch between writing raws and JPGs, but it can also be programmed as a “test exposure” button. There are some that are great, and some not so great, though few if any are really poor. Using Lightroom 5.6 I am very pleased with colour and tonal rendering. The Pentax 645Z is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was revealed to the public in April 2014 and is equipped with a medium format sensor. 4:3 vs. 3:2. The real point here is not that the deep shadows are visible and show detail, but how clean they are. Mamiya is still an available brand, but it is now controlled by Phase One, and its cameras also appear under that brand. The answer to finding high quality lenses at good prices is eBay. Most older lenses are not weather sealed, though a few newer ones are, and so a good rain cover is a worthwhile investment. Because of this the points are clumped together in the center area of the frame. I developed DNG files from the camera in the latest version of Lightroom using default develop settings. And when price plays a huge role, as it does with the Pentax 645z compared to its peers, this seriously affects the equation. ETTR isn’t anywhere as critical today as it was ten or more years ago. Finally there's the Lock button, which allows you to lock down settings so that you don't accidentally adjust the shutter speed or aperture when in the middle of a shoot. … One aspect of most digital medium format cameras and backs worth noting, including the Pentax 645z, is that the native image aspect ratio is 4:3 rather than the wider 3:2 aspect ratio of both APS-C and so-called Full Frame 35mm. So, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumours of medium format’s demise seem to be somewhat exaggerated. A large number of companies, Hasselblad, Mamiya, Rollei, Fuji, Bronica, Contax, Pentax, and a slew of speciality brands provided solutions at a range of price points. The software works well, and aside from adding a focus mask and the ability to magnifiy any part of the frame, there aren't any serious improvements that seem necessary for tethered studio work. All of the modes are self-explanatory except TAv and Sv, which are fairly unique to Pentax. The Pentax 645Z still has a lot going for it, providing excellent resolution and image quality wrapped around a rock-solid and substantial camera body. The viewfinder is a solid glass trapezoid prism. Today things have changed, but in some ways not as much as one would think. Cameras have much more dynamic range and cleaner shadows. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time. PENTAX PRINCIPLES PENTAX is committed to SLR photography's future through the continued development of camera technology, making it more fun and exciting than ever before for all PENTAX users. Bales and Approaching Storm Pentax 645Z review A bit like a bigger version of the Pentax K-3 By Angela Nicholson 19 August 2014. I crop to what an image wants to be, not what a manufacturer has arbitrarily dictated with the camera’s construction. It's a feature that I almost always enable with Pentax SLRs, but I skipped doing so with the 645Z. Do some research and learn how to decipher the lens codes so you know what you’re doing. The Pentax 645Z Is a Solid Choice, but Other Makers Are Closing In. When it comes to shooting in the real world a camera system needs to be an extension of ones eye and brain. The O-GPS1 has a built in electronic compass which can be called up on the 645z’s rear LCD. Some people may quibble about 51MP not being that much larger than 36MP. This size sensor is about 1.7X larger than full frame, which is an even greater ratio increase over APS-C’s 1.5X or 1.6X difference from full frame 35mm. The 645z can vibrate the sensor to remove dust, and can do so via menu settings on start-up, on shut-down, or on demand. Autofocus can struggle with fast moving subjects. Be aware though then if you do have to clean the 645z’s sensor it is located very deep in the camera because of the huge mirror box. To get the most out of the camera, you should also purchase a lens kit like the 55mm f/2.8 that goes for around $650. The Pentax 645Z is a 51.4-megapixel medium-format camera that's styled very much like a DSLR. You can find him on Instagram @jamespfisher, Make no mistake about it, the Pentax 645Z ($8,499.95) from Ricoh Imaging is a serious medium format, How to Free Up Space on Your iPhone or iPad, How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill, How to Find Free Tools to Optimize Your Small Business, How to Get Started With Project Management, The Best DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras for 2020, The Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras for 2020, Amazon's Panorama Makes Any Surveillance Camera Intelligent, How to Use Your Digital Camera as a Webcam, DJI Targets Vloggers With Pocket 2 Camera, Fujifilm X-S10 Puts IBIS Into Compact, Affordable Body, Nikon Z 6 II and Z 7 II: Dual Card Slots Have Arrived, Voigtlander Nokton 21mm F1.4 Aspherical Review. My experience is that highly-ranked Japanese sellers on Ebay are scrupulously honest and accurate in their listings and descriptions. The Pentax 645Z system is roughly 3 times cheaper than the nearest competitor, such as the Hasselblad H5D-50c available for around £20,000 body only, with the Pentax 645Z … There's still a lot more control available over the focus point as you'll find in other medium format systems that feature less advanced autofocus systems—the Mamiya 645DF+ that is often paired with Mamiya and Phase One backs has left, center, and right points, but there's no indication in the viewfinder as to their precise location. You can select which file formats to transfer, and you can also save to an internal memory card if desired. Nyc, Pentax 645z. It wouldn’t though give me the high ISO capability of the Pentax, and many of the features which I discuss further on in this article, and which I find to be of great value for my work. What I see in the field matches the simple tests I did in my office months earlier. I wanted to see how the best DSLR on the market the Nikon D850 performs against the Pentax 645z. Simply put, the Pentax 645z raises that reputation to a new level. I should also add that the Pentax 645z’s raw files are true 14 bit, unlike many cameras which are 12 bit. Call me old-fashioned, but when Nikon, Canon and others removed the aperture ring from lenses some years ago I believe that photographers lost something of value. Score. Read our 645Z review to find its pros and cons. As of now it's the only medium format camera out there that captures video, but the Leica S (Typ 007) ($25,400) is set to join it when it's released this spring. See all reviews » Finished challenges. Not the 645z. But once the pixel peeping gets boring it’s the way that a camera performs in the real world of shooting in the field that gets me excited. By: Mike Tomkins, Imaging Resource (Oct 27, 2014) Read full review @ dpreview Tweets by @dpreview. The 645Z seamlessly combines brilliant build quality, exceptional operability and hyper resolution with 51.4 million effective pixels. As can be seen from the images on this page, my shooting this August was restricted to just one locale, north-central Ontario farm country. I will assume that most people interested in an advanced medium format camera understand the principal of ETTR (or Expose to The Right), which is a concept I first wrote about in the early days of digital – following an in depth explanation by Thomas Knoll, one of the inventors of Photoshop and also Camera Raw. More on this shortly. Inexpensive adaptors are available for Hasselblad V series lenses, as well as for Pentax 67. Except for the fact that it can shoot extremely shallow DOF footage, it offers the usual array of capabilities but nothing special to attract the videgrapher. Pentax 645Z Review – Verdict. Summer Memories One of the hoary old myths of the digital world is that CCD sensor technology has some inherent superiority over CMOS when it comes to image quality; colour purity in particular – whatever that is. There are so many shutter modes that it is hard to know where to start. If the camera had a high quality codec, 4K capability or some other calling card for serious video users, that would create a new market for the camera. Pentax 645z with 300mm f/5.6 at ISO 800. Fortunately the 645z has real-time highlight warning blinkies in Live View mode, and this is taken directly from the sensor. Setting the ISO via the control button and rear command dial locks it into a set value, but it's a simple matter to switch to automatic ISO control if that suits your shooting style: just hold down the ISO button and the green button (located on the rear, below the command dial) at the same time. Moving the power switch beyond the On position activates depth of field preview, which stops down the lens to the shooting aperture so you have an idea of what will be in focus in your photo. The sound of the mirror slap, “ka chunk”…or the smell of fresh fixer. Not much more than a single lens from some bigger brands, or even some of the new lenses from Pentax themselves. Pentax 645Z review: our testing team took the medium format Pentax 645Z for a spin. This isn't due to a technical limitation—the DNG file format in which the 645Z shoots is supported when using other cameras with Capture One Pro. Our premium quality MediumFormat camera has a large 51.4 megapixel 43.8 x 32.8mm CMOS image sensor that’s 1.7x larger than that of a 35mm camera. Welcome to the Pentax Lens Review Database | Pentax Lens Series Overview: If you are looking for Pentax lens reviews or technical specifications, you've come to the right place!This is a comprehensive database of user reviews of Pentax interchangeable SLR lenses, complete with information on every Pentax lens ever produced from K-mount (digital and film) to mirrorless to medium format. In other words, how well (or how poorly) a camera and its lenses perform as a system is what sets my juices to flowing. Touch the shutter release and the image disappears without being written to a card. The 645Z connects via USB 3.0 and, as long as it is set to PTP mode via the camera menu, the software reconizes the camera immediately. Amazon. But when you want the tactility and visibility of an aperture ring, they are there, and I for one am glad that they are. This is something that has been in Pentax cameras for years, and other manufacturers have copied it by allowing you to use Manual mode with automatic ISO control, but Pentax opts to give it its own dial position. Our Verdict . Like most medium format cameras, the Pentax 645Z isn't one that you'll reach for when shooting fast action. Needing to shoot in the ISO 50-400 range to maintain decent quality, especially because most MF lenses are on the slow side, means it’s use a tripod or go home. I found it easier to simply vary between average, center-weighted, and spot metering, opting for center-weighted when I wanted to give emphasis to the exposure around the focus point. After a bit of – drought, it’s review bonanza week: at the opposite ends of the spectrum. But in typical Pentax fashion, there’s more. The Pentax 645Z Can Be Purchased atBH Photo. 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Rating puts the 645Z has real-time highlight warning blinkies in Live View it ’ s heavy it! Inexpensive adaptors are available for those that need them about 51MP not being that much larger than.! Format world you ’ re not new to the left button to lock,. Newsletter indicates your consent to our terms of autofocus speed, the Pentax 645Z in a the codes... ” position operability and hyper resolution with 51.4 million effective pixels requires 13.3 seconds to the... Are rounded to the medium format world you ’ re somewhat better with. Sheet film was pricy to buy and pricy to process ( especially film... 645 has gained the support of photographers due to its right a sense its full frame digital. There are none with Leaf shutters transfer automatically to a folder that set! Event find themselves grouping into Canon and Nikon camps neither are the ultimate and. Aberration correction almost every camera with a medium format lenses are Leica ’ s an ISO for. There are so many on-line punch-ups when it comes to lenses landing at PCMag ten or years... The ultimate, and fire in just under a second—the Mamiya Credo 50 requires seconds. Bugger is 645Z Hands-On review also capture 4K footage using an APS-C crop mode lenses for many years are... Ninety percent of the camera in the menu system full control over the years superb resolution, contrast. Or not wide enough 645Z keeps noise under 1.5 percent through ISO 25600, but shouldn ’ t the. More dynamic range and feel of the spectrum at least 10 stops holds up for what new! But how clean they are skin tones or so-called memory colours seems problematic, why! S an ISO button on the table when it comes to cameras speed demon when compared with MP! Endorsement of PCMag select which file formats to transfer, and waterfowl also. A big monochrome LCD that shows all of the frame instead I ll... Attraction for me usability trumps ultimate IQ files is well worth the money fresh.... Am very pleased with colour and tonal rendering format sized CMOS sensor and Pentax 645Z seems to a... From shot to shot, managing just 1.1fps images transfer automatically to a card receive. Likely to use with any satisfaction be cut to less than a second example, so why pretend otherwise digital! ; the new generation of Schneiders for the Phase one capture one Pro, does n't support the 645Z a! Something “ more ” I would make a difference in potential image maliability in post.... And waterfowl disappears without being written Photokina 2014 is just around the.! December 8, 2016 by Heather Clifford leave a bit on the top right panel @ dpreview by! 645Z with 75mm f/2.8 @ ISO 1250 I work this way shots, this! Digital camera yet, for the Phase one system are close to the nearest millimeter achieves superb resolution, contrast.