Pentax 645Z Medium Format vs D810

Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
edited July 2014 in Other Manufacturers
I came across this video and given that one of our members, itsnotmeyouknow, has recently acquired this body, I thought it would be worth of us to have a good healthy conversation regarding these two bodies. Here is a video that start a small comparison of the two bodies.


Post edited by Golf007sd on
D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
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Comments

  • itsnotmeyouknowitsnotmeyouknow Posts: 481Member
    edited July 2014
    I haven't had a play with a D810, but the 645Z is to give it a word, amazing. I've seen this video on Pentaxforums. The video aspect of the camera is disappointing (and I haven't used it for this as yet) but hopefully Pentax will deal with this in a firmware upgrade.

    I like the 4:3 format that I get without having to crop. The camera, though big and at 1.6kg is pretty heavy, but the grip is well placed and it is surprisingly easy to handhold. The shots have lots of dynamic range - suggested to be around 14.5 stops and shots have as much if not more latitude than my D800E.

    The High ISO is frankly amazing. Shots at 64,000 ISO are useable with a little NR, and at 12,800 useable in my view without. Here is a shot at 12,800 firstly without and then with Dfine. I have also included links to the full size images. Note, however that Flickr's coding means that there is twice as much noise as there actually is.

    FA 75mm f/2.8 at f/6.3 1/50 handheld

    Double Hop no NR

    Full size:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/singingsnapper/14611582106/sizes/o/

    with NR

    Double Hop NR

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/singingsnapper/14634551945/sizes/o/

    The camera handles well and is easy to use. It has 3 fps for up to 10 raw files, which while not fast definitely is for medium format. Mirror up is done by a button on the side and Live View is great to use and includes live histogram and focus peaking which is particularly useful with manual focus lenses.

    For me the images still have a special feel to them. There is a fear among medium format users that the change from CCD to CMOS sensor will take some of the aesthetic away from the shots.

    I have just spent 10 days in Scotland and the Lake District, and I have loved using the 645Z. The D800E has stayed in its separate bag. It is seemingly my back up camera now - and will always travel in the car with me - I have learned the lesson of not having a back up with me before when my 645D developed a sensor fault. That led to a 600 mile round trip (by train at the time as I didn't drive then) to get my other camera.

    My Medium format lens ranges from 25mm (19mm 35mm equiv) to 400mm (314mm 35mm equiv):

    DA 25 f/4
    FA 33 - 55 f/3.5
    FA 35 f/3.5
    FA 45 f/2.8
    FA 45 - 85 f/4.5 (despite the slower aperture, this is a sharper lens than the 45 prime)
    DFA 55 f/2.8
    FA 75 f/2.8
    FA 55 - 110 f/5.6
    A 80 - 160 (manual focus)
    A 200 f/4 (manual focus)
    FA 120 f/4 macro
    FA 400 f/5.6

    Most of these lenses are very sharp - the sharpest being the 25, the 45 - 85, the 55, 75, macro and the manual focus 200 f/4. The heaviest lenses are the 25 f/4 and the 45 - 85 f/4.5.

    Looking at all those maximum apertures you'd be forgiven for thinking them slow. Well yes most of them are pretty slow at f/4.5 and the 400 at 5.6. Medium format cameras are often on a tripod, and advice is generally to have the camera on a tripod. I have steady hands and can handhold the D800E down to 1/8, sometimes slower, and have been able to handhold this camera below 1/30 on a FL of 75mm. Depth of field with a larger sensor is narrower, and this makes macro shots (especially outdoor ones with breezes!) challenging.

    Seeing as the widest I can go with this system is approx equiv of 19mm, The Nikkor 14 - 24 with my Lee kit means that the D800E will not be put out to rest.

    Post edited by itsnotmeyouknow on
  • JonMcGuffinJonMcGuffin Posts: 312Member
    That was a really nice little video done by the camera guys and thanks for the feedback on the Pentax Itsnotmeyouknow but it appears more and more obvious to me that in the end, the D810 still represents far better value all things considered. I look forward to more side-by-side comparisons of these cameras.
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    The Pentax is impressive and I like Pentax's approach. However, if I am going to make the effort to upgrade to medium format, it won't be "junior medium format". I will wait until someone introduces a sensor at least triple the area of FX, preferably bigger.

    However, I am cheering Pentax on. I think that medium format has a future.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited July 2014
    @itsnotmeyouknow: That is an impressive set of lenses to go with the Pentex. I'm looking forward in seeing more of your images. Any chance of linking some of the actual RAW files for us to play with?
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    edited July 2014
    @WestEndBoy, This one comes close: http://m.adorama.com/newui/search.aspx?sku=HSH5D60K :-)
    I have been keeping my eye on Pentax; the value is very high.
    Post edited by Ironheart on
  • itsnotmeyouknowitsnotmeyouknow Posts: 481Member
    I actually have looked into the 645Z and thought about it, but the focus points look SUPER bunched towards the middle. Like way worse than the Df/D610, and I find even that of the D800 seriously hinders my ability to frame a photo properly. Apparently the autofocus for the 645Z was designed for an crop sensor. An APS-C autofocus on a medium format camera? Seriously?

    I don't care how awesome the image quality is, this is 100% a deal-breaker for me. The spread is just horrible.

    />
    you're correct in that they have used the AF from the Pentax K3, which is a shame, but as in the 645D before it, which used the AF from the K7, it hasn't been a problem for me. But then, I rarely shoot wide open. The 645 cameras the D and Z are based on were aimed towards landscape shooters and the specs of the D and Z lean the same way, with the weather sealed body.

    It has a lot going for it and bear in mind that the cameras that use the same sensor, namely true Phase One IQ250 and hassey only have a single AF point in the centre. Live View auto (and manual) focussing is easy and accurate.
  • itsnotmeyouknowitsnotmeyouknow Posts: 481Member
    edited July 2014
    This is a handheld macro with the Z and the 120 f/4 macro. Focussed on the eye: Conditions were challenging with a fairly brisk wind off the sea.

    I have cropped well in and yet still lots of detail:

    bumble Bee

    full size (18mp so down to a third of original size)

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/singingsnapper/14488432388/sizes/o/
    Post edited by itsnotmeyouknow on
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited July 2014
    Personally, 90% of the time I only use a single AF point in AF-S mode. When their is action, I switch to 9-AF center point in AF-C mode. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad my D4 has 51-AF points, but for my style of shooting... I hardly ever need more than 9. Thus, if I was seeking a MF body, these AF point would not be an issue....though I would clearly welcome them being more spread-out.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @PitchBlack: Point taken. +1
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • itsnotmeyouknowitsnotmeyouknow Posts: 481Member
    edited July 2014
    I have no doubt that this is a great camera for someone who shoots relatively closed down, but to me the great draw of medium format is the look you get wide open or nearly wide open. Live view just doesn't work for me when shooting models, and this is doubly true when shooting models outside. Moving the focus point is slow, you look like a dork shooting a DSLR like a mirrorless, camera shake and altering focus from camera movement become much more of an issue, and you can't see the screen well enough in broad daylight without a loupe. I do a lot of framing with the subject near the edges and trying to use this AF would have me banging my head against walls in no time.
    Point Taken, but MF portrait shooters have coped with one centre point for years with Hassys, Leaf and Phase One cameras. They tend to use manual mode and focus holding the shutter at half way to keep focus in the same place while recomposing. If you use AE you can press a button to the right to also hold the exposure from the whole scene or selected area.

    Edited to add: For my part, 90% of what I shoot is landscape and between f/8 and f/16 but even at these apertures with a lens longer than 55mm your DOF can be quite narrow - particularly between f/8 and f/11. at f/5.6 and below you do need to be very accurate.

    Pity it's not for you PitchBlack as somebody with your abilities would really get the best out of this camera.
    Post edited by itsnotmeyouknow on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    PitchBlack brings up an interesting point about focus points… in the days before all the electric stuff, manual focus, I changed all my cameras to ground glass screens with no center focus gizmo. This allowed me to focus precisely where i wanted, i.e., eyelashes, wherever they were in the frame, and shoot immediately. Now, one must focus with a point and move the camera to reframe, this being more of an issue the more bunched the points are in the middle of the frame.

    However, as noted, when stopped down some, the same technique may be used, focus on the eyelashes manually, and bang! (Bang is the sound some of the older strobes made when they were discharged…LOL)

    For the money, this Pentax looks like a superb instrument… with some limitations..
    Msmoto, mod
  • itsnotmeyouknowitsnotmeyouknow Posts: 481Member
    The Pentax is impressive and I like Pentax's approach. However, if I am going to make the effort to upgrade to medium format, it won't be "junior medium format". I will wait until someone introduces a sensor at least triple the area of FX, preferably bigger.

    However, I am cheering Pentax on. I think that medium format has a future.
    So you're looking at digital 5 x 4 camera?

    I did hear of one a year or two back. Do you have a spare half million dollars?

  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    @WestEndBoy, This one comes close: http://m.adorama.com/newui/search.aspx?sku=HSH5D60K :-)
    I have been keeping my eye on Pentax; the value is very high.
    It certainly does. I was thinking about a more traditional DSLR approach though.
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    The Pentax is impressive and I like Pentax's approach. However, if I am going to make the effort to upgrade to medium format, it won't be "junior medium format". I will wait until someone introduces a sensor at least triple the area of FX, preferably bigger.

    However, I am cheering Pentax on. I think that medium format has a future.
    So you're looking at digital 5 x 4 camera?

    I did hear of one a year or two back. Do you have a spare half million dollars?

    There were some 4 X 5 scanning backs available, not hyper expensive but only useful for things that did not move. I think the primary application was art reproduction.

    ..... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    The Pentax is impressive and I like Pentax's approach. However, if I am going to make the effort to upgrade to medium format, it won't be "junior medium format". I will wait until someone introduces a sensor at least triple the area of FX, preferably bigger.

    However, I am cheering Pentax on. I think that medium format has a future.
    So you're looking at digital 5 x 4 camera?

    I did hear of one a year or two back. Do you have a spare half million dollars?

    Yup, but wait 10 to 15 years and it will be as cheap as DX.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    To PitchBlack..... Yes AF allows us to capture images nearly impossible with manual focus. Regarding focus point placement, I have found shooting the D800E in Dx mode gives me nearly full frame AF points.....nice.
    Msmoto, mod
  • manhattanboymanhattanboy Posts: 1,000Member
    edited July 2014
    I do a lot of framing with the subject near the edges and trying to use this AF would have me banging my head against walls in no time.
    Maybe they have focusing screen for wide aperture lenses like the Canon Super Precision Matte. I'll admit I know next to jack about focusing screens for MF and sadly for Nikon as well. But the Super Precision Matte is pretty useful for Canon cameras when you are trying to nail focus using wide aperture lenses.
    Post edited by manhattanboy on
  • BesoBeso Posts: 464Member
    The images of the 645Z posted here look amazingly good. One of the advantages of high end medium format cameras has been the color rendering by using 16 bit color depth. I wish the Pentax had 16 bit color depth. Unfortunately it is 14 bit. The difference may only be necessary for exacting skin tones and/or studio photography but it would be nice to have that tonal spectrum. There are trade-offs no matter what direction or manufacturer one pursues. The good part about that fact is it breeds competition and innovation.

    Keep posting @itsnotmeyouknow! I am enjoying your work and the fact you are sharing it with all of us here.
    Occasionally a decent image ...
  • JonMcGuffinJonMcGuffin Posts: 312Member
    What I'd like to see would be a wide selection of images framed and shot with both the D810 and 645Z side by side and then not revealed which is which to see if people can really (easily) pick out the differences between the two. I, for one, have not been able to readily see the difference in IQ that MF gives. I'm sure it's there, and everything I've seen from MF seems to look fantastic, but it would seem the differences are very very small.
  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 958Member
    Having owned a lot of medium and large format gear I stay in touch with the new digital MF cameras. The video on the Pentax is not that impressive.
  • itsnotmeyouknowitsnotmeyouknow Posts: 481Member
    The video on the 645Z has been hammered by reviewers -extensively by these guys:

    http://www.thecamerastore.com/blog/-pentax-645z-hands-on-field-test-with-deluxe-design-group-.aspx

    It's a pity that the video is so disappointing. I haven't used it myself and only used it a couple of times on my D800, and even then not in any serious way. Hopefully it is something that can be fixed in firmware, as Pentax had something pretty groundbreaking that risks bringing an air of disappointment on a camera that is stellar in the stills department.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,098Member
    edited September 2014
    @Golf007sd you must really want people to see that video. ;)
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • JonMcGuffinJonMcGuffin Posts: 312Member
    Considering the D810 and all it has to offer along with a truly awesome line of lenses at it's disposal I just could never, ever, see myself needing MF. That video is a bit wonky and I certainly don't think it's the definitive comparison review but it certainly didn't do anything to convince me that MF would be a better option. And I could actually pick which was which.
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    With a 43.8 x 32.8 mm sensor, it is barely a step up from FX (66% in sensor size) and not really worth the hype - not even as big an upgrade as DX to FX. If Nikon came out with a sensor 3 to 4 times bigger with a decent wide to mid lens lineup, I would be first in line for a camera as soon as one was available for less than $10k. I admit, this might take a while.
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