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40MP 645D hitting North American Shores shortly
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pico23


Sep 25, 2010, 10:13 AM
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40MP 645D hitting North American Shores shortly
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After release in Japan the 645D is going world wide in the coming months.

Yen conversion to USD is currently about $11,000, or roughly half the cost of the Hasselblad with the same Kodak sensor. Prospective US cost is about $9-10K. I believe this is with the new 55mm f/2.8 WR lens.

Some of the chief advantages of this camera over it's competitors, like Pentax medium format film cameras, it's essentially a 35mm SLR with a bigger sensor. 77 point metering, same AF system found in the K-7 SLR, and similar control layout. Aside from that it's solid construction makes it more compact, lighter and more rugged. It's not a light trapping 120 film box with a digital sensor shoe horned in.

A little (6m40s) video on the ruggedness and SLR like qualities of this medium format SLR.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wPD1wRpels

A few notes:

He (the guy in the video) says mirror slap seems to be after the exposure. Confused me too, in the comments he clarifies that the mirror up is silent and vibration free, mirror down is when all the slap occurs. The 645N/NII was very similar, so soft in fact that the 645 and 645N lacked mirror lockup and test proved that they didn't need it after the 645NII added it. As a 645N user, I can confirm mirror lockup is completely unnecessary.

Anyway, it's features and ruggedness like this that made the Pentax 645 and 67 series MF SLRs the best selling line of medium format equipment all time. Obviously this camera is aimed squarely at the outdoor/landscape market. If the market for medium format still exist, this camera looks to be a winner.

however, my personal thoughts are despite the relative bargain price (compare to a D3X for price comparison) the market for medium format has vanished in the last 3 years, the 3 years which the 645D was locked under glass as major trade shows.

I'm hoping I'm wrong, as it looks like epitome of medium format technology. Wrong or not, this is the most technologically advanced medium format camera ever produced.


FullertonImages


Dec 21, 2010, 1:14 PM
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Re: [pico23] 40MP 645D hitting North American Shores shortly [In reply to]
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It is certainly a beast of a camera (in capabilities, not size), and I can't wait to shoot on one some day. I've handle them a few times, and the ergonomics are unbelievable. It doesn't feel at all like a big camera. It is very easily and comfortably hand-holdable.

I don't think the MF market is going away. I think for a long time, the MF market has been tailored completely to high-end, studio fashion shooters. The buy in has been absurd, the format not field friendly, and the results not needed by most people. That I think would explain the decline in MF. But this is the first time that MF has been designed for the field, and is the first weathersealed MF ever made.

I think any landscape guy I've talked to is still shooting MF film, and most of them are on a Pentax 645 or 67 camera. I don't think landscape shooters saw anything for them in the digital MF offerings of the past. But since the 645D was launched, I've heard a great deal of buzz among landscape shooters that can't wait to get their hands on one.

I think it was Luminous Landscapes that did a shootout with the 645D, and two other high end DMF cameras. Can't remember exactly which two. The 645D was right up there in image quality with the other two that are geared towards studio use and maximum IQ. Then at the end, they threw a 1DsmkIII in the mix just for comparison. They ended up thinking that their 1D was having issues because the files looked so terible in comparison to MF. After more testing, they knew their 1D was fine, and that's just how good digital MF looks. So I don't think digital MF is in danger from the high end FF DSLRs. And ultimately I think they're kind of two different target user groups.


pico23


Dec 21, 2010, 8:16 PM
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Re: [FullertonImages] 40MP 645D hitting North American Shores shortly [In reply to]
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Yep, Luminious landscape did a shootout of the Pentax 645D vs the Canon 1Ds (current model), Leica M9, and Phase One MF back.

Suffice to say, Pentax killed the competition, and the full frame Canon didn't really even compete. I was surprised the Phase 1 with it's inflated price tag was such a close match to the Pentax 645D, but another way of looking at it, for $5-10k less, you get equal camera (or slightly better) in IQ from the Pentax, plus sealing and bomb proof construction.

As someone who shoots the 645N, I know how well Pentax MF cameras handle, which is to say, they handle just like any other SLR you've ever shot. The sealing and construction is insane, I've dropped my 645N 5 feet onto a hard wood floor and picked it up without even thinking about if it would still work. I've heard stories of 645 and 67 bodies taking much more abusive falls and not missing a beat. And yeah, every brand camera has many stories of such abuse, other than the fact most people wonder while it's on the ground if it's toast!


Essentially, the 645D is a K-7/K-5 with a bigger sensor, which is multiple magnitudes of tech more than almost any other medium format digital.

Anyway, I can already print wonderful 24 to 30 inch files from my K10D, K20D, and K-7, and also from scanned 6x4.5 film, but the 645D takes this to an entirely different level with output closer to that of large format film. You are talking the ability to print 40in prints without even thinking about it. Full frame (or fools frame as I like to refer to it) is closer to APS-C in quality than it is to digital medium format. Like you said, the files from the Canon just look crappy compared to a file from a 645D.

In the end though it really comes down to does your camera provide the resolution, dynamic range, exposure latitude, and detail for your needs. For me, I really don't have a need for the 645D since most of my output from single frames is under 24in, and via stitching I generally expand my landscape capable resolution. I'd say most people are good with the current 12-16MP APS cameras, but those who need more might be better off going up to medium format than 24x36 digital for what is really a nominal cost from the top end Canon and Nikon offerings.

BTW, if you've held the 645D or 645N, you know the size is deceptive. Case in point, my 645N fits in the exact same bags as my K10D, and I measured the surface area, the 645N is actually smaller in total surface area than the K10D. I also measured it against a Nikon D2HS and it's actually significantly smaller! So compared to the average professional DSLR/SLR it's not all that big, and part of what made the Pentax 645N so popular!

Here is Kerrick James talking about it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrseh35DZis


pico23


Dec 21, 2010, 8:19 PM
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Re: [pico23] 40MP 645D hitting North American Shores shortly [In reply to]
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Oh, also the 645D is on US shores. Available at select retailers and PentaxUSA web store.

It won't be dropping in price, Pentax has stated that $10,000 is the minimum they can sell this for and still make enough of a profit to justify production and R&D cost.


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