Serious thinking of the Pentax 645 or shall wait? Locked

Started May 4, 2014 | Discussions thread
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The Davinator
The Davinator Forum Pro • Posts: 20,302
Re: Serious thinking of the Pentax 645 or shall wait?

roby17269 wrote:

marcio_napoli wrote:


I've used 3 digital backs (Leaf Aptus 22mp, Hassel 31mp and Phase One P40) and believe I can offer some imput.

Also consider the P40 has the same Pentax 645D sensor (probably).

One myth about digital backs is that they have more highlight headroom.

Two of these backs actually have less highlight headroom than my Nikons, and only the P40 is better than my D700 in this regard.

But one importante reminder: the D700 is one of the best cameras out there for highlight recovery (I must test it to confirm, but I think it's actually better than the D800).

So, it's safe to say that D700 is a good benchmark.

Shadow noise:

These backs are simply superb, but ONLY if you shoot at base ISO.

Most of them are very low ISO cameras (often ISO 25 and 50 for base ISO), and most shooters do not want to live at such limited conditions.

If you can live with it, you'll be rewarded with superb DR.

If you can't, for anything above ISO 200, just choose your 35mm DSLR (it will probably be better from ISO 200 and above anyway).

Now, let's forget the measurable, technical bla bla bla for a minute.

3 things that DMF will always be better:


CCD rendering (at least for current backs). No matter how you cut it, CCDs do have a different look.

IMO, a much better look.

We can't go much further about this topic in an internet forum. You really need to shoot thousands of CCD images to notice that gentle, subtle (but rewarding) difference.



Digital backs have very selective CFAs, so the colors normally pop, and look great without any serious efforts or adjustments.

IMO, digital backs colors are better than 35mm DSLRs by a mile or two.


A sense of creative power.

Have you ever had that feeling, when you buy another 35mm body, that's just of more black brick to the collection?

That if you don't look for the model number (mark whatever), it's just the same ol' thing again?

That's because 35mm cameras differ very little among themselves beyond the sensor.

It gets to a point it becomes boring (at least for me ).

But when you shoot with DMF, the HUGE viewfinder, the "manly" sound of the mirror flapping, seeing the ultra large sensor when you take the back off the body...

All these things you'll never find with 35mm DSLRs, and they sum up for a very rewarding experience.

It's so rewarding, that one may produce better shots just because it renews the passion to be out there shooting.

At least for me, I feel I can do better whenever I'm shooting with these monsters.

Clients notice that enthusiasm (and results) too.

And they're not even that expensive anymore.

There're plenty of old backs on Ebay, for prices you'd normally pay for your next DSLR.

If anyone here is interested, I can upload some P40 RAW files latter.

-- hide signature --

Marcio Napoli

+1 to this

I shoot Canon FF but I have rented a H5D-50 and a P1 160 for 2 shoots and was blown away by the colour, details and tone gradations of the images

On the flip side, if you mess up exposure there's pretty much no recovery, the cameras are "dumb" compared to modern 35mm, the AF is primitive, battery life is not good, more limited lens systems, cards become "smaller" and computers become "slower".

But... for sheer image quality, in the right circumstances (landscape, architecture or controlled light), they are a different planet.

-- hide signature --

As I pointed out, the 645Z has a completely different sensor type, thus your experience with CCD will not translate over.

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