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Pentax 645Z scope or zoom lens

Eric Rayn

New member
Hi, This is Eric Rayn, I am Professional Creative Graphic Designer and work for my own Company. Photography is my hobby.
Actually, Nowadays I want to do fond of wildlife photography. As a starter, I am a little bit confused on selecting between spotting scope or zoom lens.
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi, This is EricRayn, I am Professional Creative Graphic Designer and work for my own Company. Photography is my hobby.
Actually, Nowadays I want to do fond of wildlife photography. As a starter, I am a little bit confused on selecting between spotting scope or zoom lance.
Hello Eric,

Welcome to our bespoke forum!

I gather you own a Pentax 645Z. What a grand camera! Nicolas Claris has a lot of experience with this wonderful MF digital beast! You are fortunate to have such fine gear!

Well that means you should have a lot of fabulous images to share!

Or you wish to own a Pentax 645Z?

Asher
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
sorry typing Mistake, I am talking about Lens.



Thank you
So do you currently own a fabulous Pentax 645Z?

If so, there are adapters for long zoom lenses for the classic Pentax 6x7 film camera. The only issue I see in weight.

I would highly recommend consideration of a used Olympus micro 4/3 and a used 300-600mm, (35mm reach equivalent), lens to match. Likely as not, this magical combo will be less money than you current options. Moreover, it’s practical. You can easily throw into your camera bag an extra Oly body and that lens and be master of the universe, so to speak.

I have a Fuji GFX and have toyed with the idea of getting such a miraculously lightweight high quality Olympus or Panasonic system myself to grab wildlife shots. Yes, I can readilly use canon glass with an AF adapter directly on my camera, but for doing photography all day, it’s far too heavy. In reality the MF camera should be used up to about 200mm (35mm equivalent reach) and one should anyway have a second body to snatch the distant gem that catches your eye. Changing lenses is foolish at this point. In a safari, a pixel rich wide angle zoom and an adequate tele combo makes the most sense if you do not have professional assistants schlepping your gear all day!

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Active member
The longest lens for the Pentax 645Z is a 400mm f/5.6. Generally speaking, medium format cameras' strong point is not long focal lenses: the size of optics generally increases in proportion of the size of the sensor, so long lenses for MF tend to be extraordinarily large, heavy and expensive.

For the same reasons, adapting a scope to a MF camera like the 645Z will not give satisfactory results.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Just as an example of the economy of Olympus micro 4/3. a used mid range priced body would be $399 from http://Adorama.com and an excellent consition Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II, (that gives a 35 mm equivalent reach of 150mm-600mm) at $330, or a grand sum of $729, without doing more extensive searching.

The lens is going to be fantastic only at its wider angle and at the length we would want it is just going to be above average and pefectly good enough for birding by a non bird guru professional obssessional perfectionist. See the excellent insights here.

But for me, for if I was spending the money and time to go on safari, or with birding experts, I would rent or buy a Leica and get perfect pictures for this once in a lifetime trip!

Look at this marvelous combo with just a Panasonic micro 4/3 body and the Leica 200-400 focal length lens, (400-800 mm reach in 35mm reach). Maginificently, it is pretty well extraortdinary even at the 800 mm zoom long end and can be hand held. I would by this lens new and the Panop body used and get advantage of thebuilt in auto lens corrections by Panasonic. The lens is a bargain at $1597 compared to the $12,000 or more needed for a real Canikon first choices. But the aperture at 800 mm equivalnt is only 6.3 but in the Canon lens the f stop is not far of at 5.6! The reall difference is going to be the more effective noise correction possible in the camera with a larger sensor size at 35mm.

but, really, one would have to be a devoted birder or else, making a living with wildlife picture sales to actually justify getting the far heavier and yes, superior canon on nikon systems, but for most of us, just the light weight and 5 stops image stibilization will bring high quality bird and game photography well within our reach.......and yes, even hand held!

Asher
 
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If you want to capture excellent images of wildlife, especially birds "digiscopes" are not the way to go as image quality will not be optimal. So you will need a camera, preferably with high megapixel count for cropping and a 400mm telephoto lens. Ideally a Canon 400 5.6 prime lens for example. The zooms like Nikon's are ok too but a prime may offer better image quality. A 400mm serves as a hand held carry around, go on a bird walk lens. Higher power lenses such as 600mm or more are strictly tripod mounted lenses because of their weight and bulk. I do a lot of walk around bird photography with the 400 5.6 and believe me if a super lightweight system, (maybe from Sony?) came on the market I would jump on it (well short of bankruptcy any way).
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Peter,

I appreciate your input as I really enjoy your excellent pictures of even tiny Hummers!

So do me a big favor, look carefully at the excellent review I linked to on the Panasonic 200-400 MFT as it does seem pretty damn good. I agree that the 800 mm end requires a tripod, but for sure that’s a walk around lens! However, handholding a camera at 1/3 of the weight gives more leeway even with no tripod!

If I had someone to help schlepping the gear, for sure I would rent a Canon 100-400 with the built in X 1.4 multiplayer built in with a Canon 5DSR 50MP!


Asher
 

Nicolas Claris

Administrator/Moderator
Back to the OP and question about the Pentax 645Z…
Forget about scope (I have some for macro) to shoot birds! why spend money with such a marvel camera and destroy the IQ with scope?
I have a 300mm (would love to get the 400!), which is a marvelous combo (51 Mpix give room for enlargements/crops).
BTW Asher, weight of camera body + lens is a major help for stabilzing when shooting without a tripod, and I know what I'm talking about!

Also, let's consider the new Pentax K2 with it's incamera stab…
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Back to the OP and question about the Pentax 645Z…
Forget about scope (I have some for macro) to shoot birds! why spend money with such a marvel camera and destroy the IQ with scope?
I have a 300mm (would love to get the 400!), which is a marvelous combo (51 Mpix give room for enlargements/crops).
BTW Asher, weight of camera body + lens is a major help for stabilzing when shooting without a tripod, and I know what I'm talking about!

Also, let's consider the new Pentax K2 with it's incamera stab…
Of course, the 300 mm lens with its mass will help absorb and naturally quench the vibrations from handheld shots. In fact, with the huge 50MP of the Pentax MF sensor, even small birds in the tree can be cropped to a decent size.

But still, for a lot of birding, handheld, a lighter camera, (Pentax K1, Sony, Canon, Nikon, and also the APS-C or MFT image-stabilized systems), can be carried far longer. It’s a trade-off.

If one’s need for bird shots is only occasional, then getting that used/adapted telephoto lens can be worthwhile and so rewarding. It’s so simple a setup!

For example, I can, right now, use my existing high resolution 70-200 2.8L IS II with a X1.4 or X2.0 on my Fuji GFX, (which happens to share the same basic Sony sensor with the wonderful more established Pentax 645Z). Still, if I was going on Safari, I think I would bring with a second body just for distant work. In that case, there are many options, depending on whether or not onecrents or buts an additional lens to ones current camera collection.

My suggestion for MFT with either Olympus, as Robert awatchers uses or Panasonic, is because they are premium well-proven systems and as being so lightweight, make our MF bodies more carryable on a safari, where one has no assistant.

But most importantly, listen to Nicolas Claris’ advice and # 1, don’t waste money on a spotting scope. Used Pentax lenses are anyway optically superior in most cases and even less costly!

Asher
 

Nicolas Claris

Administrator/Moderator
Of course, the 300 mm lens with its mass will help absorb and naturally quench the vibrations from handheld shots. In fact, with the huge 50MP of the Pentax MF sensor, even small birds in the tree can be cropped to a decent size.

But still, for a lot of birding, handheld, a lighter camera, (Pentax K1, Sony, Canon, Nikon, and also the APS-C or MFT image-stabilized systems), can be carried far longer. It’s a trade-off.

If one’s need for bird shots is only occasional, then getting that used/adapted telephoto lens can be worthwhile and so rewarding. It’s so simple a setup!

For example, I can, right now, use my existing high resolution 70-200 2.8L IS II with a X1.4 or X2.0 on my Fuji GFX, (which happens to share the same basic Sony sensor with the wonderful more established Pentax 645Z). Still, if I was going on Safari, I think I would bring with a second body just for distant work. In that case, there are many options, depending on whether or not onecrents or buts an additional lens to ones current camera collection.

My suggestion for MFT with either Olympus, as Robert awatchers uses or Panasonic, is because they are premium well-proven systems and as being so lightweight, make our MF bodies more carryable on a safari, where one has no assistant.

But most importantly, listen to Nicolas Claris’ advice and # 1, don’t waste money on a spotting scope. Used Pentax lenses are anyway optically superior in most cases and even less costly!

Asher
Of course Asher, but I pointed to come to the original post…
Eric Rayn apparently owns a Pentax 645Z so the comparison between different camera combos will not help him about his questioning…
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Of course Asher, but I pointed to come to the original post…
Eric Rayn apparently owns a Pentax 645Z so the comparison between different camera combos will not help him about his questioning…

Just that for birding, one needs 400 mm or more. To me it doesn’t make a lot of sense getting a very long and heavy extra lens for a 645Z as it is really not the right gear for birding. There, a more lightweight setup make more sense.

If it was just in my garden, then fine put on a long lens, but for all day, say in Costa Rica, one would be exhausted!

But you could well choose a 400 mm for the 645 Z and that would end up as 320mm equivalent reach, but with 50 MP and AF, and that mass of weight, there would be sharp pictures to enlarge and crop. So yes, it’s doable but not an optimal choice.

I will try with my Fuji and a 70-200 plus a x 2.0 and see how it is!

Asher
 

Nicolas Claris

Administrator/Moderator
Asher the thread title is " Pentax 645Z:" Then let's assume that Eric Rayn owns a 645Z!

As for the weight of combos, you know that I'm not anymore a teenager for so many decades!
I can shoot with the 645Z + 300 mm hand held from a shaky fast chase boat for long minutes, in fact it is less pain than when I did (younger!) with a Canon Mk3 + 500mm which I could hold in the same shaky conditions for less than a minute (sufficient though, to get some good shots…)

Handheld, weight is our friend for long focals!
 

Nicolas Claris

Administrator/Moderator
Hi, This is Eric Rayn, I am Professional Creative Graphic Designer and work for my own Company. Photography is my hobby.
Actually, Nowadays I want to do fond of wildlife photography. As a starter, I am a little bit confused on selecting between spotting scope or zoom lens.
Eric,
I wonder how you could fix a spotting scope to a 645Z…
My advice, as long time 645 (D and Z) user is to keep with the brand, Pentax lens are superb, included those made before digital, I own a 80-160 (too short for birds photography) that delivers marvelous, sweet but not soft images…
I also own a stunning 300mm (I wish I had also a 400…).
Modern lens are made to marry their same brand bodies just because they're made one for the other.
This is true with all brands.
Of course you may choose another route and experience different "melted" combos, but you better know what you do :) (unless you're rich enough)

Keep us updated on your choice!
 

Nicolas Claris

Administrator/Moderator
Hi, This is Eric Rayn, I am Professional Creative Graphic Designer and work for my own Company. Photography is my hobby.
Actually, Nowadays I want to do fond of wildlife photography. As a starter, I am a little bit confused on selecting between spotting scope or zoom lens.
Hi Eric
From the thread's title, I assume that you already own a 645Z.
If not, please consider Asher's advices!

Otherwise, I wonder how you could fix a spotting scope on a 645Z body…

The Pentax 300mm is a marvel (I own one), sometimes I wish I also had a Pentax 400mm.
You cannot be wrong with a Z and a 400!
 
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