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Shooting with the Pentax 645D MF camera

nicolas claris

OPF Co-founder/Administrator
Hi there

Yes! A 40 megapixels medium format camera!

With our continuous aim to provide high end photography to our clients, we have invested in a medium format camera.
We have selected the award winning new Pentax:
- TIPA AWARDS 2011: Best D-SLR Professional camera
- Camera Grand Prix 2011 "Camera of the Year" (Tokyo June 1st, 2011)
together with its bundled smc D-FA 645 55mm f/2.8 (24x36 roughly equivalent to 44 mm), the absolutely new Pentax smc D-FA 645 25mm f/4 (24x36 roughly equivalent to 20 mm)and the smc FA 645 80-160mm f4.5 (24x36 roughly equivalent to 130 mm).

The* Pentax 645D Image size (44 x 33mm CCD sensor -* 7264x5440 pixels!) is a very important factor in advanced photography: the larger the image size, the more faithfully the ambience and sense of depth can be described, resulting in colour-rich, fine-detailed images.
For now, with its long focal lenses (70/200 to 500 mm), our Canon EOS 1DS3 remains the king!

Both these cameras will be used for our next shooting in Saint-Martin at the end of January (as a consequence, no Dusseldorf Boot Messe for us this year.)

I may have preferred the Leica or the Phase 645 40+ but can't afford these cameras…
The short tests I have run with the Pentax let me think it will provide me (and my clients…) lots of satisfaction!

If it happens to get some interest here in OPF, I might post from time to time my findings and some sample shots of this already beloved camera!
 

Cem_Usakligil

Well-known member
Hi Nicolas,

Of course we are very much interested. :)

Congratulations with the new system, I am certain you will ace it in no time and produce stunning pictures. Please show us the results along the way.
 

nicolas claris

OPF Co-founder/Administrator
Thanks Cem!
My really first finding is about the software to use with RAW files…
Fortunately the Pentax 645D does shoot PEF or Adobe DNG files…

I determined that shooting PEF is the way to go as Lightroom reads them and one can always convert PEFs to DNG later with the Adobe converter.
Also the software provided with the camera - software issued from Silkypix- ain't very good (crash and slow) but does convert PEFs to DNG and I suspect that this conversion is better that the in camera one and by the DNG converter as well…
But as you know I'm addicted to Phase's Capture One…
C1 does not open PEF files but of course does open the DNG. However, I've been completely disappointed with the use of C1 with the Pentax 645D files.
Lightroom does handle them with muuuuuch better results (although being -for me- still providing crap with my CR2 files compared to C1).
As a consequence, I did drop a "support case" to Phase on this subject:
Santa has been a nice guy this year!
Santa thought that I could not afford a Phase 645 together with a Phase back and lenses, but to comfort me (and make me wait?) He brought me a Pentax 645D with a few nice lens ..

But how sad when I realized that CaptureOne does not read its PEF files.
Ok, it reads the DNGs (PEF converted by the body as well as Adobe DNG).
But the image quality to which I am used by processing (with C1) my RAW files from my Canon bodies 1DS3, 5D2, Sinarback eMotion 75 LV is just not there with the files from the Pentax.

The 645D raw files out of Lightroom are gorgeous ... nice micro details, nice noise reduction, Truer colors, better clarity ... although I still Have better results with the C1 for Canon and Sinar files ...

So my question is:
What's up C1? is this because this camera is a competitor of Phase back and bodies or did Phase just lacked of time to include the Pentax 645D in the supported cameras? And if the later is the right answer, when do you think it will be achieved?

And I got this answer:
Hi - thanks for writing.

Based on your request we will add your request to our feature request list. Then it's our management group that will decide if the camera can be added to the list.

Thanks for using Capture One
Phase One?
Let's cross fingers!
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi there

Yes! A 40 megapixels medium format camera!

With our continuous aim to provide high end photography to our clients, we have invested in a medium format camera.
We have selected the award winning new Pentax:
- TIPA AWARDS 2011: Best D-SLR Professional camera
- Camera Grand Prix 2011 "Camera of the Year" (Tokyo June 1st, 2011)
together with its bundled smc D-FA 645 55mm f/2.8 (24x36 roughly equivalent to 44 mm), the absolutely new Pentax smc D-FA 645 25mm f/4 (24x36 roughly equivalent to 20 mm)and the smc FA 645 80-160mm f4.5 (24x36 roughly equivalent to 130 mm).

Nicolas,

This is so exciting. First this is the company that invented a lot of the technology for 35 mm cameras with mirrors. I used, (and still occasionally), use the Pentax Spotmatic for 35mm film. They have solid experience in MF. The 35mm-like 6"x7" reflex camera was the standard for fashion photographers for decades! Their lenses are legendary. Furthermore, they have modernized and advanced their technology in the well-recieved K series DSLRs with leading dynamic range and very compact single focus lenses as well as zooms. Essentially they are a lens and optics company with legendary and impeccable credentials. So I'd expect the new MF 40 MP camera to be nothing less than superb.

The naysayer reviewers are, I believe, snobbish! < $10,000 i considered in the prosumer range if one has already bought a $35,000 and boasted about it!

So, I'm, looking forward so much to your experience and will savor your contributions as treats!

Salut mon ami!

Enjoy!

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
The Pentax may be the cheapest digital medium format camera, but that does not make it a less capable tool than its medium format competition. But from your web site I see that you had an agreement with Sinar...
 

nicolas claris

OPF Co-founder/Administrator
The Pentax may be the cheapest digital medium format camera, but that does not make it a less capable tool than its medium format competition. But from your web site I see that you had an agreement with Sinar...
Bonjour Jerome
Even being the cheapest, when you add to the Pentax 645D to a full Canon equipment (1DS3, 5D2, and most of the best lens from 14 to 500 mm) that makes quite a budget to afford and make profit with!
The agreement I had with Sinar was just a loan to test the HY6 in other situation than studio…
That HY6 and its back (brilliant one if you ask me) was out of budget to acquire for me, even with the rebate Sinar offered me at the end of our collaboration.
But as we say in French, till that time le "vers est dans le fruit" (the worms is in the fruit), the HY6 is not on the market anymore but the lack of MF have been pursuing me. I had to get a MF camera!
I can afford the Pentax, not the Phase… too bad, but I wish that I'll be able to push the 645D out of its limit…
A new challenge… J'adore ça!
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Bonjour Jerome
Even being the cheapest, when you add to the Pentax 645D to a full Canon equipment (1DS3, 5D2, and most of the best lens from 14 to 500 mm) that makes quite a budget to afford and make profit with!

Indeed. I am glad that I do not have to make a profit to justify my equipment... ;)

The agreement I had with Sinar was just a loan to test the HY6 in other situation than studio…

So the agreement is over, if I understand correctly?

I can afford the Pentax, not the Phase… too bad, but I wish that I'll be able to push the 645D out of its limit…

I doubt that. Not because I don't think that you are able to push a camera a lot, but because the Pentax limits are very, very far. It is a very good camera. It is aggressively priced, but not less capable than the competition.
 

nicolas claris

OPF Co-founder/Administrator
Hi Jerome
So the agreement is over, if I understand correctly?
Yes for long time!

I doubt that. Not because I don't think that you are able to push a camera a lot, but because the Pentax limits are very, very far. It is a very good camera. It is aggressively priced, but not less capable than the competition.

Hmmm, shoot a fast sailing boat in rough sea from helicopter with lot of wind… not many MF camera will do… just because they aren't built for that.
But having done with the HY6, I see no reason not to do it with the Pentax ; - )
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi Jerome

Yes for long time!



Hmmm, shoot a fast sailing boat in rough sea from helicopter with lot of wind… not many MF camera will do… just because they aren't built for that.
But having done with the HY6, I see no not reason to do it with the Pentax ; - )

I'd imagine, Nicolas, that wide angles would do best for this. Am I correct? DOF would be excellent and one could catch the entire sail and water and sky at the same time and everything would be in focus. How does it work out in practice?

Asher
 
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nicolas claris

OPF Co-founder/Administrator
From helicopter it is very difficult to get the all sails and the sky, you have to fly very low!
That is possible when the sea ain't too rough! (it happened to me to get my feet wet by salt water…
Also, unless you want to achieve special effect shooting wider than 30 mm (equivalent to 35mm focal) you get too much distortions…
DOF is a matter of choice (esthetically) and there the MF should provide more control that 35mm cameras…
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
From helicopter it is very difficult to get the all sails and the sky, you have to fly very low!
That is possible when the sea ain't too rough! (it happened to me to get my feet wet by salt water…
Also, unless you want to achieve special effect shooting wider than 30 mm (equivalent to 35mm focal) you get too much distortions…
DOF is a matter of choice (esthetically) and there the MF should provide more control that 35mm cameras…

So, Nicolas,

Can you point us to pictures using 30mm MF, shot from your 'copter? I ask, as these wide lenses have so much in common with our eyesight, where we can move our eyes, repeatedly, scanning around a scene, to build up the adjacent fields to what's in front of us.

Asher
 

nicolas claris

OPF Co-founder/Administrator
Be patient my friend!
The widest lens I have for now is the smc D-FA 645 55mm f/2.8 (= more less 44mm equivalent 35mm system) and I haven't received yet the smc D-FA 645 25mm f/4 (=+/- 20 mm) that I ordered… Pentax said it's on its way ; - )

Also, it is winter here and not much sailboats around, we get a lot of fog on the Garonne river LoL!
However I have a shoot next week in Saint-Martin (West Indies) but only mooring and interior shots are on the program…
Can't wait to shoot the interiors with the 25mm mounted on the Pentax 645D!

On another side, I have made serious improvement with the RAW files with C1, I just had to forget my workflow used for the Canon file and reinvent a different one… Mainly, I learned that the Pentax files have so much hidden data to deliver that the limit is far beyond the Canon ones…
Now the PP of the Pentax 645D is better with C1 than with Lightroom (even with the LR 4 beta).
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Nicolas,

When I asked about results with WA lenses, I was referring to your work to date with the Sinar system as I can then look up that picture in my fantastic book set!!! :)

Be patient my friend!
The widest lens I have for now is the smc D-FA 645 55mm f/2.8 (= more less 44mm equivalent 35mm system) and I haven't received yet the smc D-FA 645 25mm f/4 (=+/- 20 mm) that I ordered… Pentax said it's on its way ; - )

Wow! That 25mm SMC lens is a magic focal length. I'm so excited to see the result. It's a very creative focal length.

Also, it is winter here and not much sailboats around, we get a lot of fog on the Garonne river LoL!
That, my dear friend, is an excellent opportunity for some great mood pictures. A model walking with a white horse in the mist, with the mist in the b.g.

However I have a shoot next week in Saint-Martin (West Indies) but only mooring and interior shots are on the program…

On another side, I have made serious improvement with the RAW files with C1, I just had to forget my workflow used for the Canon file and reinvent a different one… Mainly, I learned that the Pentax files have so much hidden data to deliver that the limit is far beyond the Canon ones…
Now the PP of the Pentax 645D is better with C1 than with Lightroom (even with the LR 4 beta).

This is a major advance. Have you told Pentax? They should make you one of their star photographers and give you free stuff, LOL!

What's the weight of the Pentax with lenses? I ask for this practical reason. Is it possible that some pictures do not need to have the resolution of either a Pentax 645 or Canon DSLR. Is it possible that some pictures could be made with say a Sony/Ricoh with Leica/Zeiss lenses when 16 MP would be sufficient? I ask this since I'm being blown away by the quality of APS-C size sensors in these deceivingly little lightweight bodies. For me, splitting a shoot between a lightweight camera and a heavy camera is helpful on my back and hands!

Asher
 

nicolas claris

OPF Co-founder/Administrator
Hi Asher
in order to your reply…
I was referring to your work to date with the Sinar system
Quite "old" stuff fro me now ;-)

Schneider 50 mm
http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7136
http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6957
an excellent opportunity for some great mood pictures. A model walking with a white horse in the mist, with the mist in the b.g.
Most of my clients request for boats our architecture shots… we're OT!
This is a major advance. Have you told Pentax?
I'm not really sure that Pentax (nor Phase!) would enjoy hearing about C1! LoL!
What's the weight of the Pentax with lenses? I ask for this practical reason.…splitting a shoot between a lightweight camera and a heavy camera is helpful on my back and hands!
The body is 1,5kg (about 3 pounds) plus the lens…
The "problem" is that you never know in advance which image will be selected by the client or the AD…
One very same frame can be used for a billboard, and ad, or the web…
So the larger your shots are the safer you come back from the shoot…

PS Who said that a shooting is holidays?-)
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
What's the weight of the Pentax with lenses? I ask for this practical reason. Is it possible that some pictures do not need to have the resolution of either a Pentax 645 or Canon DSLR. Is it possible that some pictures could be made with say a Sony/Ricoh with Leica/Zeiss lenses when 16 MP would be sufficient? I ask this since I'm being blown away by the quality of APS-C size sensors in these deceivingly little lightweight bodies. For me, splitting a shoot between a lightweight camera and a heavy camera is helpful on my back and hands!

Asher

An interesting comparison between the Sony A900 and the Sony NEX-7 was published today on luminous landscape. Basically, the two cameras give equivalent results on landscapes taken at relatively low ISOs.

From personal experience, I know that the A900 gives slightly sharper results than the Canon 5D MII (which should be similar to the 1DS3). The Nex 7 should thus give similar results in a very compact package.

From comparisons published on the web, the Pentax trounces either one of the A900 or 5DII.
 

Michael Nagel

Active member
For the long focal lengths, try (if you can get your hands on one) the Pentax-A* 645 600mm F5.6 ED [IF]. All I saw and read about this lens was good - you might be (positively) surprised.

Best regards,
Michael
 

nicolas claris

OPF Co-founder/Administrator
Thanks Michael
I would certainly love to try that 600mm!
As you may know I shoot handheld (no other way for shooting boats from a chase boat or an helicopter) and for that I guess that the Canon's stab is my friend…

Kind regards
 

Michael Nagel

Active member
Nicolas,

I agree that the 600/5,6 is way too heavy for hand-held use and the manual focusing is penalizing for your application. There are smaller, lighter lenses like below:
SMC Pentax-FA 645 400mm F5.6 ED [IF]
SMC Pentax-FA 645 300mm F5.6 ED [IF]
SMC pentax-FA* 645 300mm F4 ED [IF]
All above are relatively lightweight and could be hand-held (weight of the above lenses is approx. 1.5kg per lens). The prices for a used lens of the three above is not too high...

Another one which might interest you:
SMC Pentax-FA 645 120mm F4 Macro
This lens is quite popular among the people adapting 645 lenses on K-Mount for its image quality.

Best regards,
Michael
 

fahim mohammed

Well-known member
Hello Nicolas...

First a big congratulations on your new Camera.

Second, may it bring you lots of good fortune and business.

Third, all of us look forward to the beautiful images that you have shown us in the past. With
the new one now.

Take care and my best wishes and warmest regards.
 

nicolas claris

OPF Co-founder/Administrator
Christina, Ben, Fahim
thanks for the interest, unfortunately all interesting shots have been delayed (fortunately not cancelled!) so we'll have to wait a bit more.
The good point is that it leaves time for the 25 mm to arrive, it seems that Pentax have some trouble for lens deliveries…
 
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