Pentax 645Z Digital – Reviewed
by Daniel Ho.
Originally Posted at SGJP.
May 2016, Singapore – A rather late review on a digital medium format camera by Pentax coined Pentax 645z. Thanks for Pentax for allowing me to have this beautiful medium format camera for a real end user field use in order to gather some thoughts on this review. Note: I am not paid for this review, and it is solely a review of a photographer who is looking to move into digital medium format photography.
How I was tempted to try my hands on a digital medium format when Hasselblad announced their new Hasselblad H6D 50C/100C offering but at a premium price of about USD32,995.00 compared to the USD6996.00 for Pentax 645z on B&H today, and after reading on the Pros and Cons of the Hasselblad, I am having to consider the high price of owning one and weighing the obstacles of attempting shooting in the medium format photography.
I was then offered by a friend to take a look at the Pentax version of their 645Z digital medium format with the 55mm f2.8 lens. It was an offer I just had to take up, and the initial impression is that it is an extraordinary experience in snapping on this camera.
Technical Specifications of Pentax 645Z Digital Medium Format Camera.
- 51.4MP CMOS Sensor – 43.8 x 32.8 mm
- Prime III Image Processor
- Anti-Alias Filter-Less Design
- 3.2″ 1037K Dot Tiltable Air-Gapless LCD
- Full HD 1080 60i/30p/24p Video Capture
- ISO Sensitivity Range of 100 – 204,800
- SAFOX II TTL 27 Point Autofocus System
- 3 fps Continuous Shooting
- Weather Sealed Magnesium Alloy Body
- Pentax Flucard and Eye-Fi Compatible
Why would one want to look at a medium format camera when there are already many DSLR and even mirrorless (Sony’s) that have almost similar amount of resolution such as Nikon D810 and the Sony A7R. It is true while this camera is not a day to day street photography camera, and why would any photographer wants to try out medium format, especially a Pentax 645Z?
There are many reviews out there from photographers who wrote reviews on this Pentax 645z on their take on how this camera shines with Wedding Photography, Landscape, and even Portraiture. I feel the biggest strength of Pentax 645Z is that it is positioned between the lofty Hasselblad H6D and a Nikon D810, in terms of price, and allows a serious photographer to try out medium format as a step up. Despite many would say a DSLR can achieve similar quality, the couple of weeks of using this camera shows me that there is a step up in terms of quality that comes from this camera.
It is true, this camera is not for the day to day street photography, it feels good in my hands on a day to day shooting, and I would qualify this easily as a workhorse and a camera to fit in my bag everyday. I took this camera to the National Art Gallery to test out shooting this camera in an area that I love, Arts and Indoor, and I am more than sufficiently pleased by the high quality of photos that this camera is able to produce even in the out of the camera JPEG. The quality is I must say, better than my D810, and the colour rendered on the indoor photos is amazing.
This is the OUT OF CAMERA output when shooting in the National Arts Gallery, and I am impressed by its ability for my indoor architecture. The colour is accurate, the camera is capable of shooting at ISO3200 with absolutely no loss of quality, the White Balance is subtly capable as well.
I took this inside the gallery, with very little light and casting on this sculpture, Pentax is able to handle the fine details despite shooting at ISO 3200 with very little noise.
As a photographer who loves using the depth of field as part of my composition technique, the out of camera JPEG picture is amazing, this could be due to the 51 mega pixel resolution and the beautiful Sony sensor on this great camera, which just feels right in my hand.
The “Bokeh” from this camera is pleasing at least and I would love to use this for my portraiture as well. The camera is able to produce the right light on the sculpture.
Aside from my D810, and Leica M, the ability of this medium format camera at a 51 mega pixel, shows incredible details. The build of the camera is impressive, and the sensitivity range of this camera enables me to shoot even in the dim light of the gallery, and it allows this camera to be used in many more situations than other medium format cameras that does not featured weather and dust resistant and making it more difficult to be used outdoor. For Pentax 645Z, this is not the case, and I could envisioned that Pentax 645Z is probably going to be one of the first Digital Medium Format Camera to be more widely used outside of the studio.
The colour from the Pentax 645z’s Sony Sensor is incredible and the Red is Red where even with an auto white balance setting. Shooting in a gallery with the different lighting, this camera did not disappoint with the rendering of the colour in consistent with the mood.
While this is NOT a technical review of this amazing digital medium format camera, I must say, even with the large RAW file and the format unique to a medium format, I can easily adopt the workflow on my Lightroom. I would love to own this camera as part of my daily use and I will strongly recommend anyone who is keen on medium format, to take a look at Pentax 645Z. It is as capable to deliver high quality of photos and with every low learning curve. – Daniel Ho.