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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

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it's been reported on the PDML that the long-rumored 645D is alive and well. Perhaps Pentax is preparing to put it in production.

Well, the 645 Digital (tentative name ;) ) was also announced (yet again) at Photo Imaging Expo 2009 and on the same Pentax Japan website, with a 2010 release date.

Now it looks like we may be able to live long enough to see that camera reach the market after all.

(Of course according to internet wisdom, Pentax will be dead by 2010 anyway...)

I love translations, this one belongs to Babel Fish:

"The news of medium format film camera “PENTAX 67II” “PENTAX 645NII” production end usually your extraordinary patronage granting, thank you for indeed. Because this each time at our company, 2009 September with the goal of we had decided to end production concerning medium format film camera “PENTAX 67II” “PENTAX 645NII”, we inform. As for “PENTAX 67II” in 1998 November, as for “PENTAX 645NII” while selling respectively in 2001 October, it is the format camera. Together, are superior the strong body and high-level system characteristic etc of descriptive efficiency and high mobility and professional specification, received many professional photographers and high appraisal in the people of the camera love house of the high amateur, were regularly used. We had received the support where also the presently the digital camera has become main current still is deep-rooted, but because supply of the electronic part becomes difficult, it came to the point of inevitably ending production. After the 2009 April, as for production quantity to production end “PENTAX 67II” approximately 250 units, “PENTAX 645NII” they are approximately 450 schedules. Furthermore, because in the future it starts continuing production for 645 in regard to the interchangeable lens, it continues and that regular use it grants, no soldier/finishing it asks may."

RIP 67,
I sometimes dream of a 6x7 sensor behind the 105/2.4 – "a full-frame on steroids"

"I sometimes dream of a 6x7 sensor behind the 105/2.4 – 'a full-frame on steroids'"

Lars,
I think it's the Leica S2 you're dreaming of, there.

Mike

For the longest time I wanted a Pentax 67, but stories of the incredible mirror slap, and the alure of owning a Hasselblad kept me away. I did learn something from shooting with medium format, but I never printed big enough to justify keeping it, that and my Leica. Maybe I should just have kept my Bronica 6x7? The pictures I took in Paris with that camera, the slides are a pleasure to look at, even if I don't have a projector. Maybe I should look around in ebay?

"Maybe I should look around in ebay?"

Macabron,
Sounds good to me. I have both a Bronica SQ-A and a Bronica RF645 that I got quite cheaply by lurking on Ebay. I don't use either one very often but I enjoy having them.

Mike

Regarding the translation posted by Espen, does anyone know where "the camera love house of the high amateur" is? Next time I'm in the area, I want to visit that place.

I bought a couple of used original 645 bodies and several used lenses when everyone was dumping medium format bodies a few years ago. Most people overlooked the original 645 in favor of the later models, especially when the autofocus model was introduced. But the original did everything I wanted to do and did it outstandingly well--and excellent quality bodies were going really cheap. The lenses were excellent and the camera bodies were solid. The Pentax 645 replaced my Canon 35mm equipment at the time and came close to overshadowing my Leicas.

I haven't used my 645 equipment in a couple of years. In the end, the Leicas keep being used because they're smaller and more portable (and I just plain like using them) and I keep finding more ways to use digital. I really oughta thaw out some 120 PanF and shoot something with those 645s.

The mention of "a 35mm SLR on steroids" reminds me of how I always considered Pentax the major camera maker and ignored Canikon for many years.
I began to learn about photography while working at an art college in the late 70s where the students were loaned Prakticas (less value if they broke or lost 'em) but allowed to use Pentax K1000's while actually doing photography classes. For serious work, e.g recording the college fashion course shows, the photography staff used a Pentax 67.
That big camera was a fine flagship advertising symbol, after a few false starts I used a Pentax 35mm SLR system from 83 to 2003 before even considering a Nikon (only changed to collect lenses for use on the next purchase of a Fuji DSLR)- have never been tempted by a Canon.

Cheers, Robin

Well, inevitably, another fine camera bites the dust, but I never bought a new one, so my support was only intellectual by buying secondhand. Afterall, it was the professional and well lined amateur that bought new and really supported the company, leaving us pauper connoisseurs to lament the passing of a craftsmans tool. Ok,I'm simplifying things, but as Mike will attest, give them the money. And this is the crux, the new gear I have bought has been from Nikon, Olympus, Sigma, Canon. ( Doh ! ). You get my drift ? My most treasured, admired, liked (and now most used) equipment has been from Contax, Pentax (67), Rolleiflex, Mamiya, etc., etc. all secondhand. I know, too late, that I should really have saved and bought into these superb cameras, and I could have, considering the, retrospectively, aimless meandering around Nikon and Olympus changing bodies and lenses for what reason I know not, except that they make it sound so promising.
So I thought I'd confess to being a fool, because if I wanted to get some new items for my favourite cameras, I'm stuffed. So, I resolve to keep my 'classics' in good repair and to use the skills of those who know how to maintain them lest they too dissappear for good: afterall I know many people who build and repair steam engines, so why not (semi) mechanical cameras ?
Sorry for this rant, but let's wake up to what's disappearing, choice is good for us, a four horse stable isn't.
By the way, my creative flow is seldom more expressed than through the beautiful viewfinder image of the 105/2.4 on the 6x7.
Maybe there is an article waiting to be written on 'photographers and their viewfinders', some camera screen/lens combinations have been pure inspiration to me. Suggestions anyone ?

"By the way, my creative flow is seldom more expressed than through the beautiful viewfinder image of the 105/2.4 on the 6x7."

Mark,
Yes, indeedy. Addictive. Hard to use anything else once you've used one. That's one gorgeous lens, too. (May I use the b-word?) Beautiful bokeh.


"Maybe there is an article waiting to be written on 'photographers and their viewfinders', some camera screen/lens combinations have been pure inspiration to me. Suggestions anyone?"

The Minolta 35/2 on the Sony A900 really did it for me. Can't get it out of my brain. I wish Sony would get a little desperate and drop the price on that thing.... (And of course they'd also have to reissue the Minolta 35/2, which they haven't done. That's really what's keeping me from buying an A900. I can see dropping the $3k if it's for a camera I really, really want, but I'm too cheap to spend $550 for a beat-up old Minolta 35/2. Sigh. It's not easy being a skinflint!)

Mike

"For the longest time I wanted a Pentax 67, but stories of the incredible mirror slap, and the alure of owning a Hasselblad kept me away."

I once found this video — made to "dispel the myth of mirror slap vibration in the Pentax 67 cameras".

www.pdmlpug.org/VIBRATION.MOV

Original link found at pdmlpug.org/?page_id=12.

Cheers,

This is sad, but not unexpected.

I used the Pentax 67 for a while and really enjoyed it. It was a tank that always worked, and the image quality was excellent. But mirror slap ... yep. A tripod was pretty much a required accessory. I sold my 67 and four lenses about six months ago and consolidated my medium-format film capability in a pair of aging but fully functional Hasselblads, which will have to be pried from my cold, dead ... well, maybe not. But they're cool.


Ted,

"The camera love house of the high amateur" is just a very garbled translation of "advanced 'aikouka'," which simply means "enthusiast."

The reason given for ending production is actually pretty accurate in the Babelfish translation: it has become impossible to procure certain necessary electronic components.

Sigh ... the end of another era.

But the 645D is just around the corner! Maybe.


Mike,

A Minolta 35/2 costs $550 USED? Damn! Nikon and Canon both make 35/2 lenses that are sold new for $200 less!

Chris,
Yes, it's very annoying when that happens. The Minolta 35/2 is extremely good, but it's not *that* good. It's very, very annoying to me that Sony reissued the big f/1.4 lens but hasn't bothered with this one.

Mike

I have a Pentax 67 with a couple of lenses & I enjoy shooting with it. I've taken quite a few photos at 1/30 hand held with no camera shake problems. I also like using my Pentax Auto 110.

I had my 67 and four of my six lenses stolen from my car last October. The insurance would only replace them with a K20D and DA lenses, which I accepted. Made sure they were DA* though. After some rumination, a few weeks ago I bought another used 67 and 3 lenses in even better shape for $800. AE Finder and grip in both cases. Already exposed a couple of rolls that I can't wait to see!

I just recently got a Pentax 67, and enjoy it a lot. It's actually no bigger than the big Canon or Nikon FF cameras, and with the waist-level finder it's no heavier either (the glass prism in the prism finder is huge and weighs about half a kilo by itself).

I also find that if you keep to the usual 1/focal length rule for shutter speed, both camera shake and mirror slap is a complete non-issue. It's only at slow shutter speeds that you really have to care, and the shutter shake while on tripod seems to be limited to long lenses (200mm or longer) that unbalances the rig, not normal or wide ones.

Wonderful camera. And with the ready availability of lenses, bodies and parts, I expect to keep using it for years to come.

A sad, but perhaps inevitable announcement. I still use the 67 as my main camera; however, unlike most photographers, I seem to be incapable of parting with old Pentaxes. I recently took an inventory for insurance purposes. My accumulation can be seen here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/tsjanik/DropBox?authkey=Gv1sRgCIW9zfLfqeLmywE#5317280289091478738
For the curious: a 6x7, 67, 67II, 645, 645N. Spotmatic, K1000, ME Super, LX and many lenses.
I've become somewhat skeptical of the ongoing 645D announcemnts, perhaps it's time to consider a Sony.

I used a P67 for 20 years, my main machine for B&W landscape work. The lenses are superb (most of them). Their large size produces image circles that ensure sharpness out into the corners. It was a joy to work with and built like a tank. My advancing age and physical limitations led me to sell all of it before the mass dumping began, so I was fortunate to get decent prices. Now I'm very happy with a K10d and the 31/43/77 Ltd set, for a high quality but light weight digital outfit.

Regards,
Clayton


Hi Ctein:

I’m just curious if you still use your 67 or have you completed the transition to digital? The mirror on the 67 does make quite a noise, but its contribution to blurred images is obviated by the use of the mirror lock-up, which is present on all but the earliest versions of the 6x7. As you know, the vibration caused by the opening of the shutter is another kettle of fish, since it necessarily occurs during the exposure and is particularly troublesome in exposures in the range of 1/30s to 1/2s; technique can overcome this problem, but I suspect the 67’s reputation for troublesome slow shutter speeds is caused more by the first shutter curtain than the mirror.
Hi Schmuell:
I hadn’t seen that test, very interesting. I have performed a similar test using a small thimble of water. Although the mirror/shutter vibration is not sufficient to topple the coin, it does cause noticeable vibrations on the surface of the water. I performed this test to determine the most effective way to anchor the 67 during long exposures (leaning on the camera with most of my upper body weight proved the most effective).
Tom

I still have and use my Pentax 645 II, its a brilliant camera and I wish I could use it for every assignment as I derive much more pleasure from using it than my EOS 5D.

I really do hope that 645D makes it into production as I would buy one in an instant.

Dear Tom,

We are entirely on the same page. I also developed the habit of leaning heavily on the camera to dampen out vibration. And using the mirror flip up became routine for me, too. In fact, when photographing landscapes handheld, I got pretty adept at flipping up the mirror with a spare finger while gripping the camera just before pressing the shutter button.

I never found the first shutter curtain vibrations to be a problem working with short lenses, but it was a severe one with longer telephotos that had a tripod mount on the lens. I used the 400 mm EDIF lens (with and without the 2X extender) to photograph the solar eclipse in 1991. I had a 20+ pound tripod that could support a tank. Even at 1/500 of a second, I couldn't get a tack-sharp photograph; the shutter curtain was far enough away from the axis of rotation that the moment of inertia was huge, and the lens wasn't mechanically stiff enough to prevent the body from recoiling. I solved the problem by using a second, lightweight tripod attached to the tripod socket in the camera to provide two-point support. That completely damped out the shutter curtain vibration and I could get sharp exposures over the entire shutter speed range.

Re: transitioning to digital. I don't know where I am in my head. I've still got my Pentax gear, I still have a whole bunch of film in the freezer, along with a couple of thousand sheets of color print paper and all the chemistry I can eat (ummm, drink). But I was just doing some organizing and filing of proof sheets in my office and noticed that the date on the last roll of film that I exposed was April 7, 2007.

Hmmmm. And again, hmmmm.

I don't feel like I'm done with film-based photography and chromogenic printing. But I don't know if that's my muse telling me something artistically important or me just being too stubborn to let go.

Mind you, the dye transfer printing will continue indefinitely, but that's got nothing to do with the chromogenic stuff, and I have more than enough portfolio-quality negatives that I've never gotten around to printing to use up all my remaining dye transfer supplies.


~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
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-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
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Ctein,

As one who's just started using the Pentax 67, I'm happy to hear about your experiences above.

To me, as one who started out with digital, film is not just a variation of digital imaging; it is its own medium, with characteristics different from digital in many ways. I like the results from both, but they are really different, and I would hate losing one or the other. As a result, when I go out to take pictures, I usually bring one of each - a film camera and a digital camera of some sort. Normally I come back with shots in both cameras - and they're not just different pictures, they're different kind of pictures, with different perspective, mood and intent. Had I brought only one or the other I would have missed a fair number of opportunities.

Of course, I'm a hack, so nobody but me would miss any of those pictures, but still.

Hi Ctein:

Yes we’re on the same page of the same book. I’ve used the two tripod technique with my 67 500mm; unfortunately, I find repositioning the camera such an ordeal that I often resort to a lazy technique: I pull on the camera strap down and to the right (opposite the direction of shutter travel); this seems to work about half the time. This is on a big, old aluminum Gitzo with an Acra-Swiss ball head. I wonder if you or anyone reading this post has tried the Manfrotto long lens support. It seems it would accomplish the same rotation prevention as the use of two tripods, while appearing much more tractable to adjust. You can see it here:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/554349-REG/Manfrotto_by_Bogen_Imaging_359_359_Long_Lens_Support.html

The torque induced rotation apparently appears at the 400mm level. I have a 300mm ED and have no problem with a single tripod. Imagine what the 800mm must be like!

No film use since 2007! I assumed that the master of the dye transfer would be the last to make the transition – so much for assumptions.

Regards,

Tom

PS Mike: For those who will miss the 67 and 645, the title of your post could have been “Shudder, Curtain Falls on 67II and 645NII”. Sorry, couldn’t pass up the pun.

“Shudder, Curtain Falls on 67II and 645NII”

Rats! I wish I'd thought of that.

Mike

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