« Apropos of Nothing | Main | Peter Turnley: Saturday »

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Comments

Yes! At last!

"Anyway, it's probably a good thing for me they're not bringing this to the States. If they ever do, tie me to the mast, boys, tie me to the mast."

LOL!
This is completely out of my reach, but I see you saving money already, Mike... as buying stuff from Japan in the internet times is far from difficult. And besides, given the ratio quality/price (which, on first look at least, blows away all competition), I would not be surprised to see Pentax changing their own decision and starting to sell the 645D in Europe & the US (or else a private enterprise might be doing their own business based on this). Time will tell.

So, is this the S2 killer? (tongue firmly in cheek).

Formerly vaporware, so this would make the 645D condensationware now?

It's a good camera, doing what Pentax does well: price and features, a lot of which seem to be common sense. Yes, a lot of features seems to be culled the K-7, but that's not a bad thing. It saves on manufacturing and R&D costs. At the moment, it's one of the few MF cameras that have a 920k-dot LCD, multi-AF points (good grief - Pentax a class leader in AF?!) and it's only 39mm longer than the Canon ID MkIV, 21mm longer than the Nikon D3X, while being smaller than either in width and height, and only about 200grams heavier.

Dare I say it's a walkaround digital MF? Weather-sealed, small. The original purpose of the 645 series was a "miniature field camera," and Pentax seems to be wanting to take medium format digital out of the studio, and maybe even off the tripod, and out into the wider world.

Sadly, I can't afford it, but I could probably pony up for a secondhand model in a few years.

Also, the 55mm lens covers the full 6x4.5cm frame. Make of that what ye will.

Interesting (geeky) to note that they appear to have stacked most of the electronics behind the sensor to keep the form factor compact.

It's time to start repeating to myself the phrase: "I don't need more than my 5D MkII, I don't need more than my 5D MkII, I don't need more than my 5D MkII,..."

Oh dear lord ... This has me really excited. If Pentax manage to survive for long enough to develop this into a viable system, they just might revolutionise the medium format market.
If not, I may be able to buy one cheaply in a few years time. Either way, I win.

On the other hand, all those feverish forum discussions I managed to read since the joyous news of its coming concentrated, oh so predictably, on the tech specs. Because, as we all know, just like in audio, tech specs tell you all about the subjective quality.

Nobody happened to notice that flash sync is limited to 1/125, for instance, which is an actual drawback, since as far as I know, Pentax have no CS lenses, and short sync times seem to be important to the target audience.

Me, I just like the dream of having a studio and holding a big friggin camera in front of awed models, dynamic range and bit depth be damned.

Compared to the Leica S2: bigger sensor, better LCD, better ISO range, bigger viewfinder, better AF, faster shutter, more lenses... am I missing something or the price tags should be the other way round?

Spyro: "Compared to the Leica S2: [...] am I missing something or the price tags should be the other way round?"

Then nobody would buy the Leica.

Thank goodness I got my FA 45mm and 150mm for the 645N a month ago. Surely this is going to drive up prices in the used lens market.

I thought things were finally settling out for me. I'm getting rid of all my 35mm style digital equipment and paring down to the 645 for B&W film and m4/3 for digital. If this camera does become available in the US market my new-found zen may be undone! :-P

Juze: Pentax have made quite a few MF leaf shutter lenses, all of which will probably be compatible with 645D, whether natively or via the 67 adapter.

Pentax have been in the MF game for 40 years; the 6x7 and its descendants was the mainstay of the magazine industry (easier to print the 6x7 frame on page than a Hassy's 6x6.) There will be leaf shutter lenses. Well, there already are...

Noone seems to have commented on the dedicated mirror lock-up switch so far - MUp on all my Pentax digitals has been great, but this one takes the cake. Michael Reichmann might just flip when he sees it ;-)

@Friedrich LOL :)

That ain't no DMD.

careful with copying the marketing-talk.
it may be a 1.7-times surfacearea, but the actual lens-multiplier from FX to P645D is more like 1.3 - depending on how you calculate the transition from 2x3 to a 4x3 format...

Lithos, I stand corrected. Thanks for clearing this up for me.

Spyro: "Compared to the Leica S2: bigger sensor, better LCD, better ISO range, bigger viewfinder, better AF, faster shutter, more lenses... am I missing something or the price tags should be the other way round?".

... and less costly, and dust-removing system...

Personally I think it's a little bit previous to say this camera is vapour no more! As far as I am concerned a camera only ceases to be vapour once it gets into the hands of customers, and even if you live in Japan that is still 2 months away. And for those outside of Japan who knows how long.

I have to admit I find that 55mm lens interesting... I wonder why they made it 645 full frame? One of the problems for both Hasselblad and Mamiya is that they both make backs with a wide range of sensor sizes, so it's difficult for customers to get an easy handle on what field of view any particular lens will have. I would hope that Pentax will standardise on 44x33mm, so a 55mm lens will always be a slightly wide standard lens. But then they go and make this a lens that will cover 645 full frame where it will definitely be a wide-angle (albeit of the moderate variety).

And of course Pentax have now given us an SLR camera with effectively just one lens (that can be bought new). It will be interesting to see how they develop the lens line.

One thing they definitely need is wide-angle lenses. Even if you currently own the widest existing lens, the 35mm, that is only a 28mm (35mm equiv.) lens on the 645D (OK there is the 33-55mm zoom, but that isn't much wider). And that is quite a hunk of glass... will they give us digital only lenses that take advantage of the reduced image size to cut weight, like the DA limited lenses for APS-C? In other words are they just going to give us 645 D-FA lenses, or will we get 645 DA lenses too?

"the actual lens-multiplier from FX to P645D is more like 1.3"

grubernd,
It's a matter of area.

24x36 = 864

33x44 = 1452

1452/864= ~1.68

Close enough to 1.7 for me.

Mike

Half the price of the competitors, more features, backwards compatible with the excellent Pentax 645 lenses, and fully weather-sealed to boot. What's not to like?

As of now I am saving up.

It's nice you noticed that the normal lens is the medium-format equivalent of the FA43 Limited. I said it first, but I am happy you said it second. :-)

Someone already pointed this out, but - you can buy on the web, Mike.

Now, where is that mast? :)

(I don't know much about history or the French I took or MF cameras, but maybe one of you better-brained people can tell me what sort of sense makes the $40K Mamiya body+back just announced when the same apparent sensor and sort-of general capabilities-camera can now be had for a fourth of the price?)

Wow ... if it performs as well as its specs suggest, then this may be just the right camera, at the right price point, to encourage me to finally make the leap to "medium format digital."

This has just put a qualifier on my Bucket List, which previously included a photographic trip to Hokkaido. Now it is a trip from Narita to Tokyo to buy one of these and THEN a photo trip through Hokkaido... oh baby, this looks like a peach.

Shouldn't you compare the 645 film diagonal to the 44x33 sensor diagonal to get the crop magnification value?

Although I don't expect to be in the market for a medium format digital camera, I am happy to see this announcement. I shoot primarily with Pentax--both film and digital and have lately been wondering if it is smart to continue investing in the Pentax system. To me, this new camera is an encouraging sign that Pentax (Hoya) is committed to its photographic product line. Maybe I'll buy that FA 77mm Limited after all.

I don't have any old issues of "Modern Photography" lying around to check the ads from Olden Camera et al., but I'm curious how the price range of various MF digital camera-lens combinations compares to the price range of various MF film camera-lens combinations in film's heyday. I mean a cross-manufacturer comparison of the price of a basic kit with body, back/sensor, finder, and one lens.

I remember during my first foray into medium format (mid-1980s) surveying the market and thinking, "You mean I can get a 6x7 Pentax for that much less than a Hasselblad or Rollei and the more expensive cameras actually use a smaller area of film?"

Maybe there's a corollary there today (substituting "Leica" for "Rollei"); maybe not.

What will my wide angle 35mm SMC-A 645 lens crop down to on 645D 's smaller 44mm x 33mm sensor?

It was designed for Pentax' 56mm x 41.5mm 645 film camera.

Why would they not export it?????

Anyone in the market for a slightly used kidney?

Mike (Johnston), are you Charlie Brown?


Mike Bailey

"the actual lens-multiplier from FX to P645D is more like 1.3"

"grubernd,
It's a matter of area.

24x36 = 864

33x44 = 1452

1452/864= ~1.68

Close enough to 1.7 for me.

Mike"

Mike - Isn't the multiplier the square root of the area difference?

That would make it 1.3 (1.3*1.3 = 1.69)


My upcoming trip to Japan couldn't have come at a worse time :-) I am going to be very poor when I return home.

I'm weakening .........

mike, i know it's a matter of area..
but the lens multiplier is a much better factor when it comes to evaluation of quality, resolution, etc. and comparing cameras.
usually a 24x36mm or FX sensor is not referred to as "3.5 times as large as a four-thirds sensor" but rather as 2 times, using the lensmultiplier or ratio of the diagonal as the determining factor.
the pentax marketing decided to use the surface area and the bigger number to make it seem better, where in reality the difference is more like 1D vs 1Ds cameras..
noneoftheless: me wantey. ;)
just add a nice 24mm-equivalent/f2.8 lens.

I think this is a terrific development, all the more because it comes from a brand with a long legacy in photography. I certainly hope that it exports soon. The specs look very good!

But just its existence puts much-needed pressure on the established players in the medium format digital field. It was just a matter of time before the 35mm-form dslr crowd began to explore the waters in other formats. After all, there's nowhere left to go in the 35mm digital frame size, is there?

I do feel Leica's S2 pain (it will make a wonderfully valuable collectors' item), but Mamiya/Phase and Hassy were already beginning to shave their generous margins on medium format products. Soon they'll be putting aside the razors and picking up the butcher knives in order to stay in the game, especially if Canon and Nikon decide to play, too.

As an old Chinese proverb states: "Fortune smiles on the patient man with hands in pockets."

is it just me, or is that one nice looking camera?

10k is too much for me, but i hope pentax can leverage the 645d's imminent success to make a full frame dslr.

Mike and grubernd, I believe that you're talking about different things. The P645D has a sensor 1.7x bigger than 35mm, but the "crop" factor of the lenses compared to 645 film is 1.3x...so you're both right!

oh heck yea! i love the pentaxes, even the digital ones and my piggy bank is going to start filling up in anticipation of this beauty.

so long, D3X - hello 645D!

Juze: no worries, mate. The story goes, as I heard somewhere, that the Hassy's Zeiss lenses slightly out-resolved the Pentax 67's, but any resolution gain was rendered moot when cropped to fit on a rectangular page. The Pentax 67 had a larger film area, for starters, and also didn't need (as much) cropping. Double win. That was Pentax's pro segment, MF, and so of course they had all the right lenses.

Mike wrote:
"grubernd,
It's a matter of area."

Yes, but by using area, instead of linear length, it no longer becomes a multiplier to relate focal lengths...

Dear Mike,

Gotta go with Gruber on this one. Area is market-hype-- it doesn't correlate with most measures of image quality or performance. All other things being equal, noise/grain at a given speed, resolution, equivalent focal length scales, and depth of field f/stop equivalents (VERY approximately)all scale with linear size.

Camera weight does scale approximately with area, but that's about it.

Area is inflated adhype rhetoric and really should be avoided.

pax / Ctein

I'm the one who has to be tied to the mast. Last year, while visiting daughter in Tokyo, I was tantalized by the Fujifilm GF670. Display models were not yet in the stores, but literature was front-and-center and they were taking names. Next time I visit, I'll have to stop at Bic or Yodobashi and see if Pentax display models are available to ogle and fondle. But at Y850,000 and current exchange rates, ogle and fondle is about all I'll be able to do.

Dear Spyro and Ruben,

What you're both missing is that you're talking about buying on "spec" [sic].

Until you have comparison information on how the photographs from both cameras actually look, with their respective suites of lenses, you have no idea which is the better camera or even the better value.

(Aside from the Veblenesque factor.)

Buying a medium format camera based on tech specs is truly a fool's game.

pax / Ctein

Well, there goes my magazine.

Nikon DX is 24x16mm, compared to 24x36mm for classic 35mm still film.

24x36 = 864
24x16 = 384

864 / 384 = 2.25

But the lens multiplier is always described as "1.5x".

So either I'm misunderstanding what you're attempting, Mike, or you're wrong, or I slipped a decimal point somewhere (well, that exact failure is unlikely; but I could have copied a number inaccurately).

(If you take the square roots of the areas, you get exactly the classic "1.5" ratio, and that makes sense because linear measure is what's relevant, not area. And if you take the square roots of the areas in the Pentax case, you get a ratio of 1.3 as grubernd reported.)

"It's a matter of area."

I've gotta respectfully disagree with you, Mike.
I see it as a matter of width. In landscape orientation, it's a factor of 1.222. In portrait orientation, it's a factor of 1.375.

"The other day, I was walking my dog around my building... on the ledge. Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths." - Steven Wright

It's a matter of area.

Mike, I was behind the door when they taught that. How come that 4/3, with 4 times less area, has only the lens multiplier of 2 then? What am I missing?

@ Mike "shouldn't it be called 3344?"
How about 1 1/4 by 1 3/4 ? (inches) Just rolls off the tongue.

I don't see why not. If you turn over your brand new DSLR you will find a 1/4 inch Whitworth threaded hole for your tripod screw. A thread form that dates from 1841.

For those who are reaching for the calculator or the back of an envelope, 1 1/4 by 1 3/4 is not exact, but 2 1/4 square isn't 6 X 6 (cm) nor is it 56mm X 56mm, about the actual size Rolleis, 'Blads etc use.

"Nobody happened to notice that flash sync is limited to 1/125, for instance, which is an actual drawback, since as far as I know, Pentax have no CS lenses, and short sync times seem to be important to the target audience."

Pentax has offered a few (3?) leaf-shutter (LS) lenses in the past for 645. Also, not only is the 1/125 XSync better than the 1/60 the film 645's offered, but this baby also supports HSS with P-TTL flashes.

"good grief - Pentax a class leader in AF?!"

If you can't beat 'em, compete in a market with a much lower bar. :-)

"Why would they not export it?????"

My guess is they'll cater first to the home market--more Pentax 645 film users--who already own lenses first, work out the kinks, grow the support infrastructure first. With some success there, perhaps they'll be emboldened to try EU/USA.

Mike,

Did you know that the U.S. corporate offices for Pentax are based a mere 45 minutes from me in Golden, CO? I know you said it's not coming to the U.S., but....well, I'm just sayin'! :)

Posted by: aizan: "is it just me, or is that one nice looking camera?"

I've no idea what you look like but the camera looks rather muscular. I wonder if it will ever be offered in Hello Kitty Pink like the K bodies?

Yeah, seems like the ratio of the square roots of the areas gives the right multiplier.

full-frame/FX:aps-c/DX -> (864/384)^.5 = 1.5

If m4/3 has 4 times less area, the square of that gets 2.

So 1.3 for the 645D:full-frame seems right...

Oops. I think I said "square" somewhere where I meant "square root."

All right, guys, have it your way--the sensor of the new camera is 1.3X the size of a full-frame sensor.

And I am 1x the size of John Brower Minnoch, since he was the same height as me.

I say every aspect of sensors scales to linear measure...except SIZE.

This is a pointless discussion, however, because, unlike Mr. Minnoch, you can "dress yourself." You know the dimensions of the two sensors, so interpret away, however you like.

Mike

But you're not taking into account Mr. Minnoch's width... whereas the square root of the area would...

I just want to know want to know what the equivalent approximate field-of-view is on a full-frame camera for that 55mm f/2.8.

All right, guys, have it your way--the sensor of the new camera is 1.3X the size of a full-frame sensor.

I'm sorry Mike, but that is incorrect. The 645D's sensor is 1.7x the size of a full-frame sensor; it is the crop factor of FF vs 645D that's 1.3x. Please write this out on the blackboard 1024 times.

Now that's cleared up, let's move along to our next topic: Could you please explain to us how all this affects DoF...?

;-)

Guys, about the 1.3 vs 1.7 thing...
Mike is talking about the ratio of the area of one sensor compared to another. The rest of you are talking about the "crop factor" used to work out equivalent lens focal lengths for different formats. Mike's number is an area whereas the "crop factor" number is linear.

And guess what? 1.3 squared is...... 1.69

Both parties are right, you're just talking about different things.

If you're buying in Japan, just make sure that the menu is in English too! Had problems buying a GF1 in Tokyo for that reason..

Pentax offered two leaf shutter (LS) lenses for the 645 system: 75mm f/2.8 LS and 135mm f/4 LS. With the Pentax 67-645 lens adapter (letting one use 67 lenses on 645 bodies) you can use the Pentax 67 90mm f/2.8 LS and 165mm f/4 LS on a 645 body. So, you have access to four LS lenses.

"I just want to know want to know what the equivalent approximate field-of-view is on a full-frame camera for that 55mm f/2.8."

43mm.

Mike

No image stabilisation, so it's tripod-only if you want sharper images than a dSLR with IS. Especially with a max ISO of 1000.

The only real advantage is if you *need* 40MP instead of 25 for $2000 (Sony 850). The much-mentioned superior dynamic range of MFD has not survived the acid test in a recent dpreview forum.

Do I really want to pay $10k for a tripod-only, standard-lens-only camera that weighs 4.2 pounds with an F2.8 standard lens, and no discernable improvement for any image smaller than a wall poster?

"Untie me you swabbies, I feel better now"

I think the people calling out Mike (Johnston) on the lens multiplier/sensor area difference are making something out of nothing. If image quality is related to the lens multiplier factor then it is necessarily related to sensor area multiplier as well since the lens multiplier is merely the square root of the sensor area multiplier. Witness that 1.3 is merely the square root of 1.7. Also, 1.5 is merely the square root of 2.25... and so forth. But, whatever.

Oh happy day!!!! Blow the dust off of the lenses and we're back in action and I'll have a film back up for the digital just in case.

Mike,

I just read the Wikipedia account of Jon Brower Minnoch. What a tragic story. I have seen the effects of edema on a much, much, MUCH smaller scale, and even at that level it was shocking. As I understand it, people suffering from this affliction aren't "fat", they just retain water.

Best regards,
Adam

(Drools.) Now my wife has something to REALLY be worried about. I hope this ship has more than one mast!

I wonder if they'll ever release a 67D...

What, no one has noted that this is, for all intents and purposes, a 4/3 camera?

Actually, a MFT! But not Micro-FourThirds, but rather Macro-FourThirds.

:-)

Dear Mark & "are...",

No, there was an important point behind this that you're missing. Most image characteristics scale linearly with the sensor size. Describing sensor sizes in terms of area gives an inflated sense of the changes.

For example, a sensor with 3 times the area (1.7 x the linear dimension) will have 1.7 times the resolution if the pixel size is the same. It will have 1.7 time lower noise at a given ISO if the pixel count is the same (so the size of the pixels goes up). It will have a 1.7 X factor for lens focal lengths that give the same field of coverage. For lenses that give the same field of coverage, you will have to stop down about 1.7 times more to get the same depth of field. And the oh-so-obvious one-- the degree of enlargement for a given print size is the linear ratio.

In short, that sensor would be 1.7 times better/different than the smaller one, not 3 times better/different.

That's why, if you're a marketing hypester, you use area. But if you're trying to convey usefully-accurate information to readers, you use linear ratios.

pax / Ctein

"Dear Mike,

Gotta go with Gruber on this one. Area is market-hype-- it doesn't correlate with most measures of image quality or performance. All other things being equal, noise/grain at a given speed, resolution, equivalent focal length scales, and depth of field f/stop equivalents (VERY approximately)all scale with linear size.

Camera weight does scale approximately with area, but that's about it.

Area is inflated adhype rhetoric and really should be avoided.

pax / Ctein"


Yeah, and you got a crappy car, too. And yer dog's ugly.

Gorgeous camera, but the sensor has only about 20% more linear resolution than a Sony A850 or D3X.

Remains to be seen whether the existing P645 lenses are up to the 82.5 lp/mm task. or actually provide increased resolution v. existing 35mm gear.

"ADDENDUM: ¥939,000 pre-order from Japan Exposures. Note: Might not have English menus and definitely not supported by Pentax in your not-Japanese country!"

In a local Hong Kong photography web site, some of the menu has been customized into different language (Traditional Chinese is reported, which is good for Hong kong and Taiwan but not mainland China). I think it must have English interface.

In fact, in one of the picture here http://www.digitalcamera.jp/html/HotNews/image/2008-03/07/p645d/P645D-33.jpg it got a language option - showing Japanese but if there is no English why said "Language/..."! Also, the whole body is written in English.


Got a new interview in Luminous Landscape which might address some potential questions.

The comments to this entry are closed.