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Thursday, 06 January 2011

Comments

How is it that folks in large corporations are surprised again and again by the high demand for new great products at low prices?

Pentax should have known it would initially sell as many as it could make, what's to think about when you cut the bottom out of the price point. Hmmm...lets build a great product and price it at less than half what the current competition sells for....I wonder if anyone will buy it.....hmmmm.

Surprise, Surprise they really like me, they really like me....

Good choice Mike.

Happy New Year.

Robert

Now if I could only get my hands on one...

Approx. 1480 g (body alone). Puhhh!

But the big question remains: Does it autofocus during video?

Here ya go, Mike...one of these with the new 55 AW (equivalent 43 all weather) lens and you have the perfect big brother to your K5!

Kevin,
Video is what point-and-shoots are for.

Mike

Jeff,
I'm afraid my earning power with photography is not robust enough to justify a camera like this. But it's a nice daydream.

Mike

Excellent choice! I really hope there is a sufficiently large/diverse number of camera buyers that manufacturers will be rewarded for making good products.

The Pentax 645D looks good. If only I had the funds.

Mike,
I agree with your Pentax choice.
Some might ask what's the new feature, but it's the business strategy.
They are working a good business strategy. Compete on price/value.
Of course, you are supposed to have the production capability to deliver the volume. If it doesn't soon, the resellers will capture some profit that Pentax should have had.

Interestingly the Medium Format Digital has much stronger demand than I would have thought 6 years ago when DSLRs had enough resolution to compete with film Medium Format. I remember a fellow photographer who had a $45,000 MFD system then that was 20meg of resolution. I wrongly thought the category would be dead. But costs have come way down for a given resolution and quality has gone up for all makes of MFD. The easy ability to digitally print huge enlargements has created a justification for huge senors. Even Leica with their usual high price strategy is backlogged on lenses out in time.

All ten buyers are yelling YES! The rest of us are wondering what are you thinking.

Hmmm - wouldn't the Mamiya be a stiffer competitor to this than the Leica S2, both price-wise, and especially because it's a modular system?

Just sayin'...

Pentax 645D and Sony A55.

Two bravest products of 2010.

Good choices.

Cheers
Steve

Totally agree with you. Now they need to come out with some top notch lenses. If somebody can do an adaptor for Hass. V system lenses would be sooo much appreciated.

Best regards and happy new year

Marcelo

I would love to get one of those due to fond memories of the 645 in school.

I still have wet dreams of a full frame Pentax SLR, not really for the megapixels, but for the great Pentax prisms of yore and using my 50mm 1.4 that becons me... But it seems I'll be shooting PlusXpan and measuring water temperature before that happens.

sounds like you've selected the "camera announcement" of the year... pending further review. nice logo luv.

sure it's a nice camera 'n' all but it's got to be the ugliest hunk of plastic I've seen in a while...

Approx. 1480 g (body alone). Puhhh!

Posted by: cb

Medium format is not for the faint of heart!

I don't understand; are you claiming it to be camera of the year without even handling it? I didn't think TOP was so easily swayed by hype.

Graham,
I've never been to Constantinople, either, but I know it's there. If you're suggesting I should limit the candidates to cameras I've actually used this year, the short list would get mighty short.

Mike

ag,
Beauty is as beauty does. The Pentax 645s have always been portable (even transportable), handy, ergonomic, and comfortable to hold whether carrying or shooting. It's a nice design.

Mike

Hi Mike:

Good choice, it’s certainly my camera of the year. Until I received mine in December, I was still a film user. The 645D gives me results on par with 67 scanned film with the convenience of digital. Some examples if you’re interested:
I was in Philadelphia for the Christmas weekend (I won first prize) and tried a stitch with three exposures taken at Valley Forge. The color transitions are beautiful in the original file. The crop is actual pixels, but don’t judge the sharpness based on the leaves, it was a 0.6s exposure and windy.
http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/thomas-albums-645d.html

Here are some comparisons to film scans:
I a) 645 crop, unmodified b) 645N Astia crop, considerable PS c) full film scan

http://tsjanik.blogspot.com/2011/01/blog-post_4541.html

II a) 645D crop b) full image scan c) 645N crop with PS.

http://tsjanik.blogspot.com/2011/01/blog-post_9035.html

Regards,

Tom

... but does it have a movie mode?

*awkward silence*

I'm just kidding!! Great choice and even though you've not had one to put through its paces, I suppose this is a bit like a really nice car: stuff for dreams and oh so close to being a reality for me (that is, I can't justify purchasing one, but I'd sure love one).

Pak

Mike, in middleformat terms this IS a point and shoot. Nice though an affordable (ehem) middle format camera......was daydreaming about a Mamiya ZD Back and accompanying camera but with this baby in the bleachers I'll wait a few more years till it rocks the second hand marker :-).

http://link.marktplaats.nl/409081949

Allthough 2,500 euro, not bad what would you say.

Dear Michael S.,

You are very wrong about that. Sales of this camera have been huge, far exceeding Pentax's production capabilities. That, by that way, is the explanation for the Pentax's very slow rollout and limited availability in various countries (including the US) around the world.

You're simply not in a position to evaluate the world market. The people you know and correspond with are not representative. (Neither are Mike's nor mine; you're in good company.)

pax / Ctein

I am very disappoint Mike.

Dear Michael S.,

You are very wrong about that. Sales of this camera have been huge, far exceeding Pentax's production capabilities. That, by that way, is the explanation for the Pentax's very slow rollout and limited availability in various countries (including the US) around the world.

You're simply not in a position to evaluate the world market. The people you know and correspond with are not representative. (Neither are Mike's nor mine; you're in good company.)

pax / Ctein

With all due respect to Mike, I think it would be a mistake to take this "camera of the year" business too seriously. The Pentax 645D is clearly an exceptional camera in terms of its specifications, design, handling and price, but that doesn't mean it's the ideal camera for everyone. Even if it was, the demand so far exceeds the supply that you're not likely to even see one, much less hold it in your hands. Very few of us will get to meet the Man or Woman of the Year either.

I had the almost exclusive privilege of actually spending 1/2 hour shooting with one at Pentax USA's offices the day before Thanksgiving. ( Less than 700 people in the US have had their hands on one, according to the Pentax rep who let me play with it!)
It handles like a dream and feels less bulky than one of the "big gun" Canikons. Shutter sound is as quiet or maybe even quieter than your K-5, Mike, and the overall responsiveness of the camera is like a nimble sports car in use.( Just so everyone knows what it is like.) To quote Will Smith, "Got to get me one uh dese!"
It has me seriously thinking embarking on a short life of crime to get one because I sure cannot afford one right now! *SIGH!*
Rob

Good choice! Not only is it a good camera on its own (from what I've read), it might force some of the other MF prices down out of the stratosphere.

But last year, weren't there several candidates, and didn't you dangle them for a while before the big reveal? What happened to that?

JC

Mike:

I'm with Graham.

It is a pretty gutsy choice for "camera of the year."

By the way, millions of other folks have been to (and lived in) Constantinople/Istanbul...I'm just sayin...

Cheers (and Happy New Year)!
Jay

It seems to me that in selecting a Camera Of The Year one would supposedly have experience with a range of cameras ... I agree with Graham ... if you are not familiar with the years camera releases than perhaps this is a bit useless ... I'm just sayin'

By the way, I love your site anyway....

Mark

Stuff of dreams. I wish I could afford one.

Excellent choice!

maybe it should have been titled "camera announcement of the year" instead of camera of the year. i agree it may be a great camera, but who really knows?

gott nytt år från sverige!

/mitch

I have no quarrel with it being picked as camera of the year, but ten grand is NOT low price as one commenter wrote, sorry. If you can afford a $10000 camera (before lensing it up), then the price doesn't matter.

Mike, great choice if we indulge ourselves and put no restrictions. I certainly would LOVE to own this beauty of camera made by Pentax. Yet neither my needs nor my budget would allow it.

But if we come back to real world, real budgets and real needs, then my choice would be other, although it is also made by Pentax:

obviously, the K-5. It simply nails all key points: solid and well tested body; finally a best-of-breed sensor (after the mixed results in the K-7); and those primes... those primes... those primes. (I am currently using an old, manual Tamron 90 mm f 2.5 prime and I'm blow away by the shots it can produce... so the very fact of imagining the quality from the limited primes by Pentax make me salivate big time!!).

Right now, three mortgages don't allow me to think on a new K-5 to replace my beloved K-10. But I tell you: as soon as economy permits, a K-5 and a trio of primes will be flying home; for sure.

So, to summarize, the K-5 is my real world dream come true. And the 645D, my "if I was a rich man" dream come true.

Mike: some of us are still waiting your comments about de Pentax K5.
Cheers

I think that this camera is just what the market needs to apply bottom-side pressure. So, largely on that basis, I too salute the alleged existence of this camera.

But I'm afraid I have to agree with Graham to a great extent. Crowning this camera as the pinnacle of 2010's new camera introductions solely on the basis of a small handful of reports and controlled "reviews" might be premature. I would have been inclined to postpone such a declaration to 2011 until it's gained some fingerprints and, perhaps, until you yourself have had one to try out.

When I was an architectural student I recall becoming almost irrationally irate reading of glowing reviews and awards being granted to buildings that had either not been built (often, never being built) or not being occupied long enough to merit such accolades. Ditto the lush photography of them ... entirely devoid of inhabitants. That ol' feeling niggles me here.


Pentax was smart to leapfrog the already crowded full-frame category with the 645D and simultaneously come out with some of the best and least-expensive entry level dSLRS (K-x and K-r)and the top APS-C system (K-5). I believe that Pentax is now very well-positioned in terms of system camera bodies but might want to improve their lens catalogue with improved optics. As an example, the Tamron 17-50mm seems to be sharper than any comparable Pentax zoom lens.

Tom,

Thank you for the links posting. The pictures are impressive. The plants are very nice. As a former printing pressman, the closeup images of the box art were fabulous. I was impressed that the resolution clearly showed the four color dot pattern of the screened picture.

Regarding the bar code shots: what is with the the dark spots on the lower picture versus the clean picture at the top?


Regarding the Panorama: based on a 300 dpi print size, how large do you think you go with the printing?

CHEERS...Mathew

"Time and time again, however, I've had to re-learn a basic lesson of reviewing, which is that you need to actually see and experience the device, product, book, or artwork before making up your mind about it. These days especially, people are constantly tempted to make up their minds too early."

Just a thought ;-)

Regarding Movie mode for the 654D.

What I have read is it has a CCD chip taking an image every 1.1 seconds. At a minimum of 24 frames per second for normal movies, it is not happening.

A rumor mill elswhere claims the next Canon mk3 will have 24 frames per second video capability. Assuming you have a good lens for that Canon, it would probably be a better route if you want to break into beginner film making arena.


Both are under serious consideration for me. That is if I am not broke by then.

CHEERS...Mathew

Patrick,
This is not a review.

Are people really so innocent of familiarity with "...of the Year"-type awards? I thought they were ubiquitous, and that the customs regarding them were perfectly clear to everyone. Apparently not.

Mike

I got to play with one at a Kerrick James presentation at B&H and was quite surprised; while it is big and heavy compared to my K100D Super and K200D, I was surprised that it actually felt quite good to hold and shoot as its ergonomics are very good. To me it seemed much more comfortable than some of the larger "pro" DSLRs I've tried.

Of course, it had a normal lens mounted, and I mostly use my cameras w/ a "Bigma", (Sigma 50-500mm), so the question would be how it'd feel with longer, heavier glass attached. But, again, it did seem reasonable to hand-hold and had a generally very nice feel; it felt like a solid piece of equipment and not at all unwieldly.

Fortunately(?), to buy or not to buy will not require much thought as it's out of my range; my current issue is to K-5 or not to K-5?

Oh, please. A Nikon D3x, at c$2000 less,
beats this camera in each and every
category except one (60% greater sensor
size). At 300 DPI that's 24"x18" versus
20"x13". Unless you are that one in a
thousand who needs 3x4 feet blowups
constantly, the medium increase in size
is not worth it. By the way, how can a
3.25 pounder sans lens "comfortable to hold whether carrying or shooting"?

paul,
The Nikon D3X was announced in December 2008 and shipped in early 2009. Thus it is not "of the year" under consideration, i.e., 2010, and it could not be considered a candidate for Camera of the Year 2010.

Mike

"But last year, weren't there several candidates, and didn't you dangle them for a while before the big reveal? What happened to that?"

John,
No, in 2009 I allowed each of eight contributors to the site (including yourself, and me) to name their own choice for "
Camera of the Year 2009." Seven different cameras were chosen. Edward Taylor and Geoff Wittig both chose the Panasonic GF1. Other than that slight bit of unanimity, there was no consensus, and no further choice, thus no "reveal."

Several other contributors were invited to participate last year, but declined.

Mike

It seems like a portrait photographer looking into one would be really concerned with the lens selection. Seeing as how Pentax doesn't make any glass faster than f/2.8, from a DOF stand point there are things you can do with a 35mm DSLR and an 85mm f/1.4 lens that you simply can't do with this camera unless Pentax makes some f/2 glass for it. With its "cropped" 645 sensor 80mm no longer = 50mm like it did in the film days. With this camera 64mm = 50mm.

While I think this will be a great landscape camera I prefer approach Leica took with the S2 rethinking what a medium format body should be (and I'm a longtime Pentax user). Unless Pentax has plans to eventually make a "full frame" 645D I question why they decided to revive an old film lens mount that's larger than necessary for the new smaller sensor.

I was wondering about the K5 review, too.
But realized that 3 months have not yet transpired.

Pst, pst, Ken.
You, in any case, were an architecture student. Else you will be a butressed human being, or [I hope not] deconstructed, postmodern, rational, MVRDVcized student of any other discipline.

Just sayin´.

As for the camera, I think it is the right choice not for what it can do [which most probably is by far anything better than what I will achieve], but for what it represents: class leading glass [arguably better than Mamiya and Hasselblad glass regarding the normal 75mm] and a, on paper, well thought out body which puts finally ordinary electronics on the most expensive camera group with some market weight [large and ultralarge cameras not counted].

And I do agree wholeheartedly with everything written by the bearded one: this is the camera that makes the rest of the bunch look, well, not really worth a look [not talking about service].

Hmm. A few folks critique Mike for naming the 645D "Camera of the Year 2010" -- NOT a review, endorsement or even a full-on pronouncement of the commercial viability of the product. On his own site, based on his tastes as well as broad experience & knowledge, but without having actually used one. Oh, the temerity!

Fine. I have used and in fact own a 645D, paid for out of my own pocket, possibly to my wife's chagrin. This is not my site so I'm not trying to drive numbers, and I am not sponsored by Pentax or anybody else.

I hereby declare the Pentax 645D as "Camera of the Year 2010" -- yeah, and all that other stuff Mike said.

:)

I was citing the D3X as a better buy rather
than as a candidate for camera of the year.
In other words the 645D isn't that hot though
it might be the best this year according to
your criteria.

Gents,

I think you're taking this nomination wrong: 1st of all it's Mike's choice. Secondly, I don't think Mike means to say that The Cam Of The Year is the best cam ever seen seen, ever produced and so on.
Mike, I wonder whether I'm right or wrong taking the other competitors to be Fuji X100 and Sigma SD1? If I'm right then it means that you'd better name this contest The Very Special of 2010 - just to make those boys above not-that-excited :)

Btw, I'm on the same boat with you, Mike - I do find 645D to be The Event of 2010 (or at least the one of The Events Of '10). And I'm sorry to report I'm not (so far) in the market for digital MF.

Yours,
Zig

P.S.
Actually, when started reading this post I was going to bump you saying smth curious and mordant about RF vs MF in terms of Cam-of-the-year contest: e.g. 'Mike, 645D is not a range-finder at all!' ;-)

One of the things that makes TOP a daily visit for me is the idea of context.

Whether anyone agrees with Mike or not, he has made more effort than many others at trying to keep things in context. Who else openly talks about the cameras he wishes were made? Or is as enthusiastic about cameras and photography?

Mike - keep doing what you are doing! It's the context that allows me to decide how to weigh your opinions against my own likes and dislikes. At the very least, it makes me think about the whys and hows of my own opinions.

As the owner of a Pentax 645n, my only disappointment with the 645D is that it has wiped out the used lens market for my camera. When I bought my camera I was able to pick up the 45mm, 75mm and 150mm manual focus lenses at reasonable prices. Now KEH shows no P645 lenses in stock at all, and what's available on eBay is double what I paid. Doesn't look like I'll be rounding out my system with the 35mm and 120mm lenses at the prices they're going for these days.

Mathew:

The bar code pictures are in order: 645D crop as it appeared from ACR, full image from the scan, 645N crop, with some PS. The specks are dust on the film. I did not use ICE in the scans and although I don't think its use impacts sharpness, I wanted to eliminate any contribution. There is more detail in the TIFF file of the scan crop, lost in the jpeg. I already printed the panorama at 360 ppi at 17x45 (no up rez).
It's a very impressive camera, and my results so far indicate it's on par with a good 6x7 scan.
Tom

Thanks for the kind comments

I'm not sure I'd say I "know" some clear protocol around "Camera of the Year" articles. But I know a clear protocol around The Online Photographer.

Since TOP isn't a gear-head site or a technical review site, I wouldn't expect TOP's choice for Camera of the Year to be based on pixel-peeping and hardware testing.

Since "of the year" is, to me, about impact and change in the field, it doesn't bother me that it's a camera Mike hasn't handled (since this isn't a review site, Mike hasn't handled enough cameras new this year to make the best of them particularly interesting).

Good choice, Mike. In some ways, the Camera of the Year had better be bound up in a certain amount of hype, the interest shown by the photographic community seems a good prima facie indication of the importance of the camera. Sadly, sometimes there is only sizzle, and no steak. I agree that one does not need to handle the camera to conclude that is not the case here.

I thought it would be the K-5 (which I also own), but on reflection I think that you are right - the 645 reflects a flagship commitment by Pentax. Putting the camera itself to one side, the fact that it is a lower-volume maker will juice up those great discussions about the future of the industry, who will survive and what they need to do, etc. Slice it any way you like, this camera is "important".

Mike Allen
Vancouver, BC

Hi Tom,

Thank you for the information. That is an impressive size for a panorama. For me, I have to shoot portrait and stitch if I want to have a 17" vertical hight. Of course it is the cost of framing that big of an image that keeps me from printing more.

I recently posted here that I was looking to see some nice shots from the 645D. Even the jpg is clear and that is very nice. Most of the shots I had seen on the web were winter snow shots at night. the Luminous Landscape shootout made for a nice comparison.

I suspect you are looking forward to the next seasons when color comes back to the landscape.

Now we get to wait for Mike to run his test period on an example.

CHEERS...Mathew

I would have picked the Leica S2 now that it's clear you don't have to actually own - or even have played with - one of the candidates before deciding. All of the serious Leica digitals have a wonderfully simple and direct user interface, whilst the other manufacturers have shown barely an awareness that their UI, software, and file formats are even an issue. In terms of sticking their neck out and taking a risk, Leica stuck their neck out the furthest and they should be rewarded for it. And it's good to have something to aspire to in life.

The 645D has a form factor much like my Mamiya ZD, which didn't succeed or make it to the USA in official channels. But I really like it and enjoyed buying professional lenses for dime-store prices. Bigger is better when it comes to sensors. I'm quite sure it is better than the Mamiya, but in being so, it has to be really fine.

My cynical nature leads me to suspect that the entire set of people who took umbrage at Mike's choice of the 645D fits squarely within the set of people who can't afford one.

"I would have picked the Leica S2 now that it's clear you don't have to actually own - or even have played with - one of the candidates before deciding."

Except that I have used an S2, albeit briefly.

Mike

Kent,
That's an awfully big set. Mike fits squarely in it too.

Mike

Yes, this does not appeal to the technophiles. From the technological standpoint, their's not much in the 645D that's groundbreaking.

But what is revolutionary and groundbreaking is the thinking behind it. No one else has done a MF camera with small-format DSLR features.

Why not have a weather-sealed MF cam? Why not have multipoint AF, and multimetering, and colour metering? The fact that the R&D costs for those things are spread out across all the lines, lowering the price, so much the better.

The Leica S2 might be nice, for the three people or so who can afford them.

lith,
Actually the S2 is experiencing unexpectedly heavy demand and is selling very well. Just not here.

Mike

While there have been a number of great, innovative and boundary-pushing cameras introduced in 2010 - A55, K-5, GH2, LX5, etc... - no other camera has sent shock waves through such a broad swath of the market. The fact that the 645D is compared with cameras from $2,500 to $20,000 is simply incredible. The camera is rewriting the rules of the upper end of the market. Good choice.

I have a soft spot for Pentax. I'd give 'em an award just for continuing to battle upstream in a market that seems to want to be dominated by a small number of large manufacturers. Reminds me a little of Subaru in the car world. By rights, they shouldn't even exist, but there they are, building good cars that people buy and like.

Robert:
Good analogy, at least as it applies to me. I've had a least one Pentax in one form or another since 1973 and at least one Subaru in one form or another since 1980. The new Pentax is weather resistant and Subaru's are AWD; both products appeal to people in crummy climates (once again, applies to me).

I think this was a good choice. "* of the Year" is about impact, and sometimes there doesn't need to be a positive one. Time Magazine named Hilter (1938), Stalin (1939 & 1942) and Ayatollah Khomeini(1979) Persons of the Year.

Mike, if CaNikon comes out with a camera that blinds users, causing CaNikon to go out of business, you might want to consider that for Camera of the Year. If that happens.

Posted by: Kent: "My cynical nature leads me to suspect that the entire set of people who took umbrage at Mike's choice of the 645D fits squarely within the set of people who can't afford one."

Exhibit A in the thesis that excessive cynicism is as unproductive as excessive optimism. My "umbrage" was founded exclusively on the basis I portrayed. It is, however, true that I have no interest in selling my PhaseOne P65+ and my Mamiya bodies and lenses to buy a Pentax 645D.

"Pst, pst, Ken.
You, in any case, were an architecture student. Else you will be a butressed human being, or [I hope not] deconstructed, postmodern, rational, MVRDVcized student of any other discipline."

Haw! While I might be a bit of a deconstructed postmodernist in some need of butressing today, you are absolutely right, inaki. I was, indeed, an architecture student, not an "architectural" student. Perhaps that helps explain why I was never an architect; I actually wanted to be architecture?

I think a question mark at the end of the accolade would have made the claim more credible for me. But using Mike's rationalization I hereby nominate the Sigma SD1 as Camera of the Year for 2011. Of course I haven't handled one yet but that doesn't matter. It seems to have the potential for great things. Happy New Year, and by the way I do enjoy and respect The Online Photographer website.

Ctein, While I agree that I'm not in a place to judge the market I am able to judge what is a a reasonable camera to have in every day use. This ranks as a status symbol for those that want to say they have the biggest, and best (yet to be determined). Odd ball cameras get all the press.

I, too, thought that the $10,000 price of the Pentax 645D was far out of line until a friend of mine pointed out that his collection of Canon 5d2 body and converted Contax N lenses came pretty close to that price... Granted, you'd still have to pick up a few Pentax primes, which have now been driven up in price (largely on speculation, I presume), but it's not as stratospheric as I first thought.

@Marcelo Guarini: Fotodiox and Adorama already make and stock adapters to go from Hasselblad 6x6 to Pentax 645...

Dear Michael S.,

Well, that's a considerably different statement than your first one.

And still, I'm skeptical. I do know that Mike, I and most of the regular writers for TOP would be hard pressed to unilaterally declare what is "reasonable for every day use." Maybe you have a finger on the pulse of the populi far better than we. Maybe.

There's nothing especially odd about this camera for medium and large format photographers. I speaks as one'o'dem.

It may not be to YOUR taste.

pax / Ctein

paul logins wrote:
"Oh, please. A Nikon D3x, at c$2000 less,
beats this camera in each and every
category except one (60% greater sensor
size). At 300 DPI that's 24"x18" versus
20"x13". Unless you are that one in a
thousand who needs 3x4 feet blowups
constantly, the medium increase in size
is not worth it. By the way, how can a
3.25 pounder sans lens 'comfortable to hold whether carrying or shooting'?"

I don't know who needs 3'x4', but James had some large prints he'd done; they were really good! The detail was superb. Only one who never crops and never makes sizable prints would fail to covet this camera. As for "comfortable", I was very surprised how easy it was to hold and shoot with this camera. Unless you've tried it, how can you tell those who have that they're wrong? I thought it felt remarkably comfortable to hold and shoot, and, no, I'm not yet delusional and know what I felt when a bunch of us tried it first hand.
So please, don't question someone else's experience 'til you've tried it for yourself.

"I do know that Mike, I and most of the regular writers for TOP would be hard pressed to unilaterally declare what is 'reasonable for every day use.'"

What people do "every day" is pertinent, too. I know of one photographer who, after years of shooting 4x5, carefully tested a medium-format digital back against his usual technique, weighed the likely increase in productivity carefully, evaluated his options soberly, and invested $25k in a digital back.

According to the accounts I've read from him (which is probably not all of them), he's very happy with the switch. The digital back provides quality almost as good as what he had been getting from 4x5, the number of exposures he takes annually has quadrupled, and his productivity and efficiency increases are offsetting the high purchase price of the back. He's a very accomplished photographer and didn't make the investment lightly. He spent 2.5X what the 645D costs and he certainly wasn't in any way, shape or form buying a status symbol.

Mike


Mike,
I do agree that in his case, for his needs, that was the right choice in his mind. Upgradeable, modular, probably an excellent set of available lens.

The questions raised here are whether this camera qualifies as Camera of the Year in OUR minds. Untested, unproven, unreviewed, huge, limited lens.... This isn't just about cost or how many sales they will have (even if I joked to that point) and I still believe that it is an enigma camera. Few buyers really need that many pixels. Too much emphasis is put on native resolution.

And to Ctein's point I haven't tasted my cameras but I'm sure they would be quite bland:)

I do love the the discussion, even if it is to disagree.

Dear cb & Paul,

The 645D's weight is very similar to that of the Pentax 67. Many medium-format photographers found that eminently handholdable for substantial periods of time.

Not saying it's for everybody, but Mike's description is on the mark. If the ergonomics work, the weight is not an issue for medium format photographers who need a handholdable camera.

Of course many don't. And, in fairness, there are many photographers who will not put up with that much weight regardless of the format. I bought quite a lot of my used 67 gear from photographers who tried it and decided they really needed something lighter when hiking through the woods. I also cheerfully note that it's a thrill to be using an Olympus Pen, a camera so small that sometimes I'm not sure if I have packed it or not. What a change!

Nonetheless, the Pentax 67 was my camera choice for more than three decades, and I carried it all over Hither and Yon. In fact, when I bought the camera back in college my intention was to become a photojournalist, and in my years on the college newspaper, I had no trouble working with that camera.

It bears mentioning that I am not a jock nor an athlete. I have been told that I'm strong for my size, but I am rather slight of build: in college I weighed no more than 120 pounds, and even now I only weigh about 20 pounds more than that.

You two accurately judge that this is a camera that you would not want to hand hold for very long, but it's not an accurate observation for the entire world.


pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
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