Pentax 645Z: as a DSLR on Steroids

TEST: the new intermediate form ata clean from Pentax is a substantial lift from the former model in both image quality and functionality. It’s a real camera for professionals without being complex or lacking GUI.

When you lift up the Pentax 645Z, it feels right that there is another type of camera than a» ordinary «digital camera. It is seen by the way on hold as well. It is a hefty machine. In a way, a bit boring, but we can come back to later.

When its predecessor, the 645 d came so we showed up for several years before it finally was considered polished enough to meet their audiences and potential buyers. 645Z beat rather down like, maybe not a bomb, but a loud plop in all cases. It had not leaked much information before and it had not been shown before it was released to the market.

Personally, I think it was a smarter approach, so does the camera feels newer once it comes out, not as something that has been on a desk and smapillats with everything for a long time before it shrugged and dropped it on the market. For it was little so it honestly felt with the 645 d. It was almost old already when it was released.


Almost manageable price

Although 645Z is cheap compared to what it is, a professional, modern, digital medium format camera that can shoot, 88 000 SEK is not something most empties the account card on without feeling a little sweaty. But in comparison with other cameras that were introduced at the same time and is likely to have the same sensor. Hasselblad H5D-50 c and Phase one iq250 (which is only a back piece) costs SEK 233 750 275 250 respectively (for just the back cover) which makes you nervous looking the other way. Most people who work with these tools renting them when needed or have that well paying customers that they can invest in such a system.

Pentax is much lower in price than its direct competitors. You get the kit we’ve tested, the House along with a 55 mm f/2.8 for under 100 000 SEK, which may be seen as quite cheap. Of course, one can compare with cameras like the Nikon D810 which also have very high resolution and provides very detailed pictures, and then the Pentaxen expensive instead.

Exactly how the picture quality stacks up against the competition, we come back to but besides sheer detail, pixel quantity and noise levels, the larger sensor. The transition between sharpness and blur becomes a little prettier, it is not safe so that you can see it directly in the image. Sometimes it is rather so that you know it when you see the pictures. When you then come on what it is that is different from the other images so you can see the difference.

Are you also already familiar with Pentax SLRs, it’s really no different, menu system and button symbols are the same. Due to the camera’s size as it has been doing some slider bigger and more user-friendly. For example, choose to now focus mode (s or c) we are a quite sharp steering to the left of the viewfinder. To the right of the viewfinder sits like a steering wheel where you choose if you want to film or take still photos.

A similar steering wheel sits well ahead on the right side of the paragraph of the camera that stands out against the bayonet. Here you can choose if you want to fold up the mirror before you take the picture. And it can be a pretty good idea when shooting with longer shutter speed when the mirror is heavy and you can almost feel how full the camera sways when the mirror switch.

Two other buttons that had to take place on camera is that, through a direct button can select how you want the auto focus will work, who will select the focus points (or camera) and which focus points that will be active. It has also added a button that can be used to lock all settings. When the camera is locked, you cannot adjust anything, so even if you come to an input wheel or button – nothing changes.

A gigant

In the camera world respect undeniably expression» size matters «.» And Pentax 645Z is large, it is nevertheless a camera that offers easy handling with two hands and shooting without a problem. If I worked in a studio or would shoot something for a long time, however, I would like to have it on a tripod.

For the 2099 grams as the camera weighs with a 55 mm f/2.8 mounted takes its toll after a while. 645Z is quite long, it depends largely on the mirror and the bayonet. But it means that you have a large area to tilt the hand from underneath which gives a good while.

The grip is very sturdy and well balanced. If the need requires, it is possible to take pictures with the camera in only one hand. But it’s not really fun. But if you are used to a dslr with battery grip so the weight is not so dangerous, for example, weighs a Nikon d4s just two hundred grams less, however, is 645Z bulkigare.

Several refinements

Compared with its competitors in the medium format segment as are those that we already found significantly more expensive. But Pentax has also several things that give them an advantage. Among other things, the film 1080/30 p and has a more advanced auto-focus (same as Pentax K-3). It does focus fast, albeit not very fast compared to a dslr.

However, it is possible to criticize 645Z to focus points are very centered, regardless of whether they are 27 pieces so it does not help much if everybody sits in a small cluster in the middle of the picture. 645Z has even faster continuous shooting 3 frames per second, and higher iso, 204800, than its competitors.

This, combined with the price and the fact that there are many second hand lens that fits, make it a competitive camera in its class.

Pentax has also understood that many will use this camera on tripod. They have also understood that some heads will become more unstable when you fold them to photograph portrait images, as well as to some of the more powerful tripod heads not going to angle for portrait images. That knowledge has made that man has two stand mounts, one in the bottom of the camera as is customary, but it has also placed a tripod mount on the left side of the camera. Versatile and smart.

Dual memory card

645Z can save the images on two sd cards. And it may be needed, the image files is between 60 and 75 MB depending on the motives of saving in dng, which is a good way to future-proof their raw files.

The ability to save in the dng is something that Pentax is one of the few manufacturers who are seeing the benefits of. With that format, you need never have to wait for the next version of Camera Raw (which is still one of the more common råkonverterarna) when you bought a new camera, but can run into files in the version of the program at any time, and you can edit and open them.

It’s actually surprising that it is not more that use dng as an option.645Z can also save files in jpg, tiff and raw, Pentax’s own pef.

The two memory card slots can also be set up in order to save a raw file on one and a jpg on the other, or the same images on both cards so that one becomes a backup. You can also fill the first one and then the other.

In many cases this is medium format cameras for when it comes to innovations such as the live-view. But on the Pentax 645Z, it is nothing strange. Live view is fast and gives a lot of information that can be used to compose and expose the image. Among other things, you can get focuspeaking, highlight alert, histogram, and various types of grids.

The screen can also angle (90 degrees upward and 45 degrees down) so that you don’t have to bend yourself down if you are going to shoot with the camera in a low position. Do you shoot with the camera on the tripod, it may be nice not having to look through the viewfinder to see what the camera sees.

Especially if you are in a situation where you can’t send the viewfinder image to a computer screen, which is perhaps the most common in a studio. If you want you can also turn the viewfinder screen 180 degrees.

The screen is only tilting up and down will be a little weird when using the tripod mount on the side of the camera.

Image quality

When it comes to dynamic range so it goes slightly in the Nikon D810, despite the larger sensor. But when it comes to high iso so performing it in class with the very best small-screen Cameras Nikon D4S and Canon 1 d X.

Video quality is fine as long as you stick to 1080 or 720 30 p, step up to 60 p, 60i, or so the quality is not so funny. But the camera is probably not meant as a video camera, but it is more an additional feature to it. The sharpness you get ur 645Z is, however, a couple of notch higher because it has more pixels.

Medium format lenses are also usually very sharp and designed with few compromises. The sharpness of the pictures are really good and the detail is very high.


Even though 645Z is significantly cheaper than their classmates from Leica, Hasselblad, Phase One, it is a very expensive camera. Compare it with for example Nikon D810, which also is a high resolution camera, so costs 645Z just over SEK 50 000 more.

But 645Z a very easy-to-use medium format camera, so for those who can/want to pay so the knowledge threshold very low to start shooting with it.

It can also, much like many other mellanformatare can’t yet. For the professional photographer that does not require a light and flexible equipment is definitely an option, portraits and product advertising has much to download with Pentax 645Z.