For Pentax 645 Users

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jamusu, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Pentax 645 Advice

    Hi all.

    Today my Pentax 645 arrived in the mail! It is the original version. I have searched for over two years and am elated to finally have it!!! It comes with 75, 45, and 150mm lenses. I am new to automatic cameras because until now, I shoot the all manual Pentax K1000 35mm. For those of you you have and are currently using this camera, I have a few questions:

    1.) Of the three lenses, which is best for portraits?

    2.) Will there be a huge learning curve moving from my Pentax K1000?

    3.) Which mode is best used for the camera; manual, aperture priority, or
    shutter priority?

    4.) What are your experiences with the Pentax 645?


    Thank you much,
    Jamusu.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2008
  2. Paul.A

    Paul.A Member

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    I use the Pentax 645 II. I'd wanted the 645 ever since it came out in the 80's and when I got a bit of a windfall I purchased one with the 45-85 mm lens and 150 mm lens. Its a great camera and the handling to my mind is really no different to a 35mm slr. The 150 will be your best bet for portraits, although it doesn't focus close enough for real tightly composed head shots. As to which mode to use, choose one you're comfortable with, I use manual and AE priority most of the time, never used program or shutter priority.

    All in all I really love it, unfortunately I don't use as much as I once did as work requires me to be digital, but when I want to do my own personal work its the camera I like to use with either Velvia or Delta 400. I've use Hasselblads, bronicas and Mamiya's and the Pentax is the only one that suits my style of shooting. I know that's a very subjective statement.
     
  3. Sputnik

    Sputnik Member

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    Jamusu,

    Congrats on getting a great camera! Alltough I sold mine a year ago, I miss it dearly (I just had too many cameras lying around).

    1. I´d say the 150 and 75 are your obvious portrait lenses, but the 45 could let you be a bit creative. If you get the chence look in to the 55mm lens, that was my favourite lens (for all kinds of applications).

    2.Not at all, as long as you manage to load it with some 120-film, you should be ok!

    3. Different strokes for different folks, but I used Aperture priority most as the meter of the 645 is so good. The 645 must be one of the smothest MF cameras around to operate.

    4. The Pentax 645 was probably one of the best MF cameras that I've shot. Why I sold it? Well I'm currently trying to slow down my photographing style and also mastering the square format. Thus I now shoot with a Hasselblad 201F and a Mamiya 6. (I do have a sneaky suspicion that I might be getting one again...)
     
  4. weasel

    weasel Member

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    1.- probably the 150
    2.-no
    3.-whatever floats your boat
    4- Great camera. I have enjoyed the heck out of mine.
     
  5. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I have the original version of the Pentax 645. It gets more use than any of my other cameras. Try the 150mm lens for portraits. It is about like a 100mm on a 35mm. The 75 mm lens is the normal lens, and the 45 mm is the wide angle, about like a 28 mm on a 35. The 645 is a quite a bit different from the K1000, but you should have no problem adjusting. If you don't have one, try to get a user's manual - it has a lot of good stuff in it. One thing you have to get used to is loading the camera. It is slower and much less obvious than a 35. Be sure the magazine is fully seated and the lock is fully set before you start taking pictures. It is possible for the magazine to be partially engaged, which doesn't work. The exposure meter on the early 645s is quite primitive but still functional. You need to be aware of special lighting situations that will fool the meter and then use the exposure compensation feature (or manual mode) to handle the situation.
     
  6. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Thank you all.

    I have been reading the manual constantly and tinkering with the settings. It seems to be simple to use, but coming from my manual Pentax K-1000 it is a bit different seeing LCD/LED indications. I guess the K-1000 programmed me to be simple minded, albeit in a good way.

    Of all of the modes, the one that confuses me the most is Program mode. Has anyone used it, and if so how does it work?

    Any more advice will be appreciated.

    Jamusu.
     
  7. Sputnik

    Sputnik Member

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    Program mode is where the camera decides both shutter and aperture, I guess it looks for a shutterspeed fast enough for handheld and an aperture small enough to get "descent" DOF (light permitting of course). Program mode is ideal when you need to focus on framing and "getting the shot". I'd say that Aperture priority is the one mode I use the most.

    /Sputnik
     
  8. Sputnik

    Sputnik Member

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    Program mode is where the camera decides both shutter and aperture, I guess it looks for a shutterspeed fast enough for handheld and an aperture small enough to get "descent" DOF (light permitting of course). Program mode is ideal when you need to focus on framing and "getting the shot". I'd say that Aperture priority is the one mode I use the most.

    :smile:

    /Sputnik
     
  9. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Thank you.

    I have shot four rolls thus far. Loaded the second roll backwards though; thus destroying any images I might have had. Not going for anything worth keeping, just trying to get used to the camera. I am really enjoying it. I love the sound of the shutter when released!!

    James.
     
  10. ellisson

    ellisson Subscriber

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    Very versatile MF SLR camera, and you have a nice group of lenses to start with. I like the bright viewfinder, and that it is easy to handhold. Check the diopter setting on the eyepiece before you start shooting - make sure it has not moved away from center (or the position that you want). Agree that you will want to use a spotmeter to get the exposure you want, not just the camera's average reading.
    The backs are relatively cheap, so you can carry an extra one loaded if you want to avoid frequent film change in the field. Great camera, have fun!
     
  11. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Do 645 cameras need a special film carriers when printing, or do I just crop the image when making the enlargement?

    Jamusu.
     
  12. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    645 negatives print well to 8X10 and similar formats with little cropping. You can use a 6X6, 6X7, or 6X9 negative holder, but it is far better to get a 645 negative holder to limit the spray of light from areas you aren't printing. You could also make a black paper mask fro the larger negative holder.
     
  13. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

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    Congratulations!

    What a coincidence. I also bought a Pentax 645 (the II version) recently, and for the last five days, I've been shooting with it. I LOVE the camera! The viewfinder is so bright, and what a treat it is to have some automatic functions - like the film rewinds automatically after it's done.:tongue:

    I only have the 120mm macro lens at the moment, but what a lens!! I would recommend this one for portraiture as well - it also allows for some very closeups, like if you like to capture eyelashes of young children, etc., you can get in really close and do so.

    I shot 6 rolls in the last few days (portraiture) but have not had a chance to develop them yet (can't wait). I actually used a handheld meter as for me, it is the easiest to use when it comes to portraiture and getting the skin tones right. I also am used to manual focus - with the viewfinder so big and bright, it's especially pleasant!

    Please share your results once you have your negs developed!
     
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  15. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Congrats Macy!

    Jamusu.
     
  16. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    How hard are they to find. How are masks made for other negative carriers?

    Jamusu.
     
  17. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Developed another roll of film. I truly love the format of this film. It is kind of like a mixture between 35mm and medium format. Can't wait to make some prints.

    Jamusu.
     
  18. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I've an original 645 with a 75mm lens. It's one of the best cameras i've ever used. I'd go with the 150 for portraits but the 75mm lens is one of the best i've ever used. It focuses close and is sharp, contrasty. Has a great look. The meter on that camera is outstanding and the interface is fantastic. It is so quick to operate. Some hate the chiclet buttons but I love them.

    I also use a 6x7 carrier to print 645 and 66. I'd love a mask but am too lazy. Maybe I should get on that..
     
  19. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Phillip.

    Did you intend to end your sentence in such a manner? If so I am a bit confused as to what you meant.

    Jamusu.
     
  20. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    Hm? I haven't made a mask yet for printing 645 on a 67 carrier and my results are pretty good. You could cut out a 645-sized rectangle into a piece of thin black cardboard or similar and place it over or under your negative carrier to block the light out. Helps to block out the extra light which can affect the contrast I guess. Sorry if I confused you.
     
  21. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Do you really mean that like a 35mm camera the film is rewound backwards from whence it came or are you simply saying that after taking the last pic it winds on to completion automatically?

    A genuine rewind function would be good as this would allow a mid roll rewind, film change and then replacement of part used film and wind back to the frame last taken. In other words the Pentax answer to Mamiya's removable back with darkslides. I am giving the P645 some serious thought and in trying to make a choice, it's about the only drawback to the P645 compared to Mamiya or Bronica.

    Alas as I understand it, a rewind isn't possible but if it is then let me know. Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  22. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    You're going to love using this camera. I bought the AF version last year and then a 200mm lens. I love it for portraits.
    -rob
     
  23. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    It rewinds at the end of the roll but you can fool it by simply unlocking the film insert and pulling it out slightly. I mean just barely tug on it and it will rewind.
    I have to do this when using short 120 rolls which yield 6 exposures. I guess kodak makes it special order for the picture people chain of 1-hour portrait studios. They use(d) an RB with 645 back, and the 6-exp roll would give you 8 to 10 frames, can't remember for certain. Kind of a smart way to save money.

    I've never swapped in mid roll, from what I understand it can be done with the Pentax 645 though you lose a frame apparently.
     
  24. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Philip Thanks for this very welcome answer. I'll come clean now and say I thought I had mentioned this as a possible alternative to removable backs which the P645 doesn't of course have on another thread and was told that this wasn't possible. The film simply winds on to the end with no possibility of a rewind.

    Just goes to show that mentioning things twice is usually worthwhile. Losing a frame isn't a big deal. I usually sacrifice a frame on a rewound 35mm cassette anyway just to be on the safeside when I re-insert it and take up where I left off.

    When you do it with short rolls by unlocking the insert and tugging on it barely, if there any likelihood of allowing a light leak? If so, I suppose the alternative is firing blank frames with a lens cap on until the end then allowing the auto rewind to operate?

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  25. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Phillip.

    Thank you for clearing up the response for me. I will try your method of making a mask.I

    Jamusu.
     
  26. weasel

    weasel Member

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    I must be missing something. Mine does not rewind, it just winds through to the end of the roll. Can they be set up to rewind somehow?