PENTAX 645 bargain?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by David Lyga, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    I might have the opportunity to buy an original model of the Pentax 645 with 75mm lens for under $100. Is this definitely a good buy? There are some negative comments about this original model (NOT the 645N). Also, how do I check the shutter: do I have to have 120 film in the camera? Also: AAA or AA batteries. Thank you. -David Lyga
     
  2. CGW

    CGW Member

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    There are some negative comments about this original model

    Like what? I looked at it seriously before deciding on the Mamiya 645 and its interchangeable backs--the Pentax uses inserts, so no mid-roll film changes. It's very 35mm-like. Short of age/wear-related problems, it struck me as tough and ergonomically superior to the Mamiya 645 without a winder grip. Very inexpensive now. Nice glass, too.
     
  3. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    I meant that increments of full stops only are available on autoexposure and there is no exposure lock. And CGW, just HOW inexpensive please. - David Lyga
     
  4. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Your original post gives an example. Just do some research on eBay and KEH, OK? Around 200 for a body+120 insert seems the norm. 75mm and 150mm are probably the most common lenses.
     
  5. yurihuta

    yurihuta Member

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    If the lens is in good condition (no fungus, haze, scratches) then it is worth it for the lens alone. There are three 75mm lenses for the Pentax 645 system. They are distinguished by being either manual focus "Pentax-A 645" (two version of the A) or autofocus "Pentax-FA 645" (only one version of the FA). All three are f/2.8 and the two A (manual focus) are either the standard 75mm f/2.8 (commonly sold as a kit with the 645 body) or the 75mm f/2.8 LS (where LS = leaf shutter).

    So for $100, even with the basic Pentax-A 645 75mm f/2.8 this is a great price. Bigger bonus if you get either of the other two lenses.

    The 645 body takes 6 - AA batteries (in the right hand grip, check to see what the battery terminals look like - e.g. leaks from batteries can be cleaned up in many cases). Film backs are relatively easy to find, so if yours does not come with one, you can find a 120 back for as little as $30 and on up.

    The shutter is cloth and should be relatively wrinkle free. If they have a back cover, you should be able to 'dry' fire the camera (if my memory serves me correctly). Might want to try B (bulb) depress the shutter and hold it - open up the back cover and watch the second curtain move when you release the shutter button to complete the exposure.

    Some of the negative comments, but what item does not have its detractors or negative comments. Generally, these are great cameras and for the price quite a great deal! A nice way to try out the Pentax 645 system. This is what I started with years ago and had a lot of fun with this setup, many great memories captured.

     
  6. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    I have a 645. It works wonderfully and produces fantastic photos. The controls are a little "different" but easy to use. I have also purchased a 645N, but have not taken the plunge into the auto-focus lenses yet.

    645 with a 75mm lens is a great deal. Unfortunately, the 120 inserts are more popular, and hence, more expensive to purchase. Check the prices at KEH and ebay before you make your final decision if this camera does not include an insert.
     
  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    The 220 insert which in the U.K. is cheaper as 220 film has all but disappeared can easily be converted to 120. If the conversion isn't covered in APUG then try Pentaxforums where it certainly is.

    pentaxuser
     
  8. rrocco

    rrocco Subscriber

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    The pentax 645 is a great camera and system. $100 is a steal for working camera and lens. Have not been in the market for any lenses lately but hear that their value has increased recently because of the digital version of the 645.
     
  9. BardParker

    BardParker Member

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    I have a Pentax 645N and the 75mm FA, 45-85mm FA, 55mm A, 150mm A, and 80-160mm A lenses. I love this system! My most used lenses are the 75mm prime and the 45-85 zoom. With the 75 lens the setup is really no bigger than a Nikon F5 and Zoom lens. The manual focus lenses are well built with buttery smooth focusing. If you can pick up a regular 645 and 75mm lens for $100- get it. If all is in working order, that's a steal. Check out Pentaxforums.com for more info.
     
  10. Alan W

    Alan W Subscriber

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    Fantastic camera and at that price for the lens and body you can't go wrong.The mirror foam on mine is leaving marks on the mirror,but still no light leaks.You'll need the back cover on to test it but a better way to test is to run the paper from a 120 roll through it to make the camera think you're using film,that way you can check all the shutter speeds.AA batteries are always available too!
     
  11. benveniste

    benveniste Subscriber

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    My original Pentax 645 broke in an unusual way -- the film advance stuck and would simply wind the film onto the pick-up reel. I ended up selling it for parts after my local repair shop failed to make any head way after 6 weeks.

    If I remember correctly, the original Pentax 645 uses a CR1220 battery for buffer memory, and the battery has a lifetime of about 5 years. It's cheap to replace, but you need a spanner wrench in order to do so.

    I now have a Pentax 645n, which I use with both manual focus (45mm, 135mm LS, 200mm) and autofocus lenses (75mm, 120mm Macro, 45-85mm f/4.5, 80-160mm f/4.5). I even use it with a 300mm f/4 from the Pentax 67 system.
     
  12. LarryP

    LarryP Member

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    David , if it's in good working order that's a great bargain. The body with 120 back and 75mm should normally go 250 and up depending on condition. You can do 1/3 stops by adjusting the iso. I like it well enough that I just bought one several months ago after my last one was stolen a couple years ago.
     
  13. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    I'm in agreement with everyone here. It's a fantastic camera and for that price (assuming decent working condition) then it's great. Just a heads-up that some of the older ones have developed some funkiness to them (odd/strange behaviour). Just check it out, dry-shoot it a few times... maybe even bring a test roll to burn!
     
  14. derwent

    derwent Member

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    I've heard that if replacing the buffer battery you MUST have batteries in the main grip or it will lose all memory and needs reprogramming.
    I have one here (not mine) which is showing those symptoms. Only works on auto and only works on 100 ASA....
    I'm thinking seriously about selling most of my 35mm stuff and getting a 645n but I'm not keen on the setup of the early ones.
    Great lens though!
     
  15. cfclark

    cfclark Member

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    That's a great price for an early 645, if it's in good shape...undercuts what I was thinking of asking for mine! :sad: It's a great camera, I think most of the negatives have to do with the later versions being more advanced, not with the original being "bad". I would say get it, if the seller is asking only $100.
     
  16. revdocjim

    revdocjim Member

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    I've purchased two beater 645 bodies for under $100 but neither included a lens. Like others have said, the standard 75mm lens alone goes for about $100. So by all means, go for it. But be warned, if you don't have film in the camera your ability to test out the various functions is very limited; even with the back cap. But you can test the basic shutter function by removing the film insert. Now, make sure you insert the batteries correctly. As I recall, at least one of them is counter intuitive in terms of the direction it goes. So don't just look at the metal springs and connectors; actually look for the picture of the battery in each slot and make sure you put it in correctly. If one of them is backwards the camera will still show some signs of life but will definitely act weird.

    If you have basic shutter functionality and good batteries then just load a roll of film and try it out. It is a great camera and the exposure tends to be very accurate. So simple to use and feels great in the hand. Of course the controls are rather funky and if you really decide you like the system and acquire some lenses I predict that you will end up wanting the 645n at some point. (Or am I just trying to rationalize my own story...) :smile:

    Oh ya, almost forgot about the manual mirror return tool. It screws into the bottom of the camera and will come in handy if you are having problems with a slightly sticky shutter. I had one like that and after a bit of use it basically cured itself.