Pentax 645 Questions
Sorry if this info is out there already... I am under a bit of a time crunch... (PC at home is broke, leaving here soon)
Anyway, a friend has given me her Pentax 645 to use fo the weekend. See if I like it, if I do, I can make her an offer... It appears to be a manual focus. It has a grip (not sure if thats standard or not) which may or may not be a moter drive... Has, what I think is standard, a 75mm, Pentax 2.8 lens...
Whats it worth (ballpark)... Its got a few knicks, needs a lens cap and I think it needs a CLA... The other thing... Anyone have a manual online? I have no clue how to use... Anyone have any opinions?? I have been using my Mamiya TLR for awhile and I need something for weddings and something easier to use...
I am the proud owner of the 645N (autofocus) version.
For a manual: www.pentax.com Apart from the AF thing operating your 645 will be roughly the same.
As to prices see: www.ebay.com
Opinion: a very good camera with excellent glass. Rather underestimated.
Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.
Basically all the Pentax manuals since the 1950s are on the Pentax US website.
Keh has been selling 645 with a 120 insert in bargain condition for around $200. Plus the lens. Go to the Keh website and fill out thier on-line equipment buying form. They'll give you a quote on what they'd buy the camera for.
Various 75mm lenses. One is a leaf shutter lens and is worth more. The other two are aren't leaf shutter. These two lenses are similar to each but one is newer then the other.
I have two manual focus P645's, both bought used from KEH over the past year. I had wanted one since they were introduced in 1984 but could never afford them until recently when the bottom fell out of the medium format camera market. "Bargain" KEH prices are around $200 for body and 120 insert, as posted previously. When I was in the market for a second body to use as a backup, I had to be patient for a manual focus model to show up on KEH. They apparently sell well.
First of all, the cameras are pretty simple once you know what the buttons do but I advise you to go to the Pentax website and print out the instruction manual before trying to use the camera. There is a small lithium battery in the bottom of the camera that probably should be replaced. The purpose is to hold information in the camera should the main AA batteries go dead or be changed mid-roll. Most people never change this battery because it's purpose is unlikely to be an issue. It's kind of tricky to get the cover off but it can be done with a bent paper clip and pliers. You will also have to adjust the eyepiece to fit your vision--if you don't, everything will be out-of-focus when you look through the camera.
The 75/2.8 lens that is standard with the Pentax 645 it is the sharpest, best resolving lens I've ever used. I've read comments about this lens on several websites and it is universally praised. Even Hasselblad and Rollei users who also have used the P645 have commented on how good this lens is. If it is not damaged, it will serve you well.
The camera is built like a tank with a plastic skin. It is electronically controlled. Unless there is something wrong with the electronic connections, it is unlikely it will need any service. Of course, nothing is foolproof and it could have something wrong with it so shoot a few rolls of film to check out exposure accuracy, etc. From what I've heard from other users, these cameras will take a lot of abuse and still work properly.
The Pentax has excellent ergonomics. I love using it. It handles like a big, boxy 35mm. It's heavy but manageable. The negatives are a joy to print in the darkroom. There are a lot of lenses available for this camera. It will take the autofocus lenses as well as the older manual focus lenses but, of course, it will not autofocus them. I have the 35mm, 45mm, 75mm and 150mm and there's not a loser in the bunch.
Give it a good workout. If it suits your style, I think you'll enjoy using it.
Pentax 645 User Manual...
I picked up a Pentax 645 a couple of months back, and found this site has the best version of the user manual:
This version is much clearer than the one on the Pentax site... And the owner of the site only requests an optional $3 donation. He also has great scans of a lot of other camera manuals.
Unfortunately for me, the 645 body that I bought developed a problem when it arrived. I was testing the camera with a roll of film paper (no film) and after the second frame the winder kept running, pulling all of the paper through. I pulled out the roll & checked the camera with the "test back" in place, and the winder just kept running. I had my local camera shop send it to the repair shop in Vancouver, but they wanted more than I wanted to spend to open it up. I ended up picking up another bare body & am quite pleased with the camera.
John (Alpha Flying Monkey) Moore
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I didn't need pliers to remove the battery cover. I went and bought the biggest paper clips I could find. Worked just fine. These clips are big. Not your average paper clip. Last year a seller on Ebay was selling batteries for much less then the store price. IIRC the seller is a jewelery shop supplier. I ended up buying a bunch of batteries for little more then one would have cost locally. Watch batteries,camera batteries etc. All those little button batteries.
I haven't been so lucky with my camera. It has film advance issues. The upside is I can buy a replacement body for less then the repair cost. The downside is the repair will cost more then a camera.
If you're using a Metz flash the camera uses the old style modules which are fairly cheap new and relatively common and cheap used. Provides TTL flash that way. I don't remember if the leaf shutter lens provides TTL or not. If you're shooting weddings outside you might want to consider the leaf shutter version of the lens.
I shot a roll of film with it yesterday... it made a lot of noise during the film advance and when it took the last shot, it did not roll the film up.. I may have fogged it when I took it out... I changes the battieries (in the grip) prior to using. I am going to ready the manual more thouroughly and test again.... I may have to bring it to let someone look at it.
I have a 645N and love it. The greatest thing about Pentax (at least all the ones I've used) is that you usuallly just have to turn one dial or move one thing to change the exposure or anything else. There's no "push a while turning b" sort of stuff. Film loading may require a manual or help, but it shouldn't be too tough. There may be a special button or something to get it to wind all the way to the end on the 645, though. The 645N has auto-everything and goes right to the end. If you're anywhere near Mass., PM me and I'm willing to give you a hand (assuming I can).
Bighead, my p645 does not rewind 6exp. rolls of portra, it just keeps shooting and I have to rewind with the manual rewind thumbwheel.
It's a GREAT camera if you can live with 645. I like 645 but recently am wanting 6x9...
The advance is a bit loud. You might have to clean several small shiny metal contacts on the film insert with a pencil eraser..