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  1. #1

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    Pentax 645 - advice please

    I just picked one of these up off eBay. Just the 645, 75mm 2,8 lens, and 120 insert. Probably "overpaid" for it, but oh well. I don't see many folks using this beastie here - is it a great camera? A pretty good camera? Anything I should watch out for, like, common problems this model has or tends to develop?

    Thanks in advance. I have several rolls of Ilford Pan F and Fuji Reala to shoot!
    Last edited by Wolfeye; 02-28-2008 at 09:27 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    In life you only get one great dog, one great car, and one great woman. Pet the dog. Drive the car. Make love to the woman. Don't mix them up.

  2. #2
    Kevin Caulfield's Avatar
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    Haven't used one, but users speak highly of it. Shoot some film, and show us how it goes. Enjoy.

  3. #3
    CLAPhoto's Avatar
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    Been shooting one for years, excellent metering and handling. The only downsides I find are the lack of interchangeable backs (mid roll) and the viewfinder takes a bit getting used to. Another plus to the design is the use of lens adapters for fitting "others" lenses on the body. I currently use Zeiss Jenna glass on my P645, I have the 180, 50mm and an 80mm.
    Christopher Lauritzen Photography

    Long live film!
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  4. #4
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    I had one and I think it is a fantastic choice. The reason I sold it was that I could never get used to the push button interface. If I did it again, I'd spend some more time getting used to the interface before I went out into the field with it. That said, the lenses are amazing, the kit is light, the viewfinder is simply the best and the mirror slap is almost non-existant

  5. #5

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    I've been using a pair of original 645's for several years. I've been very happy with them--both in handling and picture quality. The lenses I've used are all excellent with the 75mm being the pick-of-the-litter.

    I think a lot of people originally passed up the P645 due to the lack of interchangeable backs. Medium formats in general were the choice of pros who needed that feature. Now that us mortals are buying those used cameras, I don't know that many of us really need that feature.

  6. #6

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    In the old days you could get a Kiev 6 adapter and use Kiev 6C lenses. But today used Pentax lenses are so cheap it's not worth it. Still likely the best way to use Kiev lenses on 645 -)

  7. #7
    Palantiri7's Avatar
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    Hi Wolfeye,

    The Pentax 645 is an excellent camera, and the 75mm is a first-rate lens. No camera is perfect, however, and I do wish that exposure compensation was not limited to 1 stop increments, or that aperture click-stops occur in third stops like Rollei lenses instead of full stops. You can adjust the film speed to mimic finer exposure changes, but I am sometimes apt to forget to change it back! I have used the camera in the rain. The camera buttons may cease to function in wet conditions, but don't panic, however, as they return to life after drying out. I actually think the viewfinder is quite wonderful, and the focusing is easy. The metering is accurate, although you're limited to center-weighted metering. All-in-all it's no Rollei 6008i in wonderfulness, but I like this camera better for some weird reason, and, of course, the pictures are great.

    Here's a not-so-great picture from this camera/lens combo (all I have readily available right now). Mangrove, Kodak TMX, Paterson FX-39 developer.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails toco20.jpg  

  8. #8
    Rob Skeoch's Avatar
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    I had the original years ago and just bought the AF version before Christmas.... I love it. One of the most under-rated cameras out there. I don't care about mid-roll change or polaroids so for me the camera is great. Great lenses and some of the telephotos are selling at a great price.... less than $1000 for a 300mm... compare that to a blad.
    -rob
    Rob Skeoch
    This is my blog http://thepicturedesk.blogspot.com/
    This my website for photo supplies...
    www.bigcameraworkshops.com
    This is my website for Rangfinder gear
    www.rangefinderstore.com

  9. #9

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    Hi Wolfeye

    Welcome to the Pentax 645 club!

    I picked one up on an auction site myself a couple of months ago, and since then I've been having a blast. Should have got one years ago!

    I echo all that has been said thus far - about both the good and bad points. For slide film I too wish it had half or 3rd stop adjustment and aperture clicks, but if I bracket a lot there is always one (or two) in the series that are on the money.

    I actually find the push button interface really intuitive - perhaps my background in push-button slr's helps (my very first camera was the Canon T70 - very similar - and at the time quite revolutionary - push-button control).

    I toyed briefly with the Pentax 6x7 as well (borrowed a friends), but it was 'too much' camera for me. Too big, too heavy, too clunky...
    The 645 image area seems to be about right, and is definitely a step up from 35mm (and digital with a good scanner).

    Perhaps the thing I like most about the 645 (and indeed other medium format film cameras), is the way it makes me slow down when I use it, and really appreciate the 'art' of photography again. Even though I can, and do, hand-hold it, it certainly doesn't promote a 'shoot-from-the-hip' approach to photography in the way that my 30D outfit does.

    I have written more on my experiences recently on my blog www.nzdigital.blogspot.com feel free to take a look.

    Congrats on the purchase. It's a great system, and a lot of fun.

  10. #10
    Palantiri7's Avatar
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    Those 645 slide pics on your blog look great!

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