on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Pentax 645z

A User's Review Part One

Guy Aubertin

Berkshire based photographer and fundraiser.


(This is not a technical review - that has already been done brilliantly elsewhere (herehere and here) This article is I hope the start of a rolling users review of the camera - from a landscape photographers perspective. No walls will be harmed in the making of this review. Or family pets.)

Some background

My love affair with Pentax started just as I was getting into photography, back in 2003, with the venerable Canon D60. As soon as I had bought the camera and a huge 1Gb microdrive CF card (!) I was introduced to a Pentax 67. This large, awkward beast of a camera just had something about it that the small, plastic body of the Canon did not. It looked like a proper camera, it sounded like a thunderclap and the chromes that came out were an eye opener. Using those large, metal and bitingly sharp lenses was a joy. Yet it was a brute. So I moved to wearing the hair shirt of Large Format instead (thanks to Joe C!)

Nevertheless I kept my eye on Pentax, it's demise and subsequent merger with Hoya and then purchase by Ricoh in 2011. I have always had a soft spot for the brand and several years ago purchased a 67ii with an assortment of lenses.

Sadly it didn't quite bite me as it had back in 2003. The quality of digital had moved on and I frankly I had become seduced by the ease of the digital workflow. Rumours circulated that Pentax/Hoya/Ricoh would be introducing a low priced (relatively) entry into the full frame market. This quickly moved to being a medium format sensor, formally the exclusive realm of medium format backs. Intrigued I followed the story for 5 years until 2010 when the the 645D was launched. The online world, particularly landscape, portrait and studio photographers were significantly interested in this development. Did Pentax finally have a good value winner? Not exactly.


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