I'll be interested to study the issue of lens performance. I did a few shots with my AF 80-160 and I didn't see any obvious problems. This will require careful testing, but Pentax has always made really fine lenses at really attractive prices. Their "limited" line for the K-mount are a case in point. They have no trouble making good glass. The real attraction will be the new super-wide Bill talked about, and the weather sealing on new "D" series lenses.
The dedicated lenses, like the Digitars, are phenomenal. No one can seriously expect the Pentax lenses to touch them. But for most of us, the convenience of a point-and-shoot AF field camera way outweigh the quality differences. A little wind will level that playing field in a hurry!Options for the Money
It's interesting how people's perception of value differs. For me, 35mm FF is not a rival to MF. Never will be. First of all, MF just has better IQ. How much better we can debate all day, and whether it is 'better enough' to matter for mass-repro applications is also a question mark. For fine-art prints, MF will always have some edge, especially a low ISO. More important for me in many cases is the shallower D-O-F, which give the 'look' people often talk about.
The 645D is really not a lot more camera physically than a 1DsIII or D3x. So it's more of a horses-for-courses question.
Equally, I would never buy a 'Blad because of the leaf shutters. They make the lenses so FREAKIN HUGE! When I got a trainer this spring I told him my goal was to get six-pack abs and be able to lift the 35-90 (not afford, just lift
). Similarly, I despise Phocus. When I tried to use it last year it was phucking awful. (In fairness, I hear the new version is much better). I feel similarly about C1's "sessions". For me, out-of-camera DNGs are the cat's meow. Not that I am "right" about any of these preferences - for many the 'Blad or Phase might make a ton more sense (ie: any studio shooter). But based on private responses to the article and video, there are a LOT of photographers to whom to (dis)advantages of the Pentax are very attractive.Price
The price is sweet, and dreadful. Ten grand for a camera?
?? Only ten grand for a fully integrated MFDSLR!!!!!! Pick your side. There are enough profligate spenders and idly rich folks to keep the Pentax assembly plant humming for years. 'Blad and Phase have been about as responsive to the marketplace on price as they can be. I still think, however, that the 645D will represent truly market-leading value at the price. There is a real difference b/w the 31MP and the 40MP chip, and you get a really well thought out and user-friendly camera thrown in.
For many, many people, the top-end 35mm cameras, like the 5DII and A900 are everything they need for a fraction of the price. Personally, I think it's wonderful that people without ultra-deep pockets can gain access to that level of image quality. But that will never stop those who can afford it from seeking more.
Can't wait to shoot with it!