Thank you Nick for your in-depth review.
Your delight with the 645D's feel, only adds to my excitement! I do believe Pentax may be changing the playing field and all I can say is: "It's about time!" My name is on B&H's waiting list and my credit card has been paid-off, so please Pentax, make it happen soon! I love my Pentax 67II and the quality of the lenses I have for it. My Pentax 67II is the only MF film camera I have retained since making the digital transition.
I am no stranger to MF digital and have been trying to find my fit. My background in photography started in the early '80s as a commercial shooter with 4x5" + chromes. It certainly was a different world back then in regards to the ease of producing finely-focused details and DOF. Today, many of us have experienced disappointment with our MF digital gear when it comes to these areas. Thank you for referring readers to Mark Dubovoy's recent review, as most of us have seen these type of conclusions too many times for it not to be addressed publicly.
If I am in the studio shooting tethered, it is not so hard to tweak the focus. But, on a recent landscape shoot in Iceland, I found my D700 out-performed my Alpa Max + Schneider 47xl in regards to sharpness. For me, the industry failed to disclose the dirty details when using the current batch of Helicon mounted DIGITAL lenses, so let me publicly disclose a truth that may save frustrations and disappointments: Throw the technical precision referenced on these lenses out the window!!*
Stupid me used the 47xl Helicon lens like I have with other Helicon mounted lenses in the past--which did produce wonderfully, sharp results. I did test the Max + 47xl + P45 prior to Iceland in the studio and got excellent results, but I did not test for Helicon-focusing--instead, opted for the ridiculous notion that it was going to be easy to 'face the elements' in Iceland since I sprung my hard-earned cash on this expensive Helicon lens.
In the end, I wasted time, energy, money, and opportunities when I made a bunch of out-of-focused images.
This is the BIGGEST & Most Expensive Disappointment
I have experienced with gear EVER!!.
Thank you Schneider, Alpa and vendor for keeping me in the dark. Just a single piece of paper with updated technical details about the misconfiguration of the current Helicon mount + digital sensor would have been sufficient-- a single piece of paper to follow the US $3,500+ lens purchase is too much to ask for? NOTE to industry: When a photographer purchases this specialized lens, they WILL shoot with the Helicon technique or they would not have spent the thousands of dollars on it!! Have I lost confidence in this industry or with these vendors? Take a guess!! I hope Pentax puts the MF industry on its head!!
Thank you again and I hope you see my rantings as "education for the masses."
*The industry is now responding with some type of add-on plastic ring to reset the focusing reference with this same Helicon mount lens, but I feel I was ripped off when I was not told upfront prior to my purchase.