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Author Topic: New to medium format - Is it a Pentax 645 a good option?  (Read 1065 times)

eriksatie

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New to medium format - Is it a Pentax 645 a good option?
« on: March 25, 2019, 07:19:18 pm »

It's a lot that I don't shoot film, but I have a basic understanding of manual shooting with films. I'd like the idea to start shooting medium format film, just to experiment, but I don't want to invest to much just to try if I like it.

I've found in my town a used Pentax 645 with a 45mm 2.8 lens for 180€.

I really have no experience with this kind of equipment, so I'm asking:
1) is it a good camera? could be good to start with?
2) how about the price?
3) how about the lens? it is the same as a 45mm for a 35mm camera?
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JaapD

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Re: New to medium format - Is it a Pentax 645 a good option?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2019, 10:12:31 am »

Are you aware that 120 roll fil is not cheap these days, especially processing and printing.
For 645 a 80mm lens is seen as a ‘normal’ lens The 45mm lens is a wide angle lens, translating into a 28mm lens in 35mm photography.
The price seems OK, but you haven’t told us anything about its condition. If it’s worn out to the bone then it’s not cheap.
I can only speak for myself but a 645 film camera only with an 45mm lens, combined with expensive film processing would be of no use to me. I would leave it at the seller.

Regards,
Jaap.
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eriksatie

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Re: New to medium format - Is it a Pentax 645 a good option?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2019, 12:00:15 pm »

the idea would be to scan the films with an Epson V800, that I have, so the price of printing is not an issue. But I'm aware of the limitation of having just one lens. Condition are said to be fine, except for a rare issue that cause a small portion of the image to be underexposed. The seller says that could be due to the shutter.

Maybe would be better to find a deal for a camera with a better lens kit? what could be a good lens kit for a 645?

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pschefz

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Re: New to medium format - Is it a Pentax 645 a good option?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2019, 12:25:52 pm »

each frame of 120 film processed and probably low res scan included comes to out 2$ these days....every time you hit the shutter it costs you 2$...keep that in mind....any camera that "sometimes might underexpose part of a frame" just isn't worth it....
you can pick up the camera you want and like and dream of on eBay or other places....maybbe it costs more like 400$ but in the end that is a few rolls of film difference....
there is a lot that can not work properly with old cameras and lenses....going with eBay at least helps making sure you don't get screwed right away...trying to have old equipment fixed can be difficult and expensive or impossible....
shooting film is great, lots of labs popping up processing film again, most now offer processing plus scan (instead of contact sheets) most have different levels of scan quality....V800 is ok but you can probably get a better scan from the lab included with processing....
one roll per week for a year still comes out to 1000$....it is not cheap....
a friend of mine who (like me) started his career with film and always shot pentax 67 stepped up to 4x5 really quick for a fine art film project and now only shoots 8x10 because even the 6x7 quality does not make much sense compared with modern digital....be prepared to shoot 645 (like 35mm) more for the film effect then actual quality.....
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MattBurt

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Re: New to medium format - Is it a Pentax 645 a good option?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2019, 01:02:21 pm »

I have a 645 and also that 45mm lens (as well as others). It's a fine system and I still use mine when I want to shoot some Velvia or T-Max.
It sounds like that one has a shutter issue and chances are it will not improve on its own. I'd skip it but for a good copy the price sounds reasonable. The 75mm prime was the "kit" lens and is also a good performer. The 35mm is really a great sharp lens and I use my old manual one on my 645D quite a lot still.
The exposure compensation is only adjustable in one stop increments, so that can be a little ham fisted when you just need a little but I find it workable. I think the 645 N has more granular exposure compensation and the N II has auto focus.
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smthopr

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Re: New to medium format - Is it a Pentax 645 a good option?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2019, 06:11:30 pm »

the idea would be to scan the films with an Epson V800, that I have, so the price of printing is not an issue. But I'm aware of the limitation of having just one lens. Condition are said to be fine, except for a rare issue that cause a small portion of the image to be underexposed. The seller says that could be due to the shutter.

Maybe would be better to find a deal for a camera with a better lens kit? what could be a good lens kit for a 645?
If I were going to get a medium format camera, I would choose at a minimum 6x6, 6x7 or 6x9.  I mean, once you're going for bigger than 35mm, you might as well go as big as you can.  Especially scanning on your Epson flatbed scanner.

My medium format cameras are 6x9 Fuji Rangefinder cameras, which shoot an negative twice as large as the 4.5x6 Pentax that you are considering.  I don't think I'd bother with medium format for just a 4.5x6 negative.  Just one guy's experience :)
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eriksatie

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Re: New to medium format - Is it a Pentax 645 a good option?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2019, 03:02:33 pm »

If I were going to get a medium format camera, I would choose at a minimum 6x6, 6x7 or 6x9.  I mean, once you're going for bigger than 35mm, you might as well go as big as you can.  Especially scanning on your Epson flatbed scanner.

My medium format cameras are 6x9 Fuji Rangefinder cameras, which shoot an negative twice as large as the 4.5x6 Pentax that you are considering.  I don't think I'd bother with medium format for just a 4.5x6 negative.  Just one guy's experience :)

Thanks, I also was thinking about it... is the average cost for a used body + lens much higher?
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Telecaster

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Re: New to medium format - Is it a Pentax 645 a good option?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2019, 03:33:54 pm »

IMO for 180€ a Pentax 645 + 45/2.8 in proper working order is a great intro to film medium format. You can always try out 6x6 or 6x9 cameras later on if you enjoy 6x4.5. If you like the Pentax camera I'd recommend looking for a 75/2.8 to pair up with the 45mm. The 75mm is the "standard" lens in the system and is also a fine performer.

-Dave-
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KDINDC

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Re: New to medium format - Is it a Pentax 645 a good option?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2019, 02:08:49 pm »

I am a Pentax 645Z shooter and tried a P645 a few years ago for the film experience. For me, if going for a legacy camera, I'd perfer one that is totally manual.  I had some issues with the motorized film advance, so returned the camera.  From FB groups, I know that are many wedding photographers that use the P645.  So, my version may have been a lemon.  I've own a Mamiya C330S TLR for over 30 years.  If I were recommending a camera for the first MF film experience, I'd recommend the C330.  It may be a little cheaper than the P645 too.
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