While both the autofocus proved responsive and the metering precise – delivering perfectly exposed pictures without need for manual adjustments – the processing speed proved disappointing. The continuous shooting speed is 1.1 frame per second, but the real blow is the painstaking eight seconds the camera takes to write down the files on the memory card and the six or more seconds it takes to display them on the screen.
New lenses are rumoured soon, but the 55mm prime is the only calibrated model currently available
Moreover, the latter can arbitrarily increase to tens of seconds for no obvious reason. As annoying as this is it does not actually affect the camera’s ability to keep shooting, as data writing runs in the background without locking up the camera.
The Pentax 645D image quality is every bit what you’d expect from a medium format camera and maybe more. Pictures are pin sharp and show off beautifully rich textures and exceptional colour gradation. Compared to professional DSLRs, the 645D renders much better detail and smoother tonal transition.
Dynamic range is also terrific, with fine detail in both shadows and highlights. The camera offers a Dynamic-Range Expansion option that increases the natural range to maximise detail in critical areas, but it is seldom needed. Other cool features include a lens correction function to compensate for chromatic aberration and barrel distortion. There’s also pixel mapping that detects and shows defective pixels on screen and a good range of custom image modes like the Vintage Reversal Film, that mimics the high saturation and fashionable characteristics of transparencies.
The 645D has a native ISO range from 200 to 1000 but it can be extended to cover 100 to 1600 ISO. The camera handles noise superbly. Not only because it shows a very minimum amount of noise, at even the highest ISO, but mostly because the quality of its noise is aesthetically far more pleasing and usable than most. At top ISO speeds noise is there but there is very little chromatic noise, and image deterioration only occurs in increased grain, which has the typical soft gritty look of high speed films, as opposed to the odious purple and green specs of high speed digital capture.
The one significant weakness of this camera is its lens range. There is not much use in reaching these peaks of resolution if you don’t produce lenses that deliver that pixel power consistently across the sensor. That’s the reason why leading medium format manufacturers invest equally in both camera bodies and quality lens systems that are carefully calibrated for high-standard digital capture.
Next page: Glass half full?
Then kodakspeak is marketing bollocks
and you should be using the commonly understood meaning of the term.
Nice camera, poor terminology
Looks an excelent piece of kit, but it's not a "full frame" sensor as you suggest. Full frame for a 645 medium format camera would be 60x45mm so that's barely over half frame for this format. That would be similar to calling an APS-C sensor full frame for for a 35mm equivalent DSLR. OK so 60x45mm sensors aren't exactly common, but that's still no reason to call this one full frame.
RE it's a crop sensor
Huh, what issues are those? OK you have an larger lens than is necessary for the sensor size but what else is there? If anything it is often an advantage to use a full image circle lens on a crop sensor, that way you are always getting the sweet spot of the image with much reduced vignetting and a possibly a more even resolution characteristic. Normally it is the non cropped sensors that show the limitations of older lenses.
That's a very nice sensor for a home astronomy setup. :)
Nice camera, nicer review...
So often tech site camera reviews are written by people that are gadget freaks first, and photographers second if at all. This writer is obviously a photographer, and her phrasing and points of inspection on this camera make this a highly worthwhile review. Kudos!
As for the camera, at that price point it is simply stunning. The sample image of the wooden fence disappearing in to the snow fields shows the DOF and detail possible with such an impressive specification and good glass.
This would seem to be a great camera for an aspiring amateur with bit of money, or a pro with little. For them the lack of a large lens selection is not a deterrent - they are not the people that buy a huge number of lenses. Those that can, will buy Leaf and Hasselblad. But for those who lack the money but are willing to spend the time and effort to work within a limited lens choice, this will be a perfect alternative...at least until Pentax can fill out the range. PLEASE Pentax would you do a great ultra wide, preferably rectalinear? (Hint: model it on the Oly 7-14mm!).