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Submitted by Emilio Gonzalez a Professional
Date Reviewed: September 3, 2013
Strengths: Build like a camera should be build, Old School. I am a professional photographer and never liked 35mm cameras. Medium format is the only way to go. The Pentax 645 is my all-time favorite camera to use. I only use it for Black & White film and love the shape lens. I always develop my own film and love to see the large negatives. I use if for all types of photo work, landscapes, architecture, portrait, you name it this camera can do it. I have used if for night work on a tripod with a cable release, with great results.
Weaknesses: Lots of people talk about weaknesses of the Pentax 645 however if you are a pro and love cameras there are no weaknesses about this camera. One just has to learn to work with what you got; that means taking your time, slowing down to think about your photograph.
Pentax designed it to fit in your hand perfectly. It’s a little heavy but It feels like a real fine crafted instrument.
I have 2 bodies with 4 120 backs and a 75mm & a 50mm lens.
Price Paid: $350.00
Purchased At: Etsy
Type of photography: Fine Art
Submitted by Axle a Expert
Date Reviewed: April 21, 2010
Strengths: - Several good lenses available, and cheaper
- Accepts both 120 and 220 rolls, with the proper inserts
- Grip is standard
- You can still very easily get film for this camera
Weaknesses: - Big, it's a heavy beast
- No full Manual Mode
- No Waist finder, some people may find this a weakness
- No Exposure Lock
- unable to change film mid roll, inserts rather than magazines.
If you're looking for a moderately priced medium format SLR, that's easy and fun to use, look no further than the Pentax 645. This beast of a camera is probably the one I have the most fun using.
For those looking to break into a Medium Format SLR, this is the camera for you, it's perfect for beginners, or even experts who want to get back into Medium format. Using the popular 6x4.5 format for the exposures, it maximizes the number of images per roll without loosing quality (16 shots per 120 roll, 32 per 220 roll). As mentioned, this camera accepts both types of medium format film, 120 and 220 with the proper film inserts.
When it comes to handling the 645 is great, the grip is standard as is the eye level finder (there isn't a waist level option for the 645 as the camera is one integrated unit), although there is a noticeable weight to the camera, it is still very easy to carry with you and shoot with, just get a better strap for it, the stock one hurts the neck after about an hour.
In a sentence....
The Pentax 645 is easy to use, perfect for beginners and experts looking for a well priced Medium Format SLR system.
Duration Product Used: 6-10 years
Price Paid: $300.00
Purchased At: BelArte Camera
Similar Products Used: Mamyia 645
Rolleiflex Planar 2.8F
Type of photography: Other
Submitted by Lthlwpn1979 a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: September 28, 2005
Strengths: Relativly cheap
Rugged build, balanced
Easy to learn
I still drool over my Velvia 50 slides!
Weaknesses: Film winding and DOF button a bit noisy.
Can't change film midroll.
Maintenance not the cheapest, take good care of it.
This camera was my first experience with meduim format and I must say it has been great. The controls are easy to learn, the camera has good balance, takes common size (AA) batteries, is rugged but is not as heavy as it looks.
The manual Pentax lenses are faily cheap on the used market selling for $200-$400 each. Not bad considering the prices for new autofocus lenses. This camera DOES have mirror lockup. You have to take the lens off the camera (or camera off lens if I'm using my Pentacon 500mm) and move the mirror up by hand, then it will lock into place.
The viewfinder is bright except for some macro shots. The depth-of-field preview is a bit noisy but is extreamly valuable. The film backs can't be changed midroll but I find I go through 15 shots fast enough that I don't need to.
Since the image area for a 645 camera is 2.5x larger than 35mm, you could make a print well over 2' by 2' and have a crisp image.
For the cost of a new 120 camera and one lens I have built a system with 5 lenses and a ringlight flash. Take that to the bank.
Duration Product Used: 2-5 years
Price Paid: $450.00
Purchased At: used (5th or 6th han
Similar Products Used: 55mm lens
120mm macro lens
Pentacon 500mm lens (old, rugged, cheap)
Sunpak DX-12R ringflash
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by bloody a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: January 6, 2005
Strengths: - Price at used market
- Built-in prism, side grip, and motorized film advance.
- Dual tripod socket
Weaknesses: - diopter get moved very easily (minor)
First of all, I never shoot digital (and I don't see I will in the coming 10 years...). The insert desing is just fine for me. I like the overall ergonomics of the camera. I choose this over the new Mamiya 645E for the following reasons:
1) side grip built-in (I don't need to pay extra)
2) motorized film advance (I just like it...)
3) Flash TTL (It's primitive, yet useful if needed)
4) Dual tripod socket (you don't need an L -bracket, just get two QR plates. I use RRS and Kirk plates).
It doesn't not have MLU, and so far I don't see motion blur due to mirror vibration. Some complain the push-button control. I believe it's just something I get used to. In some sense, I try not to apply what I learned from my Canon EOS 3 manual to this camera. I simply learn the camera from scratch.
TTL is just so accurate!! I use spot meter constantly for landscape and I find that the TTL meter is very reliable.
Used lenses are avaialble at very reasonable price and they are all superb performers!!
Duration Product Used: 6-10 years
Price Paid: $280.00
Purchased At: KEH (bargin, body on
Similar Products Used: Kiev 60 (not recommended unless you like to fix cameras by yourself...)
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by Phil Flashsync a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: May 23, 2004
Strengths: Excellent build quality compared to new Mamiya 645e, even though the Pentax is 10+ years old.
Used lenses are sharp and cheap.
Reliable, not much heavier than a Nikon F5 and gives you 3 times the image size.
Weaknesses: Push button shutter speed selection is a pain -- buttons too small.
Lack of AE lock send you into manual all the time.
Inserts instead of film backs, but at this price you can buy another body for the price of most hassy, Contax, or Mamamiya backs.
Takes 6 AA battereies and battery holder is just a little tricky to use.
Now that DSLRs are here, medium format cameras are cheap on the used market. That's good for people like me who want to dabble with 645.
For a hobbyist like myself, no better cheaper way into medium format SLR interchangeable lens photography.
I knock off a couple of stars for the push buttons and the lack of an AE lock. But if not for the cheap used prices on this camera, I couldn't afford medium format SLR photography so it's a f5 stars for value.
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Price Paid: $500.00
Purchased At: used classifieds
Similar Products Used: Mamiya 645.
Type of photography: People
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