645 vs. 35mm?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by stradibarrius, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    If I decided to give the 645 a try would I find that anything was lost in comparison to the 35mm in practical use. Landscapes, travel, product photography?
    The Pentax 645N is so reasonably priced now that I have been seriously thinking about giving it a try.

    This is one of those questions where I may not be asking the right question. I am a digital shooter that started shooting 35mm and now i am thinking about
    MF.
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Nothing lost. Well, almost nothing. The 645 lenses will seem a wee bit slower, typically, and AF is not what you may be accustomed to in 35mm. TTL metering is also a bit primitive compared to what you find in typical 35mm systems (unless you plop down big bucks for the latest mamiya 645 afd3)

    But that's about it. The aspect ratio is a delight (for me at least) and there are many superb lenses and superb bodies available at low cost.

    My current 645 love affair is the mamiya 645 pro. I also have an afd and like it too, but the pro looks like a mini rb, it is cute, much smaller, and more fun to use.
     
  3. You will be missing those pesky little plastic film containers that you keep coins in for toll booths.

    Steve
     
  4. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    I still use 35mm for low light photography because of the greater DOF and faster lenses. Everything else is either medium or large format.
     
  5. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    I've got everything from Pentax LX to Nikon D200/300 and F5 gear in 35mm to a 4x5 but lately my Pentax 645n has became my favorite camera to use as it is so transparent to the image-making process.

    You don't give up anything at all in metering with the P645n with its extremely accurate matrix, spot and centerweighted choices. It also has an OTF sensor for dedicated flash. You do sacrifice daylight flash-sync speed (max 1/60s sync) with the focal plane shutter, although several leaf shutter lenses may be used with it up to 1/500s sync. Shutter lag is significant (~250 ms) so it's not ideal for fast moving subject matter.

    I find the ergonomics superior to my Nikon F5 (weight is nearly identical). I put a little Q/R padded handstrap on it for my left hand, focus with just a single finger. With it's well-damped mirror I find it handholdable for tack-sharp results to ridiculously-slow speeds like 1/8s when using the manual focus SMCP-A 35mm f/3.5 (common but excellent 21mm equivalent that's a super bargain at ~$300 these days. This is the only lens I have for it to date).

    Changing preloaded film inserts is faster and easier than reloading the F5 or LX in the field. The viewfinder is also bigger and brighter than anything in 35mm (and this includes my Pentax LX, though its FB1/FC1 sportsfinder is much slicker for low angle macro work).

    Macro and tele, 35mm and APS-C digital (and VR lenses) have an edge, but for big prints from W/As it's the first camera I grab when headed out the door.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2009
  6. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    So it would seem that there is absolutely no reason that both formats cannot coexist in a photographer's gadget bag. They did in mine until I used the 645 Mamiya setup to fund a jump to 4x5. Now I have 35mm and 4x5 together. 35mm has become more of a snapshot kind of thing. I truly try to apply more technical controls on the 4x5. Not to say I don't do that with 35mm, just my decisions with the larger/slower format are a bit more deliberate. And that's a good thing.
     
  7. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    The thing that basically caused me to sell out of 645 (or 6x6) was the size of the camera, not that it's all that large. It was just something that I wouldn't pickup and walk around with when I could grab my faster shooting 35mm. If I don't shoot the 35 I'm going slow and contemplative with LF. The middle ground was just too bland for me.
    Generally you have to try it to see if it's for you. Some love it, some dump it like me. For landscapes and travel, sure why not. For product, naw.
     
  8. chrism

    chrism Member

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    I don't find 645 enough of a step up in image quality to really be worthwhile. I think 6x7 is the way to go if you don't like the square format. I'm currently trying to sell my Bronica ETRSi.
     
  9. What he said. I pack my Hasselblad and two Nikon SLRs. With all the lenses, filters ... I think of it as my fitness program.

    Steve
     
  10. david b

    david b Member

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    I am really bothered by 35mm film and love using 120 film, so any medium format is good for me. Guess that's why I just added a 645 camera to my bag.
     
  11. raizans

    raizans Member

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    i don't really like the size and weight of medium format slrs, although the image quality of 6x4.5 is great and there are several medium format slrs that i like as objects: the original pentax 6x7, early hasselblad 500cm, rollei 6008i, and the last mockups of the pentax 645d before it got canned.

    a couple years ago, i decided to wait for a dslr under 1kg that can make finely detailed 13x19 prints. the new generation of 21+ mp dslrs meets my criteria. for larger prints, i'd rather shoot large format or mfdb.

    that said, pentax 645's are the only medium format slrs that don't weight as much as a brick, and they cost a lot less than a canon 5dmkii or sony a900 (or the upcoming nikon d700x). go for it!
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The only things I miss are 36 shots per roll (remedied if you use 220 Tri-X or color), fast lenses (there is an 80mm f/1.9, however), and the 1.5:1 aspect ratio. It is also not as fast to load (unless you preload inserts/backs), and your film is more at risk of accident via dropping, light leaks, etc. They also have less depth of field for a given angle of view, and are harder to critically focus, IMO.

    I use it for different subjects than those for which I use 35mm, however, so no direct comparison can really be made.

    What I really find annoying is that there is a better selection of tilt and/or shift lenses for 35mm than for medium format. There are almost no circumstances in which I want to use tilt/shift with 35mm, but I want to use at least a tiny bit of shift with almost every shot with medium format on a tripod. I guess I am spoiled by using a view camera.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2009
  13. Joe Grodis

    Joe Grodis Member

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    I really enjoy 35 mm with my Nikon F5, 120 is swell With the Mamiya 645... But My new love with the Mamiya RB-67 Pro-S (6 x 7) is amazing,
     
  14. OP
    OP
    stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    Joe, funny you should say that about the RB67 Pro-s...I walked into the camera store yesterday to get some film for my F100 and on the shelf was an RB67 Pro-s body. We haggled and I walked out with it. So now I have one too!
    I just have to figure out how to use it!
     
  15. For a manual go to
    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/mamiya/mamiya_rb67_pro-s/mamiya_rb67_pro_s.htm

    Steve
     
  16. OP
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    stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    Thanks Steve, I did that yesterday and it is a good manual! it stepped me right through everything.