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Field Shooting the Pentax 645Z

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Up in the mountains field shooting, writeups follow when I’m back in a week or so.

I’ve been shooting the Pentax 645Z alongside the Nikon D810 in many situations and I’m gaining a solid perspective of the two cameras. Nikon D810 with Zeiss Otus or Pentax 645Z with the excellent 90/2.8? Lots of factors to consider.

Rain-streaked Aspen Trunk
Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8 @ f/8

Bobby N

Beautiful image. My D800E with Zeiss glass just can't evoke texture like that. Darn.

DIGLLOYD: The 90mm f/2.8 on the 645Z is equivalent to a ~72mm lens on a DSLR. So right off that bat the perspective and blur qualities differ by distance/perspective. Second, depth of field is a challenge on the 645Z and the image requires more stopping down (to f/11 or f/16) to make the trunk fully sharp everywhere (e.g., bottom area), and this then diminishes the gorgeous blur differentiation between foreground and background. I shot the entire series from f/2.8 to f/11 and will be showing it all—very interesting stuff IMO.

The 50/2 Makro-Planar is an outstanding lens with some edge and corner rearward field curvature, but only the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon outperforms it in micro contrast, and that difference is very small once stopped down to f/4. So to say the 50/2 cannot produce an image like this is not a premise I am prepared to just agree with offhand, particularly on the Nikon D810. Yes, the 645Z and 90/2.8 are “special”—absolutely and in my view the Pentax 90/2.8 is the lens to have for the 645Z. But one has to A/B shoot to really get a sense of things, and not just one scene.

Next, the appropriate comparison for a $4500 medium format lens is to the Zeiss Otus line (about $3990), so naturally I shot this scene with Otus also.

The question/premise above is of keen interest to me and others, so in my recent field work I’ve made a point of many A/B scenes between the Nikon D810 + Otus and the Pentax 645Z and 90/2.8. These will take time to assess and publish, but by mid September I expect to have have published a goodly number of compelling scenes to investigate this question.

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