Pentax 645 vs Mamiya 645

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by andrew_tatnell, Aug 5, 1997.

  1. I am considering buying either a pentax or mamiya 645. Independant information about the pentax is particularly hard to find. Can anyone point me towards good reviews or provide information/opinion on these cameras?
     
  2. I beleive that both cameras are similar in spec - neither is a leaf
    shutter design, and both have good metering options (I believe that
    Pentax has the edge there though). Pentax of course does not accept
    removable backs, which is a setback. I am not sure whether you can
    remove the Pentax prism - if not that would be IMO a bigger drawback
    as a waist level finder is a great aid to composition. I believe
    that the Pentax also has TTL flash, which Mamiya are just about to
    add to the 645.

    <p>

    For better details than I can give you, both www.mamiya.com and
    www.pentax.com give a lot of good information about both camera
    ranges. The MF newsgroup also posesses a contributor Danny Gonzalez
    who regularly posts comparative reviews on MF equipment. Go to
    www.dejanews.com and search for Gonzalez and 645 and I'm sure
    you'll find something useful.
     
  3. I can comment on the Pentax 645, but only give a few remarks on the Mamiya 645 since I do not own one. Both the P645 and the M645 Pro are fine, versatile cameras. If you want interchangeable backs or low cost polaroid capability, then the Mamiya is THE choice between these two cameras. The P645 does not possess these particular features.

    <p>

    The Pentax does not have interchangeable viewfinders, but it does have an excellent right angle view attachment. In awkward positions you can rotate this viewfinder to a more comfortable position. Speaking of viewfinders, some eyeglass wearers have complained that the P645 does not have enough eye relief. The diopter eyepiece setting also tends to move on you, so you have to watch its placement occasionally.

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    I personally prefer groundglass as my only focussing aid, however the P645 has several interchangeable screens, of which I find the grid screen (UG-20) the most useful. Focussing is easy since the view is bright and contrasty.

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    The metering is lower center-weighted and covers most situations.
    The most sensitive metering location is one-third up from the bottom center of the viewscreen. However, I would like a built in spotmeter which the Mamiya 645 has - it would be more convenient. The metering sensitivity is from EV 3 to 19. This isn't as good as most 35mm SLRs, but it's adequate for most lighting situations.

    <p>

    The lenses of the P645 are very well made and give sharp, contrasty images. You can also attach many P67 lenses and still have aperture priority automation. However, the Mamiya lens line is quite extensive so one can't say Pentax is better than Mamiya in lens selection.
    I have one additional comment on the depth of focus scales on Pentax 645 lenses. IMHO, Pentax uses a rather generous calculation on how much depth of field you have for a given aperture. For example, on the 45mm lens, the depth of field at F/22 is from 4 feet to infinity. IMHO, 6 feet to infinity gives better foreground to background sharpness, especially if you do enlargements.

    <p>

    The P645 is, IMHO, a rugged camera built more for field use than for studio use. I've *ahem* had my camera fall down with my tripod several feet landing on some rocks, in the middle of an autumn rainstorm. I wiped down the camera with a clean cloth since it had mud and water on the pentaprism and left side. Fortunately, no water seeped between the lens mount and body. The camera landed on its pentaprism so the lens was spared, but there are scrapes on top.
    Functionally, I've had absolutely no problems at all since that heart-skipping morning last year.

    <p>

    Both Metz and of course Pentax flashes work with the P645 TTL
    flash mode. Rumor has it that Metz exaggerates its guide numbers more than Pentax, but this is just a rumor.

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    Basically, the biggest limitation in my photography has been myself; the Pentax 645 is more than adequate for a creative person who does landscape and nature photography. However, the Mamiya 645 may be a better studio camera, and many fine nature photographers also use it.

    <p>

    G.
     
  4. After 11 years of use, I concur with Mr. Cheng regarding the versatility and ruggedness of the Pentax 645. The meter is very good and seems a cut above most MF systems on slide film, IMHO. The lens DOF markings seem to be calibrated to produce the sharpness level required for an 8x10 print, so for greater enlargements set the hyperfocal distance and use an aperature 1 or 2 stops smaller than indicated.
     

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