Pentax 645d vs 5Dmk2

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by miles_hecker, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. Part 1 of my Pentax 645D review is now online.

    In part 1 there are some 5Dmk2 vs 645D comparison shots.
    All input is welcome.

    Part 2, the field test "From Blizzard to Desert" will be here in the next several days.
  2. Thanks for the first part of your comparative review, Miles. I'm looking forward to part two.
    It very well underscores the wisdom of my decision to buy a 5DII, which has left me alot of cash for lenses! :)
  3. The Pentax wins hands down. That's why the 1Ds IV and the D4x have to come with a reduced price or else.
  4. On my monitor I can't tell the difference.
  5. I did a quick A/B comparison in Photoshop by pasting the 5DII images on top of the 645D images, with the 5D images uprezzed to match the same size as the 645D. You can then toggle between the two and the differences are readily apparent.
    The difference is quite dramatic in the outdoor images, not as much so in the indoor studio images. Which lenses and what shooting apertures did you use in the comparison? Do you think the lens choice had any impact?
  6. No 24mmx36mm sensor will ever be able to compete with a same generation 44mmx33mm sensor. That is just a fact.
    At 1452mm² it is a whopping 170% the size of the 864mm² of the 5D MkII, which itself puts a 7D's 329mm² in perspective. It is like the difference between a 1D MkIII and a 1Ds MkIII.
    Now when is your 7D, or 5D MkII not good enough? And, if you want higher image quality, are you prepared to put in the effort to realise the potential of the Pentax? If you don't use good tripods, mirror lock up, cable release etc then you are not getting the best out of the camera you own, let alone the Pentax. If you want to handhold, use very long teles, need AF that can cope with birds in flight, need fast fps, are happy with decent sized prints or web output etc etc then the smaller cameras are your tool. If you want better image quality within those situations that the Pentax can deliver then the bigger camera will deliver.
    My heart wanted a Pentax, but the honest realisation that I rarely needed the better image quality and the, one camera does all, functionality of a 1Ds MkIII made more sense for me.
    Miles' images, here on, are the best example of the kind of images that the Pentax will shine, and the better image quality will show. Landscape shooters will really benefit from this camera
  7. How many Pentax lenses have image stabilization?
    How many tilt/shift lenses are there in the Pentax collection?
    Does the Pentax have long lenses for sports and wildlife shooting?
    Small format cameras have a lot of advantages.
    That's not to say that I wouldn't enjoy a reasonably priced MF digital, though. :)
  8. Dan,
    My point exactly, not only do our smaller cameras have a lot of advantages, but also how often is the image quality from them not good enough? Certainly for the majority of people the 5D MkII is a much more useful camera, for a very few though, the Pentax is vastly superior.
  9. I wouldn't mind having a 645D, but then I'd have to hold off on buying a new car. Besides, I rarely need mural sized prints. 95% of my keeper images are downrezzed for website galleries, so my 5D2 is total overkill. My ultra keepers number only dozen or so annually and prints are only 8x12 to 12x18. If I won MegaBucks and I could afford a house with more wall space and I might try a few murals...
  10. boz


    That 645D is so droolsome, but my god how much will it cost?
  11. Miles,
    Thanks for posting your test.
    The camera is available, body only for $10,000.
    I can understand the appeal of this camera for nature or studio photographers who desire large prints. The question is how large a print does one have to make to see a difference.
    Imaging-Resource has samples of their studio shots so you can compare the results versus many other cameras.
  12. For the studio shot, the camera makers 100mm macro lens was used on each camera.
    For the outdoor shot the Canon 24-70mm lens was used on the 5Dmk2 and the Pentax 45mm-85mm lens was used on the 645D.
    The Canon shots were all taken an aperture of f8. The Pentax shots were all taken at an aperture of f11.
    You begin to see a real difference in prints at 24"x36", at 30"x40" the difference is huge.
  13. Scott, Dan, and Peter have all added my opening point, but somewhat less obliquely.
    The 5DII's performance seems all the more outstanding when compared to that of the MF Pentax, with it's larger sensor and greater resolution. While nobody would have expected these cameras to deliver "equivalent" IQ, the 5DII stacks up suprisingly well. I thought the differences between them would be more evident even at smaller image sizes.
    And when you take in to consideration Canon's vastly superior range of lenses, and the superior metering and AF systems of the 5DII, not to mention its greater versatility, bodies such as the Pentax 645D will remain for most of us a source of curiosity, and not viable photographic tools.
  14. For the record, there are at least two technical problems encountered when doing comparisons between formats:
    1. If one sample has to be up- or down-rezzed to "match" the characteristics of the other, a variable has been introduced to the comparison that is not insignificant and which becomes potentially part of the explanation for the difference.
    2. Comparisons at 100% are essentially meaningless in real world terms. I won't go into the explanation unless someone really wants to hear it.
    The most valid technical comparison is a "real world" one. For example, shooting with best practices and roughly equivalent technique with both systems, using optimized post-processing work-flow, make prints from both at the same size and compare. Odds are that at relatively small size (say 12" x 18") there will be no significant and perhaps no perceptible differences. If that is your target print size then get the less expensive system if the technical performance is your only concern.
    If your target output is jpg images displayed on the web, do the same sort of test and compare that output. If your target output is really big prints, use the same workflow and prepare something like 30" x 40" prints from both and compare. There is a point at which format size will most definitely have a significant effect on image quality - I can pretty much predict the results of the 30" x 40" comparison, for example - but most people are never going to make prints that large.
    It is also very important to keep in mind the practicalities of the systems being compared. For example, if your shooting style relies a lot on very long focal lengths, fast burst mode, being able to work quickly with relatively light and flexible equipment, shoot in low light, one system will be more likely to get you the photos you are after. On the other hand, if you work slowly from the tripod, tend to not push extra long or short focal lengths, regularly push enlargement sizes to the limit and so forth, another system might do a far better job of getting your the best results.
    It is less about "picking the winner" between the two formats and far more about understanding what each does particularly well when it comes to the way your shoot.
    For my part, a 645Dd-like camera would be a wonderful tool for a certain percentage of my work, but it would not completely replace a 5D2-like camera for certain other parts of my work.
  15. Miles, thank you for that review. I'm looking forward to part II. If you don't mind one comment. I've fount it to be very hard to judge dynamic range from ACR, since its default black clipping level is set insanely high. But even with that, you've got something weird going on, involving a form of "pattern noise" in your 5D II. That's not the sRaw banding problem, it's a different banding problem, and Canon does have a hardware fix. HTP brings it out, though, if you're using that, it's the biggest obstacle in the way of decent shadows on a 5d II.
    That aside, the level of detail certainly makes the 645D image stand out.
    Eduardo Cervantes - The Pentax wins hands down. That's why the 1Ds IV and the D4x have to come with a reduced price or else.​
    The 645D doesn't compete with cameras like the 1Ds IV or D3x. Even 1Ds III and D3x have a lot more processing speed, higher frame rates, and better autofocus than 645D. Not to mention 100% viewfinders and liveview. From an electronics standpoint, 645D is equivalent to a 5D II, a camera about 1/4 its price. And, as Dan South pointed out, the Nikon and Canon lens lines trounce the Pentax 645 line.
    Larry H shone That 645D is so droolsome​
    Then I guess it's a good thing that Pentax added weather sealing. ;) ;) ;)
    Scott Ferris - No 24mmx36mm sensor will ever be able to compete with a same generation 44mmx33mm sensor. That is just a fact.​
    It's also a fact that no MF sensor in 33x44, 36x48, or even 40x53 is even within 4 generations of the 24x36mm sensors that Nikon and Canon is using. Kodak and DALSA take essentially no interest in the MF market: their sensors are developed to the requirements of their aerospace customers, and Blad, P1, Pentax, and Leica get really, really old "leftovers".
    Scott Ferris, again - If you don't use good tripods, mirror lock up, cable release etc then you are not getting the best out of the camera you own, let alone the Pentax.​
    Or you have a decent studio flash system.
  16. "It's also a fact that no MF sensor in 33x44, 36x48, or even 40x53 is even within 4 generations of the 24x36mm sensors "
    That is simply not true Joseph, 3 generations would take a comparison of the 645D to the 1Ds (original) and 4 generations would compare the Pentax to the D60 (the Canon one not the Nikon one or the 60D). That the focus of development for these sensors might not be regular photographic imaging is true, but there is no doubt they are far from "leftovers", just look at the DR in the linked shot, the 5D MkII is good, the 645D is very clearly better.
  17. I've printed crops from each from raw files at the Imaging Resource. On HM Photorag 308, the difference is visible at 16x20. It becomes large at 20x30. The Pentax simply looks more real, natural...almost like you're there. The Canon at 20x30 is OK.
  18. boz


    10 grand, jesus! Lottery camera. With that kind of camera tho you won't be worrying about AF! Its not a camera for quick
  19. And FWIW, the autofocus on the 645D is excellent, probably the equal in accuracy, if not more so, than the 5D2. Likewise, the metering of the 645D is superior, in my opinion, to the 5D2. I've looked at a number of TIF and RAW files from the 645D, as well as comparison files from a friend, who owns and shoots with both cameras. The 645D is clearly superior in all respects and it is still outstanding at 1600 ISO. The comment regarding the quality and generational backwardness of the 645D sensor is pure BS.
  20. Worth a look.
  21. boz


    Pity Canon never got into MF!
  22. There were several comments like "I don't need mural sized prints".
    I'm sort of at the other end of the spectrum. I often pour 41.5mp into an 8x10. That's the native "cell" resolution of a 2880 dpi Epson, and yes, you can tell the difference between that and a good 360dpi (10.3mp, cropped from a 12mp 3:2 shot) or 300dpi (7.2mp) shot. If you look at the resolutions...
    • 300dpi = 5.9 line pairs/mm
    • 360dpi = 7.1 line pairs/mm
    • 720dpi = 14.1 line pairs/mm
    I've take good "way beyond 40mp" source images (from stitching, and from 4x5 film scans), knocked it down to 7.2, 10.3, and 41.5mp, and printed the three files to the best of my ability, and was amazed that most "civilians" had no trouble telling the difference, and they often made up their own terms trying to describe the 720 print. They draw you in, you want to get closer than the 25cm (elbows at 90 degrees) criteria often used in optics. Sort of like the first time you see a well shot 8x10 contact print.
    If I had a camera that took a good 40mp single shot, I'd use that resolution constantly, even on 8x10 prints.
  23. Wow, before you know it someone will compare the image quality of a 35mm negative with that of a 120 negative...
  24. Wow, before you know it someone will say something totally nonconstructive and bordering on rude... Oh wait...
  25. Pity Canon never got into MF!​
    But they have!
  26. Miles (wow, you posted your review 5 separate times on!),
    Your information regarding the Hasselblad H3D in cold temperatures is very inaccurate. I regularly shoot in well below freezing temps with the H3D (and the H2 prior) without any failure. In fact, I did my ice fishermen series on frozen lakes and rivers exclusively with the H3DII39.
    I have plenty of other snow/ice photographs, obviously made in very inclement weather conditions. I have used the H2 in temps around -18F, sadly, I failed to function, not the H camera. I have worked with the H in temps as high as 114F, no issues.
    The 32 degree temp rating from Hasselblad is the Kodak sensor temp rating specified by Kodak.
    Please correct your otherwise good review and thank you for posting it. Be well.
    Kind regards,
    Derek Jecxz
  27. 5D owners that sprout the merits of a smaller camera/sensor over the Pentax would be quick to point out, I'm sure, the advantages their 5D has over a 7D with a 'DX' sized sensor. Why didn't you save the money and buy the smaller 'crop' sensor? Of course the Pentax is going to produce better images in the right situation, just not every situation.
  28. let me clairfy what problem i had withmy H3D-39 not the newer H3D2-39, which is a totally diifent back then the original 39 was. sure it used the same sensor, but the colling system, etc was changed, ie no internal fan.
    My H3d39 back would no turn on in 17 degree weather. When i contacted haselblad support they told me that system was only rated to'work at 32 degrees. i cant comment on the H3D2 system, i know the H4D system though still rated at freezing does work in cold weather i saw it myself in Yosemite this winter in cold weather.
    so i stand by my statement that miles made, that was my experience with my H3d.
  29. I've not shot the Pentax 645D and I'm actually surprised there are so many comments about it here since (technically) it hasn't even hit the U.S. market as of yet and has to be imported from Japan if you want to buy one! However, given the tests done in Japan and by a few lucky pros here in the U.S., what I'm hearing is there is a new player in the digital camera world and the price and 40mp sized Kodak sensor are going to set a new bar for Canon, Nikon and Leica to jump over.
  30. I do have some experience however in the 35mm digital vs. MF Digital realm as I previously owned a Hasselblad H2 with a 30mp Phase One back and I sold that and now shoot a Canon 5DII. While the extreme weight of the fully loaded H2 (right at 10 lbs.) and pricy lenses made me lean towards Canon, what made me switch was (1) the cost of equipment, (2) ease of repairs with Canon (not so with Hasselblad) and (3) the overall image quality for non-poster sized prints. Canon makes a great camera HOWEVER... two fatal errors will separate the novice (5DII owner) from the semi-pro/pro (H2 owner) and the first is shutter speed! With only a 30 second max shutter speed, the 5dII is extremely limited in the landscape world. The H2 has a 18 HOUR max exposure time on manual shutter mode. Though most would never need an 18 hour exposure, I frequently shoot up to 2 minute exposures at night and in this arena, Canon cannot play! Second, when reaching 30 seconds, in low-light or twilight scenes, the (Canon) CMOS reveals it's one true limitation: BANDING. I would say MOST shooters will like the Canon and find no advantage in owning the heavier, older rival. Only a select few shooters that want to shoot extreme sunsets and go for gallery prints will discover there is a big, BIG difference in these cameras when you begin to test the boundaries of physics. After all, Hasselblad was the camera that recorded the lunar landing on the moon!
  31. Most applications: Canon... just read the MTF charts to make sure you know the lenses you are getting are right for what you shoot.
    Gallery sized prints or posters: As they said in Jaws..."you're going to need a bigger boat".
  32. Joe, you're a little late to the party. The 645D has been officially in the US for months with four brick and mortar stores, including B&H, Adorama, Ace and Sammys, handling the camera through official US Pentax distribution. The camera is also available from the Pentax USA online store. Pentax USA also has organized a professional owners 'club', similar to Canon Professional Services, although certainly not as well developed at this point.
    I now own a 645d, having sold all my Canon gear, and have not regretted the change for one moment, being fortunate in having a large collection of Pentax 645 lenses from 645n film days. The 645D is clearly superior in IQ to the 5Dmk2 that I owned, particularly in shadow detail and freedom from noise in shadow areas. For those situations where I needed speed, ultra low ISO noise, etc., I backed up the 645D with a Pentax K-5.
    One point to correct, the 5Dmk2 can be used for long time exposures with an intervalometer. I've done 2-3 minute night sky shots with a 5Dmk2 many times. But as noted, the noise banding is pretty awful and that is one thing that is totally missing in both the 645D and the K-5 (which uses SONYs new sensor also used in the Nikon 5100 and 7000).
  33. I do 10 minute exposures with the 1Ds MkIII with no banding, strange that the 5D MkII is so bad. I also use a cable release/timer for any shutter duration.
  34. Charles, so nice to hear from someone that has worked on both platforms. I took a big risk stepping down the from H2 with a dual-back system (film and digital) but felt it was the right decision at the time. My H2 with 30mp Phase One back never showed banding in long exposures; noise sure but the banding... even Photoshop cannot correct that defect! I've heard of people taking Pentax FA lenses and using an adapter for crossover on the 5Dii. I've never tried it but hear it has had some positive results such as sharper edge-to-edge IQ. My only concern there would be focusing at infinity, which I do rather frequently. Have you ever tried this?
  35. Joe, I frequently did use my P645 lenses with my 5D2, with an adapter. Several of them were exceptional such as the P645 35mm, 55mm and 75mm. On the other hand, the Canon 70-200 F4L that I owned was a fantastic lens in terms of sharpness at any focal length. As others have found, certain of the Pentax 645 lenses designed for film cameras, can be very good with the 645D while others are simply average, at best. But there is no question that several of the P645 primes work very well with the 5D2, offering excellent edge to edge/corner sharpness, contrast, freedom from CA artifacts, and physical size and weight that are comparable to Canon counterparts.
    All that said, F2.8/3.5 are as fast as the Pentax primes provide whereas F1.4/1.8 options are available with Canon equivalents but for landscape work where manual focusing and speed of use aren't issues, they are great. The downside now is that while the Pentax lenses were bargains on the used market two years ago, the release of the 645D has caused used prices of these legacy lenses to skyrocket.

Share This Page