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Canon 1D versus Pentax 645Z

The Canon EOS-1D and the Pentax 645Z are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2001 and April 2014. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D) and a medium format (645Z) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 4.1 megapixel, whereas the Pentax provides 51.1 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon 1D vs Pentax 645Z

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D and the Pentax 645Z is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the 1D – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon 1D vs Pentax 645Z
Compare 1D versus 645Z top
Compare 1D and 645Z rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax 645Z is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Canon 1D. Moreover, the 645Z is slightly lighter (2 percent) than the 1D. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the 1D gets 500 shots out of its NP-E3 battery, while the 645Z can take 650 images on a single charge of its D-LI90 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon 1D» 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.9 oz 500 Y Sep 2001 6,499- i
Pentax 645Z« 6.1 in 4.6 in 4.8 in 54.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2014 8,499 i i
Canon 5D Mark IV« » 5.9 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 31.4 oz 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.0 oz 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i
Canon 5DS R« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 5DS« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 1D C« » 6.2 in 6.5 in 3.3 in 54.5 oz 1120 Y Apr 2012 14,999- i
Canon 1D X« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.7 oz 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799- i
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » 5.9 in 6.3 in 3.1 in 48.9 oz 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i
Canon 1D Mark II N« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.2 oz 1200 Y Aug 2005 3,999- i
Canon 1D Mark II« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 54.1 oz 1200 Y Jan 2004 4,499- i
Canon 1Ds« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 44.6 oz 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999- i
Leica SL« » 5.8 in 4.1 in 1.5 in 29.9 oz 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i i
Nikon D750« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 26.5 oz 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299 i i
Pentax 645D« » 6.1 in 4.6 in 4.7 in 52.2 oz 800 Y Mar 2010 9,995- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 1D was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 24 percent) than the 645Z, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 1D vs Pentax 645Z

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1D features an APS-H sensor and the Pentax 645Z a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the 645Z is 162 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 0.79. The sensor in the 1D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the 645Z offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon 1D and Pentax 645Z sensor measures

With 51.1MP, the 645Z offers a higher resolution than the 1D (4.1MP), but the 645Z has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 11.56μm for the 1D). Yet, the 645Z is a much more recent model (by 12 years and 6 months) than the 1D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the 645Z has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

1D versus 645Z MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon 1D» APS-H 4.1 2496 1662-----
Pentax 645Z« Medium Format 51.1 8256 61921080/60i26.014.74505101
Canon 5D Mark IV« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.813.6299591
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886
Canon 5DS« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187
Canon 1D C« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34564K/24p----
Canon 1D X« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380
Canon 1D Mark II N« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.297566
Canon 1D Mark II« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.1100366
Canon 1Ds« » Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704-21.811.095463
Leica SL« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188
Nikon D750« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
Pentax 645D« » Medium Format 39.5 7264 5440-24.612.6126282

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The 645Z indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1D does not. The highest resolution format that the 645Z can use is 1080/60i.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 1D vs Pentax 645Z

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1D and the 645Z are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1D, the Pentax 645Z, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon 1D»optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 8.0 n n
Pentax 645Z«optical Y 3.2 1037 tilting n 4000 3.0 n n
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 7.0 n n
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n
Canon 5DS R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Canon 5DS« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Canon 1D C« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n
Canon 1D X« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Canon 1D Mark II N« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 8.5 n n
Canon 1D Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 8.3 n n
Canon 1Ds« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n
Leica SL« »4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 11.0 n n
Nikon D750« »optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 4000 6.0 Y n
Pentax 645D« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 1.1 n n

The 645Z is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the 1D has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 1D was succeeded by the Canon 1D Mark II.

Review summary: Canon 1D vs Pentax 645Z

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 1D and the Pentax 645Z? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1D:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (16000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (24 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2001).

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Arguments in favor of the Pentax 645Z:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (51.1 vs 4.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 244%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 120k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More compact: Is smaller (156x117mm vs 156x158mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Reflects 12 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 1D launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 645Z is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

1D 05:10 645Z

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 1D or the 645Z handle or perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon 1D»-HiRec--- Sep 2001 6,499- i
Pentax 645Z«--4.5/55/55/5 Apr 2014 8,499 i i
Canon 5D Mark IV« »HiRec87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i
Canon 5DS R« »Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 5DS« »Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 1D C« »----- Apr 2012 14,999- i
Canon 1D X« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-HiRec4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i
Canon 1D Mark II N« »----- Aug 2005 3,999- i
Canon 1D Mark II« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 4,499- i
Canon 1Ds« »-HiRec--- Sep 2002 8,999- i
Leica SL« »-84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i i
Nikon D750« »HiRec90/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299 i i
Pentax 645D« »---4.5/5- Mar 2010 9,995- i

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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