Nikon 1 J5 vs Pentax 645Z
The Nikon 1 J5 and the Pentax 645Z are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2015 and April 2014. The J5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the 645Z is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an one-inch (J5) and a medium format (645Z) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 51.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon 1 J5 and the Pentax 645Z? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Nikon 1 J5 and the Pentax 645Z are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The J5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the 645Z is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax 645Z is considerably larger (210 percent) than the Nikon 1 J5. Moreover, the 645Z is substantially heavier (571 percent) than the J5. It is noteworthy in this context that the 645Z is splash and dust-proof, while the J5 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|2.||Pentax 645Z||156 mm||117 mm||123 mm||1550 g||650||Y||Apr 2014||8,499|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|7.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D||150 mm||98 mm||71 mm||725 g||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|9.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|10.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|11.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|13.||Pentax 645D||156 mm||117 mm||119 mm||1480 g||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995|
|14.||Sony RX100 V||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|16.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The J5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 95 percent) than the 645Z, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon 1 J5 features an one-inch sensor and the Pentax 645Z a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the 645Z is 1139 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 0.79. The sensor in the J5 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the 645Z offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 51.1MP, the 645Z offers a higher resolution than the J5 (20.7MP), but the 645Z nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 2.37μm for the J5) due to its larger sensor. However, the J5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the 645Z, and its sensor might 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 neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax 645Z implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 645Z for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41.3 x 31 inches or 104.9 x 78.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 33 x 24.8 inches or 83.9 x 62.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.5 x 20.6 inches or 69.9 x 52.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon 1 J5 are 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm for good quality, 22.3 x 14.8 inches or 56.6 x 37.7 cm for very good quality, and 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.1 x 31.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The J5 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon 1 J5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax 645Z are ISO 100 to ISO 204800 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the 645Z offers substantially better image quality than the J5 (overall score 36 points higher). The advantage is based on 4.9 bits higher color depth, 2.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|1.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|2.||Pentax 645Z||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/60i||26.0||14.7||4505||101|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|4.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|6.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|7.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|9.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|10.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|11.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|13.||Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82|
|14.||Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the J5 provides a higher video resolution than the 645Z. It can shoot video footage at 4K/15p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the 645Z has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the J5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon 1 J5 and Pentax 645Z along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|6.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|10.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0||1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|14.||Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The J5 has one, while the 645Z does not. While the built-in flash of the J5 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The J5 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the 645Z does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the J5 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Nikon 1 J5 and the Pentax 645Z both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the J5 and the 645Z write their files to SDXC cards. The 645Z features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the J5 only has one slot. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon 1 J5 and Pentax 645Z and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the J5 offers wifi support, while the 645Z does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax 645Z (unlike the J5) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The 645Z is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Pentax. In contrast, the J5 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the J5 from Nikon. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Pentax websites.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon 1 J5 or the Pentax 645Z – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Nikon 1 J5:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/15p vs 1080/60i).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (98x60mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 1319g or 85 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (95 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the 645Z).
Arguments in favor of the Pentax 645Z:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (51.1 vs 20.7MP), which boosts linear resolution by 54%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (36 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (4.9 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (3.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2014).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 645Z emerges as the winner of the match-up (16 : 14 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon 1 J5 and the Pentax 645Z place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the J5 or the 645Z. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|2.||Pentax 645Z||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||8,499|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon 5DS||..||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|7.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D||..||o||81/100||..||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|9.||Leica SL||4/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|10.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|11.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|13.||Pentax 645D||5/5||..||..||..||..||Mar 2010||9,995|
|14.||Sony RX100 V||4.5/5||+ +||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|16.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|17.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Nikon 1 J5 vs Pentax 645Z
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon 1 J5||Pentax 645Z|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon 1 mount lenses||Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2015||April 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 8,499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Pentax 645Z|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||43.8 x 32.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||1436.64 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||54.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.7 Megapixels||51.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5568 x 3712 pixels||8256 x 6192 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.37 μm||5.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.79 MP/cm2||3.56 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/15p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 5||PRIME III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||65||101|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.1||26.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.0||14.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||479||4505|
|Screen Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Pentax 645Z|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Pentax 645Z|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||60 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Pentax 645Z|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Nikon 1 J5||Pentax 645Z|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||650 shots per charge|
98 x 60 x 32 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
156 x 117 x 123 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 4.8 in)
|Camera Weight||231 g (8.1 oz)||1550 g (54.7 oz)|
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