Nikon D3400 vs Pentax 645Z
The Nikon D3400 and the Pentax 645Z are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2016 and April 2014. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D3400) and a medium format (645Z) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24 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 D3400 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3400 and the Pentax 645Z is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D3400 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), 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 (50 percent) than the Nikon D3400. Moreover, the 645Z is substantially heavier (248 percent) than the D3400. It is noteworthy in this context that the 645Z is splash and dust-proof, while the D3400 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. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|2.||Pentax 645Z||156 mm||117 mm||123 mm||1550 g||650||Y||Apr 2014||8,499|
|3.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|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.||Hasselblad X1D||150 mm||98 mm||71 mm||725 g||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|7.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|8.||Nikon D3500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||365 g||1550||n||Aug 2018||429|
|9.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|10.||Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|11.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|12.||Nikon D7200||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|13.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|14.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|15.||Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599|
|16.||Nikon D5200||129 mm||98 mm||78 mm||555 g||500||n||Nov 2012||749|
|17.||Pentax 645D||156 mm||117 mm||119 mm||1480 g||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 D3400 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 94 percent) than the 645Z, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 Nikon D3400 features an APS-C sensor and the Pentax 645Z a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the 645Z is 292 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 0.79. The sensor in the D3400 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 D3400 (24MP), but the 645Z nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 3.91μm for the D3400) due to its larger sensor. However, the D3400 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 4 months) than the 645Z, 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 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 D3400 are 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D3400 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. 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 determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the 645Z offers substantially better image quality than the D3400 (overall score 15 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.2 bits higher color depth, 0.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.9 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 |
|2.||Pentax 645Z||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/60i||26.0||14.7||4505||101|
|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.||Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|7.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|17.||Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82|
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 D3400 provides a higher frame rate than the 645Z. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D3400 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 viewfinder in the 645Z offers a wider field of view (98%) than the one in the D3400 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 645Z has a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.57x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D3400, the Pentax 645Z, and comparable cameras.
|5.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D3400 has one, while the 645Z does not. While the built-in flash of the D3400 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Pentax 645Z has 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 D3400 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 D3400 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 D3400 and Pentax 645Z and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|5.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 645Z has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The D3400 does not feature such a mic input.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax 645Z (unlike the D3400) 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 D3400 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D3400 was succeeded by the Nikon D3500. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D3400 or the Pentax 645Z – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3400:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x98mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 1105g or 71 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 650) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (94 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 4 months of technical progress since the 645Z launch.
Reasons to prefer the Pentax 645Z:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (51.1 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 43%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.9 stops ISO advantage).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (98% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.57x).
- 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.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 921k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- 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 around for much longer (launched in April 2014).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 645Z is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 9 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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 D3400 and the Pentax 645Z place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3400 or the 645Z 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 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 D3400||4/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|2.||Pentax 645Z||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||8,499|
|3.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|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.||Hasselblad X1D||..||o||81/100||..||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|7.||Leica SL||4/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|8.||Nikon D3500||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429|
|9.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|10.||Nikon D500||5/5||+ +||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|11.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|12.||Nikon D7200||4/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199|
|13.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|14.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|15.||Nikon D3200||5/5||+ +||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599|
|16.||Nikon D5200||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2012||749|
|17.||Pentax 645D||5/5||..||..||..||..||Mar 2010||9,995|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Nikon D3400 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 D3400||Pentax 645Z|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2016||April 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 8,499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3400||Pentax 645Z|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||43.8 x 32.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||1436.64 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||54.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||51.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||8256 x 6192 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm||5.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2||3.56 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4||PRIME III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||86||101|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.8||26.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.9||14.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1192||4505|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3400||Pentax 645Z|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3400||Pentax 645Z|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||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 D3400||Pentax 645Z|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3400||Pentax 645Z|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200 shots per charge||650 shots per charge|
124 x 98 x 76 mm
(4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
156 x 117 x 123 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 4.8 in)
|Camera Weight||445 g (15.7 oz)||1550 g (54.7 oz)|
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