Nikon D4S vs Pentax 645D
The Nikon D4S and the Pentax 645D are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2014 and March 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (D4S) and a medium format (645D) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 16.2 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 39.5 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D4S||Pentax 645D|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|16.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor||39.5 MP, Medium Format Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-25600 (50-409600)||ISO 100-1600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.2" LCD, 921k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|11 shutter flaps per second||1.1 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|3020 shots per battery charge||800 shots per battery charge|
|160 x 157 x 91 mm, 1350 g||156 x 117 x 119 mm, 1480 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D4S and the Pentax 645D? 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 D4S and the Pentax 645D 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax 645D is notably smaller (27 percent) than the Nikon D4S. However, the 645D is markedly heavier (10 percent) than the D4S. 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 and compare 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 D4S gets 3020 shots out of its EN-EL18a battery, while the 645D can take 800 images on a single charge of its D-LI90 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D4S has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
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.
|Nikon D4S»||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.6 oz||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499||Nikon D4S|
|Pentax 645D«||6.1 in||4.6 in||4.7 in||52.2 oz||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995||Pentax 645D|
|Canon 1D X« »||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.7 oz||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 1D Mark IV« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||43.4 oz||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Leica S Typ 006« »||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||44.4 oz||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950||Leica S Typ 006|
|Nikon D6« »||6.3 in||6.4 in||3.6 in||44.8 oz||3580||Y||Feb 2020||6,499||Nikon D6|
|Nikon D5« »||6.3 in||6.3 in||3.6 in||49.9 oz||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D750« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||26.5 oz||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D810« »||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||34.6 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299||Nikon D810|
|Nikon Df« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.6 in||26.8 oz||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749||Nikon Df|
|Nikon D4« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||43.7 oz||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D3X« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||44.4 oz||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999||Nikon D3X|
|Nikon D3« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||45.9 oz||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999||Nikon D3|
|Pentax 645Z« »||6.1 in||4.6 in||4.8 in||54.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2014||8,499||Pentax 645Z|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D4S was launched at a markedly lower price (by 35 percent) than the 645D, 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the 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 D4S features a full frame sensor and the Pentax 645D a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the 645D is 69 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 0.79. The sensor in the D4S has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the 645D offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 39.5MP, the 645D offers a higher resolution than the D4S (16.2MP), but the 645D has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.06μm versus 7.29μm for the D4S). Yet, the D4S is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 11 months) than the 645D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the 645D has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax 645D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 645D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 36.3 x 27.2 inch or 92.3 x 69.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 29.1 x 21.8 inch or 73.8 x 55.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 24.2 x 18.1 inch or 61.5 x 46.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D4S are 24.6 x 16.4 inch or 62.6 x 41.7 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inch or 50.1 x 33.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inch or 41.7 x 27.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D4S has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-409600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax 645D are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 review, the D4S has a notably higher overall DXO score than the 645D (overall score 7 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.2 bits lower color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 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.
|Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89||Nikon D4S|
|Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82||Pentax 645D|
|Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76||Leica S Typ 006|
|Nikon D6||Full Frame||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon D6|
|Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97||Nikon D810|
|Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89||Nikon Df|
|Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88||Nikon D3X|
|Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81||Nikon D3|
|Pentax 645Z||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/60i||26.0||14.7||4505||101||Pentax 645Z|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D4S indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the 645D does not. The highest resolution format that the D4S can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D4S and the 645D 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 D4S offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 645D (98%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the 645D has a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.70x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D4S and Pentax 645D in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Nikon D4S||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4S|
|Pentax 645D||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.1||n||n||Pentax 645D|
|Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n||Leica S Typ 006|
|Nikon D6||optical||Y||3.2||2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Nikon D6|
|Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2||2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D810||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D810|
|Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||n||Nikon Df|
|Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D3X||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Nikon D3X|
|Nikon D3||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D3|
|Pentax 645Z||optical||Y||3.2||1037||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Pentax 645Z|
The Nikon D4S and the Pentax 645D 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.
The D4S writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or XQD cards, while the 645D uses SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.
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 D4S and Pentax 645D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D4S||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4S|
|Pentax 645D||Y||stereo||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Pentax 645D|
|Canon 1D X||Y||mono||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Leica S Typ 006||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica S Typ 006|
|Nikon D6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y||Nikon D6|
|Nikon D5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D750||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D810||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D810|
|Nikon Df||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon Df|
|Nikon D4||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D3X||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3X|
|Nikon D3||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3|
|Pentax 645Z||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Pentax 645Z|
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Both the D4S and the 645D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 645D was replaced by the Pentax 645Z, while the D4S was followed by the Nikon D5. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D4S and the Pentax 645D? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Nikon D4S:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 98%).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (3020 versus 800) on a single battery charge.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (35 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 11 months of technical progress since the 645D launch.
Reasons to prefer the Pentax 645D:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (39.5 vs 16.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 53%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.70x).
- More compact: Is smaller (156x117mm vs 160x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2010).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D4S is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 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. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 D4S and the Pentax 645D 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 D4S or the 645D 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Pentax 645D
- Canon 300D vs Pentax 645D
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Nikon D4S
- Canon 77D vs Pentax 645D
- Canon D30 vs Pentax 645D
- Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs Nikon D4S
- Fujifilm X10 vs Pentax 645D
- Leica C-LUX vs Pentax 645D
- Leica M8 vs Pentax 645D
- Nikon B700 vs Pentax 645D
- Nikon D4S vs Sony A6100
- Nikon D4S vs Sony A7 III
Specifications: Nikon D4S vs Pentax 645D
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 D4S||Pentax 645D|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2014||March 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 6499||USD 9995|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D4S||Pentax 645D|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 23.9 mm||44.0 x 33.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||860.4 mm2||1452 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||55 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.2 Megapixels||39.5 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3280 pixels||7264 x 5440 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.29 μm||6.06 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.88 MP/cm2||2.72 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO||100-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-409600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4||PRIME II|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||89||82|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.4||24.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.3||12.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||3074||1262|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D4S||Pentax 645D|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D4S||Pentax 645D|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||1.1 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||400 000 actuations||50 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XQD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D4S||Pentax 645D|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D4S||Pentax 645D|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||3020 shots per charge||800 shots per charge|
160 x 157 x 91 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in)
156 x 117 x 119 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 4.7 in)
|Camera Weight||1350 g (47.6 oz)||1480 g (52.2 oz)|
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