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Pentax 645D Comparison Review

The Pentax 645D is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was announced in March 2010 and is equipped with a medium format sensor. It offers a resolution of 39.5 megapixel.

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Is the Pentax 645D a good camera? The 645D has a Camera Elo of 1743. This rating puts the 645D among the top 50 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (medium format cameras), the 645D ranks below average. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3-star performance rating.

Headline Specifications
Pentax 645D
Digital single lens reflex
Pentax 645 mount lenses
39.5 MP, Medium Format Sensor
no Video
ISO 100-1600
Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.1 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed body
800 shots per battery charge
156 x 117 x 119 mm, 1480 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

An illustration of the physical dimensions of the Pentax 645D vis-à-vis a credit card is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Pentax 645D vs credit card front
645D versus credit card top view
645D and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax 645D alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side 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 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)
Camera
Model
 
Pentax 645D 156 mm 117 mm 119 mm 1480 g 800 Y Mar 2010 9,995- i Pentax 645D
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 1D X« » 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1551 g 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« » 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1230 g 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Leica S Typ 006« » 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2012 21,950- i Leica S Typ 006
 
Nikon D850« » 146 mm 124 mm 79 mm 1005 g 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
 
Nikon D5« » 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
 
Nikon D810« » 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 980 g 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
 
Nikon D3S« » 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1240 g 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Pentax 645Z« » 156 mm 117 mm 123 mm 1550 g 650 Y Apr 2014 8,499 i i Pentax 645Z
 
Sony A7R« » 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 465 g 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Pentax 645D was launched in the US market at a price of $9,995. 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.

Pentax 645D:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

The Pentax 645D features a medium format sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 0.79. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Pentax 645D among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.

Pentax 645D sensor measures

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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Pentax 645D Medium Format 39.5 7264 5440-24.612.6126282Pentax 645D
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 1D X« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« » APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Leica S Typ 006« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-23.912.282476Leica S Typ 006
 
Nikon D850« » Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100Nikon D850
 
Nikon D5« » Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388Nikon D5
 
Nikon D810« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397Nikon D810
 
Nikon D3S« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382Nikon D3S
 
Pentax 645Z« » Medium Format 51.1 8256 61921080/60i26.014.74505101Pentax 645Z
 
Sony A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695Sony A7R

It should be noted that unlike many modern cameras, the 645D does not provide the possibility to capture videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the 645D has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 98% and a magnification of 0.78x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Pentax 645D and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Pentax 645Doptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 1.1 n n Pentax 645D
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
 
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 D850« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n n Nikon D850
 
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n Nikon D5
 
Nikon D810« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D810
 
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
 
Pentax 645Z« »optical Y 3.2 1037 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 n n Pentax 645Z
 
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0 n n Sony A7R

One useful feature of the 645D is a presence of a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

 

Connection comparison

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 Pentax 645D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Pentax 645DYstereo----2.0---Pentax 645D
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 1D X« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Leica S Typ 006« »Y----mini2.0---Leica S Typ 006
 
Nikon D850« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D850
 
Nikon D5« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
 
Nikon D810« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Nikon D810
 
Nikon D3S« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Nikon D3S
 
Pentax 645Z« »YstereomonoY-mini3.0---Pentax 645Z
 
Sony A7R« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R
 

Expert reviews

While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 645D in practical situations. 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 why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Pentax 645D---4.5/5- Mar 2010 9,995- i Pentax 645D
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 1D X« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« »-89/100-5/5- Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Leica S Typ 006« »----- Sep 2012 21,950- i Leica S Typ 006
 
Nikon D850« »+ +89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
 
Nikon D5« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
 
Nikon D810« »-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
 
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Pentax 645Z« »--4.5/55/55/5 Apr 2014 8,499 i i Pentax 645Z
 
Sony A7R« »+ +82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Pentax 645D FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the 645D.

What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the 645D?

The camera has a CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensor at its core.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Pentax equipped the 645D with the PRIME II image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the 645D?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Pentax 645D?

Pentax mentions a shutter rating of 50 000 actuations for the 645D. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the 645D over, say, three years, one would have to take about 50 pictures each and every day.

How do I find the shutter count on my Pentax 645D?

Pentax embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your 645D has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.

Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?

No, the Pentax 645D has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The 645D's flash sync speed is 1/125 sec.

Which battery does the 645D use?

The camera gets its power from the D-LI90 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

If you would like to see a side-by-side review of this and another camera, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Pentax 645D
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Pentax 645 mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2010
    Launch Price USD 9995
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CCD
    Sensor Format Medium Format Sensor
    Sensor Size 44.0 x 33.0 mm
    Sensor Area 1452 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 55 mm
    Crop Factor 0.79x
    Sensor Resolution 39.5 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 7264 x 5440 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.06 μm
    Pixel Density 2.72 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO
    Image Processor PRIME II
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 82
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1262
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 98%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.78x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidNo Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 1.1 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy50 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots
    UHS card support no
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type D-LI90 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)800 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 156 x 117 x 119 mm
    (6.1 x 4.6 x 4.7 in)
    Camera Weight 1480 g (52.2 oz)

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