Pentax 645Z Comparison Review
The Pentax 645Z is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was revealed to the public in April 2014 and is equipped with a medium format sensor. It offers a resolution of 51.1 megapixel.
Is the Pentax 645Z a good camera? The 645Z has a Camera Elo of 2329. This rating puts the 645Z among the top 30 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (medium format cameras), the 645Z ranks below average. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3.5-star performance rating.
|Digital single lens reflex|
|Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|51.1 MP, Medium Format Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 204 800|
|3.2 LCD, 1037k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)|
|3 shutter flaps per second|
|650 shots per battery charge|
|156 x 117 x 123 mm, 1 550 g|
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 645Z vis-à-vis a credit card is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax 645Z 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.
|Pentax 645Z||6.1 in||4.6 in||4.8 in||54.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2014||8,499|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.0 oz||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|Canon 5DS||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS R||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Hasselblad X1D||5.9 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||25.6 oz||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|Leica SL||5.8 in||4.1 in||1.5 in||29.9 oz||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|Nikon D850||5.7 in||4.9 in||3.1 in||35.5 oz||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Nikon D5||6.3 in||6.3 in||3.6 in||49.9 oz||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|Nikon D7200||5.4 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|Nikon D4S||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.6 oz||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499|
|Pentax 645D||6.1 in||4.6 in||4.7 in||52.2 oz||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 listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Pentax 645Z was launched in the US market at a price of $8,499. 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 with a 35mm slide
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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
The Pentax 645Z 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 645Z among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|Pentax 645Z||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/60i||26.0||14.7||4505||101|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The 645Z indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the 645Z can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 645Z has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 98% and a magnification of 0.78x. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Pentax 645Z in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n|
|Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
One useful feature of the 645Z 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.
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 645Z and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 645Z has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 645Z in practical situations. 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 adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).
|Pentax 645Z||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||8,499|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|Canon 5DS||+||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS R||+||83/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Hasselblad X1D||o||81/100||..||..||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|Leica SL||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|Nikon D850||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Nikon D5||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|Nikon D7200||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199|
|Nikon D4S||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499|
|Pentax 645D||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Mar 2010||9,995|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Pentax 645Z FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the 645Z.
What technology is the imaging sensor in the 645Z based on?
The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.
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 645Z with the PRIME III image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the 645Z?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 204800.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Pentax 645Z?
Pentax mentions a shutter rating of 100 000 actuations for the 645Z. 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 645Z over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my Pentax 645Z?
Pentax embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your 645Z 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 645Z 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.
Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Pentax 645Z?
The 645Z offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The 645Z's flash sync speed is 1/125 sec.
Does the Pentax 645Z support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?
Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-I cards (data transfer speed of up to 104 MB/s).
Which battery does the 645Z 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
In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
|Camera Model||Pentax 645Z|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 8 499|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||43.8 x 32.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||1 437 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||54.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||51.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8 256 x 6 192 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.56 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 204 800 ISO|
|Image Processor||PRIME III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||101|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||26.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||4505|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||Intervalometer Built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||D-LI90 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||650 shots per charge|
156 x 117 x 123 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 4.8 in)
|Camera Weight||1 550 g (54.7 oz)|
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