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Pentax 645Z vs Canon 5DS R

The Pentax 645Z and the Canon EOS 5DS R are two professional cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2014 and February 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a medium format (645Z) and a full frame (5DS R) sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 51.1 megapixels, whereas the Canon provides 50.3 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.


Headline Specifications
Pentax 645Z   Canon 5DS R
Pentax 645Z Canon 5DS R
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Pentax 645 mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
51.1 MP, Medium Format Sensor 50.3 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60i Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-204800 ISO 100-6400 (50-12800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.2" LCD, 1037k dots 3.2" LCD, 1040k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
650 shots per battery charge700 shots per battery charge
156 x 117 x 123 mm, 1550 g 152 x 116 x 76 mm, 930 g

Body comparison: Pentax 645Z vs Canon 5DS R

The physical size and weight of the Pentax 645Z and the Canon 5DS R 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. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the 645Z – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Pentax 645Z and Canon 5DS R
Compare 645Z versus 5DS R top
Compare 645Z or 5DS R rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 5DS R is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Pentax 645Z. Moreover, the 5DS R is substantially lighter (40 percent) than the 645Z. 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 645Z gets 650 shots out of its D-LI90 battery, while the 5DS R can take 700 images on a single charge of its LP-E6 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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 645Z» 6.1 in 4.6 in 4.8 in 54.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2014 8,499 i i Pentax 645Z
Canon 5DS R« 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.0 oz 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« » 5.9 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 31.4 oz 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Hasselblad X1D« » 5.9 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 25.6 oz .. Y Jun 2016 8,995 i i Hasselblad X1D
Leica SL« » 5.8 in 4.1 in 1.5 in 29.9 oz 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
Nikon D850« » 5.7 in 4.9 in 3.1 in 35.5 oz 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
Nikon D5« » 6.3 in 6.3 in 3.6 in 49.9 oz 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
Nikon D7200« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1110 Y Mar 2015 1,199- i Nikon D7200
Nikon D4S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.6 oz 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Pentax 645D« » 6.1 in 4.6 in 4.7 in 52.2 oz 800 Y Mar 2010 9,995- i Pentax 645D

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 5DS R was launched at a markedly lower price (by 56 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Pentax 645Z vs Canon 5DS R

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Pentax 645Z features a medium format sensor and the Canon 5DS R a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the 5DS R is 40 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.79 and 1.0. The sensor in the 645Z has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the 5DS R offers a 3:2 aspect.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Pentax 645Z and Canon 5DS R sensor measures

With 51.1MP, the 645Z offers a slightly higher resolution than the 5DS R (50.3MP), but the 645Z nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 4.14μm for the 5DS R) due to its larger sensor. However, the 5DS R is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the 645Z, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. 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 Pentax 645Z has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 204800 The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS 5DS R are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-12800..

645Z versus 5DS R MP

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 review, the 645Z provides substantially higher image quality than the 5DS R, with an overall score that is 15 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.4 bits higher color depth, 2.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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 645Z» Medium Format 51.1 8256 61921080/60i26.014.74505101Pentax 645Z
Canon 5DS R« Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.813.6299591Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187Canon 5DS
Hasselblad X1D« » Medium Format 51.3 8272 62001080/25p26.214.84489102Hasselblad X1D
Leica SL« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188Leica SL
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 D7200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.514.6133387Nikon D7200
Nikon D4S« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397Nikon D810
Pentax 645D« » Medium Format 39.5 7264 5440-24.612.6126282Pentax 645D

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the 5DS R provides a faster frame rate than the 645Z. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/60i.

 

Feature comparison: Pentax 645Z vs Canon 5DS R

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 645Z and the 5DS R 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Pentax 645Z, the Canon 5DS R, 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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Pentax 645Z»optical Y 3.2 1037 tilting n 4000 3.0 n n Pentax 645Z
Canon 5DS R«optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 7.0 n n Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS
Hasselblad X1D« »2360 n 3.0 920 fixed Y 2000 2.3 n n Hasselblad X1D
Leica SL« »4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 11.0 n n Leica SL
Nikon D850« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 9.0 n n Nikon D850
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 8000 14.0 n n Nikon D5
Nikon D7200« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7200
Nikon D4S« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D810
Pentax 645D« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 1.1 n n Pentax 645D

The 645Z writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the 5DS R uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

Connectivity comparison: Pentax 645Z vs Canon 5DS R

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 Canon EOS 5DS R 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 645Z»YstereomonoY-mini3.0---Pentax 645Z
Canon 5DS R«YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0YY-Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS
Hasselblad X1D« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Hasselblad X1D
Leica SL« »YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--Leica SL
Nikon D850« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D850
Nikon D5« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
Nikon D7200« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Nikon D7200
Nikon D4S« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Nikon D810
Pentax 645D« »Ystereo----2.0---Pentax 645D

Both the 645Z and the 5DS R are recent models that feature in their makers' current product line-up. The 645Z replaced the earlier Pentax 645D, while the 5DS R does not have a direct predecessor.


Review summary: Pentax 645Z vs Canon 5DS R

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Pentax 645Z and the Canon 5DS R? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Pentax 645Z:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.4 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.3 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1 stops ISO advantage).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2014).

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 5DS R:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 620g or 40 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (56 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (9 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (6 points each). 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.

645Z 06:06 5DS R

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 645Z or the 5DS R handle or perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews: Pentax 645Z vs Canon 5DS R

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

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 645Z»--4.5/55/55/5 Apr 2014 8,499 i i Pentax 645Z
Canon 5DS R«Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »HiRec87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS« »Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Hasselblad X1D« »rev81/100--4/5 Jun 2016 8,995 i i Hasselblad X1D
Leica SL« »-84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
Nikon D850« »HiRec89/1004.5/55/55/5 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 D7200« »HiRec84/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Mar 2015 1,199- i Nikon D7200
Nikon D4S« »--4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« »-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Pentax 645D« »---4.5/5- Mar 2010 9,995- i Pentax 645D

The review scores listed above should be treated 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

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 your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Pentax 645Z vs Canon 5DS R

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Pentax 645Z Canon 5DS R
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Pentax 645 mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date April 2014 February 2015
    Launch Price USD 8499 USD 3699
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Medium Format Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 43.8 x 32.8 mm 36.0 x 32.8 mm
    Sensor Area 1436.64 mm2 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 54.7 mm 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 0.79 1.0
    Sensor Resolution 51.1 Megapixels 50.3 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 8256 x 6192 pixels 8688 x 5792 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.30 μm 4.14 μm
    Pixel Density 3.56 MP/cm2 5.82 MP/cm2
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-204800 ISO 100-6400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 50-12800 ISO
    Image Processor PRIME III DIGIC 6 (Dual)
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 3.2 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF or SDXC cards
    Connectivity Specs
    USB Connector USB 3.0 USB 3.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type D-LI90 power pack LP-E6 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)650 shots per charge700 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 156 x 117 x 123 mm
    (6.1 x 4.6 x 4.8 in)
    152 x 116 x 76 mm
    (6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 1550 g (54.7 oz) 930 g (32.8 oz)

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