Over the past year or so, I have been lucky enough to have a great working relationship with Ricoh/Pentax, and have been fortunate enough to have extended playing time with their digital medium format, the 645z. It definitely has been a while since I extensively used a new camera, since I was rather content with the ones I have been using for years. I still am using the Canon 6D and 5D MK III as my main bodies, partially out of habit and partially because they work best for the majority of things I find myself shooting.
Of course, the first thing I had in mind when getting the 645z was to take an aerial flight over my hometown of San Francisco, California. I have never shot with a medium format, yet alone anything as physically large as the 645z, so it was a learning experience for me. But after my time in the sky, I’m happy to say that it worked out great.
Because once I got back home to look through my photos, well, that was when I was completely sold on the camera and format.
The quality was, and I can only really describe it with this one word, incredible. The feel, the usability and the overall build quality of the camera is also nice. It feels secure in hand, and though it’s heavier than I’m used to, it’s not too overbearing. The grip and overall usability of the camera in a real, stressed environment was excellent. This is a feature that some cameras seem to lack these days- especially from my experience renting the new Sony bodies. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked the image quality out of the a7R II, for example, but the build of the product is important to me as well. That is something that Pentax seems to take real pride in, and it shows.
I feel like the best way for me to share my feelings about the Pentax 645z is to show you why I got so excited about what it can do, and share some of my favorite photos taken with it. Below are images I captured from around the country, from the skies of New York City, San Francisco and San Diego to the autumn colors of Colorado.