Gear review and tips

Pentax 645Z Review


The Pentax 645Z is Nothing Sort of Amazing!

 

I freely admit I am a camera gear junkie and on no level apologize for the illness!  I am always looking at the newest, latest and greatest thing to hit the market.  While I will never do video review full of sarcasm and profanity I will however, offer my real world opinion of newly purchased gear.  Today I want to talk briefly about the new Pentax 645Z!

I use the Fuji X System for a lot of my work, mostly wedding work but I wanted a dedicated  “portrait” camera, one with substance. A camera I could take into the wilds of locations shooting.  I had the Nikon D800 and while a nice camera, it just isn’t do it for me.  I have alway lusted after the “medium format” digital cameras, but found them very expensive, so much so I did no feel comfortable taking them on location.  Then Pentax released their 645Z, or zed for you Canadians!  Why did I choose this camera for my portrait work?

First and foremost the price was excellent.  I got a great deal at Houston Camera Exchange  The Pentax 645z body with the 55mm f2.8 AL [IF] SDM AW lens for $6,999.99.  For the cost of some of the higher end DSLR’s I was able to move into the world of the much larger full frame medium format sensors, and boy howdy I am glad I did!  Admittedly the 55mm is not a portrait lens, but, the line up of Pentax FA lenses is decent and affordable so I picked up the 75mm FA, 120mm FA macro and the 150mm 2.8 FA, now I am set for lenses!

The second reason I picked up this camera is the weather sealing.  I will never, nor have I ever shot in the rain But in Houston humidity is a real concern and I figured that having a weather sealed camera is not a bad thing.  To be fair. Most, if not all, of the newer professional lines of cameras come with weather sealing and the Pentax 645Z finally joined their ranks.  The only lens I have that is weather sealed is the 55mm the rest are not.  But to spend $4000.00 for the 90mm Macro is not on my list of things to do any time soon.

Lens quality is the third reason I picked this camera.  I knew I wanted this camera for a specific purpose and that being portrait work, so a huge lens line up was not necessary.  The Pentax 645 lens line up may not be extensive but they have a perfect line if you ask me.  What do I mean by that?  I mean that they may not have a ton of lenses like Canon and Nikon, but what they do have is very high quality and cover your needs nicely.  I am not a zoom lens kind of guy, but they do have a couple that are really nice and affordable.  I have used and still use my Pentax 67II and have always loved the quality of their lenses and the quality is there on the 645 lenses as well.

Megapixels galore!  Yes, at 50 megapixel I get full, sensual, detail rich ACW files and I love this!  I am a fan of anything that is RAW and the ACW files seem to plays nicely with Adobe.  Yes, my slow to evolve Fuji X is only 16 megapixels, detailed for sure but when you compare those files with that taken from the Pentax 645z their is simply no comparison.  I like detail.  I like the ability to crop without losing image quality.  But mostly I like that option of doing all of this which the Fuji X simply does not offer.  I know the Fuji X Pro-2 has been announced and yes I know it is up to 24 megapixels.  But this is all on a APC cropped sensor.  Fuji, WAKE UP and make a full frame!  The size of this sensor makes all of the difference as well.  You get the “medium format” depth of field at 2.8.  I love shooting my Pentax 67II and the 105mm 2.4 at an aperture of f2.4 and the Pentax 645z allows for that same look, which is a great thing!

The “hand feel” of this camera is excellent.  It is not a Leica M6, but then again nothing else is.  It’s not any more cumbersome that my D800 was.  In fact I find this camera more comfortable to hand hold.  The grip fits me perfectly and the rubberized texturing is tactile enough for me to eel very confident while holding onto my new love.  The controls are well places and they are intuitive.  People feel the need to point out camera control placement and make poorly placed controls the be all-end all of their world.  The way I see it, ya gotta place the buttons somewhere right!  Nothing gets in the way with this camera and that’s all I need. By the way, the worlds worst button were on the original Fuji X100!

In conclusion:  This is the best decision I’ve made in a long time when it comes to new camera gear.  I own a lot of gear but it is the Pentax 645z I find myself reaching for more times than not.  If you want DSLR handling but in a medium format digital camera then the Pentax 645z is a no brainer!


 

Some sample images froths camera:

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Pentax 645z with 5mm 2.8

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Pentax 645z with 150mm 2.8 at 2.8

Julia6-WPentax 645z with 75mm2.8

Sammie3-WPentax 645Z 55mm2.8

Julia3-WPentax 645z 55mm 2.8

IMGP0417Pentax 645z 120mm macro

P645-Selfie2WPentax 645z 55mm 2.8Rose-P645-WPentax 645z 120mm f4.0 Macro

All images are copyright 2016 Scott Evans all rights reserved.  Do not republish or reuse without written permission

Why are you not printing your work?

It’s a simple questions really.  With all the chatter, to be more accurate, clacking, about the ease and instant gratification of digital cameras why are you not printing your work?  It’s just as easy to do and to do well.  Inkjet printers are capable of creating stunning prints.  Printers are affordable and easy to use.  So I ask again; why are you not printing your work?

I went to Beaumont a few weeks ago and had lunch with two very talented and smart photographer friends of mine.  Oh and we had amazing Indian food, but I digress.  While waiting for Jeff to give us a meet up time Richard and I were in his living room talking about many topics one of which was the printed image.  Richard’s living room is a fine art photography gallery.  Showcasing is amazing, and I do mean, AMAZING photographs which are printed and hanging with great care.  I remember commenting then that no one prints their work anymore, why?  Cost?  Access to quality printing?  Who knows the answer to the question but what I do know is this:

The image you are seeing one your iPhone or iPad or what other “i” device you are using cannot compare the quality of a well done print.  Don’t believe me?  Then pay just one time and have a high quality print done of your favorite image and then see if you still think the iScreen is as good.  If you are going to take the time to learn how to use our new D-whatever that cost you $3,000.00 or more and then take the time to learn Lightroom or Photoshop, why are you not learning how to print?  It’s like hitting the ball over then fence and then stopping at 3rd base.  Take it all the way home and PRINT YOUR WORK, ya bunch of knuckleheads 🙂

The death of film. Well, maybe not! But most likely. But when?


 

We have to accept that in these days the Leica myth has more nostalgia than future. The exhibition is a proof that the future is not a continuation of the past and even Leica can not disregard the writing at the wall.” …Erwin Puts from The TAO of Leica 2014 “Augen auf!” exhibit

 


 

My Leica M6 is and I guess, will always be the crown jewel of my camera world, aka “obsession”.  Any photographer worth their salt puts the emphasis on the image, the subject if you will.  The story the image tells.  The emotion it evokes.  Second to this is the camera they use.  After all the camera is just a tool right?  The flip side of this argument is: does the “tool” matter?  I guess I fall on both sides of this discussion.  I use my Leica M6 for the image quality, ease of use, the fact I shoot film and the “stealth” like shooting I can do.  But I am not how “stealth” I am at 6’3″ and 360!  But I digress…

As much as I yearn for the days of film I am constantly drawn to the merits of digital.  One of the best art nude photographers I know, Richard Tallent of Beaumont, TX, scratches is head each time I post anything about shooting film.  Ya see, he is 100% digital and misses NOTHING about film shooting.  Richard is always befuddled as to why I choose to still shoot film.  My answer to him is always the same;  It’s because it slows me down and makes me feel more like a real art photographer.  Which I am sure makes zero sense to him and most of you who might real this.  Now enter The Fuji X system.  This was a BIG TIME game changer for me.

The Fuji X Pro-1 with the 35mm 1.4 lens and my ability to really use the hell out of Silver EFX Pro2 made me really second guess the use of my Leica M6.  Well, for a while that is.  No one can argue the exacting and amazing image quality you get out of these cameras.  The B&W images from the Fuji X series are simply stunning! But even with a tool that mimics the M6, there was still something missing in the final product to which I have struggled to put words.  Until now!

To me the digital file is too exacting.  Too literal if you will.  It’s cleaned and polished with every pixel is right where it should be.  Digital images are the Stormtroopers of photography.  What I get with film (talking B&W film here) is a buttery creaminess coupled with (arguably) wider dynamic range and tonality.   It has the serendipitous imperfections that make each frame on the roll truly unique, absent of subject matter.  The grain is real and not a created digital version of grain.  When you look at a frame taken with my M6, Hasselblad 500Cm or Pentax 67, there is no doubt this is a film image.

Even with all of this spoken I constantly hear; “but you still have to scan it to make it a digital image so why not just shoot digital“?  My answer to this is always the same.  Because a scanner takes a “picture” of what it is scanning and therefore I retain that look and feel of a film image even after it is scanned.  I then ask; why do you shoot digital and then spend hours on Photoshop or Lightroom trying to get it to look like film?

Now, do I shoot digital?  Heck yes!  Do I feel like I am giving up something in the way of image quality because I am NOT shooting film, sometimes.  But I am learning that I am not giving up image quality in as much as I learning the differences in image aesthetics when I shoot digital.  What I know to be a fact is, not one of my images would have been a “better” image had I used a film camera.  The reverse is also true.  This harkens back to my earlier statement. Care more about the photograph and less about the gear to truly see what kind of photographer you can become!

 

Until I can deal with the mental block of shooting digital as an art medium I will still use film.  Admittedly I am shooting less and less film.  I think I feel obligated to shoot film because I have these cameras and because the ever so annoying hipsters still shoot film.  However, the Fuji X Pro-1 is helping me a great deal with this issue.

 

FYI my Nikon D800 with its mammoth 36 mp is really changing my opinion!

Affordable Wedding Photography In Houston

If you are looking for high quality and yet affordable wedding and bridal photography then In Style Photography is your place!

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Relax! It’s Just A Photograph…

It’s OK, it’s just a photo shoot!

From time to time I come across a person or a couple who just cannot relax in front of the camera.  This is unusual by any means.  In fact few people are 100% comfortable  being the center of attention.  Not all of us are an attention seeking Kardashian!  OK with that said below are a few tips which might help you when you have to get your head shot, model beauty shot or engagement/bridal photo:

  1. Be yourself!  Too many time people feel the need to “act” instead of simply being who they are
  2. Move!  As in actually move.  I do not mean sprint like you’re in a race, but simple move and sway
  3. Take a deep breath.  I know this sounds so simple but it really does work.  Heck, take 2 deep breaths, couldn’t hurt
  4. If you have the choice shoot in a location that’s familiar to you.  Strangers and storage places add to you being uncomfortable
  5. Feel comfortable with the photographer.  Rather a good photographer will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and safe

As you can see, nothing on this list is terrible complicated.  In fact it’s pretty darn basic.  But of none of this works, there’s alway wine!

To book my service please visit www.instylephotogrpahy.net or simply send a message using the contact form listed below.  Have a rest week form your jolly ole photographer Scott Evans with In Style Photography in Houston, TX

Is Your Photographer a Boring Downer?

Does the personality of your photographer really matter?

Of course I am going to say yes to this question, and I do have my reasons .  When selecting your photographer most have been told to look at three things: price, quality of work and experience.  While I cannot argue with any of those suggestions I would like to add a fourth to this list, personality!

If you stop to think about it for a moment you will realize that you will be spending the majority of your wedding day next to and interacting with your wedding photographer.  Same goes with your guests!  With this said, ask yourself this simple question; Do you want to be around a grumpy old, “I hate my job” kind of photographer?  Or do you want to be around one who is fun, funny, has the ability to relax you and not get stressed out and most of all, one who really enjoys their job?

I would add this component to your selection process when deciding on your photographer be it for your; wedding, family portrait or any photographic event.  So the next time you are talking to a prospective photographer try to ascertain whether her/she is relaxed, open and fun.  I am not talking hiring a stand up comic, but hire one that at least has a sense of humor!

If you have decided to have anything photographed the obviously it is important to you, so a full time professional photographer is vital!

For more information about Scott Evans and In Style Photography click here

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