9.4
Expert Rating

The Pentax 645z has many of the features of the best medium format digital camera and the best digital camera at a more affordable price. This digital SLR camera utilizes the same CMOS sensor as pricier, high end options like Hasselblad digital cameras, albeit at a reduced size. The image quality is superb, thanks to the high resolution and high iso. With the Pentax 645z, Pentax delivers another excellent medium format camera for those not willing to drop 6 figures just yet.

Why We Like It – Pentax 645Z

Like the Pentax 645d before it, the Pentax 645z is a top-quality medium format camera that is a fraction of the price of similar cameras in this category. This digital SLR camera features an upgraded CMOS image sensor that makes capturing stunning photos, even in low light, a breeze.

Pros
  • Same CMOS sensor as more expensive medium format DSLR cameras
  • Excellent high ISO for shooting in low light
  • 27-point autofocus system
Cons
  • Autofocus points are clustered in the frame’s center
  • Difficult to find a variety of lens types
  • Big and bulky

Image Quality

Photographers know that, when it comes to image quality, medium format surpasses its full frame counterparts, and the Pentax 645z is no exception. Pentax opted for a CMOS sensor over the CCD sensor on the older 645d, and this absolutely shows in the image quality. The 51-megapixel image sensor captures incredible details, the high ISO performance makes it possible to get great photos in low light, and the medium format sensor size produces an unmatched dynamic range. The Pentax 645z is equipped with several physical dials for adjusting things like ISO and white balance, among others.

Ease of Use

The majority of reviewers of the Pentax 645z found the digital slr camera to be extremely easy to learn. This camera is on the heavier and bulkier side which makes it more suitable for mounting on a tripod than shooting handheld. The high resolution LCD screen can be used for both video capture and live view composition, the latter of which makes capturing the perfect shot even easier. More consumer-focused digital SLR cameras will be easier to shoot with right away, but the improved image quality here makes the Pentax 645z worth spending the short time to learn.

Batter Life

Though not perhaps the best medium format DSLR camera in terms of battery life, the Pentax 645z manages to outperform competitors like the Mamiya digital camera by a long shot. According to CIPA-ratings, the Pentax 645z is capable of taking 650 photos on a single charge, which is noticeably lower than the 800 capable on the previous 645d. As with any camera of its type, extended usage of the LCD screen and video capture features will drain the battery faster than still photography via the viewfinder.

Durability

Although the size and weight of the Pentax 645z are likely to keep some photographers tethered to the studio, anyone wanting to take this camera outside should be extraordinarily pleased by the weather sealed camera body. Pentax employs weather seals in every possible location to lock out moisture and dust, and the aluminum alloy chassis and magnesium alloy shell mean this camera is just as ready for the field as it is for the studio.

Value

Even if the Pentax 645z is a more affordable medium format DSLR camera than, say, a Hasselblad digital camera, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily affordable for the average consumer. But photographers looking to delve more into their artistic sides and change things up with medium format photography without breaking the bank should be extraordinarily happy. This camera produces stunning images at a high sync speed. High speed action shots and continuous shooting are possible with this camera, but the majority of users prefer to take their time crafting the perfect shot.

Pentax 645Z Wrap Up

Once again, Pentax delivers a phenomenal medium format camera at a stellar price point. Thanks to the newly-integrated CMOS image sensor, photos are dynamic and lush. The high ISO makes low light photography a breeze, and the 27-point autofocus system is sure to impress, even if the points are a bit clustered toward the center. Depending on what you are looking for, it might be difficult to find appropriate lenses that fit your shooting style, but the ability to use Pentax legacy lenses certainly opens up the possibilities of building a powerful yet inexpensive kit.

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9.4
Expert Rating
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Zoe Dumas

Zoe is a digital native who cannot remember a time when she didn’t have access to some type of computer. When she’s not busy researching the latest innovations in technology, Zoe loves playing video games, watching movies and TV, reading books, and playing with her two cats.

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