I recently had the pleasure of testing the new Pentax 645z camera, lent to me by my friends at Don’s Photo in Regina. This is a heavyweight medium format camera that is quickly gaining high reviews from some of the top portrait photographers around the world. Wow! is what I’ll start with.

I got right down to business, taking my two boys out into the field (our cat followed) for some real-world testing. Amongst the challenges of working with a Pentax system that was completely new to me, I had to work quickly to capture the boys who never stop moving, and refuse to follow any of my directorial requests.

I was shooting this series with the new Pentax 55mm 2.8 lens, a focal length I love to work with. Compared to 35mm, medium format has a much smaller depth of field, meaning a smaller plane of depth appears in focus. I must say this camera/lens combo performed quite well with these moving targets.  My ratio of properly focused images was higher than I expected. It was nearer the end of full daylight, about 6pm in late August with some cloud coverage. By utilizing the cameras very high ISO capabilities, I was able to pull off some shots that I was fully impressed with when reviewing on my monitor back in the studio. Obviously these small files below displayed on a computer screen don’t do the actual files proper justice.  Zooming into 100% crop truly represents the image resolution, sharpness, contrast, dynamic range, and overall beauty. I must say, upon first use I am quite impressed. I worked this camera hard here, as well as with flash indoors (future blog post), and came out with a smile on my face. I won’t be purchasing this camera at this point (don’t ask what the price is), but I am considering it in the future.

Check out the images below and feel free to post any feedback. Take note in the sharpness of the subject, in contrast to the surrounding elements. What do you think? Do these images have a quality different to what you normally see in my work, or do they feel the same? I know what I think, but I want to hear your opinion.

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