Remember summer? - Pentax 645D


Having heard on the news last night that this cold weather may last until the new year here in the UK, I felt the need to post a couple of shots from last summer. 

Both shots - Panasonic GH1 - Leica Panasonic 14-150mm Vario-Elmar

Dpreview have just posted some sample images from the Pentax 645D medium format digital camera, including some .DNG raw files available for download.

The resolution is obviously incredible and you can crop massively into the files and still produce large detailed images. However I was somewhat unimpressed by the look of the files. I remember the biting sharpness and contrast of the Velvia transparencies I took on my film Pentax 645, and I think I was expecting a digital version of that. These samples are a little disappointing however, slightly soft and a bit "flat". 

Not unexpected however as Pentax seem to take a pretty conservative view about their sensors. Every one of their digital cameras I've used has been like this. The 645D is being touted as a great camera for landscape photographers, and indeed the film version was just that. However a 3 image stitch from a Leica M9 would equal the 645D's resolution and seriously embarrass it in terms of sharpness, colour and contrast if these samples are typical.

Its nice to be able to say that a Leica is a "cheaper" alternative to another camera.

In an extremely unscientific test I blew up a Leica M9 file to the same size as a Pentax 645D one (148%) and took a 600x600 pixel chunk out of each.

 This is the result.

I am aware of exactly how flawed this is but my reaction to all the 645D samples I've seen has been the same. "Shouldn't they be better?" Compared to what I've seen from Hassleblad MF and indeed the Leica S2 they do look soft to me. Anyway have a look for yourself, and see what you think.