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Fuji 645zi vs Pentax 645N

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by Billericay, Mar 13, 2001.

  1. Billericay

    Billericay Well-Known Member

    I've been tempted to try out a medium format camera for a while, but I want one with a few bells and whistles - I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel! These two seem to be reasonable choices, but I'm having trouble telling them apart. The secondhand value of the Fuji is about £750-£800, and the Pentax, £1250-£1350. An argument often made against the Fuji is the limits of the fixed zoom lens, covering 34-56mm (35mm terms). However, I'm not sure I'd add any more lenses to the Pentax's 50mm (35mm equivalent), in view of the horrible cost. While some might want to question the quality, a certain other magazine was hardly damning recently of it, and www.photographyreview.com has a few reviews which suggest eg the lens is extremely high quality, and they overall rank it highly.
    It seems to me the only advantage of the Pentax is the colour - yes, I'm one of the 'it must be black' obsessed people! I travel a bit, once in a while in Eastern Europe/Russia, and don't want a camera that shouts 'MUG ME!' too loudly - the Pentax is a little more restrained there.
  2. daveproctor

    daveproctor Member

    I bought the Fuji about 2 months ago and have been absolutely delighted with it. I can't afford additional lenses and wanted something affordable with a widish angle lens for landscapes etc. The quality of the pictures is fabulous and perhaps it's greatest advantage is it's lack of size which really makes it an ideal everyday and travel camera.

    I've seen it for sale new at less than £900 which is a bargain.
  3. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    You appear to want a medium format camera that has the 'features' of a 35mm compact but want few of the features that many people seek in MF - interchangeable backs, lenses, viewfinders etc. at this price level. You also want a camera that doesn't look too conspicuous for travel purposes.

    If you've never sampled MF before and therefore are not familiar with the higher running costs (fewer shots per film, more expensive processing etc.) then you might be conducting a somewhat expensive experiment bearing in the cost of these cameras. Might I suggest a more cautious dip of the toe in the MF water?

    A good S/H TLR like the Yashicamat 124G will give fantastic quality though it is manual focus and metering (not really a problem - modern cameras seem to make these tasks more complicated than what they really are). It has the big advantage that you can shoot from waist level therefore being less obvious than something held to the eye. It also has an old-fashioned look and therefore appears to be of less value to the thief who might not be able to sell it on easily.

    If you really want an eye-level camera, how about a good used Zeiss Super Ikonta? Maybe older than the Yashicamat but a quite reasonable lens and, again, doesn't wear the 'STEAL ME' label so proudly as the more modern cameras.

    You suggest that the Pentax is preferable to the Fuji because it is black but, to me, the boxy shape suggests that it looks a tad like a video camera and therefore more stealable.

    If you really want convenience and automation for travel purposes, what is wrong with a full-featured 35mm compact zoom?

  4. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Agree with Davids advice on this one. The Pentax and Fuji just shout "steal me!" and you would be much safer with a more inconspicuous and basic camera like the Yashicamat (I use one incidentally, great piece of kit). Even if it does get pinched, the finincial loss would be as nothing compared to the loss of the previously mentioned models. Go cheap, cheerfull and demure is my advice.
  5. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    For travel shots both of these cameras would be generally more suitable than a TLR due to speed of use. Don't get me wrong, I love my Rolleiccord and it's a lovely machine,quite compact too, but no good at all for a grab shot. The Fuji is the camera of choice for many travel photographers - it's main disadvantage is lack of TTL viewing, especially when using a polariser. But it's more unobtrusive (whatever the colour) than the Pentax. But I agree with you about black cameras!

  6. Billericay

    Billericay Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies. I've since found another thread on the 645zi with one reply, but didn't think much of the reply (after checking out their source!). I searched for 645zi on this site first - and advocate others search before posting threads - but the person wrote 645 zi, so it didn't show up!
    What do I think of the replies? Fairly good comments - yes, the Pentax does look like a video camera, doesn't it! And the Fuji is coming down in price all the time - you can get it for £905 new (or £950 with £150 in film included) according to the latest ads in AP.
    I don't know...I own a Mamiya 7II body that I regretted buying, because of how expensive the lenses are. I was looking for alternatives, but have been reading new stuff on the 7II and can't bear to lose it! But the price of the 645zi is getting very tempting - even if I sell it after a few months, I won't lose too much.

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