Medium Format Tests

November 13, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I have been pretty sick the past couple of days, there is a nasty stomach bug going around. Fortunately before I fell pray to the microscopic beast I was able to go out last weekend and take some photos at Princess Place. The purpose of this trip was to test out a new Pentax 645Z Medium format camera that the University purchased to do large scale marketing work. Up until this time I have been using my Sony A7r for this type of work, but it is best that the University has its own resources to create these types of images.

I have to say the camera is a beast, its huge, but the ergonomics are pretty good. It has a great grip and plenty of buttons to access the majority of the settings without digging into the menus. Along with the camera, we purchased the Pentax 120mm Macro lens, 150-300 mm Zoom, and 33-55 mm zoom. This should cover the majority of the range that will be needed. The camera itself sports a 51 megapixel Sony sensor that is LARGER than 35 mm full frame. The sensor is surprisingly similar to the one in the A7r but larger and is just as non-forgiving of photographic technique. The sensor is also used in the latest Hasselblad and Phase One camera backs (costing tens of thousands more dollars) The images from the camera are awesome, it shoots in Adobe's DNG raw format so they can be easily processed using Lightroom, but the files are huge 60 to 70 megabytes each. There is great dynamic range in the images so that you can pull the shadows up a bit or the highlights down if needed and the high ISO capability is really good up to about 6400, it goes much higher than that  (204800) but you really start to combat noise if you push it too far. Still this is phenomenal for a medium format digital in which ISO 800 was often pushing the limit.

Enough with the boring technical stuff here are some images from a casual day in the park...

a photogaph of a lizardAnoleCommon Anole lizard, shot with the Pentax 150-300 mm at 300 mm while I was sitting on a park bench about 20-30 feet away. An image of a tree with leavesBack Lit Leaves 1Taken with Pentax 150-300. An image of a tree with leavesBack Lit Leaves 2Taken with Pentax 150-300mm.

an image of hanging moss in a treeHanging MossTaken with Pentax 150-300mm. Converted to black and white with Lightroom. an image of ferns in a treeFernsTaken with Pentax 150-300mm. Converted to black and white with Lightroom.

an image of a leafLeaf MacroTaken with Pentax 120mm Macro. Converted to black and white in Lightroom. an image if a boltBoltTaken with a Pentax 120mm Macro. Park bench bolt macro image. If you made it down this far, here is something completely different. I didn't get to try out the 33-55mm lens at the park, but I did get to use it to shoot a new piece of stained glass at Sr. Diane's studio. This is a really beautiful window that is destined to be installed in a bathroom.

an image of a stained glass windowIris Stained Glass WindowTaken with a Pentax 33-55mm lens. Window design copyright Sr. Diane Couture, SSJ Stained Glass.


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