There are many reasons for how we pick our cameras: sensor resolution, max ISO, image quality, max. shutter speed, handling, weight, and so on. The list is probably just as long as the number of different models available today. Some reasoning is rational, some pure emotion. I have shot with pretty much any manufacturer over the years, and to what it comes down for me, is how the camera feels, when I use it. I believe that no camera is able to replace creativity and an artist’s vision, no matter how spec’d out it is. You can create amazing images with your iPhone, or any other camera for that matter, so for me, it has always been about the experience: the camera needs to become a natural extension of my creative vision.
That said, there are many cameras that can do that, but none of them offers the resolution and pixel sharpness I get from my 645Z. I shot with Hasselblad, I shot with PhaseOne, and the handling on the 645Z is very close to a DSLR, which cannot be said for any model made by the other medium format guys. Autofocus is quick, and works well. 3fps is nothing to call home about when compared to a DSLR, but then again, this is not your average DSLR. For a medium format camera, 3FPS is very impressive, and it allows me to have a workflow similar to what I would have with a full frame DSLR.
The 645Z is not perfect. There are a bunch of things I wish they would have done differently, but there is hope. RICOH has been very responsive to feedback, and I believe that they are genuinely interested in turning the medium format market upside-down. The 645z is an almost perfect start, and with the exciting things happening around the 645 system now and in the future, for me, this is the system I can trust and enjoy working with. Your opinion and workflow may be different, and that’s OK. The 645Z is not for everyone, and it doesn’t pretend to be. But if you know its strength, this is definitely the most powerful medium format tool out there today. And yes, tethering is right around the corner 🙂
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