Testing 2 Go-To Film Cameras for Wedding Photography


As we speak we’re going to check out two movie cameras. Now we have the Pentax 645nII and the Contax 645: two of the final medium format movie our bodies ever produced, and the 2 hottest go-to cameras for marriage ceremony shooters who’re nonetheless taking pictures movie.

There are many the explanation why that is the case. Whereas they don’t have fancy Eye autofocus or something like that, they each have fairly good autofocus programs, very quick motor drives, and all the fundamental bells and whistles you can get on a movie digital camera within the early 2000s.

Additionally they have a meter inside. So if you wish to use a meter you may shoot rapidly, you may really depend on the meter, particularly for those who’re taking pictures unfavorable movie the place you will have quite a lot of latitude.

There’s a value distinction between these two. The Contax is far more costly at round $3,000, whereas you will get the Pentax for round $1,000. Nonetheless, the Contax has a Swiss Planar T Zeiss lens, which is an extremely sharp lens, and also you even have a detachable again on the Contax.

Pentax doesn’t have a detachable again, which suggests it’s a must to hearth by way of your entire roll of movie earlier than you may change. That’s an enormous bonus for the Contax.

One other factor value mentioning is that the lens on the Pentax solely goes right down to f/2.8, whereas the lens on the Contax goes right down to a f/2. Lots of people suppose that that’s form of a giant deal. They like the concept of taking pictures at f/2, particularly with the medium format. So I’m to take some portraits and examine the 2 to see how a lot of a distinction it makes.

However aperture apart, the Pentax lens additionally doesn’t really feel fairly as good because the Contax, and it exhibits up within the picture high quality. Talking of which…

Picture High quality Comparability

When evaluating photos from these two cameras, proper off the bat, you do see there’s a little bit extra heat within the Pentax. This picture is a little bit out of focus with the Pentax sadly, however you do see that heat there. And a little bit extra distinction with the Contax Zeiss Lens.

In fact, you’re scanning this stuff after processing the movie, so whoever is making the choices on these scans can push them round loads. It’s similar to being in Lightroom or Digital camera Uncooked. I’d guess you can make this stuff match fairly shut if you wish to, however proper out of the gate, with no further work, the Contax has a richer, heavier shade, heavier blacks, and heavier distinction than the Pentax.

Right here we’ve our shot of the Capitol Data constructing. It’s out of focus once more on the Pentax.

We have been at a distance right here, and at this distance with the background that distant, the best way the 2 lenses fall out of focus feels very comparable. They’re each set to f/2.8, they usually really feel very comparable, though there’s a distinction within the character of the bokeh.

If you happen to take a look at the bokeh on the Pentax on the fitting it’s extra rectangular, whereas the bokeh is extra spherical on the Contax.

After we have been out working, the Contax was a little bit slower on the autofocus, even in vibrant daylight. After we got here again indoors and tried pointing each cameras at issues right here inside, that’s the place the Pentax actually pulled forward. Each cameras would hunt, however the Pentax might really discover a topic and lock on someplace with just about each body. The Contax by no means stopped looking, and since it may’t autofocus it may’t take a picture.

I’d say autofocus in a low mild state of affairs with the Contax is unusable. The Pentax appears much more usable in decrease mild and the viewfinder is brighter within the Pentax. So the ease-of-use in low mild is best with the Pentax. That’s fairly a bonus…

However again to the picture comparability.

On this picture, you may actually see the distinction between f/2.Eight on the Pentax and f/2.zero on the Contax—it actually falls out of focus a lot faster, rendering a a lot prettier background with lovely bokeh. I additionally love the best way it resolves the strains across the bushes.

It’s not all as a result of aperture although, as you may see within the picture under:

These are each shot at f/2.Eight with the identical distance between the topic and the background and the identical distance between the topic and the digital camera. For some cause, the Contax falls out of focus quicker letting the topic actually come out of the body.

In distinction, that is in all probability the picture the place they appear essentially the most comparable, though you undoubtedly see a little bit extra element in her pores and skin with the Contax. You get these good strains in her face, and just a bit extra definition. With the Pentax, you get a a lot softer look—it feels nearly such as you’ve softened her face in submit.

And right here’s our last picture. Sadly the Pentax was (once more) not fairly targeted proper right here—it’s not targeted on her proper eye, it’s targeted on her left eye.

However once more, you see a little bit bit extra heat with the Pentax by way of the leaves, and extra fall-off and distinction from the Contax with the Zeiss lens. It’s actually a really fairly picture, particularly from the Contax with the best way it falls out of focus.


If I used to be a marriage photographer and I used to be doing this significantly, I’d undoubtedly get a Contax. Sure, even with the autofocus being unusable in low mild, I’d simply guide focus the Contax. The picture high quality is value it.

I simply suppose the Contax appears lovely. The photographs have a really fairly look.

That’s to not say the Pentax is a foul choice. At 1/Three the worth, and with higher AF, I really feel just like the Pentax is a nice choice, particularly for those who’re new to this. If you happen to’re making an attempt to get into movie and get into the medium format world, the Pentax it’s tremendous inexpensive, and it’s one of many latest medium format movie cameras you should buy. I’ve seen them as little as $650 or $700 for the physique.

The reality is, you may’t go improper both means relating to these two cameras, it simply depends upon what your wants are. What do you wish to spend it on? If picture high quality is king, think about spending the additional cash on the Contax; if ease-of-use is extra necessary, and price range it restricted, the Pentax is a good choice.

Concerning the creator: Jay P. Morgan is a business photographer with over twenty years of expertise within the trade. He teaches pictures by way of his firm, The Slanted Lens, which runs a popular YouTube channel. This assessment was additionally printed here.

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