Pentax 645Z vs Nikon D810

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Introduction

The Pentax 645z and the Nikon D810 have appeared on the market in 2014, as two, professional DSLR cameras that have gained a huge popularity throughout their existence, mainly because of their build and their versatility, which helps the photographers to have a freedom in shooting different photography styles.

Although both of them share many things in common such as the fact that both of them are DSLR, there are many differences including the Nikon D810 being based on a full-frame sensor, whereas the Pentax 645Z is on a medium-format sensor.

At a glance, it would be hard to determine which camera would suit your preferences the most, so, I’d advise getting into action right away and reveal their pros and cons so that you’d have a better insight and bring the final decision!

Head To Head Comparison

Pentax 645Z

The Pentax 645Z isn’t the most compact and lightweight camera that you can encounter on the market, since it measures 4.6 x 6.1 x 4.8″ (HWD), weighs 3.4 pounds, but interestingly, shooting with the 645Z isn’t hard, actually, due to its deep handgrip which allows you to place your hands in a natural fashion, so that you shoot comfortably for a very long period of time! As an added protection, Pentax has utilized a weather-sealing, and they receive our applaud here mainly because the presence of the weather-sealing is decisive once you opt to shoot under dusty and rainy conditions!

Furthermore, I like the camera’s boxy style and the matte-black color combination because it makes the camera apperance modern and professional at the same time, and clearly, Pentax did an excellent job here!

If you take a look at the top plate, you will notice that at the center, there’s a hot shoe which is followed by a row of buttons located on the left, whereas, below the row of button, a single Mode dial sits and waits to be used as you please. On the right, a huge portion is being taken by a vast, information LCD screen that sits next to a dedicated button which activates the backlighting of the camera, while at the grip, you will find a shutter release button with an On/Off switch. What’s interesting is that all of the included buttons are intuitively organized so that you can access them easily any time you want.

Once you flip the camera over, on the rear, there is a great amount of buttons including an AE-L button, single AF button, a four-way controller with a center OK button along with the other buttons which are all set on the right-handed side.

At the rear-top, you will instantly recognize the large, viewfinder which covers around 98% of the field, has a magnification ratio of 0.62x and what’s even better is that it is bright enough to offer you a convenient shooting experience without missing a single target!

In the center, beneath the viewfinder sits an articulating 3.2″ 1037k-dot display that outputs detailed visuals while also being bright enough to set your comfort to the highest levels during your shooting sessions! Unfortunately, the display would be more than excellent in my opinion if it has had a touch-support, but since it is how it is, I don’t consider it as a huge remark though.

In terms of the connection options, the Pentax 645z packs a single USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, stereo microphone input, an SD memory card, built-in microphone and sadly, it doesn’t have a built-in support for Wi-Fi, but you’ll have an opportunity to take advantage of the optional, FluCard which allows the camera to gain Wi-Fi functionality so that you’d be able to transmit your content wirelessly. Clearly, Pentax could have done a better job here!

When it comes to the performance, the Pentax 645z incorporates a 51.4MP CMOS sensor, decent continuous shooting speed of 3 fps, an ISO range of 100-204,800 and a 27-point AF with 25 cross-type focus points, which will help you achieve excellent results regardless if you’re shooting photos or videos!

Honestly, I really love the way Pentax 645z handles the noise, this camera is nearly flawless when seen through this aspect, due to the fact that even at the highest ISO setting – at ISO 204,800 most of the details and color accuracy is preserved. Although I wouldn’t recommend you to stick at the highest level, because at ISO 6400 results will fascinate you even more!

RAW format images in comparison to the JPGs, have a better definition of the details regardless if you opt to shoot through low, high or at the highest settings, and as you can see, this camera allows you to have a huge freedom and achieve excellent results!

Moreover, you can try yourself as a videographer as well, because this camera does really allows you to do that. To be more precise, the 645z supports Full HD videos at 24p/25p/30p/50i/60i, 720p videos to be shot at 24/25p/30p/50p/60p and although it lacks 4K capability, still, the footage is very sharp and it may satisfy you and the others who look at the video results.

Nikon D810

The Nikon D810 shares the same solid build as the Pentax 645 because you’d be able to feel their weight once you have them in your hands. This model measures 4.9 x 5.8 x 3.3″ (HWD), weighs around 2 pounds without a lens, and it is made of a strong, magnesium alloy body which is then protected by a weather and dust-sealing that makes this camera be as strong as a tank so that you’d be able to have an undistracted shooting experience outdoors!

In addition, this model employs a large, textured grip that is ergonomically shaped as well, and this definitely comes handy once you set your hands because they will stick in a natural position and you won’t have difficulties to shoot for a long period of time!

Speaking of the control layout, Nikon kept it simple and did an absolutely remarkable job here.

Namely, on the top-left plate of the body, you can notice four dedicated buttons organized in a circular fashion including a White Balance button, ISO, and the Metering button, a hot shoe that sits on the top-center, whereas on the right, you will find a large, iinformation LCD screen that sits below the dedicated Mode button. On the grip, you will also find a Movie-Record button, Exposure Compensation button and a shutter release button with an On/Off switch.

On the rear, the control layout is divided into two groups, there’s a row of buttons which are located on the left, as well as another row of buttons on the right. In between, sits the viewfinder and the LCD screen, and personally, I like the design.

For your information, the viewfinder has an optical, pentaprism design, supports up to 100% of the frame and although it is not as bright as a pentamirror viewfinder, it is still doing its job pretty fine because your eyesight will be properly aligned with the targets you opt to capture.

On the other side, the 3.2″ 1,229k-dot screen is exceptionally sharp, hence, the visuals you’ll be seeing are going to be strong, however, as was the case with its opponent – the 645z, it lacks touch-sensitivity. However, I give more points to the Pentax here, because at least the screen can tilt, because this one is fixed and it is kind of restricting to shoot from different angles.

When it comes to the connectivity options, the D810 has a single USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, dual card slot with support for CF and SD media, stereo headphone and microphone connectors, and once again, as was the case with the Pentax, this one lacks built-in Wi-FI, so you’d have to invest additionally in an adapter to have the pleasure of transferring your content wirelessly to other compatible devices.

Performance-wise, the Nikon D810 is powered by an EXPEED 4 image-processing engine, has a 36.3MP FX-Format CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter, 51-point AF system with 3D color Matrix Metering III and a 91k pixel RGB sensor, base ISO range of 64-12,800 which is expandable to 32-51,200 and let’s not forget its burst shooting speed of 5 fps that will help you capture fast-moving objects quickly and effectively.

Moving on, this camera can output fairly good results under low light at ISO 3200, while at ISO 6400, noise is well-controlled and images are not only usable, but they look superb in my opinion! Of course, at the highest levels, noise becomes more prominent and it overtakes the image quality, so, I’d recommend you not to push the camera to its boundaries because results may lead to unusable imagery!

On the other side, RAW images look strong with excellent level of details starting from ISO 800 and even at the highest levels, but once again, although they employ well-defined details in comparison to JPGs, still, at the highest ISO settings, noise takes it toll, and that’s why you should try to avoid such things.

In the end, I’d like to inform you that the D810 records 1080p videos at 24/60fps, and since both cameras lack 4K capability, I can easily say that the result can be considered as a tie at this point, although 645z may offer a bit better performance thanks to its better sensor.

Feature Comparison

Pentax 645Z Nikon D810
Camera Type
DSLR
DSLR
Megapixels
51.4
36.3
ISO Range
100-204,800
64-12,800;32-51,200
Flip-Out Screen
Yes
No
AF Points
27 AF Points
51 AF Points
Viewfinder
Yes
Yes
Touchscreen
No
No
Video Recording
Yes
Yes
Sensor Size
Medium format CMOS
Full-Frame CMOS

Conclusion

Finally, this is the part where I have to bring the final words regarding these cameras and announce the winner, right? Well, hold on just for a minute, so that I can make a quick head to head comparison of both of them and reveal the areas where the first camera shows itself as a better over the second and vice-versa.

If you opt to shoot Portrait photography, both cameras are excellent for this type of photography, but since the 645z has a sensor with higher resolution, by default it means that you can achieve bette results. For Street photography, the difference between them isn’t huge at all, although the Pentax is yet again a winner.

For Sports photography, the D810 outperforms its opponent, while for Daily photography, both cameras have a large body, and this does not make them excellent candidates for such type of photography, but either way, the 645z brings better results.

The areas where the Nikon D810 proves itself as better is due to its faster continuous shooting speed ( 5 vs 3fps), the battery life ( ~1200 vs ~650), has a built-in flash, 24 more focus points, faster mechanical shutter ( 1/8000s vs 1/4000s), support for UHS memory and weighs less.

On the contrary, the 645z has an articulating screen, packs 41% more pixels ( 51MP vs 36), has a higher max ISO by 1500% ( 204,800 vs 12,800), and outputs a better low ISO performance.

Therefore, I would go for the Nikon D810.