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How would you describe Pentax 67 rendering?
Old 01-29-2018   #1
karateisland
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How would you describe Pentax 67 rendering?

Since I'm smitten with the results I see from the Pentax 67, I'm trying to figure out what that camera's je ne sais quoi is.

The 105mm lens seems to have the most distinct rendering, but I see similar characteristics in the other lenses as well. To my eyes, results from the 67 are sharp, but not quite as crisp and clean as the Mamiya 7, and even feel a little dreamy.

I imagine this could be affected by shallower DoF of the Pentax lenses (F2.4 for the 105mm), but I wanted to ask--Is there anything else that makes it look this way? What else makes these lenses special among 6x7 cameras?
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Old 01-29-2018   #2
leicapixie
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The larger film size gives these images (incl. Hasselblad,) an almost grain free look.
Smooth and a new clarity.
The Pentax 67 is very sharp, but depth of field effect very visible.
I found I needed to stop way down, to get sharpness reqd.
I sometimes thought what ya mean no smaller than f22, f32!
Stop worrying about diffraction!
Some here will mention mirror bounce, a fable.
It did happen on my tripod, due to ball head at 1/8, 1/15th.
I had no mirror lock, early model.
You can easily sharpen scanned images.
I hated the weight, the size but adored the images.
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Old 01-29-2018   #3
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I owned three bodies and a selection of lenses including the 35 fisheye,45, 55 F3,5, 75, 105, 135 macro, originally the old then bought the new 200 and the 300. I used them for commercial photography for several years and would have kept them but the lack of interchangible backs and having to dedicate a body to a Polaroid back was impractical for my kind of work.

First I found them a real joy to use. They're just like a big 35 slr. After selling my pentaxes I went to Rollei SL66's and used those for nearly 30 years until digital and was unable to add a digital back to the Rolleis so I went Hasselblad.

Optically the Pentax glass is on par with the Zeiss of Rollei and Hasselblad. The least performer was the old version 200 especially compared to the new one. All other glass was very sharp with great contrast. Even wide open they were very sharp and as mentioned comparable to Zeiss.

To give you an idea how good the glass is, IMAX used Pentax 6x7 lenses at one point. Whether they do now I'm not sure but I shot and directed some 35mm TV commercials for IMAX in the late70's and was aware they used some Pentax glass.

I've not used a Mamiya 7 but can say without reservation the Pentax optics are among the very best.
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Old 01-29-2018   #4
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Pentax 67 lenses are indeed very good. I have been slammed by a well-known member at another forum for suggesting such a thing though - it seems that some have a visceral response to the idea that such relatively inexpensive lenses could possibly be near their vaunted Zeiss or Mamiya glass.

Some lenses are indeed dogs, such as the 35mm Fisheye. I've had 3 different copies and all never really were sharp at any aperture, but f/22 was the "least bad." Of course, such a lens isn't even available on most MF system cameras.... Also, the fast lenses don't exactly have the best corner performance at wider stops on lab tests. Go figure. And who cares??

Anyway, the OP asked about rendering, not necessarily sharpness, though I think that is a factor. The 105/2.4 is very sharp at the plane of focus, especially stopped down just a stop or so. IMO the "look" of that lens is first and foremost the immense DOF effect, especially when highlighted by just enough DOF to cover the subject. The 165mm f/2.8 has a similar look, despite being a bargain lens. The 105 has really become a cult lens though, with the prices rising from around $100-150 a few years ago to $600, sometimes $700 lately it seems...especially for a late copy. Hint: if you like warm images, find an older one. The optics seem to get tinted slightly warm, a la thorium glass like the Aero Ektar and similar. I'm not sure if early versions had such glass, but it seems like it to me. I've had a couple early lenses but now have only rubber-grib, "Pentax 67" model glass to give similar color performance across lenses.

The newer 55 and 200 are stand-out lenses, as are the two zoom lenses in the system (!). Both are fantastic and great utility lenses. The slight hit on speed compared to the fastest lenses of the system are not much of a trade-off if you want to get some fantastic lenses with excellent performance. The 55-100mm zoom has equal sharpness to the new 55 and the best of the lenses in the system. The long lenses also have a wonderful rendering and look to the images. I could post hundreds of images as examples but I won't bog down the thread. Despite price increases over the years the Pentax 67 is still one of the best bargain MF systems out there. My Pentax 67ii and collection of lenses will probably be with me for the rest of my film-shooting career.
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Old 01-29-2018   #5
charjohncarter
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I have the 6x7, and I just like the shots it gives: I don't know why, but I like them.

Ektar 100 Pentax 6x7 by John Carter, on Flickr
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Old 01-29-2018   #6
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How would I describe it?

"f'n awesome"



Mamiya 7 for comparison



I would say that the mamiya 7 doesn't have the speed that the pentax has so the pentax ends up with the distinct look from the 105. The lens is longer, and faster than the mamiya so it leads to dramatically shallower DOF. The mamiya lens is no slouch, but the pentax isn't either. The pentax is very sharp. I think the reason why you might think it's less sharp or dreamier is because its really hard to nail focus with the 105. Especially wide open.

With the 80 F4 you have a lot more DOF to work in and make sure that you hit focus.
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Old 01-29-2018   #7
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There is a real smoothness to the 67 wide lenses, partly this comes from the larger film size, but compared to a Rollei, there is a clear difference. Very much like the way the SWC/m draws. I was a big fan of the 45 and 55 lenses, but since hand surgery last spring I had to get rid of the 67, just could not hold the thing due to scar tissue. I have kept the 100 macro lens, and intend to fit it to the X1d once I can get my hands on one of those.
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Old 01-29-2018   #8
karateisland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLKRCAT View Post
I think the reason why you might think it's less sharp or dreamier is because its really hard to nail focus with the 105. Especially wide open.
Here's a followup question, then--If you stopped the 105 down, would the rendering be more similar to the Mamiya lenses?

Looking at Flickr again, I realized that 95% of the P67 photos on that site are shot wide open...
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Old 01-29-2018   #9
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hows this?



This is the 105 at F8 or F11 shot from a tripod.

I don't seem to have any quick access to any close up shots of people stopped down, only landscapes

Here's a mamiya 6 shot at F8 with the 75mm for some comparison.



They are both stellar lenses. But Fwiw, I don't have my Mamiya 6 or 7 anymore and still have the pentax. It's just a more versatile system IMO. If the mamiya came with an 80 2.8 lens I would shoot the mamiya 7 until I die. It would be perfect.
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Old 01-29-2018   #10
karateisland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLKRCAT View Post
hows this?
Gorgeous! And answers the question, to some extent. I believe I still see a difference between the Pentax and the Mamiya, but I'm not confident I could tell the difference in a single-blind test...
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Old 01-29-2018   #11
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I didn't notice much of a difference between the two stopped down. I still always considered the Pentax superior. Though theres a thing that most people don't talk about with the 105, the way the aperture blades are designed, when stopped down to F22 they become oblong. This might effect IQ a little bit, but I'm not certain.

For me also, they have such different applications. One being a light MF EDC the other being a beast that can give a 3D look because of the speed and length of the 105. Its very hard to get the mamiya to go 3D. I've never done it as easily as with the pentax.
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Old 01-29-2018   #12
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Untitled by Anthony Gross, on Flickr



Skylark by Anthony Gross, on Flickr


Couple with the 105, mine is an early Super Tak version that was yellowed (some time in a California window reduced the tint). I don't have any scans of the 165/2.8 as it's the most recent addition to my P67 kit but it has a similar sharp but smooth look to it.

My buddy has the M7 and those seem to have better overall edge contrast, almost like turning up Photoshop/Lightroom's "Clarity" slider. May be higher resolution but the Pentax is fine in that department. I had a Fuji GX680 for a while and that had optics more like the Mamiya, feels a bit more modern and clean but some may say boring/less character. The big Fuji 6x9 rangefinder (Texas Leica) had somewhere in between.
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Old 01-29-2018   #13
karateisland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fixcinater View Post
I don't have any scans of the 165/2.8 as it's the most recent addition to my P67 kit but it has a similar sharp but smooth look to it.

My buddy has the M7 and those seem to have better overall edge contrast, almost like turning up Photoshop/Lightroom's "Clarity" slider.
Yes! This is exactly what I am seeing! I am very drawn to that sharp/smooth look, which looks classic to me without that "glow." However, pretty turned off by the size. Guess I can't have it all.
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Old 01-29-2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karateisland View Post
However, pretty turned off by the size. Guess I can't have it all.

The size is why I let this kit go.
The rendering from the 105 and 55 was great but I found something I also liked from smaller lighter weight Folder.
The Bessa ii Heliar 6x9 with 105 f3.5.
Yes slower and not quite that DOF magic of the Pentax 2.4/105.
For non comercial Hobbiest/artist/Portrait use it was just too much to lug the P67 when the little folder was sitting there staring me down.
Now I've added the lightweight Fuji GF670 and it's more modern handling and look.... Not missing the P67 at all.

That said, the f2.4/105 is pretty much singular among photographic lenses.
Yes there are other great lenses in the system... I really liked the 55 for Landscapes. So sharp and such great details came through for a wide.
The f2.4/105 though.....It's the Noctilux of medium format truly!


Just look at this image from BlackCat Fixinater... singular for sure!
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Old 01-29-2018   #15
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In a word... smooth...


Untitled by Colton Allen, on Flickr
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Old 01-29-2018   #16
karateisland
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A seriously great lens, but not to forget: some real talent at work here making the lens look its best. Thanks for sharing your work and input, all.
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Old 01-29-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLKRCAT View Post
hows this?



This is the 105 at F8 or F11 shot from a tripod.

I don't seem to have any quick access to any close up shots of people stopped down, only landscapes

Here's a mamiya 6 shot at F8 with the 75mm for some comparison.



They are both stellar lenses. But Fwiw, I don't have my Mamiya 6 or 7 anymore and still have the pentax. It's just a more versatile system IMO. If the mamiya came with an 80 2.8 lens I would shoot the mamiya 7 until I die. It would be perfect.


Excellent shot.

I think if Mamiya made an 80 F2.8 it would be massive to the point where it wouldn’t be fun to haul around. The Pentax can be made at 2.4 more easily because there’s no leaf shutter inside.

I got smitten with the idea of the Rolleiflex 6008 and the 80 F2.0 lens and after getting it I realized it was huge and heavy. That said, it’s a phenomenal piece of glass.


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Old 01-29-2018   #18
Fixcinater
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karateisland View Post
Yes! This is exactly what I am seeing! I am very drawn to that sharp/smooth look, which looks classic to me without that "glow." However, pretty turned off by the size. Guess I can't have it all.
You could look at the Mamiya 645, I have the 80/1.9 and that's somewhat in the same range of sharp but smooth and a fair bit smaller/lighter than the P67 setup, esp if you are comparing both cameras with the prisms.

You might also look at the rendering of the 80/2.8 Rollei TLRs, or maybe the 105/3.5 on the Mamiya TLR series although the Mamiya TLR lenses are a bit too far in the soft/smooth range for me, out of what I have shot through them (105, 80/2.8).
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Old 01-29-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JChrome View Post
Excellent shot.

I think if Mamiya made an 80 F2.8 it would be massive to the point where it wouldn’t be fun to haul around. The Pentax can be made at 2.4 more easily because there’s no leaf shutter inside.
Thanks,

When I had it I used to hold up my bronica 80 2.8 to it thinking that the size and shutter would be perfectly fine on there. I'm gonna bet that fitting the rangefinder coupling and release though might cause some issues.

I still think it would end up lighter than the pentax!
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Old 01-29-2018   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fixcinater View Post
You could look at the Mamiya 645, I have the 80/1.9 and that's somewhat in the same range of sharp but smooth and a fair bit smaller/lighter than the P67 setup, esp if you are comparing both cameras with the prisms.

You might also look at the rendering of the 80/2.8 Rollei TLRs
Thanks for the tip. The other Mamiya 645 lenses look pretty smooth/sharp too.
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Old 01-29-2018   #21
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If it's je ne sais quoi you're looking for, don't wait any longer - get the pentax 67 and the 105mm. It has it in gobs.
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Old 01-29-2018   #22
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I have a hard time with these lens character analyses... because je ne sais quoi! Maybe I'm just generally numb to it, but once in a while a photo jumps out at me because of some optical character I can't describe... Here's an example using the Pentax-67 2.8/75mm AL




Over all, throughout many years, the Pentax 6x7 and 67II have been fond favorites... I like using them and I like the results. I have a big kit, but these days I've set aside film and use the fine lenses on a Leica S2...
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