PENTAX 67 45MM F4 lens review
Going wide on medium format is not easy, there are not many lenses to choose from to be honest. There were three lenses that I could have chosen, the Pentax 35mm, 55mm, and the 45mm lens. I decided to pick the cheaper option this time as I was not really sure what the lens would be like and if I would be using it a lot but I wanted the option in my bag when I traveled. I bought the Pentax 67 system with a bunch of lenses at the same time but they all arrived a few days earlier than the Pentax 67 45mm F4 lens, and I was a little afraid of how big this lens was going to be. The Pentax 67 lens that I had bought so far where huge so I was expecting something rather large for this lens. I was wasn’t wrong when thinking that this lens was going to be big, but at least it wasn’t very tall. The Pentax67 45mm F4 lens is a big, chunky lens with a large front glass element, and just like all the other Pentax 67 lens, it is a heavy beast.
When the lens first arrived, I quickly shot a tested roll of film and developed it at home to see what the lens was like. I was fairly happy with the lens but I had bought the Pentax 67 system to mainly shoot with the Pentax 67 105mm lens so I put the Pentax 67 45mm lens into my bag and forgot about it for a while.
But the Pentax 67 105mm it is a standard prime lens and it tended to be a little tight at times for the things I was shooting so I slowly started to use the Pentax 67 45mm F4 lens alongside the Pentax 67 105mm lens. Compared to the Pentax 67 105mm lens, this lens is not as heavy or as tall as the Pentax 67 105mm lens so it was not difficult to carry with me when taking the beastly Pentax 67 out for a walk.
The one thing that I truly enjoy about the Pentax 67 system is the workmanlike design and philosophy and this lens is another classic example of this. It feels perfectly balanced on the Pentax 67 system, and the lens fits perfectly into your hands when holding the camera. The lens is constructed completely out of metal and the focus ring and aperture rings are rubberized. The aperture ring clicks to the different apertures with a nice solid click and it needs a good amount of pressure to move it into the next aperture setting. This is very good in my opinion, it makes it very difficult to accidentally adjust the aperture setting while carrying the camera and with the cost of 120mm film, you don’t want to waste a shot. The focus ring feels smooth but it is not the butter smooth feeling that the Pentax 67 105mm lens gives but then this lens is much slower at F4 so you have more depth of field to work with so focusing is much easier.
|Field of view||89 ° / 76 °|
|Dimensions||52mm x 60mm|
|Optical construction||9 elements in 8 groups|
|Minimum focus distance||37cm|
The build quality of this lens is fantastic, it is an absolute tank of a lens, and it is clearly made for professionals to use. I think all Pentax 67 lens will be like this. All of my Pentax 67 lenses seem to made like iron tanks, with enough heft and size to make a lot of people weak at the knees if they have to take the system outside for a shoot. I can’t find any fault with the build quality for the Pentax 67 45mm lens. High-quality product, designed and built to be used by professionals in their daily grind. I can’t believe has cheap Pentax 67 gear has become though, I am not sure what the retail price of the Pentax 67 45mm lens was during its heyday but it is ridiculously cheap compared to buy old manual Nikon AIS lens with the same focal length.
The Pentax 67 45mm lens is a fine performer. I shot the lens wide open and stopped down, but always handheld. I detest carrying a tripod around when I am exploring because I am never sure what I will find or if I have to deal with security guards who are attracted to tripods like moths to a flame. The Pentax 67 45mm lens is nice and sharp when shooting wide open and it only gets sharper when stopping the lens down. There was almost no vignetting to be seen in the image, very little to no distortion and the images from black and white film have a good amount of contrast, but that is also highly dependant on the type of film you use when shooting.
Shooting this lens into the sun presents almost no problems. I don’t have a lens hood for this but even with no lens hood, I haven’t gotten any flaring with this lens and the images are still nice and contrasty. About the only negative thing that I can think about when shooting into the sun is that the lens only has 8 aperture blades so if you are chasing light flares when shooting into the sun, you will only get 8 light strokes around the sun. But I don’t really care about the light strokes, but if they are important to you, then just be aware that this is not the best lens for them.
Focusing the lens is really easy, the focusing ring on the lens is nice and smooth but it is not as smooth as the Pentax67 105mm lens, but since this lens is wide(around 24mm on 35mm format), focusing is much easier as you have more depth of field to work with. For a manual focus lens, I would definitely say that this lens is one of the easier lenses to focus.
Overall I would say that this lens renders excellent images but a lot of people say that the lens is one of the weaker wide angle lenses for the Pentax 67 system but I am very happy with the images that this lens can render for me. If the Pentax 67 55mm lens is better than this lens, then it must be a killer of a lens because the Pentax 67 45mm F4 is a superb lens in my opinion. So who is this lens for? I am not really sure, I would guess landscape shooters or maybe travel photography as a 45mm lens on a 67 system gives you a 24mm field of view with a 35mm camera. The lens is a little wide to be used in a studio, it is a little slow to be used at events, but it seems to be perfect for shooting scenery and nice wide vistas or in tight locations.
I have mostly used the Pentax 67 lens when doing some urban exploring here in China, and the lens has worked well for me as it is wide enough to get most subjects into the shot and at F4 and I can still get a good exposure indoors when shooting with some faster film. So what about the bokeh? Well, it is a little hard to test bokeh on such a wide lens, but like many wide lenses, the minimum focus distance helps you with this regard. The Pentax 67 45mm F4 lens has a minimum focus distance of 37 cm so if you get close enough to your subject and shoot it wide open, then you can get some bokeh.
Looking at the out of focus areas from the Pentax 67 45MM F4, I would not say that the bokeh is very beautiful and I certainly would not use this to shoot portraits but I guess it could help you separate your subject from the background if that was your goal. But I mostly shoot this lens stopped down as I want a lot of depth of field, so I seldom try to get any bokeh in my shoot with this lens. If I really need to get some bokeh, I would rather use my Pentax 67 105MM lens.
Overall, I would say that this is a really good lens for the Pentax 67 system. It gives you a nice wide field of view, it is sharp enough and there is little distortion or vignetting. I have not shot color film with this lens, I seldom shoot color film but I have read that the lens can have a cool color cast and it can have some Chromatic abortions so if you shoot color film and you care about chromatic aberrations, then you might want to think carefully about buying this lens, but if you shoot black and white film, then this lens is an absolute bargain for the Pentax 67 system. Would I buy the Pentax 67 55mm lens over this lens, not really? I only shoot black and white film so this lens is perfect for me. If I shot color film then I might consider the Pentax 67 55 mm over this, so I guess it depends on what you plan to use the lens for.
- Image Quality: 4 out of 5
- Focus speed: 0 out of 5 Manual focus lens.
- Build quality: 5 out of 5