DXO Shootout - Pentax 645D vs Hasselblad H3DII-39 vs Phase One P40+

comparison Oct 25, 2010

With the release of the Pentax 645D in March 2010, the blogosphere has been abuzz with speculation as to how well the new, (relatively) low-cost entry into medium format digital would fare against the established leaders in the field. To this end, I browsed the DXO website and came upon data for the 645D. I was tipped off to this information via Nikon Rumors, who did a comparison of the 645D and the Nikon D3x.

So with a little deft browsing, I whipped up a quick comparo of the 645D vs Hassy H3DII-39 vs Phase One P40+. Here is the overview page. There will be an analysis after the jump.


DxOMark - MFDB Shootout.jpg


[DISCLAIMER – This article is an opinion piece based on my personal experience and data provided independently by DXO. I have had no interaction with DXO other than using the free services provided by their website.]


Before you ask, I could not use the H4D-40 in this comparo because DXO has not provided the information on their website yet. When that information is provided, I will update this article and/or publish a follow-up.


OVERALL SCORE – 645D: 82, H3DII-39: 75, P40+: 87
The 645D ends up very close to the P40+ in the Overall Score which takes into account many factors. The 645D’s score suffers here due to it’s lower bit depth (14 vs. 16 bits), smaller pixel pitch (5.93μ vs. 5.95μ), slightly more abbreviated ISO latitude (100-1600 vs. 50-3200) and slight;y slower frame rates (1.1fps vs 1.2/1.8 fps).

But if you look at the details, you’ll notice that the extra $10K you spent on the P40+ got you:

* 0.7 bit of color depth in Portrait tests
* 1/2 EV in Landscape tests
* 45 ISO more in Lowlight tests

I have a PDF of the complete report from DXO here. In that report, you can see that the 645D actually fared better than the P40+ in pretty much every category. So why the lower score? The P40+ low ISO of 50 (which is achieved natively) outscores the 645D in every test, but if you discount the scores for ISO 50 and use a matching ISO range, the 645D actually outperforms the P40+ in all tests.

So what does this really mean? The DXO benchmarks (like all benchmarks) are a synthetic battery of tests meant to give you reader some sort of gauge to compare systems with. In the end, what really counts is not the score, but how well the camera fits into your photographic style and workflow. I am in the process of organizing a comparison between the three major 40 Mpx systems and put them through the paces of a photo shoot (indoor and out) and compare the results directly.

Hopefully everyone will want to play.