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Pentax 645Z front angled view

Going the same route as Phase One and Hasselblad in their latest medium format camera models, Pentax today announces the new 645Z medium format SLR camera featuring a large 33x44mm CMOS sensor. As a successor to the 645D, the 645Z continues the company’s medium format tradition, while at the same time bringing it up to par with the competition. Thanks to the new sensor, the 645Z now boasts a wopping 51.4 megapixels, ISO as high as 204,800, Full-HD video as well as a live-view mode. It seems that medium format cameras have finally arrived in the 21st century.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Ricoh GXR with Leica product photos (4 of 6)

The world of prime lens users can be divided into two categories: fans of the 35mm focal length, and fans of the 50mm focal length. Some prefer the slightly wider angle-of-view of the 35mm, while others prefer the more restricted view of a 50mm. Now, when buying into a camera system, you might want to make sure that there is a lens available corresponding to your preferred focal length.

Pentax, for example, used to have a selection of both 35mm and 50mm lenses back in the days of film, but that changed with the digital age when 35mm lenses suddenly became equivalent to 50mm in terms of angle-of-view, due to the smaller format of the APS-C sensor. In the current DA lineup of lenses designed specifically for digital SLRs, you’ll find several lenses corresponding to the classic 50mm, but none that will satisfy the needs of a 35mm shooter.

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Chris Gampat Pentax 645D Hands on Review (8 of 8)

Update: new details will be coming next week

It’s been a little while since Pentax first unveiled their 645D medium format camera. But according to Sony Alpha Rumors via Amateur Photographer, the company may be delivering a refresh soon. Early reports are stating that it will house a 50MP Sony sensor–which is massive to say the least. It is also being stated that it’s the same sensor in the new Phase One and Hasselblad cameras.

But this is a different beast than the big two of the medium format world. Pentax takes the approach of incorporating the sensor into the camera itself instead of having a back, camera, and lenses (the way that traditional medium format works.) So while you’ll be able to use your old Pentax lenses, you’ll need a new body.

According to early photos, it may also have a tilting LCD screen and should be coming this spring.

Now that the medium format world is using CMOS sensors, it’s going to get quite interesting as previous marketing efforts from Nikon with the D800/D800E were to attract the medium format crowd. On top of that, Zeiss created the 55mm f1.4 Otus–which we reviewed very favorably. This lens was designed for high megapixels full frame DSLRs and Zeiss has stated on record that they’re coming out with more.

It will be interesting to watch the full frame vs medium format war for a while–and in the months leading up to Photokina it should really look interesting.


With CP+ right around the corner, it only makes sense that Ricoh would be making announcements very soon. And today, they’re giving us mostly point and shoots. In fact, we get three new ones: WG-4 GPS, WG-4 and WG-20. On top of this, Pentax users are being treated to a rear 1.4x teleconverter that will give your camera a bit more reach with the lenses attached. The very interesting thing is that even though these cameras have before been under the Pentax brand, they’re now under Ricoh.

Specs, pricing, and details about the new tough shooters and the teleconverter are after the jump.

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Processed with VSCOcam

At CES 2014, Ricoh is showing off a massive display of cameras. These aren’t just any cameras though: they’re basically all of their DSLR and Q series cameras in loads of different customized colors and options. Then there are all those lens options. But mostly, we believe this display is about the colors.

Seriously, can’t you just taste the rainbow by looking at it?

Back in August, Pentax, now owned by Ricoh, announced a re-issue of its DA Limited lenses, which are now labelled HD and come with new coatings for better image quality and rounded aperture blades for nicer bokeh. Now RiceHigh’s Pentax Blog reports that Ricoh is planning to also revamp the Pentax FA Limited lenses, which consist of the 31mm f1.8, 43mm f1.9 and 77mm f1.8. According to a discussion thread on the Chinese Xitek forum, a Ricoh official stated that the FA Limited lenses will soon receive the same HD coatings plus a number of optical tweaks to their barrels.

In another recent article, RiceHigh reports about an interview with the Chief Sales and Marketing Manager of Ricoh Imaging, published in issue 1/2014 of the Japanese Impress photo magazine. In that interview, it’s allegedly being hinted that a replacement for the 645D digital medium format camera might be on its way, and that it may come with a full-frame 6×4.5 sensor. The current Pentax 645D uses a cropped sensor.

The same Ricoh official is also reported to have claimed in an interview with a Hong Kong magazine that there will likely be no full-frame Pentax DSLR coming, at least not before the 645D successor. As a reason for that, he mentions that APS-C models make up about 80-90% of the total DSLR market share, and that there are already enough choices for the remaining 10-20% of the market. That’s really a pity, because we know for a fact that many Pentax fans would love to be able to use their legacy K-mount glass on a 35mm full-frame system. But there’s still the Sony A7 and A7R for that.

As always, these are early reports and to be taken with a grain of salt. It’s very likely that we’ll see the revamped FA Limited lenses for CP+ in 2014, but we wouldn’t speculate on when a possible 645D successor might see the light of day, and whether or not there’ll ever be a 35mm full-frame Pentax DSLR. Though we surely wouldn’t mind one.