Could a Digital Pentax 67 Make Us Fall in Love with DSLRs Again?

There is no doubt in my mind that, if there is one company barely hanging in there in the photo industry, it’s Pentax. They haven’t made the monumental mistakes Nikon has in the past, but they’ve run into a lot of unfortunate events. Hoya more or less gutted them a little more than a decade ago. Samsung never ended up buying them. And the Ricoh company hasn’t done much with Pentax. But now, they’re starting to make an effort with building more factories. If anything can grab our attention again, it would be something different: like a digital Pentax 67.

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Pentax has always been a company to do things differently. They’ve known they can’t compete with a bunch of the other photo companies. Unfortunately, they never entered the mirrorless camera space with any degree of success. But they sure do know how to make their cameras look different. Pentax cameras have always had a fun look, but they’re not always a thing you’d want to buy. They lack the innovations many other cameras on the market have. However, at the end of the day, they’re good cameras. That’s a tough thing to justify when no one makes a bad camera though.

So, how could Pentax stand out? Well, I strongly believe they’re not going to create something beautiful like this burgundy leather Pentax camera or even this one with brown leather. Personally, if they make a mirrorless camera that used the old screw mounts available and looked as good as these, I’d buy one. However, I think they’d try to aim higher and get more serious. So maybe a Digital Pentax 67 could come about.

Hear me out. I don’t think they’d actually put a 67-sized sensor in the camera. That would be incredibly difficult to produce due to how sensors are made. (However, the Digital Pentax 67 would be awesome if it could be manufactured on a large enough scale.) Instead, I think this would use Pentax 67 lenses and either a square format sensor or a 645 format sensor. Disappointed by that? Well, you shouldn’t be.

Let’s be honest; the mirrorless medium format cameras on the market today aren’t truly medium format. They’re larger than full-frame digital, but they’re not 67-szed. They’re also still so small that there isn’t much difference between them and smaller, full-frame sensor cameras. A true 645-sized sensor could find a way to beat out nearly everything else on the market in terms of image quality. In fact, even today, older Pentax medium format cameras find ways to beat newer sensors. 

If you’re a big fan of doing a lot of post-production, I think a Digital Pentax 67 could indeed be for you. What’s more, Pentax wouldn’t need to make it competitive with anything else on the market. They could keep the 67 lenses all manual focus if they wish (because they’re so good). Further, they could find a way to create a beautiful, bright viewfinder if they kept it manual focus. It would be more fascinating if the Digital Pentax 67 had a hand-grip like the vintage cameras had. 

This would be quite incredible because the old Pentax 67 lenses are still great even today. And by using a smaller sensor, they’re ensuring they’re using the center of the lens. That will make the image quality that much better. It’s a strategy Sigma has been using for years.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.