Pentax’s New 645Z Sports a 51.4MP CMOS Sensor

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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Pentax May Be Coming Out With a New 645D, Still No Full Frame in Sight

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.

Pentax Reportedly Working on Revamped FA Lenses, 645D Successor; Still No Full-Frame DSLR in Sight

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.

Pentax Releases 645D IR, But Only Does So in Japan

Screen Shot 2012-12-12 at 9.17.49 AM


RiceHigh picked up on some interesting news right out of Japan. Pentax has released a new 645D IR; that’s right, infrared! In all seriousness, it seems to be the same camera but with the lack of an IR filter, and Pentax even says in the translation themselves that they’ll be making them in limited quantities. Release date is supposed to be tomorrow, Dec 12 2012; and there is no word yet on pricing. No word on when it will be coming to the good old U.S. of A.

Meanwhile, still no news on the full frame front; which many Pentaxians (especially lots of Pentax users I know that have used the system since the 70s) are waiting for with bated breath.

Lens Announcement: HD Pentax D FA 645 Macro 90mm f2.8 ED AW SR … Whoa, That’s a LONG Name!

Together with a bunch of other new lenses, ranging from the teeny-tiny 06 Telephoto Zoom lens for the Q system via an all-purpose zoom lens for K-mount and a super-telephoto for the same, Pentax also announces the latest addition to its 645 medium format system, a 90mm f2.8 macro lens. As with all of Pentax’ 645 lenses, this one can be used on film as well as digital bodies. On the former it renders an image with an angle-of-view of 42.5°, while on the latter it produces a 34° a-o-v, comparable to that of a 71mm lens on 35mm full-frame. It is the third lens expicitly developed for the digital 645D medium format camera, after the 55mm f2.8 normal lens and the 25mm f4 wide angle lens.

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Pentax Introduces New 25mm f4 Wide-Angle Lens For Its 645 System

Pentax has announced the introduction of a new super wide-angle lens for their 645 medium format system, with the particularly long official designation “smc Pentax D FA 645 25mm f/4 AL (IF) SDM AW”. On the 645D, Pentax’s digital medium format camera, the lens offers an angle-of-view corresponding to that of a 19.5mm lens on 35mm full-frame—that’s quite wide! Mounted to a film-based 645 body (to which it is compatible as well), it gets even wider: 15mm-equivalent. The lens that was originally scheduled for sale in summer 2011 comes with full weather sealing, dual aspherical lenses and a circular polarizer filter.

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Hands On: Pentax 645D

The other night, I got to play with the Pentax 645D—the one medium format camera that I had personally been waiting to try out for a while. Pentax was fairly popular back in the film days for medium format. Their lenses are well known as well as their bodies. Now that Pentax has entered the digital medium format stage, they have created what I would call quite the competitor and perhaps what may be the best medium format experience I have ever had of all the systems I’ve tried.

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Pentax 645D is Official

After reporting about the Pentax 645D for a little while now, it is apparently official. Not only this but there is also a 55mm F2.8 lens that has been announced too. Tech specs and main features after the jump. DPReview has more and you can see more in the respective links. Keep reading as Pentax has made some very interesting choices in the creation of these products.

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What Do You Want To See in the Pentax 645D?

With rumors of the new sensor written about the other day and with the imminent release getting closer and closer, what would you want to see in the Pentax 645D. If it’s economical, would you want to get it as a second body or perhaps your first? If it doesn’t include tethering the way that their other bodies haven’t would you mind? Do you want better autofocusing than what other medium format companies offer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and let’s get a great discussion going.