Pentax Introduces the 645D – A Game Changer?
by Peter Zack
The new Pentax 645D is finally here, having just been officially introduced by Pentax. For the serious Pro (landscape, outdoor, portrait, fashion, etc.) shooter, this might be a game changer. That is, if they can get their hands on one. Pentax is initially only offering this model to the Japanese market and it remains to be seen what the plans are for the European, North American and worldwide markets.*
So Why a Game Changer?
It might just be for two big reasons:
- Backward lens compatibility, a feature that has kept many Pentax shooters very happy over the years, is a fundamental part of this design. The earlier 645 series film cameras were quite popular by medium format standards and there’s a very good selection of used lenses around. It’s nice to see a manufacturer respect that a photographer may have a heavy investment in glass and wants to just upgrade the body.
- Another simple little feature I personally like is the mirror lock-up. It’s a dial on the side of the prism housing you just turn to lock up the mirror. Not having to go into a menu for a feature that will be used a lot while shooting landscapes is a great idea. Many will shoot this camera on a tripod and lock up the mirror to take each shot.
- Relatively high flash sync of 1/125th compared to earlier film versions (although the Hasselblad and Mamiya competitors do have higher sync speeds).
- Weather sealed and cold-proof body for the landscape and outdoor photographer.
- Dual card slots, which given the 40MP sensor is a great idea.
- Again for the landscape shooter, a built-in HDR function for those scenes with dark foreground and bright skies.
- Price: The competition at this tier are Hasselblad’s H3DII-39 and Mamiya’s DM40 MF cameras. They are similarly featured yet priced more than double the Pentax 645D’s MRSP of USD $9,500 (direct conversion from Japanese price in Yen). This camera isn’t that much more than the top full-frame 35mm Digital bodies from Canon and Nikon.
Introduced along with the new body is the new weather sealed PENTAX D-FA 645 55mm F2.8 AL, which is equivalent to 43.5mm in the 35mm (full-frame) format.
This won’t be for the sports shooter (medium format cameras rarely are) but for the pro who’s looking at the top end 35mm format digital bodies and shoots subjects where a high frame rate isn’t a concern—they will be giving some serious consideration to this camera.
You can read the entire press release here: Pentax announces 645D, and the new SMC PENTAX-D FA 645 55mmF2.8 AL[IF] SDM AW. You can see some photos of the 645D at the 2010 CP+ trade show in Japan. Here is an interesting interview with Pentax Product Planning executive Yasuyuki Maekawa.
A game changer? The jury is out at the moment and time will tell.
Cheers and good shooting.
|Type||TTL autofocus, auto-exposure medium format digital SLR camera|
|Effective Pixels||approx. 40 megapixels|
|Image Sensor||Total pixels||approx. 40.01 megapixels|
|Type||CCD with a primary color filter|
|Size||44mm x 33mm|
|Pixel size||6.0 μm x 6.0 μm|
|Dynamic Range||11.5f – stops|
|Recorded Pixels||Still||JPEG: L[40M]7264×5440 pixels, M[32M]6528×4896 pixels [21M]5376×4032 pixels,
S[13M]4224×3168 pixels [7M]3072×2304 pixels
RAW: [40M]7264×5440 pixels
|Formats||Still||RAW(14 bit): (PEF/DNG), JPEG: ★★★(Best), ★★(Better), ★(Good), RAW+JPEG: available|
|Recording file Format||Still||RAW (PEF/DNG), JPEG (Conforms to Exif 2.21),
Conforms to DCF (Design rule of Camera File system) 2.0
( Standard output sensitivity )
|Auto:200-1000, Extension:100, 1600 (1EV steps or 1/2EV steps or 1/3EV steps)|
|Storage Media||SD, SDHC memory card (Dual slot)|
|White Balance||Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent Light ( D, N, W, L), Tungsten Light, Flash, CTE, Manual setting 1, Manual setting 2, Manual setting 3, Color temperature setting (3 types) with WB fine adjustment|
|Custom Image||Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, Muted, Reversal Film, Monochrome|
|Viewfinder||Type||Trapezoid prism finder|
|Focusing screen||Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen|
|Field of view||approx. 98%|
|Diopter adjustment||approx. -3.5 – +2.0m-1|
|Magnification||approx. 0.62 x (with D FA645 55mmF2.8 at infinity),
approx. 0.85 x (with FA645 75mmF2.8 at infinity)
|Monitor||Type||TFT color LCD monitor, Wide angle view, Brightness adjustable, Color adjustable, AR Coating, Reinforced glass|
|Dots||approx. 921,000 dots|
|Preview Method||Optical preview, Digital preview|
|Playback||1 Image, 2 Image, 4 Image, 9 Image, 16 Image, 36 Image, 81 Image, Enlargement (up to 32X, scroll available), Image Rotation, Folder view, Slideshow, Histogram, Resize, Cropping, Bright/Dark area, Calendar view, Index view|
|Digital Filter||Playback Mode||Monochrome, Extract Color, Color, Base Tweaking, Soft|
|Focusing System||Type||TTL phase difference detection, 11-point autofocus system (SAFOX IX+)|
|Focus Mode||AF-single, AF-continuous|
|Focus Point||Auto, Select, Center|
|Exposure Control||Metering System||TTL open-aperture 77-segment metering|
|Metering Mode||(1) Multi-segment metering, (2) Center-weighted metering, (3) Spot metering|
|Exposure Range||EV 2-21 (at Standard Output Sensitivity 200 with 55mmF2.8)|
|Modes||(1) Program AE, (2) Sensitivity-Priority AE, (3) Shutter-Priority AE, (4) Aperture-Priority AE, (5) Shutter and Aperture Priority AE, (6) Metered Manual, (7) Bulb, (8) X speed|
|Shutter||Shutter Type||Electronically controlled vertical-run focal plane shutter|
|Shutter Speed||Auto:1/4000 – 30 sec, Manual:1/4000 – 30 sec (1/3 EV steps or 1/2 EV steps), bulb|
|Drive Modes||Single-frame, Continuous (Hi, Lo), Self-timer (12s, 2s), Remote control (0s, 3s ), Remote Continuous Shooting, Interval, Multiple Exposure, Exposure Bracketing, Extended Bracketing|
|<Both 1 slot and 2 slot>
approx. 1.1 fps, RAW(PEF)+JPEG(40M at ★★★): until approx. 13 fps, RAW(PEF): until approx. 13 fps, RAW(DNG): until approx. 13 fps, JPEG(40M at ★★★): until approx. 15 fps
|available by dedicated dial|
|Flash Synchronization||Hot shoe, X-sync socket, sync-speed: 1/125 sec., P-TTL, high-speed-sync, wireless-sync with PENTAX dedicated external flash|
|Dust Removal||Image sensor cleaning function by supersonic vibration (DR II) with dust alert function|
|Time||World Time||75 cities (28 time zones)|
|Data Folder||Folder Name||Date (100_MMDD···), PENTX (100PENTX, 101PENTX···) ,|
|File Name||Standard, User customize|
|Power Sources||Rechargeable D-LI90 lithium-ion battery
Optional AC adapter also available.
|Battery Life||Number of
|approx. 800 (23°C) *, approx. 700 (0°C), approx. 650 (-10°C)|
|Playback time||approx. 440 minutes (23°C) *, approx. 400 minutes (0°C), approx. 380 minutes (-10°C)|
|Interfaces||USB2.0 (Hi-Speed:mini B type), Video output (mini phone type), HDMI output (type C mini), DC input , Cable switch, X-sync socketc|
|Video Output||Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats|
|Lens Mount||PENTAX 645AF2 bayonet mount|
|Usable Lens||PENTAX 645AF2, 645AF, and 645A mount lenses|
|Dimensions||approx. 156(W) x 117(H) x 119(D)mm (6.1 x 4.6 x 4.7 inches)|
|Weight||approx. 1480 g (52.2 oz.) loaded and ready with battery and two SD memory cards
approx. 1400 g (49.4 oz.) without battery and SD memory card.
|Bundled software||PENTAX Digital Camera Utility 4 (Ver.4.20)|
* Recording capacity shows approximate number of shots recorded during CIPA-compliant testing. Actual performance may vary depending on operating conditions.
- PENTAX, 645D, and smc PENTAX are trademarks of HOYA CORPORATION.
- PENTAX Digital Camera Utility and SDM are trademarks of HOYA CORPORATION.
- This product supports PRINT Image Matching III. PRINT Image Matching enabled digital still cameras, printers and software help photographers to produce images more faithful to their intentions. Some functions are not available on printers that are not PRINT Image Matching III compliant.
Copyright 2001 Seiko Epson Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Print Image Matching is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.
The PRINT Image Matching logo is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.
- HDMI, the HDMI Logo and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing LLC.
- All other brands or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
- Designs and specifications are subjects to change without notice.
*initially I had posted that there were only going to be 200 units available [in the first product run] and the source of that information appears to be incorrect. There does not seem to be any firm numbers published as to how many of these will be available per month or how many is planned for the Japanese market. Sorry for any confusion this incorrect statement may have caused. Peter Zack
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Tags: DSLR, Medium format, New Camera, Pentax 645D, Photography