Pentax Unleashes First Medium-Format DSLR: 645D - HotHardware
Pentax Unleashes First Medium-Format DSLR: 645D

Pentax Unleashes First Medium-Format DSLR: 645D

After a month-long online campaign to promote its launch, Pentax is finally unveiling the 645D medium format digital camera. This is the first digital version of the company's 645 medium format camera system. It features a 40 megapixel, 44 x 33 CCD sensor as well as a 921k dot 3.0-inch LCD. The camera is compatible with the existing 645 system lenses. Sadly, the camera will initially be available only in Japan. It will carry a suggested price of ¥850,000 (approximately US $9,400) and should be available in May.


PENTAX 645D
PENTAX's First Medium-Format Digital SLR Camera:
Designed to be the Top of Medium-Format Digital SLR Cameras,
Thanks to Super-High-Resolution Images

PENTAX Imaging Systems Division is pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX 645D lens-interchangeable, medium-format digital SLR camera. Thanks to the incorporation of a large image sensor, equal in performance to professional-standard digital camera backs, this high-performance model delivers super-high-resolution images with approximately 40 effective megapixels. It also offers outstanding dependability and superb operability and maneuverability to make outdoor shooting effortless and comfortable for demanding photographers.

The PENTAX 645D has been developed to provide super-high-resolution images produced by large image sensors — something previously available only on professional models — to serious landscape and outdoor photographers. It combines exceptional image quality with excellent maneuverability and outstanding reliability to simplify professional-level outdoor shooting. Thanks to the incorporation of a large, high-performance image sensor (measuring 44mm by 33mm) and PENTAX-original image-processing technology, it produces extra-sharp, super-high-resolution images with approximately 40 effective megapixels. It features remarkable durability and dependability, thanks to its lightweight but solidly built body featuring a magnesium-steel-alloy frame, reinforced glass LCD panel protectors and a reliable dustproof, weather-resistant construction. In addition, it is designed to be compatible with the majority of the existing PENTAX 645 system, so that current PENTAX 645-series camera users can take advantage of their valuable assets, including high-performance smc PENTAX 645 interchangeable lenses.

Major Features

Unprecedented image quality

  • Super-high-resolution images made possible by approximately 40 effective megapixels
    The PENTAX 645D incorporates a high-performance CCD image sensor produced by Kodak. It measures 44mm by 33mm, and is approximately 1.7 times larger than its 35mm-format counterparts. Thanks to approximately 40 effective megapixels, it assures a wide dynamic range to faithfully reproduce the prevailing ambience and the sense of depth in super-high-resolution images that are rich in gradation and truthful in texture description. In order to bring out the full potential of the lens and the image sensor and assure the highest level of image-resolving power, the CCD unit is designed with no low-pass filters.
  • High-performance, high-speed PRIME II imaging engine
    The PENTAX 645D features the acclaimed, PENTAX-original PRIME (PENTAX Real Image Engine) II as its imaging engine. Thanks to its high-speed data-processing capacity and new algorithm exclusively programmed for medium-format digital SLR cameras, this high-performance imaging engine produces super-high-quality images rich in gradation and faithful in color reproduction, while allowing speedy data transmission of large-volume image data — even RAW-format images as large as some 50MB per file.
  • 14-bit A/D converter for faithful conversion of image data to digital signals
    The PENTAX 645D features a high-performance A/D converter, which faithfully converts the large volume of analog image data output by the large CCD image sensor to digital signals carrying an extensive amount of image data, including resolution and gradation.

Solid, maneuverable body

The PENTAX 645D’s main frame is made of lightweight but strong magnesium-steel alloy, while the chassis is made of diecast aluminum to minimize the expansion and extension caused by heat and also to optimize kinematic accuracy and thermal stability. The LCD panels — one on the camera’s top panel, another on the back panel — are covered with tempered glass plates for extra protection. The PENTAX 645D’s body is also designed to be a compact and highly maneuverable medium-format camera, despite the incorporation of such dependable features as a dust-proof, weather-resistant construction with 70 special seals, outstanding cold-resistant performance to assure solid operation at a temperature as low as –10°C, and a newly designed shutter unit with a top shutter speed of 1/4000 second that can withstand as many as 50,000 shutter releases.

Dual SD/SDHC memory card slots

The PENTAX 645D has a pair of memory card slots for the recording of images on both SD and SDHC memory cards. This dual-slot design gives the photographer extra data-storage options: for instance, recorded images can be assigned to different cards according to recording format (such as RAW or JPEG), or one of the cards can be used as the backup of the other. The settings for each memory card slot can be easily made by dedicated button.

Dependable DR II mechanism to minimize dust spots

The PENTAX 645D comes equipped with the highly dependable DR (Dust Removal) II mechanism, which effectively minimizes annoying dust spots on recorded images, even when the lenses are changed in dust-prone outdoor settings. By shifting UV/IR-cut filters placed in front of the CCD image sensor at supersonic speed using a piezoelectric element, this mechanism effectively and efficiently shakes dust off the image sensor. Thanks to the user-friendly dust-alert system, the photographer can check at a quick glance for dust adhering to the image sensor prior to the actual shooting.

Newly designed, high-precision 11-point wide-frame AF sensor

The PENTAX 645D’s new SAFOX IX + wide-frame autofocus system features 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle) to assure the extra-high-precision focusing demanded of medium-format digital SLR cameras. To develop this sophisticated AF system, the entire optical system was redesigned, at the same time with the addition of the new functionality to analyze and make use of the light sources data in the field of view.

Advanced 77-segment multi-pattern metering

The PENTAX 645D employs a state-of-the-art, 77-segment multi-pattern metering system to assure super-high-accuracy light metering. The exposure accuracy is further enhanced by collecting such additional data as image orientation (horizontal or vertical) and the distance to and magnification of the subject using the sensors installed inside the camera body, with the obtained data incorporated into exposure calculations.

Large, easy-to-see optical viewfinder

Incorporated in the PENTAX 645D’s finder unit, a trapezoid-shaped glass prism not only assures an approximately 98% field of view, but also greatly contributes to the downsizing of the camera body. Coupled with a bright, easy-to-focus Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen, the PENTAX 645D’s viewfinder offers a large, clear view of the subject.

Custom Image function to create desired visual effects with ease

The PENTAX 645D’s Custom Image function lets the user easily control an image’s finishing touches to more precisely reflect the user’s creative intentions, or to more faithfully reproduce the ambience of the scene. The user can select one of eight modes, including the new Reversal Film mode designed to create images with the colors that are typical of reversal film. In addition, all parameters — such as saturation, hue, contrast, sharpness, key, and highlight/shadow contrast — can be easily adjusted to desired levels, so that the photographer can shoot images with great ease.

Versatile, multi-mode exposure system for faithful reproduction of creative intentions

  • Hyper Program function
    The PENTAX 645D's Hyper Program function allows the user to instantly switch from Programmed AE mode to Shutter- or Aperture-Priority AE mode with a simple turn of the electric dials positioned around the grip. A single push of the green button shifts the exposure mode back to the original Programmed AE mode.
  • Hyper Manual function
    When shooting in the Metered Manual mode, the PENTAX 645D's Hyper Manual mode lets the user to instantly set the proper exposure for the subject with a single push of the green button.
  • Sensitivity-Priority mode
    The unique Sensitivity-Priority (Sv) mode automatically selects the optimum combination of aperture and shutter speed for the user-selected sensitivity. The sensitivity can be shifted swiftly by electronic dial on the back panel. The variable amount of the ISO could be configured to either 1/2 or 1/3 steps per click.
  • Shutter/Aperture-Priority mode
    Taking full advantage of the unique capability of digital cameras for the automatic shifting of sensitivity at any time, the Shutter/Aperture-Priority (TAv) mode automatically selects the most appropriate sensitivity for the user-selected aperture/shutter-speed combination. It allows the user to effortlessly experiment with a greater range of photographic expressions.

Large, easy-to-view 3.0-inch LCD monitor with approximately 921,000 dots

Positioned on the camera’s back panel, a large 3.0-inch color LCD monitor with approximately 921,000 dots provides a clear, bright view of onscreen images and menus. Since its wide-view design allows quick, effortless confirmation of the monitor image from approximately 170 degrees both horizontally and vertically, the photographer has little difficulty shooting images from low and high angles. The LCD monitor is also treated with exclusive AR (Anti-Reflection) coating to minimize reflections on the screen, even in the outdoor locations under bright sunshine.

Long battery life

The PENTAX 645D is powered by a large-capacity, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which can capture approximately 800 images* when fully charged.

(*Under testing conditions prescribed by PENTAX, when using a rechargeable D-LI90 lithium-ion battery with no flash. )

Other features

  • HDR (high dynamic range) function to create one composite image with an extra-wide gradation range from three images with different exposures
  • Dynamic-Range Expansion function to compensate for both whitewashed (excessively overexposed) and blacked-out (excessively underexposed) areas
  • Digital Level function for easy checking of the image’s levels
  • Automatic compensation of distortion and lateral chromatic aberration (available in combination with the D FA 645- and FA 645- series lenses)
  • Versatile white-balance control system, including the CTE mode designed to emphasize the dominant color components of the captured images, which works especially well with such scene like sunset.
  • Mirror shock/operation-noise reduction function to assure smooth, quiet operation of the mirror during shooting
  • Attachment of copyright credits on recorded images
  • Compatible with the SDM (Supersonic Direct-drive Motor) autofocus mechanism, designed to assure smooth, quiet operation using the supersonic motor installed inside SDM lenses
  • HDMI terminal (for type C mini connectors) for high-resolution image data output
  • User-friendly, color-classified control buttons/switches, based on the color universal design concept
  • PENTAX Digital Camera Utility 4 software package, including a RAW-data processing application (based on the popular SILKYPIX RAW-data processing engine developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory) and browser application

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Wow that seems like a very nice setup. While some may cringe at the price, go check out a Nikon or Canon top end camera which are 2-3500 more for the canon if the prices are still the same, and at least 5k for the Nikon.

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The Canon 1DS Mark 3 is $8500 MSRP.

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meh,... totally out of my price range. As a matter of fact, when I read the price, my Huevos scrunched up so fast they were tap dancing on my tonsils for a few seconds.

It does look like a truly awesome camera.

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Pentax says "Unprecedented image quality"

It isn't unprecendented since Hasselblad has more resolution (50mp) with greater color depth (16 vs 14)

sjprg - "The Canon 1DS Mark 3 is $8500 MSRP."

It costs $6,1000 in reality

This camera is very inexpensive! The Hasselblad is $38,000

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