Pentax Unleashes First Medium-Format DSLR: 645D

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News Posted: Fri, Mar 12 2010 6:29 PM
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'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 approximately40 effective megapixels
    The PENTAX 645D incorporates a high-performance CCD image sensor produced byKodak. It measures 44mm by 33mm, and is approximately 1.7 times larger than its35mm-format counterparts. Thanks to approximately 40 effective megapixels, itassures a wide dynamic range to faithfully reproduce the prevailing ambienceand the sense of depth in super-high-resolution images that are rich ingradation and truthful in texture description. In order to bring out the fullpotential of the lens and the image sensor and assure the highest level ofimage-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 RealImage Engine) II as its imaging engine. Thanks to its high-speeddata-processing capacity and new algorithm exclusively programmed for medium-formatdigital SLR cameras, this high-performance imaging engine producessuper-high-quality images rich in gradation and faithful in color reproduction,while allowing speedy data transmission of large-volume image data — evenRAW-format images as large as some 50MB per file.
  • 14-bit A/D converter for faithful conversion of image datato digital signals
    The PENTAX 645D features a high-performance A/D converter, which faithfullyconverts the large volume of analog image data output by the large CCD image sensorto digital signals carrying an extensive amount of image data, includingresolution and gradation.

Solid, maneuverable body

The PENTAX 645D’s main frame is made of lightweight butstrong magnesium-steel alloy, while the chassis is made of diecast aluminum tominimize the expansion and extension caused by heat and also to optimizekinematic accuracy and thermal stability. The LCD panels — one on the camera’stop panel, another on the back panel — are covered with tempered glass platesfor extra protection. The PENTAX 645D’s body is also designed to be a compactand highly maneuverable medium-format camera, despite the incorporation of suchdependable features as a dust-proof, weather-resistant construction with 70special seals, outstanding cold-resistant performance to assure solid operationat a temperature as low as –10°C, and a newly designed shutter unit with a topshutter speed of 1/4000 second that can withstand as many as 50,000 shutterreleases.

Dual SD/SDHC memory card slots

The PENTAX 645D has a pair of memory card slots for therecording of images on both SD and SDHC memory cards. This dual-slot designgives the photographer extra data-storage options: for instance, recordedimages can be assigned to different cards according to recording format (suchas 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 onrecorded images, even when the lenses are changed in dust-prone outdoorsettings. By shifting UV/IR-cut filters placed in front of the CCD image sensorat supersonic speed using a piezoelectric element, this mechanism effectivelyand efficiently shakes dust off the image sensor. Thanks to the user-friendlydust-alert system, the photographer can check at a quick glance for dustadhering 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 systemfeatures 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in themiddle) to assure the extra-high-precision focusing demanded of medium-formatdigital SLR cameras. To develop this sophisticated AF system, the entireoptical system was redesigned, at the same time with the addition of the newfunctionality to analyze and make use of the light sources data in the field ofview.

Advanced 77-segment multi-pattern metering

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

Large, easy-to-see optical viewfinder

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

Custom Image function to create desired visual effects withease

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

Versatile, multi-mode exposure system for faithfulreproduction of creative intentions

  • Hyper Program function
    The PENTAX 645D's Hyper Program function allows the user to instantly switchfrom Programmed AE mode to Shutter- or Aperture-Priority AE mode with a simpleturn of the electric dials positioned around the grip. A single push of thegreen 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 modelets the user to instantly set the proper exposure for the subject with asingle push of the green button.
  • Sensitivity-Priority mode
    The unique Sensitivity-Priority (Sv) mode automatically selects the optimumcombination 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 stepsper click.
  • Shutter/Aperture-Priority mode
    Taking full advantage of the unique capability of digital cameras for theautomatic shifting of sensitivity at any time, the Shutter/Aperture-Priority(TAv) mode automatically selects the most appropriate sensitivity for theuser-selected aperture/shutter-speed combination. It allows the user toeffortlessly experiment with a greater range of photographic expressions.

Large, easy-to-view 3.0-inch LCD monitor with approximately921,000 dots

Positioned on the camera’s back panel, a large 3.0-inchcolor LCD monitor with approximately 921,000 dots provides a clear, bright viewof onscreen images and menus. Since its wide-view design allows quick,effortless confirmation of the monitor image from approximately 170 degreesboth horizontally and vertically, the photographer has little difficultyshooting images from low and high angles. The LCD monitor is also treated withexclusive 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, rechargeablelithium-ion battery, which can capture approximately 800 images* when fullycharged.

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

Other features

  • HDR (high dynamic range) function to create one compositeimage with an extra-wide gradation range from three images with differentexposures
  • Dynamic-Range Expansion function to compensate for bothwhitewashed (excessively overexposed) and blacked-out (excessivelyunderexposed) areas
  • Digital Level function for easy checking of the image’slevels
  • Automatic compensation of distortion and lateral chromaticaberration (available in combination with the D FA 645- and FA 645- serieslenses)
  • Versatile white-balance control system, including the CTEmode designed to emphasize the dominant color components of the capturedimages, which works especially well with such scene like sunset.
  • Mirror shock/operation-noise reduction function to assuresmooth, 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 thesupersonic motor installed inside SDM lenses
  • HDMI terminal (for type C mini connectors) forhigh-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, includinga RAW-data processing application (based on the popular SILKYPIX RAW-dataprocessing engine developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory) and browserapplication

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rapid1 replied on Fri, Mar 12 2010 11:54 PM

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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sjprg replied on Sat, Mar 13 2010 10:50 AM

The Canon 1DS Mark 3 is $8500 MSRP.

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realneil replied on Sat, Mar 13 2010 7:31 PM

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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BCole replied on Mon, Mar 29 2010 2:16 PM

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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