New Pentax 645D medium format camera: pictures and some rumors

Pentax-645D-2014
The upcoming Pentax 645D medium format camera is rumored to have the same 50MP Sony made CMOS sensor found in the recently announced Hasselblad H5D-50c and PhaseOne IQ250 models. In addition, the new 645D will most likely have video recording capabilities. Here are some pictures of the upcoming Pentax products that will be announced during CP+ next week:

Pentax 645D 2014

Pentax-645D-2014-medium-format-camera

  • Latest, super-high-resolution CMOS image sensor
  • High-speed response in a variety of photographic applications
  • Tilt-type LCD monitor
  • Market launch scheduled for Spring 2014

New Pentax 645 wide angle zoom lens

Pentax-645-wide-angle-zoom-lens

  • Ultra-wide-angle zoom lens for use with the 645D
  • Newly designed optics optimized for digital imaging characteristics
  • Market launch: to be determined

Interchangeable telephoto macro lens (Q mount)

Interchangeable-telephoto-macro-lens-Q-mount

  • Unofficial telephoto macro lens (high-performance-series model) for use with Q mount interchangeable-lens digital cameras
  • Market launch: to be determined

Pentax film duplicator

Pentax-film-duplicator

  • Produces digital duplicates of silver-halide-film images in combination with a digital SLR camera and a dedicated flash unit.
  • Compatible with 35mm- and medium-format films
  • Market launch: to be  determined
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  • Arn

    W.O.W. !
    Damn, i need 10 000$…

    • rainwilds

      Agree!

    • http://www.500px.com/Lexpaul Lex Arias

      yes..

    • madmax

      No, you need a little more, about $10,000 more for lenses…

  • Lee

    something that most Pentax user can’t afford, but I guess we are just glad that this news shows that the company still around. ;-)

  • madmax

    This sounds really very good for some pros who need so high resolution and quality. Video could also be gorgeous. I really like this design, but sincerely I don´t need it. I´d better save this money and go on holiday to Spain!

    • longzoom

      With all due respect to your choice, but holidays come and go, and you gonna forget it in 2 weeks… So beautiful machine will serve you for decades…

      • madmax

        Decades? My old Leica camera can, but a digital camera? You see, with the cost of this camera plus lenses I can go with my family in business class staying in a luxury resort in Canary Islands for at least a month and still have money enough to buy a very good new camera. I also don´t worry about forget holidays. I´ll take my cameras with me.

        Anyway, I sincerely expect you meanwhile enjoy your new Pentax, no doubt a great machine.

      • kragom

        I do disagree, or you are doing holidays the wrong way. I lost a really good camera going through turkey and the middle east in 2009. Would still do it all over again for the experiences and memories…

  • Paddy

    If their pricing remains in the ballpark of the previous version, well, then it would appear that the day of accessible ultra high quality MF has arrived. The current 645D isn’t a slouch by any means. But the low light capability that this new CMOS sensor is bringing to MF, at 50mp, (probably including video), represents a real game changer for MF.

    I loved the old manual focus 645 that I had in the early 2000′s. Tough as nails, but the non inter-change back, and mirror slap weren’t nice. Not a problem though, with the current iteration. Very positive news.

  • camerageek

    I called this back on the Phase announcement thread.

    • Todd

      Congratulations – we are all very happy for you.

  • DragonTesticle

    Hasselblad HV or this……man tough choice…

  • Zoron

    My new toy

  • Cynog

    Oh my, that 645D is lovely! But it’s the Q macro that’s more likely to find its way into my gear list.

  • Jer

    I would sure love to know more details about the film duplicator. If it will be possible to mount Nikon bodies to it and if so will a D800E be able to capture files as good as a Nikon Coolscan 5000ED.

    • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

      A D800/e/A7R with regular raw processing would come close but I would much rather consider a Sigma SD1 just to get around the demosaicing to get “proper” pixel:pixel data. If you try to do that with a D800/e/A7R, you will end up with 9MP files rather than the 15MP ones you can get from the Sigma. The bad high ISOs, bad AF, slow shooting speeds, etc. of Sigmas won’t matter for this sort of application.

      The lens will also matter a lot. Conveniently Sigma also makes the best macro lenses right now (e.g. 150 OS, 180 OS).

      • george

        How exactly is the demosaicing affecting anything?
        You are not photographing a sensor, you are photographing a film (irregular distribution of dyes and so on), no need for the pixel-to-pixel data you mention.

        And why would you even use a 150 or longer macro for film? A 50mm would be much better suited.
        I use the Nikon 50mm AF micro with a D800, and I believe nothing comes even close, a well exposed and focused on negative through that setup looks better than even what the best dedicated film scanners can do…

        • Les

          George,

          It’s because dyes are distributed semi-randomly that a 3 layer sensor works best. With a Bayer sensor, if you get a yellow dye patch aligned with a blue pixel, you end up with invalid information.
          Most scanners sample three colours for each pixel, so they don’t have this problem. The best dedicated film scanners, Imacons and such, blow away any SLR rig. They are made to do one thing really well.

          The best lens for this application is one that’s optimized for scales around 1:1, like an Apo-Rodagon-D. The reason why you could want a longer lens is to minimize light falloff. Any slide dupe system will have an optimal focal length for a given reproduction ratio; there’s no one answer that covers every situation.

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            “With a Bayer sensor, if you get a yellow dye patch aligned with a blue pixel, you end up with invalid information.”

            More like you’d get little to no response from that blue pixel. Sure, then it would yield a slight amount of invalid information but even film itself isn’t perfect when looking at the whole “picture” :)

            As for the scanners, honestly I think Flextights are a waste of money when looking at the end results. They are not as good as drum scanners and they’re barely better than things like a V700 or a good Coolscan. Wet mounting in the latter type scanners virtually eliminate the differences.

          • Les

            “Flextights are a waste of money when looking at the end results.”

            I disagree. I ran a lot of tests for a recent project, and they definitely perform. There isn’t a flatbed design that can touch them, even the $20K+ ones.

            Drum scanners are very good, but they are more dependent on operator skill, and good techs aren’t cheap. Couldn’t justify it for this particular project, but it would make sense for a single scan.

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            I never said they’re not good or that flatbeds beat them. I’ve seen comparisons of v700s against a bit older imacons and the differences didn’t always suggest that one was better than the other. And a scanner like a v700 requires a massive amount of skill to get the most out of and there aren’t many out there that can do it.

            Also a v700 beats a flextight anyday when scanning 8×10 :)

        • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

          A “36MP” sensor like the one in the D800/D800e/A7R has 9MP red, 9MP blue and 18MP green. Therefore it’s only capable of producing a 9MP true-RGB image. If processed/viewed at anything larger than that what you’re looking at is the original detail + demosaicing/upsampling artifacts. Those artifacts add the undesirable qualities of the digital look that people don’t like. I’m not bent on darkrooms and enlargers but if I want to shoot film, I’d still try to minimise the digital camera look as much as possible.

          As for why 150 or longer than ~50? Two reasons… (1) longer lenses are more easily corrected for flatter fields and are more uniform resolution, so you can shoot flat subjects (e.g. film) without having to stop down and give in to diffraction and (2) the Sigma 150/2.8 OS and 180/2.8 OS are very good lenses. The 150/2.8 OS (not non-OS) at f/2.8 is better than the AF-D 200/4 AF-D Micro-Nikkor itself… if you’ve used the latter lens you’d know what that means.

          Also I’m not sure what you’re referring to as dedicated film scanners. Even with a lot of dual-purpose scanners out there, people don’t know how to use the properly (best example is the Epson V700/V750). A dedicated film scanner such a drum scanner that removes the air gap and optical lens path (of the macro lens) will yield exceptionally high quality images. Also don’t forget that not everyone shoots 35mm film… getting the most out of formats larger than 645 with a DSLR and a macro lens means many tiles and stitching headaches.

        • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

          Here’s an example of what you can do with a dedicated film scanner:

          http://www.flickr.com/photos/castorscan/6743441305/

    • saywhatuwill

      Just look for a Nikon PB6 and PB6S. They do the same thing. http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathantw/6923334848/in/set-72157636919991776

      • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

        I’m not sure what kind of holders the V750 there used but the stock holders by Epson are rather crappy. Also, the scanner would start to shine when you’re scanning larger film… honestly don’t know why anyone should bother with 35mm film anymore :D

        • saywhatuwill

          As you can see, though, the stock holders and the scanner held their own (so to speak) against a digital camera being used as a slide duper. That’s pretty good, if you ask me. The only thing I found with the V750 that it doesn’t do particularly well is black and white film and greens. It’s really weak with greens. However, overall the V750 does a good job. I know it’s not a Nikon 9000 or a Hasselblad X-5 or a drum scanner, but for under $800 I think it does a heck of a job.

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            I was just saying the v700/750 is even better:
            http://www.flickr.com/photos/genotypewriter/8803512574/

            When you go there, there’s a link to the original where it came from.

            The scan above is at “6400 dpi” setting which isn’t optimal but wet mounting would improve the contrast even further. Also a piece of film this big is very difficult to do with a dslr.

  • george

    If the video resolution is proportionate to the image resolution, we will be looking at the first digital IMAX camera :)

    • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

      Sure but imax film will still have a bit of an edge. 50MP is like the lower limit of what you can digitise a imax frame to, with a safe upper limit being around 70MP. So an imax frame at 50MPs will still look good up close compared to a 100% crop from a 50mp Bayer sensor. Also it’s likely that the video/live output of this camera skips lines like most cameras.

      Ps: I didn’t vote your post down :)

      • Adam Knapp

        Unfortunately, most people only get to experience digital imax these days, which is only 4K if you’re lucky. That’s like 8 megapixels!

  • jeff

    It would be a lot more exciting had they created a true 645 sensor digital camera (like some of the Phase One models), instead of this cropped version.

    • Foliobook

      The IQ250 is Phase One’s initial CMOS offering has the same crop, its likely to be the same Sony sensor. There are many differences, but crop factor isn’t one of them. The CMOS chip will offer significant advantages in terms of speed, ISO and so on. I wouldn’t choose this camera for wide angle work, but the new wa zoom is intriguing and might compensate for the crop factor.

  • Little Joy

    Great news! … but I expected a full-frame 4.5×6 sensor

  • DragonTesticle

    Sony win

  • Neopulse

    Chances are it’s going to be around $11,995 again.

  • Sincity

    I see the SDXC slot.. I don’t think it would keep up with the video.. If they had a XQD slot then I would feel better for the video and MF data stream.

    • TinusVerdino

      It probably won’t be 4k video but 1080p Plenty fast enough.

    • PHILIPPOS RAFTOPOULOS

      H.265 could do it. And it’s a dual channel module.

  • joe

    One of the most underrated cameras these days. a fine machine!

    • Bekka

      You can replace “cameras” by “brand”, Pentax is underrated considered the gears they made and the history of the brand.
      Remember than Pentax provide 5 out of 10 milestones in SLR industry :http://www.aohc.it/milestone.htm :
      A few inovations bring by Pentax :
      First japanese SLR
      World’s first successful instant-return mirror.
      World’s first 35mm SLR with
      microprisms on focusing screen.
      World’s first SLR featuring TTL metering. World’s first SLR featuring spot metering.
      World’s first aperture priority automatic exposure, TTL metering SLR.
      World’s first TTL shutter priority automatic exposure SLR
      World’s first SLR of 6×7 format.
      World’s first multi-layer anti-reflective coating on consumer lenses
      World’s first mass-produced Autofocus SLR system.

      • frank

        This is all impressive, but if your marketing is out to lunch, then all of your innovations become moot. I think for the most part, Pentax has done a poor job marketing their equipment in the North American market as compared to Canikon. As someone who used to sell cameras in the 90s, I can say that I and my co-workers felt rather indifferent to the brand. We saw Pentax as a fine camera catering to the amateur market as apposed to Canon/Nikon who put out pro bodies and much more pro lenses.
        So, like a lot of young people working in camera shops, we all had aspirations of being pro photographers. Which meant that we all shot either Canon or Nikon because Pentax wasn’t in the pro market to the same degree.
        This all means that for the most part we sold what we knew, what we used, and so we basically ignored Pentax and especially Minolta (which were total POS with known design flaws that caused chronic failures of it aperture control system).

  • PHILIPPOS RAFTOPOULOS

    Tethering PENTAX, tethering for God’s sake !!!
    The new beast practically begs to be tethered to a computer or a tablet.
    HDMI out (hopefully uncompressed) and tethering could turn this to THE KILLER of all DSLR pro video cameras.
    Now sell this for $4000 and it’s checkmate ;-).

    • Dpablo unfiltered

      They’re probably going to pay Sony more than that for the sensor. Look at what the other cameras with that are going to cost… Oh, and yeah I was waiting for this, only half expecting, and also thinking there would be a year separating it from the other two… Given that there’s no time lag I suspect the price will be high – more than the last one.

      • PHILIPPOS RAFTOPOULOS

        Yet, I can’t help drooling over a new (generous) price decrease of the current model….

    • Alex

      Tethering is supported with the current 645D.
      Wireless tethering is supported with the K-3, and an optional Pentax FluCard (not the generic one!).

      We’ll see what they’ll include with the 645D 2014.

      • PHILIPPOS RAFTOPOULOS

        Support for Flucard does not mean that Pentax actually did anything but adopt the Toshiba – Trek2K protocol. It was not developed by Pentax and it’s a technology that simply may never become mainstream and fold. And when it does, it will leave the K3 and possibly the new 645 hanging.
        I really don’t know if you have used the 645D on a tether, but it’s really basic. The freeware PK_Tether does a better job.
        We need Pentax to develop REAL and PROPER tethering, accompanied with the appropriate mobile apps.

        • Alex

          Not reinventing the wheel is a good thing to do, in the software industry ;) The Pentax FluCard supports wireless control of the camera (more complex than the 645D’s Image Transmittersoftware); it’s not the basic functionality offered by the generic FluCard – and I’d assume the software was actually developed by someone.

  • Niklas Bergstrand

    Pointless camera without leaf shutter lenses. They’re loosing like at least 95% of their potential market because of that. 1/125s max sync won’t take you far as a commercial or fashion photographer.

    Too bad when the Pentax 645D seems to be a good camera besides that!

    • frank

      For the most part I agree – 1/125 is a pathetic sync speed. However coming out with a whole line of LS lenses is far beyond Richo’s current financial capabilities. The camera has been marketed for landscape artists, but that appears to be rather foolish. Why limit your customer base this way? It appears to be such a simple thing to have 1/250 sync speed.
      However I’ve been saying for some time now that the real Achilles heel of the Pentax system has been their lack of an ultra-wide zoom. Instead of coming out with the 25mm (twice) they should have put the ultra-wide zoom. Then there wouldn’t be a need for a 645D owner to go out and buy a D800E/14-24 combo.

      • x4rd

        You mean in DSLR market? The company is planning to replace the old 12-24 probably this fall. ;)

    • http://www.relivelastnight.com/ relivelastnight

      how do you know about them losing market? just curious.

  • Frank

    I like how they conveniently don’t show the focal length of the 645 lens. However, the on/off switch on the side is a dead give away to it vibration reduction capabilities. I’m just glad I’ve two kidneys so I can afford it!

    As for the body – Having the same sensor as H & P1 should be the death knell for Hasselblad. Which is too bad because I was rather looking forward to mocking the Stelar Mark II.

  • Frank

    I’m looking at the duplicator and I’m wondering if it’s possible to modify it so that I can turn my 645D into a view camera. Possibly mount an enlarging lens onto it?

  • saywhatuwill

    Wow! I never looked at the Pentax digital medium format camera before, but this sounds great.

  • a4

    I.Want.That.Duplicator!

  • Mike

    Digital MF is on the door step of affordability. The only deal breaker, potentially, is 1/125 flash sync. That still means tripod use. Leaf shutter lenses allow 1/1000 flash sync. Kudos Pentax, you’re shaking things up!

  • fjfjjj

    Waiting for the Sony mirrorless application of this sensor.

  • Neopulse

    Landscape wise this camera is gonna kick ass.
    The only downside so far is the flash sync speed.
    But if I had to work around that, I would be looking into the use of continuos light. Like from Lupolux, Arri, Profoto, and even natural lighting. Would be something good to learn to master.

    • frank

      I’ve never done studio work, but I suppose higher sync speeds only really come into play when one is trying to balance fill flash together with daylight. I know for me it’s been a problem that I’ve had to deal with my 645D on numerous occasions.

      • Neopulse

        Yeah no doubt. And also you’re a lucky guy for owning such a great, tank of a camera.

      • Marko

        Why not just get a bunch of ND filters and increase the power on the strobe to compensate?

  • tim sims

    love the 645d, can’t wait for this camera to be a reality

  • Beso

    One of the advantages of true medium format cameras is 16-bit color rendering. Previous versions of the 645D have been 14-bit, the same as most DSLRs. Is this new version 16-bit or does it continue as a 14-bit system?

    • Neopulse

      I think software is what will determine if there will be. The previous model had a 40 MP Kodak CCD that had 14-bit as the cap. In the Hasselblad H4D-40 it had the same sensor, but with 16-bit RAW. I guess only time will tell.

      • frank

        Sure 16 bit is 4x greater than 14 bit, but at what point does it become impossible for the human eye to detect any differences?

        • Neopulse

          It’s more thank anything to be able to work with bigger files. For example you can save overexposed photos better with 16-bit rather than 14-bit. Plus once you finish the file you can save as JPEG and delete the heavy DNG or RAW file.

          • AmbyR00

            Why should anyone throw away their original is beyond my comprehension.

          • Neopulse

            It is a great camera. To me it’s the ideal outdoor landscape camera.

        • Beso

          Digital cameras/sensors and printers are no where near reaching the capability of the human eye/brain as far as colors go. I won’t live long enough to see a digital camera that can rival the human eye in terms of colors.

  • yellow bird

    The amount of video info through-put would be so massive, it wouldn’t be a likely possibility if this had video. I think the 645D II having video an unlikely rumor.

  • jefflivesinchicago

    I’d be happy to rent or borrow this if there were at least 2 leaf shutter lenses, but the PhaseOne stuff is very nice, with high flash sync, and less finicky than the Blad.. I’d never own any of these…

  • Fred Flohrschutz

    I own 2 Leaf shutter lenses for the Pentax 67, the 90mm and the 165mm.
    They fit the Pentax 67 to 645 adapter and work fine on the 645 camera. Not a wide selection, but since nobody else mentioned them and everybody was sniping at Pentax for not making Leaf shutter lenses.

  • Fred Flohrschutz

    Haven’t used my film 45′s for a few years, but I pulled them out with lenses and I also own a Pentax 75mm Leaf shutter lens for the 645, just haven’t used it in ages.
    By the way, the Pentax 645 Film and Digital cameras are easily the best handling Medium format field cameras ever made. They invite Landscape and street photography and actually perform beautifully in the field. ( I have owned a Hasselblad 500cm and it was a chore to use in the field in comparison.)

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