Pentax working on second generation of the 645D medium format camera

The sensor inside the Pentax 645D camera ($9,995) was initially produced by Kodak, but in 2011 they sold the Image Sensor Solutions (ISS) business to Platinum Equity. The rumor is that those medium format sensors are not longer in production and Pentax is working on a second generation of the 645D camera. It seems that Leica is having similar issues and will be using a new sensor from an European semiconductor manufacturer in their upcoming S3 camera.

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  • amien

    It’s time for Pentax to come out with a FF version of the 645D so that we can enjoy the full width of the new 25mm lens !

  • Hope Nikon’s d800 price for 36mp body will force pentax to put even more reasonable price tag on their upcoming MF body!

    • Sky

      Why would it? MF is a different world.

      • Harold Ellis

        MF yes is indeed different world, but not this cropped 645D

        • boris

          There is no FF MF sensor in digital era.
          56*41.5 mm is film size of MF.
          Any manufacturer is free to use any size of sensor which bigger than 36*24 mm and call such sensor – medium format sensor.

          44*33 or 45*30 mm or 53.9*40.4 mm and 49.1*36.8 mm and

        • camerageek

          Same Kodak sensor as the Phase One IQ140. Are you saying that the IQ140 is not MF? This shows to me that you have never used MF Digital and really should refrain from commenting on anything photographic on the Internet until you graduate from that Fisher Price camera you are using.

          God I love reading the rantings of Fauxtographers like you

          • Harold Ellis

            not a real MF and not a same sensor

          • Mark

            Harold Ellis wrong again. All you have to do is look at the specifications provided by both Phase One and Pentax. Even if they aren’t exactly the same sensor they’re the same size.

            Get your head out of your ass!

          • Alex

            The PhaseOne uses a Dalsa sensor, so indeed is different – albeit very similar. Of course, claiming that from two very similar sensors only one is MF and the others, far behind is ridiculous – exactly what Harold likes to do.
            The 645D uses a Kodak sensor, and so does Hasselblad. The Pentax share its sensor with the H4D-40.

          • Harold Ellis

            you know nothing guys yet screaming it so loud it is funny.

            only real MF is film or P65+, IQ180. Those digital backs are crop too, of course, but not that wild one.
            I shoot with them all day long, you guys know nothing.
            Who need base ISO 100 in MF camera? Heh? Look to specs of real digital backs and most sold 120 films.
            Of course 645D is offered in germany, but NOBODY BUYS THEM.

            And you dont need 6k camera for the back. First, the back will last you much longer then 40Mpix camera with bad sensor (i have P65+ for 4 years and it still kicks ass of 99% things out there and will do so for many more), second i have it on camera which cost me with 8 lenses 1200Eur, and i had already 20 different ones.
            Yea and they all shift and till too on desire.

          • Alex

            Hey, clueless clown – do you have any data about 645D sales in Germany or you made that up?

          • Mark

            There was a photo not too long ago floating around the web with a German President shooting with the 645D.

            I guess he bought one.

  • rob

    My 645D V2 Dream Specs:

    80 MP 52mm x 39mm sensor
    ISO 12800
    3 fps
    full weather proofing

    $6000 price tag

    Pentax would not be able to make them fast enough

    • traveller

      Dream on…! 🙂

    • preston

      It’s not just the cost of the body that needs to come down in order to become more mainstream. Their new 25mm f/4 (about 20mm equiv on FX) costs $5,000. This is is over DOUBLE the cost of Nikon’s 24mm f/1.4. So, 2 full stops slower for double the cost? No thanks.

      I understand the 645D lens build quality is amazing but they can’t ever expect to become D800 competitors unless the cost of body AND lens come down.

      • Warpig

        Trust me that f/4 is enough shallow DOF in MF.
        As Sky said, is a different world.

        • ee

          Exactly what would the equivalent 1.4 fstop be in MF terms then?

          • Warpig

            I’m not a “number” guy, but if a MF has a crop factor of 0.5 compared to 35mm format, I think it must be around 1 stops lesser, so around f/2.8. Then, a f/2.8 MF lens equals a f/1.4 35mm format lens, in terms of DOF, not exposure or other variables.

            Now, this is a wide lens, I think intended for landscapes, so you want a larger DOF. For a normal lens, you have the 55 f/2.8, wich is about 43mm in 35mm format (wich also is the “perfect” normal) and the equivalent for, say, a 50mm 1.4, would be a 75mm 2.8 and you should get the same DOF.

            I think you might like to read this:

            and if you like formulas (I don’t) read this:

            That should give you a better explanation, mine could be full of mistakes, as I said, I’m not a number guy 😉

          • WoutK89

            1 stop faster than 2.8 –> 2.0, 2.0 –> 1.4 is the next full stop.
            1 stop slower = 1.4 * current-fstop
            1 stop faster = current-fstop / 1.4

        • preston

          Warpig, f/4 is 3 full stops slower than f/1.4. I will have to ‘trust you’ that it is shallow enough since I haven’t seen samples from this lens. The medium format depth of field difference is no more than 1 stop though, so you’re not going to get anywhere near as shallow DOF than you would with the f/1.4.

          Did you know that the difference in sensor size is greater between APS-C (1.5x crop factor from 35mm full frame) and 35mm than between 35mm and the 645D? Full frame is 2.2 x’s larger than APS-C while 645D sensor is only 1.7 x’s larger than full frame.

          My point before about cost wasn’t actually intended to claim that the Pentax lens is in any way less useful or functional than a much faster Nikon prime. It was that the cost of producing an f/4 lens – even if the image circle has to be 1.5 x’s as large – shouldn’t be that much more than a f/1.4 lens.

          • Siegfried

            why you’re stuck with the aperture value? Yep, it is labeled on its face and we used to think the bigger is better: 1/1.4 is better then 1/2.0 and much more better then 1/4.0, 600mm is better then 200mm and impressively better then 150mm, 36×24 is better then 25×17, 15″ is better then better then 6″ and so forth. But there is a bunch of other traits, performance specs and features that affect the price tag – and while some of them can be put into digits thru measurements (like aberrations, distortion and resolution figures), there also is a set of things that we do count and look for, but can’t measure: e.g. aesthetics, look and finish, extra features (like drop-in filters, weather-resistance and such).

            And this all goes into the price tag. So would you trade too-wide aperture for a… say… drop-in filter? Or how much distortion can be forgiven for a good bokeh?

            f=1/1.4 (or even 1/2.0) aperture is a real overkill for MF. It’s like having quadra-turbocharged Hemi in a Mack – quite cool, but you can hardly do your business with that. You’d better trade it for an extra rear axle load capacity (read: resolution).


      • Sahaja

        In terms of field of view, on 6×4.5 film that 24 mm lens would be equivalent to something like a 12 or 15mm lens on 35mm. Probably more like 18 or 20mm equivalent on the smaller digital medium format camera.

        I haven’t seen f 1.4 lenses in that range for 35mm DSLRs – these days it seems more likely someone would be using an f/2.8 or f/4.0 wide angle zoom.

        Anyway very few people use an 18 or 20mm lens on a DSLR when they want narrow depth of field.

    • Harold Ellis


      make the back upgradeable. nobody will buy into that (limited even) system

      • Mark

        What you fail to understand is that the Pentax cameras are digital bacsk that COME WITH THE CAMERA. For the price of what you would pay for an upgrade you get the newer camera too. That is in my opinion better than having a 1st gen Phase Camera with a new back, instead of a new back and camera, for the same price.

        • Alex

          He failed… what a surprise. Not!
          Two points:
          1. the 645D is cheaper than a comparable (i.e. same or similar sensor) camera back, while being up to date. It’s also fully weather sealed, one shouldn’t be afraid to take it out of the studio (landscapes, anyone?)
          2. afaik, the 645D sells better than any other DMF camera. “Nobody will buy”? Harold really enjoys showing us how clueless he is.

          • Harold Ellis

            645D is not sold, at least not here in germany.

            it is not “digital back with free camera”

            it is bad digital back glued on bad camera sold for more it is worth (hence why it is not really selling at all).

            compare it to phase one, you will understand, but how could you, when you never shot MF. how would you see SD cards as problem when you never shoot with MF.
            or that ridiculous ISO, or that low flash sync, or lack of lenses, etc etc etc.

          • Mark

            What possible problems could having double SD card slots present?

            The Pentax 645D has been well reviewed by pretty much everyone who’s written about it so it’s neither a “bad digital back” or camera.

            It’s not built for the studio so a low flash synch isn’t a problem. It’s a fully weather sealed medium format landscape camera. You know nothing of what you’re talking about.

            And unless you have the sales numbers for the camera fromPentax as well as comparable numbers for the IQ140 and the Hasselblad H3D-39 then you can’t know how well it’s selling at all.

            The IQ140 goes up to a HIGHER ISO and hey what do you know is the same size.

            You’re an idiot.

          • Alex

            Harrold, Harrold, at least try to avoid obvious lies, OK?

            645D is sold in Germany (not only there, of course):

            You’re getting a complete working camera for less money than a 40MP digital back (for which you’ll need a $6000 camera).
            By the way, you should read a thing or two about Hasselblad, about their H4D product range. How many digital backs are they selling? :p

            Don’t accuse others of being clueless, you clown. Yes, I know how long it takes to write on those SD cards (since unlike you I had access to the camera) – if they’ll stick with SD they’ll have to support UHS writing. It has a good buffer, though.
            The “ridiculous ISO” part shows again how clueless you are (and not even bothering to google search). It’s the same sensor and the same ISO range (100-1600) as other DMF solutions like the Hasselblad H4-D 40. The new Leaf Credo has ISO 50-800, btw – same as the IQ140 (with no binning).
            Lack of lenses – that’s another lie. There are about 16 lenses for the 645D, and others will be introduced.

  • Denis

    Pointless. It’s time to drop SLR MF: they don’t need mirror anymore.
    Put CMOS sensor, add LV and EVF, that would be a better solution: easier to build wide angle lenses, CDAF is more accurate than PDAF, LV/EVF focusing accuracy is reliable, unlike focusing via OVF.

    • Mike

      Indeed. With 1 second write times, it doesn’t matter if the EVF is blacked out longer than a mirror return.

    • Alex

      Really? Replacing the best reflex OVFs with consumer-level EVFs found in APS-C and below formats? While said consumer-level EVFs are still plagued by issues like image lag, low resolution (which needs to be compensating by zooming), unnatural colors…
      Live View is nice to have, even better for “true tethering” (full camera control + remote LV) shooting. It doesn’t necessarily require a CMOS sensor, though.
      CD-AF is not necessary more accurate than PD-AF, FYI. A properly calibrated SLR PD-AF system can be very accurate.
      And with a medium format optical viewfinder, manually focussing is piece of cake. I’ll assume you never tried it.

  • Hopefully any successor will offer live view and CD autofocus capability, hopefully tethering as well.

  • sgts

    Sad to see kodak peter out like this, making excellent sensors yet without the management to take advantage.

  • Lots of speculations here about who’s making the sensors. So here’s some answers and facts: The sensor in Pentax 645D is (was) made by Kodak. It’s the same sensor as in the Hasselblad HD4-40. The sensors in Phase One’s IQ backs are made by Dalsa (on specifikations by Phase One). This information has been given to me by Phase One. Also please note, middle format (MF) is not a given format or size. MF stands for any format between 24x36mm and 9x12cm. It all comes from film sizes (120 film), 4×4, 4,5×6 6×6, 6×7 etc. Now we have sensors and they can by any size. To use terms like MF is really “old school”. I’m only 57 and I stopped using the term MF a couple of years ago. It just doesn’t make sense anymore.

  • Interesting news. Someone can guess about new sensor manufacturer and about resolution? Hope for better flash synch speed, and true tethering. Read somewhere it would be cheaper then the 645d, but I don’t believe it…

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