Pentax 645D

This is an image and specs below (from a Japanese website)
of £8000 worth of Pentax 645D. The much talked about, on-off-on-off-on again 40MP digital version of the best medium format camera ever made. (Objectivity is suspended for this post!!)

The Pentax 645D features:

  • TTL autofocus, auto-exposure medium-format digital SLR camera
  • Kodak CCD image sensor size: 44 x 33mm (1.7 x 1.3")
  • Pixels: 40 megapixels
  • Shutter speed: 1/4000 sec
  • Screen: 3-inch, 921,000 dot LCD
  • File format: JPEG, TIFF, RAW
  • Image customization: 8 types
  • Charging: 800 photos on one full charge
  • Power: D-L190 lithium-ion rechargeable battery, AC adapter (not included)
  • Includes: software CDROM, lens cap, AC cord, USB cable, strap, lithium battery, battery charger
  • Cold-resistance for up to -10C (14F)
  • Dust-proof, weather-resistant
  • Finder: 98% field of view (trapezoid prism type)
  • Size: 156 x 117 x 119mm (6.1 x 4.6 x 4.7")
  • Lens not included
  • Add lens for extra: SMC Pentax-D FA645 55mmF2.8 AL[IF]SDM AW
  • Suitable lens: 645AF2, 645AF, 645A
  • Memory card: SD, SDHC dual slots
  • Frame: magnesium-steel-alloy
  • Weight: 1480g (inc. battery and SD card x2); 1400g (camera only)

I used a film Pentax 645 for 15 years. I'm sitting here surrounded by cupboards flled with boxes that contain tens of thousands of 645 transparencies shot with that camera. It was an absolute dream to use. It felt like a big SLR, and because of its damped mirror it was designed to work hand-held. The lenses were absolutely superb. I once did a comparison test with a friend who had a Hassleblad with Zeiss lenses. After the test he sold the Hassleblad and bought one of these.

Some famous Pentax 645 users:-
David Lachapelle
Sam Haskins
Bob Carlos Clarke

If Pentax have finally got this right, forget the Leica S2, forget Phase One Backs, Hasseblads etc. £8000 (with lens) for 40MP in a DSLR style body, only slightly heavier than a Nikon D3. The queues for this will be round the block.

The image size is 7264 x 5440 pixels. Thats 24"" x 18" at 300ppi!!!

Whether or not it becomes available outside Japan is not known yet, though the editor of Amateur Photographer, Damien Demolder tried one out & saw that the model he used had menus in various languages other than Japanese.

I always loved the 645. I carried it up mountains, along footpaths all through the UK and Europe. I remember being unable to get to the top of the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye because of the high winds carrying it, and struggling for breath walking at altitude in the French Alps taking pictures of Mont Blanc which had finally revealed its summit for the first time in days.

I share a lot of history with that camera, and the thought of a 40MB digital version is intoxicating.

Theres a link to some full-size samples here.

Here is one with a blow-up to show the level of resolution.

Just thought that I would add the comment, that no I shan't be ordering one. I would only use it for Landscape and I can get this kind of resolution shooting multi-image stitched panoramas. The Leica M9 provides the capacity to probably out resolve the Pentax using this technique and is a smaller, lighter and (I've waited a long time to say this!) cheaper alternative.