Pentax 645D medium format digital camera
The 40Mp field worker
Review Back in 2003 Pentax hinted at the development of a digital version of its classic 645 medium format film model. Given how much time has passed, I was beginning to wonder if it would ever see the light of day.
Late developer: here at last, Pentax's 645D
The Pentax 645D uses a 40Mp Kodak KAF-40000 full-frame CCD sensor [PDF here], which is 44 x 33mm in size, producing 7264 x 5440 pixel files. The pixel size is the same as the Nikon D3x but the sensor measures more than double the DSLR's, giving the 645D a huge advantage in terms of resolution.
Like the Leica S2, the native resolution is further improved by the lack of anti-aliasing filter. It also features effective mirror dampening and a mirror lock-up function – these minimize camera shake and reduce mirror mechanism noise and blur. Unfortunately like almost all CCD-based cameras, the 645D does not offer Live View.
Following in the footsteps of its film predecessor, the 645D is built for fieldwork and features 11-point autofocus, 77-segment metering and dual SD/SDHC card slots. Incidentally, Pentax has recently released a firmware update to enable SDXC card support. At £9,000 for the body-only, it is a very good deal when pitched against its natural competitors such as the Hasselblad H-system, the Leica S2 and Phase One cameras.
Pentax claims the 645D is the first medium format to be equipped with a sensor dust removal system, and it comes with full weather seals – both essential features for any serious outdoor use. Also handy is the dual slot for SD/SDHC memory cards that allows for simultaneous saving in multiple formats and the extra tripod mount for portrait orientation.
Kodak's 40Mp sensor dwarfs DSLR full-frame offerings
The 645D is bigger than a high-end DSLR, mostly due to the larger mirror-box adding bulk to the middle of the body. It has a magnesium alloy casing and die-cast aluminum chassis that reduce weight while increasing strength and thermal resistance. Indeed, the 645D was much lighter than I expected.
Next page: Comfort zone
Then kodakspeak is marketing bollocks
and you should be using the commonly understood meaning of the term.
Nice camera, poor terminology
Looks an excelent piece of kit, but it's not a "full frame" sensor as you suggest. Full frame for a 645 medium format camera would be 60x45mm so that's barely over half frame for this format. That would be similar to calling an APS-C sensor full frame for for a 35mm equivalent DSLR. OK so 60x45mm sensors aren't exactly common, but that's still no reason to call this one full frame.
RE it's a crop sensor
Huh, what issues are those? OK you have an larger lens than is necessary for the sensor size but what else is there? If anything it is often an advantage to use a full image circle lens on a crop sensor, that way you are always getting the sweet spot of the image with much reduced vignetting and a possibly a more even resolution characteristic. Normally it is the non cropped sensors that show the limitations of older lenses.
That's a very nice sensor for a home astronomy setup. :)
Nice camera, nicer review...
So often tech site camera reviews are written by people that are gadget freaks first, and photographers second if at all. This writer is obviously a photographer, and her phrasing and points of inspection on this camera make this a highly worthwhile review. Kudos!
As for the camera, at that price point it is simply stunning. The sample image of the wooden fence disappearing in to the snow fields shows the DOF and detail possible with such an impressive specification and good glass.
This would seem to be a great camera for an aspiring amateur with bit of money, or a pro with little. For them the lack of a large lens selection is not a deterrent - they are not the people that buy a huge number of lenses. Those that can, will buy Leaf and Hasselblad. But for those who lack the money but are willing to spend the time and effort to work within a limited lens choice, this will be a perfect alternative...at least until Pentax can fill out the range. PLEASE Pentax would you do a great ultra wide, preferably rectalinear? (Hint: model it on the Oly 7-14mm!).