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Hands on with the Pentax 645Z

Medium Format digital cameras. During the days of film what set a professional photographer apart from the average was owning a medium format camera, be it a Hassleblad, Bronica, Mamiya, Fuji, it didn’t really matter but 120 film and a large negative made the difference. It appears this might also be the case in the digital world except that digital medium format cameras are ferociously expensive. This little baby with lens is over £7,500. Anyway we can dream

This review on the ever excellent DP Review you can file under, when I win the lottery.


Ricoh Imaging’s Pentax 645Z is the newest entry into the digital medium format world. Medium format camera sales have been slipping since the days of film (and the rise of full-frame digital), and Ricoh hopes that the 645Z will reverse that trend.

The 645Z finds itself amongst some very pricey competitors, both of which use the same 50MP Sony sensor (with no AA filter, as you’d expect). The Hasselblad H5D-50C camera and Phase One IQ250 digital back have retail prices of $29,000 and $37,000, respectively – several times greater than the $8,499 MSRP of the 645Z. Pentax’s experience with consumer DSLRs has allowed them to give the 645Z a larger ISO range, more sophisticated AF system, faster burst rates, and video recording – all of which the other cameras lack (though they have their own advantages, too).

That consumer-friendliness means it can also be seen as a rival to high-resolution DSLRs such as Nikon’s D800E. It’s not so readily hand-holdable, but it does make a 36MP full frame sensor suddenly sound less impressive.

The camera will be sold in a body-only kit for $8499.99 / £6799.99 or with a 55mm F2.8 lens for £7699.99. You can pick up a 645Z for yourself in late May. To put this in perspective, this is a around 17% less expensive than the existing, CCD-based 645D was, at launch.

We’ve been lucky enough to spend some time with a pre-production 645Z, and have some first impressions to share on the following slides.


Thinking of going to medium format digital?

In the days of film using a medium format camera was a sign that either you were a very serious amateur or a professional photographer, the eye watering prices of medium format digital cameras means that it really is only the preserve of the very serious professional photographer. Here are 5 for you to dream about from Photo District News By Michael McEnaney

It’s true that the camera is only a part of photography’s creative equation: the true artistry comes from the shooter. But when a shoot demands excruciatingly fine detail and exceptional image quality, medium-format cameras continue to help shooters consistently deliver.

There are those photographers who will tell you there is an entirely different “look, taste and feel” present when shooting medium format. It may be more involved, and the cameras are certainly more expensive, but in an industry where there’s so much sameness, loyalists insist that the unique look medium-format cameras can deliver make them worth the extra effort and higher price tag.

“It’s the look, pure and simple,” says Brooklyn, New York-based fashion photographer Sandy Ramirez. “There is a very definite and unique ‘look’ to medium format. It comes from the fact that you end up using longer focal lengths to get the same frame of view. This gives better subject isolation and has a wonderful 3-D look to it. Pure and simple, it just looks different.”

“There is a certain and very distinct esthetic allure inherent in medium-format photography that this technology has always owned,” explains another New York City photographer, Jim Cummins. He adds, “It’s something special with the tonality, detail and sharpness of the image that draws you in.”

Pentax-645D-medium-format-camera Phase-One-IQ2-Series-digital-camera-backs Mamiya-Leaf-Credo-digial-camera-back Leica-S-medium-format-camera(1) Hasselblad-H5D-medium-format-camera(1)


See all of the article here

What’s New In Medium-Format Digital

Rumor: Canon Hopes to Launch a Digital Medium Format System in 2014