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Pentax 645D review

Pentax's 40Mp medium format camera put to the test

Our Verdict

For

  • Great build quality
  • Good ergonomics
  • Excellent image quality
  • DSLR-style interface makes it easy to use
  • High quality LCD and viewfinder

Against

  • A little slow when reviewing shots onscreen
  • Too expensive for the sort of consumer that would appreciate the simple design
  • AF system becomes sluggish in low light

As the manufacturer's first foray into the digital medium format arena, the Pentax 645D brings plenty of appealing features to the game, including a 40MP, 44 x 33mm, Kodak-developed CCD sensor that's designed to deliver professional image quality exceeding that of a 35mm full-frame DSLR.

With a nod to Pentax's original medium format film 645 camera system, the new digital SLR version looks and feels every bit as solid as its well-respected 1980s-born ancestor, sporting a similarly intuitive design. Despite its retro looks, however, the Pentax 645D is equipped with a whole host of up-to-date photography technologies and plenty of advanced functionality: all in an easy-to-use package.

Pentax 645d review

The Pentax 645D has an RRP of £8999.99 for the camera body alone, or just shy of £10,000 to buy it along with the brand new D-FA 645 55mm f/2.8 AF (IF) SDM AW lens. The camera certainly represents a sizeable investment then, yet is still a lot cheaper than medium format digital camera rivals such as the Leica S2. So what do you get for your cash?

Features

With prestigious brands such as Hasselblad, Phase One and Leaf heading up the medium format digital camera market, the Pentax 645D is up against some stiff competition. But Pentax hasn't been deterred from taking on the big boys - both in terms of the technology it has to offer and the price.

Although perhaps still out of the budget range of many professional photographers looking for a product to give them the best image quality they can afford, the Pentax 645D currently represents the most affordable option in the digital medium format market, undercutting its competitors, such as the £21,000 Leica S2, by a fairly significant amount.

The Pentax 645D's headline feature is its 40MP CCD sensor: measuring 44 x 33mm, images reach a top resolution of 7264 x 5440 pixels, giving plenty of scope for some pretty severe cropping if necessary, as well as extremely high-quality large format printing options.

Pentax 645d review

There's also a high resolution, 921,000-dot TFT LCD screen that sports a reinforced glass upper surface, wide viewing angle and effective anti-reflective coating that makes it highly usable.

The clear display and 32x image magnification capability make it easy to check images for accurate focusing and sharpness - a vast improvement over some of the comparatively poor-quality screens we've experienced on other digital medium format rivals.

Other notable features include an 11-point SAFOX IX+ AF system, 77-segment metering system, a crystal clear, all glass, trapezoid pentaprism viewfinder and Pentax's Prime II imaging processor. Plus useful extras include a digital spirit level, automatic lens correction, dust removal, dual SD card slots, 14 Bit raw file support in PEF and Adobe DNG formats, HDMI output and in-camera HDR processing.

The Pentax 645D's comprehensive set of technologies make it well equipped to deal with a good range of photographic situations.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLR Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Effective Camera Resolution40 Megapixel
USBYes
ColourBlack
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NamePentax
DurabilityDust Proof, Weather Proof, Shock Resistant
FeaturesSelf-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode, External Flash Shoe
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Viewfinder TypeSLR
Weight (Approximate)1.40 kg
Minimum Focus Distance500 mm
Maximum Image Resolution7264 x 5440
Number of Batteries Supported1
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeCCD
Total Camera Resolution40 Megapixel
HDMIYes
Camera AssemblyBody with Lens Kit
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Height117 mm
Width156 mm
Depth119 mm
Autofocus Points11
Focal Length55 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerRicoh Imaging Company, Ltd.
Product Model645D
Product Name645D Digital SLR Camera
Manufacturer Part Number1797200
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.ricoh.co.uk
Marketing Information

You will be amazed when you first see images shot by the Pentax 645D: they embody a completely new world of visual expression, a world made possible only by medium format digital cameras. Featuring 40 effective megapixels and a large, 44 x 33mm CCD image sensor, the Pentax 645D faithfully reproduces even the slightest differences in ambiance. This is the ultimate imaging tool, created by Pentax for those particularly discerning photographers who demand nothing but the highest image quality.You will be amazed when you first see images shot by the Pentax 645D: they ebody a completely new world of visual expression, a world made possible only by medium format digital cameras. Fearturing 40 effective megapixels and a large, 44x33mm CCD image sensor, the Pentax 645D faithfully reproduces even the slightest differences in ambiance. This is the ultimate imaging tool, created by Pentax for those particularly discerning photographers who demand nothing but the highest image quality.

Package Contents
  • 645D Digital SLR Camera
  • Software Media
Display Resolution921000 Pixel