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Pentax launches the 645D medium format digital SLR camera
by Andy Stanton -  3/17/2010

Hoya Corporation, Pentax Imaging Systems Division, has announced the launch of the Pentax 645D medium format digital SLR camera, the long-awaited digital version of the Pentax 645 medium format system. Pentax also announced the launch of a new 55mm f/2.8 lens for the 645D.

Pentax 645D

The 645D contains a large 44x33mm sensor containing about 40 megapixels. It features a lightweight but sturdy body with a magnesium-steel-alloy frame, reinforced glass LCD panel protectors and dustproof, weather-resistant construction. In addition, it is compatible with most of the existing Pentax 645 camera system, so that current 645 series camera users can use their 645 interchangeable lenses. Other features include the advanced Pentax Prime II processor which enables the camera to process RAW files of up to 50MB. The 645D has a 77-segment, multi-pattern metering system for reliable exposure. It can shoot up to 13 frames per second in continuous shooting mode. It has dual slots for SD/SDHC memory cards and a 921,000 dot LCD monitor.

Other features include an HDR (high dynamic range) function to create one composite image with an extra wide gradation range from three images with different exposures, and a dynamic range expansion function to compensate for both excessively over and underexposed areas. Additionally, the 645D has a digital level function to easily check image levels, automatic compensation of distortion and chromatic aberration, a noise reduction function to assure smooth, quiet operation of the mirror during shooting, and an HDMI terminal for high-resolution image data output.

The Pentax 645 system dates back to 1984, when Pentax released the world's first multi-mode medium format film camera. The Pentax 645 incorporated the most advanced SLR technology with a compact design. It offered multiple exposure modes and featured electronic push-button controls. The manual focus Pentax 645 was replaced by the autofocus Pentax 645N in 1997 and later by the Pentax 645NII. Over the years many dedicated, interchangeable lenses were produced for the 645 system by Pentax and other companies.

The Pentax 645D will initially be available only in the Japanese market for about $10,000 USD. There's no word yet from Pentax when and if the 645D will make it to the US. For more information, check Pentax's Japanese site (in English) for the full feature list.