The Pentax 645Z is Official, Featuring 4K, a 51.4 MP CMOS Sensor & 3 FPS Shooting

The Pentax 645Z is Official, Featuring 4K, a 51.4 MP CMOS Sensor & 3 FPS Shooting

We saw specs for the Pentax 645Z leaked a couple days ago, but now we can compare them to the official announcement made by Pentax. The 645Z is a medium format monster of a camera featuring a 51.4 megapixel sensor, 3 frames per second shooting, full HD video at 60i/30P frame rate and internal 4K resolution recording (3840 x 2160 pixels; in Motion JPEG or AVI video format).

From the press release:

Main Features

Super-high-resolution images made possible by approximately 51.4 effective megapixels
The PENTAX 645Z features a high-performance CMOS image sensor, with an imaging area (43.8mm x 32.8mm) approximately 1.7 times larger than that of a 35mm full-size sensor. By combining this sensor with the PRIME III imaging engine — with its advanced image-processing and noise-reduction capabilities and anti-aliasing filter-less design — the 645Z makes full use of the imaging power and approximately 51.4 effective megapixels to deliver super-high resolution and exceptional depth rendition.

Since the 645Z effectively minimizes annoying noise during high-sensitivity shooting, the photographer can comfortably take pictures even at super-high sensitivities up to ISO 204800. This provides the photographer with totally new creative options beyond the scope of existing medium-format photography.

Responsive and high-speed shooting experience accommodates even the demanding professionals
The 645Z continuously records as many as 10 images in the RAW format (or up to 30 images in the JPEG) at a maximum speed of approximately three images per second. It also offers quick-view function, UHS-1 speed class compatibility for high-speed data storage (in the SDR104 bus speed mode; with a compatible SD memory card), and USB3.0-standard data interface for easy transfer of recorded images to a personal computer. Thanks to its high-speed response, rivaling that of 35mm-format SLRs, the 645Z assures active, flawless shooting in a wide range of applications required by professionals.

Articulated, 3.2-inch LCD display with approximately 1,037,000 dots
In addition to its wide-view design, the 645Z’s 3.2-inch high-resolution LCD display with approximately 1,037,000 dots (in the 3:2 aspect ratio) has a tilt mechanism to adjust the monitor angle, making it easier for the photographer to capture low- and high-angle images. Its front panel is made of tempered glass for extra protection. To optimize visibility during outdoor shooting, the LCD display features a unique air-gapless construction that eliminates the air space between the LCD layers to reduce the reflection and dispersion of the light, with an AR (Anti-Reflection) coating to minimize reflections on the screen.

High-precision AF system
The 645Z incorporates a newly designed SAFOX 11 phase-matching AF module with 27 sensor points (including 25 cross-type sensors). It also detects the light flux of an F2.8 lens to optimize focusing accuracy when using a large-aperture lens. Its wide AF working range of –3EV to +18EV (at ISO 100; at 23oC) to assure pinpoint focus with dimly illuminated subjects, which are difficult to focus on accurately with the naked eye. Thanks to the new CMOS image sensor with high-speed data readout, it even provides a live-view function allowing the photographer to make more minute focus adjustments using the contrast-detection AF mode on the live-view screen, or by magnifying the on-screen image. Full HD movie recording at 1920 x 1080 pixels and 60i frame rate

The 645Z captures beautiful Full HD video clips (1920 x 1080 pixels; 60i/30P frame rate) in the H.264 recording format. Its large image sensor is effective in recording shallow-depth videos with an effectively blurred background. In addition to the built-in stereo microphone, it also provides a stereo mic terminal for external microphone connection and an audio level control function. It even provides interval video recording of 4K-resolution images (3840 x 2160 pixels; in Motion JPEG or AVI video format) to add a new dimension in creative imaging.

Solid, dependable body
Both the 645Z’s exterior housing and the LCD monitor frame are made of sturdy yet lightweight magnesium alloy, while the chassis is made of diecast aluminum to optimize kinematic accuracy and thermal stability against excessive heat. The LCD panels — one on the camera’s top panel, another on its back — is covered with tempered-glass plates for extra protection against scratches. The 645Z is also designed for a durable and dependable shooting experience even in harsh outdoor conditions. It’s not only weather-resistant and dustproof with 76 seals applied around the body, but it’s also cold-resistant against temperatures as low as –10°C, while its dependable shutter unit has withstood a punishing operation test of more than 100,000 shutter releases.

High-precision exposure control supported by PENTAX Real-Time Scene Analysis System
The 645Z features the innovative PENTAX Real-Time Scene Analysis System, which consists of an RGB light-metering sensor with approximately 86,000 pixels and a fine-tuned algorithm. This system not only assures much-improved exposure-control accuracy, but also utilizes the data obtained by the light-metering sensor to further enhance autofocusing accuracy and white-balance adjustment. By accurately assessing the type of scene or subject using the light-metering sensor, the 645Z not only selects the exposure settings that are more consistent with the photographer’s creative intentions, but it also makes a clearer distinction between the subject and the background to assure more accurate control of a discharge level in flash photography.

Large, bright optical viewfinder
The 645Z features a trapezoid-shaped glass prism, in place of a conventional pentaprism, to assure compact dimensions. Its optical viewfinder provides a field of view of approximately 98% to facilitate image composition, while the time-proven Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen offers a sharp, clear viewfinder image for easier focusing and reduced eye fatigue, even during extended shooting sessions.

Smartphone-support functions*
By installing the optional FLUCARD FOR PENTAX 16GB O-FC1 memory card in the 645Z, the user can release the 645Z’s shutter, check the live-view image, and browse and download the images recorded on the card using a smartphone.

* This software supports smartphones operating on iOS6 or later and Android 4.2 or later.

DR II to eliminate dust from the image sensor
The 645Z comes equipped with the highly effective DR (Dust Removal) II mechanism to eliminate annoying dust spots on recorded images. By shifting the UV/IR-cut filter placed in front of the image sensor at supersonic speed using a piezoelectric element, this mechanism effectively and efficiently shakes dust off the image sensor. The 645Z also provides the Dust Alert system, which helps the user detect any dust particles clinging to the image sensor prior to shooting. Thanks to these user-friendly features, the photographer is assured of beautiful, spotless images, even when the lenses are changed in dust-prone outdoor settings.

Advanced, professional-grade features

  • When the camera is positioned upside down such as in copying work and bird’s-eye-view photography, the user can select “Auto Image Rotation mode” that allows the automatic rotation of the image 180 degrees on the camera’s LCD monitor or on a computer screen for easier viewing based on the selected position data.
  • The fine square grid on live-view helps you confirm the subject’s position in the image field during live-view shooting. The user can select grid color from black and white.
  • Lock button disables the camera’s control buttons and dial to prevent the accidental shift of settings.

Other features:

  • Dual SD card slots for memory card flexibility (compatible with SDXC, SDXC UHS-1 speed class in SDR104 bus speed mode)
  • Flexible white balance control, with a newly added Multi-Pattern Auto mode
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) shooting mode, with RAW-format data filing
  • PENTAX-invented hyper control system for quick, accurate response to the photographer’s creative intentions
  • Attachment of copyright credits on recorded images; detection of image tampering using the accompanying software
  • Automatic compensation of lens distortion, lateral chromatic aberration, brightness level at edges, and diffraction
  • Compatibility with Eye-Fi wireless LAN memory cards
  • Compatibility with USB3.0-standard interface accessories, with HDMI (type D) terminal
  • Digital Camera Utility 5 software included, to provide enhanced image-processing performance and speed using its newly designed engine
    li>Compatibility with IMAGE Transmitter 2 software, for easy transfer of recorded images to PC (optional; available soon)

The PENTAX 645Z will be available for purchase in June 2014 for a staggeringly low (when compared to comparable Hasselblad and Phase One options) $8,499.95 for the body only.

Also newly-available FA 645 lenses are available for the following prices:

SMC-FA 645 75MM F2.8 $839.00
SMC-FA 645 45MM F2.8 $1,319.00
SMCP-FA 645 150mm f/2.8(IF) $1,679.00
SMC PENTAX-FA* 645 300MM F4 ED(IF) $4,799.95
SMC-FA 645 400MM F5.6 EDIF $3,479.00
SMC-FA 645 ZOOM 45-85 F4.5 $2,879.00
SMCP-FA 645 120mm f/4 MACRO $1,679.00
SMCP-FA 645 200MM f/4 (IF) $1,319.00
SMCP-FA 645 80-160/4.5 $2,519.00
SMCP-FA 645 33-55 f/4.5 AL $3,239.00
SMCP-FA 645 ZOOM 150-300MM F/5.6 ED $3,239.00
SMCP-FA 645 35mm f/3.5 $1,919.00
SMCP-FA 645 55-110 f/5.6 $2,039.00

[Via Pentax]

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Graham Marley's picture

If this works well, this could do for MF what the 5D did for full frame. There's still a place for the upper echelon MF cameras, as they still have chops over this, but now this is a realistic purchase for a lot more photographers. I also think this is the MF camera that the wedding industry has been waiting for. Higher frame rates and a flexible AF system, along with Pentax's new WB controls... Bring this with my Canon rig and I feel pretty good about what I could do.

Agree, this camera has me excited about MF for once. It's a nice bridge from DSLR to MF.

I wonder what the dynamic range they state that anywhere? I know phase one has a 15 stop range with one image.

I know that the K-3 has a dynamic range of 13.4 stop. So if I must guess the 645Z has more :)

I am intrigued but at the same time I am distressed that not only Pentax but other major camera brand names are releasing brand new cameras that are still using UHS-1 or slower write speeds. There are as most of you know new CF derivative card formats as well as SD form factor cards that can handle sustained R/W of 260 MB/s or faster... All the while camera companies are dropping shiny new bundles of joy with antiquated bus architecture that barely handles the R/W demands of pixel densities in the last few years at various frame rates.
I am hopeful for the advances that are being pushed in the recent cameras announced but burying all thoughts of adding modern storage abilities to a modern camera is just idiocy.