A quiet little notice on the Pentax Japan website spells the end of the line for the venerable 67II and the only slightly less venerable Pentax 645NII. The two medium-format film cameras were discontinued in the rest of the world some time ago, but had continued to be available in Japan. Evidently the cryptic notice says that 250 more of the former and 450 more of the latter will be made before it's curtains, and that 645 lenses will continue in production—evidently to keep the door open for a medium-format digital camera.
The Pentax 6x7, often referred to as "a 35mm SLR on steroids," was first introduced forty years ago, in 1969.
(Thanks to Oren)
Featured Comment by Ctein: "I've been using a Pentax 67 since almost day one—I bought the fifth one imported into the US, plus the 105mm and 300mm lenses, back when I was a college student. Cashed in my life savings to do it; in constant dollars the biggest photographic purchase I've ever made. That was my complete kit for about a dozen years.
"Back when I decided to get the Pentax, it, the Hasselblad, and the Rollei SL 66 were all just about the same price (over the decades, until the model II was introduced, the Pentax equipment increased in price much more slowly than other medium format lines, which is why it became such a bargain). It was features that sold me on the Pentax, and, no, it was not an easy decision to make.
"Mirror slap was a problem that was overrated and misunderstood. The mirror mechanism was actually rather well designed to minimize recoil, which on a mirror that size was probably an absolute necessity. But, still, when I tested other medium format cameras I never found the Pentax to be particularly worse than Hasselblads or Rolleis.
"I got the camera to use for both landscape and photojournalism work, so I was regularly fighting available darkness. With practice I could get acceptably sharp photographs with the 105mm lens at 1/30th of a second, handheld, about half the time. I could routinely do decent work at 1/60 of a second. I could get tack-sharp photographs at 1/125 of a second without even thinking about it.
"But...and this is a significant but...there was some sort of mechanical resonance around 1/15th of a second, which made mirror vibration a huge problem at that particular shutter speed, even on a moderately large tripod. You practically had to lock the thing down to a cement block to stabilize it. There was substantially less problem at 1/8 second, and little or none below that.
"I think it's that resonance, plus the fact that it was a very loud camera, which gave rise to the belief that mirror slap was more of a problem in this camera than other 6x6 or 6x7 SLRs."