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Thursday, 23 September 2010


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The only official announcement I've seen so far says that the 645D will be sold in Germany, Austria and Switzerland:


From what the people at the Pentax booth at the Photokina say, it's all a question of production capacity. Now, that the large number of pre-orders in Japan has been honoured, they have a few to spare for the said countries. Hopefully for the rest of the world, this will evolve further.


There is an official press release from Pentax U.K. announcing availability there, too.

As I say, I'll keep our readers posted about the U.S.


Interesting. Even Hassy is coming with something somewhat affordable (though not for me :( )
Might we get a low-end medium format pricewar?

Also, what is up with hassy abandoning square images? Never understood that.

Mike, I'm sure you've just ruined the day for, what, 3 US photographers? :-)

Seriously though, I hope Pentax sell loads of these around the World. The APS-C crowd are banking on the lenses Pentax will design with the money they make off the 645D.

Any confusion might be blamed on dpreview.com, which wrote that the 645D "will start shipping globally from December 2010." ("Hey, where'd you get that camera from?" "The future.") Then they reprint a press release saying it "will be launched in the UK in December 2010." I think this is evidence of a Brit-centric perspective on their part, i.e. "Today the United Kingdom, today the world." Or perhaps it's just sloppy writing.

But what does "shipping globally" mean, anyway? I imagine a few 645Ds have shipped globally from Japan, judging from eBay auction results. You can't keep a great camera down, can you? I'm wondering what other cameras from major companies have remained Japan or Euro-only? Not many, I guess, beyond brightly colored P&S TrendyCams.

Does this mean I can get back that kidney I sold earlier today??????

Pentax has been taking orders for the 645d for a couple of months now in Australia, BUT there have been no deliveries as of yet and the expected dates keep getting pushed back. The word from the suppliers is that Pentax can't keep up with demand in Japan let alone anywhere else.

What's the fascination with the 645D?
The sensor is only 60% bigger than the
D3X / from 864 to 1452 square mm. If
we had a 6x7 sensor, we'd have 3920mm.
Now we're talking / 4.5 bigger than

To had to the confusion, from that French site : http://www.focus-numerique.com/pentax-645d-moyen-format-vente-mois-octobre-news-2178.html the 645D will released in France by the end of October with a new dedicated support center and program. They mention that the info comes from Pentax Marketing.

This would make sense as France is now the headquarter of Pentax Europe, and that it the market where Pentax has the biggest share.

My guess : Pentax will roll out the 645D in Europe in major countries first (first France, then UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, then the rest of the region by the end of the year) Then on a third phase, it would be released in North America.

My 2 cents.

What's the fascination with APS-C?
The sensor is only 60% bigger than the

What we need is a digital Kiev 60.

That's the thing that really bothers me about digital. In the analog days, everyone could have pro-quality results by putting some decent lens on more or less any camera body and using good quality film.

Noone would have been able to tell a print from a negative made with a Nikkor 1.4/50 mm on a FM from that made with the same lens on a F6.

And most would be hard pressed to tell a print from a Pentacon Six or even a Kiev 60 with a good (yes, there were variations among individual lenses) Zeiss Jena Biometar from one made with a Zeiss West Planar on a Hassy 500.

These days are gone. There is no digital P6 or K60. In a way, digital is much less democratic than analog used to be.

Hmmm. Mike, do you find it significant that in the latest update to ACR, 6.2, Adobe added the automatic correction for Pentax 645 lenses?

Admittedly, the profiles might have been done by Pentax themselves, just like Sigma did, but still, I think it points to an intention... :-)

@Paul Logins: I'm no mathematician, but on the basis of those numbers, isn't the difference closer to 70%? Happy to be corrected, etc.

Yes, the Pentax 645 profiles shipped with ACR 6.2 are the result of a collaboration between Pentax and Adobe.

fotoralf, I've been noticing that same thing about digital. On the other hand, a $250 P&S is a heck of a more competent camera in very many ways (not for fast action though) than what you could buy in 1985 for the same (inflation-adjusted) amount. And film and processing is now free (if you have a computer; but everybody has a computer these days; I'm sure that's not fully true, but 8-year-olds get hand-me-down computers that are only a generation or two out of date and can do a whole lot even with images). So we have different winners and losers with the current technologies than with the old ones.

Erlik, Adobe sells worldwide, remember.

There is no obscure fascination with APS-C; that's the mainstream, that's where the cheap DSLRs live, and most of the rest. There's nothing mysterious needing to be explained there.

There's an interesting fascination with micro 4/3rds -- but maybe not that hard to understand; they're selling a much smaller and lighter set of cameras. And the sensor isn't so much smaller as to be a completely dominating factor.

(6x6 is something like 3.5 times bigger than 35mm -- if both are cropped to 8x10. 6x7 is around 5 times bigger under the same constraint.)

"Any confusion might be blamed on dpreview.com... I think this is evidence of a Brit-centric perspective on their part"

Hey, it makes a nice change from US centrism... Shame they are being shipped lock stock & Barrel to the US by Amazon.

Guys, guys...

Sensor area is NOT a good metric for image quality. Almost all aspects of quality scale with linear dimension, not area, if all other things are equal. Comparing area is a fallacy the camera manufacturers (film and digital)shoved down your throats. Expel it!

So, the Pentax 645D sensor really is only 30% bigger than a 35mm sensor (when in doubt go with the diagonal).

The fuss is not about the sensor size, it's about the presumed quality. What I said earlier about "... if all other things are equal?" Well, they hardly ever are. All pixels are not created equal, and different sensor/camera combinations offer very different quality.

There is a presumption that Pentax is targeting so-called "medium-format" digital quality, as indicated by the price, marketing and camera design. That's what has people excited, not the sensor size.

'Course, the proof will be in the testing.

But, judging your camera by sensor size is like judging a car by horsepower or a studio display by the number of pixels.

IOW, dumb.

pax / Ctein

You're correct. The true figure is 68%.
1. I gave the wrong % just to see if
anybody would catch it.
2. My dog ate the paper I was calculating
3. I made a mistake.

Take your choise. I lean towards #3.
Please don't tell my high school math
teacher. The Jesuits are tough and

There is a video with the 645 on http://zoom.comon.dk/nyheder/Photokina-Pentax-mellemformat-er-klar-i-Europa-1.372211.html
The speak is in danish - but rather uninteresting anyway, so non-danish speakers won't be missing much :-)
The guestimated price is a bit above 10.000€


I’m curious as to why you are so adamantly opposed to surface area as a metric in sensors. Doubling one linear dimension doubles the area; double both and the area increases by a factor of four. Either way, linear dimension and area are proportional. At a fixed aspect ratio, linear dimension and area convey equivalent information.

Dear Tom,

It's an utterly simple thing. Chip dimensions matter only in how they affect the various aspects of image quality.

Almost none of the various image quality factors scale proportionately with area; they scale with linear dimension. Comparing area ratios exaggerates, comparing linear ratios doesn't. It is a nearly-completely useless thing to compare areas.

It is not one bit more complicated than that.

pax / Ctein


not bad actually.

Dear Ctein,
Ah! So you are saying, for instance, that one should expect that dynamic range, or noise, or sensitivity should only be twice as good when going from 4/3 to full frame, for instance? And therefore, smaller "improvements" in size (e.g. 4/3 to APS-C) may very well fall below the threshold where one can tell the difference?


FYI: Pentax 645D coming to U.S. as soon as November as long as there is supply available.

Source: Ned Bunnell


Dear Will,

Well, in the real world, none of that is a "should" because, to repeat myself:

"What I said earlier about '... if all other things are equal?' Well, they hardly ever are. All pixels are not created equal, and different sensor/camera combinations offer very different quality."

For any given image quality, you can see a range of performance of at least a factor of 2 between different designs using the same size sensor. On average, the bigger outperforms the smaller.... but between any two particular cameras it may not be the case.

You don't buy averages, you buy a particular camera. Never forget that!

Exposure range, by the way, doesn't necessarily scale with sensor size at all. That's a long technical discussion so, no, I'm not going to explain. Just a little factoid to file away.

pax / Ctein

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer that! So, another case of the differences within groups are bigger than the differences between groups. You'd think I would have internalized that by now.

I'm thinking of printing out "You don't buy averages, you buy a particular camera." Nothing like measuring something instead of relying on hope and some theories.

Factoid filed away!


Dear Will,

The truth is, much as it annoys photographers, that price is about a legitimate a metric as any other single parameter.**

People don't want to hear that. They want a bargain, or they want to hear that there's some secret sauce (like a full-frame sensor) that magically guarantees superior quality.

Well, unfortunately, moolah is as good a secret sauce as any.

There are numerous exceptions to the rule-- the principle still applies: you buy a camera not an average. But absent actual test reports, price correlates with performance annoyingly well.**

pax / Ctein

(** Within the factor of 2 margin of error I mentioned earlier-- sometimes you get what you paid for but sometimes you get a lot more... or less...)

"What we need is a digital Kiev 60."

What I need is a digital Speed Graphic.

The word straight from the Director of the Aussie importer/distributer (C.R Kennedy)is "late October" so mine should be with me in 2 to 3 weeks .... can't wait!!

2nd set of cameras on back-order will be in December which ties in with the UK release - apparently the first set coming in October are completely sold out and all spoken for (mine being one of those).

I ordered and paid for mine in July and it has been a LONG wait, with only 2 loans of the demo model to tie me over while I hear about set-backs on the delivery date.

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