Pentax 645Z brings video, lower price to medium-format cameras

/ Updated: April 14, 2014 6:00 PM PDT

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Ricoh

Building on the success of the medium-format Pentax 645D digital and Pentax 645 film cameras, Ricoh announced today the Pentax 645Z, taking on Hasselblad and Phase One at a fraction of the cost.

The 645Z uses a 44x33-millimeter sensor like its predecessor, but switches from CCD to CMOS. The resolution increases as well, from 40 megapixels to 51 megapixels. It'll capture 14-bit raw in PEF or DNG formats in addition to TIFF and JPEG.

With the sensor change, the camera also gets a speed bump allowing you to shoot at up to 3 frames per second (up from 1.1fps) with a maximum shutter speed of 1/4,000 of a second. Along with that, the Pentax 645Z is the first in the category to offer full HD video capture at 24p, 25p, 30p, 50i, or 60i frame-rates in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (.MOV).

Sensitivity is also greatly improved. The 645D's top ISO is 1600 while the 645Z goes up to ISO 204800.

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Ricoh

The body is again made from a magnesium-alloy frame with a diecast aluminum chassis and is protected from cold, dust, and the elements with 76 weather seals. What is new is the display on back. Slightly larger at 3.2 inches, the LCD has a resolution of 1,037,000 dots and now tilts making shots above and below eye level easier.

Lastly, the 645Z is compatible with Wi-Fi-enabled Flucard SD cards, which lets you use any Web-browser-enabled device to release the shutter, see a live-view from the camera, and browse and download pictures.

Priced at $8,499.95 for the body only when it arrives in June, it's not what most would consider affordable. However, it's the lowest for the category that includes other medium-format cameras such as the Hasselblad H5D-50c, which runs more than three times the Pentax 645Z's price.

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