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Pentax 645Z medium format DSLR revealed with 51.4-megapixel sensor

Tom Morgan
15 Apr 2014
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Ricoh has launched the Pentax 645Z, a professional digital SLR camera with a medium format sensor, 1.7x the size of a full-frame DSLR

Ricoh has added a new professional digital SLR to its Pentax range, in the form of the Pentax 645Z. The medium format camera has a CMOS sensor around 1.7x larger than the ones found in most 35mm full-frame DSLRs, and is able to capture 51.4-megapixel images.

Pentax 645Z

Based on the Pentax 645D, which was released in 2010, the weatherproof, dust proof camera gains a 3.2in, 1,037,000 dot tilting LCD live view display for 2014, which is treated with an anti-reflection coating to reduce light reflections when shooting outdoors or in a brightly lit studio. Other upgrades include a more durable shutter unit and brand new SAFOX 11 phase-matching auto focus system, which has 27 AF points including 25 cross-type sensors.

The medium format sensor has no anti-aliasing filter, and is paired with a PRIME III image engine which can shoot stills at up to ISO 204,800. It can shoot up to 10 RAW images or up to 30 images in JPEG L at a maximum burst speed of 3fps, using UHS-1 speed class SD cards. There are two card slots for maximum capacity, and the camera also includes USB3 connectivity for fast file transfers.

Pentax 645Z

As well as high-resolution stills, the 645Z can also shoot Full HD 1,920x1,080 resolution video at either 60i or 30P frame rates. Finally, you can add Wi-Fi connectivity using the optional Flu card, which slots into one of the two memory card slots.

Medium format cameras are almost exclusively the domain of professional studio photographers, and as such carry a massive price premium over other models - even full-frame cameras like the Canon 5D Mk III, Nikon D800 or Sony Alpha A99. However, Ricoh is launching the 645Z at a compelling price that undercuts most other medium format models, and the weatherproof design should mean photographers won't need to worry about leaving the house with it.

The Pentax 645Z is set to go on sale in the UK from the end of may onwards, with prices starting from £6799.99 the body only, or £7699.99 with a 55mm lens.

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