Pentax 645D review

December 4, 2010

Overall Rating:


Pentax 645D

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Price as Reviewed:


It’s a 40-million-pixel, medium-format camera that handles like a DSLR. This digital version of the 645 takes landscape and studio shooting to an advanced level for Pentax users

Pentax 645D at a glance:

  • 40-million-pixel sensor
  • Pentax 645AF2 lens mount for old and new lenses
  • Magnesium-alloy body
  • 3in, 921,000-dot LCD screen
  • 77-segment metering system
  • 14-bit raw files in DNG or PEF format
  • In-camera HDR
  • Street price around £8,999 (body only)

It has been at least five years since Pentax first announced its medium-format digital camera, but now it has finally arrived. Although many users of the original film 645 may have already switched across to other digital bodies, now it is time to dust off those old lenses and put them to good use. Unlike back in 2005 when the Pentax 645D was first suggested, the digital medium-format market is now maturing and is principally dominated by Hasselblad and Phase One. The Pentax 645D has long been envisaged as an affordable alternative for those looking for a high-resolution studio or field camera but, with a body-only price of £8,999, or £9,999 with the new 55mm f/2.8 lens, it comes directly up against the latest Hasselblad H4D-31.

Digital medium-format cameras principally have a size advantage over their 35mm-based cousins. The sensors are physically larger and have far more pixels, allowing them to capture greater detail and tone. As with digital SLR cameras they are not tied to an exact sensor size, and so this varies between models, giving slight variations in the focal magnification of lenses between around 0.64x and 0.8x. This means that a 50mm lens becomes a wideangle, although not as wide as they would appear on 120 rollfilm, medium-format models.

What the Pentax 645D sets out to offer is a more consumer-friendly medium-format experience, with much of the feature set and layout transferred from the company’s popular K-7 DSLR model. This should mean that those looking to enter the medium-format market for the first time will have no problem adapting to the controls, while previous 645 owners will feel quite at home.

  • Dioptre Adjustment: -3.5 to +2 dioptre
  • Video: No
  • External mic: No
  • White Balance: Auto, 9 presets with fine-tuning, custom, manual, temp
  • Shutter Type: Electronically controlled vertical-run focal shutter plane
  • Built-in Flash: No
  • Memory Card: Dual slot, SD/SDHC
  • Viewfinder Type: Trapezoid prism finder
  • Output Size: 7264x5440 pixels
  • LCD: 3in, 921,000-dot LCD
  • Field of View: 98%
  • White Balance Bracket: N/A
  • AF Points: SAFOX IX+, 11-point system (9 cross-type)
  • Sensor: 40-million-effective-pixel CCD
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/125sec
  • Focal Length Mag: 0.79x (compared to 35mm)
  • Exposure Modes: Program, sensitivity priority, shutter priority, aperture priority, shutter and aperture priority, manual, bulb, x speed
  • Weight: 1,480g (with card and battery)
  • Power: Rechargeable D-L190, DC input
  • Drive Mode: 1.1fps
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/4000sec in 1/3 or 1/2EV steps
  • File Format: JPEG, PEF, DNG
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • RRP: £8,999 (body only)
  • ISO: ISO 200-1000, extendable to ISO 100-1600
  • Lens Mount: 645AF2 (compatible with 645AF and 645A lenses)
  • Focusing Modes: Single, continuous, manual
  • Dimensions: 117x156x119mm
  • DoF Preview: Digital display on LCD
  • Metering System: TTL open aperture, 77-segments
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0, Mini HDMI, video out, cable switch, x-sync
  • Compression: 3-stage JPEG
  • Exposure Comp: ±5EV
  • Tested as: Digital medium format

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