The highly anticipated Pentax 645Z medium format camera made its official debut yesterday and we got a chance to test it out at a special launch event in New York City. The Pentax 645Z is the third medium format camera to use a vaunted new 50-megapixel, 44 x 33mm CMOS chip from Sony, which is designed to shoot less noisy images in low light at high ISOs.
Back in January, we shot with the Phase One IQ250, which also uses the Sony CMOS chip, and loved the image results, particularly in low light. While the Pentax 645Z shares the same sensor as the IQ250, it has a variety of different features and a significantly lower price tag.
The Pentax 645Z is selling for $8,499, body only. In comparison, the Phase IQ250 retails for $34,990, and the Hasselblad H5Dc, which also uses the Sony CMOS chip, is selling for $27,500. (Look for a review of the Hasselblad H5Dc in the next issue of PDN.)
The Pentax 645Z is one of the fastest medium format cameras on the market, capable of shooting up to three full RAW images per second. It’s also the first medium format camera to be able to shoot full 1080HD video. The Pentax 645Z is weather sealed with 76 seals, making it cold-resistant, weather-resistant and dustproof; and it sports a 3.2-inch, tilting LCD screen on back with 1,037,000 dots of resolution, which are both firsts for a medium format camera.
The Pentax 645Z pushes the low light shooting spectrum significantly, with the ability capture images from ISO 100 to 204,800, which is another first for a medium format camera. The 645Z uses a 27-point focus system, with 25 cross points, and has maximum shutter speed of 1/4000th of a second. Unlike competing models which use single CF slots, the 645Z comes equipped dual SD Card slots.
At yesterday’s launch event, we shot with the 645Z primarily in a controlled studio environment with strobe lighting. We look forward to testing this camera further at high ISOs in low light for an upcoming review in PDN.
In the mean time, check out our full resolution Pentax 645Z test images below. (Editor’s note: These images have been converted from DNG RAW files to JPEGs to facilitate posting on this site.)