Wishlist for photokina - a Pentax 645 with digital capabilities

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by thomas_diekwisch|1, May 23, 2004.

  1. In the middle of the annoying film/digital debates I am just curious
    whether anybody is willing to speculate whether Pentax will come up
    with a re-incarnation of their 645 with digital capabilities. I
    know it's currently not designed for interchangeable backs,
    including digital backs, and Pentax has lost the edge on Mamiya,
    Contax and Hasselblad. Personally, I'd love to have a Pentax 645
    body that's exclusively designed for digital backs and that I can
    use in addition to my film version. I really like the camera, its
    handling, and its lenses, and I'd love to see it continued into the
    digital age. Any thoughts?
  2. It's really a great camera, but as far as MF goes I think Pentax has a steep hill to climb if they want to get back in the game.
  3. I expect only Pentax could teach the camera to electronically communicate with a back, but maybe in the meantime it would be possible for a machinist to take an Imacon i-adapter for another
    645 camera and use it to modify a Pentax 645 back in order to
    allow you to use the Pentax body for digital photos.
  4. Pentax have in press conferences openly admitted that they are working on digital solution for their 645 system. Time frame and solutions are unknown to me.
  5. Why bother with a digital back? Why not a digital body that takes the 645 lenses? I've got to believe that attempting to convert the 645NII into a digital camera would be a waste of time when a new body may be the answer.
  6. Mamiya is reported to have plans to unveil at Photokina a 645D 22MP SLR style camera that will accept their 645AF lenses. It will not be a modular system, but rather a largish SLR style digital only camera that takes their 645 lenses. Sadly, the rumors all point to only AF lenses, leaving all manual focus lenses out in the cold. :(
  7. Re-engineering the 645 body to digital would be a futile exercise. Contax, Mamiya and Hasselblad can already accept digital backs, and they are struggling against cameras like the Canon 1Ds and 1DMkII.

    The solution for folks with Pentax 645/67 glass will be a 35mm-sized model that can accept 645/67 lenses with adapter. I expect Pentax to stop production of the 645/67 line this year, if they haven't already.
  8. The inserts used on the P645 are similiar to film backs, without
    mid roll change capability,
    and the design would not preclude the development of a digital
    back. As far as the P645 and P67 being discontinued this year
    goes.... no way. See what Photokina brings.
  9. Mike,

    Upon what do you base the expectation that Pentax will cease production of their MF gear? Rumor? Fact? Assumption?
  10. David,
    No hard facts, just speculation based on the market in 2004. Digital has decimated sales of med-format film gear. For many pros, the quality from cameras such as the Canon 1Ds and 1DMkII is more than sufficient for their needs. Plus, there is a larger (and often cheaper) selection of lenses and accessories for these bodies.

    Unlike the other 645 cameras, the Pentax 645 can't accept a digital back. Creating a successful digital camera involves more than just putting a sensor at the film plane. Hasselblad/Fuji did a lot of extra work to fully integrate digital backs with the H1 body.

    Redesigning the 645nII into a digital camera would be expensive. The market is already crowded with cameras capable of using digital backs today. Unless Pentax is far along in this effort, I don't see how it could be cost effective for them to start now.

    But Pentax could release a high-MP body, using a 24mm x 36mm sensor (or 36mm x 36mm sensor) that uses 'pro' lenses (645/67 with adapter) and '35mm' lenses, as the next upgrade for the 645/67 professional line.

    Pentax is struggling to stay in the game, and investing in a shrinking med-format market doesn't seem like the right strategy.

    I think Pentax will continue to offer the 645 and 67 cameras in the lineup, but I expect them to stop manufacturing any more, and to stop development of the line.

    Pentax has admitted plans for a low-cost DSLR and a higher-spec DSLR this year. I expect the higher-spec DSLR to be aimed at their 645 users.
  11. There are prototypes of a digital 645 around and given the fact of having introduced some new lenses for 645 I expect this productline to stay alive. For the 67 line I think the game is over. What I don´t understand is the hype around digital. Let us talk in 20 years about the pictures of today. The analog Photographer can show me his photographs, but the digital photog? Just my 2 cents.
  12. i bought my 645 nii last year, i love it.

    And when a digi back would come along, it would be nice for the future. I am not going to invest money in a digital kamera now for the amount where you could buy a nice car for...
  13. According to Pentax boss the Pentax MF systems are being manufactured at about the same rate as in the "pre-digital" era. So theres no reason to believe that production will stop anytime soon. On the contrary, Pentax says theres still a healthy market in MF film cameras.
    Also, he says that Pentax is working on a DSLR, NOT a digital back, based on the 645 system. The sensor size will be almost full 4X6,5 sized. It is scheduled for release in early 2005 according to the same source.
  14. Converting and adapters for old bodies is a design nightmare. A new digital body would be way easier to design.
  15. The speculation in this thread is incredible. To listen to the gentleman above, you would believe he is a camera engineer. But we know he is not. Just another bullshitter with nothing to back it up, except opinion. And we know the old saw about opinions... "where de sun don't shine." Pentax has a great product in its 645. No doubt. It is rugged, simple, has great lenses. That makes it a wonderful "shooter," not a gadgeteer's delight. Who needs interchangeable backs? Interchangeable finders? Just more expensive junk that gets in the way. In my opinion (read sphincter), I doubt if Pentax will let down its faithful followers, especially given its history of innovation and allowing users to adapt all of its products to all of its other products. How about a 645D? That accepts film inserts as well as a digital insert? And uses all Pentax 645 lenses, manual or autofocus, as well as adapted 67 lenses (my preference). Don't sell Pentax short. Don't make ill-informed pronouncements about what the company will do. Have confidence. Keep your opinions to yourselves. Wait and see. Besides, film is far from dead, considering all of the lingering shortcomings (noise and high cost) and dirty little secrets about digital (dirt on the CCD). Like Mark Twain said, "Rumors of my death are greatly exxagerated."
  16. I am hanging on to my 645n and ALL my lenses in hopes to buy the 645 digital and get into digital w/o reinvesting in lenses. I hope it is as great of a camera as the 645 is. :)
  17. It looks like we may get our wish.

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