Pentax 645Z Officially Announced

New 51-megapixel medium-format DSLR

By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Apr 15, 2014
Pentax 645Z Officially Announced

The 645Z teaser has ended as Pentax has just officially unveiled the new Pentax 645Z medium format DSLR, the 51-megapixel successor to the 645D, originally launched in 2010.

This professional DSLR boasts a new CMOS sensor that delivers a big jump in image quality and resolution compared to the 40-megapixel CCD chip that came before it.  The ISO range of the 645Z will be an impressive 100-204,800, up from 200-1000 (100-1600 expanded) on the 645D.  At an MSRP of just US $8,499.95, the 645Z promises to be a very compelling option for studio and landscape photographers craving ultimate image quality, as its sensor specifications place it in a league above 35mm full-frame without the steep price tag of other medium format systems.  This launch price is 15% lower than that of the 645D, and it marks an industry low for a medium format DSLR.

Other features new to this camera include live view, full-HD video recording, and a tilting LCD screen.  It has received an upgraded 27-point autofocus with sensitivity to -3 EV as well as a highly-accurate 86k-pixel metering system.  It can also be remotely controlled via the optional FluCard accessory, or desktop tethering software. Pentax is able to keep the price of this very serious camera down by sharing hardware between it and the Pentax K-3, the company's APS-C flagship.  Another shared component is the PRIME III imaging engine, which offers increased processing speed and responsiveness compared to earlier cameras.

While the 645Z shares the same form factor as the 645D, it has received an updated button layout to accommodate the presence of video and live view.  The shutter mechanism has also been improved, now offering a maximum frame rate of 3FPS, up from 1.1FPS.  The dual SDXC card slots now support UHS-I memory cards for faster read/write speeds.  The 645Z continues to be fully weather-sealed.

As a medium format camera with a 44x33mm sensor, the 645Z uses lenses that are larger those for traditional 35mm or APS-C DSLRs.  The camera body is also considerably larger in order to facilitate the wider lens mount, large mirror, and optical viewfinder.  As a result, the 645Z has a number of additional controls as well as two perfectly-flat tripod mount surfaces: one on the bottom and one on the left side.  This makes for easy changes in orientation without affecting the camera's center of gravity.

The table below lists the 645Z's key specifications.  Further information is available in our camera database.

Pentax 645Z Specifications

Sensor Type 43.8 x 32.8mm CMOS
No AA filter

Total: 52.99 megapixels
Effective: 51.4 megapixels

8,265 x 6,192px file resolution

Sensitivity ISO 100 - 204,800
File Formats Stills: JPEG, TIFF, 14-bit RAW (PEF, DNG)
Video: H.264 MOV
Interval Video: AVI
Processor PRIME III

60i / 50i / 30p / 25p / 24p
Full HD and HD

Interval shooting only
(2-2000 frames every 1s or more)

External mic input


86k-pixel RGB sensor

Lens Mount Pentax 645D AF2 Mount
Image Stabilization In-body: N/A
In-lens: select lenses only

Built-in ultrasonic dust removal (DRII)

Autofocus Type
27 autofocus points, 25 cross-type
-3 EV to +18 EV sensitivity
LCD Screen

Tilting 3.2" screen with 1,037,000 dots

Live View Yes, with focus peaking
Viewfinder Trapezoid prism optical viewfinder

98% coverage, 0.62x magnification

Shutter 1/4000s maximum shutter speed
3FPS burst shooting (10 RAW / 30 JPEG)
1FPS burst shooting (25 RAW / 300 JPEG)
Media 2 SD/SDHC/SDXC cards slots, UHS-I compatible

Eye-Fi/FluCard support

Dimenstions 156 x 117 x 123 mm (WxHxD)
Weight 1550g
Battery Life 650 frames (D-Li90)
Connections USB3, HDMI, X-Sync
Weather Sealing Yes

Sample Photos

Ricoh Imaging has uploaded a number of full-size samples from the 645Z.  Click on any thumbnail to view the the full image.

ISO 200

ISO 200

ISO 600

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 400

ISO 400

ISO 6400

Product Photos

Click on any thumbnail below to enlarge.

Pentax 645 System Resources

We have a host of resources about the Pentax medium format system that you may wish to explore:

The 645Z looks like one of the most exciting products that Pentax has delivered to date, and we are greatly looking forward to taking it for a spin and seeing first-hand the extreme resolution that it can deliver.  With the specifications that have been presented thus far, it is clear that Pentax is serious about the professional market, as this camera offers unmatched image quality for the price in the current market.

We expect to have the 645Z in our hands as soon as it becomes available, and an in-depth review will follow shortly thereafter.  Pentax USA has stated that it will start shipping in June.  The 645Z is already available for pre-order at B&H Photo and Adorama.

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