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04-21-2021, 12:56 AM   #1
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Ideas for the next 645 (pure speculation)

It's been a while since the last release for the Pentax 645 system, and there are rumors that the competition from Fujifilm and Hasselblad made Pentax put the development on hold.

Regardless of whether the rumors have truth in them, it's certainly a tough situation for Pentax, which has three different formats to maintain, while being the smallest player. It is certainly wise to at least specialize each product line in a different area of photography, to at least avoid too much internal competition.


The release of K-3 III seems to indicate that Pentax tries to specialize their aps-c system in mostly hand-held action shooting in available light.

K-1 and K-1 II are essentially field and studio cameras. It's difficult to say if this approach will be maintained in future releases, but assuming the rumor about next Pentax FF being built around Sigma fp L sensor is true, we shouldn't expect 60 MPix camera to have fast FPS and buffer clearing.

Where does that leave the 645 line?

Obviously, we could treat in the same way as FF line, just with bigger files. Not sure if that's the way to go though, with most FF high res cameras being almost competitive with cropped 645 in terms of IQ, while beating it in all other respects. It's not like 100 Mpix sensors will enter the FF realm anytime soon, but is MF just about the number of megapixels?

There's this idea about Pentax taking advantage of the legacy mount and developing the system around a bigger sensor size - full format 645. Entering the realm of Phase One and Hasselblad H. However, it's difficult to say how viable this route is for such a small player with limited (no pun intended) means.

A more economically viable option is to find a partner. It is though a bit difficult to find one for development of legacy technology, and going mirrorless with MF is kinda against the whole principles of Pentax thing.


However, it's not like this sort of partnership has to be like L-mount alliance. It can be on a different level. For example, I have been thinking about Sigma. Sigma is mostly known for their lenses, but they also make cameras... and sensors. Sigma owns the Foveon technology and are currently developing their first FF camera with such sensor. Foveon is known for the way better color reproduction than Bayer sensors, but also way worse noise, which is probably the main reason why only Sigma puts this tech in their cameras. Well, this is where Pentax could fit in. It has experience dealing with noise with dedicated hardware (Accelerator Unit). I think Foveon sensor combined with Pentax expertise could overcome the main limitations of the technology to major degree. In return, Pentax could get the sensor and put it into their cropped 645, getting the ultimate IQ and distinguishing themselves from the medium format crowd.


We could maybe also get some Sigma rebadged lenses for other formats while we're at it

However, it is just a pure speculation on my part.

How about you folks? Where would you like to see Pentax heading with their 645 system?

04-21-2021, 02:14 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarneyL Quote
There's this idea about Pentax taking advantage of the legacy mount and developing the system around a bigger sensor size - full format 645. Entering the realm of Phase One and Hasselblad H. However, it's difficult to say how viable this route is for such a small player with limited (no pun intended) means.

A more economically viable option is to find a partner. It is though a bit difficult to find one for development of legacy technology, and going mirrorless with MF is kinda against the whole principles of Pentax thing.
Exactly this, keep the 645 format and make use of the legacy lens, just open up the cameraback for 3rd party/ partners and we have a winner. in fact Pentax could still offer a cropped 645 sensor back for a cheaper prize and allow others to make the larger sensor backs. This would create a platform for people upgrade or decide on which back works best for them. One for studio, one for landscape.


Consider this , I'm using a legacy manual focus 300mm P645 lens on the K1 and it gives more modern lens a run for the money in terms of shapness, now I can only imagine using this on a full-645 sensor with pixel-shift ! 18-stop DR - giga panos for breakfast
04-21-2021, 03:10 AM   #3
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I dream a 645 with a full format sensor and a 645->K adapter with AF support (screwdriver type and others)
04-21-2021, 03:27 AM   #4
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I dream of a 100mp 645z. For me MF is about dynamic range, IQ and resolution. Resolution is very important and more is always better than less.

Crop of FF MF doesn't bother me - the advantage of crop MF is that you cut off the frame edges of the lens's image circle using the sharper centre part - giving exceptional centre to edge sharpness. More AF points wouldn't hurt.

Me, I think there is room for both crop and ff MF sensors in a 645z and interest is growing on larger sensors than 35mm.

Using 3p lenses would be amazing on the Pentax - even the ability to mount Hasselblad etc glass through an adaptor.

04-21-2021, 03:56 AM   #5
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"How about you folks? Where would you like to see Pentax heading with their 645 system?" I do not want to get Ricoh (not Pentax, because it is only a brand name nowadays) heading anywhere with a 645 system. It is an extinct species. The Pentax brand, I am sorry to say, is an endangered species. The 645 will not help them to survive. An outstanding APS-C like the K-3 III offers more chances to stay in the game. Even a new FF like the K-1 might be of some help, but I doubt it. So I rather see them invest money in the APS-C (and possibly FF) range with an OVF, as they just did with the K-3 III. The advantage is that they can use a lot of the developments made for the K-3 III in a lower level camera and in a K-1new. The 645 is an altogether different kind of photo language that only a small amount can be used of the APS-C development in a 645 system and all the new developments for a new 645 are more difficult to use in the APS-C and FF camera's. It would probably make a 645 very, very expensive.
04-21-2021, 04:19 AM   #6
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I wish Pentax would use the 645 format as its platform for mirrorless development, which it could then downstream to other formats as the mirrorless camera market continues to evolve.

If we want to dream even larger, then for all it's impracticalities, I would go really niche and offer a Pentax 67D. It would be unique! Maybe Fujifilm would then feel compelled it create a GSW-D 690 Professional. One-upmanship, you know.

Ok, time for me to wake up and stop dreaming . . .

Last edited by EssJayEff; 04-21-2021 at 04:19 AM. Reason: a missing word
04-21-2021, 05:22 AM   #7
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The IQ, dynamic range, and huge print size are the real value in medium format. I have a 645D and Z and they put high megapixel 35mm format sensors to shame. I'd like to see a 100+MP larger physical sensor.
Mirrorless doesnt do ANYTHING for me - I gladly will trade weight and bulk for instantaneous understanding of what I'm seeing without lag or poor EVF resolution. Mostly I used mine MF cameras in "studio" or on a tripod out in the real world.
The optical viewfinder in the newest Pentax DSLRs are excellent. When I want lightweight and pocketable, I take the GRIII out.

If they did a mirrorless to compete with Fuji, some kind of lens adapter would be nice to see for compatibility. I've tried a couple Fujis, and they were painful to use.
Even a "refresh" of the Z with updated tech (eg K3III) would be a good step - I'd buy it.
More megapixels is useless when the well size is so shallow in the tiny pixel sensors. You lose some much low light performance, even though the newest Sony sensors are superb at low read noise and dark current.
So, a big chip with more megapixels and state-of-the-art performance. But I'd settle on an update - put the GPS inside, speed up the IO and SD Card to UHSII, more autofocus points for when I need it.
04-21-2021, 05:33 AM - 1 Like   #8
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Hi,

I have zero interest in an APS-C anything at this point. That was a stop-gap technological size which seems to have failed to give way to the 135 format the way the superior size (to APS-C) APS-H format did. And, I am quite happy with my 16 MP 135 format Nikon Df and all those old film-era lenses I have.

I chose to skip over the Nikon D850 and Z7. My older lenses really weren't up to the new sensors and a whole new set of lenses for Nikon was too costly. I chose to go with the P645D and lenses from the used market a year ago. That fit my needs well. And, I expect a used 645Z to come along sometime this year.

But, that's not the Next Thing. What I see is both a 645 with the crop format 100 MP Sony chip *and* another with the 150 MP (near enough to full frame to say it is) Sony chip. That gives them a Me Too with Fujifilm as well as something that Fuji can't come out with. Fuji limited their optics to the crop size.

Hopefully, the developers at Pentax see what this developer sees.

If not, then I'll have to use the Pentax lenses on a Fuji body at some point in the future.

Stan

04-21-2021, 05:40 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarneyL Quote
it's certainly a tough situation for Pentax, which has three different formats to maintain
My pure speculation is that 645 is just as forgotten about as their fourth format = Q mount
04-21-2021, 05:57 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by wa2kqy Quote
Hi,

I have zero interest in an APS-C anything at this point.
I have zero interest in full frame. I have my APS-C bodies (all bought new) and my 645D (bought used). I hope the 645 line stays alive so that all yíall 645Z owners will sell me one at a good price when you go to upgrade to the latest and greatest. Iíll probably keep the D for the CCD sensor, but I wouldnít mind live view and a few of the other things that the Z offers. Medium format for me is for when I want to be slow and deliberate and mostly shoot on a tripod. Iíll take it anywhere I drive, but if Iím getting on a plane, Iím going to pack my K-3 iii and lenses.
04-21-2021, 06:20 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by AfterPentax Mark II Quote
It is an extinct species
I do not believe medium format is an extinct species. Maybe for popular photography (I'm not using that in a disparaging way), but not for various specialized fields. Reproduction of art objects and digital duplication of nitrate and diacetate negatives are two areas within my field where the resolution is still not all that it needs to be, although we're getting there with the H6D 400c Multi-shot.

Last edited by EssJayEff; 04-21-2021 at 06:21 AM. Reason: diacetate not dictate
04-21-2021, 07:13 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I've said it before - I don't think 645 format is Pentax's market anymore... I don't think they can grab it back from Fuji and the others anymore even if they went for the full MF sensor size...
I think they should start seriously thinking about moving their 67 format to digital and work with a sensor producer so they're first in the league... their 67 lens catalogue is famous and cherished and all the competitors are decades behind...
I know there isn't such a sensor yet... but that is because noone ever ventured to this space... 645 is dead for Pentax, people from camera shops tell me that noone ever even looks at their display since the Fujis came to market... time to move up...

Last edited by davidsladek; 04-21-2021 at 07:54 AM. Reason: spelling
04-21-2021, 09:06 AM   #13
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I think Ricoh is done with the 645 line they just haven’t officially announced it, maybe once all current stock is sold they will.

But if they decide to continue it they need to do something else than just use the same 102mp Sony sensor in the Fuji’s. The OVF isn’t going to be enough of a difference for people, the 645Z is a huge body compared to the Fuji 100S. The legacy lens argument doesn’t work either since all the old Pentax lenses work on Fuji GFX bodies also.

The larger full frame 645 sensor or a 67 would definitely be something Fuji couldn’t offer in the GFX but the cost of the sensor would put it at such a high cost you would really limit your market. Ricoh would definitely have to also create some kind of professional service program offering quick turnaround service and loaners for those customers.

The 645Z is still a great camera now, I think it only needs a couple changes. More focus points and larger coverage when looking through the viewfinder and a joystick to move them. Those were the only things I didn’t like about it and they are easy to fix. I had to sell my 645Z to buy my R5 because I do more wild life shooting but I’m definitely going to get another one in the next year.
04-21-2021, 09:28 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by KiloHotelphoto Quote
I think Ricoh is done with the 645 line they just havenít officially announced it, maybe once all current stock is sold they will.

But if they decide to continue it they need to do something else than just use the same 102mp Sony sensor in the Fujiís. The OVF isnít going to be enough of a difference for people, the 645Z is a huge body compared to the Fuji 100S. The legacy lens argument doesnít work either since all the old Pentax lenses work on Fuji GFX bodies also.

The larger full frame 645 sensor or a 67 would definitely be something Fuji couldnít offer in the GFX but the cost of the sensor would put it at such a high cost you would really limit your market. Ricoh would definitely have to also create some kind of professional service program offering quick turnaround service and loaners for those customers.

The 645Z is still a great camera now, I think it only needs a couple changes. More focus points and larger coverage when looking through the viewfinder and a joystick to move them. Those were the only things I didnít like about it and they are easy to fix. I had to sell my 645Z to buy my R5 because I do more wild life shooting but Iím definitely going to get another one in the next year.
Think it is a mistake to target the pros. Not enough of them. Fuji doesn't appear to be targeting them. The well to advanced amateur is where the numbers and money are. Look at the people happily buying $2k Fuji lenses.

Thanks,
barondla
04-21-2021, 09:31 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by barondla Quote
Think it is a mistake to target the pros. Not enough of them. Fuji doesn't appear to be targeting them. The well to advanced amateur is where the numbers and money are. Look at the people happily buying $2k Fuji lenses.

Thanks,
barondla
The last thing Pentax needs is more formats, but there does seem to be some sense in a 645 with the current sensor size and then a full-size 645 sensor. That lets you cater to the advanced amateurs (current sensor size) as well as to the pros. Digital 67 seems like it's an absolute pipe dream.
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