Ricoh, who now operates the Pentax brand, has just introduced the first sub-$10,000 medium format camera capable of shooting HD video, the 645Z. While it's not going to be your everyday shooter for video, it's certainly going to provide a very different aesthetic from even the large sensor 5D Mark II or Mark III. This is the first time it will be relatively affordable to acquire footage that more closely matches the angle of view of 65mm film.


Here are the specs:

  • 51.4MP CMOS Sensor - 43.8 x 32.8 mm
  • Prime III Image Processor
  • Anti-Alias Filter-Less Design
  • 3.2" 1037K Dot Tiltable Air-Gapless LCD
  • 1920 x 1080 -- 60i/30p/24p Video Capture (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (MOV))
  • 1280 x 720 -- 60p/50p/30p/25p/24p
  • ISO Sensitivity Range of 100 - 204,800
  • Dual Slot SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • SAFOX II TTL 27 Point Autofocus System
  • 3 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Weather Sealed Magnesium Alloy Body
  • Pentax Flucard and Eye-Fi Compatible
  • PENTAX 645AF2, 645AF and 645A mount lenses PENTAX 67 medium format lenses useable with adapter
  • Availability: June
  • Price: $8,500 Body Only



Pentax 645Z 8

Here is a sample image (many more posted over at Sony Alpha Rumors):


No, for the most part, this is not going to be your everyday camera, and most of you probably won't be buying one, but it's pretty fantastic that we are now getting Medium Format cameras for prices this low. The Sony CMOS sensor being used in this camera also gives far better low-light performance than previous Medium Format cameras that used CCD sensors, so these cameras will be far more usable in more circumstances.

The last big thing related to this announcement, is that this camera (and possibly all the other cameras that will use this Sony sensor), will shoot 1080 video. It's likely that this is a sampling of the entire sensor to get down to this resolution, so while I wouldn't expect the video quality to rival cameras made just for video, you're going to get an extremely unique look with the video from this camera. It's not going to be like shooting IMAX (since that's a much bigger image area), but it will have a field of view similar to Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, which was shot on 65mm and projected in 70mm:

Color and image quality is an entirely different subject, but I'm sure people are going to find interesting uses for specific projects if the quality is at least passable. I have shot quite a bit of Medium Format, and the thing that stands out to me are normal focal length shots at low f-stops. You can isolate the background in a really interesting way, with the subject almost jumping out at you.


[via PetaPixel]