Wedding and portrait photographers who shoot medium format just got some good news. The Ricoh Imaging Company announced it will unveil a new Pentax digital medium-format camera that uses a CMOS image sensor next week.
The camera, tentatively called the Pentax 645D 2014, will make its debut at Ricoh's booth at the CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2014 in Japan from February 13-16th. (Ricoh is the parent company to Pentax.) The resolution of the CMOS sensor in the 645D 2014 has not been revealed yet nor has the price of the camera system.
Ricoh is the third manufacturer to announce it will produce a medium-format camera system that uses a CMOS sensor. Phase One unveiled the IQ250 digital back, which uses a 50-megapixel CMOS sensor produced by Sony, last month. We did an exclusive hands-on test with that camera system and were impressed with the results.
Hasselblad said it will launch the H5D-50c, which will also feature a 50MP CMOS sensor, in March 2014.
In the past, medium format cameras were equipped with CCD sensors prone to producing excessive noise in photos when shooting in low light at high ISOs. Our test of the Phase One IQ250 proved that a medium-format system with a CMOS sensor can capture high ISO images that look as clean and crisp as those from some full-frame DSLRs.
Ricoh would not share product images of the Pentax 645D 2014 at the time of this announcement, but the camera is expected to resemble the previous model, the 645D (shown above), with some additional features. The new camera system will have a tilting LCD screen on back to help photographers compose shots from difficult angles. According to Ricoh, the Pentax 645D 2014 will be faster to use overall with "a high-speed response in a variety of photographic applications."
Ricoh also announced it will unveil a new ultra-wide zoom lens for the 645D 2014 at a later date. It has not announced a price for the new camera though a "market launch" for the model is set for Spring 2014.
If the Pentax 645D 2014 is anything like the previous model, expect it to be relatively lightweight and reasonably priced for a digital medium-format camera. The 40MP Pentax 645D retailed for $9,995 (body only) when it was introduced in 2010. In comparison, the Phase One IQ250 is selling for $34,990 for the digital back alone.