Pentax ditches 645 Digital?|
(Friday, August 24, 2007 - 15:16 EDT)
An article published today by British photography magazine "Amateur Photographer" suggests that Pentax may have decided to cancel its upcoming medium format digital SLR, the Pentax 645 Digital.
Amateur Photographer quotes Hiroshi Onoda (Pentax's European general manager for Imaging Systems) as stating that "[the] medium format digital SLR is no longer a priority for Pentax." Pentax first announced plans to create a medium format digital camera in March 2005, predicting it to be based around an 18.6 megapixel CCD image sensor from Kodak. Later plans called for a 31.6 megapixel Kodak sensor instead.
Having been shown at a number of tradeshows (including the 2006 and 2007 PMA shows) under glass in mockup form, suggestions that the 645 Digital could be cancelled first arose during Pentax's troubled merger with Hoya Corp earlier this year. At one point, the merger looked like it might be called off, and the Japanese media reported that a number of Pentax product lines might be cancelled to cut costs - including the long-expected 645 DSLR (something the company was quick to deny at the time). In the end the merger went ahead, and for the last couple of months all has been quiet on the 645 Digital front.
No reason for the change in priority was given in the Amateur Photographer article. It is possible that the cancellation might have come about as part of the merger with Hoya (and resulting changes in strategies) - or it could be that with Canon's recent announcement of the 21 megapixel EOS 1Ds Mark III Pentax simply felt demand for a 645 Digital wouldn't be sufficient - even at 31.6 megapixels.