One month and counting: Ricoh announces availability for game-changing Pentax 645Z


posted Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 2:14 PM EDT


You've doubtless heard the idiom about a watched pot never boiling, but for photographers, a more apt metaphor might be that "a lustworthy camera never ships." Once you settle on preordering that just-announced camera, the wait for it to arrive on your doorstep can feel unbearable -- at least, until it finally shows up, and you're the only person in town with the camera in your hands. If you're a medium-format photographer, the last month has likely crawled by in slow motion, thanks to Ricoh's upcoming Pentax 645Z.

There are no two ways about it: The 645Z is a game-changer, bringing live view and movie shooting to a medium-format camera for the first time, and making available-light photography much more feasible thanks to a spectacularly wide ISO sensitivity range. It doesn't hurt that the 645Z also retains its predecessor's handling and weather-sealed, shoot-anywhere body, yet improves performance, autofocus, and exposure metering, and adds a tilting LCD monitor. It even allows for remote control via a Wi-Fi wireless network, thanks to an optional accessory.


The Pentax 645Z promises to do a whole lot that your existing medium-format camera won't, but right now, it's just a promise. The 645Z hasn't yet gone on sale in any market, and to date we've only been told to expect its arrival some time in June. That's quite a big window, but an update from Ricoh Japan narrows it significantly. In that market, at least, the 645Z will be going on sale from June 27, according to a note recently added to the official product page.

Of course, that's no guarantee as to availability in other markets, but given that the Pentax brand is strongest in its home market -- and it's our understanding that the original 645D sold particularly well in Japan -- we wouldn't expect the camera to go on sale in other markets before its Japanese debut. Couple that with the original announcement by Ricoh USA that the camera would ship in the US market in June, and it seems pretty likely you can expect availability at the end of the month, near-coincident with the Japanese launch.

Now, you just need to find a way to while away your remaining month of waiting. We recommend placing your preorder, and then finding something else to occupy yourself. Another read of our in-depth Pentax 645Z preview might be a good starting point!

(via Photo Rumors)