Pentax has just announced the 645Z Medium Format camera which will be shipping for just under $8500.
What does mean for the filmmaker? Well the DSLR revolution has been dominated by 35mm still frame cameras – now for the first time there’s a larger than 35mm camera on the market that can shoot video. Here are some specs
|Max resolution||8256 x 6192|
|Other resolutions||6912 x 5184, 5376 x4032, 1920 x 1080|
|Image ratio w:h||4:3|
|Effective pixels||51 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors .||53 megapixels|
|Sensor size||Medium format (44 x 33 mm)|
|Color space||sRGB, AdobeRGB|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
Having a larger than 35mm sensor results in a “reverse crop factor” – one of 0.79 (a 100mm F2 lens will behave like a 79mm F1.6 equivalent) so you will be getting some unique looks out of this camera. With a 44x33mm sensor – you’re shooting quite close to 65mm film which has an imaging dimension of 43×22.5mm. But for all that increased in imaging space, there isn’t really much new in the recording department.
|Resolutions .||1920 x 1080 (60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, 24p),
1280 x 720 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p,24p)
How the camera is going to convert a 53 megapixel 8256 x 6192 down to a 2 megapixel 1920×1080 image is big elephant in the room. If line skipping is the answer, get ready for moire madness. On top of that we’re still stuck with the H.264 codec.
Where this camera may shine for filmmakers is in the timelapse department. Early reports on this camera state an “interval” 4K recording capability. Even without internal timelapse recording, a timelapse of using 53 megapixel source images may be a sight to see.
Having the field of view of a 65mm film equivalent makes this camera an interesting entry, but the added resolution feels wasted on old recording format technology. For the price of $8500, you’d be better off looking into AJA’s new CION which features a global 35mm equivalent sensor and internal recording capabilities which include 4K in all flavors of ProRes for about the same price.
But as a still camera – this may be a game changer in the medium format world.