What Ever Happened to the Pentax Digital 645?

Tech blogs this week reported that the pending Pentax Digital 645 medium format camera got the axe and would not longer be a priority for the manufacturer.

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August 31, 2007 – In the wake of recent digital SLR announcements, tech blogs this week reported that the long-awaited Pentax Digital 645 medium format camera got axed. Pentax, however, has neither confirmed nor denied the rumor. According to a Pentax UK representative in a statement to, Pentax has no news or official comment at this time.

Like the on-again, off-again relationship between Pentax and Hoya earlier this year, the release of the Pentax Digital 645 has been looming since its original announcement in 2005. Details about the camera have been delivered in piecemeal over the years. Pentax’s silence has many in the industry scratching their heads, wondering what ever happened to the biggest camera that never was.

The Pentax Digital 645 Timeline

March 2005 – Pentax unveils the first Pentax 645 Digital at Photo Imaging Expo in Tokyo, Japan. The design is based on the film version of the Pentax medium format 645 camera launched in 1984. The digital edition will include a Kodak sensor with 18.6 total megapixels. Read Pentax Unveils 645 Digital Under Glass; Kodak Announces 18-Megapixel Image Sensor for Pentax 645.

● *February 2006* - The Pentax 645 is displayed at PMA 2006, Orlando, Fla. Specifications include an 18 MP Kodak CCD sensor and TTL flash compatibility. Launch date is set for late 2006. Read Pentax Digital 645 Prototype: A First Look.

September 2006 - Pentax displays 645 Digital at Photokina 2006 in Koln, Germany. Pentax announces the medium format camera’s 645AF mount will accept interchangeable lenses. Read Pentax Announces Preview of DSLR and 3 Lenses.

●* December 2006* – Pentax Corp. and optical glass maker Hoya Corp. announce plans to merge in October 2007. The deal is said to be worth $770 million. Read Hoya and Pentax Will Merge in $770 Million Deal.

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● February 2007 – Pentax Japan replaces 18 MP sensor with updated 31.6 MP Kodak CCD sensor. The 645 Digital will accept CF and SD cards. Read Pentax Announces 31 MP Medium Format Camera and Accessories.

March 2007 – The Pentax 645 Digital is on display at PMA 2007, Las Vegas, Nev. Specifications are updated to 31.6 MP Kodak sensor. The camera is said to include a 55mm lens. Pentax has no set release date. Read Pentax 645 Still Lives Under Glass.

April 2007 – Pentax shareholders oppose Hoya offer and call off merger. Later that month, they enter into negotiation. Read Pentax Calls Off Merger with Hoya; More Hoya-Pentax Merger Talks to Come.

May 2007 – Pentax and Hoya enter into a management integration agreement. The deal is said to be worth $864 million. Read Hoya Delays Pentax Offer.

August 2007 – Hoya officially acquires half of Pentax’s shares. Canon rival launches 21.1 MP CMOS EOS-1Ds Mark III digital SLR for under $8000. Rumors spread that the Pentax 645 Digital developments are halted due to competition and merger with Hoya. Pentax has no comment.

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