Is the Pentax 645Z a serious option for Medium format video? we get some answers

By site editor Dan Chung:


Last week we reported on the new Ricoh/Pentax 645Z medium format DSLR – the first ever to have a video function. Significant because until now the only other super-large sensor digital video options have been astronomically expensive.

There hasn’t been much detail publicly available about how exactly the video side works. We got in touch with Steve Sanderson of Ricoh UK to get some answers. This is what he had to say:

Q: Could you clarify what portion of the sensor is used for HD video? Is it the full width of the sensor with the top and bottom cropped off?
A: Its not the full width. 10% area is cropped off from each right, left, top, and bottom of sensor.

Q: Can you tell me what bit rates the video uses and clarify exactly which types of compression are used?
A:  Bit rates: VBR 21Mbps, Movie compression: H.264, Sound compression: 48kHz 16bit linear PCM

Q: Is there the ability for the user to apply a flat or log picture profile to the video instead of a standard gamma? is there a user definable gamma setting at all?
A:  No. Users can’t apply a flat or log picture profile to the video. There is no gamma setting for 645Z.

Q: Does the camera output a ‘clean’ HDMI signal in video mode that can be recorded using an external recorder in a similar way to the Canon 5D mkIII or Sony a7S?
A: No, it can’t.

Q: Can older manual Pentax lenses be used in video mode? or do you need the newer AF ones?
A: Yes. Older manual lenses can be used.

Q: I assume that full manual control is available for video, can you describe the exposure options?
A:  Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO sensitivity. There is no in-built ND filter.   Aperture and shutter speed can be changed during movie recording, as well. But, ISO cannot be changed during movie recording.

Q: Does the camera have the ability to check focus by magnification, peaking or other system while video is recording?
A:  Checking focus magnification, and peaking are possible. But there is no other option.

Q: Do you plan any sample video?
A:  We do not currently have plans for a sample video.

While there are still no HD video samples that I have found from the 645Z, there is a lovely 4K time-lapse video from the camera posted by a Japanese tester. Hopefully some day this kind of resolution will be available for regular speed video on a medium format DSLR too – just not from the 645Z sadly.

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Posted on April 26th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: DSLR video news, Pentax |

One response to "Is the Pentax 645Z a serious option for Medium format video? we get some answers"

  1. wingrove Says:
    April 29th, 2014 at 7:53 am

    thanks for asking all the right questions.. sadly you got mostly wrong answers

    firstly the crop comment seems odd, the native sensor is 4:3 so a 10% crop all round?

    secondly that data rate sounds shocking and a complete deal breaker, though proof will be in the pudding i guess

    these answers in general seem quite negative rather than learning from or listening to the questions.. would have been great to hear. ‘hmm interring idea we’ll see what is possible down the track’

    as guess as far as video goes.. In a nutshell, they don’t get it.

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