Monday, September 03, 2007Home

Pentax puts medium format DSLR on hold

Insiders are doubting whether Pentax's medium format DSLR, the 645 Digital, will ever be released. The model has been declared "no longer a priority for Pentax" by Hiroshi Onoda, European general manager for Imaging Systems. Only a dummy version of the camera has been shown to the public. Since its unveiling at the Photo Imaging Expo Show in 2005, Pentax has boasted features such as a Kodak 31 megapixel sensor and compatibility with Pentax 645 SMC lenses. Now it seems highly unlikely that this SLR will ever be released, perhaps because of a strategic realignment at the company.

"Speculation over Pentax's camera policy has been rife after Tokyo-based newspaper Nikkei reported yesterday that Pentax plans to 'abandon the development of medium format single-lens reflex cameras designed for professional photographers and specialise in digital offerings for new and intermediate users.' It is not clear whether this implies the cancellation of the 645 Digital..."

Pentax's planned merger with Hoya, first announced December 2006, has also been stalled, the terms of which were rejected by Pentax shareholders in May of this year. The board ended up removing both the President and Chief Financial Officer of Pentax.

As part of a new agreement, both companies will continue to use their existing brands, and Pentax will retain the makeup of its three major branches: optical components, medical equipment, and digital cameras. And the board will resign: a complete turnaround from the company's prior position. It makes one wonder if the recession of SLR emphasis, in favor of entry-level products, is another result of this turbulent merger.

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