Photography News 08

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Themedium-format effect Wondering where the Pentax 645 Z fits into the camera landscape, PN asks Ricoh’s Mark Cheetham to fill us in

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Words by Megan Croft

The launch of the medium-format Pentax 645 Z comes four years after its predecessor, the 645D, which remains on sale at £4250. In that time, the camera landscape has changed significantly, so is there still a place for medium-format? Mark Cheetham, national account manager at Ricoh Imaging UK, certainly thinks so: “The sensor technology used in medium- format cameras is in a different league. The advantages are a higher resolution due to the difference in the number of pixels, more realistic description of depth due to the difference in sensor size, and less noise due to larger pixels. “Important changes in the Pentax 645 Z from the 645D are higher image quality, thanks to a new image sensor, and the addition of more functional features in live view shooting, higher maximum ISO and movie recording. The 645 Z has been improved in every way possible, utilising our portfolio of technologies and feedback from 645D users.” Nevertheless, at £7700 with a 55mm lens, the 645 Z doesn’t come cheap, so who is it aimed at? “A wide spectrum of users,” says Mark. “It is designed for both studio and location use – fully dust and moisture sealed, it can be used in all conditions. The super high resolution makes the Z an excellent camera for landscape and product photography, as well as high-end studio capture. As a package, the Z is the most advanced medium-format product available.”

INSET Ricoh’s Mark Cheetham describes the 645 Z as “the most advanced medium- format product available”.

Sony focuses with A77 II NewAPS-C flagship makes the most of translucent mirror technology

Sony has announced its latest DSLT, the A77 II, coming almost three years after the launch of its predecessor and over a year after the last new Alpha model. Sitting at the top of Sony’s APS-C DSLT line-up, it has the same pixel count as the original A77 at 24.3 million, but the new sensor incorporates a gapless on-chip lens structure to maximise light collection. This, along with the new BIONZ X processor, increases the top ISO sensitivity to 25,600, and maintains the top shooting speed at an impressive 12 frames-per-second. But according to Norihiko Sakura, product manager for Sony Alpha Europe, the most important feature of the A77 II is its improved AF system: “The AF unit is much bigger than the one found on the A77, and it features 79 auto-detection points, including 15 cross points within the most frequently used central area of the sensor,” he said. Speaking to Photography News at the launch of the A77 II, US-based commercial photographer Eric Levin endorsed the autofocus for real-world use. “The speed and accuracy of the AF, even when I was shooting with my 70-200mm wide open at f/2.8 with a narrow depth-of-field, was impressive,” he said. “Another feature I liked was the in-camera image stabilisation, which I think is much better than the in-lens

versions that other manufacturers offer.” Other standout features of the A77 II include a tough magnesium body sealed against dust and moisture, and XGA OLED Tru-Finder and three-way tiltable LCD, and Wi-Fi with Near Field Communication for one-touch sharing and remote control. . π To find out more about the A77 II, go to

Issue 8 | Photography News

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