Pentax has announced a special edition of its 645D 40MP medium format camera to celebrate being named 'Camera of the Year' at the Camera Grand Prix Japan 2011. The built-to-order special comes with a red lacquer finish and special camera strap, arranged in a paulownia-wood box. The company has not announced how many it will produce. Pentax previously made a special edition of its K10D DSLR when it received the equivalent award in 2007.

Press Release:

PENTAX ANNOUNCES LIMITED EDITION 645D:

Model Honors 645D Camera Grand Prix Japan 2011 "Camera of the Year" Award

GOLDEN, CO. (July 14, 2011)…PENTAX Imaging Company has announced it will offer a limited edition 645D camera kit produced to celebrate the PENTAX 645D being named Camera Grand Prix Japan 2011 "Camera of the Year." This limited edition camera features an elegant, lacquer-finished body. The components of this unique kit that will be available on a very limited basis include:

• PENTAX 645D Japan camera body
• Leather Strap 645D japan O-ST123
• Body Mount Cap 645D Japan
• Center-Spot-Matte Focusing Screen DS-80
• Specially designed paulownia-wood packaging

PENTAX is planning built-to-order production of this model with a minimum four month delivery period from the date each order is placed.

First announced in June 2010, the PENTAX 645D is a high-performance medium-format digital SLR camera combining super-high-resolution digital images with approximately 40 effective megapixels that offers exceptional reliability and superb operability. The camera was selected Camera GP Japan 2011 "Camera of the Year" for its array of original, outstanding features including a large CCD sensor, and a dependable, dust-proof, weather-resistant body that operates in temperatures as low as –10°C.

Information about the camera, features, awards and product images is available at these links:
www.pentaximaging.com/news and PENTAX 645D

The new model kit will be available for pre-order on www.pentaxwebstore.com

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From Pentax UK:

Major Features of the PENTAX 645D Japan

1. Using the innovative lacquer techniques developed by Sakamoto Urushi Manufacturing Co., Ltd. of Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, PENTAX has made use of the traditional art of urushi (lacquer) for the exterior of the 645D Japan camera body. This exclusive lacquer finish not only gives the camera an elegant, exquisite appearance, but also enhances the camera’s durability. In order to create a sense of exclusiveness and a rich depth to the coating, the process requires a number of painstaking steps, such as pasting many different types of silver leaves on a black-lacquer base — as if creating a collage of torn paper — and applying an overcoat of paint in a rich Bordeaux-wine tone. This sophisticated, meticulously handcrafted lacquer technique using natural urushi and silver leaves means that each camera body will be slightly different, ensuring the camera will be a one-of-a-kind, unique possession for the photographer.

2. The PENTAX logo on the camera front panel and the mode-dial settings on its upper panel are gold-plated. The rubber portion of the grip has a semi-glossy black finish.

3. Made of a synthetic leather material, the exclusive strap carries a “Camera GP 2011 Camera of The Year” insignia and a PENTAX 645D logo, both in gold.

4. Each camera body is marked with its individual serial number, proof of its limited-edition status.

5. The camera mount cap has been exclusively designed for the kit, and features a glossy black coating.

6. The LCD panel on the camera’s upper panel comes with white backlight illumination, instead of the green-tinted illumination of the standard model.

7. The exclusive Centre-Spot-Matte Focusing Screen DS-80 is mounted on the camera.

8. The specially designed packaging is made of high-grade paulownia wood, with a “Camera GP Japan 2011 Camera of The Year” logo mark laser-engraved on its top cover.

9. The firmware installed in the camera body has been updated to the latest version (Ver.1.11), and is compatible with the optional O-GPS1 GPS unit.

Note: The camera body’s features and specifications are identical with those of the standard model, except for the firmware.