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Pentax makes 645D Camera Grand Prix limited edition

By dpreview staff on Jul 13, 2011 at 22:00 GMT

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:


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: and PENTAX 645D

The new model kit will be available for pre-order on


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.

I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums


Total comments: 58
By Kfrog (Nov 13, 2011)

Fabulous camera. I agree in asking when is dpreview going to do a full review of this camera? Do they not have the capability to review a medium format digital camera? Can't get a sample from Pentax? It's been out in the market long enough. Curious to see what the editors think of this fine camera.

Keith Istre
By Keith Istre (Sep 17, 2011)

Its all about creating a buzz. Would the 645D Camera Grand Prix even be mentioned if it wasn't for this special edition. Marketing, put the brand in the face of people who may not want or need for a "collectible" camera but may buy a plain Jane black one. Its a great marketing tool. How many people commented that they might not want to own the red edition but want the black one. BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

By fastglass (Jul 30, 2011)


Personally, I like it.

Go Pentax!

By grahamdyke (Jul 25, 2011)

Its not ment to be used, but kept in a display box for posterity.
Yawn Yawn Pentax, gow up...

By unlearny (Jul 21, 2011)

@Boomz I concur! Isn't it time to begin reviewing low end medium format / high end dslrs? I would like to compare the 645d raw images to Sony A900 & Sigma SD1. P.S. Don't talk to me about resolution unless we first agree that the 5D MII is a 7MP camera.

Philippe Coulon
By Philippe Coulon (Jul 22, 2011)

Don't talk to anyone about resolution unless you care not to oversimplify. SCNR

By DaSigmaGuy (Jul 19, 2011)

But who want to be seen using that? I mean, talk about standing out from the crowd!
Its like taking a Ferarri and encrusting it with diamonds and gold...It would turn heads but for all the wrong reasons and it would just make the owner look like a complete pratt.
I'll stick to low key black cameras thank you ;)

1 upvote
By netrex (Oct 12, 2011)

Why care if people are looking or not? Not the reason I buy cameras.

I had the white K-x, and loved it, a great camera that looked very nice. I now have a K-5, wouldn't mind it being white as well. Fits the winters we have a lot of here :)

By jmmgarza (Jul 18, 2011)

I am red (not green) with envy.

By MPA1 (Jul 18, 2011)

When I began my photography journey in the 80's, the Pentax ME Super was one of the top 35mm cameras in the world.
Admittedly that was a golden age - we had the Olympus OM series, Canon AE 1P and A1, Nikon F3/4 and so on.
If you ever used any of those, you will know that the materials and build quality were streets ahead of 90% of what is made today.

Sagar Dutta
By Sagar Dutta (Aug 15, 2011)

I completely agree with you

Jack L Casner
By Jack L Casner (Jul 16, 2011)

Like this "Red Devil" or not, it's time for me to buy a regular, black 645 D.

By Boomz (Jul 16, 2011)

Please have a full review of the 645D. Thanks.

1 upvote
By wick5449 (Jul 15, 2011)

If I had the extra cash, I'd get one. Maybe the flashiness, or whatever, but I like it.

1 upvote
By EduardoJB (Jul 15, 2011)

Why in the world, what for, and who would buy one? From a design point of view, it's not practical, and as a "work of art" it better stays at home, protected, untouched and new, and maybe in a few years it could sell for more in an auction. This is made with the only purpose of selling it to people with money to spend. I appreciate Japan's lacquer craftsmanship, and own fountain pens with such finish, but I've used the pens... no big deal. But a camera? This idea of turning an instrument into a jewel is somewhat perplexing, and so much so coming from a manufacturer with a good reputation and history. And after all Japan's gone through recently, it seems a bit insensitive.

By Nerdlinger (Jul 15, 2011)

Although most of the comments are positive....why do people bash Pentax?

I own a k-x and am completely happy with it. Takes amazing photos for less money than a comparable Canon/Nikon camera. The k-5 is an amazing camera that regularly rates higher than Canon/Nikon comparable cameras. The 645D cost thousands less than comparable cameras and obviously is pretty good.

I don't know about the Q, but for most Pentax cameras they make a very well designed, awesome image quality cameras. And they make some pretty fine lenses as well.

Basically quit hating people. Pentax may have had some hiccups along the way but they are a long established high quality camera producer.

And finally that is one sweet looking camera! I wish I had the $ to pick it up!

1 upvote
By Kfrog (Jul 15, 2011)

Now that is a beautiful sight, and a beautiful camera. Man I'd love to have one of those!

1 upvote
By Earthlight (Jul 14, 2011)

Well! Pentax has style!

1 upvote
By RonHendriks (Jul 14, 2011)

Isn't it about time to give the 645D a proper review?!?

By wutsurstyle (Jul 14, 2011)

If I had this camera, it would probably take pictures of its sexy self in the mirror all day.

Cameron R Hood
By Cameron R Hood (Jul 14, 2011)


1 upvote
By Taikonaut (Jul 14, 2011)

Very Japanese to house arts objects in paulownia box.

By Maxfield_photo (Jul 14, 2011)

Sweet, maybe the price of the standard version will drop in time for christmas :P

1 upvote
Vlad S
By Vlad S (Jul 14, 2011)

Stunning! Not just a different design, but an art form.

By schufosi777 (Jul 14, 2011)

My Japanese wife has an amber urushi plate and it looks absolutely exquisite. You cant appreciate this art form by looking at photos.

asaf v
By asaf v (Jul 14, 2011)

Sure is an ugly one!

By schufosi777 (Jul 14, 2011)

This camera is a work of art. Literally.

1 upvote
By nosnoop (Jul 14, 2011)

Estimated price is ¥1.2 million (approx US$15,100).

Greg Erker
By Greg Erker (Jul 14, 2011)

I'm sure the lacquer looks very nice in real life.

Neloy Sinha
By Neloy Sinha (Jul 14, 2011)

Every morning I open up "dpreview" with some expectations, even before reading my horoscope.Today was not an exception. I was surprised and elated. What a colourful world! A very pleasant eye catching curvaceous model made my day.With a cup of coffee, I can think myself a lone owner of the camera and moving around locations to freeze moments.We are very happy seeing this elegant model of a photographic instrument.It proves again that photography is an art of its own.The men behind the making of the machine are at their best to put their distinhuished artistic and ergonomic signatuere.Affordability is a different issue, but I always appreciate the effort to excel. Pentax people did it again to prove their mantle.There may be the 'cons' and 'nons' but Pentax has always something new to offer. For example the 'Q' series appeared a couple of days ago.Pentax's moto of spicing the photographer's life with abundance of choice reminds me a catchy phrase of yesteryear 'Yeh Dil Mange More"!

By Mescalamba (Jul 14, 2011)

Apparently nobody told them that Pentax isnt Leica or Blad.

By ogl (Jul 14, 2011)

Pentax MF is MORE than Leica...But looks ugly. I think it's for Japanese market. They like such things.

1 upvote
By Couscousdelight (Jul 14, 2011)

Apparently, you don't konw what you are talking about...

By Mescalamba (Jul 14, 2011)

Yea.. thats why Pentax was sold from Hoya. Cause its such sucessful brand. :) That brand is near worthless.

Sure 645D is quite nice, especially price wise. But it doesnt have exactly many native lens. Sensor is no way MF (44x33mm .. as S2) .. well its cheap. This version is "limited" but looks cheaper than regular black. Tasteless.

But what is brand name worth? Couple of followers? There is probably more Leica M9 users than K-5 ones. And that Pentax Q? :D

I hope Ricoh will do something that stops them from dying.. Cause they really need it.

Time between 645 and 645D was bit too long. Who wanted MF then and could afford it, already bought it. And probably sold every Pentax lens he had. For many Pentax died when they freeze at APS-C. Which doesnt have any benefits at all (maybe for birding, but except K-5, Pentax AF was.. ehm useless).

So for what is Pentax good now?

Blad at least continue to produce Fuji rebrands. Leica is still Leica. And Pentax.. is nothing.

1 upvote
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (Jul 14, 2011)

"But it doesnt have exactly many native lens..."

And on which planet have you lived on during the last 40+ years? Or you're simply too young to know? (just a question, not an accusation) Pentax has issued 645D just because of the fame of its 645 film predecessor and 645 and 67 glass already available for it.

By Mescalamba (Jul 15, 2011)

Means lens designed for 645D. Thats "native".

Cause in case you havent noticed, 44x33mm isnt exactly same size as 645 film (which is 56x42mm .. currently only few Phase One backs are true medium format).

Most lens for 645D are as much native as S2 with adapter..

Plus if they made some high quality 645D lens, it could be slightly smaller, had some reasonable focal lengths (designed for 44x33mm sensor) and good AF. Currently there are only two lens designed for 645D.

And most Pentax 645 users already left Pentax.. 645D came bit too late.

1 upvote
By Silvarum (Jul 16, 2011)

Aha, so as Minolta users, but wait.. there's Sony now, who needs them now anyway? Aren't they a bit too late also?

And most 645 users were using 645NII. Why do you think it was in production till 2009, just for fun?

One of your "true" MF Phase One backs costs as three 645D. Who would buy another digital MF camera for such price? Besides, 44x33 gives k-factor of 1.26, which is not as bad as 1.5 for APS. Whole reason of 645D is compatibility with old lenses.

As for Leica, they quite new to MF also. All they have is S2 with 4 lenses. S1 was a scary scanner camera with WAY too high capture time.

By ogl (Feb 23, 2012)

Sold more than 10000 cameras...Late? Ha-ha...

1 upvote
By F-onefour (Jul 14, 2011)

As if the regular 645D wasn't limited edition enough...................

By IcyVeins (Jul 13, 2011)

Really nice looking camera, why can't canikon make cameras that look like this? black is pretty boring when everyone has it...

Txi Txi
By Txi Txi (Jul 13, 2011)

Still no CF card (or one SD and one CF) for true pro use? "Pretty Please" Pentax!!!

By snake_b (Jul 14, 2011)

Maybe you should stop being stuck in 2002.

By Jogger (Jul 13, 2011)

im holding out for the Gundam Edition

By SungiBr (Jul 14, 2011)

Make it two !!!

By SungiBr (Jul 14, 2011)

Make it two !!!

By ecka84 (Jul 13, 2011)

Well, it looks really nice, unlike the other Pentax toy DSLR cameras (K-x/r).

1 upvote
By viking79 (Jul 13, 2011)

Well, I hope the $10,000 camera would be more mature looking than the K-x/r targeted towards younger audiences :)

By ecka84 (Jul 13, 2011)

Yes, I meant the same :)

By raylob (Jul 13, 2011)

I would never use it in case I scratched the paintwork!
Ray :-)

By tkbslc (Jul 13, 2011)


"We really want to be like Hasselblad but couldn't get Porsche or Lamborghini on board. So we just painted it red and gave it a sporty car name."

Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jul 13, 2011)

Which would work better, as a snarky theory, were it not for the fact that the K10D Grand Prix pre-dates the Hasselblad special by several years:

And the fact that the completely-unrelated-to-motorsport Camera Grand Prix has been running for 28 years.

Andreas Roca
By Andreas Roca (Jul 14, 2011)

Surely Pentax's budget could be used in about two million better ways than producing limited editions of an already eye watering expensive camera... in red.

1 upvote
By Manchu (Jul 14, 2011)

Very pretty. Wish it was on something more worthwhile.

1 upvote
By solarider (Jul 14, 2011)

I like the pics of the new edition over at IR, I haven't sent them elsewhere. I was unaware of urushi-e until now.

"The process of creating the lacquered finish for the 645D Japan is, we understand, rather involved. First, a black lacquer base is applied to the camera body, and then a variety of silver leaves are applied by hand, followed by finally supplementing the previous layers with a Bordeaux-red overcoat. The process -- known as urushi-e -- results in each 645D Japan body being unique from its siblings, and is also said to offer enhanced durability."

By baldeagle21b (Jul 14, 2011)

I hope they bring it to the PDN show in NYC in October. I'll be there if they do, just to see and hold the thing in person

maitani wannabe
By maitani wannabe (Jul 15, 2011)

No wonder Hoya couldn't wait to dump this division...

By odpisan (Jul 15, 2011)

The most beautiful camera ever made. Is it the best? Yessss - one of the best.

By KAllen (Jul 15, 2011)

I bet it goes down well in Essex, a region renown for thinking all that glisters is gold. Maybe Pentax are on to something, after all Dentists buy Leica's, maybe there is an untapped market in cameras for pimps.
Honestly I'd feel a bit of a tart with that around my neck.

Total comments: 58