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Pentax launches delayed 25mm F4 wide angle lens for 645D

By dpreview staff on Mar 22, 2012 at 01:11 GMT

Pentax has launched the D FA 645 25mm F4 AL [IF] SDM AW wide angle lens it first announced in February 2011. The lens offers a 19.5mm equivalent field-of-view when mounted on the 645D medium format DSLR and features the company's 'all weather' designation to reflect its level of environmental sealing. The lens will be available from March 2012 at an MSRP of $4999.95/£3999.99

Press Release:

smc PENTAX-DA645 25mm F4AL [IF] SDM AW

A high-performance, unifocal lens, exclusively designed for the PENTAX 645D to produce breathtaking ultra-wide-angle images

PENTAX RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD. is pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX-DA645 25mm F4AL [IF] SDM AW.

Designed for exclusive use with the PENTAX 645D, this unifocal, ultra-wide-angle lens features PENTAX-original optics optimised for high-quality digital photography to ensure exceptional high resolution images. The sturdy construction of the lens, which is dustproof and weather-resistant, makes it ideal for outdoors photography.

The smc DA645 25mm f/4 AW will be available from mid-April 2012, at the RRP of £3999.99

Major Features

1. Unifocal, ultra-wide-angle lens

When mounted on the PENTAX 645D medium-format digital SLR camera body, this ultra-wide-angle lens offers a focal length of approximately 19.5mm in the 35mm format, providing the widest perspective of all the lenses compatible with the PENTAX 645D. Creating visual effects unique to ultra-wide-angle lenses, such as exaggerated perspective and extra-wide depth of field, it can be effectively used for a wide range of subjects and situations, including spectacular landscapes and indoor shooting within a confined space. This lens gives the PENTAX 645D greater photographic freedom and flexibility.

2. State-of-the-art optics

Incorporating two high-performance a-spherical optical elements within its optics, this ultra-wide-angle lens provides exceptional image-resolving power with outstanding brightness levels even at the edges, whilst keeping any aberrations to a minimum. All lens characteristics are optimised for digital photography, for instance - exclusive lens coatings are applied to optical elements, while anti-reflection materials are applied to the interior of the lens barrel. The result is a lens that brings out the full potential of the PENTAX 645D medium-format digital SLR camera.

3. Aero Bright Coating to dramatically improve transmittance

This lens is treated with a PENTAX-original Aero Bright Coating, which ensures outstanding anti-reflection performance over a broader wavelength range to deliver images that are brighter and of higher quality. Created using PENTAX’s advanced nanotechnology, this exclusive coating reduces lens reflections and greatly improves light transmittance by forming a silica aerogel layer with uniform pores on the surface of the optical elements.

4. Dependable dustproof, weather-resistant construction

As the newest model of the dependable AW (All Weather) series, the lens comes in a highly dependable dustproof, weather-resistant construction with 11 special seals to effectively prevent the intrusion of dust and water into the lens interior. By coupling this lens with the PENTAX 645D camera body, the user is assured of a durable, reliable digital imaging system that performs superbly in demanding outdoor settings — even in rain and mist, or locations prone to water splashes or spray.

5. Mountable circular polarising filter

The lens features a built-in, pull-out-type filter holder in its barrel. By placing the C-PL (circular polarising) filter (40.5mm in diameter; included as an exclusive accessory) on this holder, the user can easily rotate the filter to obtain the desired polarising effect.

6. Smooth, quiet SDM autofocus operation

The advanced SDM (Supersonic Direct-drive Motor) autofocus mechanism has a supersonic motor installed inside the lens barrel which ensures a smooth, quiet autofocus operation.

7. Other features

•  High-quality machined aluminium parts, including the lens barrel, hood and cap

•  The built-in lens hood is optimally shaped for the angle of view when the lens is mounted on the PENTAX 645D camera body

•  Quick-Shift Focus system for instant switching to manual-focus operation, after the subject is captured in focus by the AF system

•  Rounded diaphragm to produce a smooth, beautiful “bokeh” (out-of-focus rendition), while minimising the streaking effect of point light sources

•  SP (Special Protect) coating applied to the front surface of the lens to effectively repel dust, water and grease


Total comments: 31
By Maxfield_photo (Mar 25, 2012)

Any chance that 645d review will ever be posted?

By JLRX (Mar 23, 2012)

Pentax should make a couple of leaf shutter lenses, like they had in the past.
A flash sync-speed of 1/125 seems very low compared with the competition, 1/800 for Hasselblad or Leica and 1/1600 for PhaseOne/Mamiya.
Apart from that... I think it's a great system.

Richard Schumer
By Richard Schumer (2 months ago)

I've got a leaf-shutter 75mm f:2.8 Fa645. Great for fill-flash.

I might accept offers....

By jmmgarza (Mar 23, 2012)

A solid lens for a quality camera, congrats Pentax. Well-heeled landscape photographers rejoice.

By Emacs23 (Mar 24, 2012)

That's not good enough: strong CA. Resolution is not up there too.
The obvious point it just doesn't worth its price.

1 upvote
By tinetz (Mar 25, 2012)

Emacs, you seem to know things no one else knows... very interesting. Would be nice to base such claims on some reference, but be warned, there are two 25mm f4 available: the DFA, which seems to be sold in Japan only, and the new 25mm f4 DA.
Don't worry also dpreview didn't get the difference, but it is confirmed by pentax Germany, who said, that this version is 645D only. Makes sense, since it offers wideangle for the 645D.

1 upvote
By Maxfield_photo (Mar 27, 2012)

In K-mount terminology, Pentax uses DFA to designate it's digitally-coated-full-frame-compatible lenses, while the DA lenses are for cropped sensor only. It would make sense to continue the same naming convention into their medium format lenses.

1 upvote
By Okotoks_Photos (Mar 23, 2012)

Wow! Pentax has now doubled the number of lenses currently available for the 645D...

Martin Datzinger
By Martin Datzinger (Mar 23, 2012)


By chris_j_l (Mar 23, 2012)

@Okotoks - what - to 28? Because yesterday you could buy 14 new.

By Okotoks_Photos (Mar 25, 2012)

I wasn't referring to buying USED lenses on eBay. Please point me to an authorized Pentax dealer in North American that stocks NEW P645 lenses... besides the FA 55mm f2.8.


Oh - that's right - Pentax stopped making all of those 28 other lenses several years ago...

By chris_j_l (Mar 25, 2012)


I live in the UK and there are several dealers - the one I use is SRS - all new.

If you wish to limit yourself to only ordering from some backwards corner of the globe, go for it, but I order online from overseas all the time <shrug>.

Comment edited 10 seconds after posting
By tinetz (Mar 25, 2012)

Oh boy. @okotoks

the icing on the cake of the Pentax 645D system is, that you can use ALSO many old, manual focus, tilt and shift, 6x7 lenses. But the ACTUAL lenses for the system, as can be seen on the Pentax Germany homepage, range from 25 mm over various zoom lenses to 300 mm and include two teleconverters. Have a look at all the 15 NEW available lenses here:
This might be different for Noerth America, I don't know, sorry for you, but other markets seem to have another tradition in Pentax MF, fair enough.

By ian3b (Mar 27, 2012)

I live in Canada as well and you can purchase new Pentax 645 FA and DFA lenses through both Henry's and LL Lozeau, so they can be found new if you are willing to look for them.

Temple Dog
By Temple Dog (Apr 20, 2012)

Hmmm.... Perhaps you ought to check your facts before you make a fool of yourself...

By TheBees (Mar 23, 2012)

i think someone's typing just because he has time and fingers...
what would one expect to be the price range of a wide angle lens for a camera that is abot the 10ks one?
Modestly looking around this MF realm, I humbly suggest it looks great in costruction and features. Now let's see if it is up the task as a "taking-pictures" device...

1 upvote
Robert Rafai
By Robert Rafai (Mar 23, 2012)

may be already someone ask this question before but which camera dpreview use to make pictures of all testing gear, body's, lenses, etc... we see on this web site?

By Peiasdf (Mar 23, 2012)

An iPhone 3G and sometimes a lego camera when Mr. Britton is out of the office and took the iPhone. It is all in the lighting.

Back on topic. That's one expensive lens. I guess when you move up from 135 price really went up.

By CarVac (Mar 23, 2012)

Why do they try to minimize sunstars? They look awesome in my opinion.

1 upvote
By 645D (Mar 23, 2012)

Now it's priced like a Hassy... That's what Ricoh take over meant:-(

By ogl (Mar 23, 2012)

MF lenses for such focal range are always expensive. Any brand.

1 upvote
AndrewG NY
By AndrewG NY (Mar 23, 2012)

Yes, believe it or not, this is competitive, even cheaper than the Hassy and Mamiya competition.

By nicolaiecostel (Mar 23, 2012)

Cheaper than mamiya but I saw a sample comparisson between the D800/645D and some other cameras and in the studio scenes the pentax lens really suffered from some softness and accentuated color fringing in the corners, probably with the standard lens. I hope that is not the kind of image quality MF users are bragging about, cause it's bad when you have to pay a threefold because of the larger sensor and get worse quality than 135. Oh, and great timing from pentax with this lens ;)

1 upvote
By Maxfield_photo (Mar 23, 2012)

@nicolaiecostel The advantage medium format enjoys over 35mm, and especially APS-C is the images don't need as much enlargement for a given print size. It has been that way since the days of film. That softness you're seeing is noticeable at a 100% crop, but far less so in a 15x20 print viewed from 6 feet away. Compare test images from the D700, and the D7000 to the 645D, but first blow the smaller images up to the same size; you'll see the difference.

Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Mar 23, 2012)

@Maxfield_photo Except that the D800 images are almost the same size as those of the 645D...

Martin Datzinger
By Martin Datzinger (Mar 23, 2012)

@nicolaiecostel: That was very strange for me to see as well, since all test shots I've seen so far from the 645D had a perfect resolution, clarity and freedom from all sorts of aberations, right into the edges, that I had never seen from small format lenses.

Anyway, that pricetag hurts.

1 upvote
Rainer Mirau
By Rainer Mirau (Mar 23, 2012)

@richard but there is no lens which can resolve 36mp on a 35mm sensor.

Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (Mar 24, 2012)

@Richard; I suggest you stop peeking in the samples on the web, grab both cams and lenses and try yourself. A digital MF camera really does have its place in the world for all the good reasons, and the economy of scale of any kind cannot substitute real quality which is on a part of scale scale out of the norm, and also out of any other wannabe pretence.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By Emacs23 (Mar 25, 2012)

> but there is no lens which can resolve 36mp on a 35mm sensor.

It's a bullsh1t. 36Mp on 35mm sensor is just like 16Mp on APS-C sensor. And, for example, summilux 35 on NEX-7 gives more details than summilux 50 on M9. So, lux 35 resolves even 24Mp on APS-C. I have one counter example, you are wrong. BTW, the Distagon 21 on D800E should be better than this CA issued D FA 25 on 645D

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
By gazonk (Mar 27, 2012)

IMHO, it's no doubt that the D800 is getting very close to the 645D, so the next 645D model needs to get both more mp and possibly also a larger sensor. Btw. my little pet theory is that while the Japanese version of this lens, the D-FA 25mm, may be good enough for film, it may not be the best performer on a digital 645 FF camera. By making the "world version" a crop only lens, they have guarded themselves against getting too many future complaints...

Temple Dog
By Temple Dog (Apr 20, 2012)

I really wonder how many commentators here have actually USED a 645D? You all seem very authoritative, but I can assure you that having owned one from launch date and with 7 lenses (yes, I do this for a living) the quality of camera and lenses is pretty much unmatched. I've also used the digital 'Blads extensively but the 645D is far superior in my opinion.

Total comments: 31