Excerpted from the British Journal of Photography
Title: Pentax quits medium format
Date: 29 March 2006

A second major manufacturer has fallen foul of new EU waste legislation, and is now to discontinue its two remaining medium format film cameras. Katie Scott reports.

Pentax is to discontinue its much-loved range of medium format cameras, BJP has learnt.

The company made the announcement on its German website that it will stop selling its 645 N II and 67 II cameras in Europe. These are the only two remaining products in its medium format film camera line-up.

John Dickens of Pentax UK released a statement to BJP explaining that the decision is as a result of the same EU regulations - named ROHS approvals - which forced Hasselblad to withdraw its X-Pan cameras (BJP, 22 March).

They dictate that new electrical equipment cannot contain lead or cadmium, among other toxic materials, and they come into force on 01 July. Like Hasselblad, Pentax says adjusting to the regulations would not be commercially viable.

'Pentax is currently re-evaluating its European product portfolio in light of this legislation and information on future product introductions will be made in due course once assessments have been made into market demand', says Dickens. 'The company would like to make clear, however, that the decision to discontinue these products has been made in order to fully comply with this European directive.'

Among the other products that are to be discontinued are an array of film and digital compact cameras, and accessories including eight lenses: the smc FA J 18-35mm f/4-5.6 AL, smc A 35-80mm f/4-5.6, smc A 80-200mm f/4.7-5.6, smc 67 35mm f/4.5 Fish Eye, smc M* 67 400mm f/4 ED IF, smc 67 500mm f/5.6 and the smc M* 67 800mm f/6.7 ED IF. In addition, the 67 II AE Prism finder will be discontinued.

Dickens added that existing owners of the models that are being discontinued are in no danger. Warranties will be honoured and 'the company will continue to be able to service all products until parts are no longer available in many years time'. However, stocks of the discontinued products are not expected to last beyond July. He also stated that the company's new lines of digital medium format and SLR cameras will not be affected by the move.

The company now only has two film SLRs remaining in its range, the MZ60 and the ist. Dickens could not confirm or deny suggestions that Pentax is going to pull out of the film market altogether. He said: 'Pentax will continue to make cameras to meet demand and the demand at the moment is for digital models.'


Source: © Incisive Media Investments Ltd 2005