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pentax 6x7 banned?

Pierre-Christian H

Link Posted 16/04/2006 - 07:34
This was posted in another forum.
Any truth to this?
Sounds a little far fetched.

"So I hear from sources that this camera has been banned in Europe because botht he camera and its lenses contain Lead and other newly classified toxic materials. And from this Pentax has rumoured the proposition of ceasing production of all film cameras globally.
So as I say its hearsay, I think they might kill off the 6x7 & 35mm stuff but will probably keep the 645... we'll wait and see. Anyone else know anything more on this? "


Link Posted 16/04/2006 - 08:11
It's now been pretty widely reported and the pentax japan website lists all the discontinued models. The use of lead solder in circuit boards is the problem, apparently because it could be dangerous when the cameras are thrown away....That's the EU for you.

The 67 and 645 are both victims, but the new 645 Digital goes ahead as planned.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 16/04/2006 - 09:35
This has got to be one of the most ridiculous edicts made by the EU parliament. They'll be banning cars next. Well they are ever so dangerous if you get in the way of a moving one.

The original posters title is perhaps over-alarming. Its the production of these, and other lead-content kit, which must cease. I don't think existing owners need have any fear of a visit from the EU's lead police or have their bag scanned for lead content at airports.

They'll be around for some years to come.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream


Link Posted 27/04/2006 - 23:14
What it's all about is the RoHS directive, (That's the Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive.) aimed at resticting the use of lead and other materials in electronic equipment.

I have worked in electronics for quite some time now, and there are a whole raft of directives that have been introduced over the years, and each time there is a great panic, and much beating of breasts and tearing of the hair. Each time, so far there has been no great upset, and if anything the general situation has actually improved.

That's because many of the 'restrictions' prevent the undercutting of legitamte businesses by less scrupulous manufacturers, forcing everone down to the same level to stay in business. There was a big fuss about the EMC directive, which was about restricting radio interference, which was causing real problems.

Now we are getting the same bellyflapping about RoHS.

This is a lift from the RoHS website.
"The RoHS Directive stands for "the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment". This Directive will ban the placing on the EU market of new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than agreed levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants from 1 July 2006."

The FAQ on their site points out that 'new' applies to induvidual items, not a product type.


'The directive does not apply to products that can still fulfil their main purpose without electricity. The example of this given by the Commission is the talking teddy bear that is still a teddy bear and can fulfil its main purpose as a comfort toy in the eyes of a child with the batteries removed.'

So perhaps we all need to switch back to manual cameras.However, there is a huge effort in the electronics industry to produce components which don't contain restricted substances, so the electronics should not be a problem.

So what about the lead in the lenses. Go to , and read what it says about optical glasses. Yep, that's right they are exempt!

So, provided the electronics uses components that don't use lead, and use lead free solder, (Which has been around for many years now because of the health risks to electronics workers!) there will be no problem at all.

It took me only ten minutes to find these references, but I guess I am in a position to know where to start looking!


Link Posted 04/05/2006 - 18:23
Cheers Gstalker, that was very informative.

The point remains, however, that the introduction of such directives has an impact in cases where production is being reconsidered. This was perhaps a tipping point for Pentax, where the expenditure (both in additional equipment and changes to processes and policies etc.) required to change the manufacturing processes isn't justified. I suspect such an investment would be relatively small, but I have no idea how profitable the 67 line was. Anyone have any ideas?

George Lazarette

Link Posted 04/05/2006 - 23:29
The 6X7 line was very profitable when people wanted to buy them. Now that they don't, it is not at all profitable.

Amateurs who love film have the luxury of spending huge amounts of pleasant but unproductive time in the darkroom. Professionals don't, and the 6x7 was primarily a professional camera.

Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.

WJ Bons

Link Posted 09/05/2006 - 10:23
George Lazarette wrote:
and the 6x7 was primarily a professional camera.

Now the camera's are becoming payable, more and more amateurs are going up to medium format and large format... So the camera will be used by amateurs these days.

Mail to the EU directive:

i read the pentax has to stop producing the 645 nii film camera because the lead used in the print board is no longer allowed in the EU???

Why not spending time at real issues such as:
Why is buying a new printer with print cartridge cheaper then buying a new cartridge separately!
There is where you get results.


Link Posted 16/05/2006 - 23:01
Me back again.

I have to say that from the manufacturing point of view there is little, if any extra cost in complying with RoHS. After all, the directive will apply to all products sold in the EU. So they will have to re-tool for lead free solder, (already used by many manufacturers) and source materials and components for all their product lines offered. Not just for one or two. So they have to do it anyway.

This is happenning worldwide. Manufacturers are increasingly manufacturing to meet European standards rather than the US standards previously applied. This is quite simply because they realise that the market is at least as big as that in the US, and has a bigger growth potential. In any case US standards legislation is moving much the same way.

Then there's a thing called harmonisation, which is a deliberate process of trying to make all the manufacturing standards in the world , and certainly in Europe, equivalent. That is so that consumers in one country can buy products from another and be confident that the products are produced to the same minimum standards.

The 'problem' with that is that all the various national standards have to match the highest standard of any one of them. No one is going to accept a reduction in the standards they introduced for 'important and neccesary reasons'. (Note the quotes!)

I can not, and do not believe therefore, that the new directive has anything to do with the discontinuation of the 6x7 (if indeed it is to be discontinued anytime soon). Much more likely, in my view, is that they are trying to move away from manufacturing film cameras in any form in order to concentrate on the digital market. If this is the case they should have the courage to say so, and not put the blame on legislation introduced with the aim of reducing the uneccesary use of known toxic materials.

I don't hear that they are thinking of withdrawing all their products from the European market. Of course not. Complying with the RoHS is something that they simply have to take on board, and have in all probability, already done so.

I have noted a lot of marketing pressure to move users to digital photography away from film in general. I am not going to get involved in any arguments about which is best, but I will say this.

Digital technology cannot at the moment produce the same pictorial quality as a really good large or medium format camera with a really good flm in it. That is down to the physics of light propagation, and the available size of sensors. There is a theoretical limit on the amount of detail which can be resolved in a given area which has got nothing do do with the number of pixels. For a perfect lens at f/2 you will get a maximum resolution of about 500 line pairs per milimetere, 250 at f/4 etc. (This lens probably does not exist, but some are reputed to approach it if you believe the avertising.) As there most lenses are not used at full-bore a typical image will be at about 100-150 lppm using a very good lens. (There are a number of films available which will record an image at that sort of resolution, but few CCD's!) Thus to get more detail, you have to have a bigger 'negative'. Digital wins hands down on convenience of course, and produces very acceptable images for most users.

Nothing wrong with that. Not my particular preference, I happen like the way film looks and feels, and I like the smell of developer. (So I'm a perv OK )

The convenience of digital, combined with the very attractive possibility that you can see the finished results very quickly, has led to a large demand in the area of compact digital cameras. (As if you hadn't noticed!) Businesses are there to make as big a profit as possible for their investors, and so always persue the main chance, and that means digital.

They will do so even if it means that perfectly good, but less profitable products, have to be discontinued in order to do this. In the case of the 6x7, it is an 'old' product, and would be due for replacement with a newer product, in the medium format film niche soon in any case.

Pentax probably believe that at some point in the not too distant future, that the cost of reasonably sized (medium format) CCD sensors of sufficient quality and speed, will become available to design a medium format digital camera. While I may disagree that CCD's of 6x7cm size, that can be read and stored in reasonably less than one second, (It's going to be a huge file!) will be developed any time in the next five years or so, it's not my opinion that matters here.

So I would say that they are looking for an excuse to drop the 6x7, which makes it seem as if the descision is really out of their hands, and along comes the RoHS directive. Perfect! These European directives are always being critiscised by someone or another for something or other. Whether the critiscism is justified or not, it makes it the ideal excuse.

So now when asked why they discontinued the 6x7 (when and if they do) they can throw their hands in the air, and blame stupid european bueracrats in Brussels, who made it impossible for them to continue manufacturing it. In fact they would love to keep making them, and supplying the obvious demand for this excellent product, and it was only by the skin of their teeth that they managed to stay in business at all!

Yeah, right!

I hope this is a cynical enough explanation of my position

Personally I would put the entire blame on the bulk of the camera buying public who insist on buying these new fangled digital things, driving the market away from real photography, which as we all know is a chemical thing.

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