Pentax is to stop selling its medium-format film-based cameras in Europe as a result of new EU environment regulations.

And we can exclusively reveal that ? as well as the Pentax 645NII and 67II ? the company is set to axe European sales of a number of film and digital compacts and lenses.

Pentax is the second camera company to fall foul of the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2004 (RoHS Regulations) which come into force on 1 July.

As we reported on Tuesday, the rules have already signaled the demise of the Hasselblad XPan ? Hasselblad explaining that the regulations prevent use of lead solder in camera circuit boards. Lead is one of a number of substances whose use is limited under the rules and is considered harmful to the environment when disposed of.

We understand that a full list of affected Pentax products will be released to the public tomorrow.

Pentax UK?s marketing manager John Dickins told AP: ?Pentax will be discontinuing the production and European sales of a number of products, including its film-based medium-format cameras, some film and digital compact cameras, as well as a number of lenses and accessories.?

It is not yet clear which products will stop being sold in Europe and whether their production will cease altogether.

Dickins stressed: ?Current users are in no way in danger from existing models already in use ? rather this is a strategic move by the EU to move production away from the extensive use of materials that could be dangerous if found in large quantities, particularly with respect to their ultimate disposal, not in their day-to-day usage.?

Pentax?s plans to launch a new digital SLR and digital medium-format camera continue unabated, he said, adding: ?The company would like to make it clear? that the decision to discontinue these products has been made in order to fully comply with this European directive.?

? AP will be keeping close tabs on this story and its implications for the camera market, so keep an eye on future issues for more details