Medium Format Family

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

H camera replaces V series and 35 mm?


New Member

It seems to me that I am very lucky to watch and listen to these MF digital imaging experiences from the sideline!!

Marc - a question for you, given your vast experience in MF and 35mm film and digital. And to everyone reading this please comment too, BUT don't "correct" me on issues of one format not being a substitute for another - I believe that too, but simply wonder what experienced shooters of MF and 35mm think hypothetically! :)

So, the question: Do you feel that a Hasselblad H1 or 3 for that matter is a viable substitute for the likes of a 35mm SLR and rangefinder camera as well as a V series camera? Please don't scream!!! I am simply interested to know:)

Now I am acutely aware there is no true substitute for obvious reasons (that is why I have a Canon 1v, Leica M7, V series..... etc) but is an H1 or even H3 with film or digital capture or both in any way a viable substitute?? Could one reasonably consolidate these formats into an H1 or H3? (of course when it comes to it if I were that "one" I'd keep the V series for obvious reasons and know that the Zeiss glass can get a nirvana from the H camera; the M7 would still have a place when size is a real issue).

Since the H cameras with film or digital have all bells and whistles; decent lens range; are comparatively compact with great ergonomics.......... Could a keen amateur get by in most genres of use?

(PS: maybe I should have opened a new thread??? :) )


New Member

I remember as the H1 was about to be released that Hasselblad management
had high hopes of getting some new buyers from the 35 mm users.
This was all based on using film of course.
It turned out differently with a fast expansion of digital capture.



Active Member
Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!

Simon, it really depends on your shooting requirements concerning light, speed and end use.

In terms of portability, my Canon 1DsMKII is just as big a task to carry as the H3D, yet any H3D will murder the Canon on IQ.

Where the DSLRs shine is speed and lowlight ISO range ... for sports with 400mm lenses using AI Servo, and things like wedding work at very dark receptions with moving subjects.

But short of those type applications, I probably wouldn't own a 35mm DSLR. A Leica M and a H3D would fill the remaining requirements. And if forced to it, I'd select the H over the M any day of the week. But I shoot weddings, so a DSLR is important for me.

Here's how I use the HD3 31 and 39 system:

It's good as a DSLR up to ISO 800 (soon to be 1600), it's the prime macro camera bar none. I have an AF 300mm for it, and the huge files allow even further cropping for a narrower field of view. I have CF adapters to use all my C type Zeiss lenses from Fisheye to 350mm ... with full auto aperture. I remove the 39 meg back and mount it on a Rollei Xact2 using Digital APO view lenses for IQ no MF lens can match. (Or mount it to a ALPA for portable high IQ work ... don't have an ALPA yet, but am thinking about it).

Hasselblad makes the H2F film camera, but it is not restricted to film as a CF back can be used ... and, with the same back using a V iAdapter, can be used on legacy cameras ... including the 200 series using C lenses ... or any other MF camera you wish by swapping iAdapters.

Here is an update on the DSLR wars ... I'm in the process of swapping over from Canon to Nikon. I am keeping the 1DsMKIII and a few select lenses plus an adapter to use FE lenses, but will be shooting a Nikon D3 as my primary wedding camera ... it's high ISO abilities are astounding. I also secured a Nikon D300 as a back-up ... but extended it's personal practicality with a Zeiss ZF 28/2, 50/2 Macro and 100/2 Macro. All three are nothing short of amazing Zeiss optics. It's the smallest DSLR kit I've ever owned.

As said, it does matter what/how you shoot.

For me, I used to shoot Canon, I still have most of the L lenses through 400mm, and since switching to the H, I have not touched my Canon gear in three years.

Kind regards,


New Member
Simon, the question which you have posted I often asked myself :) Especially after I acquired a H1 equipment. I tend to often take the (big and heavy) H1 equipment, sometimes with the Xpan II for panorama landscapes, and leave my extensive Leica M and R equipment home. The more camera systems one has, the worse the difficulty of choosing becomes... It would indeed be nice if one system could replace others.
I use all cameras with film only. If one goes digital, I assume it could be the H series, with the rest loosing out. But since the digital H is very very expensive for non-professional use, that option seems far off for many users.
By the way, a nice alternative would be the Rolleiflex 6008 AF + DB20p digital bundle (Phase One P20 square format) :)


New Member
Great discussion everyone (as always here!!).

My "hypothetical" question about the likelihood of the H camera system having the potential to make other 35mm and MF systems redundant has raised interesting points as well as some obvious "no-brainer" points.

But above all your views confirm that for any experienced amateur or professional shooter there is no single system that can effectively make others redundant. It confirms why most of us have multiple format equipment. The more experienced (or even passionate) we become it seems the more formats we acquire/use. It obviously confirms why there are many manufacturers making many format systems! :)

But for me, if I were to happily accept the limitations of owning/using just the one system, then it would be the H system. Yes, it may be an embarrassing "bulge" under my coat in winter when trying to do some discrete street shooting!! :) But, who'd care if the image quality is so good.

Maybe even it is fair (not heresy) to say the H series is the worthy successor to the beloved V series! :) :) :)

So, since things are quiet here, I ask you to consider this:

If you could own only one photographic system - digital, film or both - what would it be (and it does not have to be any system you own/use today)?



My first camera , when I was still a teenager , was a VOIGTLÄNDER VITO B ,
which I sold half a year later and aquired a ROLLEICORD . I discovered , the 35mm system is not , what I wanted . From that time on , I was only using MF . So over the years , I finally ended with the HASSELBLAD V-SYSTEM about 30 years ago .
As a supplement to the V-SYSTEM , I got the BRONICA RF645 . This is a great MF camera for street shooting , but I prefer the square format . No need to tilt the camera for portrait or landscape and the 4,5x6 is always contained in a 6x6 and you can easily crop your image in the way , you want it .
If there would not be the CFV BACK , I would have gone for an other square sensor back . Not only because of the square format , but also because of the cost .
But , if I would have enough money to spend for a high end digital system , I would wait to see how the SINAR Hy6 system goes on , if the announced 6x6 film back and bigger sensors will be available . In the meantime , I would possibly get a NIKON D300 . But I would NOT go for a HASSELBLAD H-SYSTEM .
As we use to say here in Germany : other parents also have nice and beautiful daughters . Daughters ? ? ? because a camera is a female here .

Regards Jürgen


New Member
Many shooters have your enthusiasm for the Bronica RF camera - they are so hard to find and buy. Interestingly the Mamiya 6 is equally prized by owners - 6x6 being your favourite format Jurgen!

Such cameras are just perfect for hiking and similar long distance trips to get great landscapes without heavy camera gear.

Yes, Jurgen I agree that the SINAR Hy6 will be an interesting story to hear as users start posting their experiences.


Active Member
Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!

Simon, (side note: your films have just arrived here for scanning!)

in answer to your question "... if you could own one only one system, what would it be?"

Currently it definitely would be the H system. This opinion is based on specific need, and direct experience with a number of alternatives.

Need: I need a Leaf Shutter MF digital system that produces the highest IQ available for commercial applications. I must have a high sync speed for flash and strobe work. I also need to shoot with full T/S like I can with a MF back on my Rollei Xact2. Other systems are great, but I cannot make money with them the way I can with a MF digital platform. I can "dumb down" a MF shot, but cannot upgrade a 35mm DSLR or Leica M8 shot for many commercial applications.

Alternatives: I have had a in-studio demonstration of the Leaf Hy6 (AFi 7) and found it in many ways to be the equal to, but NOT superior to my H3D-II/39 ... except in one area: Price ... the Hy6 has a superior price tag ... (in terms of IQ, I did controlled tests in studio using both cameras.) However, if I had a collection of Rollei optics, it would be a natural migration path. But my vast lens collection is Zeiss/Hasselblad V which works effortlessly on the H camera via the CF adapter.

The draw back of the Leaf Hy6 version is there is no rotating back like available with the Sinar version, nor is there likely to be according to a leading Leaf re-seller because of the way Leaf has integrated the mount. This means you have to remove the back to shoot Portrait oriented images. That's a deal breaker for me.

I also investigated the Sinar Hy6 version because the back can be used on other MF cameras, and they DO have a rotating back ... only to find out that my 200 series camera is not one of those it will work on ... you can only use it to the max sync speed of 1/90th. Otherwise, the Sinar Hy6 is indeed versatile, but at a price. The user interface is extremely complex, with many user operations that need to be done in exact sequence. My preference is to get to shooting as swiftly and effortlessly as possible.

A viable secondary consideration to the H system would be a Focal Plane shutter system such as a Contax 645 or Mamiya AFD-III (in the guise of a Phase One/Mamiya.) The Contax and Mamiya are familiar systems to me as I've owned both. The Contax is excellent, but has gone the way of the Dodo. Slow AF is one drawback of the Contax that frustrated me during the years I owned it ... I cannot tell you how much faster the H camera is at AF.

That leaves the Mamiya/Phase One new camera. I have not tried this alternative, but know those who will be taking delivery soon. The Mamiya/Phase has a new multi-point AF system which will be interesting to hear about. The lenses do not thrill me, but Mamiya offers an adapter for Zeiss V lenses ... however, it is still stop down metering and shooting ... where the C lenses on the H camera with the CF adapter are fully integrated metering and automatic stopdown shooting.

I am now hoping for a Focal Plane shutter H camera ... which for me will complete the circle and allow use of all my FE lenses ... which now finally includes the 350/4FE : -)

I will be purchasing a H2F body to use all the spare parts I already have to complete a film H using a CF adapter and the Zeiss optices.