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I attended the Hasselblad Dealer Summit for the Americas on September 21, and spent time with Hasselblad personnel and the cameras themselves. Below is a report of what I saw.
Report from Hasselblad Dealer Summit:
H3D Camera Improvements
*New 3" Screen
I compared this to the screen from a Canon 40D outside. They are very similar. Similar brightness, similar feel and texture. The 40D seems to have a wee bit more resolution. This could be due more to the generated preview file itself, rather than a screen limitation, in fact I am told by Christian this is the case. I haven't looked at the data sheet of the 40D, but they could indeed be the same screen. If not, they could be mistaken for each other.
There are actually very few manufacturers of screens in the world. It is much like the production of Blue Jeans or Flat screen TV's that get re-badged. This makes the task of buying these screens even more difficult. You can imagine Hasselblad calling up Dupont Screen Makers and trying to order 2,000 screens and being told that the minimum order is 15,000,000.
*There is a new and improved IR Filter.
*The Firewire port has been enhanced to make it easier to plug in the 800 firewire (via guides) and also more difficult for it to fall out (via additional gripping).
*The CF Door has been replaced by a sturdier version and the clasp has been significantly reinforced.
*The rubber covers over the flash and sync ports are a more robust material.
*Ultra Focus is now in it's second iteration.
Killer App 1
*GPS capability is now enabled with the GPS unit, which plugs into the left side of the camera body. While some may yawn at this feature (thinking aerial photography), there are actually quite a number of different applications for this feature. Scouting is an obvious one. The ability to GPS search for that street with the cool door you used as a background comes to mind, and I imagine users will find new uses for this feature. From the new Phocus software, Google Earth automatically launches from the software and the location can be mapped and all files shot with those coordinates can be brought up with a simple command. Very cool. The GPS unit is compatible with H3DII and backward compatible with the H3D, H2D and any Hasselblad CF or CFH on H2 camera. Pricing is not yet set but should be announced shortly.
*Enhanced menu access is now available by double clicking the release button. This enables complete control of the digital back menu in the back via the thumb-wheel dials surrounding the camera grip. Very nice. This is backward compatible to the original H3D. Also, the Drive button has been replaced with ISO/WB, so you can set ISO/WB directly without any menus. Not sure where Drive settings went. This function is backward compatible with every Hasselblad digital capture unit combined with any H camera.
*You can now display battery status by double clicking the light button on the camera. Not only does it show a graphical view of remaining battery life, it gives you the actual percentage. Yeah!
I spent some time with Phocus. Like Capture One, it has also adopted a very Lightoom/Aperture look and approach. This, I think is a good thing in some ways, one being that learning curves for these software packages should be reduced due to familiarity with the latter applications.
Most of what you can do in Flexcolor seems to be present in Phocus. What is different is obviously, the interface, the ability to rez images 100% in preview mode, ability to compare multiple images, much more intensive metadata input mode, ability to operate from multiple folders, ability to drag -n-drop thumbnails to those folders, ability to freely re-size thumbnails just by grabbing and pulling, etc.
*Killer App 2
I was shown a new Anti-Moire tool. If this tool works the way that I saw it on all images with the problem, this is a true killer app for Hasselblad. What I saw was amazing in how color moire and pattern moire were eliminated. This is accomplished directly on the raw file - before any raw conversion takes place. What's more, this tool will be able to be used on any legacy .fff files from any Imacon/Hasselblad capture unit.
*Niche Killer App
With the new Phocus software, an H3D camera can be manually or auto-focused from the software. This then becomes a great solution when combined with Live Video for complete control of the camera from the software.
Phocus will enable exposure times up to 64 seconds and extend the ISO range by one stop on all Hasselblad products going back to the iXpress series. It is likely the lack of noise will be superior in the newer H-based product, but the fact that someone who bought an iXpress 132C four years ago now has ISO 800 and 64 second capability FOR FREE is, I think, very significant.
>Steve Thanks for the information. The one negative issue is that I >recently got a 40D and I can say the LCD while big and bright is >quite disappointing. The resolution does not allow you to determine >if the image is in focus. With my leaf back, I may not be able to >tell if focus was tack in focus but the resolution is good enough to >give me a good idea.
Do I understand correctly there is / will be a dedicated GPS from Hasselblad? I'm really curious what that will cost. Generic (Bluetooth) GPS units you can get for a song these days.
Yes - Hasselblad will be selling a GPS accessory that connects to H cameras via the little control panel on the left side of the camera. Pricing has not yet been set. I expect it to be somewhere between $300 - $500. Certainly it will be more than a basic GPS unit since the volume scale of those units vastly exceeds the amount Hasselblad will sell.
The H2D is a camera , where LEAF can adapt their APTUS BACKS .
I had the H2D with the HASSELBLAD H-ZOOM + LEAF APTUS 75 in my hands today .
Also MAMIYA can adapt the LEAF BACKS . And ...... listen , the HASSELBLAD V-SYSTEM can .
Not quite true Wilko, at least not for that reason.
I have H3Ds which are both film and digital capable. Most of the imaging "upgrades" for the H3DII are firmware and software improvements that will also be available for previous cameras. Basically the 3" higher def. screen, different filter, and heat sink solution are the hardware differences. Certainly not worth a $15,000. upgrade price since the sensor is identical to the H3D.
Concerning the H2F: if it will accept a film back, shouldn't it accept a Phase one, Sinar or Leaf back as well ... like it always has?
The Hy6 is still a possible digital solution for me as we currently also use an Aptus 75s (the upgrade swap out unit arrived today) ... the Mamiya mount can be changed to a Rollie version.
The question is: will the Hasselblad CF backs still be available for use in other camera platforms?
Like you say, the upgrade should probably be around $ 1500, for labour & parts combined. I would imagine a H2F should work with a 3rd party back, the only thing intentionally made impossible (the way I read it) is that a Hasselblad digiback won't fit on it. Lacking the interface to the back the H2F is crippling it in a sense.
I wonder what Hasselblad has to gain by limiting CF backs to Hasselblad bodies only. To me it appears that enough money could be made by just selling the high-MP backs. If they are used on a Hasselblad-body: brilliant. If they are used on a view camera or other brand body: fine. Still good $$ made towards Hasselblad's bottom line.
But with an upgrade for $15 000 you get a plug for a GPS unit!? Available at extra cost, natch.
The 'old' H3Ds seem to do an excellent job for the pros that use them and for others. Does anyone really NEED an upgrade on something that does a fine job? My impression is that there are many fine tuning firmware upgrades, which is a sort of upgrade path.
Perhaps with their upgrade pricing, Hasselblad are saying: 'if you want a couple of bells and whistles enough in an upgrade, then it might be for strictly non-usable reasons (a Siren's call to the 'toys for boys' crowd), then you can pay a bucket full for it'.