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back to article Hasselblad H4D-40 Stainless Steel 40Mp camera

When Hasselblad launched its 40Mp H4D model at Photokina, it was presented stripped of any coating, with just the bare bones of a stainless steel body on show. The idea was to illustrate the core strength of the HD4 series, but this denuded look was so striking – contemporary, yet oddly retro – that the Swedish company …

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JDX
Gold badge
Happy

Holy crap

£15k for a camera. 'fess up, you only agreed to review this so you could get your hands on it :)

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look again

The camera is tied in quite closely to IOS

so methinks that they are marketing it to people who pay alot of money for looks and status symbols.

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Troll

Oh dear

I hope you're trolling. I really do.

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Happy

@ Awful Puppy

Yes Trolling to a degree, but trolling is best achieved with a modicum of truth.

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LOL

Have you even heard of Hasselblad? Do the words Medium Format mean anything?

Is it any coincidence that when NASA astronauts took a camera to the moon they chose a Hasselblad? they wanted the best.

Some things are expensive because they are a no compromise design. This is a camera for the elite professional photographer, someone who doesn't flinch at paying a small fortune for a lens.

It's simply not a camera for you. You wouldn't even know what to do with it anyway.

You might want to have a read of this, they are a camera with a long service life and good reputation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasselblad

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Go

Good show

That was a superb trolling attempt, good sir.

(On a related note, making things iOS compatible is a very good business move. A friend of mine, who despite his PhD in immunology is basically a glorified salesman selling BFMTAS (Big F***ing Machines That Analyse Sh*t), has been trying to find a way to slip his clients an iPad or two in order to persuade them to buy his stuff rather than the competition, but couldn't until very recently, because all the software was strictly Windows based. Now, however, the boffins have kludged together an essentially useless way to connect an iOS device to the BFMTAS, and well, business is getting better and better.)

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Classic

No it isn't - even in stainless steel it looks like any other electronic toy. In 10years it's going to look clunky and out of date and in 20years all the electronics will have stopped working and the little rubber buttons will have worn away.

Now that nobody uses film you can buy used Hasselblad 500s for next to nothing - I'm almost tempted to get one as a piece of sculpture. They were classics

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Moon cameras?

Hasselblad are Chinese owned now. A lot of development of this camera was contracted to Fujifilm.

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Photographers?

Or just people with too much money to spend?

>the Swedish company immediately started to receive requests from photographers wanting one.

Based on what? Sounds very much as if they wanted the camera more for show than function.

Would I like an H4D? Yes, although I'd readily admit it would be wasted on me. Would I pay extra for a bling model? No, although I would equally admit that I don't have the sort of spare cash to not have to worry about paying for bling.

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WTF?

Price

So how much is a pot of red paint these days?

How could it possibly has £6k to the cost of a camera, especially as there's 5x as many around as the ltd ed stainless model.

Also, why does the 80mm lens cost more on the stainless body than it does on the standard one, when it's exactly the same lens.

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Breakdown...

£50 for the paint, £1500 markup, rest goes to Ferrari for permission to use the name.

When will you guys get around to reviewing a RED EPIC? That's a real game-changing camera.

Mike

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FAIL

why does the 80mm lens cost more on the stainless body

Stainless Steel: £15,594 (body only), £16,794 (with 80mm lens)

Standard: £14,634 (body only), £15,834 (with 80mm lens),

I make that +£1200 for the lens in each case.

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Happy

Calculator needed I think

Sorry, basic mental arithmetic error on my part

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Only 40MPs?

And not even proper full-frame (as in 645 full frame).

If Catharine wants to go hi end, she needs to review the Phase One 645DF camera body with the Phase One iQ 180 80MP camera back. Double the resolution on a 20% larger sensor! Now that's a real cutting edge tool, but then the back itself costs $44k!

Here is a real world review of the iQ 180:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/phase_one_iq180_field_report.shtml

But in reality, a tiny fraction of all photo pros will be shelling out money on MF gear. Most are happy with 35mm (FF) DSLRs and many actually use consumer-grade APS-sized sensor cameras. 'Cos a lot of the time they do a good enough job and enable said photographers to keep their hard earned money instead of giving it to the equipment manufacturers.

These expensive MF cameras are just as likely to be purchased by obscenely very rich hobbyists than by real pros.

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Contax

I wonder how these new Hasselblad-branded lenses compare to the old Contax lenses of the classic Hassleblad system. That was what really made the distinctive Hasselblad quality, the Contax lenses. They had unsurpassed sharpness and color saturation, which worked wonders for all sorts of lighting conditions, from artificial & studio flash, to available light. And since the film was 2 1/4, you could use a faster film (and even push B&W) and the graininess was less prominent than in 35mm shots on the same film.

I used to have a 45 degree angle prism viewfinder on my old 500 C/M. I always thought that was the best way to shoot a medium format camera. I'm surprised there isn't a similar product for the new Hassleblad system, this big digital camera looks like it would be hard to use when held up to the eye like a 35mm SLR.

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Stop

Zeiss, not Contax

The lenses were actually Zeiss lenses, Contax is a camera brand owned by Zeiss and licensed to Yashica, who made the Contax RTS 35mm cameras (and Zeiss lens designs under licence...)

http://www.flickr.com/groups/751672@N21/

has some nice photos made with the lens in question.

Hasselblad. Still gorgeous after all these years...

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I wonder how much...

The pile in the "lens line-up" cost...

Having the battery last <100 shots would be a deal-killer for me. Jesus.

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Not impressed

I'm certainly not impressed by the ISO performance. I know it's a studio camera, so high ISO values are not supposed to be used all that much, but still, from the look of it it doesn't even compare to the likes of the Pentax K-5.

Otherwise quite a desirable camera I guess, pity I can't really justify retiring Ye Olde Mamiya system (especially the lenses). And I don't have to worry about battery life...

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Unhappy

Why?

"Why does the 80mm lens cost more on the stainless body than it does on the standard one, when it's exactly the same lens?"

It's the Apple effect - they charge more because they can...

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Boffin

Technically, this can be explained...

...by the packaging.

The production cost for the packaging for the standard + lens is spread amongst say 5000 items, whereas the stainless box run is a mere 50 items (assumed from 100 produced). Making the packaging production costs 100 times more expensive, for the limited production run. it still needs a full photo shoot, and prototyping, print run setup, and other costs are going to be the same. but spread amongst 50 not 5000.

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Go

pro photographers and penis envy...

as a pro photographer I am well aware of the dick waving contest that goes on between photographers and that's why there is a market for limited edition camera bling.

Turn up at any event and filled with pro photographers and pull a camera out that is anything less than a Canon or Nikon and you will be sneered at, and that's exactly why a pro photographer will shell out £16k on a camera....

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Re: pro photographers and penis envy...

Depending on the event, if you turn up with that thing you'll still get laughed at.

As the review says, it's too big and heavy for field work. The H4D is a studio machine, tripod mounted with banks of studio strobes.

Cramming that many pixels into a small sensor means the photosites are going to be minuscule, this in turn means it's sensitivity to light is only going to be a couple of clicks above Stevie Wonder.

It's horses for courses and exactly the reason Nikon make a 24mega pixel D3X for the penis envy figures and a D3S with a more normal 12mega pixel which can see in the dark.

I think for that money I'd have a D3X, a D3S and a nice bunch of lenses.

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Re: pro photographers and penis envy...

Event photography? I think you're more likely to be sneered at for carrying a Hasselblad because you probably brought the wrong tool for the job. Slow aliasing-prone sensors, slow lenses, slow autofocus, slow electronics, poor handling etc. etc.

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Pint

Very nice....

...but as top landscape pros David Norton and Lee Frost have both said, they lusted after better and better equipment thikning it would give better results and improve their pictures they both became disappointed when it didn't. They said they learnt to compose and understand the equipment they had, to push that to the limits before upgrading anything.

HB's are lovelly, and yes it would wonderful to be able to play with one but they are objects of desire for the few lucky enough to have them, like Ferrari cars or B&O A/V kit. A top pro, the Michael Freemans of this world, could take a bog standard 14MP DSLR with stock lenses and blow most people away, the real art comes from the understanding of composition and light.

No matter how hard I try convince myself that better equipment would make my pictures better, deep down I know I would be wasting my money as I don't have the art training or the understanding yet on how to take world-class photos. That's not jealousy or envy, that's cold, hard fact, I am not good enough. Most people, including a lot of so called Pro's, could not justify the expense as they do not have the talent.

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Terminator

Pro equipment

That's perfectly true. But sometimes the clients want a higher MP count. Do they need it? Probably not. But they pays their money, they makes their choice.

These MF cameras are really pro - their primary purpose is to generate income for the photographer, and if they generate it by allowing the photographer to say to the client: "40 Megapickles? I can do that," then they do their job perfectly.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm pixel pr0n. Question though.

I get the feeling it's actually hard to pick the right things to focus, like how in the picture of the duck more of the ground in front of the duck is actually in focus than of the duck itself. I've noticed rather quickly dropping off of focus, basically before hitting the background, like the young gentleman's jacket, where I'd only expect the plants in the background to become blurry.

Is it unfamiliarity with the controls? An accident? Not an accident? something else?

I was actually looking for the noise levels which look acceptable to me but I'm not prepared to say if it's satisfactory for either the resolution or the price tag. I'm somewhat inclined to think it could be somewhat better but that may have been influenced by the disappointing depth of focus. So I ask about that instead.

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Stop

It's pure physics

In very general terms, the larger the sensor, the larger the aperture and the longer the focal length, the less depth of field.

Which is why everything is in focus with a compact (tiny sensor, f/4.0-ish max aperture, 10-30 mm focal length) and you have to stop down like a mutha to get acceptable depth of field with a medium format camera (huge sensor, f/2.8 lens, which in the case of a duck was stopped down to f/5.6, 80 mm).

The depth of focus, as you term it, could hardly be called disappointing, much in the same way that the kinetic energy of a 7.62 mm bullet could hardly be called disappointing compared to that of a 150 mm artilery shell. Different beasts entirely.

Looking for noise performance in a MF camera is also very much meaningless - these things are designed to perform superbly at low ISO settings, but for anything else, a Nikon D3s will wipe the floor with them. But at ISO 200, the images from the Nikon will look terrible compared to those from the Hassy.

I do think the sample shots are even worse those usually posted by the measurebators over at DPreview, though. C'mon, El Reg, get me cameras to review, and all the sample shots will be of models that could make the Eee babe green with envy.

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Anonymous Coward

This is...

... why I was asking. It's been a while since I even pretended to do anything with photography so even the terminology has gone hazy. So thanks for the explanation.

I don't really understand why looking for noise would be meaningless, as I thought it should tell me something about the sensor quality. Not so?

(Apropos and only directed at whoever downvoted: What's with the hate on genuine questions?)

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Looking for noise in all the wrong places

This isn't a phtojournalist's camera, therefore, higher ISO is there more or less for show. Camera manufacturers do have e-pen0rz as well, and must wave them mightily in order to attract those who buy it for prestige alone.

Compare the Hassy to the Nikon D3s. The Nikon has absolutely SUPERB noise performance, but compare the tonalities of the two at base ISO, and it'll be like comparing a 1990's MIDI file to a live performance.

Basically, you buy the Hassy for its ability to capture really bloody minute tonal nuances at a staggeringly high resolution under very good lighting, and you buy the Nikon for its ability to focus on and capture a berserk black cat in a coal mine with almost no visible noise.

Therefore, the only noise that matters in the Hasselhoff is that at base ISO - and there's precious little of it.

Testing high-res sensors like these is far more difficult to quantify, therefore, most measurebating sites tend to avoid them. Or penalize them for having loads of noise at high ISO, which is much like penalizing cars for their inability to float across the English channel.

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Coat

well, I don't care what you guys think...

It's still a blad-ass camera.

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Coat

Out of context quote of the day

"...I split the rubber..."

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I noticed that, too...

I was thinking, "Dude, you're only supposed to use them once!"

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Coat

Erm?

But does it shoot HD video?

(shouldn't have traded in my Olympus OM10 for this new fangled digital nonsense)

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Grenade

If you find a feature in a new camera that you won't use

Don't complain to the world about it, just don't use it. Now everyone's happy.

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WTF?

White balance isn't always perfect

I'm shocked that someone would use that court yard, for a white balance demonstration, what with the bottle green glass roof.. Whenever I walk in there its sooo green I instantly feel seasick. admitadly the brain is a funny thing and after ten minutes all feels fine, until that is you walk outside..

White Balance? Come off it!

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Hmmm!

"Shiny special edition for the pros"

:) hardly!

If there is a pro who needs one of these cameras they will be buying the basic model. They are in business to make a profit if possible. The SS and Ferrari models are for posers with more money than sense but good on you Hasselblad if there are people who will chuck money your way.

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