Currently, Hasselblad has 11 focal lengths in the H series and they are all beautifully built, precision optics. During tests I used the standard HC 80mm f2.8, a wide-angle HCD 28mm f4, and a portrait HC 150mm f3.2. Compared to 35mm or Leica S lenses Hasselblad’s optics are massive and heavy but they are incredibly sharp and have very little distortion.
Even the 28mm, currently the widest lens available for medium format, displayed virtually no loss of sharpness in the corners. The standard 80mm also performed very well with great colour reproduction and consistent output. The 150mm lens was easy to handle, with a moderate telephoto effect that is perfect for portraits. I was also given an HTS 1.5 Tilt and Shift Adapter to play with. This clever little tool is Hasselblad's attempt to steer photographers away from the need to use large format cameras and towards an all-encompassing system.
Phocus software features lens corrections and professional retouching
I’m still partial to Leica lenses over Hasselblad ones but when I compared the final images produced with the Leica S2 and the H4D-40, the latter had the most calibrated and detailed results. This is almost certainly due to the images being processed through Phocus, which contains the exact parameters of each individual lens and can apply to automatically apply correction of chromatic aberrations, distortion and vignetting. This level of enhancement goes beyond what Adobe's Lightroom or any other non-proprietary software can do. The final processed files are razor-sharp, have rich colour and tonal gradation and a complete lack of optical flaws.
ISO performance is in line with what I expected from a classic medium format system but still not near as good as the Leica S2 or the Pentax D645, which actually uses exactly the same Kodak sensor. Phocus controls, but cannot remove the noise present at 800 ISO and above.
The CF lens adapter enables the use of V-series optics
I was quite pleased to find instead that the H4D-40 carried off handheld shooting in available light quite well despite not being engineered for that. The sheer weight of the camera together with the well balanced and ergonomically designed body helped steady my hand producing acceptable, if occasionally blurred results. White Balance was not always spot on though. For example, the creamy white walls inside the British Museum had an obvious blue/green cast in my H4D-40 shots, which I never had when I photographed it before with my Nikon. This can, of course, be very easily corrected in Phocus.
Next page: Field labour
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.
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.
Out of context quote of the day
"...I split the rubber..."
"Shiny special edition for the pros"
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.
Hasselblad are Chinese owned now. A lot of development of this camera was contracted to Fujifilm.