For most other field applications, the H4D-40 is still no replacement for the fast response and portability of a full-frame DSLR, especially considering the ever-increasing resolution and pixel performance of leading models, or the alternatives of the Leica S2 or Pentax D654.
If the Stainless Steel models are sold out, the standard H4D-40 will still be good for your image
Indeed, there’s no escaping the weight and bulk of this camera which makes it difficult to carry around on assignment. Also, the issues with the display, the high ISO noise performance and autofocus behaviour in low light, add to the challenge. Battery life is a real issue too. Certainly, I expected such a powerful camera to be power hungry but I didn’t expect the rechargeable Li-ion battery to last less than 100 shots. For any serious shooting, carrying spares is a must.
These factors highlight how the H4D-40 is more attuned to the needs of commercial photographers shooting in controlled location environment. With this in mind, if you are a professional in the market for an outstanding and affordable MF system that is flexible enough to take on location, then this is definitely the camera for you and a commendable engineering effort from Hasselblad.
Overall, the H4D-40 – together with the release of the cheaper H4D-31 – brings a lot of improvements over competing MF models and represents Hasselblad’s first serious step towards a more unified, 35mm-style, medium format DSLR. ®
Catherine Monfils is a professional photographer specialising in portraiture, lifestyle and fashion.
Thanks to Pro Centre for the loan of the review sample.
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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.
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..."