Hasselblad DFinity version of the Foveon CMOS.

Hasselblad carefully waited five years before associating itself with any digital technology. Then, at Photokina 2000, Hasselblad selected Foveon as their partner and CMOS as their technology. Unfortunately this chip could not be manufactured in the manner and price expected and both the Hasselblad and Foveon models never appeared.

As a review editor it was possible to get a private viewing of the new Hasselblad DFinity system in the back rooms of Photokina trade show. They served moose meat tacos (with soft bread, not the hard taco bread, since this was a Scandanavian treat, not Mexican). I knew from the Hasselblad restaurant downstairs that the moose meat bread things were absolutely delicious, But there were four other people in the room upstairs when the moose meat arrived. None of them had tasted this before, so I told them how terrible and gamey moose meat tasted. Plus I suggested moose was an endangered species and that we should not eat it.

So the platter was on the table the entire presentation. No one ate a morsel. After the presentation was over and people left, I stayed and ate the entire platter.

If the new Hasselblad DFinity camera is as good as the moose meat bread things, I highly recommend it.

This new camera was marketed at archives and science, among other fields. Since FLAAR is both an archaeological archive and a science photography institute, we were very interested. Also, perhaps we can find the name of the yummy moose bread things and find a recipe.

Unfortunately CMOS is not a good technology for medium format. The sensor was too small. And Foveon could not manufacture it to specs anyway. The camera never appeared. Foveon, as a camera manufacturer, collapsed. Now Foveon sensors survive only in Sigma and a few other cameras.

At Photokina 2002 I was on the outlook for more yummy food. The PhaseOne booth had Thai food, actually cooked to order. I used to live in Essen-Werden, Germany, which was directly on the commuter train line to Cologne, so attending Photokina was easy. Recently I moved to just outside Cologne, so enjoyed the next Photokina 2004.

Now Hasselblad offers H1D 645, with more reliable CCD digital sensors through merger with Imacon

Lots has changed in the intervening years. Hasselblad's competitors Bronica and Contax have both gone out of business (Contax lingers via ToCAD, but only selling from what is left in their warehouse).

Sinar is out of the digital back business; they have an informal alliance with Jenoptik.

Hasselblad cleverly realized it was smarter to ally with a company that already successfully manufactures medium format backs, so they merged with Imacon. So now you get Imacon Ixpress medium format backs on the Hasselblad H1D digital camera. Actually it was not Hasselblad that took over Imacon; it was Imacon that took over Hasselblad.

This leaves PhaseOne and Leaf as not having any alliance with a camera company (PhaseOne + Rollei is only with one model back).

Nicholas Hellmuth and Hasselblad H1 digital camera Nicholas Hellmuth and Hasselblad H1 digital camera

This is our second opportunity to try the Hasselblad H1. It is essentially identical to the Hasselblad H2. The Hasselblad H2 has an Imacon-Hasselblad back. We are using a Phase One P 45 back.


Most recently updated August 3, 2005.
Updated July 3, 2003. Design updated June 26, 2008.