Will the Hasselblad H3DII medium format digital camera be as good as the Sinar Hy6 or Leaf AFi?

The Hasselblad H3DII reminds me of other products that are refinements of earlier models. The HP Designjet 5500 was the same identical printer as the HP 5000 except for new firmware (software) and one new feature that actually did not work. In other words, the model 5000 and the model 5500 were the same identical wide format printer. Not much changed except for the model number. I had two of the original model 5000’s and one of the 5500.

This was my first recognition of the reality in the world of products: if it’s too expensive to build a new machine, then simply take the old one and give it a new model number.

The NUR Tempo Q (flatbed UV-curable inkjet printer) is a refinement of the NUR Tempo II which is the same as the NUR original except for a few refinements and software tweaks. In other words, it is the same as the original model of several years ago except for the model number and software improvements.

Another reason a new model is created is if the first model has serious glitches: the H1 definitely had problems. I asked a friend if I could buy her H1 and she said yes, but it was in the repair shop. I checked around and learned that yes, the H1 did have a few issues. So the H2 was needed.

The same story seems to be playing out with the Hasselblad H3DII. It would be too expensive to create an actual new and different camera. So they take the same old camera of many years ago (H1) and tweak it. First tweak is renamed the H2, second “new model” is called the H3, and once the competitors came out with their new model, Hasselblad had to respond with something “new” so they renamed a new version the H3DII.

This would be okay, except that Rollei has created a totally new camera. The Sinar Hy6 and Leaf AFi.

And how will the Hasselblad H3DII camera compete with the Canon EOS 1Ds, Mark III?

Canon EOS 1Ds compare Hasselblad H3DII Canon EOS IDs Mark III testing by Nicholas Helllmuth
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

Hasselblad defines their quality as based on resolution, natural color, optical purity, clarity, and detail.

This is the best definition of medium format quality and can simultaneously explain to users of 35mm cameras why so many thousands of professional photographers prefer medium format cameras.

If you use primarily 35mm, Nikon or Canon (FLAAR has both), then it’s hard to explain the difference because only once you use medium format on a regular basis, and then return to 35mm, do you notice the differences.

40 years ago I used a Leica: I had about five of them. Then I bought a Hasselblad, then another Hasselblad, then another (two ELX models, one for color, one for B&W backs; and one SWC). Yes, of course you could change the backs but during a busy day it was simply easier to have two cameras.

The point is, that medium format film was so much better than 35mm film that there was simply no comparison.

It’s the same with large format: once I moved to 4x5” film (9x12 cm), I realized that medium format could not match that. Then I moved to 8x10, and learned how much better it was than medium format.

So I have a bit of experience with comparing film formats.

In digital capture I have two 48 megapixel large format BetterLight cameras, an 80 megapixel Cruse, several Nikon digital SLRs ( D100, D200 and am about to acquire a D300), a Canon EOS 5D, and just finished test driving a Canon EOS 1D Mark III.

When I need a 335mm camera, then 35mm is great. But when I need a serious camera, I use a medium format (currently am upgrading from a Phase One P25 to a P25+.

 

First posted Nov 19, 2007 .

 

Gitzo Tele Studex Tripod
Available by october 2008
Gitzo Tele Studex Tripod
Available by octuber 2008
Gitzo Tele Studex Tripod
Available by october 2008
Gitzo Tele Studex Tripod
Available by october 2008
Gitzo Tele Studex Tripod
Available by october 2008

 

Nicholas Hellmuth’s Medium Format Digital Camera Initiative

For over 40 years Nicholas Hellmuth has used Rolleiflex and Hasselblad cameras to record the flora, fauna, and archaeology of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Now for several years he is extending his medium format experience to digital photography.

Since FLAAR works both in a studio as well as out on location, we are an ideal focus for judging portability. We have experience with large format digital scan backs (the excellent BetterLight) and we also use Nikon and Canon digital cameras. A full-service digital pro should have at least one medium format digital system and should consider large format digital options as well.

Although we started with a Leaf Valeo 22 coupled with a Mamiya 645 AFD body and lenses, we are open to showcasing all bodies as well as other digital backs. Indeed we have tested an Imacon 4-shot back on a Hasselblad H1 body. Then (February 2006 onwards) we are evaluated a MegaVision black-and-white dedicated back for fine art photography. Next we are testing a 33-megapixel Phase One P 30. Since 2008 FLAAR has used a Phase One P25+ (a great way to update an aging Hasselblad ELX body with its excellent Zeiss lenses).

Camera resellers or manufacturers who wish to have their cameras, lenses, and backs included in this initiative are welcome to send their equipment for evaluation.

FLAAR is the de facto source of information because we have been university based, independent, blunt, and we are one of the few review sources that dares to review advertising specs, advertising claims, and advertising hype. We can afford to reveal all the pros and cons because FLAAR is a research institute. Photographers feel they can trust a university research professor who has devoted years to understanding the pros and cons of each aspect of a digital camera system and workflow.

Notice you are not blinded by blinking, flashing, or pesty ads for low-bid camera stores on a FLAAR photography review. I am always amused by a pseudo-review that obviously is simply paid to send you to a camera store.

You can download our colorful FLAAR Reports on our medium format digital camera initiative.

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