Hasselblad vs. Phaso One

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by kevinbriggs, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. I'm considering stepping into the medium format range of cameras. (Thus far, my landscape photography work has been limited to the Canon 1Ds Mark III.)

    My choices come down to the Hasselblad H3DII-50 or the Phase One 645 Camera with P40+ Digital Back.

    Anyone used either of these cameras? Care to comment...? Preferences, i.e. one over the other...?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Yeah, the Hasselblad's are great. I rent them instead of buying. I'm kind of waiting to see what either Leica or Nikon come out with in this area. Have you considered the Sinar as well? It is very nice.
  3. What about the most important difference between these systems, the lenses?
    Although the medium is no longer film this is still photography.
  4. Most important when you are using film.
    Not so when using digital capture.
  5. The bigger the digital back the better. Film and a Hasselblad is still the way to go IMHO if you shoot landscape.
  6. The bigger the digital back the better​
    It will be interesting to sdee if Red can deliver on that 6x17 single shot back they were talking about a few months ago. They claim to have a process that will deliver big, (relatively) cheap sensors. My guess is, if they are doing it, it involves polycrystaline silicon. That out to change the MF landscape a bit. ;)
  7. Kevin,
    I use an H3DII39 for my work. You should demo or rent both systems before making a final decision.
    I suspect you will be much happier with the H because the viewfinder is much brighter, LCD is 3", it's a nicely integrated system and the support from Hasselblad has been fantastic.
    I switched from Canon to H in 2005 and I'm very happy that I did.
    Kind regards,
    Derek Jecxz
  8. To be honest, you can't beat a view camera if you are a landscape shooter - The lenses and sensor are what determine the image quality at the end of the day, and nothing beats those Rodenstock and Schneider view camera lenses. Consider a Sinar arTec, Cambo or Alpa with one of the 48x36mm or larger sensor-based backs (Sinar, Phase, Hasselblad all make good backs - you just need to get the resoution v price for your needs).
    I would take a look at the Sinar eMotion75LV, which is 33MP and was selling for €7500 until end of June. Haven't seen if price has now changed.
  9. Your choice of a digital back should be based on the service level you require. Hasselblad USA is excellent, of course, but Hasselblad backs are serviced in Denmark. I don't know where the Phase One service agency is located. If you purchase from a distributor, you might negotation a rental or loaner should your back need service. In general, Hasselblad and Phase One backs are competitive in price and capability. I am biased toward Hasselblad, but both Hasselblad and Mamiya cameras are probably comparable in terms of performance.
    You should not neglect consideration of a Linhof digital view camera or the Arca modular MF system for the best image quality. Both are reviewed in www.Luminous-Landscape.com. You forego a TTL optical view finder, but live view is available in tethered operation (there are some new, small PCs which make tethering practical in the field).
    If your main interest is landscapes or relative static subjects (portraits, products, etc), then a V-system Hasselblad might be the most economical choice. The introduction of a CFV-39 back for about $14K changes the digital equation significantly. The H3 would be a better choice for fashion and glamour, and the Mamiya falls somewhere in between in terms of ergonomics and speed. A CFV or Phase One back can be easily adapted to a view camera or the Arca system.
    You won't get much encouragement on this film-oriented forum, however well-meaning the responses. There are too few MF digital users to have much of a voice. Do lenses and technique make a difference? See http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/mf-easy.shtml. Take time to read the two essays by Joe Holmes. There is also a good comparison between a P45 back (39 mp) and drum-scanned 4x5 film (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/Cramer.shtml). Both Holmes and Cramer are experienced, large-format landscape photographers.
    It appears that Phase One will absorb Leaf operations and marketing. This narrows the field, but maintains an healthy competition with Hasselblad. Sinar backs, I believe, are made by Leaf.
  10. Sinar backs are made by Sinar actually...the confusion might be that Sinar and Leaf both used the same camera to put the backs on -- Sinar calls it the Hy6 and Leaf calls it the AFi. More confusingly, the camera is not made by either Sinar or Leaf -- it was made by Franke and Heidecke, who made the Rollei cameras. They have declared bankruptcy, and may be shut down completely. The future of the Hy6/AFi is still uncertain. Sinar's parent company, Jenoptik, owns the design, but it is up in the air as to whether they will decide to get someone else to manufacture the camera system, especially now that Phase One (who owns Mamiya) bought Leaf and said they were not going to market the AFi system anymore. As you can see, the medium format digital sector is a bit of a mess. Phase One is the market leader, followed by Hasselblad, then Sinar (if you are talking about who is left). Leica will be introducing an innovative integrated 37mp camera called the S2 that might also make an impact, depending on pricing and practical questions such as software, reliability etc.
  11. Stuart,
    Thanks for explaining the current situation and relations between manufacturers and owners of designs.
    Sinar backs certainly deserve more attention. They are built like the proverbial Swiss watch and function without problems for years on end. My 25 MP multishot Sinar back is now seven years old and did not miss one days work.
    The future for the Hy6/AFi camera does not look good. Too much time has passed without any signs of a new investor to continue production.
  12. "Leica will be introducing an innovative integrated 37mp camera called the S2"
    Or will they?
    Leica partner Phase One (yes, they again) has dropped the deal they had with Leica to "share technologies".
    Phase One's CEO is quoted saying: "When we went into the details of the deal, there was too much disagreement."
    Maybe for use of the Capture One software only. Maybe it entailed much more than that.
  13. I want to heartily thank everyone who has contributed an answer -- I am learning a great deal! I am most appreciative.

    Thanks again! It has been quite enjoyable reading.

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