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Phase One Vs Hasselblad Part 2

May 25th, 2017

Following straight on from a previous post… Phase One Vs Hasselblad Part 1…  A few years back now I bought the Hasselblad H4D-60 and used it extensively and loved it.  It had its limitations, such as the 1/800sec shutter speed and the primitive UI, but the image files were worth it and the camera itself behaved flawlessly.  So why did I make the change to the new Phase One?

Phase One Vs Hasselblad comparison header image

The Limits of the CCD sensor.

Both Phase One and Hasselblad used CCD sensors back then.  The CCD was known for producing the best tonal gradations and colour dynamics, better at the time than any CMOS sensors.  But CCDs also get very hot, making long exposures and live view impractical or impossible, and their ISO response is terrible.  At native ISO both Phase One and Hasselblad performed exceptionally well up to exposures of about 30 seconds.  Above native ISO the image quality quickly fell apart.  Theoretically they both rated up to ISO 800, but in reality by ISO 400 it looked like you had been shooting in a snow storm.

CMOS Medium Format Released.

Then Sony released the medium format 50mp CMOS sensor, and Hasselblad and Phase One jumped on it, both companies claiming to have the first CMOS medium format cameras.  This was what I had been waiting for, a medium format CMOS sensor would allow real live view, longer exposures and better ISO responses, all the things that had been seriously lacking in medium format digital.  But 50mp was too small, I wanted to go bigger than the 60mp I had, not smaller.  I was waiting for the 100mp that had been rumoured for years.

The Game Changing Phase One XF Camera.

Phase One Vs Hasselblad comparison Phase One XF - 100In June 2015 Phase One released the XF camera and the IQ3 digital backs (50 & 80 Mp). All the lines were redrawn, suddenly the Hasselblad camera had some serious competition. The XF camera appeared to answer all the prayers of Phase One photographers the world over, rock solid, stable and reliable.

The IQ3 backs and the XF camera now integrate completely, allowing complete control from the UI on the digital back.

The system still required two batteries, one in the camera and one in the back.  But Phase One use the same battery for the XF and the IQ digital backs and thus you need only one charger.

With the IQ3 backs they also introduced power sharing.  You still need both batteries in place, but if one goes flat the other will power the whole system.  So Phase One have turned a negative into a positive, two batteries means you can go twice as long on the same charge.

The story continues in the next post Phase One Vs Hasselblad Part 3

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