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Phase One Vs Hasselblad Part 4

July 5th, 2017

Following directly on from the previous post Phase One Vs Hasselblad Part 3, talking about the decision process to buy either the Phase One XF-100 or the Hasselblad H6D-100

Dealing with Shutter Speed Limitations – Hasselblad

One of the major differences between Phase One and Hasselblad had always been the maximum shutter speed.  All the Hasselblad H series lenses have built in leaf shutters with a maximum shutter speed of 1/800sec.  They have flash sync right through their speed range, which is great for studio work but very limiting for landscape or natural light action.

The Phase One Schneider Kreuznach lenses also have leaf shutters, but with a maximum speed of 1/1600sec.  The difference is that the Phase One cameras have a secondary focal plane shutter that takes over above 1/1600sec and allows shutter speeds of up to 1/4000sec, as well as making them compatible with a whole range of non leaf shutter Mamiya lenses (rebadged as Phase One).

Hasselblad-H6D-100-Camera-side-view

The new H6 and Hasselblad’s shutter speed solution

With the release of the new H6 Hasselblad proudly announced that they had redone the shutters in all new lenses giving them a new maximum shutter speed of 1/2000 sec, and Hasselblad could retrofit these new shutters into existing lenses, for a fee of course.  I wasn’t that impressed with this, I don’t shoot with studio lights, so I don’t care about flash sync speeds, I was actually hoping for a secondary focal plane shutter built into the camera to give us a decent maximum shutter speed, like the Phase One.  It seemed like a logical step to me.

No Focal Plane Shutter for Hasselblad.

Seems that for Hasselblad a focal plane shutter is not to be, but it did say in the promotional material that the new H6 with existing lenses (and no shutter updates) would allow a new maximum shutter speed of 1/1800sec… That sounded great.  With existing lenses, with the lenses I already had I would go from just 1/800sec up to 1/1800 sec.  I couldn’t see how they were doing this, it didn’t really make sense that a mechanical shutter that has always been limited to 1/800sec could suddenly fire at 1/1800sec, more than twice as fast, but that’s what it said in the H6 very comprehensive  promotional brochure.

The Rep who came over for the camera launch didn’t seem to know much, but he thought it was 1/1200sec not 1/1800sec, and the importer thought it was 1/1600sec…  so I sent an email to Hasselblad, from their website contact form.  I explained that I was an existing H4D-60 user considering upgrading to the new H6D-100, to ensure they would take me seriously…

Hasselblad Looks after the long term client…

1 month later I was still waiting for an answer.  I eventually did get an answer.  It took Hasselblad 5 weeks.  They just confirmed what I had already found out through other sources.  There would be no shutter speed increase with existing lenses, none.  There would be no retrofitting of new shutter mechanisms to existing lenses, even for a fee.  And the icing on the cake, new lenses with the faster shutters would have a price increase of 40% effective immediately…

So to get any shutter speed advantage I would need to buy brand new lenses at a 40% premium.  And with the release of the new lenses (which are exactly the same optical design as the ones I already had but with a faster shutter) the second hand value of existing H series lenses took a major nose dive!  Thanks Hasselblad, I can now use all my lenses as paper weights as they are now practically worthless!

Phase One Vs Hasselblad comparison Hasselblad shutter speed chart

Extract from H6D-100 Brochure – Note the third row down

The Final Decision, Hasselblad or Phase One…

Well, so much for looking after existing clients.  I did eventually get to play with the Hasselblad H6D-100, despite Hasselblad not having a working model for its own launch (seriously).  It is a beautiful camera system and everything I would expect from Hasselblad.  The camera does appear to be just a repainted H5 (H4, H3,H2…), but the digital back is a whole new story for Hasselblad with a huge super bright touch screen and simple intuitive UI that just works.   The files are lovely and, as expected the lenses cope with the 100mp beautifully.

The minuses…

But… The story with the new Hasselblad leaf shutter, with the expectation that I must purchase again all the lenses I already own to get the advantage of the faster shutter speed, at a 40% premium.  Not having a camera ready for their own launch, the Rep not knowing his own product, the mis-information in the press releases, the lack of response from Hasselblad, the complete lack of give a s**t from the whole organisation didn’t encourage me to invest in Hasselblad again.

But the Phase One…

Then there is Phase One.  Super progressive, continuously innovating coming out with new useful features several times a year through major firmware updates.  Continual updates to Capture One (which is forever free for Phase One users) making it better and better.  Phase One always answer their emails, usually within an hour or two, the camera comes with a 5 year worldwide warranty where if your camera malfunctions they get you a loan unit within 24 hours, anywhere.  Wow!

Firmware upgrades, or not…

At the Hasselblad launch I mentioned Phase Ones commitment to firmware updates, and specifically the new automated focus stacking feature that had just been launched.  The Hasselblad rep’s response… “We could do that too with our new camera…”  Could, but haven’t.  And still haven’t…

So all of this is why I bought the Phase One XF-100.  Welcome to the Dark Side!

I’m not saying I will never use Hasselblad again.  The Hasselblad H4D-60 was one of my favourite cameras, despite its primitive interface, and the old Hasselblad XPan still rates as the best camera I have ever used.  The new Hasselblad X1D-50c looks to be the digital answer to the XPan and is a lovely camera to use (from 2 weeks of playing with it).  So much new amazing gear out there… Money as always, is the major limiting factor…

Experiences with the Phase One XF

I Bought the Phase One XF and IQ3-100 digital back, to read about what I think about it check out this post>>

Santos Beach in Sao Paulo at sunset as two surfers head back along the shore

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