Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In the presence of giants

D3/24-70mm f/2.8G 1/13th f/2.8 ISO3200 @28mm. Ambient lighting and B&W conversion.

The H3DII-31 digital back went into Hasselblad USA for repairs a couple weeks ago. One of the benefits of purchasing through Calumet and also Hasselblad is the incredible customer service. On the day the digital back went to Redmond, WA, Calumet Los Angeles loaned me their 31MP digital back as a substitute. As such I was able to shoot in
Lucerne Valley with the H3DII-31.

The H3DII body now needs to go to Redmond, WA as well for calibration purposes. One of the benefits of shooting Hasselblad digital is that each digital back has a focus calibration (signature) specific for each body. The tolerance for focus calibration is very precise thus allowing the Hasselblad digital cameras to yield more consistent (and arguably better results) than the other medium format systems. That being said, you can still slap on a non-calibrated back onto any camera body and it'll still work. Since shooting with the LA Calumet 31MP loaner I noticed subtle differences but my eyes did not detect noticeably softer images.

As I took apart the H3DII-31 for the first time, I was very intrigued by how everything came apart and was so modular. Very unlike the Canon/Nikon systems. In the image above you see five pieces to the puzzle: The body, digital back, the battery (grip), viewfinder, and lens. Each one of these pieces has other "variations". My body is the H3DII and there are others such as the H4D, H3D, H2D and the H1. The backs come in other shapes and sizes as well, IIRC the 22, 31, 39, 40, 50, 60. The battery serves as a grip and also comes in a CR123A version primarily for "emergency use". The viewfinder also comes in a waist-level version that mimics the older style film cameras. Yet somehow, all these pieces come together and play nicely in what can only be considered a vertically/integrally designed modular system. Unlike Phase/Leaf where the pieces come from different companies (not so much anymore though), the Hasselblad system is developed in-house all towards one design goal: To work only on the Hasselblad digital platform.

The body goes out today. Hopefully it comes back soon with the repaired digital back and ready to go.

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