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Monday, August 10, 2009

Beyond the D-SLR

For professionals, there are times when the modern D-SLR isn’t the camera that will get the job done

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Hasselblad H3DII-50
Medium-Format D-SLRs
The first medium-format D-SLRs were simply medium-format film SLRs with a digital back in place of the film back. And many of today’s digital backs can be used with older film D-SLRs. But today, many medium-format D-SLRs are dedicated digital cameras, designed specifically for digital photography, resulting in better performance and easier operation.

Hasselblad’s H3DII series comes in 31-, 39- and 50-megapixel versions, plus a 39-megapixel MS multi-shot model. Single-shot cameras work just like the smaller-format D-SLRs: When you press the shutter button, the image is recorded all at once, and you can shoot action subjects as well as still ones. The multi-shot camera model makes four successive exposures, the first just like the single-shot exposure, the second with the sensor moved up one pixel, the third with the sensor shifted one pixel to the left and the fourth with the sensor shifted down one pixel. This provides red, green and blue data at every pixel for optimum image quality for studio still lifes, but can’t be used with moving subjects (the H3DII-39MS can be used in conventional one-shot mode for moving subjects).

The H3DII-50 is the newest model in the line, featuring Hasselblad’s latest digital camera engine, with increased lens-correction performance. Eleven HC and HCD lenses are available for the H-series cameras, from 28mm ƒ/4 to 300mm ƒ/4, including two zooms. All C-type lenses can be used via a CF adapter. The HTS tilt-shift adapter provides view-camera-like tilt-and-shift movements with lenses from 28mm to 100mm. The digital camera unit (back) also can be removed and used on a view camera via an adapter. Note that other manufacturers’ digital backs can’t be used on H3-series Hasselblads.

Hasselblad also offers the 503CWD II, a 16-megapixel model based on the classic C-series mechanical Hasselblad film cameras. It shoots 4080x4080-pixel square-format images, can use all C-series lenses and sells for around $12,000 in a kit, including the back and a lens. As with the H-series cameras, the digital back can be removed and used on large-format cameras via an adapter. And as with the H-series, film magazines also can be used with the camera.

The Future Of The Leaf AFi-II& Sinar Hy6
At press time, we learned of a change in the medium-format digital camera landscape. Franke & Heidecke, the company that was manufacturing both the Leaf AFi-II and the Sinar Hy6, will cease operations as of September 2009. Although this leaves the future of these cameras uncertain, there still are cameras available in the U.S. for purchase, lease and rental. We’ll report on future developments in Digital Photo Pro and on our website. Because the cameras remain available and because we don’t know what will happen in the future, we’ve elected to include them in this article.

Sinar Hy6
Leaf and Sinar developed a medium-format D-SLR with Jenoptik that accepts Zeiss and Schneider AFD (AutoFocus Digital), PQ and PQS lenses developed specifically for them, as well as Rolleiflex 6008-compatible optics, from 30mm to 1000mm. The Leaf AFi-II is available in three versions: the 10 with a 56-megapixel 56x36mm sensor; the 7 with a 33-megapixel 48x36mm sensor; and the 6 with a 28-megapixel 44x33mm sensor. The 10 and 7 offer Leaf’s Verto internal sensor rotation for easy switching between horizontal and vertical format, SensorFlex technology, which lets you crop on the fly to standard preset formats before shooting, and tilting 3.5-inch touch-screen LCDs for easy viewing at odd angles. The AFi-II also features lens-correction performance. A single battery in the grip powers the camera and back. The three backs also are available separately (as the Aptus-II 10, 7 and 6, respectively).


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