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
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.
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