Thursday, 23 June 2016

News and Rumours: Hasselblad, Fuji, Nikon, Sony and Adobe

This week is mostly all about the newly announced Hasselblad.

Hasselblad X1D


When rumours of a new Hasselblad mirrorless camera were reported, many joked that this would just be a Sony A7RII with wooden trim. I found this joke a little odd as, on past form, a rebadged Sony A7R would be more likely.

However, the announcement from Hasselblad X1D seems to have lived up to the hype - a mirrorless medium format camera. However, some seem to be disputing this statement on two fronts.

Firstly, many consider the Alpa technical camera with a Phase One digital back to be the world's first true medium format mirrorless camera. From my point of view, I think it's hard to argue that it isn't indeed a mirrorless medium format camera - albeit an expensive and difficult to use one.

The second question some raise if it's indeed a medium format camera - as the sensor is only half the size of that used in top of the line digital backs. I'll address this question on sensor size below.

Some call it a game changer? I think the main interesting points are:
  • It's small - weighing in at only 725g.
  • It has no in body shutter, instead its native lenses have leaf shutters - you can sync at 1/2000s!
  • It has dual SD card slots (which many high end mirrorless cameras like the Sony A7RII do not).
  • Has lots of high tech features such as Wi-Fi, GPS, touchscreen.
  • It uses Nikon TTL technology for the flash hot-shoe. (A feat Nikon somehow couldn't manage on their own mirrorless lineup.)
  • Relatively low price for Medium Format: 9000 USD (body only)

The two lenses it will launch with are a a 45mm F3.5 and a 90mm F3.2. These are equivalent to 35 and 70mm fields of view, with DOF equivalence to f2.8 andf 2.5. The crop factor is 0.77, which leads some people to question whether this is a medium format camera at all.

Above you can see the relative sizes of different sensors - and where the Hasselblad X1D fits in - nearly halfway between a "Full frame" 135 sensor and the size of 645 film. So is it a medium format camera? Yes, according to Wikipedia:
Generally, the term applies to film and digital cameras that record images on media larger than 24 by 36 mm (full-frame) (used in 35 mm photography), but smaller than 4 by 5 inches (which is considered to be large-format photography).
It is interesting no one seemed to raise this question about the Pentax 645Z when it was announced - which likely uses exact same sensor as the new Hasselblad.

However, this means you're only gaining about a 0.7 stop advantage over a full frame camera, where as the Phase One XF100MP (or Hasselblad H6D-100c) would give a 1.3 stop advantage. By comparison, a full frame camera gives you a 1.2 stop advantage over an APC-S camera (you can see in the diagram above that APS-C is in fact closer to Micro 43s than full frame).

So, going from full frame to this would give an equivalent jump in image quality as going from Micro 43s to APS-C, not the larger jump of APS-C to full-frame. If you're already using a high resolution camera like a Sony A7RII and want to see likely gain you will make, Luminous Landscape already made a good pretty good comparison of how the A7RII stacks up against the Pentax 645Z for pure image quality. The difference might be less than you thought!

The mount for the Hasselblad seems it is just enough to cover this cropped medium format sensor - so it seems it won't be able to handle using a full 645 sensor in future. And, as mentioned, the lenses at launch are only equivalent to a 35mm f2.8 and a 70mm f2.5 - so don't expect to be able to get more bokeh than a professional DSLR with some fast primes.

I think this is an admirable camera, with a lot to like. But, at the same time, I can't see it as part of my work flow. But it will be interesting to see what reviewers find when they get it in hand. For now, we don't even have a clue what auto-focus will be like.

This is probably a game changer for those already in, or contemplating going in, to the medium format world - those demanding highest image quality they can get. I can't see it being a game changer for the photography world on the whole though - just in the same way the Pentax 645Z didn't make the splash some predicted.


If you're desperate for a mirrorless medium format camera but underwhelmed by the Hasselblad offering (or still upset by the whole Lunar lunacy), then the Fuji rumors is reporting a new mirrorless medium format camera from Fuji is just around the corner.


Nikon is being taken to task in Germany over claims of false advertising of Wi-Fi in the D500. While I normally shy away from news like this for this blog - it may be of interest to those otherwise considering a D500.

In the case of the D500, you need to use a compatible Android device with Bluetooth LE and the Snapbridge app to enable Wi-Fi: a restriction that is not commonly shared by other cameras, including Nikon's own D750 and D7200 models. 
As highlighted in our review, although the D500 does have integrated Wi-Fi, it is distinctly reluctant to make use of it, mainly relying on the low bandwidth 'Bluetooth LE' technology for file transfer. At present even this system is available only to users of compatible Android devices, since an iOS app will not be available until later in the year. Unlike the D7200 and D750, there's no way to directly make use of the camera's Wi-Fi: it can only be initiated using Bluetooth from the Snapbridge app.


Sony has warned about the use of unauthorised apps on their cameras, possibly voiding warranty.

The statement also seems to suggest that using them will void a camera's warranty. Google's translation doesn't make it totally clear whether Sony is saying the whole camera's warranty will be voided, or rather if any repairs necessitated by third-party firmware will not be covered by the warranty. We've reached out to Sony for clarification.
I think if Sony wants to discourage this, they should make the firmware on their cameras better so people aren't tempted to try 3rd party hacks!


Adobe has released a new version of Photoshop CC, where the stand out features seem to be content aware crop and face aware liquify.

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