Tickled Blue and Yellow With Hasselblad
Not that I will ever own one - the price, though lower than the H-series medium format DSLR cameras, will still be above my pocket. But the fact that Hasselblad have broken new ground with a mirrorless product in this larger sensor size shows some real imagination. And good new imagination in photography is as refreshing as a tonic.
Oh, we get some imagination all the time, of course...but frequently it settles itself out into a new app for a mobile phone or another oddly-shaped handle for a video rig. It is rare that it takes quite such a leap from what has gone before. And it is rare that it is as clean in design.
Right now the experience I have is the same as the readers of this column - I've looked at two days of "leaked" low-res pictures and today's proper announcement from Hasselblad themselves. I've seen the regular-res advertising pictures that you have seen and noted the body size as compared to three other standard sorts of camera bodies.
An aside. Can older readers remember when the agencies were a lot more coy about showing products other than those of the advertising client themselves? I remember the 1950's and early 60's when car manufacturers wanted to attack other maker's cars to make their own models look good, but were afraid of the opposing firm's lawyers. They would commission very detailed illustrations that almost parodied the other cars - they didn't look good, but you couldn't really identify them as a specific brand. Some incorporated styling features from four other makes.
Well, HB have shown the three other cameras openly and the new Hasselblad looks to be a very nifty size in comparison. As the design also incorporates a right-handed grip, it should handle very well in the field. You can't deny that the lenses will be hefty, though, as you will always have to have weight with large pieces of optical glass - and I can't see HB passing up the chance to add f:2 lenses if they can. Longer lenses will also be weighty by virtue of the barrels.
The short ones, however will be light enough - I see they are putting out a 45mm and a 90mm to start with, and promising an adapter for H series lenses. Flash shooters will be content with the shutters within the lenses and the consequent freedom to synch at fast speeds.
You know what they first pictures of the rig remind me of? Victor Hasselblad's original brief for an oblique aerial camera for the Swedish Air Force come at last to digital fruition. You can envisage someone leaning over the edge of a Saab biplane taking photos with this new camera - and no 70mm roll film magazines to change.
I do hope they are going to have a launch party. I vote for aquavit, meatballs in gravy, and shapely blondes. You can't get more Swedish than that!
See the Hasselblad X1D-50c on the Camera Electronic website here