While I'm on the subject of technical cameras...

H3DII Jan 19, 2009

I would be remiss if I failed to talk about other medium format systems that offer an extensive solution for landscape and architectural photography. Case in point: Hasselblad. Long time purveyor of medium format cameras, Hasselblad has gone digital in a very big way. Their H-System is currently on its fifth generation with the H3D-II, and with it Hasselblad has decided to take a systems approach to medium format. Think of them as the Apple of medium format.

The H-System also include a set of matched lenses that, like lenses on 35mm systems, transmit a wealth of information back to the camera for use in adjusting and correcting the image in post production. There are 5 HC/HCD lenses available currently ranging from HCD 28mm (equivalent to 14mm in 35mm format) to the HC 100mm.

So how is this a technical camera, there are no tilt/shift lenses?

Funny you should ask. Hasselblad elected to create an accessory that converts all five HC/HCD lenses into tilt/shift lenses: the HTS 1.5. So in one fell swoop, Hasselblad has trumped the other general purpose medium format camera makers by introducing five tilt/shift lenses.

Front of the HTS 1.5

Rear of the HTS 1.5

As you can see above, the HTS has passthrough contacts that allow the full functionality of the HC/HCD lenses to be maintained. This is vitally important as the shutter on a Hasselblad H-System camera is located in the lenses. This also means that autofocus and data reporting to the camera is also maintained. This is huge. To my knowledge, this is a Hasselblad exclusive.
Now that I have you salivating over this comes the reality check. The price of admission to this gear is very high. Hasselblad has a special promotion going on now until March 31, 2009 for architectural and landscape photographers: A Pro Kit that includes the following:

  • Hasselblad H3DII-50 camera w/viewfinder
  • HCD 28mm f/4 lens
  • HTS 1.5 Tilt/Shift Adapter
  • Hasselblad GIL GPS Unit
  • HVM waist level finder (free with registration)
  • Pelican 1510 Mobile Gear Case (free with registration)
All this can be yours for a mere $36,164 USD.

Considering the images I have seen these systems produce, if you can get the customers, the kit is worth the price. Add this one to my wish list too.