Camera - - WHAT’S NEW -

NOT SO VERY long ago the fu­ture of dig­i­tal medium for­mat pho­tog­ra­phy was look­ing un­cer­tain. The global mar­ket was un­der 10,000 units an­nu­ally and it was hard to see any scope for much ex­pan­sion un­less some­body started think­ing out­side the square. In un­der six months all that has changed. First there was Has­sel­blad’s dra­matic an­nounce­ment of the world’s first mir­ror­less dig­i­tal medium for­mat cam­era, the X1D, which will start ship­ping shortly. Then, this week at Pho­tok­ina 2016, Fu­ji­film took the wraps off its GFX sys­tem… also us­ing a mir­ror­less plat­form. Now, sud­denly, any­thing seems pos­si­ble. Both the X1D and GFX 50S will sig­nif­i­cantly grow the DMF mar­ket and it’s not just about the pric­ing but also the greater ac­ces­si­bil­ity that the mir­ror­less de­signs bring… smaller, faster and gen­er­ally more user­friendly than the clas­sic box­form medium for­mat D-SLR.

Both the Has­sel­blad and the Fu­ji­film cam­eras are smaller and lighter than the Canon EOS-1D X II and Nikon D5 pro-grade ful­l35mm D-SLRs. Con­se­quently, both cam­eras are tar­geted at, for ex­am­ple, land­scape pho­tog­ra­phers, but any type of on-lo­ca­tion shoot­ing is go­ing to be a lot more man­age­able with these cam­eras.

The wider im­pli­ca­tions in­clude a greater aware­ness of the ben­e­fits of big­ger sen­sors – specif­i­cally im­age qual­ity – while, of course, a big­ger mar­ket (it’s not hard to see it at least dou­bling over the next 12 months) will have ben­e­fits for every­body with the ‘knock-on ef­fect’ for the sales of lenses, ac­ces­sories and even higher-end prin­ters. And some po­ten­tial buy­ers may well de­cide they want a more tra­di­tional cam­era which is clearly Has­sel­blad’s think­ing be­hind its V1D con­cept. It’s the 21st cen­tury in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Vic­tor Has­sel­blad’s orig­i­nal de­sign, even re­turn­ing the square for­mat… but with a 75 megapix­els sen­sor. The V1D is mod­u­lar too, with fix­ings on four sides for var­i­ous com­po­nents – in­clud­ing dis­plays – that will al­low the cam­era to be con­fig­ured for the stu­dio or on-lo­ca­tion. Like X1D, the main body is hewn from a solid block of alu­minium and the hand­grip can be fit­ted to ei­ther side to both the left- and right-handed. While Has­sel­blad is call­ing the V1D a con­cept study, the word is that it will go into pro­duc­tion… an­other ex­cit­ing DMF prospect.

Has­sel­blad is cel­e­brat­ing its 75th an­niver­sary in 2016 with a range spe­cial prod­ucts un­der the ‘4116 Col­lec­tion’ ban­ner (that’s an ab­bre­vi­a­tion for 1941-2016). Un­veiled at Pho­tok­ina was the X1D ‘4116 edi­tion’ which is a lim­ited-edi­tion ver­sion fin­ished in black and pack­aged with the 45mm lens, a leather hand-strap and an ex­tended war­ranty. It’s pre­sented in a hand­some ‘4116 edi­tion’ box, and while the stan­dard sil­ver X1D is al­ready high on de­sir­abil­ity, the black ver­sion is sim­ply gor­geous. It’s yours for 10,900 Eu­ros. For more in­for­ma­tion about the Has­sel­blad X1D and V1D visit www.has­sel­blad.com.au

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