DIGITAL MEDIUM FORMAT IT’S THE NEXT BIG THING
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