I thought it might be worth posting some of my experiences as I evaluate two MF systems. I'd also like to post this for Thierry from Sinar. The LL forum and Thierry's postings are the primary reason the Hy6 has remained on my radar and I think it would be useful to feedback on my thoughts, experiences, etc. in pursuing this product.
This is my first foray into full digital MF and I'd like to do it right. I'd welcome all feedback.
First up, my starting principles:
[span style=\'font-size:13pt;line-height:100%\']General Decision Making Axioms[/span]
- There is no perfect product. Pros/Cons to any choice.
- There will always be something better in 6 months
[span style=\'font-size:13pt;line-height:100%\']Decision Making Criteria:[/span]
- Image quality
- Workflow Integration
- Accessories availability, quality & variety
- Support & Supplier Responsiveness
[span style=\'font-size:13pt;line-height:100%\']Integrated instead of MFDB+Body[/span]
I started my eval process considering either piecemeal body & back purchase or integrated system (hy6, h3d, etc.). I'm not interested in sub 30MP backs due to print size requirements and the possible Canon 22 changing the game at that resolution. I've decided to explore integrated systems for a number of reasons, primarily:
- The repair pipeline: support of single system rather than multiple manufacturers/support processes
- Market shifts: market seems to be moving towards integrated systems and away from backs (as Thierry pointed out, bodys are there to sell backs, not the other way around)
- 2 years on: upgrade path seems clear and more secure with an integrated system (debatable: I welcome feedback)
Primarily, it's a business decision. What 30+ MP unit gets me the most quality with the greatest business security (reliability, repairs, etc.)...
[span style=\'font-size:13pt;line-height:100%\']The influence of reviews and comments[/span]
Michael's initial H3D article really woke me up to the pitfalls of a closed system. That, combined with Thierry's excellent and helpful posts on this forum have kept me on the Hy6 side of the H3D/Hy6 debate for most of this period of consideration (until I started to contact suppliers).
A note: If Sinar doesn't already realize this, Thierry's comments are worth their weight in gold to Sinar. The lack of this direct community participation from Hasselblad has really give Sinar a boost in my evaluation process. It's taken some real difficulties with the local agent to counteract Thierry's initial good works. Sadly, they have.
So where I am now:
[span style=\'font-size:13pt;line-height:100%\']Decision Making Criteria[/span]
A summarized statement of decision making criteria (I have a spreadsheet on this process... this is a huge simplification).
- Image quality: Tie
I have no doubt that excellent images can be captured with both the Sinar version of the Hy6 and H3D. There has been a lot said on this already in the forums and I've read it all and have tested the H3D myself (and have reviewed emotion samples). I'm confident the quality is there for both backs/systems.
- Workflow Integration: Tie
Will move to Lightroom from Aperture as will be able to get either raw or DNG into it from either back.
- Accessories availability, quality & variety: Hy6
Clearly the variety of lenses will be better on the Hy6. This alone is a huge selling point. The back will change in a couple years. The body may or may not change with it. The lenses are sticking around across multiple generations of body/backs (if all goes well).
- Support & Supplier Responsiveness: Hasselblad
I'm based in Hong Kong and the Hasselblad distributor here is incredibly supportive and proactive. Unfortunately Sinar's distributor is based in China and was initially difficult to get ahold of. Their local agent was significantly less than helpful when initially contacted. It's felt like pulling teeth to get local availability information from him. Sinar loses on this. No matter how good the product, it comes down to me buying something from a local dealer that I will need to turn to for information, support, repairs, etc.
[span style=\'font-size:13pt;line-height:100%\']A note on clarity and communication[/span]
There was an interesting post regarding customer decision making regarding the H system cameras here
. I read it and thought then that Hasselblad's biggest advantage, and one that goes a long way to overcoming many of the concerns regarding a closed system, is their clarity of information (or more accurately: perceived clarity). The great thing for Sinar is that Thierry is out here in the forums busting his back to really give us all more information (or as my wife says, "more color") on the Sinar Hy6. The terrible thing is that this is so necessary. The Hy6 project is exciting, but information on it has been so scattered that it's been a struggle to find it. There was an excellent summary post by Thierry recently
, but it felt like it could be turned into a nice flow chart (and he did the best job I can imagine summarizing all the various players in the project). The fact that the industry relationships are so convoluted and the communications so ad hoc regarding the product leaves me feeling that there is a lack of organization on the communication side of things. Communication does not equal product quality, but I have a strong suspicion that it correlates to general corporate organization, product support, customer support, etc.Sinar and the Hy6 project have this incredible opportunity with this really unique level of excitement and interest from photographers that are looking to not just "buy a new camera" but really commit to a new system. Hasselblad knows exactly what to do with this opporunity: communicate aggressively and clearly through their whole corporate-to-dealer pipeline. Sinar has excellent communication in Thierry, acceptable (not stellar) communication on the Hy6 project in general (e.g. on their website, which has less info that the forums here at times), and very poor communication from the person I need to give a large wad of cash to.
Still deciding. I was initially really not interested in a Hasselblad due Michael's eloquently expressed concerns coupled with the good timing of the Hy6 project. I'm now at least 50/50 on this and Hasselblad's dealer has gone a long way to making me feel like, if I do go with an H3D instead of the Hy6, for all I lose in the "closed" system, I will gain a dependable and available partner in support.
Thierry, I've used your name a lot in this post. I want you to know that you are a super star in my book and I hope that the other industry players learn from the work you've done communicating to your market here on LL. If your commitment to clarity and information extended throughout Sinar and the Hy6 project, and had made its way down to the dealers, I probably wouldn't be writing this post. I'd already be signing on the dotted line. I'm hoping that this long winded post helps give some anecdotal information on what one prospective customer's experience has been like.
I'd love to see Sinar consolidate their information, simplify and clarify it where possible, start a blog or single point of reference for the Hy6 Project and the variants thereof (all the players in the Hy6 project have a vested interest in clear communication on this, so a single website with Hy6 information would make sense). I'd also like to see Sinar get better information packages to their dealers to ensure that customers get clear, accurate responses from them up front (and I don't have to keep sending them copy/paste information from your posts!).
In the spirit of helpfulness... -Ethan