I got to handle the H4D 40 with the 100mm 2.2 shooting wide open. I have to agree with Barry that the photographers who normally use the user-button as their focus button will find that True Focus is amazing. The images that I took of a Hasselblad representative at a distance of 1-3 meters confirm that the camera will stay focused on the face and that the chest or belly will remain out of focus. I would also like to mention that the camera felt like it had a softer mirror-slap, but that might just be me.
I did shoot some images at ISO 1600, and although I didnít bring another camera for comparisons, I have to say, I really like the look of the grains in the Hasselblad files.
I think that Hasselblad in 2009 got a bit closer to their goal. Soon they might have a blockbuster in their hands, but there are still some small steps to take before this happens - and I doubt they are be ready to take them.
I do know that with just about every job I work on where the files are delivered as raw to the client, the client will use Photoshop CS3 or CS4 for processing. A good percentage of agencies still use CS3 or sometimes even CS2. I know this, because I frequently get the call from the agency asking why the Phase or cr2 file is only a few hundred pixels wide. All this doesnít matter though, because Hasselbladís FFF files donít open in any other application then Phocus. Hasselblad has to get CS4 onboard, without waiting for CS5. Do it now, the transition is as important as the availability of Hasselblad in any rental house across America.
The second thing I would suggest to Hasselblad is to change the concept of Ultra Focus: where a back and body are matched together in order to deliver perfectly sharp focus. Of course its an ideal starting point, but what happens if the body fails. You would have to purchase a second spare body. Okay, fine, but what if I would like to buy two backs. I would have to buy 4 bodies in order to back-up my system. Why not use the same micro-focus system as Canon has implemented in their camera bodies? Instead, Ultra Focus prevents me from using my H2 body with the H4D 40 digital back. I know itís probably not as perfect as if the combo were matched in heaven, but in an emergency, why not?
This leads me to the fact that I have two Leaf backs and 3 Hasselblad H2 bodies. If I want to upgrade to two new Hasselblad H4D 40s, I would have to buy 4 bodies and two backs. In other words, for people who upgrade into the Hasselblad system, there is an unnecessary cost exponential in comparison to Phase or Leaf. On the other hand, if you are a first time buyer, and you know that you are buying a system that will work for you, i.e. for the next 5 years, then it's a smooth ride because you donít have any old valuable luggage you have to ditch at the side of the road.
Either way, I liked what I saw and Iím intrigued, but my dream has to be a 60mp with the same micro-lenses as the 40mp = ISO 1600
On a side note, those of my clients that still choose to shoot with digital backs are photographers who want the ultimate in image quality, which makes me think twice about the form factor of the H4D 40, since the 40mp is awfully close to the next generation of Canon 1Ds cameras. Who would choose a 40mp Hasselblad, Phase, or Leaf digital back over a DSLR at roughly the same resolution?