Hasselblad H6D-100C Review

Hasselblad holds a special place in the picture taking community and is well known for making among the best cameras currently available. I have been using the H6D-100c camera system for more than a year, and I wanted to discover if it holds up to the perception. With its huge 100-megapixel sensor, this camera does create some very detailed and beautiful images. The latest “orange dot” lenses from Hasselblad possess all been rated up to and potentially actually beyond 100 megapixels, making them very effective. With that in mind, it would seem nonsensical to compare this camera to a full-frame program, however, after seeing some of the results, the opposite is true.

Hasselblad H6D-100C Price, Deals & Discounts

Medium Format Look

For the first evaluation below I used the 100mm Macro from Canon on a Sony a7R II versus the 100mm f/2.2 on the H6D-100c. The immediate difference you’ll be able to see is the wider angle of view from the Hasselblad due to the much bigger sensor. This is quite fundamentally the “medium format look,” the wider angle of look at but with the same shallow depth of field of a telephoto lens. The colors are also far more radiant in the Hasselblad image with the yellows in the background and epidermis tones showing noticeably more detail. Sony, on the other hand, has a much closer crop because of the smaller sensor and the shades are muted with less detail in the skin tones. Expressions aside, the picture from the Hasselblad is certainly more pleasing and interesting.

Colors

The 16-bit color depth that many medium-format cameras possess provides a very compelling and great reason to upgrade. That is especially useful for portraits and the extra colors really do allow for better editing. Even when straight out of the camera, one can leave the vibrance and saturation sliders well by itself and the pictures still look great. Having said that, if you don’t mind spending a tiny amount of time on your images, you can very easily match the colors from the Hasselblad. Canon is known for having really good color science, and due to that, adding the tiniest amount of vibrance to your images can shrink the gap significantly to a point where they are challenging to tell apart. The Canon 5DS R is normally one of those cameras that produce incredibly accurate colors and if you use a ColorChecker Passport (which has not been used in these images), this is further amplified. In the good examples below, you can see the differences in the shades between the Canon, Sony, and Hasselblad. Notice the yellows and oranges that are present in the Sony image, are not as well pronounced and somewhat muddy compared to the Canon and Hasselblad.

The Lenses

Unfortunately, when it comes to fine detail and sharpness the Hasselblad lenses really fall short and are incapable of producing the advanced that they are presumed to be able to do. In every test completed, lenses like Zeiss, Sigma Art, and also some well-known Canon lenses outperformed the Hasselblad lenses in sharpness and details. Even with the excess megapixels, Hasselblad lenses basically can’t render all of the resolution available to them. This emerged as a huge surprise to me and I’m certain many will doubt the results, however, I can assure you extremely confident that there isn’t a single zoom lens from Hasselblad that can outperform any of the best from the full body. These checks and comparisons were completed in a studio with controlled lighting, using a tripod, and tethered shooting. Every image was double-checked multiple instances for focus and numerous images were taken with only the best selected to prevent any faults and the full-frame lenses won each time. In the illustrations below the lenses utilized are the 150mm f/3.2 N and 120mm f/4 II versus the Canon 100mm f/2.8L and the Zeiss 135mm.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is often discussed as being a major advantage for medium format, however, in my testing with different medium-format cameras I have not found this to be completely true. For the most part, current medium-format cameras tend to become better at recovering highlights, yet with regards to recovering shadows, they generate noticeably noisier images even when shot at their respective bottom ISO. With the example below, you can view the difference between your Hasselblad and the Sony a7R II. The pictures were properly exposed and then overexposed in the post to exaggerate the shadows. The Hasselblad is demonstrating more noise in the shadows when compared to a7R II. If the Hasselblad was compared to a camera such as the Nikon D810, this difference would be more pronounced.

Camera Features and Performance

The camera itself does have some very redeeming features. True Focus is a good addition, and although it’s not a perfect implementation of a focusing system it does allow for very quick and accurate focus. The menu program in the camera is quite possibly the best menu system I’ve ever used. The touch screen is very intuitive and allows for seamless and effective navigation throughout the camera. Changing settings like aperture, shutter swiftness, and ISO can be achieved very quickly reducing the amount of time fiddling through menus. Wi-Fi is also a huge advantage in this camera and being able to tether to a mobile device means that you may not always need to tether to a notebook. This makes the camera a lot more effective if you are to use it outside and away from a studio environment. The most useful feature I liked with this system was the leaf shutter in all the new Hasselblad N lenses. The sync quickness has been elevated by double to 1/2,000 s allowing far greater control of light and shooting conditions. High-speed sync isn’t necessarily required for this reason and this expands the kind of flashes and studio heads that you can use for your shoots.

The viewfinder in this camera can be incredible and looking through gives you this massive and very comfortable watch of the world. Hasselblad is known for making some amazing viewfinders and this one does not disappoint.

The most unexpected feature in this camera may be the ability to shoot 4K raw using the full width of the sensor. The fact that it does not crop the width of the sensor means you can use the moderate format lenses to their full capabilities and getting the right composition is made much easier for video. That unique look is a very interesting and compelling feature for this camera. Lastly, having dual storage card slot machine games gives this camera a major advantage over its main competitor, Phase One.

Although True Focus is a good feature, the camera does struggle quite badly to gain focus in many scenarios. In general, shooting from a studio environment, I found myself switching to manual concentrate far too often due to the camera failing to find focus. This isn’t a significant issue but does need to be noted. The menu system is fantastic, but the camera will suffer quite consistently from bugs and glitches. After having many discussions with various other Hasselblad shooters it would seem that this is fairly a prominent thing across the board for Hasselblad and not discussed very often. A camera of this value should not require regular shutdowns just to make it work even in less challenging environments.

Build Quality

The build of the camera is a real let down. For a camera that costs almost $33,000 to have got such shockingly bad build quality is definitely unacceptable. The camera feels like it’s mostly built out of a cheap creaking plastic that in no way represents the high-end camera it’s supposed to be. The top LCD screen feels as though plastic too and unlike Phase One, it’s still the previous Casio watch type display screen which makes it tough to see in bright light. What’s worse are the buttons on the top screen which include the much-used power key. These buttons remind me of an inexpensive remote control where if you press the buttons too much, eventually they get stuck in. In fact, the camera I got actually did have the power button slightly pressed in because of regular use. To have this kind of a build on a $3,000 camera is usually unacceptable and I can’t think of a reason as to why they would assume this would be enough. It feels as though this is simply a rehash of the old H5D without many (if any) updates. This is quite possibly the worst built camera I have used in a very long time.

Final Thoughts

It seems the perception and brand of Hasselblad are keeping them afloat within the market and users still presume this system to be the best offered. It’s a shame that Hasselblad hasn’t been able to create a fully developed system with properly updated lenses, instead of rehashes of old hardware. Due to its bugs, glitches, and poor executing lenses, it’s difficult to consider this a professional system. Hasselblad has been going through some problems with managing their finances which could be the reason behind their underdevelops systems. Their initial agreement with DJI turned sour which resulted in their CEO being forced from the company and Hasselblad getting bought out by DJI. Also, the X1D, which was poised to be a great leap into the future, was reviewed as being an underdeveloped program. The H6D is supposed to end up being their flagship, however, the efficiency is mediocre at best. It’s disappointing, to say the least. Hasselblad is definitely in dire need of a proper update because this will not feel like the same business that went to the moon.

Last update on 2020-10-29 / We may earn an affiliate commission

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