Brief Encounter: Hasselblad H6D

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The H6D is the latest incarnation of the very successful H Series camera and it is testament to the ergonomics of the design that the body has undergone minimal changes over its fourteen-year life. The most obvious visual clue is the change in colour of the shutter release button and the darker body.

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However if you’re hoping for radical change be prepared to be disappointed this is definitely an upgrade to an existing product. Under the covers though there are some significant changes. The introduction of the USB 3c connector replaces the firewire connection providing a 5x faster more secure connection. So secure that you can suspend the camera by the cable although this is definitely not recommended. The introduction of the C Fast card increases writes speeds from the current CF card maximum of 160MB/s to a whopping 445MB/s and a potential 525MB/s read speed. This has been introduced in part to enable the H6D to record HD 2k-video on the 50c back and up to 4k on the new 100MP version. Perhaps more importantly photographers can now shoot longer bursts at 2.5 frames per second. To facilitate this a “new generation processor” and redesigned electronics have been incorporated. There are two card slots for the C Fast card and an SD card so it is now possible to shoot RAW and JPEG simultaneously. Both slots are “push to eject” rather than a button as on previous models.

There have been some changes to the functions of the buttons on the hand grip which make it easier to set up, settings are executed using a combination of buttons and the two wheels to scroll through options as on the H5D. The LCD is sadly not touch sensitive unlike the back but is a definite improvement on that fitted to the H5D.

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The new back (only the 50c was available) has a row of buttons beneath the screen and from left to right are; menu, soft button (multifunction / delete), image rating, a second soft function and browse. Pressing this last button will increase the image displayed to 100% for focus analysis.

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On the left hand side under the connections flap are the stereo audio out, flash sync input, audio in, flash sync out, external power in and a mini HDMI socket. Just below this is the USB 3c port. To power all the improvements a higher rated battery has added.

Lenses have also been improved with an increase to the top shutter speed of 1/2000 while the ISO range is now good to 6400.

I only had a short time with the camera but it immediately felt comfortable in my hands. The basic setting of shutter, aperture and ISO are easy to set and adjust either via the handgrip controls or on the rear touch screen and images appear swiftly on the back in excellent detail. The touch screen is excellent and scrolling through the setting quick and easy.

To process the images the free Phocus software has been updated to version 3 and now incorporates layers.

If you’re already a Hasselblad user with several lenses and an old H3 body looking to upgrade now is a great time, less appealing for users of the H5 I would think.

Summary
New electronics, faster processing
Revamped lenses offer faster top shutter speed 1/2000
Touch screen back is excellent
Images appear on screen very quickly

Excellent colour rendition
Faster burst rate for longer
Uprated battery
New connectors, USB 3 tethering, HDMI, audio in / out
Focus 3 now with layers

 

SAMPLE IMAGES (80mm lens)

H6D LONDONH6D LONDON

H6D LONDON

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