The New Hasselblad H6D-100c – Medium Format 4K RAW Video
In a bold move from Hasselblad, the new H6D-100c looks set to include some impressive video capabilities in the form of 4K Hasselblad RAW video up to 30fps.While it’s been clear for some time that a move beyond super 35mm and even full frame sensors would materialise at the high-end of digital cinema acquisition, the likes of Arri’s Alexa65 reaches a niche demographic among the world’s top cinematographers, and is rental-only. It’s never been totally clear where a more mainstream offering would come from. At EUR 28,900 the H6D-100c is hardly mainstream in the sense of the average DSLR, but it will be a commercial production camera, stocked by dealers, and accessible by anyone willing to part with the cash.
If you are craving the ultra shallow depth of field, and the commanding imaging aesthetic of the ultra large format look in video (think Lubezki’s arresting cinematography with the Alexa65 in The Revenant, and Robert Richardson’s work with Ultra Panavision 70 in The Hateful Eight), it looks like the new Hasselblad H6D-100c might give you just that.
Now let’s be clear, the Hasselblad H6D is primarily a tool for professional photography, and it’s not in any way, shape or form an answer to the Arri Alexa65 or RED’s VistaVision 8K Weapon.
It’s clearly not a cinema camera – it’s a Hasselblad, a descendant from a long line of Hasselblad medium format bodies. It’s not intended for rods and matte boxes and all the cinema add-ons. However, it is interesting that a camera of any form capable of recording 4K UHD RAW video from a massive 100MP 53.4mm x 40mm medium format sensor at this price point would come from a stills camera manufacturer, and not Arri, RED, or Sony.
In a sense, it’s not at all surprising. The worlds of photography and videography have been colliding for some time now; RED Digital Cinema coined the term “DSMC” (Digital Stills and Motion Camera) to encapsulate this direction. This collision is coming from two different perspectives and technological histories. From the standpoint of the digital cinema cameras we all know and love, super 35mm has been the standard. Up until now, the love-child of the photo and video worlds has been the full frame 36mm x 24mm (or thereabouts) video from DSLR’s, and RED, of course, have taken this format and run with it in the VistaVision 8K Weapon.
What Hasselblad have done in this sense is a natural progression of that technological confluence. If anyone knows medium format, it’s Hasselblad.
Go Big or Go Home
Let’s look at a quick comparison of some of the largest video capable sensor sizes to date. This is sensor size only, I’m not getting into comparing overall resolution or pixel pitch here.
Full Frame DSLR: 36mm x 24mm
RED Weapon 8K VistaVision: 40.96mm x 21.6mm
Phantom 65: 52.1mm x 30.5mm
Arri Alexa 65: 54.12mm x 25.58mm
Hasselblad H6D-100c: 53.4mm x 40mm
It’s still early days, and of course, we don’t have any footage to share and haven’t touched or seen the H6D in the flesh yet. There is much more of this story to be told in the coming months, there’s a lot of specifics and details we don’t yet know. All we can say is it looks very interesting on paper, this is a camera worth keeping an eye on.
Hasselblad H6D-100c Video Specifications
Here’re the important highlights of the Hasselblad H6D-100c’s video capabilities.
Sensor Type: CMOS, 100 megapixels (11600 x 8700 pixels, 4.6 x 4.6 μm)
Sensor Dimensions: 53.4mm x 40mm
Video Size: HD (1920 x 1080p) and UHD (3840 x 2160p)
File Format: H.264 Compressed (30 fps) (HD only), Hasselblad RAW (HD & UHD) (24fps currently)
Color: 16 bit
Dynamic Range: 15 stops
ISO Speed Range: ISO 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800
Lenses: Hasselblad H system lens line with integral central lens shutter
HDMI Out: Clean 1080p output
Download the full datasheet here.
There are of course important questions to be asked. The most important one in my mind for any high end video application is the performance (read-out/reset time) of the rolling shutter. If it’s fast enough, fantastic, if it’s too slow, there’s the possibility that jello might kill the H6D-100c’s potential appeal.
Of course, with a maximum frame rate currently of 24fps in 4K RAW, it’s not going to be attractive to high frame rate aficionados but for some, 24fps and perhaps 30fps to come is just fine (30fps is currently available only in 1920x1080p H.264).
It’s also important to consider lensing options, Hasselblad offers a fantastic line-up of H system lenses ranging from 24mm to 300mm and 50-100mm, and 35-90mm zooms. You can see the whole lens line-up here. It’s important to remember however that these are photographic lenses with electronic aperture. Coming from a 35mm background, you’ll also need to be aware your field of view is a lot wider with a medium format sensor for any given focal length.
Note: Hasselblad will be offering a similar model (H6D-50c), with a reduced pixel count (50MP) and a slightly smaller sensor. The 50c model offers 1080p H.264 video capabilities only.
While we don’t yet have full international pricing details, the price in Europe for the H6D-100c body will be EUR 28,900 (ex VAT) and B&H are taking pre-orders, it’s listed at $32,995.
For more information, please visit the Hasselblad H6D site: http://www.hasselblad.com/h6d