Updated on April 5, 2016: After getting feedback from a wide variety of sources I have added some corrections and updates to this review. These updates are notated with bold text at the beginning of the update. The updates are noted in the Autofocus, User Interface, Flash Sync and Software sections of this comparison. Thanks to everyone for the feedback and info.
Addendum added April 7th, 2016: With the announcement of the Hasselblad H6D, this comparison is moot to some degree. Read about my thoughts on the H6D specs at the end of this comparison.
Before purchasing the Hasselblad H5D 50c WiFi last December, I did a ton of research and tried out both the H5D 50c WiFi and the Phase One XF/IQ350 camera systems before making any decisions. You can see my review of the H5D 50c WiFi right here on the blog. I realize there are a very small number of people out there that shoot with either of these systems or even care about a comparison of these two cameras. But, for those that do, here I will offer up my thoughts on these two state of the art camera systems. When I was doing research, I found nothing out there comparing the H5D and the Phase One XF directly. I found independent reviews of both but no comparisons. Hence, for those few making the move to medium format, what follows are my thoughts and experiences with both systems.
Right up front, I want to make sure folks understand I am not here to bash one brand or another. My aim is to share what I learned in the process of trying out these cameras. I will call it like I saw it. But, I will also say this, I only had one afternoon with the Phase One XF and the IQ350 back and I had five days to try out the Hasselblad H5D 50c WiFi before deciding to purchasing that system. Since I purchased the Hasselblad you might sense a bit of bias towards that system, and you’d be right, but here I will point out the upsides and downsides of each system. I will also relay some feedback from Phase One and Hasselblad users I spoke with about their experiences using these cameras. Because I didn’t have as much time shooting with the Phase One, I ask that any Phase One owners correct me if I am wrong about certain aspects of the Phase One XF by posting comments below.
Let’s start out by saying neither camera is perfect. Both have their upsides and their downsides. Both are capable of creating incredible images with detail no DSLR can touch. These are also both extremely expensive camera systems. At the moment, the H5D 50c WiFi sells for $16,500 USD, which is far below it’s original price of $28,500 USD. I am fairly certain that this low pricing on the H5D 50c WiFi is because Hasselblad wants to bring in a lot of new medium format shooters (like myself) and also that they are going to announce the H6D (or whatever the next version of this camera will be named) at some point later this year. In this interview with Perry Oosting, the CEO of Hasselblad hinted quite openly about a new 100 MP camera during the interview. Just to be up front with readers, I purchased the H5D 50c WiFi during the December sale when it was $14,500 USD, which is a heck of a deal for that system. The Phase One XF and IQ350 digital back goes for $34,990 USD at the moment. When I was considering both systems the Phase One XF / IQ350 went for $40,990 USD. Suffice it to say that right now the Phase One XF/IQ350 setup is significantly pricier than the Hasselblad.
As a side note here, I did not consider the Pentax 645Z, which uses the same 50 MP CMOS sensor as the Phase One IQ350 and the Hasselblad 50c WiFi digital backs because the 645Z has a flash sync of only 1/125th second. One of the important factors in my decision to go with a medium format digital camera was the ability to sync with strobes at higher shutter speeds using a central shutter built into the lens and this isn’t an option with the Pentax system, which is why I did not consider it. By comparison, the H5D can sync with strobes up to 1/800th second and the Phase One can sync with strobes up to 1/1600th second with certain lenses. For those that do not need this option then the Pentax is an excellent camera system to consider and it is also quite a bit less expensive.In comparing these camera systems, I will list the pros and cons of each camera for a variety of important features. Let’s start out with the autofocus capabilities as that is a huge issue for all medium format cameras.
Autofocus is a feature that needs to be incredibly accurate when using cameras of this caliber. Because of the 50 MP resolution, and the extremely sharp lenses made by both manufacturers, missing focus by even a few millimeters can sometimes make the difference between getting the image or major frustration. Both manufacturers advertise the accuracy and reliability of their autofocus systems as a core feature. Both of these cameras also have a single autofocus point in the center of the viewfinder. Hence, to set your focus off-center you have to rely on the focus and recompose method. Both also have impressive viewfinders and built-in options to add a diopter adjustment to the viewfinder for those that don’t want to wear glasses while shooting.
When I tested out the Phase One XF, I got only 7 images out 200 in focus using that camera’s Honeybee autofocus system. It wasn’t as if all of those 193 other images were way out of focus, but they weren’t critically sharp where I intended for the focus to be. Some images were way off and some were only slightly off but they were off enough that it wasn’t a useable image. I had the XF set up with the focus being initiated by holding down the shutter release half-way. Once focus was achieved you could then recompose the image and push the shutter all the way down to capture the image. I have since been told that the better method is to use a back-focusing method where you set a button on the back of the grip to initiate focus and use the shutter release to snap the photo. I did not have time to test this out so I hope some Phase One users can chime in here and give us their experiences using the back focusing method. I use this back focusing method with the H5D and it’s True Focus technology and it works very well. Also, Phase One has a few options where you can set up the Hyperfocal distance settings for each lens, which allows you to optimize the amount of Depth of Field (relative to the infinity setting) and automatically recall this setting. I did not have time to play with this feature but that is a pretty nice feature to have when shooting with wide angle lenses.
With the Hasselblad, I have had a much higher percentage of in-focus images, up at around 80%. Usually, if the image is out of focus with the Hasselblad it’s pilot error. The True Focus II technology built into the H5D works. It takes some time to get the hang of it and not rotate the camera forward but rotate it on axis so the camera doesn’t move closer or farther from the subject, but once you get the hang of it, the True Focus works well. In fact, it works so well that I shoot a lot untethered and don’t worry too much about the autofocus.
Neither camera has what I would call stellar autofocus. For that matter, no medium format camera that I have ever shot with has stellar autofocus. Both are slow and take some time to get the focus nailed down. In low light situations the XF performed extremely poorly, worse than a mirrorless system. By contrast the Hasselblad could still focus accurately but did so at a slower pace.
In talking with a few Phase One photographers, whom I won’t name, I heard them talk openly about autofocus issues with the XF. One photographer said he doesn’t trust it and focuses manually using the live view all the time. The other, who has shot extensively with the Phase One DF+ and tried out the XF, said the Honeybee autofocus system was a step backwards and seemed worse than the DF+, which was known to be a spotty AF system.
UPDATED 4/5/16: When folks on the Luminous-Landscape and GetDPI forums found this review quite a few Phase One users commented that they have had excellent results with the Phase One XF autofocus. There are also several people who said that their XF has autofocus issues and one even said his is back at Phase One being repaired. From the feedback I have seen, it seems like some, like me have had autofocus issues with the XF, while others have found it to be quite good. So, as I say at the end of this review, test it out for yourself. The above are my experiences with the cameras.
The Clear winner here is the Hasselblad H5D.
Both cameras use the same 50-megapixel CMOS sensor, so you would assume that the image quality is fairly similar. In my experience, I found the images coming out of the Phase One XF/IQ350 to be a bit softer than the H5D 50c WiFi. I know there are a lot of people out there that swear by the Phase One backs so I was pretty surprised by the images I was comparing. I was also quite surprised at the huge amount of capture sharpening that Capture One applied to the images by default. This seemed to only highlight the softness of the images when I turned off the capture sharpening.
Since I did not shoot the exact same scenes with both cameras I won’t show any comparison images here. Also, there are so many factors that come into play that can make for soft images, especially when comparing high-resolution medium format digital cameras. The XF is slightly heavier, and I shot with it mostly handheld. The lenses are physically bigger as well and the large shutters in the lenses could have created more camera shake at the instant the shutter was released. To really know if this was an issue I would have to have both systems locked down on a tripod and then look at the resulting images.
For this comparison, and at low ISOs, meaning anything around ISO 400 and below, I will call it a tie on the image quality. Though, I will say I preferred the image quality out of the 50c WiFi over the IQ350.
High ISO Noise
Because both of these cameras incorporate the first CMOS sensor for medium format cameras, there was a lot of hoopla about how great they are at high ISOs. As we covered in the last section on image quality, at their lowest ISO settings, the image quality was a tie. At higher ISOs, I found the H5D 50c WiFi to be significantly better than the IQ350. As shown below, at ISO 6400, the H5D 50c WiFi (left) shows significantly less noise than the IQ350 (right). At ISO 6400, the IQ350 has a strange blotchy pattern to it that is quite ugly, while the H5D 50c WiFi has a grain-like structure to the noise that is much nicer and easier to deal with when using noise reduction software.
To create the comparison images above, note that both cameras were locked down on a tripod and both had the mirror up. Both of the above images were shot at ISO 6400. This comparison was pulled up in Lightroom. The H5D 50c WiFi is a raw image without any adjustments. The Phase One XF/IQ350 image was exported out of Capture One as a full resolution TIFF file with no adjustments. No noise reduction or adjustments were applied to either image. To see a full resolution image file of this screenshot click here or on the image above. The difference is quite noticeable when you view the larger version of this image.
In talking with a Phase One user, he told me that with the IQ350 he never goes above ISO 1600 because there is too much noise for his taste at those higher ISOs. That was my conclusion as well when looking at the IQ350 files I shot at every ISO setting. With my Hasselblad, I wouldn’t hesitate to go up to ISO 6400 (and I do often when shooting handheld outdoors) because the noise is so smooth and can easily be removed in Lightroom using the noise reduction sliders.
In my testing, the Hasselblad clearly outshines the Phase One IQ350 at high ISOs.
Both of these cameras are gorgeous, well made pieces of art. The Phase One XF is clearly the more modern looking of the two and it is a marvel of engineering. The touch screen LCDs on the XF give it a sleek, clean look that is very enticing. I will get into the user interface and touch screen displays in the next section. Here, I will discuss the ergonomics of the two cameras including how they feel, how they are balanced and the control layout.
As can be seen above, both have right angle viewfinders, a beefy grip and controls in similar locations. The Hasselblad weighs in at 1,815 g while the XF comes in at 2,085 g, so there is a 270 gram difference (roughly half a pound). The weight difference mostly comes down to the fact that the XF has two batteries on board – one in the camera grip and one in the back. The XF feels larger in the hands than the H5D. The XF grip also feels larger. For my hands, the grip on the H5D was much nicer than the XF. On the XF, there is a bump on the top of the grips backside (visible in the images above and below) that seems fairly odd and forces your hand to be cocked at a strange angle. I have large hands so maybe for smaller hands that works well, I am not sure. Either way, I prefer the grip on the H5D.
In the hand, the noticeable weight difference of the XF and the larger lenses, make it a beast to handhold. I am a rock climber who is decently fit, so my arms aren’t weak by any means but with some of the massive lenses, like the new 120mm f/4 Macro “blue line” lens from Schneider, handholding the Phase One XF was a chore. I also noticed that the extra battery in the back made the camera feel off-balance compared to the H5D, whose sole battery is in the grip. I found the H5D much better balanced overall. I will say that when I tried it out, I really wanted to fall in love with the Phase One XF. The marketing materials had me all amped up to love this camera, but it was not to be. The ergonomics and the focusing issues really turned me off quickly while testing it out.
In terms of the control layout, I am not sure I had enough time with the Phase One XF to really decisively critique this part of the camera. In my time with it, I found it easy to adjust the big three exposure options: ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture. The XF has quite a few buttons and many of them can be customized so with time you could customize the buttons to your liking. Because of the touch screen interface, I was constantly finding that I changed settings on the top LCD or the back without even knowing I had changed anything. That was annoying. With the H5D, the ergonomics seem to have been worked out more thoroughly. Without having to take your eye away from the viewfinder, it seemed fairly easy to figure out which button you are touching and make adjustments on the fly.
As I just mentioned in the last section, the touch screen interface on the XF is whiz-bang cool and looks phenomenal, but in practice I found it to be less practical than the old-school buttons on the H5D. Of course, you can lock the touch screen out so that you won’t accidentally change anything but then if you actually need to change something you have to undo that to access those settings again. I have talked with a few other photographers that have had the same experience with the touch screen displays on the XF. With the H5D, you can change settings without moving your eye away from the viewfinder. With the XF, unless you have certain functions set up with a custom button this is difficult if not impossible to do. Need the mirror up? With the H5D you don’t have to take your eye away from the viewfinder. Need to do that on the XF, you have to very precisely touch the top LCD and you’ll have to look at it to do so.
UPDATED 4/5/16: A Phase One owner on the Luminous-Landscape forum indicated their was a way to assign the mirror up function on the XF to a button on the front of the camera so the mirror will stay up until you put it down. This was not pointed out to me by the rep when I tested the camera. I thought I would note this here.
With the above said, and as you can see below, the actual touch screen interface is pretty phenomenal aside for the issue of accidentally changing settings. The Phase One LCD on the back of the camera and on the top of the grip is incredible. It looks like the screen on a Retina iPhone. The simple four button interface on the sides of the digital back, along with the touch screen options, is simple, elegant and easy to use and navigate. The Phase One LCD displays are a dream compared to the ancient LCD on the back of the Hasselblad. The quality of the LCD on the Phase One is what every camera in this category should have on it.
The Phase One IQ350 back (and all of their current digital backs) are also packed with useful options and features like focus peaking, exposure color charts, and the ability to focus accurately using the live view mode. There is also a feature built into the XF camera body that acts as a seismograph and won’t trigger the camera until all vibrations have quieted down. That is a great feature for landscape photographers. In addition, Phase One has also integrated features that aid the photographer when shooting with HDR techniques, photo stacking, and time-lapse.
The LCD on the back of the Hasselblad H5D 50c WiFi is ancient. It is so low resolution it is almost laughable for a camera of this caliber. Luckily, you can sync the H5D 50c WiFi to your iPhone or iPad and check focus really easily but that is a workaround. The LCD on the digital back is barely useable but it does work for checking focus, setting up the shot in live view and checking the histogram. It is also possible to use Live View to focus manually with the H5D even though it is a lower res screen. The quality of the LCD is the achilles heel of the Hasselblad system. It seriously needs to be upgraded and if it isn’t upgraded on the H6D then there will be some boisterous howling on the part of Hasselblad users who are looking to upgrade. When viewing images on the LCD, they appear quite contrasty. Hence, aside from the ability to check focus, viewing the image on the digital back won’t tell you much about the image save for composition.
The LCD display on the top of the H5D’s grip is less horrific. It tells you all that you need to know but the menu system is clunky and difficult to maneuver through. Regardless of the pixelated nature of the top LCD on the H5D, it is well thought out for the basic functions. For example, when you put the mirror up on the H5D it stays up until you put it down. You have to put it up for every shot on the XF.
As for the WiFi option on both of these cameras, I have only tested the Hasselblad WiFi option and did not have time to test out the WiFi capabilities of the IQ350 back. From what I have seen with the Hasselblad, this is an excellent feature that I will be using often. On assignments, even those in remote locations, I can hand the art director an iPad and they can see everything that is being shot right then and there. I have heard Phase One photographers speak of similar great experiences with the IQ350, which may have even better WiFi capabilities than the 50c WiFi.
In terms of looks alone, the Phase One wins this category hands down but when you add in usability, I feel like the Hasselblad is more intuitive. Hence, what you shoot and how you work will determine which of these user interfaces will work best for your needs. At this price point, no one just goes out and buys one of these cameras without trying out a few different options–or at least I would hope they don’t. This is one of those things that is a personal preference. Some will prefer the Phase One others will prefer the Hasselblad.
Flash Sync Speeds
One of the best features of both of these camera systems is that they can sync with flash at high shutter speeds. This is a big reason why professionals choose a medium format system over 35mm DSLRs. To achieve this, the lenses for both systems have built in central leaf shutters. The H5D can sync at up to 1/800th second and the Phase One can sync up to 1/1600th second with certain lenses.
The caveat with the Phase one, as told to me by the rep I worked with, is that the larger lenses have such huge leaf shutters they can really only sync up to 1/1000th second, not the 1/1600th second some of the smaller lenses can. You won’t find this caveat in the Phase One marketing materials for the XF or in any of the marketing materials for the Schneider-Kreuznach lenses. The rep told me that especially the larger new “Blue Line” lenses, like the new 35mm f/3.5 LS and the 120mm f/4 LS Macro, will not really sync above 1/100th second. Interestingly, on the Phase One website, the specs say that these lenses can sync at up to 1/1600th second. I’d love to hear from Phase One XF users who have tested these new lenses. If this is the case, then this makes the systems a bit more equal on the flash sync speeds.
UPDATED 4/5/2016: After hearing from a few different photographers who have actually shot with these new lenses, it appears that the Phase One rep I spoke with did not know what he was talking about. These new lenses indeed sync at 1/1600 second according to the photographers who have contacted me. Hence, disregard the new paragraph above.
The bigger question is will either camera work with your flashes. We had a hell of a time getting the Phase One XF to sync at anything above 1/250th second with my Elinchrom strobes. In the end it was a matter of the transmitters we tried not being up to task–and we tried three different brand transmitters. The Phase One dealer had never worked with Elinchrom strobes so they did not have any experience to help out on this front. After doing some research, I finally figured out what the issues were and found that with the new Elinchrom Skyport Plus HS transmitter in Speed mode the XF would trigger the Elinchrom strobes just fine. When using the PocketWizard transceivers, the flash triggering was very unreliable and I am still not sure why that was the case as PocketWizards have been very reliable for me in the past. The XF has a Profoto trigger built into the camera so if you shoot with Profoto strobes you should have very few issues. From what the rep told me, the Broncolor transmitter and strobes also work well with the XF.
By comparison, the H5D worked perfectly with my Elinchrom gear all the way up to 1/800th second on the first try with no issues at all. The top end 1/800th second sync speed isn’t that fast compared to the 1/1600th second shutter speed option on the XF but it is still quite effective for darkening backgrounds and stopping action when used with strobes that have a fast flash duration.
The XF wins here, if you are using lenses that can actually sync up to 1/1600th second.
Shutter Speed Range
The Phase One XF has a shutter speed range of 60 minutes to 1/4000th second. The H5D has a range of 34 minutes to 1/800th second. The Phase One XF has a wider range of shutter speeds due to the fact that it has a focal plane shutter built into the camera body that extends the shutter range beyond the 1/1600th second leaf shutter lenses to 1/4000th second. I can certaily see some scenarios where this would be very useful–like trying to get sharp images while handholding the camera or wanting to stop fast action. So far, I haven’t had any issue with the range of shutter speeds on the H5D though I do shoot at or near the 1/800th second shutter speed when handholding the camera for the sharpest possible images. Because the H5D is a tad lighter and better balanced than the XF, I do feel like I can get sharp images at shutter speeds down to 1/250th second whereas on the XF that would be seriously pushing the envelope.
The Phase One XF wins in this category.
I didn’t have time to test out the battery life of the XF system. I can get about a half day of shooting done with the H5D before I need to replace the battery. That isn’t bad considering how large the components of this camera are and that there is only one battery to run everything. The XF has two batteries so I would expect them to last longer than the H5D’s single battery. In the end, this is a moot point anyway because if you aren’t shooting tethered you would take at least one extra set of batteries.
Reliability is always a huge issue for me as an adventure sports photographer. I pound my cameras and I wanted to make sure whatever I purchased could take a licking and keep on ticking. Of course, with cameras in this price range I am going to treat them well. If it is really rough weather or difficult conditions I will take my Nikons, which seem to be able to handle anything mother nature throws at them. I spoke with several different photographers about each of these cameras and specifically about how reliable they were on a variety of assignments. On the Hasselblad side, none of them had ever had to send their cameras in for any repairs of any kind. On the Phase One side, almost everyone said they had to send in their cameras and/or lenses a few times a year for issues. That was a wake up call for me. As it turns out there is a reason the Phase One reps boast about their policy of offering loaners while your camera is being repaired – because most owners have to deal with this issue.
There is also the issue of the camera locking up while on a shoot. The Hasselblad owners I spoke with had never had this happen. The Phase One owners had seen this happen from time to time. Recently, PetaPixel posted an article entitled, I Switched from Phase One to Nikon. Here’s Why. In that article David Cohen de Lara talks at length about the reliability issues that plagued his Phase One cameras. Yes, he had two Phase One cameras. In that article he states, “My experience with Phase One in terms of reliability has been terrible. I’m not just talking about the usual hiccups, errors, and misfires that are an almost daily reality when using these camera systems, I’m talking about things that just stop working altogether for no apparent reason. In just the last four years of shooting Phase One I’ve had no less than 7 instances where I was in the middle of a shoot and a body or lens would just spontaneously lock up, requiring it to be sent in for servicing.” His blog post is rather scathing of the Phase One system and medium format in general. David was shooting with the Phase One DF+ cameras but I have talked with a few Phase One XF owners that have had to send in their cameras for repairs already – and the XF has only been out for a year. None of the Hasselblad owners said anything about their cameras locking up.
As a pro, you rely on your gear. If it isn’t reliable, especially when you have to pay this kind of money for it, then that is a huge issue. The Hasselblad wins massively here on this front.
As for lenses, both Hasselblad and Phase One offer a pretty compelling line up of quality glass. The Hasselblad lenses are designed in-house by Hasselblad and are manufactured by Fujinon, who is a less well known, but still a renowned lens manufacturer. It is notable that the leaf shutter mechanism is made by Hasselblad and then assembled into the HC lenses by Fujinon. They note that the Fujinon lenses are just as sharp if not better than the legendary V series lenses made by Carl Zeiss. Phase One’s lenses are made by Schneider-Kreuznach of Germany. Schneider-Kreuznach is another legendary lens manufacturer and the Phase One lenses are stellar by any measure. Phase One recently introduced the “Blue Line” lenses, which they say are ready for the demands of 100+ MP cameras.
Both companies offer an excellent range of lenses. Hasselblad offers a slightly wider focal length range from 24mm up to 300mm. All of the Hasselblad offerings are leaf shutter lenses. Phase One has a range of lenses from 28mm up to 240mm. They offer both leaf shutter (LS) and focal plane versions of most of their lenses. If you need tilt-shift capabilities, the Hasselblad Tilt Shift Adapter works with all of their fixed-focal length lenses up to 100mm. Schneider-Kreuznach has a 120mm tilt shift lens. There are quite a few used Hasselblad HC and HCD lenses on the market that will work with the H5D. On the Phase One side there are some used options out there but with the XF, many of the older Mamiya 645 lenses won’t work with the new camera body.
In terms of lenses, my preferences aside, I’d call this one a draw.
If we are strictly discussing the software options offered by Hasselblad and Phase One then this is an easy choice. Phase One’s Capture One software is far superior to Hasselblad’s Phocus software. Aside from Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop’s Adobe Camera Raw, Capture One is the only really professional alternative raw processing software on the market. Capture One has become much more popular since the demise of Apple’s Aperture. To that point, there are quite a few photographers shooting only with 35mm DSLRs that swear by Capture One. I have tried out Capture One, because I was curious, and I found it quite robust but because I have used Lightroom for a long, long time I wasn’t as enamored with it as many other photographers seem to be.
Luckily for Hasselblad users, Hasselblad has given the folks at Adobe their entire codex, including all of the lens corrections for each of the HC lenses. In my testing, Lightroom affords the exact same image quality as can be had using Hasselblad’s Phocus software. For me, the fact that I can use Lightroom to work up the Hasselblad images makes this a very easy platform to work with. In my testing Capture One is very good. I can see them both having their strong points and weak points so I’d say it is a draw in terms of image quality for each software platform. I actually prefer the color out of Lightroom over Capture One. I know most folks go the other way on that one but Capture One’s color balance seems really warm in terms of skin tones compared to Lightroom. In the end, this software comparison is just a matter of preference.
UPDATED 4/5/16: After more testing, and hearing from other Phocus users, I have done more testing and found that the Phocus software does render slightly better colors and a wider dynamic range than Lightroom. For images that were shot at High ISOs, I found the noise reduction to be considerably better in Lightroom than was available in Phocus. Though, the noise could also have been dealt with using third party noise reduction software in Photoshop. Overall, except for high ISO images, Phocus seemed to render images in a slightly more pleasing manner than Lightroom with less noise and a wider color range. But, the difference is not huge. It is about the same as Nikon Capture NX2 renders images versus Lightroom.
I’d say in terms of software, because Hasselblad has worked with Adobe, it is a tie on this one.
Let’s get real here for a second. Each of these cameras offer incredible image quality. There are top-end pro photographers working with each brand who are creating incredible images. These cameras are just tools and as such, any photographer using these tools has to learn how to exploit the strengths and weaknesses of each camera system they use. That is just part of the game whether shooting with 35mm DSLRs or a medium format camera.
Each of these two cameras, and for that matter each of these two camera systems, have their weak points and their strong points. For myself, as you have probably surmised from the introduction, I found the Hasselblad H5D 50c WiFi to be the better camera for my needs. This may or may not be the case for still life photographers who shoot tethered in the studio all the time with the camera on a tripod. For those folks, the poor autofocus of the Phase One XF may not be an issue. For myself, the autofocus abilities of the H5D and the low noise at High ISOs, combined with the reliability factor and the user interface sealed the deal for me.
Talking with several photographers working with medium format systems, there are quite a few top-end portrait photographers who choose a hybrid camera: mating the H5D body with a Phase One IQ series digital back. With that combo you get the practical user interface of the H5D up front and the stellar LCD interface on the Phase One digital back. You also retain a camera that can focus accurately. In essence, you get the best of both worlds–unless you want to shoot at high ISOs. This is a workaround to be sure. You have to think one of these manufacturers would get it totally right here at some point. Amazingly, Phase One designed the perfect camera but failed in several key aspects like in the area of autofocus, ergonomics (at least for me) and high ISO noise.
I can live with the H5D’s lackluster LCD screen. I can’t live with a camera that costs $40,000 and can’t autofocus to save its life. For me, accurate AF is worth more than a touchscreen display. Sure, it would be nice if the H5D could sync with strobes at 1/1600th second, but I can live with 1/800th second. I have Elinchrom’s amazing Hi-Sync technology, which allows me to sync strobes at up to 1/8000th second with my Nikons if I really need to freeze motion using strobes. I also prefer the way the H5D feels in the hand, and how it is better balanced. The user interface, though not modern or fancy, also feels much more useable and practical for my needs and for the way I shoot. I can see why the Hasselblad continues to win awards as the best medium format camera out there, over and above the Phase one XF, as shown above.
The cost vs. value equation also played a huge factor. Right now, with the H5D 50C WIFi selling for $16,500, the Hasselblad is a great value (among medium format cameras), especially in comparison to the Phase One setup. When I did the calculations, I could get a full Hasselblad kit with five lenses and three extra batteries for around $35,000 USD. For a similar kit with the Phase One XF, I was looking at approximately $70,000 USD. Buying a digital medium format camera these days is essentially like buying a car. They depreciate massively as soon as you get it. But the bigger questions are: Will it get you to the place you want to go? Will it be reliable? Will it do what you want it to do? Can you afford it? Those are the same calculations I had to reason with. In the end, the Hasselblad overwhelmingly was the obvious choice for my needs. Your mileage may vary.
For more information on these cameras visit the Hasselblad and Phase One websites.
Addendum – April 7, 2016: H6D Announcement
With the announcement of the H6D, in 100 MP and 50 MP CMOS versions, Hasselblad has seriously upped the ante. In the images below you can see the new design and some of the upgraded features. A sampling of the H6D specs are as follows:
- 100 MP CMOS Sensor (same as that found in the Phase One XF IQ100) – Sensor Size: 53.4 × 40.0mm
- New High-resolution Touchscreen with 30 fps Live View – 3 inch TFT type, 24 bit colour, 920K pixels
- 4K RAW UHD Video
- Flash Sync to 1/2,000th second with new Hasselblad Lenses
- Flash Sync to 1/1,000th second with old Hasselblad Lenses
- New Shutter speed range of 60 minutes to 1/2,000th second – all with Leaf Shutters
- 16 bit; Dynamic range 15 stops
- Dual Card Slots for a CFast card and an SD card
- Expanded ISO range: ISO 64 to 12,800
- New Phocus 3.0 Software
- New Connection ports: USB 3.0 (5 Gbit/s) Type-C connector, Mini HDMI, Audio In/Out
- Better battery life and performance.
- 50 MP CMOS Sensor (same as was in the H5D 50c) – Sensor Size: 43.8 x 32.9mm
- New High-resolution Touchscreen with 30 fps Live View – 3 inch TFT type, 24 bit colour, 920K pixels
- HD RAW UHD Video
- Flash Sync to 1/2,000th second with new Hasselblad Lenses
- Flash Sync to 1/1,000th second with old Hasselblad Lenses
- New Shutter speed range of 60 minutes to 1/2,000th second – all with Leaf Shutters
- 16 bit; Dynamic range 14 stops
- Dual Card Slots for a CFast card and an SD card
- Faster frame rate of 1.7 – 2.3 captures per second
- New Phocus 3.0 Software
- New Connection ports: USB 3.0 (5 Gbit/s) Type-C connector, Mini HDMI, Audio In/Out
- Better battery life and performance.
Of course, these are just specs. I have not seen or held this camera myself. But, if the specs are any indication, the H6D is a camera to be reckoned with. Notably, in my comparison above, the major issues I had with the H5D are almost all addressed in the H6D. The user interface, shutter speed range, flash syncs and battery life are all improved in the H6D. The new 1/2,000th second Flash Sync Speeds even best the Phase One XF, which is quite a surprise.
Also, I have just been told by Hasselblad directly that the old HC and HCD lenses can have the shutter replaced with the new one so that they can sync with flashes at up to 1/2,000th second with the H6D. I have no idea how much this will cost to upgrade the lenses but that means existing users will not have to buy all new lenses to get the same performance as the new varieties.
The True focus technology is the same in the new H6D. They didn’t change that. All of the electronics in the camera have been upgraded as have the output ports to USB 3.0 and Mini HDMI. It also looks as if the Phocus software has had a substantial upgrade, which is useful for all Hasselblad users. About the only thing that wasn’t upgraded was the LCD screen on the top of the grip (as shown in the images below).
The price for these new H6D cameras is also a bit more economical than the Phase One offerings. I realize that last statement seems ridiculous to most photographers but even in this genre everything is relative. The H6D 50c will sell for $25,995 USD and the H6D 100c comes in at $32,995 USD. Compared to the Phase One XF IQ100, at $48,990 USD, there is a $15,995 USD price difference. That is pretty huge for a camera system with almost identical image quality and also has 4K video, which the Phase One XF does not have.
Well done Hasselblad. I can’t wait to get my hands on this rig. If and when I do, I will offer my thoughts on the new camera.
[…] « Winter 2016 NewsletterThe Hasselblad H5D 50C WiFi vs. The Phase One XF IQ350 » […]
Wow Michael, had no idea about how bad the Phase One AF was. AF is VERY important and add the price differential, it is a no-brainer.. Thanks for the very comprehensive review.
So I’ve been shooting h5x and credo 40 for about a year and a half, and while k have never shot a cmos back, I agree on all fronts wth what you’ve written. I previously had an older h1 and the af on that was awful – true focus works amazingly well, and I’m probably in the range you are with focus 75-80%. The market for used lenses was a huge factor for me, as I own four lenses but bought zero new.
Any chance the Phase One could have been defective ??
Tony – I am pretty sure it was fine. Several other photographers have said the AF on the XF was pretty useless.
Michael, Good review. You had commented about sync speeds on the XF and stated the 35LS sync speed was found to sync only to1/100. Is that correct? My 35 LS is actually in, just need to pay for it and I find that info surprising.
I use Broncolor RFS 2.1 remotes and they have a very fast transmit time and I easily sync to 1/1600 on the Schneider 55,80 & 110LS with no issue at all. I have also used Profoto ( built in transmitter )with no issues. Phase from what I understand is working on additional Profoto features on the menu, “Fast mode” is one of them I understand which speeds up the transmitter “transmit time” to take full advantage of 1/1600 sync speed. Pocket Wizard transmitters must be set to TX only and receivers must be set to HSR mode in order to work properly with HSS. Have you received any other correspondence from other pros regarding A/F or lack of A/f accuracy?
Don – Thanks. I look forward to hearing your experiences with the new lenses and the flash sync speeds. To clarify, the lenses that were in questions with eh 1/1600th sec flash sync speed were the new larger “blue line” lenses.
As for feedback on the Phase One XF’s AF abilities, as I stated in the article everyone using the XF that I talked to before posting the review considered the AF extremely poor on the XF. There is a health conversation going on in the Forum’s on Luminous-Landscape and GetDPI about this review and comparison. Some say the AF is great and serves them well others say they have had quite a few issues with it.
Interesting stuff! I moved from Hasselblad to a Phase One XF last December. I ordered the 80MP CCD back, but by the time it shipped the 100MP CMOS back was also available, so I paid a discounted upgrade price and went for broke! My old H3D II was getting on for eight years old, and whilst still amazingly good, had started showing signs of wear. On top of that my fighting lens, the 35-90 locked up when the internal focus ring failed. It came back after $1500 holiday but still wasn’t right – soft on the righthand side. This was one of the reasons I chose the XF – Schneider-Kreuznach. I understand they’re optically comparable with Hasselblad’s, but I just felt the build quality was a bit better. With the Phase One XF and back it’s been so far, so good. I haven’t experienced any issues with autofocus. It’s probably done 30 or so shoots with no lock up. Yes, it’s a bit heavy handheld!! I shoot a hell of a lot of stuff on a tripod or high hat with the mirror up, so love the time delay options and seismograph. I’d developed a knack with the H3D of knowing when images were sharp (you couldn’t always tell from the preview!), but with the XF the screen is amazing. There’s also the promise that of this thing fails, they’ll ship a replacement to me – anywhere in the world. To give Phase One their due, the XF is still being developed. Yesterday I was sat reading about the automatic focus stacking capabilities which comes with the latest update, as does time lapse. The Phase will be more expensive than the Hasselblad (all day long) but no one ever pays the published price – inc. me!
Wow you really didn’t get on with the XF did you?
I wrote a review of the XF + IQ350 in July 2015 (on my website) and didn’t experience any of the issues you describe.
One of the lenses I had was the new blue ring 35mm which I would agree is a substantial piece of glass but I loved using it. I wouldn’t describe it as excessively heavy but the camera body weight has increased because of the inclusion of a glass prism.
The problems you experienced with the new focusing system are difficult to explain but in the couple of weeks I had the camera focussing was never an issue.
I used Pocket Wizards with Elinchrom heads in the studio and they fired every time without issue. I also use a Broncolor Move kit and they worked fine on location.
One of the strengths of the Phase One / Capture One software is Capture Pilot and the ability to push images to an iPad / iPhone directly from the IQ back by using the built in wi-fi transmitter. As you say Capture One Pro is way ahead of Phocus or LR and working tethered with an XF / IQ3 is just so easy.
There is no doubt that the H5D is an excellent camera and at the price point in December represented excellent value. The handgrip LCD and the LCD on the back are as you say awful and unworthy of the camera. The price reduction in my opinion was probably more about shifting old stock than trying to bring people into MF. Lenses are also currently on offer suggesting that a major overhaul of the product range may be coming on April 7th.
As I don’t own either I look forward to seeing how Hasselblad respond to the XF system.
Michael, thanks for the review. Half a year ago I was considering changing my Contax 645 with a Leaf Aptus 7 II-back to a H5D 50c. Comming from Nikon fullfomat I was through with the one AF-point, low ISO and bad display of the CCD-back. At that time the price for the H5 was at € 25K or so. I tried it against the Pentax 645 Z, you have mentioned too. Doing this I found out, that the Z has a very well functioning AF-System, even in low-light-situations and Ricoh advanced the sensor so Hi-ISO above 1000 are no problem at all. The handling and the display are like DSLRs. The only thing which I didn´t like was the flash-sync-time of 1/125. But as you wrote: I can use a fullformat DSLR with highspeed-sync if needed. So I bought a used Z and then several FA 645 Lenses. Now I am having a digital medium-format system, with 35mm, 55mm, 75mm, 120mm macro, 150mm, 200mm, 45-85mm and 80-160mm-lenses and the overall best medium format camera for much less than $ 14.500,00. Even new, the whole system with the newest lenses (25, 35, 90mm) would be less than the H5 without any ore with only one lens. So I think, that it is ridicoulous to pay 20 or 30 or even 40 to 60 grands for camera-systems with almost no AF bad displays and bad ISO. I want more than 70% percent and for sure more than 10% sharp images. I hope you will like your Hassi instead and have a lot of fun with it!
Thanks for the comments Frank. Great info there….good to hear you haven’t had any AF issues. It seems like there is a mix of issues.
Thanks you so much for this awesome post: this is the review I have been waiting for for a long time. Precise, informative, you cover every aspect for both cameras. Definitely sharing your post with friends photographers! Cheers.
How many photographers who own XF cameras told you they had focus problems? You said “everyone” you didn’t call me nor any of my numerous professional colleagues who shoot with the camera.
You shot with the camera for one day? I would hardly consider that enough time to get use to the camera and learn how to operate it. Why didn’t you ask one of the photographers who own the XF to shoot the alongside you? Are you going to show us the test photos you shot?
Jeffery – As I said in the comparison, those photographers I talked with said they had AF issues. I didn’t say I had talked to every XF owner. Those photographers that I talked to that own an XF live in other States and are working pros so it is tough to get together and borrow their camera while they are traveling non-stop. I won’t be posting comparison images as I did not have both cameras at the same time so I think it is unfair to both cameras to post comparison images of different scenes – aside from the noise test. This is just my experiences and thoughts on the two cameras.
[…] 5.4.16: השוואה מענינת בין Hasselblad H5D 50C WiFi לבין PhaseOne XF […]
I’ve been shooting with the DF+ and a IQ250 back for about a year with LS lenses. The autofocus performance I’ve seen is decent in the sense that it gets close, but it is not perfect often enough that I usually double-check the focus. In practice this means that is spot-on about half of the time, but I don’t like trusting that any given shot is in perfect focus. This is why I try to shoot tethered whenever possible and use AF to get approximate focus. If it proves to be soft in Capture One, I make small MF adjustments until it is perfect. Once this is dealt with, the model can start posing/acting in earnest. It takes several minutes to check this, and it has to be re-checked after every significant shot or if the model moves off their mark. Having said all this, I am used to MF on DSLR cameras (Zeiss on Nikon) so this doesn’t bother me much.
I attended the launch party for the H6D series in NYC. They went to great lengths to specify that the old H lenses cannot be upgraded with the new shutters. They found that they couldn’t manufacture enough shutters to build the new lenses and upgrade all the old ones. The NYC staff had just gotten their hands on the h6D just a few days before the event, so a lot of the information was new to them. I think it would probably be wise to wait to know more before expecting the opportunity to upgrade.
Lawrence – I was told they could by several Hasselblad reps and online directly from Hasselblad. I guess we will see here at some point. It won’t matter to me as I have an H5D and won’t be upgrading anytime soon.
[…] The Hasselblad H5D 50C WiFi vs. The Phase One XF IQ350 […]
Ive shot with both of thee cameras extensively I waited with baited breathe for the XF system and was willing to part with nearly 60k AUS. After a few test rentals and a 10 day shoot around Australia i soon realised the flaws of this new XF system. the focus is terrible. I have 20/20 vision and i could not get a frame sharp without engaging live view and focussing then shooting. This does not work out when you’re trying to capture candid and real time images.It forced me onto a tripod, and that killed the fluidity of the shoot. I previously had remembered being on a beach in wales, in driving rain and wind on a cloudy low light day chasing the one and only Bear Grylls around on the older mamiya df+ body with the 1q140 back if i remember correctly and not even thinking about the autofocus. Nearly every shot was tack sharp. essentially they have failed by not waiting for a multi spot focus system. Its a huge let down. I now just rent a H5x with an iq350 back as a work around as true focus performs really well. I hope this helps some people out there to not feel like they are fools because they cant get a pin sharp shot out of the XF without engaging live view which is a ridiculous work around.
Cory – Glad to hear I wasn’t the only onto had AF issues with the Phase One XF. I have found the Hasselblad H5D AF to be quite accurate and I trust it implicitly without having to use Live View or have it tethered. Thanks for your insight!
Since I left my last comment, I upgraded to the Phase One XF with the IQ3-100 back (XF-100). Because of your review here, I seriously considered the equivalent Hasselblad instead. From your review, I liked the idea of getting 1) a lower price, 2) better AF, 3) better reliability. These were concerns because the Phase One gear is very expensive, I did not trust autu focus on moving subjects, and I had my shutter tangle itself on a shoot, forcing me to use a D800 I had as a backup.
That said, when I got the actual quote for the Hasselblad it was actually more than the XF-100. This was partly because I would have had to replace my lenses, but even if that part of the quote was removed, it was still more expensive. This was due to the upgrade value my Phase One dealer was willing to give me. When I mentioned that to the Hasselblad dealer, he offered to give me a healthy competitive trade-in discount if I bought the H6-100. At this point, the price was almost exactly equal, not the $10k less I was expecting. Therefore, price was not an advantage.
The AF issue bugged me a bit because I like to shoot sports when I get the chance and it is very difficult to get anything in focus with fast moving athletes at close range. My D800 can do it fairly reliably, but the lenses (even my Zeiss Otus) aren’t as sharp as the Schneider lenses on the Phase One system, and the lower resolution and color depth are unsatisfying. On this subject, I was willing to give Phase One the benefit of the doubt on the basis of positive reviews I’d read of the updated honeybee focus system.
I had also read that the XF was much stronger reliability-wise than the DF+, which made me feel better about it. Also, I had read reports from disgruntled Hasselblad users that mirrored DeCohen-Lara’s tirade against Phase One. My own experience with the DF+ was that it had one serious problem: the shutter failure mentioned earlier, and then quite a few lockups that were solved in a minute or so by popping out the batteries and starting it up again. Since I have the same problem on my D800 (with the same solution) when using the Zeiss 15mm distagon, this didn’t bother me much. On the whole, this was a toss-up and I think may come down to manufacturing tolerances of individual cameras from both companies. I have used a loaner from Phase One twice (the other time was my fault for getting sand in the trigger when shooting on some dunes) and both times it was relatively painless.
There were two new factors added to the mix with the new 100MP Hasselblad: 1/2000s flash sync and 4k video. I liked the idea of both, but realistically didn’t expect to shoot video, and wasn’t sure that the difference between 1/1600s and 1/2000s sync was a deal-breaker.
What finally decided me was the color of the Phase One system. Every example photo I’ve seen from the H6-100 has color that I like less than the color used to demonstrate the XF-100. It may be the choice of images or photographers rather than the brilliant sensor (which is the same anyway), but it seemed to me possible that the difference in image processors (assuming that these are indeed different) or the way the Phase One interprets the signal from the sensor yields color more to my liking. This was not a small difference to me, because it is very clear in the images I was comparing, then confirmed when I demo’ed a unit over the summer. Though not my choice, I used it to shoot a basketball game (I wanted to use it on a studio portrait, but scheduling forced me to go with the game instead). So there I was with a 150mm blue ring Schneider mounted on an XF-100 shooting handheld from the foul line of some streetball championships. They wouldn’t let me use the strobes I brought (I am normally allowed to use these, but not at NBB games) so I had to shoot the whole day at between 1600-6400 ISO. I was not expecting great results given these conditions, but the color was amazing to look at and the ISO less of a problem than expected.
At this point I went for the XF-100, but admit that I did not demo the H6-100, though I had tentatively agreed to attend a workshop where I could have used one for a few hours. In the end it came down to color. For all I know this is more about the software on the camera than any of the mechanical details, but wherever it is coming from, I consistently prefer Phase One color to Hasselblad. They are both great, but the look is different.
I forgot to mention in my last post that I am quite enjoying the XF-100, primarily for the color and detail. Auto focus is a problem though, so I find myself using AF to get an approximate focus and then manually adjust from there. I shot an equestrian event with the camera and got some really amazing action shots, but then when shooting a bicycle race had a much harder time because the cyclists were moving much faster than the horses and I was much closer. That said, the colors are, again, superb. Also, using it for a sporting event is not done with the goal of recording the event–a Nikon or Canon would be fine for that–but to get one or two high quality action shots.
On a normal tethered shoot on location or in a studio, it works fine and I don’t worry about the AF because MF only takes a couple of minutes to perfect and after that no shots are lost.
I found the color to be better with the Hasselblad system than the Phase One, but as you say, that is just a matter of taste. They both are incredible cameras. And since you already had a Phase One system switching is always a bit more costly. If you were starting from scratch, the Hasselblad would have saved you $15K USD. Either way, it doesn’t matter if you are happy with what you got.
Wow, that admission that the AF is so horrible you use it to get close then use manual focus is very telling. I can’t imagine buying a $48,000 USD camera set up and it can’t achieve accurate focus on a stationary subject. I have been shooting a ton of sports and all manner of subjects with the Hasselblad and the AF is incredibly good. Sure it can’t track moving subjects, but it can focus on whatever I point it at extremely accurately.
Great review better than maybe the other 20-30 on the internet.
Its seems most people reviewers don’t actual take the time to shoot any images process the files and compare like you did. If you know of any reviews that get into the software menu items and describe the functions in detail comparing the use of a particular setting(s) with real world shooting conditions you could pass the link on to me it would be great. I find Hasselblads explanations extremely limited, if they know the capabilities of the functions why don’t they explain them in plain words showing examples of why and how.
I have the 100c on order and looking forward to using it.
The things that still bother me about the camera are
The idea of integrated focus stepping has been on the “to-do-list”
Live view mode on the rear display where you can see a live view constant with auto focus.
Higher resolution larger font size
sun grade LCD easy to see in bright light
Power solution for tech cam
Mirror up, remote release and stop down buttons relocated or to protrude farther out from body
manual mode button A dedicated button to set to manual mode??
better sealing from dust
locking eyesight adjustment wheel
better eye piece hood (we have made it stronger and there is also a shorter type for eye-glass users available)
Remote shutter release
Jog stick and button w/ movable focus point
different lens shade attachment system
180mm macro tilt shift
fast focus attachment
filter attachment system before lens shade
VR vibration reduction
tripod foot accessory for heavier lenses
Panoramic Head with nodal points pre marked for lenses.
Better HTS- lighter/titanium, knobs that you can reach and adjust better clearance for cable release and access to mirror up, remote release and stop down buttons
Grip for left side of camera (vertical shooting)
One piece rain cover
wireless remote shutter release
sensor cleaning kit
Hasselblad backpack (for field use not storage) with fitted section for camera body set up with RSS bracket and lens for field use.
Phase or Hasselblad; I shopped these systems early last year at a tradeshow (March 2016). They were just an aisle apart and I spent much of my tradeshow time hopping back and forth, comparing, analyzing, and focusing on the same beige wall with both cameras. Well it was the XF and the H5D, but I had a clear winner, Hasselblad. This would be my first Medium format camera after using Canon for 25 years. I preordered the H6D 100c the following month.
At that moment, I crowned the Hasselblad in my mind, because of how much more comfortable and compact the H5D body felt. Its faster autofocus was noticeable over the Phase XF body which was hunting and unsure. The XF’s awkward and heavy design, including the back autofocus button, made my hand sore after just minutes of use.
I used the H6D 50c for 5 months (June to October 2016) while waiting for my 100c order. My Hasselblad experience was like death from 1000 cuts. It constantly had digital back errors and other camera errors while shooting, which I had to remove the battery to reset, and one time my CF card corrupted. The 24mm and 28mm lens are cropped sensor lens that need a ton of correction to un-bubble them (Phocus does automatically), which may stretch parts of the image. The H6D 100c does not have a proper wide. The 35mm lens is old and has bad optics. The ipad app presented vertically shot images horizontal. The Phocus software is painfully slow. Hasselblad support did not have a PC, and was not able to help me after a Windows update did not recognize Hasselblad formatted cards. I returned the H6D system after contacting Hasselblad’s CEO. A few weeks later, the CEO departed, and the company reportedly is now owned by DJI in China.
A few weeks ago I bought a Phase One IQ3 50 kit with an 80mm and 35mm blue ring lenses. I did not want the 100mp at this point as I felt like I just got out of a bad relationship. I’m just now putting my toes back in the water. So far, I rate my Phase experience at 90 points out of 100. The Phase XF is heavier than the H6D. XF lenses are gear driven but I prefer the Hasselblad’s belt system on lenses as I like to rack out my focus, then re-autofocus. Not a big deal. The XF autofocus hunts more than H6D. Autofocus, in low light back focuses sometimes.
On the plus side, my XF camera has not had one error while shooting. I like how thoughtful the various features are on the XF body and back. One of my early favorites is the seismograph. I press the shutter button and the camera lifts the mirror and waits for any shaking to stop before firing. I can see the image better on the IQ3 50 back compared to the H6D back. I like the XF’s 2 battery design. I was never comfortable with the H6D’s battery/grip design as I worried the grip may come off. The XF grip does not come off. The 35 and 80mm lenses are super sharp and vibrant.
Capture One 10 is super-fast on my i7 8-core gtx1080 system. The same system running Phocus made me wait for thumbnails to be rendered, then I would view one large image, wait, then wait again when going back to the same thumbnails to render again. Phocus is a disaster. When you buy Hasselblad or Phase, you are also buying their proprietary darkroom. When I bought HB, I just didn’t think Phocus could be that bad.
To sum it up, I’m glad I don’t own the H6D anymore. My first month with the Phase system, camera and software, makes me excited about photography again. For the first time, I have confidence in a medium format system. Cheers,
I’ve owned both systems and have quite a bit of experience on commercial jobs with them both.
Both systems have their drawbacks. It’s like comparing a Ferrari and a Porsche. They’re both super high performance machines, and will likely need service from time to time. DSLR’S = HONDA VS TOYOTA. Dependable / Reliable / and do the job just ok
In terms of support:
Phase One hands down has been much easier to work with than Hasselblad. Turn around times on repairs much quicker, loaners next day, troubleshooting on the phone, easy. There’s just much more support out there.
Hasselblad Phocus vs Capture One =. No Brainer. Capture One is industry standard. I tech and shoot full-time and NO ONE uses Phocus on set. If there’s a Hasselblad on set it’s almost always with a Phase back on it, and for good reasons.
Lightroom is slow as molasses an you can’t shoot with a tech and have clients watching images come in with how slow that is. Not possible, it least to my standards.
Sync: Phase 1/1600th I get with all my lenses no problem. This is with Profoto built in remote in my XF. With pocket wizard plus 2’s I’ve gotten 1/1000 all the time. No issues here. The benefit of the Phase system is that you have a focal plane shutter. I can shoot outside, freeze action with the sun! Hasselblad, well good luck. You can only use a leaf shutter lens, and if you don’t have the newer Orange dot lenses, you are limited to 1/800th of a second. In full sun you’re having to stop down which sucks. Also 1/800th on medium format isn’t much at all. You need every ounce of shutter speed you can get, especially freezing action hand held on location (which is what I do quite a bit of and I know Michael does too).
Image quality: Both are awesome and if you only had one, you wouldn’t even scrutinize it or care. your clients won’t know the difference either. They can already barely see the difference between DSLR and MF. The more educated ones can, but they know what to look for. For me it’s just simply having a more prestigious tool to bring out on set, and of course the benefit is delivering much better image quality than a large portion of commercial photographers out there.
Focusing: Yes the XF can hunt, but so can the hassy. I have great success rate with focus. Michael not sure what you were testing or if you camera was set to “average” or “spot” focus, or if was set to “single” or “continuous”. Those all factor into how it focuses, but you may have had just an early camera or a bad unit.
I’m nailing it least 70% of focus with moving objects, and in studio I’m closer to 80%. Of course, if you’re shooting at f4 and wider, this can easily be a problem when the XF is set to “average”
The fact that DJI owns Hasselblad is kinda weird to me. They must have needed money badly to go that route.
BTW, if you want fast focus on an MF camera, get the FUJI! It’s fast and shoots 3fps, and you can handhold it pretty easily because it weighs half as the hassy and XF.
However, no true fast sync due to lack of leaf shutter lenses.
Hmm, what else. Well Phase costs way too much money!!!!!! They need to figure this out quick. They also alienate other MF camera users from using their software. I think that’s just arrogance in the industry.
Oh, Battery life. Much better on Phase XF system with battery sharing. Oh and the fact that you can use a waist level finder is amazing for some applications!! AKA, walking around and street shooting with an MF camera. Kinda cool.
The fact that the same Sony chip is in 5 different MFG cameras and the pricing difference is almost $20k makes me really question whats under the hood.
Anyhow, I’ve owned both, have had a few issues with both and am currently with an XF setup. I always recommend trying both out and seeing what’s best for you. BUT I can say as a working professional photographer, you will get more support and have better overall options with your camera with Phase. Hands down.
Feel free to ask any questions.