Hasselblad H6D-100c Comparison Review - Full Frame Out-Performs Medium Format

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

Medium Format Look

For the first comparison 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 essentially the "medium format look," the wider angle of view but with the same shallow depth of field of a telephoto lens. The colors are also far more vibrant in the Hasselblad image with the yellows in the background and skin tones showing noticeably more detail. The Sony, on the other hand, has a much closer crop due to the smaller sensor and the colors are muted with less detail in the skin tones. Expressions aside, the image from the Hasselblad is more pleasing and interesting. Looking at this comparison, one could almost justify the massive price difference between both cameras and lenses.

It is important to note however that this above comparison is mostly demonstrating the difference in the angle of view only when using the same focal length. If a more equivalent lens is used against the 100mm f/2.2, such as the Otus 85mm or the Sigma 85mm Art, then the advantage would quite clearly be with full frame. A good 85mm lens will produce shallower depth of field and have more compression due to needing to stand further back to match the framing. Not to mention the fact that the full-frame 85mm lenses will be noticeably sharper than the 100mm f/2.2. 

Colors

The 16-bit color depth that many medium-format cameras possess gives a very compelling and great reason to upgrade. This 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 alone and the images 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 difficult to tell apart. The Canon 5DS R is one of those cameras that produces incredibly accurate colors and if you use a ColorChecker Passport (which has not been used in these images), this is further amplified. In the examples below, you'll be able to see the differences in the colors 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. Also, in the background, the greens and purples are far more pronounced in the Hasselblad and Canon images.

Canon 5DS R
Sony a7R II
Hasselblad H6D-100c

Even without the extra vibrance, Canon produces some incredible colors when coupled with lenses like the Zeiss 135mm f2 and even Otus lenses. This is because they have been designed to capture the most amount of detail without any compromises.

The Lenses

Unfortunately, when it comes to detail and sharpness the Hasselblad lenses really fall short and are incapable of producing the high level that they are presumed to be able to do. In every test completed, lenses like Zeiss, Sigma Art, and even some well-known Canon lenses out performed the Hasselblad lenses in sharpness and detail. Even with the extra megapixels, Hasselblad lenses simply can't render all of the resolution available to them. This came as a huge surprise to me and I'm certain many will doubt the results, however I can assure you very confidently that there isn't a single lens from Hasselblad that can outperform any of the best from full frame. These tests and comparisons were done in a studio with controlled lighting, using a tripod, and tethered shooting. Every image was double checked multiple times for focus and a large number of images were taken with only the best selected to prevent any faults and the full-frame lenses won every time. In the examples below the lenses used are the 150mm f/3.2 N and 120mm f/4 II versus the Canon 100mm f/2.8L and the Zeiss 135mm. No sharpening has been applied to any of the images and you'll notice a clear difference.

Not only is the Zeiss less than a third of the price but is it significantly sharper and the Hasselblad suffers from more chromatic aberrations. Chromatic abberation was a major problem for the first version of this lens however it hasn't been fully corrected in the latest version. The Zeiss will also have shallower depth of field compared to the Hasselblad due to the focal length and wider aperture. Also, the Zeiss was shot on a Canon 5DS meaning that if it were on the 5DS R, the Canon image would be even sharper. 

The second set of images below are comparing the two macro lenses on the Hasselblad and the Sony a7R II. The macro from Hasselblad was the best performing from lens from Hasselblad, but even with that, it wasn't able to produce more detail compared to the Canon. The differences between the two are negligible with neither demonstrating better performance. This also means that if you were to use the Zeiss Milvus or even the 90mm from Sony the results would be much better for full frame.

The worst performing lens from Hasselblad was by far the 24mm f/4.8 N, this lens even when stopped down to f/14 is incredibly soft, especially in the corners. In fact the performance is so bad that even the telephoto lens from the iPhone 7 Plus is much sharper in the corner versus the Hasselblad. You'll be able to see the difference below. 

Ultimately, Hasselblad lenses are by far some of the worst lenses available on the market and do not perform at the level they are stated. This is especially true when you consider the price difference between each of the lenses and the fact that an iPhone can produce sharper results in certain areas is very disappointing. The lenses from Hasselblad have been rated up to 100 megapixels, but based on the results that rating can be put to question.

Dynamic Range

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

The difference may not seem significant, but when you consider the price it becomes significant enough. For dynamic range, medium format is not automatically better. It depends entirely on which camera it is being compared to because there are several full-frame cameras that perform better. It may also be worth mentioning that the Phase One produces cleaner images compared to the Hasselblad due to it being able to shoot at ISO 50.

Camera Features and Performance

The camera itself does have some very redeeming features. True Focus is a great addition, and although it's not a perfect implementation of a focusing system it does allow for very quick and accurate focus. The menu system in the camera is quite possibly the best menu system I have ever used. The touchscreen is very intuitive and allows for seamless and effective navigation throughout the camera. Changing settings like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO can be done 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 laptop. This makes the camera far more effective if you are to use it outside and away from a studio environment. The most useful feature I enjoyed with this system was the leaf shutter in all the new Hasselblad N lenses. The sync speed has been increased by double to 1/2,000 s allowing far greater control of lighting and shooting conditions. High-speed sync isn't necessarily required due to this and this expands the kind of flashes and studio heads that you can use for your shoots.

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

The most surprising feature in this camera is 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 medium 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 slots gives this camera a major advantage over its main competitor, Phase One. 

Although True Focus is a great feature, the camera does struggle quite badly to gain focus in many scenarios. In general, shooting away from a studio environment, I found myself switching to manual focus far too often due to the camera failing to find focus. This isn't a major issue but does need to be noted. The menu system is fantastic, but the camera does suffer quite consistently from bugs and glitches. After having several discussions with other Hasselblad shooters it would seem that this is quite 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 this camera is a real let down. For a camera that costs almost $33,000 to have such shockingly bad build quality is 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 like plastic too and unlike the Phase One, it's still the old Casio watch type screen which makes it difficult to see in bright light. What's worse are the buttons on the top screen which include the much-used power button. These buttons remind me of a cheap remote control where if you press the buttons too much, eventually they get stuck in. In fact, the camera I had actually did have the power button slightly pressed in due to regular use. To have this kind of a build on a $3,000 camera is unacceptable and I can't think of a reason as to why they would assume this would be sufficient. 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.

What I Liked

  • The colors this camera produces are beautiful 
  • 4K raw recording
  • The perception this camera gives
  • Hasselblad customer service
  • The leaf shutter
  • Wi-Fi features 
  • Touchscreen and menu layout
  • Cheaper than the Phase One

What I Disliked

  • Poor performing lenses
  • Terrible build quality
  • Consistent bugs and glitches
  • Slow and lacking focusing system
  • The price in no way reflects the performance

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 available. 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 performing lenses, it's difficult to consider this a professional system. Hasselblad has been going through some problems with managing their finances and this could be the reason behind their under develops systems. Their initial agreement with DJI turned sour which resulted in their CEO being forced from the company and Hasselblad being bought out by DJI. Even the X1D, which was poised to be a great leap into the future, was reviewed as being an under developed system. The H6D is supposed to be their flagship, however the performance is mediocre at best. It's disappointing, to say the least. Hasselblad is in dire need of a proper update, because this does not feel like the same company that went to the moon.

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95 Comments

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John Giolas's picture

I, too, am a professional photographer who shoots both in the studio and on location. I use and own Hasselblad systems (the H5D and H6D), Sony (A7S and A7RII) and Fuji (XT-2 and X-PRO2). I have also owned and used extensively various Nikon systems, including every D pro body as well as the D800 & D810. I have vast experience with all these system's lenses, as well as all three of the Zeiss Otii, several other Zeiss lenses, including the 135 APO, all of the Sigma Arts...well you get the picture, no pun intended.

At one point, I found articles such as this unfortunate bit of misinformation very distressing. Now, I realize it is the price we pay for an information vehicle (the internet) that has no meaningful barrier to entry—anyone can post an opinion, not matter how wrong headed or ill conceived. Normally, I don't take the time to respond—poor analytical and expository writing such as this doesn't deserve more of my time, wasted in an attempt to rebut. But... I fear this review is so adamantly and authoritatively stated and yet so completely off the mark, I can truly see it leading to poor product choices for anyone who has the misfortune of trusting Fstopper and this addled writer. These are views clearly born of the hubris of the profoundly ignorant, and should be dismissed and ignored. But I know that it will indeed mislead some of the budding photographers reading it. Unfortunate.

The tests are irrelevant in that they in no way reveal the relative merit of any of the systems, let alone the distinct advantage of medium format. It's therefore not at all surprising that Usman's POV runs completely at odds and afoul of the conclusions of literally every pro (many dozens) I know who has any experience with Phase, Hasselblad, and even the Pentax 645Z, and now the Fuji GFX system. But's not just us blind, dopey pros who disagree with Usman, credible writers such as, among many others, Ming Thein and Lloyd Chambers', both of whose reviews, analysis, images, technical analysis, etc. etc. reveal conclusions that are nearly at the polar opposite of what is blithely put forth here. Chambers is about as thorough and as thoughtful—not to mention in possession of a profound understanding of photographic technology—as any equipment reviewer I know. Lloyd does not suffer fools or foolish equipment gladly, and is not easily tempted or persuaded. He hates bullshit, in other words. He'd hate this article.

You ask for proof, but as photographers it is not our job to prove you wrong. It's your job to be correct and thoughtful in your writing and analysis. It's our job to make great images. In fact, our income depends on it. In any event: What would proof truly mean to you, since your entire article is nothing more than a logical straw man. I fear you wouldn't know "proof" if it bit you in the ass. To paraphrase Swift: "it's foolish to attempt to reason a man out of an idea he wasn't reasoned into in the first place."

Now, see, I do regret wasting my time.

Usman Dawood's picture

Medium format manufacturers and shooters made the initial claim which is that their cameras are the best in terms of image quality and they have the best optics. The claim was theirs to begin with, I have now provided evidence to counter that claim.

Anyone can sit and make claims, prove your points, I'm genuinely interested and open to it.

Also, can you deny the bad build quality of the Hasselblad or that it suffers from allot of bugs glitches and requires the removal of the battery to make it work again? Is the Hasselblad cleaner in recovered shadows? Does Hasselblad have lenses available that can beat the likes of the Zeiss 135mm or the Otus lenses? Does the Hasselblad have better autofocus?

The only demonstratable advantage that Hasselblad has is resolution and if we go by what most professionals say then, resolution is wholly overrated. Even then, due to poor performing lenses resolution isn't really an advantage.

James Tischmann's picture

Usman... you've gotta stop. You wrote a bad article that was poorly considered and poorly executed and should probably never have been published at all. It's garnered an extremely negative reaction and should probably be retracted at this point.

People aren't upset that you said something negative about medium format or Hasselblad. Yup they're buggy, slow, awkward, and they need to be stopped down. it's completely true. No they're upset because you appear to have either intentionally from malice or though sheer laziness and ineptitude written an extremely shallow and misleading article and we have come to expect better from fstoppers.

Usman Dawood's picture

Why is it shallow and misleading, please explain I'm happy to take on constructive criticism but you must quantify your points.

James Tischmann's picture

Have you not read the comments yet?

Usman Dawood's picture

I've noticed that everytime you make a claim I ask you why/how but then you never follow up with a proper answer to that.

Thanks anyway.

James Tischmann's picture

Alright. I suppose I'll bite....

When you go to write a comparative article like this grab a notepad and head over to your nearest coffee shop. Bring some money you're going to need a lot of coffee.

On that notepad you're going to start by making lists...

1.What do I think this equipment is likely to be good at?
2.How are people using this equipment in the real world?
3.What do their clients look like?
5.How do the ergonomics fare in various situations?
5. You can take this from here. It's going to be different for every review but you should probably have at least 10 of these lists. Think of them as ready answers to questions you'll have later.

Then... and here is where your article falls a little short. You need to take a look at your answers to number 2. How are people using this equipment in the real world? Pick three or so and build tests based on those three things. Sooo...
1. Fashion studio photography
2. Landscape work
3. Food photography
Whatever you think is appropriate to actual use. You likely wouldn't pick sports but maybe you'd pick architecture. This is the core of your article. The part you'll hang everything else off of. When you talk about color you don't just say it's good you talk about it in relation to one or more of your tests. Your whole objective should be to figure out the best this system is capable of just like a real user would because that's what a potential buyer really needs to know. I don't care how it performs at f/2.2 or f/64 I do care however how it performs at f/4-16 where I'll probably use it. It's interesting to know it sucks at 2.2 and diffraction makes it soft at 64 but it's not a core and defining trait of the hardware because the use cases for that are rare commercially speaking.

Once you have your core and you've picked a similar piece of equipment that falls into the same relative niche and you've compared them using your tests you're ready to add in tests like your duck. This is information that's nice to know but not strictly relevant but if you feel it's important you should include it.

Finally write your intro and conclusion and once all of that is done create your title.

An important note on titles. Write something that is relevant to your article and don't use sweeping generalizations unless the article is about something general... your article was specific and your title used a generalization which was misleading and feels like click bait.

Your article lacked any real core. Thus it was shallow. You claimed to test the camera but really you didn't test it in any way that was meaningful to real users and you then made sweeping statements about the fitness of the equipment to perform its job thus it was misleading.

Again I'm not sure if you failed to do your due diligence because you have a chip on your shoulder or if it's simply because you're incompetent. But you could hurt a corporation and future photographers because they trust fstoppers to do a good job and you didn't.

John Giolas's picture

I frankly have no insight into what you mean by poor build quality. This subjective claim, that you state as if it is definitive fact, does not reflect reality.

I don't have "allot" (sic—perhaps you should gain some understanding of spelling, usage, and grammar before you become a "writer") of bugs and glitches with my H system—perhaps user error by a photographer unwilling to learn the system and is clearly inept to begin with explains your claim here. I do rarely have system glitches with my Hasselblad—no much more so that I do with other systems. Further, I find the ergonomics and UI the best and most intuitive in the industry. Especially compared to the silly, video game UI of the Sonys.

Your silly claim about autofocus is yet another straw man. Used correctly, the Hassy autofocus is extremely accurate (albeit) slow. It's autofocus is, used properly, is amongst the most accurate among reflex cameras—which, of course, is what the H system is. It works completely differently than the A7Rii (which I own), a mirrorless system, but within the context in which it is intended to be used it works brilliantly. You yourself stated the virtue of True Focus ("...it does allow for very quick and accurate focus...."), but then went on to trash it when you attempted to use the system in a way it was never intended. This is remarkable intellectual dishonesty and dreadful expository writing—among the worst I've seen outside the sewers of the blogosphere and forums—and shows that this writer merely has an ax to grind, and has no interest in seeking greater understanding as it relates to medium format nor subsequently revealing those found insights to his readers.

As far as lenses. You ask rhetorically if Hasselblad has any lenses to compare with the Zeiss Otii or the 135MM APO. Let's forget for a moment the fact that the rhetorical question should never be used an expository vehicle, which is yet another sign of passive aggressive, agenda driven writing, and explore your implied claim. First, I own all three Otii as well as the 135APO. They have a purpose in my photography and are extremely good technically. But I do indeed prefer the drawing style of several of the Hasselblad lenses, including the 150mm Hassy over the APO, as well as the 50MM Hassy over the Otii (a lens I intellectually understand but leaves me cold emotionally). The virtues of the Otii and Zeiss in general have a place in certain types of photography, but several of the Hassys do indeed outperform them aesthetically in certain situations, such fashion and portraiture. Of course, you fail to mention that he Zeiss are cumbersome at best and unusable at worst when mounted to a camera like the A7. There's that intellectual dishonesty rearing its ugly head again. That all being said, I do agree that this is an area where Hassy could improve.

As far as shadow recovery: Your test was improperly conducted and reveals (yet again) a lack technical understanding regarding resolution and downsampling as it relates to evaluating noise ins sensors. Further, it disregards Hasselblad's choice to place the dynamic range toward the highlights, rather than the shadows. Good photographers know how to exploit the propensities of sensors, and I actually prefer Hassy's choice to weigh DR toward the highlight recovery for many types of photography. If you want killer shadow recovery in medium format, look to the Fuji or the Pentax. Both the Pentax and especially the Fuji squish the A7Rii in both dynamic range (and any other fullframe camera) and in its clean recovery of shadows—but both lack the Hassy's tonal beauty in the mid-tones and on up to its unrivaled highlight recovery and tonality.

It is amazing to me that an individual such as yourself can remain on his poorly conceived and flimsy soapbox, blindly, defensively, and adamantly proclaiming what he believe to be true, when so many around him who have actual experience and genuine expertise for the topic about which he writes proclaim him to be wrong. Absolutely wrong. Narcissism apparently has no limits in the blogosphere.

Usman Dawood's picture

Sorry after the first few insults I realised there wasn't much point having a discussion about this with you, so I didn't read the rest. Thank you anyway.

Anonymous's picture

Although I can't count myself as a pure professional I have also used and own both full frame and MF cameras and have to say I find this article very misleading. The quality I get from my phase one (same sensor as this Hassy) is not comparable to my canon or sony bodies, the resolution is mind-blowing if you shoot it right, your shot of the duck toy is a pretty poor way to demonstrate that, it isn't stopped down, which makes a huge difference (if you're shooting in studio conditions why let wide open performance limit you?). You say a good 85 would give the same results in the first comparison, but where is the proof? you could get your hands on a hassy and sony but not an 85 to take the same shot with an otus or a sigma? This doesn't ring true to my experience with the systems, there are certainly advantages to both, and they both have a place in the world of photography, but they are not equivalent pieces of equipment. Also if you are going to judge wide angle performance on MF either get a blue ring Schneider 35 LS or an ALPA or Cambo body with a good lens, the hassy 24 you tested is known as a poor performer.

Usman Dawood's picture

Unfortunately, at the time I didn't have access to a good 85mm lens to compare it properly.

The Phase sensor is the same as the hassy but it hasn't been implemented in the same way. Phase One can shoot down to ISO 50 and also colors from the Phase in my testing proved to be far more accurate. Also, Phase One lenses are noticeably better than Hasselblad. This comparison was about Hasselblad and not Phase One that's why I didn't use wide angle lenses from Schneider.

Matt Rogers's picture

I'm slightly baffled by the statement above claiming that by using equivalent focal lengths you would get "better background blur" from the full frame because you'd be "standing further away".

My understanding is (and I'm happy to be corrected) that this is incorrect in few of ways.

Point 1: the whole point of talking about equivalent focal length is that you change the focal length so that the FOV is equal between 2different sensor sizes. If you are standing further away with an 85mm then it isn't the equivalent focal length to the 110mm that you're using on the MF body.

Point 2: generally speaking being closer to your subject will produce a narrower depth of field no matter what lens You're using.

Point 3: at the same aperture a longer focal length lense will produce a narrower depth of field as a rule. If this is your goal then MF will do this better for you.

Of course a couple of these points are negated if "better background blur" actually means increased depth of field in this case. But it would be an odd way to phrase that.

Usman Dawood's picture

Point 1. That's very true and I didn't word that correctly, I accept your point.

Point 2. Yes, that's is correct.

Point 3. The first part of this point is correct however full frame have more options available for shallower DOF compared to MF. There are no current lenses for MF that can produce shallower DOF compared to a 135mm f2 when shot from the same distance.

J. W.'s picture

Why argue with words when photos can say it better. Link to DPReview: https://goo.gl/eGfQWg

Usman Dawood's picture

This article was only about Hasselblad, you're comparing Phase One.

The sensor might be the same but implementation definitely isn't. Phase One is without a doubt better than Hasselblad.

John Giolas's picture

I frankly have no insight into what you mean by poor build quality. This subjective claim, that you state as if it is definitive fact, does not reflect reality.

I don't have "allot" (sic—perhaps you should gain some understanding of spelling, usage, and grammar before you become a "writer") of bugs and glitches with my H system—perhaps user error by a photographer unwilling to learn the system and is clearly inept to begin with explains your claim here. I do rarely have system glitches with my Hasselblad—no much more so that I do with other systems. Further, I find the ergonomics and UI the best and most intuitive in the industry. Especially compared to the silly, video game UI of the Sonys.

Your silly claim about autofocus is yet another straw man. Used correctly, the Hassy autofocus is extremely accurate (albeit) slow. It's autofocus is, used properly, is amongst the most accurate among reflex cameras—which, of course, is what the H system is. It works completely differently than the A7Rii (which I own), a mirrorless system, but within the context in which it is intended to be used it works brilliantly. You yourself stated the virtue of True Focus ("...it does allow for very quick and accurate focus...."), but then went on to trash it when you attempted to use the system in a way it was never intended. This is remarkable intellectual dishonesty and dreadful expository writing—among the worst I've seen outside the sewers of the blogosphere and forums—and shows that this writer merely has an ax to grind, and has no interest in seeking greater understanding as it relates to medium format nor subsequently revealing those found insights to his readers.

As far as lenses. You ask rhetorically if Hasselblad has any lenses to compare with the Zeiss Otii or the 135MM APO. Let's forget for a moment the fact that the rhetorical question should never be used an expository vehicle, which is yet another sign of passive aggressive, agenda driven writing, and explore your implied claim. First, I own all three Otii as well as the 135APO. They have a purpose in my photography and are extremely good technically. But I do indeed prefer the drawing style of several of the Hasselblad lenses, including the 150mm Hassy over the APO, as well as the 50MM Hassy over the Otii (a lens I intellectually understand but leaves me cold emotionally). The virtues of the Otii and Zeiss in general have a place in certain types of photography, but several of the Hassys do indeed outperform them aesthetically in certain situations, such fashion and portraiture. Of course, you fail to mention that he Zeiss are cumbersome at best and unusable at worst when mounted to a camera like the A7. There's that intellectual dishonesty rearing its ugly head again. That all being said, I do agree that this is an area where Hassy could improve.

As far as shadow recovery: Your test was improperly conducted and reveals (yet again) a lack technical understanding regarding resolution and downsampling as it relates to evaluating noise ins sensors. Further, it disregards Hasselblad's choice to place the dynamic range toward the highlights, rather than the shadows. Good photographers know how to exploit the propensities of sensors, and I actually prefer Hassy's choice to weigh DR toward the highlight recovery for many types of photography. If you want killer shadow recovery in medium format, look to the Fuji or the Pentax. Both the Pentax and especially the Fuji squish the A7Rii in both dynamic range (and any other fullframe camera) and in its clean recovery of shadows—but both lack the Hassy's tonal beauty in the mid-tones and on up to its unrivaled highlight recovery and tonality.

It is amazing to me that an individual such as yourself can remain on his poorly conceived and flimsy soapbox, blindly, defensively, and adamantly proclaiming what he believe to be true, when so many around him who have actual experience and genuine expertise for the topic about which he writes proclaim him to be wrong. Absolutely wrong. Narcissism apparently has no limits in the blogosphere.

Frank Withers's picture

Everyone's already said what I wanted to, just want to toss in my vote that your analysis is flawed. The difference in quality between my 35mm and Phase one 645 system is staggering. You could have avoided a lot of criticism if you didn't use as much blanket generalizations based on some pretty poor testing. Medium format is for pro work- it should be tested in relevant shooting conditions... but alas honestly if anyone truly believes their 35mm system provides the same in terms of quality/capability as a modular DB system from Phase or Hassey, there's no point trying to convince!

Osman Merdan's picture

Omg , I have never thought 35mm cameras can outperfom m format cameras in any way. Amazing article , I aprecciate the effort you put in this article. I have also watched the youtube video about architectual photography comparisons. Clearly you have spend valuble amount of time. Thanks.

Frank Withers's picture

They mostly do in terms of speed. I and many others in this thread would recommend you view some other real-world results before drawing any quick conclusions about the IQ superiority of 35 over 645..

Osman Merdan's picture

Thank you sir. I will check them out.

John Wallace's picture

Working for a company that distributes hasselblad, sigma and zeiss I find the article pretty funny. We have done our testing with our customers using US airforce test charts on the 100mp hasselblad vs the 5dsr and the a7rii with and the conclusion was compelling enough for our government customers to keep and update their hasselblads. These cameras literally do hundred of shots a day every working day so when it comes to build quality I think they do an ok job. I think you and fstoppers have achieved your goal of publishing some fine click bait- I never post but here I am, well done.

Tony Northrup's picture

Great article. Thanks for being so meticulous! Really compelling results.

BTW in my experience and testing, high quality lenses are sharpest wide open, because diffraction is minimized wide open. Lower-quality lenses get sharper as you close the aperture, because the benefits are greater than the diffraction.

James Tischmann's picture

Et tu, Brute?

Usman Dawood's picture

Thank you so much for the comment Tony I really appreciate it. I've been a long time fan of your videos and thanks to you I've learned allot.

David cooper's picture

One of the rarely mentioned differences from 35mm is Hasselblads older square format and the newer 6 4.5 format. As a dance photographer these proportions are why I stayed with medium format for 30 years and have moved from a 500 series with a digital back to a H6 100 camera.
Some comparison reviews like these are not very helpful in explaining why pros use medium format. It would be more useful to get 10 photographers who shoot very different subject matter and discuss the pros and cons of the systems. These type of reviews are going to start a war of words when it's the content of the image that makes us love creative work not the camera system that was used. Please stop publishing bad pictures of ducks when we are discussing creativity. Both cameras don't improve pictures like that.

Felix Wu's picture

It's a side by side comparison what do you expect? LOL...Creativity is always there no matter which system people choose to work with.

Bernard Languillier's picture

As a H6D-100c owner who have been shooting a D810 equipped with the very best lenses (Otus, Leica R, now Nikon 105mm f1.4/28mm f1.4)... I am surprised this article got published at Fstoppers, to me it lowers the value of the site.

Several of the claims made here just don't hold water, starting with the DR one. If you shoot both the H6D-100c and the D810 (the best DSLR by far) at their base ISO of 64, you clearly see that the Hassy is a bit better than the Nikon still. DR comparisons can be difficult to do since you need to consider the right exposure to maximize usage of highlight headroom.

How could it be different since they both use Sony sensors, with the Hassy being both newer and having an intrinsic size advantage, meaning it captures more light.

As far as the lenses go, I own the 28mm, 50mmII, 100mm, 120mm, 210 and 300mm. I haven't shot with the 150mm, but all the lenses I own are oustanding, deliver sharp images accross the field. Are they are good wide opened as the 3 Otus I own(ed)? Maybe not, but shoot them at f4/F5.6 which is already on the agressive side for most applications, and they deliver superb image quality and, more importantly, a great look. I love the Zeiss glass, but the bulk and cost makes it a questionable option all things considered.

The build quality of the H6D-100c is good, not amazing, but good. I would certainly not call it poor. If I were to criticize the Hasselblad finish, it would be in terms of durability, not in terms of perceived quality. But that again takes some actual usage of the system to figure out.

So overall, the article feels like it was written by someone with an axe to grind with MF, demonstrates a lack of knowledge and objectivity and understanding for the value delivered by MF systems. I can't say I am surprised, your earlier article about the P1 on tech camera was highly questionable on several accounts as well.

Reading the comments here... it looks like you haven't convinced anybody but yourself. Did that at least generate the buzz you were hoping for?

Usman Dawood's picture

I've demonstrated my points with evidence not personal opinions. If you can provide the same to back up your claims I'd be very interested.

Sean Moore's picture

Bad evidence doesn't count. Every other commenter here agrees that your test is not valid and all came to the conclusion that you don't know what you are talking about.

dale clark's picture

I say that's rather harsh don't you think. I think Usman put quite a bit of thought behind his testing. I would like to see more articles on FStoppers like this instead of the usual Click bait that Fstoppers has become known for recently.

Myself, I like debate. How about somebody perform the same test and present findings. Usman seems open to change his view and quite interested to see what someone else finds.

Usman Dawood's picture

Dale that's very kind of you to say thank you so much. I am genuinely open to evidence and testing. I really would be interested if someone presents their findings with evidence.

Thank you again Dale I really appreciate that.

Frank Withers's picture

Not all of us have 100MP backs laying around! I am basing my comments on near daily work on 35mm and medium format systems with very close resolution and the best lenses available for each system.

Bernard Languillier's picture

Honestly, this is a waste of time. Proceed with your agenda all you want.

Peter Bourne's picture

As an owner of a H6D-100c and 28mm, 80mm, 100mm, 150mm, 210mm, 300mm and 35-90mm lenses, as well as the HTS tilt-shift adaptor, I feel this article is quite inaccurate. Perhaps the zoom lens in this line-up is not quite as sharp as the primes, but I have found that the Hasselblad system is far superior to my Nikon D810 and Canon 5D cameras for landscape and portrait photography. No competition at all! (I haven't used the Sony system, unfortunately, so can't comment here).

The only issue with the H6D-100c is that your technique has to be absolutely perfect to get the good results, particularly with quality of tripod support. If you nail the technique, then the resultant files are quite gob-smacking.

With due respect, perhaps Usman may benefit from lessons from a Hasselblad "ambassador" expert photographer on how to use the H6D-100c correctly?? Another explanation may be that Usman tested "bad" copies of the lenses, but this would be unlikely.

Usman Dawood's picture

If a Hasselblad Ambassador wants to work with me on a comparison where we can test and compare lenses from both formats, I'd be happy to. Most of your comment about my method and technique is based on assumption, however, I'd be happy to work with an ambassador to do some more testing.

Thank you for the comment, Peter, great to hear from you.

Peter Bourne's picture

Thank you for your courteous reply, Usman. I am not a professional photographer per se but merely a very enthusiastic amateur landscape and portrait photographer. I do shoot medical images professionally for the purpose of monitoring moles on patients with the Hasselblad and I find the 100 megapixels of the H6D-100c allows me to zoom in to review moles to a greater degree than my previous H4D-40 and H6D-50c, and certainly more than the old Canon 5D 1, 2 and 3 and Nikon D810. For this reason alone, the H6D-100c is worth the investment in my situation.

I have not used the Sony Ar7II or the Canon 5Ds so I cannot say if I feel they are better or worse than the H6D-100c. I do disagree with your conclusions in this article, however, where you say regarding the Hasselblad:

1. Poor performing lenses - Not my experience. The 150mm is especially very, very sharp.

2. Terrible build quality - Not sure why you say this. Build quality is perfect for the cameras intended purposes

3. Consistent bugs and glitches - absolutely none with the H6D-100c. The H4D-40 did have some glitches way back when it first came out.

4. Slow and lacking focusing system - If you want super fast focus tracking, buy a Canon 1Dx II or Nikon D5 and their respective 400mm f2.8 lens. The Hasselblad is not your camera.

5. The price in no way reflects the performance - The performance for the camera's intended purpose is worth the price, in my view. It's a matter of the right tool for the job. This camera is not for everyone.

One thing I have found, with the H6D-100c especially, is that the images can appear to be not very sharp straight out of camera. However, with a little sharpening in post, they become extraordinarily sharp. I didn't find this the case with my other Nikon and Canon cameras, and not to such a degree with the H4D-40, and I'm not sure why this is the case. I wonder if this feature may have influenced your surprising results. Perhaps readers with more technical knowledge than me could explain this phenomenon.

Your article and tests just seem to fly in the face of virtually all Hasselblad shooters' experience of which I know, as well as my own. Hence, I can only assume that there is some sort of flaw in your testing or processing methods, sorry. I certainly don't mean to insult you. I am sure you have tried your hardest to be objective about the whole testing process.

As I mentioned before, the H6D-100c, for me at least, is a quite difficult beast to master, but, when your technique is perfect, the results are really amazing. Much more so than Nikon and Canon results in my experience. You should only use this camera for specific types of photography. It's not your all round, general purpose camera. If you want a "daily driver", look at the Sony, Nikon or Canon offerings.

It would be great to invite a Hasselblad "Master" to go head to head with Canon, Nikon and Sony "Masters", shooting different styles of photography.

I wonder if Tony and Chelsea Nothrup would be able to organise this? (I too am a great fan of their shows!). Tony seems to have a very open and unbiased approach to photographic gear reviews.

Usman Dawood's picture

Thank you for the very detailed reply.

Just to clarify a few points.

1. The comment about poor performing lenses was based on relative performance. Any lens can be considered sharp individually but all things are relative and compared to the best that full frame has to offer there isn't a single lens from Hasselblad that can perform on the same level. I have properly tried and compared them over a long period of time. Consider lenses such as the Otus line up, Milvus, and even some Classic Zeiss. Not to mention some of the latest primes from Sigma Canon and Sony. I haven't personally tried Nikon. The 150mm is especially poor in performance compared to any portrait lens I've used in recent years.

2. Build quality is especially bad, it's made of cheap plastic that flexes, the buttons are reminiscent of an old remote control on the top, and the top LCD is still the same from the 80s. This is not great build especially when you compare it to the Phase one or any modern magnesium alloy built DSLR. Have a look at how older 500CM cameras were built and you'll see what I mean. This is not the same Hasselblad it used to be.

3. I used the Hasselblad for about a year and in that time I can't tell you how many crashes it suffered from or how many glitches in the software and there were a number of different bodies and upgraded versions between that time.

4. The argument of "buy a DSLR for better focus" isn't sufficient. The Hasselblad is a DSLR itself and for the cost, they need to implement a better focusing system. I'm not asking for something that can track moving subjects the way a 1DX or D5 will but just being able to find a stationary subject is a very reasonable request. I simply switched to using manual focus on many occasions.

5. This last point was more of a personal point so on that basis I will agree with you. Having said that, the fact that I can get better-detailed images with a 5DSR and a Zeiss lens makes me feel disappointed about the Hasselblad.

Also, I didn't take anything you said as an insult I think you're well within your rights to comment as you feel and if anything I appreciate it. This is a discussion, you made a point and I made a point, it's interesting to me to discuss these things. I do however think that much of what you say is simply an assumption because you find this difficult to believe. What I would suggest instead is that you compare the top end lenses for full frame against the Hasselblad in an objective test. Many Hasselblad shooters have a romanticised view of Hasselblad and for that reason, emotional attachments could prevent objective comparisons or thought. Not f course suggesting that about you but this is what I have observed for many individuals.

I'd be happy to concede any point if evidence is provided. If you'd like to discuss this and work on a comparison together (remotely) I'd be very interested.

Anonymous's picture

Yeah, you lost me at stand further back for shallower depth of field.

So here is for those interested a better comparison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUyICPALyzQ

Usman Dawood's picture

I never said standing further back to get shallower DOF. That was a point about compression, not DOF, you've misunderstood.
Also, I watched that video and the many critiques he's received for how he's done his comparison are valid. He hasn't done the test properly.

Lastly, his comparison doesn't address any of my points, nor has he used any of the lenses I used.

Anonymous's picture

Then it is a grammatical error on your part, which should be fixed before writing articles. Because as it is written you say DOF and compression are from standing further back.

I see now that this has been brought up before, didn't bother reading past that not even comments, just wanted to give people something that is of far more use.

What is wrong with him testing with the best that Sony had to offer compared to you not even testing Sony lenses?

But for real, learn to actually compare and not just try be a Sony fanboy.

Usman Dawood's picture

It may help if you actually read the sentence properly. There are no grammatical errors in that sentence.

I’m not a Sony fanboy I mostly used Canon and Zeiss in my comparisons.

I can’t have a discussion with you if you just want to make up stuff and then complain about it.

Anonymous's picture

How about you actually read what you wrote and then you will realise why people read it right by you being wrong. It is amazing what difference a comma can actually make.

This is why Fstoppers really is going to shit, they have writers like you doing articles.

But in any case, can't be bothered dealing with morons like you, so will rather just do the easier thing, and put Fstoppers in the same spot as petapixel, ie. a joke to photography. Because that is what you make of it. So farewell and go teach people incorrectly further and further you rockstar

barry cash's picture

Usman,

First off great review, its always time consuming and even if you do a review tens times you will always forget something or think of another way it could have been done better.
Your critics are for the most part either very lonely or bored people when I read the review I see your efforts were done with careful thought and you followed through with backup examples...well done!

AS for your CONS
Poor performing lenses (I always wonder how much better they could be, if remade today. 10-15 years has passed since they were engineered) I have made suggestions to Hasselblad about producing other focal lengths, and redoing some of the existing lenses those suggestions might have fallen of deaf ears or been shot down already by the investors.
Terrible build quality (If your speaking of the camera I cant agree!)
Consistent bugs and glitches (If your speaking of Phocus tethered nope its a workhorse, I consistently use it that way...once and a while it freaks out but for 95% of the time I beat it to death and it just works do I want it faster you bet.) My only wish is that Hassleblad would incorporate some of the Phocus features in the camera firmware.)
Slow and lacking focusing system ( its is slow but TF true focus is insanely accurate you would be hard pressed to do it manually) when focusing with auto focus or true focus unfortunately every system always focuses on the eyelashes not the eyeball the eyeball must be done manually.)
The price in no way reflects the performance ( if you mean its expensive and doesn't perform well for the price that's relative try Phase One on for price its double.) If you mean its expensive and performance is moderate then I would say your right on with today's technology it could be, should be and can be much better.

Finally after using the 100c for a year now I am always impressed with it ability to capture mind-blowing detail, unreal gradation in the highlights, its built like a tank, it never once has let me down, and I still love shooting with it. I use the Hasselblad H6D-100c to capture images that it excels in, for other work there are plenty of other tools available. If your readers have not had the pleasure of spending 1000 hours PP images from this camera they cant even imagine what they are missing, there is nothing on the market that comes close not even Phase One.

I have a long list of firmware features and new ideas for Hasselblad for the next camera doubt they will listen to me though. Maybe they will listen to you.

Happy New Year

Simon Miller's picture

This review is so beyond flawed it is difficult to know where to start. I've been a pro fashion, location and studio shooter for 35 yrs+. I have shot on everything from 10x8 down to 35mm. Discard everything you read here and make up your own mind. HIre an H5 or H6 50 for a day or go to a camera shop and try one and compare to a FF dslr. Your head will be blown. HC lenses are incredible - they were designed for film and we know that 120 film is beyond 100mpx in terms of res. The difference in pixels between sensors isn't how many or how big they are but the processing and the way they are represented once you export. I have used GFX and loved it, bu couldn't get on with the ergonomics of the thing, I swapped for a H5650 - and remember I could have gone for the GFX100 but I chose not to. Personally I don't need 1000FPS, I like things nice and slow, deliberate, I don't need 100MPX and all the processing power in post that requires. The 50 is optimal for me - however what surprised me the most was the images - they blew the GFX away. Cameras I tried along the way. Sony 61mp - hateful thing. Phase One MF - the lenses are as horrific as you might expect - literally re-badged old Mamiya's which were never that good in the first place - certainly not a match for my legendary RZ. Other factors to consider. The 'H' is a system. Tilt/shift/extension tubes/macro extender etc - keep the body and change the back later? There is a lot to consider which this author does not even mention.

Usman Dawood's picture

Please feel free to do a a fair comparison using equivalent lenses at equivalent settings and post your results. My conclusions are based on actual results produced by the lenses. That's how they perform.

There are no lenses naively available for the H system that are anywhere near as good as some of the best lenses available for full-frame cameras. Whatever lens you're thinking of, I could probably name several that are better.

Also, please note that my comparison was predominantly about the lenses and not many of the points and preferences you brought up.