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Thursday, 01 October 2009


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Are we to expect many more barely re-written press releases on tOP?

Sounds cool, but I'm already addicted to face-detecting AF, which renders the such schemes moot for my main subject (our 4-year-old).

"Are we to expect many more barely re-written press releases on tOP?"

When your humble editor thinks they're of sufficient interest, yes.


The "perpendicular to the axis of the lens" confused me a bit until I thought about it a bit... indeed, normally you recompose by tilting the whole camera, not shifting it sideway, and so the flat (ideally) focus plane will tilt too, and move behind or in front of whatever you focused on.
And then of course there's movement *along* the lens axis. I guess the camera measure that too.

Too late to post this on ugliest cameras ever conceived and created?

That's a darn sexy camera! pant pant drool

What's next? Automatic transmissions on formula 1 racers?

Proof positive, if ever we needed it, that today's cameras are gameboys with a lens.

These sensors drift--I've sweated blood over them. I wonder how Hasselblad deals with that.

Don't want to nitpick, but gyros never made it in consumer tech, for they are expensive and delicate contraptions. Solid-state accelerometers are what triggered the recent wave of motion-sensing applications...

I guess adding new-fangled whiz bang accelerometers is better than implementing the actually very useful liveview.

I found this bit of the blurb a whole lot more interesting than the Wiinspirated AF:

Hasselblad has also announced the return of its upgrade programme, which it shelved last year in a bid to lower its entry prices. 'We have looked at the feedback from our customers,' says Poulsen. 'And we realised it was not a wise thing to do. Our customers need to know that they are taken care of. So we're reintroducing the upgrade program.'

I believe brands who listen to their customers are more likely to survive in the long run. A few of the "big" brands could take note here.

"Hasselblad also intends to license the technology to other camera manufacturers, and believes it will provide the company leverage to gain access to other valuable patents. 'We hope to get into cross-licensing,' says Stig Nielsen. 'When we want to purchase a new [LCD] display, for example.'"

Why buy the LCD when you don't have to? Clever.

Put me down in the OMG that camera is hideous camp. Slap some beige on it and send it back in time, I think it might be the child of an old HP desktop computer.

I love the way they mixed the shiny black plastic, with the shiny gray plastic, with the matte gray plastic, and the pebbled off black plastic. The italic H just really adds a sense of speed and the feeling that it's moving forward.

"When your humble editor thinks they're of sufficient interest, yes."

Fair enough -- it is your humble blog after all. Permit me a follow-up: Is the problem identified here -- focus error introduced through the "focus lock + recompose" strategy -- best solved using this Wii-inspired thingy or more AF focus points?

Beats me. I've never used a medium-format digital back of any sort, and this one isn't available yet. Seemed interesting, though.


Focus and re-compose. How revolutionary. Wait. You mean this thing focuses by itself? Next thing you know you'll try to convince us that that itty bitty sensor is going to give as good image quality as large format. Thanks, but I'll stick with my Wista. *sarcasm mode off*
I guess I must be naive, but what kind of depth of field are you looking at where the plane of focus will be off by that much (assuming you aren't focusing on the extreme edge of the frame)? Wouldn't you be manually focusing if these situations (e.g. in a portrait studio on a tripod). And if you were relying on autofocus in this situation, why wouldn't contrast detect and live view work?
And why can't Hasselblad use multipoint AF? Yes, the sensor is big, and the area covered would require a lot of autofocus sensors, but then, how much is this thing again? I'm only comparing it with my APS-size D300's 51 focus points. So you'll need, what, say 284 AF points to cover the same proportion of the frame? For the price, I would think you could put the computational power into the camera to handle this. Hmm, makes contrast detect sound much more practical.

Contax had it right with their autofocus SLRs. Just give us focusing points at the rule of third points and a central point as a minimum. That's 5 points. You can fill in between the points as much as you want. I'd think 9 user selectable points on a 3x3 matrix would be enough (or maybe 15, a 5x3 matrix), and then fill in as needed for motion focus.

$42,500! 60 mega pixels! I think I will buy a new tripod and a tape measure.

I don't like this camera. It is too big. Too expensive. Too much! Much too much! AND it is partly from Sweden. And it is only partly black. No, a smaller, cheaper, black, Japanese would be better! (Now I feel better again :)

Sooo.... does this mean that when the landscape is boring, the light isn't 'right' or the bride's late, we'll (they'll actually - no way in H-E-double hockey sticks can I afford this one) be able to sit there and play Pokemon on the back of the new 'Blad?

Or have I got this all confused, as usual?


Oh, if only there existed some mechanism for having multiple autofocus sensors covering the frame, and perhaps choosing which sensor, or group of sensors, should be active at any one time...

Do you mean so say that for 170 years photographers haven't been able to focus properly?? We've had to focus and recompose the image by hand??????? How awful! Well it just goes to prove that the camera makes the image not the photographer.

I fully expect nintendo to start building wii remotes with motion plus built in, if they don’t I’ll be disgusted quite frankly. I’d rather wait for remotes with it built in than have to unplug it every time I want to use a peripheral.

Is the problem identified here -- focus error introduced through the "focus lock + recompose" strategy -- best solved using this Wii-inspired thingy or more AF focus points?

Not sure which is "better", but I do know many photographers (including myself in some situations) prefer using the centre point and recomposing rather than fiddling around with an AF point selector ... of course another option would be eye control focus, which Canon used to have, but again, this didn't suit everyone.

As far as I'm concerned, any technology which allows me to use the camera the way I want to use it is fine by me - personal preference is often more important than what may be objectively deemed "best".



Bert - there are pretty good tiny gyros packaged like chips nowadays. I think the MEMS technology used to make tiny accelerometers has led to developments in gyro building too. Dual axis gyros cost $20-30 if you're an amateur and want a single one to play with. About $2.50 each, if you buy tens of thousands. Don't be too surprised to see this technology in midrange consumer SLRs sometime soon.

Accelerometers are rather more valuable when backed by a gyro - it's hard to get really accurate 3-d position change information if someone turns an accelerometer while also accelerating it. Certainly if I were building this thing I'd want both.

It might not be for everyone, but it looks useful to me - and had it come from (say) Nikon or Canon, I'm guessing there wouldn't have been quite such a high proportion of dismissive comments.

I think it's cool, even if the camera isn't.

(Don't Pentax and Olympus already have accelerometers in their cameras for SR...)

No, I do not want any more information on this, and I certainly will not visit hasselblad.com . Rather I hope manufacturers will leave some photographic 'problems' unattended for the photographer to deal with.

"Proof positive, if ever we needed it, that today's cameras are gameboys with a lens."

I still love and use my gameboy camera + gameboy printer


m-j: Mike quotes a small bit from an article that he links to. I believe copyright law (and common decency) prevents him from republishing the whole thing without permission, AND from altering it. And I'm pretty sure H hasn't sent him one of these to play with (it's not out yet), so he can't post any kind of review (which requires actual experience with the product).

Given that Mike thinks the product is of interest (and I do agree with him), what do YOU think he should have done?

Has anybody done tests on focus-and-recompose error? Or simulations? I'd like to see diagrams of the errors induced.

We all, of course, used to do this, since the focus aids on our Leica M3 and Nikon F cameras were only in the center of the viewfinder.

This could be seen as an argument for curved-field lenses, with the center of the frame the far point, curving in towards the corners; so that when pivoting the lens around the nodal point, the point that had been in the center will remain on the sphere (not plane) of focus. :-)

Right you are. My standard is that I quote two paras of the linked article, or three if the paras are short or contain lots of quoted material. I use no more than one picture, I make sure I used a big, obvious "READ ON" link, and I name the website and the original writer. I usually repeat the original title, too, which wasn't feasible in this case. The intent is simply to give my readers enough information to a) let them decide for themselves if they want to read on or not, and b) not reproduce so much that my item replaces or pirates the original.

I believe my standard practice is well within Fair Use, not to mention that virtually all websites are looking for viral links because that's what drives more eyes to their material and hence their sites. Almost nobody minds more publicity.


To the people who wonder if this is worthwhile, it would be good to read the linked article.

Hasselblad say that

a) Focus and re-compose errors are more noticable on 60 mpix backs that on film or lower res digital (seems reasonable) and

b) There are good reasons why they can't do d300 style cover the frame autofocus (notice that the full frame Nikons have much more centered af points)

Disclaimer: my D300 was too expensive for me and more camera than I need. A 60 mpix Hasselblad isn't in my future :( And I agree with those who think it's been hit by the ugly stick.

I think this is a great idea, of the same why-didn't-I-think-of-that brilliance as image stabilization. I focus-and-recompose with the central AF point and I take a lot of medium-to-close-distance shots. I can absolutely imagine using this technology if/when it trickles down to lesser cameras. It seems ridiculously user-friendly, too -- press the shutter half-way and you're guaranteed focus lock on a static subject no matter how you move the camera afterwards.

If I could have a camera such as this I wouldn't care if it looked like a baboons arse - which it doesn't - and wouldn't mind if people said when I was using it' 'Look at that poor man with a baboon's arse for a face', because I'd be happy.

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