Hasselblad H1 Medium Format

Available At:
H1

Autofocus, digital-friendly, 645 SLR camera

  • Aluminum core with a solid stainless steel housing
  • Super-fast, advanced auto-focus w. real-time manual override
  • Lens shutter design for flash-synch to 1/800th sec.

  • User Reviews (2)

    Showing 1-2 of 2  
    Roy Caples   Expert [Mar 26, 2004]
    Strength:

    Very sharp lenses, exceptionally bright viewfinder, full of features

    Weakness:

    expensive; limited lens line (I'd love a 300mm lens with a rotating tripod collar).

    Hasselblad cameras have long been known for their high quality and correspondingly high prices, a tradition continued with the H1. So what do you get for your money with this 645 techno-wonder? 1) first and foremost, the Hasselblad/Fuji lenses are extremely sharp with very good contrast. The brightness of the 35mm extends right out to the corners--the clarity is astonishing. 2) The viewfinder is exceptionally bright with a diopter adjustment of from -4 to +2.5. This keeps my tired old eyes very happy. (Hasselblad should do this with the PME-45 meter prism for their 500 series cameras). 3) The exposure meter is very accurate. I recently threw some gaudily-lighted night scenes of Laughlin, Nevada casino exteriors at it and the results were excellent (Provia 100 rated normally). 4) The ergonomic handgrip is one of the best I've seen. It needs to be. The 35 and 150mm lenses are hefty, yet they handle well on the camera. Add a Kirk Enterprises bracket for the H1 and everything balances well in the vertical position on an Arca B1 ball head. 5) The H1 is loaded with features. Here are just two that ring my chimes: the stop-down button is on the front between the grip and the camera body. I find it awkward to reach, but not to worry. On the back is a user-button perfectly placed where the right thumb can push it--it can be programmed to take on the stop-down function. In fact, you can program the user-button in about 15 other different ways, including the very useful one of cycling the light meter in a loop manner through its center weighted, average, or spot modes--all without removing the camera from your eye. Another useful feature I like is pushing the mirror-up button twice in rapid succession when the camera is tripod mounted. The mirror goes up and the self-timer mode is automatically readied, pre-set by me to 4 or 5 seconds to give the vibrations time to settle down before I push the shutter button. Of course, the H1 also has barcode loading with Fuji films, hyperfocal scales on all the lenses, data imprinting, flash sync at all speeds to 1/800, and a pop-up flash. Lens hoods reverse for easy storage, a technique that eluded me at first, but now I find it quite easy to do. One other feature of prime importance that can't be overlooked in any review--it was instrumental in my purchase of the camera--is the facility with which the H1 handles fill-in flash, a technique I find essential. Here's what works for me: pair the H1 with the Metz 54 MZ-3 flash and the requisite SCA 3902 adaptor. Spend $20 more for the plastic diffuser screen (MZ 54490) that snaps onto the Metz head. With this set-up,rating Provia 100 at 125 and dialing a -2.7 flash compensation on the H1 body, I find that it gives me the darker background I like with totally accurate fill-in, even with fussy-to-expose transparency film. Even flash compensation of -2.0 and -3.0 yielded good exposures. The data info on the film edge noted that my camera was in aperture priority, f4 at 1/320--love that high sync speed!

    Customer Service

    exemplary--Hasselblad USA ranks among the best

    Similar Products Used: Hasselblad 500C/M ; Pentax 645
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Available At:
    LRY   Professional [Jan 05, 2004]
    Strength:

    Very intuitive, very ergonomic design. You can pick one up and figure out the menus without having to be a rocket scientist. AF speed much faster, more accurate than competition. Metering in camera excellent, very predictable. Very bright viewfinder and display, easy to see into and thru. High flash sync speed. Design minimizes physical idyosyncracies common in MF camera usability, especially with the magazine back. A joy to use if you like holding a camera with some heft to it. Beautiful images from the lenses (I've used the 35, 80, 150, and zoom).

    Weakness:

    As with any 1.0 product there are some quibbles. Firmware is on something like 8.3 already, but Hasselblad is more responsive than most large companies I've dealt with. Only a couple "weaknesses" that are in many ways very specific to my type of work which "needs" speed and responsiveness. Weight and bulk (it's not a 35mm camera) -- it's heavy compared to other systems but the hand grip compensates for this by giving you a solid grasp of the machine. The viewfinder was too bright once when shooting a bright snow-covered plain--so bright I couldn't see the exposure data/meter readout in the viewfinder. Not sure if this has been fixed with my updated viewfinder but will be finding out in a couple weeks. Lastly, Canon users who are accustomed to using the rear button to activate AF may find that the H1 when set up this way (set AF to Manual) gets confused and stalls or hunts for focus when "toggling" between half-presses on the shutter and the rear user button. At worst, it resets the shutter AF from Manual to Single AF. I'm told the factory is aware of this relatively rare usability problem and is working on a fix (as of Dec 03). Most users won't have this issue as you have to be dealing with a subject that is really moving a lot in a situation where you're constantly shooting (not motor driving but just staying with them and shooting in motor drive) for a couple minutes at a time. Finally battery life with the CR123As seems a wee bit short but that's compared to using 35mm cameras... Have not tried the rechargeable pack yet.

    Build quality: 8.5 of 10 Lenses: At least a 9 without having compared them side by side with Leica, etc. Just beautiful, great sharpness edge to edge without distortion except at the widest angle. Contrast and bokeh are both pleasing. Hassy is going against the trend now with just about everyone seeing digital. New camera, all new lenses make the H1 a five figure splurge. Not much to dislike about this system however, especially compared to other MF cameras. That said, you can buy all kinds of gear used nowadays as many people are hearing the digital siren song. And for the money I suspect most people won't need for the H1's speed and ease of use where the camera really stands out against its competition. Then again, if you're in the market for the Mercedes of medium format, the H1 is the only way to go. I give it five stars but I wish it were less expensive. The lenses however are something of a value I suppose, compared to Leica's 35mm lenses which are in the same price range.

    Customer Service

    Second to none, especially since I purchased from the local dealer. I had some issues and each time the camera was sent back FedEx and returned within four or five days. No charge to me at all. THANKS Hassy and Glazer's!

    Similar Products Used: Contax 645, Mamiyas
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    Showing 1-2 of 2  

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