Hasselblad just made a set of surprise announcements. They are going to be selling a Mark 2 version of their most beautiful looking digital camera to date, the X-1D. It has a better touch screen and I do hope it will fix some of the things they omitted when the original X-1D came out. I hope they’ve remembered that photographers need a proper ‘remote release’…you can’t rely on being tethered to remotely fire a camera. Also they must fix the small built in delay the camera suffers from. Pressing a shutter must be instant!
Although staying with the 50Meg pixel resolution, the X-1D also gets another new lens…fine, but the best news for ‘old dinosaurs’ like me who love their old V Series film cameras is that we haven’t been forgotten.
The long standing CFV range of Hasselblad digital backs were brought up to date a few years ago when the CFV-50C model appeared giving us the 50Meg pixel CMOS detachable back. An expensive option at the time, although it was dropped in price…. but then it was discontinued when all of the Sony 50Meg chips went to the new X-1D production. I thought it had ‘gone forever’!
Now the CFV-50C detachable back returns and gets an big update, with bigger, brighter flip screen and a better set of controls that mimic the X-1D functions.
All Medium Format backs are ‘cropped’ as no manufacturer will make a 6×6 cm square back. So compromises give us at best a nearly ‘645 format’ or something well under it
It’s not easy to turn a square format designed V Series camera, even with a prism on it, so will they make the new back ‘rotatable’? It doesn’t look like it. I can shoot in either ‘landscape or portrait’ with the very old Leaf Aptus digital back I have but the Hasselblad CFV-50’s were always stuck in ‘landscape’.
Now I usually use a 1997 Hasselblad 501CM or an even older 1970’s 500CM and also love the very odd camera that Hasselblad originally called the ‘Supreme Wide’ or ‘Super Wide’. The model I have is the SWC/M CF version from 1982. The development of this camera came from Victor Hasselblad’s desire in 1954 to have a really wide angle camera, but wanting to use the Zeiss 38mm Biogon lens. It’s an outstanding true wide-angle design and not a retro-focus. This lens has almost no barrel distortion and ‘back in the day’ it was indeed a ‘supreme wide angle’. Now though it’s perhaps equivalent to a ‘full frame’ 21 or 24 mm lens I guess.
Alas it requires a very short distance between the film plane and the back of the lens and could not accommodate the usual Hasselblad reflex mirror. It also came with no viewfinder and relied on an external finder to approximate the cameras view and even had no rangefinder…all very crude, even then!
My love for the images this SWC camera makes is why the last announcement really intrigues me! They’ve announced something called the Hasselblad 907X. This firmly ties it to the ‘Super Wide C’ line…as the last models ever built of those were designated 903 and 905.
That’s the 907X in the picture below. The ‘sliver of a body’ just squeezing in between the new detachable CFV II 50C back and one of the existing line of XCD, or even HC lenses. The XCD’s are from the X-1D cameras and the HCD and the HC lenses are from the current ‘big Hassy’ digital cameras…The ‘H Series’.
So the 907X is similar in concept to Victor Hasselblad’s original 1954 ‘SWC’ design…but in a digital form…and now with a removable lens. An ‘old dinosaur’ like me hasn’t been able to get a true wide angle when using a digital back on the V Series as the crop factor meant the widest 40mm Zeiss on a V camera was somewhat cut off. The 907X will take the 21 and 35mm XCD wide angle lenses now of course and you use the tilt screen and buttons on the new CFV II 50C back to control it. The ring around the shutter button allows exposure changes I believe.
There was also no fun in putting a CFV-50C back on the SWC camera, as the ‘microlenses’ used within the back caused fringing at the edges of the image….although to be honest the ‘microlenses’ problem only came about well into the development of Medium Format digital backs. My 12 year old Leaf Aptus does work well on my SWC/M camera, although it’s still cropped of course.
The press release also mentions old V Series lenses as being adaptable to the new 907X, but they’d have to improve the current software correction for it to be for all the V Series lenses to make that really good I think.
The 907X is so ‘basic’ that it’ll come with an external viewfinder…just like the SWC did and also with a handgrip giving ‘more buttons’. I’m dying to see it….particularly since Hasselblad have apparently dropped prices.