Hasselblad and ALPA of Switzerland Team Up for Medium Format 4K

ALPA with Follow FocusCredit: ALPA of Switzlerland
The Hasselblad H6D-100c is the first 4K UHD RAW medium format camera you can officially buy, and the ALPA lens plate lets you shoot with the full history of medium format lenses.

Medium format digital cinematography is coming. Well, it's technically already here with the Alexa 65, but unfortunately that tool isn't in the normal rotation for most of us quite yet. If larger digital sensors are going to make it to us independent filmmakers anytime soon, it looks like it will come from the still camera manufacturers like Hasselblad and Fujifilm, which have robust experience dealing with larger sensors and larger format lenses, rather than the traditional cinematography companies.

While the sub-$10K Fujifilm GFX-50S now looks to be a 1080 camera—which feels like a missed opportunity in 2016—we are going to be getting 4K RAW video from a medium format camera this year. Unfortunately, it's the $32,000 Hasselblad H6D-100c. While it's still priced as a rental item, it does offer full 4K and UHD RAW recording to CFast 2.0 cards, and that's a start. 

It's the 5D Mark II all over again, where the biggest frustrations came from trying to use L series still photo lenses effectively within the demands of a film set.

Hasselblad H6C-100dCredit: Hasselblad

We've known that the H6D-100c was coming since April, but it hasn't been that exciting since the glass available for the camera primarily comes from Hasselblad's HC line of lenses, which are all modern designs primarily intended for auto-focus use. While the glass quality is high (they are rehoused for the Alexa 65, for instance), the ergonomics are poor from a filmmaker's perspective. Infinite focus without hard stops, small focus rotations that make pulling focus with external follow focus difficult, no aperture ring since it's designed to be controlled by the camera body. It's the 5D Mark II all over again, where the biggest frustrations came from trying to use L series still photo lenses effectively within the demands of a film set. It's just not a good fit. Of course, with the 5D, many users adapted the camera to other lenses, but the focus distance of the HC mount makes an adapter for the popular PL mount impossible.

Zurich company ALPA of Switzerland aims to fix that problem with a new front for the H6C back that should allow filmmakers to use any of the wide variety of medium format lenses available, including Hasselblad F, Pentax 645, Mamiya 645, and Contax 645, in addition to adapting to familiar old PL mounts. However, most PL mount lenses don't cover the full area of medium format. This is likely to be less exciting to filmmakers than the ability to use older, still medium format, photo lenses—which should have the optical quality, aperture rings, and smooth, long-throw focus to make for effective motion picture work. De-clicking old lenses appears to be a business that has a few years left in it. You can also, if you like, set up the H6C for large format bellows lenses. This product is the result of a close technical collaboration between Hasselblad and ALPA and we hope to see more results of this collaboration in the future.

 These are good first signs that larger sensors are coming to the rest of us eventually.

With the 1080 Fujifilm and the $30K price tag on the Hasselblad it seems like this still won't be the year for medium format digital cinematography to become a viable indie option. But these are good first signs that larger sensors are coming to the rest of us eventually. Then again, Sony manufactures this sensor for Hasselblad, so we can always hope that they might sneak in and surprise us all with a last minute, sub $10K 4K medium format stocking stuffer before Christmas. Until that happens, and considering the rental expense of an Alexa 65, I can see this combination of ALPA and Hasselblad showing up on certain special purpose shoots—especially in the world of commercials, music videos, and fashion filmmaking—relatively soon.

The H6D-100c is available for pre-order from B&H. ALPA products are available through their regional distributors. 

Tech specs for H6D-100c

  • Video requires CFast 2.0 cards
  • 400Mb/s data rate
  • UHD 4K and Full HD RAW Video at 30 fps
  • CinemaDNG with Phocus software
  • 100MP 53.4 x 40.0mm CMOS Sensor
  • 16-Bit Color, 15-Stop Dynamic Range
  • ISO 64-12800, Shooting Up to 1.5 fps
  • Shutter Speeds: 60 min to 1/2000 sec
  • 3.0" 920k-Dot Touchscreen LCD Monitor
  • Dual CFast and SD Memory Card Slots
  • Built-In Wi-Fi, USB 3.0 Type-C
  • Includes Body, Back, HVD 90x Viewfinder

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Your Comment

8 Comments

A monster sensor like that in a stills camera gives 4K, but optimised in a video camera could give 8K ?

October 6, 2016 at 10:16AM

21
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Saied M.
1360

Is there an incredible amount of pixel binning that will muddle the image in medium and wide shots? Or is there some 8k to 4k downrez in the processing, like the 6k to 4k downrez that works so well on the Sony a6300/a6500?

October 6, 2016 at 11:20AM

8
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J Robbins
718

A question raised at Photokina, see video at 01:49
https://vimeo.com/185256479
Also, it is the full sensor width, cropped to 16:9 (mentioned at 01:25 on the vid), and I believe the sensor is way bigger than the new Fuji medium-format announced. Firmware will only improve choices.
All at a price of course, but a great direction in my view. A couple of years time might see a Hasselblad mirrorless 4K at sub $10k.

October 6, 2016 at 12:34PM, Edited October 6, 12:37PM

4
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Saied M.
1360

This camera can give us easy 8K video...

October 6, 2016 at 11:24AM

0
Reply

i'm here waiting Kodak 8mm

October 7, 2016 at 12:26AM

0
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avatar
Martin Flament
Director of Photography
184

>The Hasselblad H6D-100c is the first 4K UHD RAW medium format camera you can officially buy

Yes I can, lol

October 7, 2016 at 1:02AM

0
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avatar
Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1629

400Mbps data rate? that's a joke right?

October 7, 2016 at 4:44PM, Edited October 7, 4:44PM

2
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Eric Fletcher
Steadicam/Camera Operator and DP
156

wow the stats on this are a beast. 16-bit color? 400mb/s?

October 11, 2016 at 3:52PM

0
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Scott
100

"Hey I'm gonna use Hasselblad for video", said no one ever...

November 14, 2016 at 7:39AM

2
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