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A digital back for Hasselblad V System owners

Create: 05/19/2015 - 21:43
Hasselblad V series digital back

The Hasselblad CFV-50c requires no modifications to nearly all V system bodies, beginning with the 500C.

Without a doubt, the Hasselblad V system was the workhorse for studio and magazine photographers. Coupled with the high-quality Zeiss lenses, these ruled the fashion world until the quality of digital photography rose to the point that many abandoned their tried-and-true cameras.

The CFV-50c digital back hopes to lure those photographers back into the fold.

With a price of US$15,500, it's sure to dissuade most casual photographers from making an impulse purchase. However, for those who can afford it and are ready to make the jump, it might be time to reconsider. Here are the specs:

  • Sensor Size: 50MP CMOS (6200 x 8272)
  • Sensor Dimensions: 32.9mm x 43.8mm
  • Image Size: RAW 3FR capture 65MB on average. TIFF 8 bit: 154MB. JPG: 1/4 of the full resolution.
  • RAW File Format: Lossless compressed Hasselblad 3FR
  • Shutter Speed Range: 34 minutes to 1/800 sec.
  • ISO Speed Range: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 & 6400
  • Colour Definition: 16 bit
  • Power supply: Rechargeable Li-ion battery 8.4 VDC
  • DAC digital lens correction: Support for DAC for Carl Zeiss lenses included in Phocus
  • Colour display: TFT 3.0-inches
  • Histogram feedback: Yes
  • IR filter: Mounted on sensor
  • Acoustic feedback: Yes
  • CF Storage Capacity: 16GB CF card holds 240 images on average
  • Storage Options: CF card type U-DMA (e.g. SanDisk Extreme Pro) or tethered to Mac or PC

As you would expect of a studio camera, it can be tethered to a Mac or a PC via a Firewire connection, although the connection must be able to supply power to the Firewire port.

This back is not weather resistant, and Hasselblad specifically warns owners that if it does become wet, the back should be unplugged immediately and allowed to dry before it is used again. Care also needs to be taken to avoid damaging the sensor's thin protective filter.

The package includes Adobe Lightroom and Hasselblad Phocus capture software. The software can correct for distortion, lateral chromatic aberration and vignetting, as well as remove moire. Hasselblad also says it has developed a new color profile that gives accurate skin tones and reproduces "difficult" colors correctly.

Hasselblad says the CFV-50c digital back is compatible with all V cameras from the 500C onward. The 202, 203 and 205 require a modification to use the CFV-50c digital back. Compatibility includes the Superwide 903 and 905, as well as view cameras that are fitted with the Hasselblad V System adapters.

It also is compatible with a large number of Zeiss lenses, including those with built-in leaf shutters and those without (F/FE).

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.