Hasselblad's H1 is the most advanced medium-format SLR ever. But at $5,700,
is it the best?
Camera: Hasselblad H1 6x4.5cm AF SLR. Approx. street price: $5,700 with 80mm f/2.8 Hasselblad HC lens, standard film magazine, and eye-level reflex meter finder.
centerweighted (20%) and spotmetering (2%) modes, zone system mode, AE lock; metering ranges at f/2.8 and ISO 100: Average, EV 1-21; centerweighted, EV 1-21; spot, EV 2-21.
How does the Hasselblad H1 stack up against competitors?
($4,000 street with 80mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Planar T* lens, meter prism and film back) A beautifully made modular SLR, the Contax features an optically excellent line of Carl Zeiss lenses, built-in motor drive with speeds up to 1.6 fps, multimode (but no program) metering, and a dedicated TTL autoflash system that provides preflash metering. Its pentaprism viewfinder is very bright and contrasty, and has manual focusing aids plus excellent finder readouts. It also has data-imprinting capability. The 645's six-sensor (no cross sensor) autofocus system is adequate in bright light but less reliable in low light or with low-contrast subjects. Sync speed at 1/90 sec; 1/125 sec with TLA-series units.
($2,500 street with 75mm f/2.8 Pentax-FA lens) Much less expensive than the H1, the 645nii is the most compact camera in its class, handles very well, and has a fine line of AF lenses. AF performance is quite good, but it has no cross-field sensor. It does have motor drive with speeds to 2 fps, excellent finder readouts, a fine-performing six-zone multipattern metering system with all the usual modes (including spot and metered manual), mirror-up function, comprehensive on-film data imprinting, and ten custom functions. However, the 645nii lacks interchangeable film backs (and, therefore, easy digital compatibility), the viewfinder is not as bright or contrasty as its rivals, and its focal-plane shutter syncs at a slow 1/60 sec.
Mamiya 645 AFD
($3,750 street with 80mm f/2.8 Mamiya AF lens) Distinctively styled, the 645 AFD is comfortably contoured, very well-balanced, has a bright, contrasty viewfinder (fixed prism; screens are user-interchangeable), and good three-sensor, H-pattern autofocus system that focuses very quickly but has no cross-field sensor. Its metering system, providing centerweighted, spot or dual-zone evaluative readings, performs well and has all the usual modes. It has interchangeable film backs with dark-slide storage slots, and, based on our tests, its lens line is of very high quality. Considering its overall performance and relatively moderate price, the 645 AFD is the H1's top competitor, in our opinion.
Want more info? Call Hasselblad at 973-227-7320 or go to www.hasselbladusa.com.