Resolution Wars heat up as Hasselblad announces new H6D-400C that’s capable of 400mp images


posted Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 8:51 AM EST


With more and more full-frame cameras now including a multi-shot mode, such as the new Sony A7R III, Hasselblad has released a new medium-format model with its own "Multi-Shot" technology, the Hasselblad H6D-400c MS. The camera is equipped with a 53.4 x 40 millimeter 100-megapixel CMOS sensor which captures 16-bit color data and delivers 15 stops of dynamic range.

And what about the new Multi-Shot technology? The camera offers 4-shot and 6-shot modes, with the latter delivering 400-megapixel image files. If you're curious, Hasselblad says that a 16-bit TIFF file captured in the 6-shot mode is a whopping 2.4 gigabytes in size! The technology involves moving the sensor by 1/2 or 1 pixels at a time via a high-precision piezo actuator. The captured images are then compiled on a desktop computer equipped with Hasselblad's Phocus software. Unlike most cameras which allow you to use their multi-shot mode and then compile the images later, the H6D-400C MS requires you to be tethered to a host computer to use the mode.

The mode itself is very interesting. A Bayer filter, like the one in the H6D and most digital cameras, has an arrangement of red, green and blue pixels. By shifting the sensor by a pixel, the camera can capture the same subject using each color pixel. In the 4-shot mode, the camera shoots, shifts one pixel horizontal, shoots, shifts vertically, shoots and then shifts horizontally again before capturing a fourth shot. This 4-shot image is still 100-megapixels, but it has accurate color data for each pixel and doesn't display moiré artifacts. In the 400-megapixel 6-shot mode, the first four shots are the same as above, but the camera then moves half a pixel horizontally and half a pixel vertically for an additional two images. These six images are then combined into a 400-megapixel 16-bit TIFF file with 23,200 x 17,400 pixels.

The 4-shot capture mode is illustrated on the left and the 6-shot mode is shown on the right.

Looking at other features and specifications for the H6D-400c, the 100-megapixel camera has a native ISO range of 64 to 12,800 and can record Full HD and 4K UHD RAW video at up to 25 frames per second. The body has a touchscreen display, USB 3.0 Type-C connector, up to a 60-minute shutter speed, Hasselblad's True Focus II autofocus technology, Wi-Fi and dual media card slots. The camera continues to have a modular design but is said to have an improved back removal process.

Crops from a sample image captured by Göran Liljeberg. Click here to see the full image.

400-megapixel images, however, don't come cheap. The Hasselblad H6D-400c MS will retail for around US$48,000. If you'd rather rent for a specific job, Hasselblad will be offering rentals of this high-res monster as well. The Hasselblad H6D-400c MS will start shipping in March of this year, and we hope to get our hands on a sample for our lab to test out that super-high-res mode! (Better stock up on a few more hard drives though.)