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News from HasselbladImacon 39 megs


Active Member
Hasselblad/Imacon has announced new H2D, CFH, and CF digital backs sporting sensors with 39 megs.

This news follows on right the heals of Hasselblad stating they would not be going to 39 megs in the near future like Phase One had announced.

Of course this really has me upset, having taken delivery of the 22 meg HD2 only a few short weeks ago. I have contacted my seller and he is finding out what Hasselblad may do for me, seeing that I haven't used this unit yet, nor even filled out the warranty card.

There will also be a memory busting 4 shot version following shortly.

See , this is exactly what i expressed in one of the other threads . You remember ? ? ?
The progress in digital development is so fast , that , when you buy the equipment , and leave the dealers shop , you might have "old" stuff in your hands . I have already lost a lot of money on computres and printers .
I think , i would be very anoyed , if this would have happened to me .

And you can be shure , that 39MP will not be the end . I have read something about 49MP , might be next year . Full MF frame ? ? ?

I think you will really have to rethink your 'purchasing strategy'.

Start with finding out what you need, ignoring what there is you could get.
Then buy what you need, and nothing else.

If you would find that 22 MP is quite enough for what you intend to do, what can it possibly matter how high the pixel count in other, newer products might be???

After all, you do not buy things just to have the very latest one, do you?

6 MP digital, for instance, would be quite enough for everything i in the past used 35 mm format for.
So when considering getting a digital SLR to replace my 35 mm film kit, why on earth would it matter that there are 17 MP 35 mm based DSLRs for sale too?
And if next year pixel count in these machines doubles... so what?

First of all , happy new year to you .
I have just returned from a walk through a freezing cold winter afternoon and while walking , i was thinking exactly about what you say . As Marc already pointed out in an other thread , "buy what you need and be happy with it" . Thats what you say too and i really fully agree . And then , there is the other part inside me . My emotions always drive me to go for the "high end gear" , no matter if i really need it or not . And i can tell you , thats very difficult to control .
I think you just have to accept, even if you get the 39 there will always be something better in terms of digital technology beit full frame or more subtle colour rendition or some other marketing ploy. The real problem is that image quality at the customer end does not actually apear to be improving despite all these advances. In fact a real vogue for portraits at the moment in the UK is lots of cross processed type effects (jaundice ), but I suspect a lot of these guys can not actually get the skin tones right on photo shop!! I think it helps me to appreciate what a highly evolved product film is!!

Yes Q.G., actually 22 meg is more than enough for most of the work I do. I could have opted for the Phase One 39 meg back when I got this 22 meg Imacon.

However, this is just 17 working days (even counting the week between Christmas & New Years) from time of delivery of a newly announced back... at a price less than the Phase One 39 meg model. It's not like the 22 meg H2D/CFH has been out for a year. I got one of the first ones.

A year later, you just shrug your shoulders. A few weeks later, after being told they won't be doing 39 megs., is another matter.
Especially when it isn't all that much more (relatively speaking).

In the few days of the new week, I will see if Hasselblad intends on "saving" their hide on the bones of their customers.

Richard, I kinda agree with you. The difference between my old Kodak back and this 22 meg Imacon isn't all that apparent. It does allow use of wide angle lenses and up sizes to a perfect 8X10/16X20. Where I had to crop the 16 meg files to do that, and wide angles were cropped off quite a bit.

Color mastery isn't easy. But in the right hands, this high end digital capture is quite good.

As many of you know, digital hasn't pushed film aside for me. It co-exists nicely.

Like you, I like to have the best, but in this constantly evolving arena it is a game for the Pros.

My position is to wait until I find something proven solid that fits my needs. I am not producing building size billboards and I don't want to fill a computer with huge photo files.

Several weeks ago I met a pro that uses the term "bleeding edge" and when he shows to do a seminar he use a mid level 35mm digital camera to present his material.

I just bought a lot of film!

Good Luck:

Marc, I'm sure I read either in a later edition of Forum or a recent industry magazine about an interview with Hassy's CEO in which he said 39mm was well on the way - soon to be released.

I recall that he did add that one should not expect bigger than 45MP and the focus would be on pixel structure/quality and software enabling better quality form pixels available.

I also recall he said 45MP file sizes would likely be the "practical limit" for image handling practicalities - in the field etc.

I think these comments were made in the past 3-4 months. I suspect your dealer should have been well aware of that.

I think he even made mention of them having no intention of developing a 1:1 back (again I suspect for file size reasons he may have stated were unnecessary due to image quality available already) - would that be correct? I gather there is no such Hassy/Imacon back already available.

But I should say that as a novice in this area I have no idea if he was talking about H series 6x4.5 or general Imacon backs - but my point is that 39MP Imacon backs was no news to me and here in Australia we often hear of these things last!

I hope you get some satisfaction.

My emotions always drive me to go for the "high end gear" , no matter if i really need it or not . And i can tell you , thats very difficult to control .>

I just received an e-mail from Hasselblad announcing their new 39 meg. backs and noticed that the CF-39MS lists for $37,995. That is the one for 200 series and some other cameras. My emotions tell me I can buy a lot of film for that much money, or a very nice motor vehicle.


Thanks Simon. Good Ammo for upcoming discussions with my seller (who is supposed to be an expert on this specific equipment).

Gilbert, The CF-39MS is a 4 shot version of the other 39 meg single shot backs. The MS refers to Multi Shot. It can be used as a single shot camera, or as a stationary multi-shot capture for still life studio work that produces enormous files with incredible detail and fidelity. Where do you get the information that this can be used with a 200 series camera?
Oh, another note concerning file size that you mentioned above Gilbert. All these digital backs offer only one option in terms of file format: RAW. No jpg, or tiff. The Imacon files can be opened and worked on in Flexcolor software, or as DNG files which are supported by Adobe RAW Converter (and now the new Adobe Lightroom software). When you open these files you have the option to select file size during processing. If you are saving RAW files, the DNG is a compressed RAW format and does save some storage space. Saving them as tiffs is where the computer gets choked for space as the files are 132 meg each in 16 bit. Current software allows you to save the corrected RAW files (along with the corrections data) for future use and takes up a fraction of that storage space. The beauty of this is that you can return to the original, uncorrected RAW file with a click of a mouse. Something you cannot do with a corrected tiff file.
Gilbert James (Gjames52) & others:

Regarding your "e-mail from Hasselblad announcing their new 39 meg. backs and noticed that the CF-39MS lists for $37,995" I too received the same email. BUT -

Lets look at the comparative cost benefit, assuming you use a 200 series camera. Assuming cost of film at $3 per roll, with processing at $15 per roll for 5x5 proof prints, total cost = 18 per roll (12 shots).

New Digital back = $37,995
$18 divided into $37,995 = 2110 rolls
total film cost for 2110 rolls = $25,330
number of film shots = 2110 x 12 = 25,330 shots
comparative digital proofs + cost of back = $41,000

$37,995 digitial back 3 year obsolence value @ 30 % = $11,398.

Now add or revise assumptions as you wish, but it appears to me that the digital back is not a cost effective decison.

If this back was a list price of $4,000, that would seem a bargain, but at what price is it no longer a bargain?

Richard Loarie
> Consider this as well...does anyone really need a 39Mp image? > Unless you plan to crop 50-60-70% of the image away, what does the > extra resolution get you ( and if you are going to do that, you > should reframe the image anyway)?

> How many out there going to print a 39Mp image full scale? At > 6000x6000 (ie 36Mp) , printing 300dpi ( much higher really is not > distinguishable by the human eye anyway), resolves to 20 inches > square. That means you need it only if you print posters ( or > perhaps billboards) at full resolution. Figure in the typical > viewing distance for pictures this large, and who really needs it > at $30K?

I'd prefer they concentrate their efforts on lowering noise, increasing iso equivalent speed, faster storage to memory card speeds, and (of course) lowering costs.

Where do you get the information that this can be used with a 200 series camera?>

It is a pdf download from Hasselblad/products/digital backs/CF 39. On page four of the file a flow chart shows the 200 cameras with the CF 39 MS back, with the notation "single shot mode only" and the appropriate adapter.

Thanks for the file information.


You can use IMACON/HASSELBLAD digital backs on any 2000/200
body using the ELD adapter and C , CB , CF , CFE lenses . See the adapter chart , which you can find on HASSELBLAD and also IMACON homepage .
Good math there Richard. Unfortunately the math is different for commercial work.

First there is time and approval paths. Digital is instant. Client on set, approves the shot. No re-shoots. Client is off-site, ftp the selects for approval before releasing the location, models or props. No re-shoots.

99% of all commercial printing is now digital. Once RAW processed, digital files are camera ready. Film must be scanned. Commercial quality scans are $50 to $75 on average. 100 shots for a catalog equals $5,000. in scans, plus the time to handle them. 6 such catalog jobs = $30,000. in scanning cost alone. Same price as the digital back. Photo fees remain the same, all other expenses remain the same. Camera back is paid for by charging a digital capture fee on each job. For me, $30,000. is recaptured in about 1 to 2 years of digital fees which are incremental because I never received the scanning fees anyway, those went to the scanning service. Add tax depreciation, and that you can still sell a back for about 1/2 it's price after 3 years use, and it actually becomes a small profit center for half it's service life.

Why 39 meg.? Well I can't answer that completely, because I haven't shot with one yet. Those I know who have, say it is rivaling 4X5 film now in terms of detail captured and tonal gradations, which in turn produces more shadow detail and dynamic range. Where my DSLRs have no-where the dynamic range of film, the 22 meg back is already getting closer. We'll see about 39 meg. Also, this big of a file may be getting close to what the MF lenses are capable of I think.

In the studio, I'd prefer they provided even lower ISOs that the 50 now standard. ISO 10 and 25 would be excellent, allowing use of wider apertures with strobes. Higher ISOs would be nice also but less useful for commercial work IMO.
WOW! Thanks Jurgen. This is new news to me, and may effect my future back selection if I can use one on my 203FE. : -))))))

Folks on this site are a treasure.
Lets look at the comparative cost benefit,>

Not being a professional and not having any tax benefits, cost is the first thing I considered.

Mine are different as I shoot slides.

12 slides mounted costs me $21.95
If purchased for $39,995 I can purchase
(using x rolls per year)

20= 91.10 years
40= 45.55 "
50= 36.44 "
100= 18.22 "
200= 9.11 "

Of course if I had to pay sales tax my initial cost would be $43,294.59. Also, the business aspects depends on the individual business and the competition that business encounters. So, to many pros it just may be the cost of doing business.


Oh, I get it. Basically the 200 series cameras can be used with C type lenses. Meaning the lens' leaf shutter is being used, not the focal plane shutter. Fundamentally, the same as a 503CW except you get an in-camera meter to use for transferring settings to the lens. I thought I had missed something about 200 series cameras, and you could use the faster aperture FE lenses... via an electronic adapter.

I still wonder why Imacon can't do that. You can use a back on the focal plane Contax 645 and use those faster lenses. Hmmm?