During WPPI I had the pleasure of meeting the president of Hasselblad USA and, getting my hands on the new Hasselblad H4D40.

The 40 megapixel camera is a design marvel. It features a CCD sensor by Kodak and performs well in low light, it has a very wide dynamic range that more closely matches the human eye. The new autofocus system (called True Focus and Absolute Focus) is the fastest (and most accurate) I’ve ever seen on a medium format camera.

As tested, this is a $20,000 camera. Add the beautiful tilt-shift adapter for another $5900, another $11,000 for a couple of additional lenses and it’s an expensive beast.

But there’s room for a camera like this. High-end fashion, product, landscape, portrait, wedding and advertising photographers can justify that kind of money. And talk about setting yourself apart from Uncle Harry at the wedding who’s shooting the latest DSLR. He’ll look at you with envy! Based on my limited first tests, there not much doubt that this camera is worth it for those who can spend it. The image detail, clarity and color is simply the best I’ve seen from a digital camera – period.

The modular system brings back the old days when I shot Hasselblad 500 CM bodies. You can change backs, lenses and viewfinders. It’s a level of freedom you can’t find on a 35 mm DSLR.

The PHOCUS software comes free with the camera. Other medium format cameras require you to purchase a piece of software to talk to the camera that costs $500. I watched a demo of PHOCUS and while it doesn’t offer the file management of Aperture or Lightroom it offers everything else and then some. It’s a sophisticated program that makes the H4D40 even more powerful, and it isn’t all that hard to learn to use.

This is a solidly-built, well-designed camera. I haven’t made enough exposures with it to give it a full recommendation, but so far I’m impressed. I hope to find time later this month to give it a complete field test.

This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store

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