The new top-end model from medium-format camera maker Hasselblad is now on the market, and it's not cheap; the 200-megapixel H4D-200MS will set you back 32,000 euros, or about AU$43,000.
The camera actually uses a sensor with a mere 50-megapixels, but with Hasselblad's multi-shot technology, combines six shots into one. That means moving subjects, such as fashion models, need not apply. But a lot of this very high-end photography involves static subjects such as jewellery, watches, cars and paintings for reproduction.
Hasselblad announced the H4D-200MS last September at the Photokina show. At the time, the company said that it hoped to release the camera in the first quarter.
The multi-shot technique isn't as crude as taking a bunch of shots and stitching them together. Instead, it works with a piezoelectric motor that moves the camera's image sensor a tiny amount before taking each photo.
The six-shot extended multi-shot mode augments an earlier option: the four-shot multi-shot mode. The multi-shot modes offset each frame by a half or a full pixel width, an approach that compensates for the fact that each sensor pixel captures only red, green or blue light. The four-shot mode takes about 20 seconds for a full photo; the six-shot mode takes about 30 seconds. Yes, you need a tripod.
Photographers can also send their H4D-50MS cameras back to Hasselblad for an upgrade for €7000, or about AU$9,300.
The camera's sensor measures 36.7x49.1mm and takes shots with 6132x8176 pixels. When the six shots are combined, each with 16 bits of colour depth per pixel, a single RAW photo is about 600MB. No doubt that file size is why Hasselblad lets photographers attach a hard drive, though CompactFlash cards are supported.
The camera can shoot at ISO sensitivity settings of between 50 and 800.
Another feature you won't see in your average point-and-shoot is True Focus, a technology to get around the problems of focusing an image on a particular point and then moving the camera to recompose the shot. The initial focus point — a model's eye, for example — is at the centre of the frame when focusing. But moving the camera — to show the model's entire body, for example — can make that eye go out of focus. To deal with this geometrical difficulty, sensors in the H4D cameras measure the change and adjust the autofocus setting in real time.