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Author Topic: Hy6 vs H3D - Buyer's eval process  (Read 61425 times)
Ethan Schoonover
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« on: February 06, 2007, 03:34:11 AM »
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I thought it might be worth posting some of my experiences as I evaluate two MF systems. I'd also like to post this for Thierry from Sinar. The LL forum and Thierry's postings are the primary reason the Hy6 has remained on my radar and I think it would be useful to feedback on my thoughts, experiences, etc. in pursuing this product.

This is my first foray into full digital MF and I'd like to do it right. I'd welcome all feedback.

First up, my starting principles:

[span style=\'font-size:13pt;line-height:100%\']General Decision Making Axioms[/span]
  • There is no perfect product. Pros/Cons to any choice.
  • There will always be something better in 6 months
[span style=\'font-size:13pt;line-height:100%\']Decision Making Criteria:[/span]
  • Image quality
  • Workflow Integration
  • Accessories availability, quality & variety
  • Support & Supplier Responsiveness
[span style=\'font-size:13pt;line-height:100%\']Integrated instead of MFDB+Body[/span]

I started my eval process considering either piecemeal body & back purchase or integrated system (hy6, h3d, etc.). I'm not interested in sub 30MP backs due to print size requirements and the possible Canon 22 changing the game at that resolution. I've decided to explore integrated systems for a number of reasons, primarily:
  • The repair pipeline: support of single system rather than multiple manufacturers/support processes
  • Market shifts: market seems to be moving towards integrated systems and away from backs (as Thierry pointed out, bodys are there to sell backs, not the other way around)
  • 2 years on: upgrade path seems clear and more secure with an integrated system (debatable: I welcome feedback)
Primarily, it's a business decision. What 30+ MP unit gets me the most quality with the greatest business security (reliability, repairs, etc.)...

Next, influences:

[span style=\'font-size:13pt;line-height:100%\']The influence of reviews and comments[/span]

Michael's initial H3D article really woke me up to the pitfalls of a closed system. That, combined with Thierry's excellent and helpful posts on this forum have kept me on the Hy6 side of the H3D/Hy6 debate for most of this period of consideration (until I started to contact suppliers).

A note: If Sinar doesn't already realize this, Thierry's comments are worth their weight in gold to Sinar. The lack of this direct community participation from Hasselblad has really give Sinar a boost in my evaluation process. It's taken some real difficulties with the local agent to counteract Thierry's initial good works. Sadly, they have.

So where I am now:

[span style=\'font-size:13pt;line-height:100%\']Decision Making Criteria[/span]

A summarized statement of decision making criteria (I have a spreadsheet on this process... this is a huge simplification).
  • Image quality: Tie
    I have no doubt that excellent images can be captured with both the Sinar version of the Hy6 and H3D. There has been a lot said on this already in the forums and I've read it all and have tested the H3D myself (and have reviewed emotion samples). I'm confident the quality is there for both backs/systems.
  • Workflow Integration: Tie
    Will move to Lightroom from Aperture as will be able to get either raw or DNG into it from either back.
  • Accessories availability, quality & variety: Hy6
    Clearly the variety of lenses will be better on the Hy6. This alone is a huge selling point. The back will change in a couple years. The body may or may not change with it. The lenses are sticking around across multiple generations of body/backs (if all goes well).
  • Support & Supplier Responsiveness: Hasselblad
    I'm based in Hong Kong and the Hasselblad distributor here is incredibly supportive and proactive. Unfortunately Sinar's distributor is based in China and was initially difficult to get ahold of. Their local agent was significantly less than helpful when initially contacted. It's felt like pulling teeth to get local availability information from him. Sinar loses on this. No matter how good the product, it comes down to me buying something from a local dealer that I will need to turn to for information, support, repairs, etc.
[span style=\'font-size:13pt;line-height:100%\']A note on clarity and communication[/span]

There was an interesting post regarding customer decision making regarding the H system cameras here. I read it and thought then that Hasselblad's biggest advantage, and one that goes a long way to overcoming many of the concerns regarding a closed system, is their clarity of information (or more accurately: perceived clarity). The great thing for Sinar is that Thierry is out here in the forums busting his back to really give us all more information (or as my wife says, "more color") on the Sinar Hy6. The terrible thing is that this is so necessary. The Hy6 project is exciting, but information on it has been so scattered that it's been a struggle to find it. There was an excellent summary post by Thierry recently, but it felt like it could be turned into a nice flow chart (and he did the best job I can imagine summarizing all the various players in the project). The fact that the industry relationships are so convoluted and the communications so ad hoc regarding the product leaves me feeling that there is a lack of organization on the communication side of things. Communication does not equal product quality, but I have a strong suspicion that it correlates to general corporate organization, product support, customer support, etc.

Sinar and the Hy6 project have this incredible opportunity with this really unique level of excitement and interest from photographers that are looking to not just "buy a new camera" but really commit to a new system. Hasselblad knows exactly what to do with this opporunity: communicate aggressively and clearly through their whole corporate-to-dealer pipeline. Sinar has excellent communication in Thierry, acceptable (not stellar) communication on the Hy6 project in general (e.g. on their website, which has less info that the forums here at times), and very poor communication from the person I need to give a large wad of cash to.

[span style=\'font-size:13pt;line-height:100%\']Summary[/span]

Still deciding. I was initially really not interested in a Hasselblad due Michael's eloquently expressed concerns coupled with the good timing of the Hy6 project. I'm now at least 50/50 on this and Hasselblad's dealer has gone a long way to making me feel like, if I do go with an H3D instead of the Hy6, for all I lose in the "closed" system, I will gain a dependable and available partner in support.

Thierry, I've used your name a lot in this post. I want you to know that you are a super star in my book and I hope that the other industry players learn from the work you've done communicating to your market here on LL. If your commitment to clarity and information extended throughout Sinar and the Hy6 project, and had made its way down to the dealers, I probably wouldn't be writing this post. I'd already be signing on the dotted line. I'm hoping that this long winded post helps give some anecdotal information on what one prospective customer's experience has been like.

I'd love to see Sinar consolidate their information, simplify and clarify it where possible, start a blog or single point of reference for the Hy6 Project and the variants thereof (all the players in the Hy6 project have a vested interest in clear communication on this, so a single website with Hy6 information would make sense). I'd also like to see Sinar get better information packages to their dealers to ensure that customers get clear, accurate responses from them up front (and I don't have to keep sending them copy/paste information from your posts!).

In the spirit of helpfulness... -Ethan
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jecxz
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2007, 06:51:45 AM »
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Interesting and thoughtful analysis; does the Hy6 even exist yet?

The H series has gone through several versions already, the kinks are worked out, and the only reason you question the H is because Michael said he doesn't like the closed system?
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Ethan Schoonover
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« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2007, 07:27:02 AM »
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Interesting and thoughtful analysis; does the Hy6 even exist yet?

The H series has gone through several versions already, the kinks are worked out, and the only reason you question the H is because Michael said he doesn't like the closed system?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=99428\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Michael's post was the kick start of my exploring what limitations I might face with the H3D system. There's more information on the forums regarding this. It's not a deal killer or I wouldn't be considering the H3D at all, but they are valid points.

The Hy6 will be released in June 2007. I'd like to make the MF transition prior to that to work on specific commissioned projects. As you note, the H3D is indeed out already, which is an advantage. However the early purchase program for the Hy6 would mitigate that advantage by providing me with a functional digital MF platform until the Hy6 arrives.

(I'm looking at this as a 5 year minimum commitment to a platform, workflow, etc. More likely longer, so even though the Hy6 isn't released till June it's still a contender.)

The point about the H3 having gone through several revisions is a good one. This is a real advantage as well.



Also, I should also note that Thierry has been in touch on the dealer issues I posted above and has been very responsive and informative. Again, kudos for his proactive communication.
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jecxz
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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2007, 07:48:24 AM »
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Michael's post was the kick start of my exploring what limitations I might face with the H3D system. There's more information on the forums regarding this...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=99432\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

And they are? If you can provide links to them please, I am interested in reading about the H3D limitations listed in other posts.

I am neither defending Hasselblad nor trying to be confrontational, I'm just not sure of the validity of the negativity towards a "closed system."
« Last Edit: February 06, 2007, 08:00:50 AM by jecxz » Logged

Ethan Schoonover
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« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2007, 08:39:04 AM »
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And they are? If you can provide links to them please, I am interesting in reading about the H3D limitations listed in other posts.

I am neither defending Hasselblad nor trying to be confrontational, I'm just not sure of the validity of the negativity towards a "closed system."
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Fair questions. I'd start with [a href=\"http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=12404]this thread[/url]. There are probably others, but this is the one I have bookmarked. It has points on both sides of the issue. I agree that being a closed system alone isn't necessarily a negative (though it may be, and should be evaluated case by case). Regardless, I tend to want everything as open as possible.

My personal decision making criteria (see the four listed above) do not include "open" or "closed" systems. The closed nature of the H3 at launch left a bad taste in my mouth and opened the door for my consideration of alternatives. While I prefer an open system (maximizes my options going forward) I understand the manufacturer's desire to maximize profitability per customer (which leads to closed systems). Basically, though, as long as my four criteria are met, I'll be (relatively) agnostic on this point.

For the most part, I'm trying examine the way in which the various forms of communication and information (the announcement of the "closed" H3, the very informative out reach from Thierry here, the excellent distributor program that Hasselblad runs, the lack of information and the confusion among the local Sinar distributors) have influenced me as a buyer.

I'd welcome further thoughts on this. Again, closed/open matters less to me than the four criteria.
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« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2007, 09:30:13 AM »
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Michael's post was the kick start of my exploring what limitations I might face with the H3D system. There's more information on the forums regarding this. It's not a deal killer or I wouldn't be considering the H3D at all, but they are valid points.

The Hy6 will be released in June 2007. I'd like to make the MF transition prior to that to work on specific commissioned projects. As you note, the H3D is indeed out already, which is an advantage. However the early purchase program for the Hy6 would mitigate that advantage by providing me with a functional digital MF platform until the Hy6 arrives.

(I'm looking at this as a 5 year minimum commitment to a platform, workflow, etc. More likely longer, so even though the Hy6 isn't released till June it's still a contender.)

formative. Again, kudos for his proactive communication.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=99432\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I commend the methodical way you are going about this, but to be candid, I think it's a VERY bad idea to buy into a Hy6 today by purchasing a Rollei 6008 with the promise of the Hy6 being delivered to you in June. The Hy6 does not exist today. It's a promise of what Jenoptic/Leaf/F&H intend to deliver in the future. They have not even shown a fully working sample of the camera. What if you don't like the way it handles. What if it's delayed/ What if there are material bugs in the firmware or the...or the...or the...? This is not Version 3 or 4 of the same basic camera/DB combination. If you can wait to kick the tires and let others be the early adopters with all the problems that usually entails and see how responsive Sinar is addressing these issues, great, wait and look carefully. Otherwise, don't fall into the trap of being a beta tester for Sinar.
BTW, how is it that a camera system that doesn't exist yet has a better selection of lenses and accessories than the H3D? My recollection is that there are now only 4 AF lenses for the Rollei system, 50, 80, 150 and 180.
Good luck.
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« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2007, 09:44:22 AM »
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I commend the methodical way you are going about this, but to be candid, I think it's a VERY bad idea to buy into a Hy6 today by purchasing a Rollei 6008 with the promise of the Hy6 being delivered to you in June. The Hy6 does not exist today. It's a promise of what Jenoptic/Leaf/F&H intend to deliver in the future. They have not even shown a fully working sample of the camera. What if you don't like the way it handles. What if it's delayed/ What if there are material bugs in the firmware or the...or the...or the...? This is not Version 3 or 4 of the same basic camera/DB combination. If you can wait to kick the tires and let others be the early adopters with all the problems that usually entails and see how responsive Sinar is addressing these issues, great, wait and look carefully. Otherwise, don't fall into the trap of being a beta tester for Sinar.
BTW, how is it that a camera system that doesn't exist yet has a better selection of lenses and accessories than the H3D? My recollection is that there are now only 4 AF lenses for the Rollei system, 50, 80, 150 and 180.
Good luck.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=99448\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


dear hcubell,

the beta-testing is taking place right now, while we are "speaking": it does not guaranty that there won't be any "bugs" anymore, but it has to be said.

concerning the AF lenses for the Hy6, here what is currently available:

Schneider AF S-Angulon 2.8/50 HFT PQS
Schneider AF Xenotar 2.8/80 PQS
Schneider AF Tele-Xenar 4/150 HFT-PQS
Schneider AF Tele-Xenar 2.8/180 PQ
Schneider AF Variogon 4.6/60-140 PQS

and here what is coming in September:

AFD Xenotar 2.8/80 PQS
AFD Super-Angulon 2.8/50 HFT PQS
AFD Tele-Xenar 4/150 HFT-PQS
AFD Tele-Xenar 2.8/180 PQ
AFD Variogon 4.6/60-140 PQS
AFD 35mm
AFD 120 Macro

thanks and best regards,
Thierry
Sinar AG Switzerland
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Thierry Hagenauer
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« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2007, 09:46:21 AM »
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BTW, how is it that a camera system that doesn't exist yet has a better selection of lenses and accessories than the H3D? My recollection is that there are now only 4 AF lenses for the Rollei system, 50, 80, 150 and 180.
Good luck.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=99448\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Because all the 6000 system lenses will be compatible with the hy6. Not only the AF lenses.

Samuel
« Last Edit: February 06, 2007, 09:47:14 AM by samuel_js » Logged
Joe Behar
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« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2007, 09:54:59 AM »
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I find a couple of things very interesting....

It seems there were a lot of people very adamant that raw file formats should be open. There were petitions and protests and a lot of gnashing of teeth. We demand to keep controol of our work....Yet a closed system costing tens of thousands of dollars is met with open arms..."they can support it better"

Some things to consider...

In an integrated system, when one thing goes wrong the entire system is down. In a "mixed" system you can always go out and rent another body or back to get you through repair times and get the job done. Or even better yet, you can use multiple backs on the same body. There are times that you might need less resolution and more speed (or the reverse). Rent the appropriate back for the job and use your camera body that you're familiar with and comfortable using

As much as I'd love to see the Hy 6 system be successfull, the reality is that no one has yet seen one actually working. We have no idea what bugs may or may not show up....Just ask anyone that bought a Hasselblad H1 when they first came out.

I don't mean to bash any product, but if you're a full time working professional photographer I don't think  you can afford to take a chance that you'll end up on a job with a digital system that has serious bugs in it. Unless of course you don't really mind losing that client.

Just my $0.02 worth....Canadian dollars at that.
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2007, 09:58:04 AM »
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Ethan, your original post was nicely put! I share your thoughts about Thierry. He has been very helpful to me as well. I hope Sinar appreciates the value of his efforts.

Quote
The point about the H3 having gone through several revisions is a good one. This is a real advantage as well.

The Hy6 could be considered a revised 6008. It isn't a greenfield project.
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Ethan Schoonover
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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2007, 10:11:05 AM »
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Ethan, your original post was nicely put! I share your thoughts about Thierry. He has been very helpful to me as well. I hope Sinar appreciates the value of his efforts.
The Hy6 could be considered a revised 6008. It isn't a greenfield project.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Graham, you're right. I still think (mistakenly) of the Hy6 as a new unit, but you're spot on regarding its pedigree in the 6008. This is the kind of thing that I'd love to see on a centralized Hy6 website, for example an FAQ question dealing with the "this isn't really a v1.0 product, it's an evolution of an established platform".

I mentioned it briefly above, but I think it worth noting that Thierry got back to me within 20 minutes of my posting and had detailed information regarding Asia/China distribution arrangements. He may be taking care of Asia for Sinar, but he's also handling online, which really can be considered an entire region in itself, at least as far as mark/comm is concerned. [a href=\"http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=props]Props to him[/url].
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Carl Glover
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« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2007, 10:16:06 AM »
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Graham could be right. It seems like a redesigned 6008AF without the motor, different batteries and no need for any leads to sync the back with the camera. Judging by the images online, these improvements have made it smaller. That might mean that there will be room for another lens in my cabin luggage when I'm working abroad.

Good!
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jecxz
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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2007, 10:42:40 AM »
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As much as I'd love to see the Hy 6 system be successfull, the reality is that no one has yet seen one actually working. We have no idea what bugs may or may not show up....Just ask anyone that bought a Hasselblad H1 when they first came out.

I don't mean to bash any product, but if you're a full time working professional photographer I don't think you can afford to take a chance that you'll end up on a job with a digital system that has serious bugs in it. Unless of course you don't really mind losing that client.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=99455\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well put. From my personal experience, Hasselblad has stood by their product and is a decent company to work with. I'm following this topic because I am heavily invested in H lenses (and very happy) and two H2s and sooner or later I will either upgrade them to H3Ds or purchase 3rd party backs.

It is great that you have the luxury of waiting 6 to 18 months for a new system. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and research too.
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Ethan Schoonover
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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2007, 11:08:25 AM »
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Well put. From my personal experience, Hasselblad has stood by their product and is a decent company to work with. I'm following this topic because I am heavily invested in H lenses (and very happy) and two H2s and sooner or later I will either upgrade them to H3Ds or purchase 3rd party backs.

It is great that you have the luxury of waiting 6 to 18 months for a new system. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and research too.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=99469\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Actually, I won't be waiting that long. If I go for the H3D, it's in hand in Q107. If I decide that the Hy6 is the best option, I will opt for the package with the 6008+eMotion back, and again in hand Q107.

The point in an above comment regarding not risking the job is noted, but I'm already prepared with alternate options. Indeed, many of my main concerns expressed to the dealers locally have centered around risk factors such as ensuring that loaner units will be available, etc.

Business continuity and contingency planning are always top of mind for me.
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hcubell
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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2007, 11:40:46 AM »
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dear hcubell,

the beta-testing is taking place right now, while we are "speaking": it does not guaranty that there won't be any "bugs" anymore, but it has to be said.

concerning the AF lenses for the Hy6, here what is currently available:

Schneider AF S-Angulon 2.8/50 HFT PQS
Schneider AF Xenotar 2.8/80 PQS
Schneider AF Tele-Xenar 4/150 HFT-PQS
Schneider AF Tele-Xenar 2.8/180 PQ
Schneider AF Variogon 4.6/60-140 PQS

and here what is coming in September:

AFD Xenotar 2.8/80 PQS
AFD Super-Angulon 2.8/50 HFT PQS
AFD Tele-Xenar 4/150 HFT-PQS
AFD Tele-Xenar 2.8/180 PQ
AFD Variogon 4.6/60-140 PQS
AFD 35mm
AFD 120 Macro

thanks and best regards,
Thierry
Sinar AG Switzerland
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=99452\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thierry:
It appears that what are "forthcoming" in Sept. are two new prime lenses and digital versions of the same existing 4 AF prime lenses. Two questions. First, will Sinar offer refunds to everyone who buys a Hy6 expecting a 35mm or 120 macro prime if it is NOT available by Sept.? I know people who had full heads of hair when Mamiya started promising a 28mm lenses who are now bald. Second, could you please explain in more detail the functionality of the digital versions of these lenses? Also, will these be like the Hassy 28mm HCD that only works with an H3D(i.e., the new D lenses will only "work" with a Sinar or Leaf back that can "read" the digital coding info?).
Thanks.
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« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2007, 12:52:47 PM »
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first: the Hy6 is a very logical step up from the 6008Af, it takes the lenses some backs and some accessories....as far as i know the  H3 still has the freeze problem with the battery....the Hy6 V1 will probably be a more mature product then the h1 was....and i am sure there will some glitches with the Hy6

but that is not the point....
this is your first step into DMF? have you handled any MF camera before? there are several other systems out there, all of them handle very differently and MF handles VERY differently from SLR!!!

this is one of these posts that just leaves me scratching my head....an in-depth analysis of a system i haven't tried compared to a system that does not exist yet....great...a lot to learn from that...a great philosophical discussion? go out and play with a mamiya...take some pics...

how can any base their decision only on "what michael says"?
image quality is a tie? have you ever seen the quality? do you know how the schneider or zeiss lenses compare to the hass lenses? how the backs compare?
HOW THE SOFTWARE COMPARES? WORKFLOW?

there is no one system that is better then the others...number don't mean anything....there are only personal preferences and how willing someone is to put up with the shortcomings of the chosen system...
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« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2007, 01:41:20 PM »
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I talked to Franke&Heidecke today on the phone. first about some service stuff for my 6008, then I asked about a true 6x6 back for the camera. They guy told me, they are working on one.

If this is true, the concept of the hy6 gets even better for me...
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« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2007, 02:41:29 PM »
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I talked to Franke&Heidecke today on the phone. first about some service stuff for my 6008, then I asked about a true 6x6 back for the camera. They guy told me, they are working on one.

If this is true, the concept of the hy6 gets even better for me...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=99494\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Was this a 6x6 film back? Or....
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« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2007, 05:01:07 PM »
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Thierry,

I hope the forthcoming AF120Macro ISN'T of the current Zeiss formula (which I believe is optimized for 1/8th life-size reproduction).

I'd love it to be a true macro lens (with floating elements), and perhaps like Canon's 90mm TS-E or Nikon's 85mm PC Micro with some built-in tilt/rise movements.

Billy
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« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2007, 05:50:02 PM »
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Thierry,

I hope the forthcoming AF120Macro ISN'T of the current Zeiss formula (which I believe is optimized for 1/8th life-size reproduction).

I'd love it to be a true macro lens (with floating elements), and perhaps like Canon's 90mm TS-E or Nikon's 85mm PC Micro with some built-in tilt/rise movements.

Billy
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=99518\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

&

Quote
Thierry:
It appears that what are "forthcoming" in Sept. are two new prime lenses and digital versions of the same existing 4 AF prime lenses. Two questions. First, will Sinar offer refunds to everyone who buys a Hy6 expecting a 35mm or 120 macro prime if it is NOT available by Sept.? I know people who had full heads of hair when Mamiya started promising a 28mm lenses who are now bald. Second, could you please explain in more detail the functionality of the digital versions of these lenses? Also, will these be like the Hassy 28mm HCD that only works with an H3D(i.e., the new D lenses will only "work" with a Sinar or Leaf back that can "read" the digital coding info?).
Thanks.
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hi Billy, hi hcubell,

About the new AFD lenses which will be available for the Hy6: it will be possible to buy (order) them when available. Certain types, like the digital version of the existing ones certainly first, then the 35mm and the Macro 120mm. There is no time table for the last 2 models.

I was trying to give an information which s not longer confidential nor a secret, to give you an idea about what wil happen, and in order to inform correctly.

But all these lenses will be officially annouced and marketed when available: in the meantime, all the existing AF (and NON-AF) 6000 series lenses can be used, which is quite a good choice.

I beg for your understanding and patience for any further information and technical data of those new lenses: you can imagine that I haven't got it at this stage. It will however be communicated in due time, through myself here as usually, but also the normal way.

Thanks to all,
Thierry
Sinar AG Switzerland
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Thierry Hagenauer
thasia_cn@yahoo.com
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