Hasselblad reveals first medium format CMOS sensor, opening the door for other photography brands?
"The rumours are true," reads Hasselblad's press release as the company announces the H5D-50C - the world's first medium format camera with a CMOS sensor.
It might not be a casual photographer's camera by any means, and one that will probably cost a significant sum, but in a changing world the shift from CCD format to CMOS means several things.
It's cheaper to produce, has a faster read-out speed, and the potential for better higher ISO performance. But irrelevant of all that it means that a company has started to make medium format CMOS sensors. And which sensor-producing imaging company is most closely aligned with Hasselblad? Sony.
This is significant because if Sony has undertaken medium format production that could open the door for many other brands. Sony already sells its sensor technology to Nikon and Pentax, for example, the latter brand already in the medium format business.
There's been a lot of talk regarding Nikon stepping into the medium format picture, and if the price structure is right for the end consumer to make it a viable business then here's the footing for that project to come alive if we ever saw it.
With the bottom end of the market falling out with the infiltration of smartphones and shifting trends, electronics manufacturers and photography brands need to shift their focus. And it's not just at the value end of the market - even premium brands recognise the need to push their focus to a high-end product.
Leica CEO Stephan Schulz said in an interview with Forbes last year that the company set "had a long history with professionals throughout the 20th century. But we realised that in the 21st century, the image of our brand was becoming weaker because Leica was no longer as strongly represented among professionals."
The result, the medium format Leica S2, was the company's way to target fashion and commercial photographers "to make a medium format camera that could not only compete with [the competition], but that would be ten years ahead of what they are able to deliver".
And with Sony already shrinking down the format of full-frame cameras in its wonderful Alpha A7 model, who knows, perhaps the next step is a DSLR-sized medium format system. We can dream. But those dreams may become more of a reality over the coming years.