In short

In September 2000, Hasselblad and Foveon were aiming to start producing digital cameras together. The result was supposed to be the Hasselblad DFinity. It never happened, however.

The history

In 2000, Hasselblad wanted their share of the high-end digital camera market. Hasselblad is famous for their extremely reliable camera bodies and painfully accurate optics, but didn't have the expertise in digital imaging that was needed for such a project. Because of this, Foveon was asked to join the team.

The Camera

The camera was supposed to be a one-shot, three-CMOS sensor camera. Up to now, there were several disadvantages with digital imaging, and the three-ccd system was supposed to kill off these problems.

Single-chip cameras had the problem of having to use mosaic-tiled chips, which is a problem in terms of picture qualities. The other type of cameras available in 2000 for high-res work were three-shot digital backs, for which a coloured filter is placed over the lens, and three shots are taken, each with a red, green or blue filter in place. This system is great for still-life, but hopeless for moving images.

The DFinity solved this by using a prism splitting the light into the three primary colours (RGB) and capturing the image with three separate CMOS chips. This leads to 1) extreme resolutions 2) extreme colour precision.

DFinity was specially designed for high resolution scientific, medical, arcival and other professional high-end digital photography work.

The DFinity prototype had a firewire / IEEE 1394 interface for transferral of the images - every shot took up about 12 MB of imaging data.

For the lenses, Hasselblad were designing a special range of lenses, along with an adapter that made it possible for DFinity users to use Canon EOS lenses on the DFinity system.

Why it didn't happen

Although most digital photographers had vivid erotic dreams about the DFinity, it was never put into production, and after the work was announced, the project slowly came to a stand-still. Most importantly because most Hasselblad users wanted to use their existing Hasselblad medium format kit, and preferred the digital backs that were available from Phase One etc.

After doing extensive market research, Hasselblad stopped the development of the DFinity, and continued focussing on their medium format range instead.


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