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.
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 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
DFinity was specially designed for high resolution scientific,
medical, arcival and other professional high-end digital photography
The DFinity prototype had a firewire / IEEE 1394 interface
for transferral of the images - every shot took up about 12 MB of imaging
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.