Nikon D800 vs Hasselblad H4D-40 Comparison Video

This video, done by The Camera Store with help from Roth and Ramberg, is sure to stir up some controversy. One side will say that 35mm couldn’t possibly compete with medium format, while the other will point out that the price difference makes the whole debate moot. In a way, they’re both right; but this comparison video does a great job of pointing out the benefits and pitfalls of each camera when it comes to skin tone, low light performance, and dynamic range.

Take a gander at the video and give us your take in the comments down below. (Keep in mind that image details won’t show up nearly as well in the video as they did in the studio).

D800 vs Medium Format with Roth and Ramberg (via fstoppers)

  • HardyLenora37

    what Phillip replied I’m blown away that anybody able to make $7867 in 1 month on the internet. have you read this web page==>> 

  • Malene Saevareid

    This makes me cringe because the first project I did with medium format Hasselblad was done on 800 ISO.

  • Vincent

    It’s ‘Neekon’ idiots, not ‘Naaykon’. Get it right.

  • James Duffy

    Would have been nice if the reviewers had chosen something better than the $100 50mm f1.8 lens to stick on the D800. Geez.  Talk about stacking the deck!

  • glynn

    Why do you go to all the trouble of these thorough tests when certain aspects are inaccurate. Thomas Knoll, creator of Lightroom, included a camera calibration option for a very good reason, Adobe have found that camera sensors vary in colour response, batch to batch.

    With 11 years professional experience shooting digital, no Canon or Nikon flagship camera I have owned has been accurate out of the box presented in Lightroom and required calibrating. Originally through Tom Fors ACR calibrator script, these days DNG Profile Editor.Camera calibration is not white balance, white balance is not camera calibration. I have been using the D4 since its release and the skin tones in Lightroom are warmer without prior camera calibration (Gretag Macbeth Colochecker). Once calibrated the primary hues are brought into line, Nikon and Canon. Could Hasselblads could be slightly improved by calibrating for use in Lightroom, maybe their sensors are more accurate out of the box for use in Lightroom.White balance will not correct poorly rendered primary hues in Lightroom unless the camera has first been calibrated.

  • Eatshit

    Try the zeiss lens and the 800E and you will see the difference. 

  • Guest

    Don’t underestimate the quality of a “nifty fifty” ;) They’re actually using the 1.4G, not the 1.8D. I guess they choose it for shallow dof, as the 1.8G is both cheaper and sharper.

  • Philip Ball

    This was my exact thought.  eye dropper tool/white balance doesnt do the job.  

  • Flgraphics

    this would be easier too watch and take seriously  if the photographers weren’t so damn snobby.

  • Deacon Tyler

    I’ll be honest – the D800 looked better there.  Like a previous poster said, a Zeiss lens and D800e with proper camera calibration would smoke the hasselblad *in those examples*. 

    The 50mm 1.4/g is not that great of a lens – it’s nice sure, but I prefer the colour and clarity of the 1.4/d.

  • Brokolly_189

    I think only the fat guy was a snob. He spends 20k more on his camera because he can’t have “normal people” have the same camera as he does? Come on. And he justifies it by saying he needs the skin tones and ability to shoot to the iPad? Are you kidding?

  • Matthias Boettrich

    Very informative – thanks.

  • Ken Yee

    I didn’t find them snobby.  I thought they were fairly honest about making sure their clients know they’re “pro”.
    It’s sort of like you going to an investment advisor (insert your pro of choice here)…if he’s dressed down, you won’t believe he does a good job.

    It was a decent comparison.  Results are pretty much what I expected.  The Hassy has better highlight dynamic range.  Sony’s sensors lately have put all their dynamic range work in the shadows (not a bad thing, but it is what it is).
    The D800 is great bang for buck…

  • Deacon Tyler

    I’m sorry but the D800 looks better.  I mean, lol really?  He falls all over himself trying to justify the Hasselblad, but frankly, I could tell even from the low res video that the Nikon handled the subtle tonal shifts FAR better and if you can’t fix the immeasurably tiny magenta shift via white balance or orange hue adjustments in Lightroom (or really just ignore it because it didn’t look bad), you have no business judging either camera.

    As previous posters said, this wasn’t even a D800e and it wasn’t even Nikon’s finest lens (the 1.4g is lackluster imo; the only area where I feel it shines over the older 1.4D is wide open) – a better example, like a previous poster mentioned, would be a Zeiss lens (since we’re comparing a ‘prosumer’ camera to a medium format that costs tens of thousands, that would be a little more fair) or at least the MF Nikon 50mm 1.2 (which I’ve never actually used, but hear raves about).

    I was mostly ignoring the audio (frankly I was wincing at how this guy was struggling to justify the Hasselblad), but if he said something about the Hasselblad being able to shoot to the iPad, I do the same thing every day with an ultra cheap Eye Fi card with the D800.

    At 5:18, look at the specular lighting on the right side of the model’s face – one thing I always hate about digitals was the ham fisted approach to tones and those nasty looking color or contrast bands.  They both do an amazing job at handling these, but again the Nikon looks just a slight hair better.

    Now…if I had an extra fifty thousand, would I purchase a medium format ‘blad with a nice digital back and a bunch of new lenses? 

    ….no, I’d keep the damn D800 and go on vacation. Both cameras look great.

  • Ron Greer

     you clearly have never shot with the 50mm f1.8.  It’s one of Nikon’s sharpest lenses; if not the sharpest.

  • Studiomiyake

    Art directors are the ones who are the snobs, and us commercial photographers have to follow suit if we want them to hire us again.  You ever have a art director chuckle at you because you use a Mamiya instead of a Hasselblad.  Certainly it should be about of work but when you are in a highly competitive market where everyone is at or near the same creative level as you, you look for any minute way you can differentiate yourself.

  • Robert Park

    I have both of these cameras and agree. That said this is a good test with the same raw engine. The red shift is more of a problem than one thinks and is not a WB issue. It is a difference that has always existed been between CMOS and CCD. The Nikon is pretty close on IQ only with a really good prime.
    The Hasselblad Zoom I have 35-90 is even sharper than my 80mm prime. Unfortunately Nikons 24-70 just does not cut the mustard next to the Hassy zoom.
    The Nikon RULES at high iso and moving AF targets. The Nikon matrix metering is better too. The Hassy being stainless is HEAVY and can be tiring when hiking several miles.

  • Jay

    What a
    stupid, biased review. Perhaps it never
    occurred to these tethered “pros” that a
    properly exposed file doesn’t need any highlight recovery in post. Apparently corporate Hasselblad types think
    the D800E is a game changer. Why else
    would they have slashed prices immediately after the Nikon release.

  • ozzy zakupy

    must agree, the D800 looks better to me. and thank god these pro photographers are working in Calgary, are standards out there this low?? post skin tone grading is a must, no matter what you shoot.

  • Bell

    I have an idea. If you want to set yourself apart from other photographers work on making your photos more memorable and unique instead of spending thousands on gear to make photos that look exactly like everyone else’s photos.

  • Phoenix

    I have, and NO it isn’t. The 24mm 1.4, the 85mm 1.4 and the 135mm 1.4 are stunning. The 50mm 1.8 is very good for its price, perhaps more pleasing in bokeh than its more expensive 1.4 brother, but certainly not Nikon’s “sharpest”. Not by a long shot.