Hasselblad has announced that its new H4D-200MS camera is now available for shipping. Announced at last year's Photokina, the 50 megapixel camera features the company's own multi-shot image technology which allows it to combine multiple successive images into one 200 megapixel photo. The new professional-level camera has been given a suitably huge price tag but owners of the previous multi-shot system don't have to buy a completely new system, H4D-50MS models can be returned to the Hasselblad's factory for a refit.

Hasselblad introduced its first integrated multi-shot camera - the H3DII-39MS - announced in 2008, and then upped the pixel count even further with the introduction of the H4D-50MS. The new H4D-200MS is based on the latter but has added a half pixel step to the multi-shot process that gives it the extra megapixel count.

The 50 megapixel, 36.7 x 49.1mm CCD sensor - twice the size of 35mm camera sensor - is mounted on the company's symmetrical multi-shot frame. Unlike Sigma's Foveon X3 system (which counts on the different absorption properties of each color to record red, green and blue information at each pixel), Hasselblad uses Bayer Mosaic color filtering.

Piezo-electrical actuators move the sensor by a combination of both 0.5 pixel and one pixel increments for each of the six image shots so that the RGB color information at each point is obtained with a double resolution in two directions, which helps avoid moiré and color rendering issues when the shots are combined to produce the 200 megapixel image. The sensitivity range is ISO50 to ISO800.

The camera offers either tethered or untethered operation, but don't even consider trying to render such large Hasselblad RAW 3FR image files using the included Phocus software toolbox for Mac and Windows over a FireWire 800 host connection with less than 8GB of system memory and a hard drive spinning slower than 7200 RPM. If you're on a location shoot then the option of using a UDMA compatible CF card will likely offer more appeal.

The new H4D-200MS benefits from all the functionality of the H4D-50 and H4D-50MS systems, such as True Focus featuring the new Absolute Position Lock processor, Ultra Focus and automatic Digital Lens Correction that works hand-in-hand with the Phocus software to remove chromatic distortion and vignetting. The inclusion of the new Hasselblad Natural Color Solution is said to produce outstanding colors easily and effectively and an integrated CCD cooling sink helps reduce noise.

Developed primarily for highly detailed still life studio shots, the H4D-200MS offers professional photographers the versatility of a 50 megapixel single-shot mode for subjects that just won't keep still enough for the four-shot, 50 megapixel multi-shot mode or the new extended six shot, 200 megapixel multi-shot mode.

There's also a Global Image Locator GPS accessory option and a choice of eye-level or waist-level viewfinders. The new camera is also compatible with all 11 Hasselblad H System lenses.

The new H4D-200MS is available now for a cool EUR 32,000 (US$45,717).

Owners of the H4D-50MS can send off the unit to Hasselblad's factory in Copenhagen, Denmark for an upgrade at a cost of EUR 7,000 (US$10,000), where the engineers will also bring the firmware and hardware up to spec if needed to ensure everything needed for the new multi-shot system is in place.