Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution


The Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution (HNCS) is a colour management system independently developed by Hasselblad. From the initial capture to post-editing. It empowers Hasselblad cameras to render genuine, true-to-life colours with smooth, detailed transitions to restore the world of colours as perceived by the human eye.

A Pursuit of Uncompromising Colour

Hasselblad believes that photographers should not have to compromise on colour accuracy.

The typical solution for achieving colour that looks “right” is to provide different profiles depending on the subject. Each profile, such as portraits, still lifes, or landscapes, has its own colour rendering based on assumptions about the subject. However, photography is rarely this categorical and often combines multiple subject types in one photo. We at Hasselblad think photographers should not have to wrestle with choosing profiles or worry about sacrificing some colours in order to capture others perfectly.

In 2004, amid the development of a medium-format digital camera, Hasselblad engineers decided to create an all-new colour management system. One that empowers every single Hasselblad digital camera to reproduce all colours authentically in every illumination. Hasselblad engineers listened to photographers around the world about their views on colour and their desire for colour rendering with smooth tonal transitions and a profile with uncompromising skin tone reproduction.

With the consideration of photographer's needs and over 50 years in camera development, Hasselblad engineers constructed a universal colour management system that fits all shooting scenarios - the Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution. It brings reliable, accurate colour rendering and frees photographers from complicated preset colour profiles. True-to-life colours by default.

What Goes Into Hasselblad's Unique Colours?

Every Hasselblad medium-format camera has undergone stringent pixel-level calibration to achieve consistent high-standard light sensing capabilities. This, plus Hasselblad’s high-quality medium-format lenses, lays a solid foundation for accurate colour rendering.

The human eye automatically enhances details and contrast. If a camera simply restores accurate colour values in technical terms, it would be monotonous and boring, nowhere near what the human eye actually perceives. In order to take care of these subtleties, HNCS also optimises tone and contrast.

© Donald Michael Chambers
X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/55V

© Donald Michael Chambers
X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/55V

Hasselblad’s understanding of natural colours brings together HNCS. It includes an independently developed Hasselblad look-up-table (LUT), Hasselblad Film Curve, and unique colour processing that together adapts to any illumination. The colour data undergoes a series of transformations that remap the captured values. This ensures true contrast, rich saturation, and tricky subtle tones – like skin tones – are kept smooth, even between highlights and shadows.

© Linus Englund
X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/55V

© Jianjun Wang
X2D 100C + XCD 4/21

The results are a film-like image quality with true-to-life, wide-ranging contrast. Whether it is JPEG photos directly out of the camera or 3FR files from Hasselblad’s image processing software Phocus, the results will always be the genuine “Hasselblad colour".

Post-processing is also taken into consideration in HNCS. With Phocus, image data is edited in one of the Hasselblad working spaces with minimal data loss. The data is also optimised to keep skin tones as unaffected as possible even after applying curves and contrast changes. For users requiring a wider gamut, such as museums or reproduction houses, there is Hasselblad L*RGB colour space, which contains nearly all colours from the LAB colour space. It enables users to work with difficult lighting conditions and highly saturated colours. Additionally, using the Phocus colour calibration tool, users are able to create custom calibrations to obtain optimal colour precision.

HNCS works from the initial shot to post-editing, from colour accuracy, tone, contrast, transition in colour space and more. It delivers consistent, accurate, and true-to-life colours, rendering every single photo in hallmark “Hasselblad colour”. With HNCS, the need for choosing a specific colour profile to capture accurate colours is gone, and users can manipulate and play with colours for extensive creative freedom.