Jul 222014
 

The new Hasselblad CFV-50c CMOS Digital Back. 

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The new CFV-50c from Hasselblad. A 50 MP CMOS digital back with ISO up to 6400 for the iconic V system. Hasselblad is promising amazing IQ and colors in any light, which is unheard of when it comes to Medium Format as they have always been very limited in this area. While not cheap, the new CFV-50c is not nearly as expensive as I expected it to be, coming in at $14,900 US. Now yes, that is insanely expensive but I expected Hasselblad to come in with this at $25,000. With their Stellar and Lunar Sony bodies coming in at such insane prices, the thought of a full on Hasselblad NEW CMOS 50MP digital back for such an Iconic camera line had me thinking $25-$35k. So $15k, that is about the cost of a Leica M and a 1-2 lenses. ;) Add in a used V series camera setup with lens and you will have a classic, iconic and gorgeous modern day masterpiece. Old with the new. Modern meets classic. I love it. So who makes this sensor? Well, the one company who keeps pushing the limits..SONY. There are even rumors that Sony will be releasing a Medium Format fixed lens MIRRORLESS camera soon. ;) 

You know, there was a time when Hasselblad stood for many things including quality, precision, build, design, soul, magic and originality. Their classic V series of medium format film cameras have always been the gold standard for MF shooting. I have lusted over a 501CM camera for many years, and have only shot with one for one day of my life. It was a very nice experience. The negatives that came back from that camera were gorgeous as there really is nothing quite like a medium format negative. Rich, full of texture, full of soul and life. Using the camera was an exercise in slow, steady and using my brain. Looking through the finder was a very cool experience that felt natural to me.

Sadly, over the years the Hasselblad system started to fade as digital came into play and soon, many of these classic systems started to appear on e-bay for peanuts. Many dropped the system as they no longer used film. Some tried out the digital back that was released a while back, the CFV 50 (minus the C) with good results, but it was limited to ISO 800 and CCD.

This week, Hasselblad has launched the new CMOS digital back for the V system…

Lately it seems Hasselblad has been focusing their energy and time on silliness such as the Lunar and Stellar cameras, which are rebranded high prices Sony bodies that are now out of date. Many have lost faith in the once mighty Hasselblad, writing  them off as a company who would soon be history, or become a spoof of its once former self. Now it seems they are giving something back to all of those who own and use the classic V system. Well, not GIVING, but making it available…at a price.

YEP, this week Hasselblad has announced the CFV-50, which is a new digital medium format back that can be used on all classic V system cameras. Yes, that 501 you have in your closet? You can now add a state of the art digital back to it and use it once again, just as you did in the glory days of film. :) OMG, I so want one. In fact, I would love to have the system just as shown below. This is a new CMOS sensor guys, so much more usable than the CCD sensors in previous digital backs.

The stock image of the new CFV-50 on a 501CM. What a combo!! 

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Unfortunately for me, I do not have a spare $20k or so lying around to create something like that but maybe..one day. For me, something like what you see above is sort of a “Holy Grail” setup. Modern Medium Format Digital connected to the most gorgeous and classic medium format FILM camera ever made. It is a thing of beauty and while not a camera for daily use, it would be one for SPECIAL use. I can not wait to see examples that come from this beauty. Hasselblad will NOT be recreating the camera body of course , so you must have a classic V model to use the back. I think this may just drive up prices on the used market for them. You can see a list of compatible models HERE.

From Hasselblad CEO Ian Rawcliffeon the new CFV-50 Back:

“We have experienced a substantial resurgence of interest in our iconic V cameras – users love the traditional ergonomics and the unique appearance. Our research has shown that although we no longer manufacture V models, there is a big demand from our dedicated V System users who want to be able to continue to use their classic cameras but also desire access to our latest technology.”

Research:

See more at the Hasselblad site HERE.  Compatibility page is HERE and Planet V page is HERE. 

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Tech Specs:

Sensor type: CMOS
Sensor size: 50 Mpixels (8272 x 6200 pixels)
Sensor dimensions: 43.8 x 32.9 mm
Image size: RAW 3FR capture 65 MB on average. Tiff 8 bit 154 MB
Capture rate: 1.5 capture/sec. 35 captures/ minute (based on a SanDisk Extreme UDMA7 120 MB/s)
Single shot
16 bit colour
ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 & 6400
Longest shutter speed: 12 minutes
Image storage: CF card type II (write speed >20 MB/sec) or tethered to Mac or PC
Color management: Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution – One generic profile
Storage capacity: On average 60 images on a 4GB CF card

Battery type: Sony™ InfoLithium L NP-F series
Colour display: 3.0 inch TFT type, 24 bit colour
Histogram feedback: Yes
IR filter: Mounted on sensor
Feedback: IAA – Instant Approval Architecture: provides acoustic and visual feedback
File format: Lossless compressed Hasselblad 3F RAW
Software: Phocus for Mac and PC (included)
3FR files are also supported directly in Apple and Adobe environments
Macintosh: OSX version 10.5 or later. PC: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit), Windows 8
Camera support: Hasselblad V System cameras manufactured since 1957. 2000 series cameras and 201F with C lenses only. 202FA / 203FE and 205FCC camera models need a minor camera modification to use F/FE lenses. All other cameras with Hasselblad V interface.

Host connection type: FireWire 800 (IEEE1394b)
Battery capacity: Sony™ InfoLithium L, up to 8 hours of shooting capacity
Operating temperature: 0 – 45 °C / 32 – 113 °F
Dimensions: 90 x 92 x 57 mm [W x H x D]
Weight: 530 g (Excluding battery and CF card)
Package contents: Hasselblad CFV digital back with protective cover, adapter cables, rechargeable battery with charger, EL camera battery adapter, FireWire cable and 8 GB CF card. Focusing Screen (Split image / Micro Prism) with dual format markings.

Jun 112014
 

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So who owns a Hasselblad Stellar? C’mon, be honest!

UPDATE: According to the poll below almost 50 of my readers here have purchased and bought the Stellar. Guess that they have been selling as this poll only represents the readers HERE. Thanks for voting!

So I was going through e-mails today and someone I know purchased an orange special edition Hasselblad Stellar. You know, the Sony RX100 clone made by Hasselblad for 4X the cost of the Sony RX100. Well, the RX100 can be had for $500 today and the standard Stellar goes for $1995.00 yet it is the SAME exact camera with some added bling and flash and pizazz. Believe it or not, some do care about these things as when you have a good-looking cameras that also performs well, it does indeed inspire confidence in those who like this kind of stuff. No, it does not create better photos than a Sony RX100 as it is the exact same camera on the inside and besides, it is the photographer than makes the photos and creates the images, NOT the camera.

I was remembering my time with the original Sony RX100 and thinking back to how great of a camera that it is. Now with the RX100 III coming out, I am excited to see the latest evolution of the model. The new RX100 III will feature the integrated EVF and other new features and it will come in at $798. If it lives up to the RX100 1, then it will be well worth the cost for those who want a high quality pocket rocket of a camera. The original RX100 is a HUGELY capable camera that some dismiss due to size yet it does so many things so well…I expect the III to be amazing.

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Which leads me back to Hasselblad and the Stellar. I was in NYC a while ago and was able to go into a shop and handle and examine the Stellar. At $2000 I was having a HARD time understating it and trying to figure out WHO would buy one and why. I asked the shop owner if he sold many and he said that yes indeed, it was much more successful than even Hasselblad had hoped. Well, I called BS and chalked it up to sales talk.

To put things into perspective Leica has the X2 which is $2000 new yet I prefer the Sony RX100 to the X2 for the speed, size, low light ability and overall versatility (video , macro, etc)  - so if I had $2000 and had to choose between only a Leica X2 or Stellar, I would take the stellar and I would have just as handsome of a camera with an equal build, more solid feel, faster AF, video capability, better lowlight, closer focusing ability and better resale.

Back to my handling with the Stellar…The shop owner pulled out the black carbon fiber version and the camera was housed in a glossy all wooden box. Had to be the fanciest packaging I have come across to date, even putting to shame Leica packaging. When I opened this box, the camera was perfectly nestled in its location with a luxurious and soft leather strap attached. I picked it up, turned it on and saw the “HASSELBLAD” logo pop on the screen. I have to admit, it felt much nicer than the Sony version. It was more solid and hefty and the grip was quite handsome. Still, 4X the cost of the RX100 (at the time it was 3X the cost) was overboard and I was not getting it. Sure we have the fancy luxury packaging. Sure we have the Hasselblad name and logo and yes we had the much more solid buttons and a better tactile feel to them. The fancy choice in wooden grips was also very cool. Wait.. now I was getting it.

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The more I held it and thought about it, the more I started to understand why some would choose to buy such a camera. It looked the part, it felt the part and it had the name that many associate with incredible cameras and optics. It was a much better feeling and looking RX100 and it gave a sense of pride. Of course, I did not buy one but I did try to get a discount offering to review it for the shop if he sold it to me at a discounted price. He offered me $22 off the price, and of course I declined. :) I was hoping for 50% off which I knew would never happen.

While I do not think I could or would ever spend 4X the cost of the RX100 for a “Stellar”, especially since the improved RX100 III is almost here for $798 I do understand it more after handling it and seeing what it was all about. I would pay about $1000 for one personally, as I did love the look and feel of the black one. The RX100, even Version 1 is still a pretty “stellar” camera as it is and capable of fantastic IQ. To have one in a more hefty and better made body wold be nice, and the grip felt great.

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I mean, would we expect Hassleblad to release it at $500? No! $1000? No, as it would not be worth it to them due to the added expense of the wood grip, packaging and the fact that they pay Sony to be able to use the body. Their price of $2000 is a little much IMO but about right for what you get. Those who DO buy it will value things like exclusivity and style and NAME. Leica does the same with some of their cameras. Models like the D-Lux are rebranded Panasonic models that go for a few hundred more than the Panasonic version. Leica offers a better warranty, lightroom software and better design and they charge $400-$500 for this. Hasselblad is charging a $1500 premium but there is a MUCH smaller market for the Hasselblad Stellar than there is the Leica D-Lux 6, so they will never sell as many which means they have to price it higher.

Now the new “Special Edition” stellar is here and comes in at $3300! Insane.

This takes me back to the start of this article. A guy I know and respect bought one and LOVES it. He had the RX100 and has a Leica M as well. He was thrilled with the orange SE stellar and had zero buyers remorse. He is not a rich guy, just an average guy who really loves to shoot. He loves his Sony RX100 so much he decided to splurge for one in his favorite color of orange. He is as happy as a man can be.

The bottom line is that when we use and shoot with what makes us happy then WE are at our happiest and most positive. This helps to motivate and the result CAN BE better photos. So nothing wrong with someone buying what they want and what they enjoy as long as it makes them happy. Many love to bash these cameras but there is no point to that really. Those who bash it are NOT the target market for the camera. Just as those who bash Leica will never buy one or own one. The fact is that there are those who do buy them and do love them and even if that number is very small in the grand scheme of things it just adds to the value of the item, even if it is a rip off of a dated camera :)

BTW, I will be reviewing the RX100 III and A7s soon and am looking forward to it.

So my question is to the readers out there:

WHO HERE HAS BOUGHT A STELLAR? Hasselblad says it has been a huge success, so who has bought one? Anyone here? If so, answer the poll below with a yes or no! 

Mar 072014
 

Respect Bali. Protect Bali.

By Nikko Karki

www.nikkokarki.com

http://blog.nikkokarki.com

The Balinese believe they were given the choice to live in paradise in exchange for supervising the spiritual world – a task requiring constant ceremonies and offerings to appease the Gods. Life goes on as it has for hundreds of years amidst sandy beaches and a turquoise ocean. With some areas suffering from disenfranchisement from cultural traditions, it is evermore important to respect the island and the Balinese people.

Respect Bali. Protect Bali.

Photographer’s note:

I focus on traditional aspects of life on the island that have remained unchanged despite the huge influx of tourism on our beloved island over the past years. In parts, it’s hard to tell the island has changed for hundreds of years, although that is all being constantly threatened by development. If you look hard enough, the island’s soul is still in tact. It’s important for me to address change from a positive standpoint instead of criticizing it. It’s important to focus on the good that we see and embrace it, respect it and protect it.

Hasselblad 500c Carl Zeiss 150mm f/4

Kodak Portra film

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Feb 062014
 

The $11,500 Hasselblad HV! Oops, I mean Sony A99! 

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The new Hasselblad HV. A DSLR that offers no compromises with tough as nails build, jaw dropping beauty and is already a proven winner because it is indeed a Sony A99! All for $11,500! Woohoo!

Yes, this was announced 3-4 days ago or so but I had to wrap my head around this one and decide if I even wanted to give it exposure. Then I figured..well..why not, not many, if any, will buy one of these anyway! I mean, restyling a NEX-7 could have been cool as the NEX-7 is a cool camera. Restyling the mighty mite RX100 could also have been cool, as it is one hell of a pocket camera. Hasselblad accomplished to screw both of those up and turned the “could have been” into “Damn..we screwed up”.  The slow selling Lunar and Stellar prove that one.

But fear not, Hasselblad is forging on with the Sony morphs with the new Hasselblad HV 99 mainly because they had to as it has been in the works for a long while already.

I call this new Hasselblad the “HPV 99″ (there really is no 99 in the name, nor a “P”) because it is the Sony A99 with a new coat of paint and cosmetics at an almost $9000 premium, which to me sounds like a big old genital wart on the camera industry. Yep, should be called the HPV 99.

Yes, that is correct… the now older A99 that sells for $2700 can be had for $11,500 featuring the same shape, sensor, image quality, speed, and using the same Sony lenses for $11,500 US. Basically, we get a wooden case and fancy styling for our $9k and nothing more. Oh yea, “tough as nails” build quality.

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Someone at Hasselblad has either lost their minds or they are trying to only sell 50 of these worldwide. 

Like I said, I can see them blinging out the small and cool and capable mirror less cameras. Hell, even I held the Lunar and Stellar and liked the Stellar (RX100) quite a bit but could not bring myself to pay $3500 for a $600 camera, no matter how cool it looked and how good it felt.

The HPV 99 comes with a pelican style case because Hasselblad KNOWS that us photographers always like to carry our camera not in a bag or with a strap, but in a suitcase. 

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But why is Hasselblad giving this treatment to a fat bulky DSLR that will use the same fat bulky Sony DSLR lenses? I mean, who here would pay $11,500 for a Sony A99 with a new coat of paint when you can get a standard black A99 for $2700?!?!? This is not the same as Leica with their special editions as Leica is not taking an OM-D E-M1 that sells for $1600 and pimping it out with a Leica logo, blinging it out and charging $8,000 for it. Leica does not take a Fuji X-E2 and throw a coat on it and charge $7500. Leica takes their own premium M design and puts out a special edition here and there with very few units being made. What they do with Panasonic does not count as even when they give this treatment to the Panasonic P&S cameras they come in at a $200-$300 premium yet offer longer warranty, better software and better aesthetics.

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I am just confused as to what Hasselblad are doing but maybe I am cranky because I did not have my morning cup of coffee. One one hand Hasselblad seem to want to be like Leica yet at the same time they have no clue how to go about it. But I am here to offer my help to them.

Hasselblad..DESIGN YOUR OWN MASTERPIECE OF A CAMERA that lives up to the Hasselblad name. When you do that you will have something special. 

I am sure the HV will be beautiful, solid and extremely well made. But it is still an A99 any way you slice it. My question for you is..who here will be ordering the Hasselblad HV? $11,500 can buy you an amazing camera and a few lenses  - say a Sony A99 with $9k left for glass ;)

Vote in the poll below and feel free to comment!

Steve

Dec 302013
 

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User Report: Shooting Portraits with the Hasselblad 501cm

By Brett Price

Hey Steve,

I thought I’d write up an article after somewhat rediscovering a camera that I’ve always had but not necessarily always shot with, the Hasselblad 501cm.

I started shooting medium format after purchasing a 500cm several years ago and the format has always been one of my favorites. I’ve owned almost every single medium format camera that exists minus a few but the Hasselblad has always stayed in my setup due to its versatility and the excellent images it can produce. It has always been the one camera I return to after experimenting with other formats and negative sizes. 6×6 has always been my favorite shooting ratio although I know it’s not the best for every situation. I’ve always found 645 to be too close to 35mm to be worth it and 6×7 cameras are typically too large and heavy to carry around for on-the-go usage. (Minus the Mamiya 7, which is fabulous but a little clinical for portrait work).

I primarily shoot people. I love the reactions and images this camera can produce for portraits as the Zeiss lenses are fantastically sharp but also offer a 3D look and separation for OOF backgrounds that looks extremely pleasing. Its a relatively small camera in a basic setup and without a prism it is relatively lightweight meaning you can take it with you just about anywhere if you’d like. I think the only camera that comes close in category would be a Rolleiflex, which is much smaller and lighter but not nearly as versatile as it has a fixed lens and no film backs which means no switching lenses or films mid roll if you’d like to, which can come in handy if you like shooting a mixture of B&W films along with Color Negative (or even chromes).

I quite like the sound of it too. People usually crack up when I fire a shot off. It’s a big shotgun cocking of a sound, which usually comes up in conversation. I think the reason I’ve settled on this camera and the Leica system I have is because out of all cameras out there, people react very differently when being shot with them. With a Leica its so small and unobtrusive that they rarely change their attitude to it or pay attention, with the Hasselblad its so loud they have to make mention of it somehow which starts a conversation and ultimately leads to some excellent fun and good shooting.

I used to own 7 or so systems but recently narrowed down and sold everything except my Leica M7, my Leica M typ 240, and my Hasselblad 501cm with a couple of lenses for both. I’m probably in the market soon for some sort of backup system for the Hasselblad, probably a Mamiya 7 or Rollei depending on what I ultimately decide. It can be frustrating because there really is no perfect system out there for this format. I think the Mamiya 7 would be it if the lenses were faster but alas, they are not. I think the experimentation with different systems and different formats, ultimately buying and selling them over the years and finally filtering them down to my dream setup really makes this camera special to me. Its how I first learned medium format, its what I’m most comfortable with, what I’ve found most reliable. It excellent for almost any situation and full mechanical, needs no batteries and rarely needs service due to the fantastic build quality. Hasselblad’s have barely changed over the years so you can find them at extremely low costs nowadays. If you’ve ever wanted to shoot film and medium format I would highly recommend them to anyone.

I don’t think ill ever part with this camera. It’s easily my favorite. It’s my desert island camera, the one I could use and grow bored with and then rediscover over and over again.

Anyways, I hope you like my photos!

Technical details for the gear heads:

All images shot with a Hasselblad 501cm w/ Zeiss planar 80mm f2.8CB and Zeiss 60mm f3.5CB

On Kodak Portra 400/800 & Kodak Tri-x 400 (developed in Rodinal 1+25)

Scanned on a Fuji Frontier Scanner.

 

I also post regularly to my website:

www.iambrettprice.com

 

As well as my tumblr account:

brettprice.tumblr.com

 

And not to forget flickr:

www.flickr.com/photos/brettprice

 

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Jul 252013
 

Using The Hasselblad X-Pan by Brett Price

Hey Steve,

I recently purchased a Hasselblad Xpan with the 45mm f4 lens and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on it for your website. Thanks again for making a site where people can do this. In light of their recent (laughable) offerings as a company I’m still optimistic they can change course and still make excellent cameras like they used to. Hopefully this semi-review/experience can breathe a bit of hope back into people, even if now its only nostalgia. I’m still hoping for a digital Xpan!

This camera has a cool story, I bought it from a teacher of mine who happens to be the Cinematographer of some excellent films such as Anchorman, Beetlejuice, and Jumanji and it was actually originally purchased while filming Anchorman. I believe he shot around 6 rolls through it total and has pretty much sat inside the original packaging until I purchased it from him. It’s as mint as it gets :)

I started shooting the camera as soon as I received it and I must say, in terms of build quality and feel, it’s as solid as a Leica. I honestly didn’t expect this only seeing photos of it online. For some reason the exterior looks very plastic-y which seems to throw off the conception of weight and build quality. Its pretty heavy for a camera its size but handles extremely well. I personally love shooting with it and its been my go to camera lately. I love cinema and movies and for some reason nothing makes a shot more cinematic looking that being in a near 3:1 aspect ratio. I don’t feel like my photos are all that different from what I typical shoot but this camera gives them a look that is extremely interesting and cinematic.

If you are interested in one of these cameras there are a few things I learned upon receiving it that I didn’t know (good and bad). There is actually a way to make the camera shoot normal 35mm aspect ratio as well as panoramic. There is a switch on the back that opens and closes a set of “blinders” inside the camera. I don’t really understand why this was done or why anyone would want to use it but ok, it’s there. The camera loads the entire roll into the take up reel when you first put the film in, this means if you accidentally open the camera, you probably just flashed most of your roll. I see this as good and bad, the good news is the shots you’ve taken are protected, the bad news is that you might loose a whole roll of film if opened. I doubt this will happen I just found it interested due to the fact it works almost totally opposite of any other 35mm camera I’ve used. There is no shutter speed indicator in the viewfinder (only on the first model is this a problem). So if you shoot on auto you have readouts as to what is being properly exposed and what is over and under. Much like a Leica you have — O + near the bottom of the viewfinder but this is always the case rather than on an M7 it would tell you the exact shutter speed.

The images you get from the camera are sharp. very sharp in my opinion. I don’t really see the tell tale 3D rendering I’m used to with my 501cm but its got a nice unique look to it regardless. Its stiffer to use than you would think, which is a plus in my opinion and its pretty easy to focus with the rangefinder patch being brighter than my M7.

Anyway I bought the camera on a whim and its quickly become one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy the photos. I constantly update my tumblr account with new work if you want to check out more in the future as I update. Its: BrettPrice.tumblr.com

Happy Shooting,

Brett Price

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Jul 232013
 

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The Hasselblad “Stellar” is announced! WooHoo!

Hasselblad has officially lost their minds. They have now taken a $649 Sony RX100, added a wood grip and are calling it “The Steller” and guess what? It will probably come in at $2500 if the pricing of their NEX-7 “Lunar” is of any indication.

Seems Haselblad are pulling a Leica stunt but in a much bolder way. While Leica takes a camera like the $300 Panasonic LX-7 and puts in in a Leica shell for $400 more you do get the Leica name, longer warranty and better software. The way Hasselblad is going about this one is pretty silly. They take an RX100, make it champaign in color and add a wood grip. I am sure you will get the fancy packaging and all but this is an RX100, plain and simple.

They have not yet announced the price but remember, their “Lunar” which is a NEX-7 sells for $7000 with the 18-55 Sony Kit Zoom.  Who will buy this? Has anyone here bought a Lunar? I just can not see any of these selling, especially if they come in at $2k and up. The RX100 is fantastic, as you can see in my full review, but c’mon. It is not $2k fantastic. :)

Hasselblad has lost it. While they used to be known for their amazing medium format film bodies and their compact X-Pan, today they are becoming sort of a joke in the photographic community. Sure, these cameras look..well..ummmm…”different” but they are still Sony NEX-7′s and RX100′s no matter what shell you throw over them.

You can see more at the new website for the Stellar HERE. 

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Jun 112013
 

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Get your Hasselblad Lunar now for only $6995!

Yes my friends, just when we thought the new Leica X Vario was over priced we now have the opportunity to buy the Hasselblad Lunar on Amazon RIGHT NOW! There are eight of them in stock at only $6995 with the 18-55 Made in Thailand Kit Zoom. Yes, THAT Hasselblad Lunar, you know, the one that is really a Sony NEX-7 with a fancy covering? Yes, this IS indeed a Sony NEX-7. Same sensor, same menus, same control, same kit zoom. But instead of $costing $1100 it is $7000. 

The same soft-ish Sony old school 18-55 on the same innards of the NEX-7 with a HUGE outer casing and grip.

Haseelblad must be smoking something really strong to even think they would profit from such a thing.

I wonder how many they will sell within one year? Should be interesting. I have yet to see anyone shoot with one, even for a review. There have been 1-2 reviews but no one has shot with it, they just visually saw and held it and wrote about its cheap plastic feel. No shooting.

In any case, I would never recommend the Lunar but had to post about it being available in case any of you here are feeling a little bit crazy. It comes in Titanium/Brown, Bronze/Mahogony and Titanium/Black. It does appear one of the Bronze ones sold, as I believe there were 3 of each when listed, now there are two of the Bronze, so SOMEONE bought one :)

If you want this camera without the bling you can buy the NEX-7 with the same lens for $1098, take that extra $6k and go on a kick ass vacation to use it, but the people targeted by Hasselblad for the Lunar have enough cash to buy the Lunar and a trip around the world anyway. Then again, the Leica M 240 is $7000 and I own one and am not rich! But the M 240 is not an OM-D E-M5 with a Leica shell. It is unique and there is nothing like it. The Lunar is the nuttiest camera release of the past 20 years.

 

Jun 102013
 

USER REPORT: The Noctilux of Hasselblad, the Zeiss 110 f/2 Planar by Jerry Bei

Hi Steve:

While I am waiting for the arrival of my Leica M typ 240 that I would like to share my recent experiences with a legendary Hasselblad lens, the Carl Zeiss 110mm F2.0 Planar lens. I am a big fan of super shallow Depth-of-field and bokehlicious images, I believe with the correct use of aperture that one can enhance the subject of the photo. The Hasselblad medium format film camera has been my companion for quite some time now, it is the “perfect” MF camera for me and part of this is due to the superb qualities of those Carl Zeiss lenses. After owning and shooting with a variety of these lenses, there is always a lens in back of my mind.

The Hasselblad 110mm F2.0 Planar lens is indeed a “dream” lens, just like the noctilux of Leica which outputs incredible bokeh and unique characteristics. I have been searching lens on the internet for quite a while since there are not too many of them available at once. There are basically two versions of the lens: the F and FE models of the lens. The F lens can only be used on focal plane Hasselblad bodies with built-in camera shutter and the FE version has some electronic parts specially designed for FE series Hasselblad bodies such as the 203FE, which demands a higher price tag for its more modern electronics. My lovely 2000 FC/M camera that I did my street photography work with has broken down due to focal plane failure so I upgraded to a more recent model, the 201F with a cloth focal plane shutter rather than fragile titanium ones in the 2000FC/M. It is the perfect match with the Hasselblad 110mm F2 lens and this combination works like a charm.

The first thing you notice when you are holding the lens is quite heavy, coming at 750 grams, which is significantly heavier than my Hasselblad 100mm F3.5 C lens. The F version of this lens were produced between 1991-1998 and the construction consists of 7 elements/5 groups with the aperture ranges from an insane F2 to F16 in 1/2 stop increments. Keep in mind that F2 in the Medium Format world is approximately similar to F1 in the 35mm format, which produces incredibly shallow paper-thin DOF. In practical use, the lens at the start was very challenging to use, especially for living subjects on the streets that I like to photograph but once you get used to it then everything becomes easier. Just as a side note, I would recommend for Hasselblad users to change their focusing screen to either Matte or Matte D with increased brightness/clarity when working with this lens, which helps significantly in practical use. The filter size for this particular lens is in bayonet mount (Bay 70) and I would recommend the 77mm UV size adapter since this is a much affordable option.

The performance of the Hasselblad 110mm F2.0 Planar lens is truly remarkable, it deserves to wear the crown of super-fast lenses in the Medium Format world. The rendering is typical Zeiss with tendency to the warm side with vivid colours and the out-of-focus areas are pleasing to the eye with smooth bokeh. The images coming out of this lens are very sharp, probably not as sharp as the Hasselblad 100mm F3.5 lens since that one is the sharpest but the 110mm lens possesses very unique and special characteristics. If you like super-fast lenses and looking for a unique lens in the medium format world then the Hasselblad 110mm lens cannot be missed.

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My website

My Flickr

Feb 012013
 

HAS

Using the Hasselblad 200 FC/M for Street Photography by Jerry Bei

“UFO” Kodak Ektar 100

UFO

Hi Steve:

I am a street photographer based in Sydney and I have a strong passion for photography in general. I used the Leica M9 and MP as my main tools for street photography in the past couple of years but recently decided to acquire something different. The temptation of medium format have always been there but I could not justify the cost of digital medium format cameras, at least for now.

Hasselblad has always been my dream medium format camera and luckily I got the chance to buy a Hasselblad 2000FC/M camera body with a A12 magazine at a very reasonable price that got me started into medium format. The world of medium format film photography was new to me so I had to learn everything from the start. I got a grasp of how the Hasselblad V system works very quickly since I had quite a bit of experience shooting film before.

“J&M” Fuji Pro400H

J&M

First thing I noticed when holding the camera is its superb build quality, I have held many Leica cameras before but this thing is different, it is built like a tank; heavy and solid. The Hasselblad 2000FC/M with a lens attached is significantly heavier than my Leica M9 with a 50 Summilux ASPH combo but still lighter than a full-frame DSLR setup.

“Black Riders” Ilford HP5+

Black Riders

The viewfinder on the Hasselblad V system is like nothing else I have experienced, big and beautiful. It is almost like a live-view 3 inch LCD screen in the modern days but even better since it is all optical rather than electronic. Viewing through the viewfinder is a pleasure and truly a treat to eyes. I have upgraded the original stock viewscreen to a even brighter Accute Matte D screen that helps to achieve faster and more accurate focusing for street photography.

The Hasselblad V system is equipped with a waist-level viewfinder and it is perfect for street photography. You can simply hold the camera at your waist aimed at your subject and most people don’t even know that you are taking a picture. It’s discreteness is perfect for the streets. The shutter click sound is no where as quite as a leaf shutter or Leica quietness but it is still a pleasure to hear the mirror flipping when the shutter fires.

“Circus Lady” Kodak Portra 400

Circus Lady

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“Gossip Girls” Kodak Portra 400

Gossip Girls

One of the big advantage of the Hasselblad system over other medium format film systems is its inter-changeable backs, which allows swap between different films on the go. There are several different types of film magazines available that can shoot different number of exposures. The most common is the A12 magazine, which allows photographers to shoot 12 frames of 6×6 exposures of 120mm film. You simply insert the dark slide to remove the film back and apply another back loaded with the film you desire. Therefore, you don’t have to wait until all exposures to be finished and able to shoot B&W or Colour during the same photo-shoot.

The lenses are made by Carl Zeiss thus equates to superior image quality. There are several different types of lenses for the V system, some with lens built-in Synchro Compur shutter like in C and CF lenses and some without that uses the in-camera shutter like the F lenses. My Hasselblad 2000FC/M can uses all three types of lenses since it has a built-in shutter and a top shutter speed of 1/2000 second. The optics are all made by Carl Zeiss and has the typical Zeiss quality with its renowned 3D rendition. Some people buy the system because of their famous lenses. There are also difference in lens coating and are noted by the T* sign. The lenses I used are the Carl Zeiss 150mm F4.0 CF T* lens which is equivalent to 94mm in 35mm format, which is the perfect lens for head and shoulder portraits. I am also using the “magical” lens in the Hasselblad world , the Carl Zeiss 100mm F3.5 C T* lens that is equivalent to 63mm and it is a mysterious lens that is rarely used but contains some magical qualities. One day I hope to get the “Noctilux” of Hasselblad, which is the Carl Zeiss 110mm F2 lens that will produce stunning bokeh!

I loved shooting with 35mm film on my MP, although the film qualities are presented i.e. the great exposure latitude, dynamic range and tonality but the sharpness is not up to the standard that I desired. Medium format film seems to be the “Perfect” solution for this, it has incredible sharpness, even at 100% crop looks tack-sharp amazing to me. Although with the significant gain of resolution over 35mm film but it still retains all the film qualities that makes it so attractive. There is also a great gain in shallower Depth-of-Field and the bokeh from the lenses are incredible. The frame is 6×6 which makes it a unique square shape that stands out from all other images. I have yet to print those images in large sizes but have heard that you can even blown them up to 2 by 2 meters prints, which is perfect for commercial usage.

It has been a real joy to use the hasselblad and I am still amazed at its quality. While my journey in the medium format world continues that I would highly recommend for anyone wanting try out medium format film photography : do not hesitate!

Please feel free to visit my Flickr or 500px to see more of my work:

Flickr: HYPERLINK “http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerrybay/” http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerrybay/

500px: HYPERLINK “http://500px.com/jerrybay” http://500px.com/jerrybay

 

“Father & Son” Ilford Delta 400

Father & Son

 

“Hairy Chest” Ilford HP5+

Hairy Chest 

“1958 Chevrolet Corvette” Ilford HP5+ 

1958 Chevrolet Corvette

“French Nun” Fuji Reala 100

French Nun 

“In the Wind” Fuji 400H

In the Wind

Jan 232013
 

UPDATED Comparison: Hasselblad 39C vs Sigma DP2M reloaded by Michael Ma

Hi Steve:

Thanks for publishing the quick Hasselblad/Mono/Sigma DP2 Merrill comparison (see that one HERE). I don’t know if you post follow ups but the post generated a lot of heated comments and one key issue people pointed out (rightfully) is that the Hasselblad was not designed to be shot wide open under limited light. I think everyone agreed that the Monochrom is incredibly sharp so I’m leaving it out of the comparison.

I took the Hasselblad and the Sigma out to the roof and shot a few pictures. And here are the results. This time, the Hasselblad is noticeably sharper and the image rendition is more accurate. However the Sigma followed closely and it is very impressive.

 

· Hasselblad 503 with winder CW, 80mm CEF Zeiss Lens, 39megapixel CF39 back vs Sigma DP2 Merrill

· Overcast but bright day, around noon time. Both cameras were shot at F11 and 125s, focused to infinity.

· Both pictures are right out of the cameras. No exposure/contrast adjustment or sharpening.

 

Hasselblad Shot. Notice the overall tone of the image. Smooth and warm. This is a little warmer in color than the actual day condition but came out very nice. The texture is almost creamy

Hasselblad

Hasselblad 100% crop. Very sharp and detailed. Some noise in the shadows even at ISO100.

Hasselblad crop

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Sigma shot. It is incredibly sharp but has that clinical look. Not as pleasing as the Hassey in the rendering. The sigma has a bigger DOF (the flower pots in the front are perfectly in focus while they are a bit soft in the hassey).

Sigma

Sigma normal size 100% crop. Again, very sharp here although not as sharp as the Hasselblad. The normal size conversion converts the X3F file into 4704×3136 file. The details are there and the colors are vivid.

Sigma Normal size crop

 

Sigma double size: Sigma also has an option to export its files into “double size” TIFFs for bigger prints. This turns the file into a huge 9408×6272 file (over 100mb). This is considerably larger than the Hasselblad file. You could see the loss of details here but it probably won’t show up in prints under 40cmx40cm. (click it for full size 100% crop)

Sigma Double Size crop

What does all these pixel peeing prove? Hasselblad owners can be rest assured that the performance of their systems cannot be matched by the Sigma Merrills, while Merrill owners can rejoice for owning such an incredible machine. It is unquestionably the sharpest tool in the ASPC sensor class. Although the system has its quirks and trade offs, when it comes to image quality (which is ultimately what we need), it can play with the medium format big boys. So, why not have both? A Medium format or a Leica Mono plus a Sigma DP2 would formidably setup for any demanding photographer.

 

Jan 122013
 

12 Months, 12 Lenses and Cameras

by Bjarke Ahlstrand – His website is HERE

Hail and happy new year!

2012 was a very exciting (camera) year for me — I often considered the many new promising cameras, especially when browsing through Steve’s blog, but eventually found out that the smaller sensors and formats are not my thing, even though OM-D, Fuji X-pro etc. look amazing, especially ISO wise. Heck, even the new 5D Mark III which I purchased for “professional” purposes bored me… So in stead my focus, desire for — and collection of old “exotic” glass just grew and grew as did my fascination with the medium format, and lately large format (4×5″) film. I’ve always shot digital, so building my own darkroom and starting to develop my own film was quite a challenge, but fortunately I have quite a few skilled old school friends who helped me along the way.

And now, as 2013 is upon us, I’m trying to “scale down” my 2012 collection of images, which also happens to be quite a challenge, considering the many good times spend with a variety of excellent cameras (some bought, most borrowed from my best friend who works at a camera store). But even though I loved fooling around with the technical Linhofs and Sinar Norma 4×5″, The Zeiss Ikons, Voigtländer Bessa, The Rolleiflex and Yashica TLRs, it always seems like my (camera) heart belongs to my Leicas (M6 + M9-P) and Hasselblads (digital H3D-39 and analogue 500C, SWC and Xpan). And the lenses, those wonderful lenses…

Anyways, here are 12 of my 2012 shots. The first 6 months are in black and white and the last 6 are in color; some shot with wonderful analogue oldies and some with digital razor-sharp aspherical ones, dating from 1939 till today…

JANUARY 2012 · LEICA M9-P & 35 MM SUMMILUX F/1.4 (PRE-ASPH)

My colleague, Claus, from whose father I purchased an excellent 1960′s 50 mm Summicron.

2012_01_leica and 35 summilux_claus the co-worker

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FEBRUARY 2012 · HASSELBLAD SWC & ZEISS BIOGON 38 MM F/4.5 · P45+ DIGITAL BACK

- My youngest clone, Viggo, running uphill while I press the shutter on the wonderful SWC from 1974. The 38 mm Zeiss Biogon (=24 mm in full frame terms) is the sharpest, non-distorting and most excellent wide-angle lens I’ve ever owned and shot. There’s no framing or focus assist when I shoot with the SWC, but I now it so well, so I just point and shoot (and prey :-).

2012_02_hasselblad swc and zeiss 38 biogon_run to the hills

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MARCH 2012 · LEICA M9-P & 50 MM JUPITER-3 F/1.5

- My lens soulmate, Klehmann, knowing my craving for fast lenses, strongly suggested that I tried one of the old russian Jupiters, so I purchased this one eBay. It’s broken, so it only works on 1 meters distance and then it’s 4 cm off, so it took some time to adjust to. But it’s wonderful with its drop-like bokeh, even when something wicked is climbing the trees in Copenhagen (=my oldest clone, Hjalte).

2012_03_leica and 50 jupiter_in the trees

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APRIL 2012 · LEICA M9-P & 90 MM ELMAR F/4

- I often wonder which images old lenses have captured through out their life time. This 1939 portrait lens is no exception. It survived the second World War, the following cold war and eventually ended up in my hands for a mere 100$. It’s rather battered and its resolution is not the highest of my Leica glass, but it does well when it sees a burlesque Australian freak performer. I wonder how many of those it has seen the last the last 73 years…

2012_04_leica and 90 elmar 1939_freakgirl

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MAY 2012 · LEICA M9–P & 50 MM SUMMILUX ASPH F/1.4

- This lens never fails me. Since I departed with my 75 Summicron (I traded it for the 75 Summilux which I like better), it’s definitely the sharpest in my Leica arsenal, even wide open. I really like the 35 mm on the Leicas, but I often find myself automatically bringing this one and my 21 mm Summilux as both are excellent performers and a nice compact travelling kit. The guy on the image recently had a pacemaker inserted which I was quite fascinated with.

2012_05_leica and 50 summilux_pacemaker man

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JUNE 2012 · LEICA M9–P & 100 MM CANON SCREW MOUNT F/2

- My favourite music festival is the annual Copenhell (Copenhagen Hell) as it’s crammed with hard-hitting metal and a cool audience. This year I spotted a Crow-like character and this was actually the first shot I took with my newly purchased 1960′s Canon screw mount lens. 100 mm is an odd size on the Leica, frame wise, but the old Canon lens actually handles very well and I love its f/2 abilities and only shoot it wide open.

2012_06_leica and canon 100 mm_the crow at copenhell

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JULY 2012 · HASSELBLAD H3D-39 & 100 MM HC F/2.2 · Pro-Foto Flash

- My wonderful offspring just before harvest, captured two minutes before the sky cracked, through 39 megapixels of digital Hasselblad magic and the Fuji built HC 35 mm f/3.5 which translates roughly to a 22 mm lens in full frame terms.

2012_07_hasselblad h3d-39 and hc 35 mm_harvester of sons

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AUGUST 2012 · HASSELBLAD 500C & 60 MM ZEISS DISTAGON F/3.5 · KODAK EKTACHROME E200

- Astronaut Neil Armstrong died late August, and the boys and I decided to suit up and pay homage to the space traveling Hasselblad shooter. I found an old, long expired dias film, which I inherited from a retired pro, and we sailed to the Trekroner Island just outside of Copenhagen. Apparantly the 50+ year old film magazine has a marvelous light leak which I absolutely love it. And the colors… those expired dias film produce something truly unique. And with my Imacon Flextight scanner I end up with 50 megapixels resolution, which is not bad at all for a very old camera.

2012_08_hasselblad 500 60 mm zeiss distagon_astronaut armstrong jr

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SEPTEMBER 2012 · LEICA M9-P & 50 MM NOCTILUX ASPH F/0.95

- A self-portrait of myself and my new better half, shot on my roof top during stormy rainbow filled September weather (just before our very first kiss as a matter of fact). That Noctilux is unbeatable, although mine is 2 cm off focus wide. The girl is pretty nice too, I think :-)

2012_09_leica and 50 noctliux_new girl on the block

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OCTOBER 2012 · HASSELBLAD XPAN & 45 MM FUJI F/4 · KODAK EKTACHROME E100

- Ever tried a double full frame rangefinder? Enter the XPan, an interchangeable lens 35mm rangefinder camera system with true panoramic capability. Made by Fuji in Japan, its like a Japanese Leica in Hasselblad styling — only its true panoramic double-width full frame (24 x 65 mm). Despite its small size, the 45 mm is actually a medium format lens, making it a 24 mm in 35 mm terms. And again — those old expired dias film — if you have some in the freezer, please send them to me in Copenhagen!!

2012_10_Hasselblad Xpan and 45 rodenstock_ruth at fence

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NOVEMBER 2012 · HASSELBLAD H3D-39 & HC 100 MM F/2.2

- A razor-sharp Yoda-like-orc shot at f/2.2 medium format which equals something like f/1 in 35 terms (check the sharpness in his eyes, it’s unbelievable). The HC 100 mm is my favorite medium format portrait lens. It renders out of focus smoothly and is one of the sharpest lenses, even wide open, I’ve ever tried.

2012_11_hasselblad h3d-39 and hc 100 mm_orc yoda

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DECEMBER 2012 · LEICA M9-P & 21 MM SUMMILUX ASPH F/1.4

- I shoot a lot of concerts. So do a lot of other photographers, but the Canon & Nikon shooters always stare, when I pick up my manual focus only camera and try to nail the performing artist at f/1.4, hehe. This was also the case when Rob Zombie recently played in Denmark together with Marilyn Manson. I recently brought along the 5D Mark II and the new 24-70 zoom, but it just wasn’t me anymore, I guess I love the manual framing and focus hassles too much :-)

2012_12_leica and 21 summilux_rob zombie

 

Nov 052012
 

A Film Legacy by Jason Howe

Hi Steve

I’d really like to share a recent discovery with you, I am posting the full version on my blog HERE but I know this will reach far more people if you show it so thanks so much for helping me achieve this.

I’ve featured my own work on your site several times before but on this occasion I’d like to present the work of a deceased doctor and amateur photographer from New Zealand called Roland G Phillips-Turner who in the 1950′s and 60′s travelled around remote regions of New Zealand’s North Island doing medical research and documenting his travels with his Leica M5 and Hasselblad 500c.

A Film Legacy

I clicked on the email attachment, whilst the image of assorted camera equipment wasn’t the best the list was clear enough….. Leica M5, 35mm Summicron f/2, 90mm Elmarit f/2.8 all caught my eye, words that meant nothing to me only a couple of years ago were now very much etched in to my photographic brain. Other lenses in both M & R mount were listed amongst a myriad of Leica equipment. The email arrived via the father of a friend, word of mouth regarding my fondness for all things Leica had ensured it found its way to me, good fortune indeed. I phoned the contact number and made arrangements to view the items at the earliest opportunity and in doing so acquired not only a wonderful collection of vintage Leica equipment but also the opportunity to show the world the photography of Roland G Phillips-Turner, his film legacy so to speak.

As I carefully packed away the equipment, the daughter and I began to chat about her late father and his photographic exploits, as I listened intently my connection to this newly inherited equipment grew stronger with each spoken word. All vintage equipment comes to you with a history, more often than not it’s imagined on the part of the new owner, to actually know the story behind it makes it very special indeed. With this history comes what I would almost describe as a sense of duty, one I would come take very seriously, lenses have since been serviced and as I write this the M5 is at DAG in the US receiving the attention it deserves. Indeed, upon its return from CLA the 35mm Summicron f/2 (Pre Asph) v.1 made its debut for me HERE.

I’d describe myself as a rational person, I don’t believe in such things as fate and destiny, but I have to admit it has crossed my mind when it comes to this equipment. From opposite sides of the world, separated by two generations and via a huge slice of good fortune this equipment has landed in my possession, the survival and continued use of this Leica equipment is now ensured.

In addition to the equipment I was also entrusted with his slides, these have only been seen by the family prior to this post.

 

Image 1 – Hasselblad 500c – KODAK EKTACHROME

I was so pleased to find this amongst the negatives, after some research I’ve been able to establish that it was taken at Marokopa Falls in the Waikato, New Zealand. It was also fascinating to discover that the photographer used the Hasselblad 500c for the medium format work. I had also purchased a 500c from the USA a month or so before coming across the slides, just another wonderful coincidence.

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Image 2 – Hasselblad 500c – AGFACOLOR DIA

Kuia with a moko – “Kuia” being an elderly woman, grandmother or female elder and the “Moko” is the Maori facial tattoo.

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Image 3 – Leica M5 – KODAK KODACHROME

Image taken with the Leica M5 and most likely with the VISOFLEX that was also included within the set of equipment.

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Image 4 – Hasselblad 500c – KODAK EKTACHROME

Deer Hunters in the Urawera’s, a rural scene that is no doubt still repeated in the present day.

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Image 5 – Hasselblad 500c – AGFACOLOR DIA

In this image Mount Ngauruhoe appears to be active. You may recognise this volcano as Mt Doom from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

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Image 6 – Hasselblad 500c – AGFACOLOR DIA

Traveling amongst the indigenous people in these rural areas whilst doing his research must have been the most incredibly rewarding experience. Add to that the opportunity and ability to photograph them and it really must have been a joy on many levels.

Final Thoughts

In years to come will people have similar experiences to the one I have just shared with you? What is the likelihood of my photographs being rediscovered 40 or 50 years from now? You would have to say, highly unlikely! Film has made this discovery possible, it has preserved these images beautifully and ensured their survival to date.

Boxes of slides, stored in an attic, a garage, who knows where, you open it, hold it to the light and instantly you can see the magic, will people recover digital images from old hard drives in this way? I can’t see it myself……..only film can make this possible. I already had an affinity with film, this experience has strengthened that bond still further, I never say shoot film over digital, I always say shoot both. There is true value in both media.

The images posted here are indicative of the collection I have been entrusted with and I will continue to share them over the coming weeks and months, I hope you’ll join me and follow these posts with interest.

Cheers

Jason.

Aug 032012
 

Tri-X: The Real Deal by John Shingleton

I cracked a wry smile as I read Anand Asar’s post -”How to get that film look“( 30th July) and the torrent of not always polite comments which followed. I felt for Anand but found myself asking “But why try to digitally emulate film when you can still have the real thing”?

Regular readers of Steve’s blog may have read my story of my personal photographic journey back in February HERE. In this I set out my philosophy of minimizing my camera gear and travelling light .

Since writing that post my photographic journey has taken an unexpected turn .For some time I had felt that I was taking too many photos and I was in danger of becoming a “snapper” as opposed to a photographer .The tipping point came whilst I was travelling in Europe a couple of months ago . Everywhere I travelled there were hordes of tourists touting big DSLRs and they were just “snapping”, often unthinkingly raising their cameras to their eyes and shooting away without making any effort to compose the photo yet alone think about or even observe what they were taking .I could see myself going the same way. To avoid this horrible fate I decided that I needed to get back to my photographic roots and to embrace “slow”photography in the form of film or analogue photography. I had done the Leica thing for over 40 years so there was no point in going there again. Ever since I had been interested in photography (52 years ) I have lusted after a Hasselblad (Blad) medium format SLR although in the last 10 years I had forgotten about this enthusiasm in my rush to embrace digital. For those not familiar with iconic camera brands Hasselblad was the king of cameras before the digital era and was embraced by both top line professional photographers and wealthy collectors. The Apollo astronauts took Blads to the moon with them–I understand that they even left one there –probably to save weight on the flight back to earth.

Spurred on by a friend in the UK I looked at the prices of ‘Blads and was really surprised by how affordable they have become . To cut the story short I picked up a beautiful vintage Hasselblad outfit/camera body/magazine and three lenses for $1000. Now the Hasselblad is a beautiful piece of kit with superb precision,  Swedish engineering made of steel, aluminium and glass with not a piece of plastic in sight and just handling it is a tactile experience. Not something you can say about many digital cameras apart from the Leica M9.

At this point I can almost hear the gear heads saying “is this guy crazy”? $1000 for a vintage clockwork film camera? For that money I could buy a super new Panikocany XZS 100-DM with 24mp ,auto focus faster than the speed of light, 128 very confusing menus , loads of little buttons , a touch screen but no viewfinder.”That would be totally missing the point.

This wonderful device called a Hasselblad has already given me enormous pleasure and I have only shot four 120 films -48 exposures so far. It is certainly slow and difficult to use . Even loading the film is a slow, tricky operation and the viewfinder is very dim and reversed which can be very confusing. If I tried using it after a few beers I would probably fall over. But setting the camera up, taking the photos ( it makes a wonderful noise as the mirror flips and the two shutters fire) and then waiting for the film to be processed to see the results is a completely different experience to digital photography. Yes, black and white film photos have a totally unique look and I have really embraced the black arts and purchased a developing tank and chemicals so I process the films as well. I did have all this gear once but gave it away thinking that I would never use it again.

But enough from me . I’ll let some of my first photos from the Blad do the talking. These are like the first beer made by a home brewer, I am sure I will improve with practice. These were taken on either Ilford FP4 or Kodak Tri-X film. Yes ,Tri-X the real deal. No digital emulation here.  In case you are wondering I won’t be taking my Hasselblad travelling with me. It is far too heavy and cumbersome for that. If I took the Blad outfit on a plane it would use all my luggage allowance. That’s no way to travel! A Blad outfit and one pair of underpants! No, the Leica X1 is safe .

If you want to see how my slow photography develops watch my eclectic blog on www.therollingroad.blogspot.com and please don’t comment that I am crazy as I already know.

 

Sep 022010
 

An Alternative View of the Leica S2

By Kurt Kamka

Photography either as a profession or as a hobby is one of those avocations that frequently end up being all about the buying, selling and trying out of gear. It’s the endless pursuit of the perfect lens, feature set or upgrade that is just one purchase away.

Like modern Sisyphus’, for many, the trying out of gear becomes the obsession. And, with a steady stream of new products to feed the addiction, the next new product introduction becomes a highly anticipated, hallowed event.

Raise your hand if the gear acquisition bug has ever bitten you. I know it’s bitten me, so I’ll raise both of my hands.

With so many systems and options available, a trend in recent years that, depending on your point of view, either adds to the addiction (or is the perfect antidote) is the introduction of lens mount adapters. Lens mount adapters allow you to mount alternative lenses (other manufacturer’s lenses) on a variety of camera mounts.

If you like manual focus and can work with stop-down metering, lens mount adapters can open up a whole treasure trove of classic, beautiful and even bizarre lens signatures for you to work with as you explore different looks for your images.

I first started experimenting with lens mount adapters when I was using a Canon 1DS and discovered that a Leica to Canon EOS mount adapter was available for the 1DS. I had to cut the mirror on my camera to prevent the mirror from getting hung up on the lenses I wanted to use, but it allowed me to mount Leica R lenses on a Canon body.

Over the years, I’ve used a wide variety of Leica, Zeiss, Voigtlander, Hasselblad on Canon, Nikon and Leica bodies.

So when I recently heard that a Hasselblad to Leica S2 adapter was available for the LeicaS2, I knew I had to give it a go. Mostly, because it would allow me to mount one of my all-time favorite lenses, the 110mm f2 Carl Zeiss Planar, on the S2.

Leica S2 with the Hasselblad  110 f/2 lens attached via an adapter

I like the image characteristics a larger medium format sensor like the S2 provides with a narrower depth of field … especially with faster lenses. So I found a dealer friend who happened to have an adapter and was willing to lend it to me during an S2 test drive.

As an f2 lens, the Zeiss 110/2 lens is wonderful for available light photography. I was pleasantly pleased to find that as a relatively small lens (manual focus lens design) when compared to the larger AF lenses in the S2 line-up, the Zeiss 110/2 was easy to handhold on the S2.

The Zeiss 110/2 has a distinctive lens signature that provides rich, high-contrast images and smooth bokeh. It is a match well-made for larger medium format digital sensors including the S2′s.

Leica S2 with the Hasselblad  110 f/2 lens attached via an adapter

I was also delighted to discover that the S2′s large viewfinder makes manually focusing the 110/2 no more difficult than manually focusing any other fast lens on a Leica M body.

As a result … I had a blast during my S2 test run. The accompanying shots are from a walk around the Wisconsin State Fair on a Saturday. I wandered around the fair for a little over three hours with just the S2, the Zeiss 110/2 lens and a hand strap.

The upside to this adapter madness? The realization that there a few more lenses (like those in the Hasselblad V line-up) that are “available” for use with the S2 … at a more reasonable price and with a distinctly different look than the growing set of optical marvels designed for the S2.

It might be another reason to choose an S2 or reconsider what you are currently using on your camera system of choice. Especially should you find that you find that you already have a few leftover lenses sitting around collecting dust.

Kurt Kamka

www.kurtkamka.com

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