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Andrew Reid

My guide to buying a cheap Hasselblad medium format camera

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Interesting article, I can see the connection the film writing prompts post you make.

There is one thing I noticed and and would like to clarify if I am understanding you correctly. As I read it you are stating that a 56mm full frame equivalent lens on a medium format camera will give you more compression than a 56mm equivalent on a smart phone due to the longer focal length of the medium format. That is not the case, compression is a function of perspective which is purely defined by the physical position of the camera nothing more. Focal length only affects other characteristics like DOF, lens distortion, etc... This will be the case with all traditional lenses with maybe the only exception of some really odd ones like the reversed perspective lens I saw posted a while back.

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Yep, the defining factor in "facial flattery" is how close you physically stand from the subject. There are other factors like @dhessel mentioned, but ignoring quality of build in a lens, a person's face would look the same on a M43 shooting 25mm as the 645 shooting 80mm if you maintain the same distance from the subject. The reason medium format has its "look" is really more due to the fact that to get the equivalent DoF of 2.8 you'd need an f/0.8 to match, in this case.

 

I'd like to add though that there are certainly other factors such as light gathering ability and overall dynamic range that larger sensors certainly have an advantage for. Just trying to clear up the compression thing.

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It would be cool if you could set up say the 1DX II, a Sony with the Kippon MF focal reducer, and the H3D using equivalence math (and same distance camera to subject) for a comparison. To show the differences in the available optics for the different formats, their character, and the differences in sensor and color performance. Maybe even the GH5 too with something like a Voigtlander F.95 etc.

In that way you can match perspective, bokeh, and compression (as best as is possible with available lenses and camera settings) so the lens and sensor characters can more clearly be seen.

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When I was a local photographer's assistant/darkroom monkey/gopher he used to let me borrow his RB67 and a couple of lenses when it wasn't in use. There was definitely something special about working in the larger format - not least that the size of the thing and the relative high cost of the film dictated a very measured approach. The local camera shop had a Mamiya 645 and a Hasselblad 6x6 (can't remember the model number) that they used to let me rent at a cut rate as we bought so much film etc from them all the time. Great cameras to use - I shot my first ever nudes on the 645.

Sadly none of the prints, or even negs survived my divorce and subsequent hard times. We grouse about backing up our files and (rightly) aver that film lasts a lot longer - but I wish I'd had Flickr and Dropbox then as I would still have the thousands of pictures I made in my twenties and thirties.

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Congratulations on the new new camera ... it was one of my favorite digital cameras ... bought mine when the were 37K ... actually traded out of some 8 bodies and 15 lenses for a H2D then moved to the H3D II 39. Love the files out of camera. 

Three suggestions ...

Phocus does a better job with color clarity highlight recovery than any other workflow. Output from it to LR to optimize your conversions.

There is a way to "refresh" the batteries ... they tend to hold less of a charge over time and you can reset them ... do a search for this.

In the menu you can change the time of shutter actuation from the mirror up ... lengthening it a bit may afford you with sharper images when handholding the camera.

Oh ... one more ... the back can be used on a tech camera if you power the back with the firewire cable from a battery and an external cheap FW800 hub. Used mine to great effect on an Alpa TC.

In time you may want to look at the HC 50 version II and the HC 100 ... both stellar lenses.

My first Hasselblad was in 1984 ... have had too many to number ... recently returned to the fold with the X1D 4116. Love the CCD but DR and higher ISO almost make up for using CMOS.

For those who are not familiar with the H3D ... one of the easiest cameras to clean the sensor as it is flush with the outside of the back. Couple of swabs and you are done ... no need to use a loop to see deep inside the camera and attempt to stay off the wall of the deep well.

Again ... no video but what wonderful files ... 

Bob

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Honestly buying a second hand medium format, that is not a recent model,beside for your ego, is pointless when you can have a a7r2 for 2k usd new.

Full frame glass is much more advanced and competitive and you can get a more shallow dof for most focal if it s what you are after. 

The compression things is not accurate, its only relative to your camera to subject distance, you can make the same image on any format, just the dof change.

The only advantage is the image ratio if you don t like 35mm,and mayyyyyybbbeee if you shoot landscape and want to close the iris a lot because of the circle of confusion ( but CCD sensor get noisy on long exposure anyway)
 but in term of functionality those cameras are dinosaurs, I had a mamiya zd 645, I had a fun time with it, but I traded it for a sony full frame and never looked back.

If you want an interesting look, shoot film, 6x7 and larger format.

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So many naysayers who just don't get the fact that MF digital ( even older models) have way better tonal and colour fidelity than DSLR formats that reduce the CFA density to the bare minimum in order to boost high ISO performance. If I ever get back into doing stills for personal projects I'll be buying P45+ or P65+ for my 500c/m with 50/80/150 lenses (still used via adapters on my A7r2 and still competitive with native glass)

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37 minutes ago, Laurier said:

Honestly buying a second hand medium format, that is not a recent model,beside for your ego, is pointless when you can have a a7r2 for 2k usd new.

Full frame glass is much more advanced and competitive and you can get a more shallow dof for most focal if it s what you are after. 

The compression things is not accurate, its only relative to your camera to subject distance, you can make the same image on any format, just the dof change.

The only advantage is the image ratio if you don t like 35mm,and mayyyyyybbbeee if you shoot landscape and want to close the iris a lot because of the circle of confusion ( but CCD sensor get noisy on long exposure anyway)
 but in term of functionality those cameras are dinosaurs, I had a mamiya zd 645, I had a fun time with it, but I traded it for a sony full frame and never looked back.

If you want an interesting look, shoot film, 6x7 and larger format.

Honestly buying a second hand Full Frame, that is not a recent model,beside for your ego, is pointless when you can have an m4/3 for 2k usd new.

m4/3 glass is much more advanced and competitive and you can get a more shallow dof for most focal if it s what you are after. 

The compression things is not accurate, its only relative to your camera to subject distance, you can make the same image on any format, just the dof change.

The only advantage is the image ratio if you don t like m4/3,and mayyyyyybbbeee if you shoot landscape and want to close the iris a lot because of the circle of confusion ( but CMOS sensor get noisy on long exposure anyway)
 but in term of functionality those cameras are dinosaurs, I had a Sony A7sii, I had a fun time with it, but I traded it for a m4/3 and never looked back.

If you want an interesting look, shoot polaroid, instax and packfilm...

... or learn to separate your personal preferences from facts. Image quality is not measurable. Specs don't mean jack. No camera in the history of the world is factually "better" than another camera. It depends on the user and is always subjective.

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19 minutes ago, Mattias Burling said:

... or learn to separate your personal preferences from facts. Image quality is not measurable. Specs don't mean jack. No camera in the history of the world is factually "better" than another camera. It depends on the user and is always subjective.

Or shoot equivalence tests with all the right settings, including ISO and let other people see for themselves, leaving the ego of the tester out of the equation as much as possible.

An even better test would have a technically competent, non-photographer who knows nothing about the purpose of the test and knows nothing about cameras, DOF, perspective, color, etc., following instructions precisely to perform the test (related to the concepts of single- and double- blind studies, to remove testing bias as much as possible).

@Shirozina CFA/color-separation quality differences would be interesting to see, I think this may be why, for example, the F65 looks so much better to me vs. the F55. Might also explain why the A7S II looks better than the A7S I and FS700 and the green-magenta balance sensitivity, etc.

Another factor could be simply that the ultra-high end cameras get more TLC and tweaking to make thing looks better (CFA, sensor design, software, etc.).

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14 minutes ago, jcs said:

Or shoot equivalence tests with all the right settings, including ISO and let other people see for themselves, leaving the ego of the tester out of the equation as much as possible.

That makes just as much sense as asking a computer to calculate what ice cream flavour that is the "best". 

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Quote

That makes just as much sense as asking a computer to calculate what ice cream flavour that is the "best". 

Exactly! Or getting that same computer to decide whether Rembrandt or Monet is the better artist. I think we get way too hung up on numbers as a way of measuring entirely subjective aesthetic qualities.

Quote

Another factor could be simply that the ultra-high end cameras get more TLC and tweaking to make thing looks better (CFA, sensor design, software, etc.).

Another factor could just be that the majority of people willing to make the many thousands of dollars/pounds/euros investments for medium format cameras and lenses simply tend to be accomplished photographers.

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54 minutes ago, Mattias Burling said:

That makes just as much sense as asking a computer to calculate what ice cream flavour that is the "best". 

The reason we try to take the tester's ego out of an experiment, is to reduce as many variables as possible in order to learn whatever the goal of the experiment is. For a camera test, our goal is to understand actual differences in the camera systems, vs. the tester's personal preference or bias (ego). This has nothing to do with computers, as human beings would then look at the results of the tests to see if they can see any differences and if so, what are those differences.

42 minutes ago, Tim Sewell said:

Another factor could just be that the majority of people willing to make the many thousands of dollars/pounds/euros investments for medium format cameras and lenses simply tend to be accomplished photographers.

That sounds reasonable. A non-biased equivalence test would allow many people to reach their own conclusions.

5 minutes ago, Shirozina said:

How many here offering their opinions have actual experience shooting and processing MF digital - by the sounds of it not many......

And Andrew has all the gear and experience to create a reasonable equivalence test showing the differences between these camera systems.

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