The only camera that can make an owner of a Nikon D3x feel inferior!
Hasselblad did a demo day run by Photo Pro magazine at their new London studio in Hackney (Fanshaw street) (near old street train station or Hoxton overground station) See link
You also get Leaf shutters, which mean that the shutter is not in the camera body but in the lens. The means that a much faster shutter speed is available for flash photography. A number of the Lenses had a ring that had markings on it for the shutter speed. It would happily sync up with the studio flashes up to 1/500th of a second. (on a full frame camera getting it above 1.250th requires special flashes from Nikon, with a massive drop in power output)
Very good software (Focus, free) which has mapped all the lenses from Hasselblad so that any flaws are automatically softwared out.
This is mentioned especially for the wide angle lenses. the Hasselblad 28mm f4 has not got one of its front glass elements meaning that the images from the lens are distorted (not good for a $4500 lens) but the Focus Software sorts it out perfectly and automatically, same to for vignetting and chromatic aberration. (however this will not work with any film backs obviously)
However I suspect tripods and still life may be of more importance to many of the users of Hasselblad.
No vr/is/vc/os lenses or in cameras,
(again this camera will almost always be used in a studio with flash and at the top shutterspeed available to this is probibly not an issue for the users.
On the back of my DSLR if i am looking at an image it is very very easy and quick for me to flip from one image to the next, to zoom in to pixel level and to pop up histogrammes and shot details.
All of which is available on the Hasselblad and its digital backs, but it was very slow (obviously! as it is dealing with 50MP images!!!)
The button layout on the Back was not obvious and the ergonomics not the easiest to play with, especially when you are holding such a heavy camera and lens you dont want to be waiting 5-10 seconds for your image to unblur on the small screen at the back for you to show to your model and to check its focus 5 seconds is a life time compared to 2011 DSLR cameras.
One of the strengths of the camera is its ease of use and its simpleness, but I do like my settings…. but the more I think about it the more I see that those who shoot with a Hassy, will have no interest in the banks of settings you can set your Dslr with…
Now the event itself.
As you can see from the images above its got a mezzanine for chilling out, a full curved white wall a door that could accommodate cars coming in, loads of power points, and can be supplied(rented out) with Hasselblads and Powerful computers and also staff / lighting technicians, there is a room for the models to change and have make up done and there is a little kitchen, and the prices seem to be very reasonable for renting it out (if your already a Hassy owner). Here is the layout
It was also well tempratured, I was not cold and the model did not seem to have any goosebumps.
The demonstators / experts
The people running the event were very personable and easy to talk to. The MD did mention that he would have to confiscate my Nikon when he saw me taking a shot with that of the location. But he was the kind of person you could tell was having a laugh from the start. You can see them all in the showreel section on the site (click here) They also showed the confidence they had with the camera, whereas myself and the visitors were holding the cameras like priceless jewels, they would hold them with one hand, pick them up, put them down all in a very nonchalant way, which filled us all with confidence and a form of realism that they are in the end just cameras.
The showing off of the software
There started to be a bit of a queue when we had all shot our 24 images….. and wanted to see them on the two monitors, but each person was getting a fully guided tour through the software and its inport and export procedures etc that there was a bit of waiting. This was a good time to watch others images and start up some conversations.
There also seemed to be a lot of faults,
Almost everytime I picked up a camera I needed to get one of the experts to really help me out. The screen on the back of one would not show an image and that took the expert a good couple of minutes to figure out. The scrolling through the images on the back of the camera also proved problematic for some of the experts as well. It is probably due to the fact that they don't look at the images on the back but leave it till they are on the computer. The digital back did not prove very self explanatory and a lot of pressing of the (i) button and the up and down usually got you to where you wanted to be but it was not obvious the route you took to get there.
Another time it was the battery,
Another time it was the memory had not been formatted properly
Another time it came up with a fault code which I didn't read and gave to an expert who looked confused fiddled it a bit and gave it back to me working fine.
Also the inside of the prisms were covered in dust and bits of hair. (none evident in the images on the computer though and that is all that counts)
The studio is in Hackney which is only a couple of stops along from Kings Cross train station and also well outside of the congestion charge zones, The street that it is on seemed like you could find a parking space somewhere near but some of the street corners did not look all that safe. Deffo get some good car insurance if leaving your car outside.
Would I buy a Hasselblad just now?
Not a chance! really dont have the money for that.
Would I buy a Hasselblad if I had all the money in the world?
Would I happily pick one up and shoot with it if I was on assignment for a magazine and all expenses were paid?
If I had a choice of a Hasselblad with lens for 9k or Top of the range Nikon D3x with the selection of lenses making it up to 9k I would go with the Nikon every time. But would I look at the other shooters that are using Hasselblads and be a bit jealous… yes… But then I would blast out 5 fps like a machine gun and feel manly again.
In terms of optical quality, and digital image making quality this is truly the formula one, to the Nikon d3x- Pagani, to the d700- Ferrari, to the D300- Audi rs4. to the d3100- golf, to the Nikon P7000- new pair of trainers.
Its another league but that league has a hell of a lot of different rules and regulations compared to the normal road legal cars/ cameras.. I am getting confused in my own analogy.
and anoyingly. I have thought about it every day since the event….
one day ;)
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