Hasselblad, Leica & Polish Models

Hasselblad, Leica & Polish Models

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

October 2017

Here is the blog diary I wrote to document my last model photography trip to Poland on the flight home.  Sorry it took a while to share!

10 Models in 2 days.. Poland

Leica Summilux ASPH Portrait

Choice of Cameras

I really enjoyed using the Hasselblad 500CM medium format film camera in Tenerife and before I went I replaced the PM45 prism viewfinder with the much lighter and more compact waist level finder (WLF). I had been happy the camera looked more ‘classic Hasselblad’ and that it fitted into my camera bag easier but the final photos are what matters. When I scanned the film from Tenerife I noticed I had much more photos that were sub-standard as they were not tack sharp and many mis-focused slightly. I could only think it was me being less accurate at focusing using the WLF rather than the prism viewfinder.  The WLF is certainly more difficult for me to find focus. I refitted the Hasselblad PM45 prism finder in hope that my photos get back to the standard I demand.  I think my sharpest Hasselblad photos to date were model photography images shot in Hamberg with the 60mm Zeiss Planar lens but I also had success with it in New York and Poland previously using the 150mm Zeiss Sonnar and 120mm Zeiss Makro-Planar lenses.

I’ve started using a different small camera bag to my usual Billingham Hadley Digital (perfect for Leica cameras but not for the Hasselblad camera shape) as it gives me a bit more space and enough room for all of the below mentioned  cameras and lenses.  It is a really old bag I got free with an eBay film camera purchase but it does the job I need well.

Polish Girls

Hasselblad and Leica

The Hasselblad setup using the 180mm Sonnar and ISO 400 speed film will require enough light for a minimum aperture of f4 and shutter speed of ideally 1/125 or more (I will use the 500CM camera with a monopod to increase my chances of sharp photos).  I therefore packed a speedlight to boost light levels / brightness if needed.

I brought along the Leica M3 to use with available light. Using the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 lens and Kodak Eastman Double-X 5222 film I can shoot at f1.4, 1/50, ISO 800 (easily) in low light.  When there is sufficient light I will use the Hasselblad as much as possible followed by the Leica M3 (moreso in less light).  For all digital photos I will use the Leica M240 camera.

Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm

Final Kit List

    • Hasselblad 500cm 6×6 film camera
    • Zeiss Planar 60mm f3.5 CF lens
    • Zeiss Sonnar 180mm f4 CF lens
    • Leica M240 digital camera
    • Leica M3 film camera
    • Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH lens
    • Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 lens
    • Carbon Monopod
    • Speedlight

Zeiss Sonnar 180mm f4 CF

Day 1 Model Photography

On my first day I had 4 models starting from 8:30. It was about 10 degrees colder than when I left the UK, overcast and raining in Sopot so not ideal conditions for a beach location shoot. The first photosession was all inside and all digital. The second shoot was a new model from the local model agency, Malva Models who I have worked with before. We managed to get outside briefly but it was cold and the rain kept starting again.

For the afternoon I was to revisit a makeup artists apartment that I shot in December 2016.  The MUA had invited her friend too so I had two models and seemingly unlimited creativity in terms of hair styles, makeup styles, cool props, a few different continuous light sources, light stands, a studio backdrop and a cute little dog called Boris to help us. The first 3hrs passed really quickly and I loved the results I was seeing. Next the wine came out and the shoot got extended as it was going so well. After that there was offer of pizza and more wine before the next look but my Leica M240 battery had almost died. Not wanting to miss out on the fun I ran the 2km back to my hotel, grabbed my spare battery that I had accidentally left behind and then 2km back to the apartment just in time for the pizza arriving. After very tasty food and more wine I setup the lights for a bedroom set. Throughout the photosession I was metering with the Leica M240 often shooting at the settings set for the Hasselblad film camera, f4, 1/60, ISO400.  I used both the new Zeiss Sonnar 180mm f4 lens and the Zeiss Planar 60mm f3.5 for wider shots or mainly for when there was not enough room for me to walk back with the 180mm lens to compose.  For the Hasselblad I was using mostly 120 Fomapan 100 black and white film metered at ISO 400 and 35mm Kodak T-Max 400 black and white in the Leica M3.   I used the Leica M3 camera without flash and with the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4  lens shot wide open at 1/50.  After a very enjoyable afternoon and evening I finally got back to my hotel at about 21:30.  A perfect end to the first day and I could not have asked for anything better.

Behind the scenes!

Day 2 Model Photography

Former Miss Poland picked me up at 8:15 in a little sports car then we travelled to her apartment for the photoshoot.  I managed to finish the expired roll of Kodak Portra 800 shooting on her balcony using available light and then most of the other photos were inside with digital. We even managed some lifestyle photos with her dog.   As time goes on I seem to enjoy lifestyle photography more and more and it is one of the looks/ styles I enjoy to photograph.

Next I had another agency model I had spotted on Instagram but also from Malva Models.  I thought she was local when I invited her but she actually lived 3hrs away and came by bus. The weather was a bit brighter, warmer and drier so I made use of the beach location and shot almost all the shoot outside. When the light levels are low working on the beach helps as the water and sand reflect light up onto the model like a giant reflector.  The Zeiss Sonnar 180mm telephoto lens was a joy to use out in the open and in these conditions the 40mm and 50mm Leica M mount lenses suddenly felt too short. I wish I had brought the Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens or Leica Summicron 90mm for more of a telephoto look. Next time!

Hasselblad 180mm Sonnar f4

The third model I spotted on Facebook and had sent her an invite on the chance she would respond.  It later became apparent she was signed to a Warsaw model agency but lived closer to Gdansk. From the first few test photos I knew it was going to be a good shoot. Even as a new model she could hold a pose and eye contact better than some of the full-time models and took direction really well.  This was perfect for the Hasselblad film camera that is a little slower to operate than the Leica M3. The next model cancelled so we kept shooting and I loaded a roll of colour Fuji Pro 400H to fire off in quick succession using the last of the evening sun. I really hope the Hasselblad photos look as good as they appeared in the viewfinder!

Fuji 400H B&W

The model after that was late so I had half an hour to run to a shop to buy some fresh bread to eat to keep me going and then I walked along the beach front to the pier to meet the model and her friend for an after sunset low light shoot.  We shot until it was completely dark and then it was back to the hotel for an indoor shoot with a girl I worked with a few years ago. It was a nice catchup and hopefully give a confidence boost plus some new photos for Instagram and Facebook.  We finished about 22:00 and that was the last shoot done for Poland. I had an early flight home the next morning.

Leica Summilux ASPH 50 Portrait

Summary

October is probably too late in the season to plan for lots of outdoor photos on the beach in Poland so I was happy I could use the new Zeiss Sonnar 180mm outside as planned. In all my previous visits to Sopot, the longest lens I have used is the 120mm Zeiss Macro-Planar so it will be good to compare the look of the 120mm vs. 180mm lenses at the same location.

I was very lucky to have been invited to the makeup artists apartment for most of the first day as we had heavy rain and not much light. My plan for the two days was to shoot inside the hotel as little as possible (as I have visited it so many times) and to instead find different backdrops to use.  I did reasonably well to achieve this goal I think.  My previous visit to Poland was mostly models photography with flash against a white hotel wall so I think this visit should hopefully bring more interesting pictures.

Leica Model Photography

I have high hopes for the Hasselblad 500CM film photos (especially with the new Sonnar 180mm lens) so I shot 7 of the 8 rolls of 120 film I took with me.  I used the Leica M3 less and shot 2 1/2 rolls of 35mm. As with all my model shoots some models screamed out ‘need to shoot this on film’ (because of the pose/ look, the clothes, the location, the light or all of them combined) and other less so. As such I think most of the film was shot with 3 or 4 models of the total 10.

Doing a shorter more intense two days rather than four days in Poland worked better as I had almost no time wasted/ down time compared to previous visits. I enjoyed meeting / and discovering some new faces and I will certainly keep in touch for future visits.

Polish Girls

Thanks

As with all my model photography trips, a huge thanks to the models, especially those that didn’t know me previously and who trusted me to give them some nice photos in exchange for their time. In no order thank you to models Dorota, Kinga, Pola, Marta P, Marta W, Weronika, Marysia, Paulina, Natalia, Kinga S, to Malwina at Malva Models agency and to Monika at the hotel.

I still haven’t developed all the film and I have held back some of the developed Hasselblad film images for a Hasselblad specific blog post that will follow this one.  As always more photos will be shared to my Instagram (@MrLeicaCom) and my Flickr as I get chance.  Thanks

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Hasselblad SWC/M Super Wide Camera

Hasselblad SWC/M Super Wide Camera

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

November 2017

The Hasselblad SWC (Super Wide Camera) family of cameras had a production life span from 1954-2009.  From researching online my particular camera model, a Hasselblad SWC/M with CF lens attached and a spirit level built into both the camera body and the newer style view finder seems to be dated from around 1982-1988.

Hasselblad SWC/M Super Wide Camera

Hasselblad SWC – Intro

A Hasselblad SWC/M comes with a Zeiss Biogon 38mm f4.5 CF lens attached.  Unlike the more common Hasselblad 500 series / V-series camera models the lens on the SWC cameras does not detach.  The SWC is a camera designed and built around the very well-regarded Zeiss Biogon 38mm lens.  It is not like a normal 500 series Hasselblad camera (as I think of them) as it has no mirror/ ground glass / waist level view finder setup you normally find at the heart of every Hasselblad.  Instead it just has an external viewfinder to aid basic composition.  To focus the SWC camera I need to use hyperfocal distance (like I would on a Leica rangefinder camera for street photography) and dial in a preferred focus distance on the Biogon lens (such as 2 meters) and then roughly gauge by eye this distance from the camera to the subject.  As the camera is a wide-angle camera there is greater depth of field (DOF) than on say a long lens (especially once the SWC lens is stopped down).  The 38mm Biogon lens is roughly equivalent to 21mm on a 35mm camera sensor so gives a pretty wide field of view compared to the standard 80mm Zeiss kit lens on a Hasselblad 500CM Classic which is equivalent to 50mm in 35mm camera terms.

Hasselblad SWC – First Thoughts

My first thoughts when collecting the Hasselblad SWC/M were small, compact and lightweight compared to the Hasselblad 500CM + telephoto lens(es) I had been using prior to picking up the camera.  The SWC has a very solid and audible clunk when you release the shutter.  Much more so than my 500CM and 501C and much for fluid movement but then it is a newer camera so perhaps to be expected.  The SWC finder view is big and bright but also very distorted so it is difficult to retain a mind-set that the photos will not also look distorted.  The spirit level built into the SWC finder is a very nice touch as you can see if an image horizon is level without taking your eye from the finder.  Well done Hasselblad.  The CF Zeiss Biogon 38mm lens looks very similar to all my other Zeiss CF lenses and is solid and seemingly well-built.

Hasselblad Wedding Photography

When I do Leica wedding photography with my digital Leica M240 camera one of my most used lenses is the Zeiss ZM Biogon 21mm f2.8 lens.  I have a 28mm Leica Elmarit-M f2.8 lens but found the 28mm focal length not quite wide enough in situation with lots of people and/ or confined spaces.  The 21mm ZM Biogon is great for bridal prep shots with multiple bridesmaids in a small room or during a wedding ceremony to capture the bride and groom and some of the guests in the background.  For previous analogue film weddings I found the standard lenses on many of my medium format film cameras too narrow to capture everything.  For a Hasselblad wedding I have the Zeiss Distagon 50mm f4 which is the same as 28mm but nothing wider.  Sometime it is just nice to have a super wide lens to photograph a whole room such as the inside of a church.  A wider lens also has a great depth in focus so for moving people photos taken in a candid street photography / documentary wedding photography style it is easier to nail focus with a wider lens than with a telephoto lens (when using manual focus).  This was one reason/ ‘excuse’ to buy a Hasselblad SWC/M.

Hasselblad SWC for Street Photography

Leica cameras are popular street photography cameras when focused using hyperfocal distance.  As mentioned briefly above it means I set a desired distance and aperture on the lens and this gives me a certain range in focus (say everything between 1-3 meters).  Once set it basically makes a Leica camera a full frame 35mm point at shoot camera (if you keep your subjects within the area in focus from the camera (Ie. if something is 4m away I need to walk closer before taking the photo or move the distance on the lens to further away before taking my shot).  The same methodology can be applied to the Hasselblad SWC camera, setting an aperture and focus distance on the 38mm Biogon lens.  As the 38mm is equivalent to 21mm in 35mm terms it gives quite a deep depth in focus. (Telephoto lenses have a much shorter distance in focus at any aperture).  The SWC camera can them become a 6×6 medium format point and shoot camera for street photography, weddings or otherwise.  The biggest restriction in the UK is sufficient light so the SWC is more suited to bright conditions or high ISO film stock than low light photography for this technique.

Hasselblad SWC for Travel Photography

One big selling point of the Hasselblad SWC for me is the compact size and relatively low weight.  The Hassy SWC/M weighs under 1.4kg (with camera, finder and film back attached) and in comparison a Hasselblad 500CM camera + 80mm kit lens + film back weights closer to 1.6kg (but for the lenses I use the Zeiss Sonnar 180mm f4 CF lens alone weighs 1.1kg!)  For my overseas model photography photoshoots I tend to take with me the smallest cameras that provide sufficiently high image quality (and are fun to use and reliable).  It could be argued that my Mamiya 6 and Fuji GF670 are more suited as medium format travel cameras but I much prefer the rendering of Hasselblad lenses to the Mamiya glass and I find the GF670 fragile (currently awaits repair) and not exciting to use (even if it is a very capable camera).

Hasselblad SWC/M!

Hasselblad Fashion Photography

Another reason to buy the Hasselblad SWC is for my Hasselblad fashion photography.  I love the Hasselblad telephoto lenses such as the Zeiss Sonnar 180mm f4 lens and Zeiss Macro-Planar 120mm f4 lens for portraits but to photograph clothes full length a wider lens is often easier.  The Hassy SWC 38mm Biogon lens could be deemed too wide but many fashion photographers have used wide lenses in the past to give their fashion photos a different look.  I think I may use the SWC camera more for wedding photography but I hope I can also use it for some of my model photography to add some variety to my work.  For environment portraits a wider lens is also very beneficial as it helps to capture both the model and their environment.  I have shot many times in Budapest for example and taken headshot / half body portraits yet the surrounding location detail outside the field of view might have added additional interest to the images if included.  I think of all the locations I have done model photography the city that screams “use a wide lens” the most is without doubt New York city.  I need to go back soon!  On a previous visit to NYC I used my 35mm Hasselblad XPan camera for a wider view but found I usually prefer 6×6 format to panoramic for my model/ fashion portraits.  Using both the wide-angle Hasselblad SWC/M and a standard Hasselblad 501C /500CM body side by side gives me the best of both, with the option for wider environment portrait / wide angle fashion look photos and also shallow depth isolated headshots and portraits with a longer telephoto lens.  When using two Hasselblad bodies I also have the advantage of the Hasselblad V system being modular.  (See more below).

Hasselblad SWC Fashion

Hasselblad Modular Cameras (Specifically Film Backs)

One huge advantage of investing into the Hasselblad 500 series (V-series) cameras (including the SWC camera) is the cameras are modular in their design.  This means I can unclip a standard Hasselblad A12 film back (or any other film back) from any Hasselblad 500 camera and use it on my new Hassy SWC/M.  Having multiple film backs to use can be really valuable during a Hasselblad wedding for example.  If I was using a Mamiya 6 camera for group photos and finished my roll of film mid-session I would need to halt proceedings, rewind the film and reload with fresh film to continue.  When using a Hasselblad I carry multiple pre-loaded film backs and as soon as film finishes in one back I can quickly unclip and attach a second back with film loaded ready to go.  Another advantage of multiple film backs is I can load one back with colour film and one back with black and white film.  For Hasselblad fashion photography (or film weddings) or any client shoot I can shoot a mix of colour and black and white film and swap the backs between cameras.  For example shoot a wide scene in B&W on the Hasselblad SWC then take the back from the Hasselblad 500CM (loaded with colour film) to capture a colourful confetti group photo straight after.  The 500CM can then capture some B&W wedding portraits on a long lens and so on.  I would travel with at least two film backs for model photography trips and if possible carry 2 Hasselblad bodies too, the SWC/M and a 500CM or 501C.

Hasselblad Focusing Screen Adapter 41025 SWC/M

An obvious disadvantage of the Hasselblad SWC/M is the fact that the viewfinder does not allow for critical focusing.  Maybe it is because I have used Leica rangefinder cameras intensively for a prolonged period but for much of my photography I like to line up straight lines (horizontal and vertical) in a scene with my frame lines in the viewfinder. For example at a church wedding I would centre the viewfinder to the church aisle to capture equal detail on both sides and ensure it is aligned to the straight edges of the walls.  With the Hasselblad SWC the finder view it is only a rough guide of composition.  I would hate to have to crop every SWC photo after scanning to straighten and centre each picture.  Luckily there is another option

There is a Hasselblad Focusing Screen Adapter 41025 for SWC (SWC/M) cameras which basically makes the SWC into a mini 4×5 camera/ large format camera.  On my large format cameras like the SpeedGraphic and Sinar F2 I compose an image upside down on the ground glass on the back of the camera and then critically focus using a magnifying loop.  The Hasselblad focusing screen adapter is basically a ground glass as you would use on the top of a Hasselblad 500CM but on the back of the camera.  The SWC has no mirror so a photo is composed by just looking through the lens at the image displayed on the glass.  On a large format camera in bright conditions I put a jacket over my head and the back of the camera to block light glare.  Luckily the clever engineers at Hasselblad have a much neater design.  The focus screen adapter accepts any Hasselblad 500 viewfinder such as the pop up waist level viewfinder (WLF), a 45 degree prism finder or a chimney finder as examples.  To critically compose the Hasselblad SWC I just unclip the A12 film back, clip on the focus screen adapter (with WTF or prism already attached), compose (with camera on a tripod for example), unclip the adapter, reattached the film back and take the photo.  This process is not for every photo as takes more time than quickly estimating a composing and focus with the standard SWC finder on the top of the camera but it is a nice option to have for when I have more time (and it will be more rewarding to get the planned composition rather than cropping something in/ out of frame that was not desired.

Hasselblad and Leica Cameras

I like and use Leica cameras as they are well-built, enjoyable to operate and have great lenses that capture sharp pleasing images.  To get ‘better’ than what Leica film cameras could give me I had to look at larger film formats.  I have tried and use various highly regarded medium format film cameras but it is Hasselblad cameras which I seem to enjoy and appreciate the most.  Hasselblad 500 system cameras are of a similar build quality to Leicas and with equality good optics made by Carl Zeiss.  I have enjoyed using Hasselblad 501C and Hasselblad 500CM cameras and this gave me the confidence to buy the Hasselblad SWC/M.  The SWC/M is more Leica like being more compact and operated more like a Leica rangefinder (in terms of composing via the external finder) and I would argue for my particular SWC/M model the film advance lever and shutter release sound and feel even better than it’s 501C/500CM siblings.  Like a Leica M3 and the Hasselblad 501C / 500CM, the Hasselblad SWC/M is 100% manual and has no batteries or electronics.  I love the simplicity of manual cameras without batteries and the knowledge that they cannot develop electrical faults in the future that may not be able to be repaired.  I enjoy using my Mamiya RZ67 Pro II camera but I often have battery related issues that I don’t get with a 500CM.  I have some nice Fuji 645 format film cameras but the GA645 specifically relies heavily on electronics and one of mine seems to have sadly developed a terminal electronic fault.  At least manual Hasselblad and Leica cameras are in theory more likely to keep going into the future even if they need a CLA (clean, lube, adjustment) every so often.
L1008609LR

Hasselblad SWC – Specifications

As with many of the cameras I own and have talked about on this blog, Ken Rockwell has also reviewed the camera and kindly details all the specifics of the Hasselblad SWC on his site.  Rather than me repeat the same camera facts please see a link below to Ken Rockwell’s SWC review

Hasselblad Resale Value

One good thing about investing in older Hasselblad film cameras is they seem to hold their value quite well (and even appear to increasing in value/cost over the last 12 months or so).  If I find the Hasselblad SWC/M camera isn’t really for me at least I can say I tried it.  I would never have discovered my love for Leica and Hasselblad cameras if I didn’t take the chance and move away from the camera(s) I used at the time.  I never know, the SWC/M might become my new most used most loved film camera!  Either way I will enjoy finding out!

Related Links

Budapest Models – Hasselblad H3D-31

Budapest Models – Hasselblad H3D-31

Matthew Osborne Photography/ @MrLeicaCom

June 2016

Hasselblad H3D-31 Fashion

Cameras – Hasselblad H3D-31 & Leica M 240!

Two days after my Hasselblad H3D-31 digital camera arrived I was due to fly out to Budapest, Hungary for a long weekend of model photography. I decided to leave my analogue Hasselblad 501C camera behind and instead take the new H3D-31 and also my digital Leica M-240 rangefinder. It might sound silly to take two digital cameras and no film cameras but I wanted to try out the new Hasselblad H3D-31. I didn’t want to take only the H3D-31 as I only had two CF cards and two batteries. I was not sure how long two batteries would last me when doing model photography on location and I would need more than the 32GB + 16GB CF memory card I owned. I also only have one lens, the Hasselblad 80mm f2.8 HC for the H3D-31 which is not wide enough for all situations. The Leica M240 can easily last all day shooting on two batteries and I have plenty of SD cards for storage.

Models – 3 Model Agencies

I used to travel through Budapest quite regularly for work so I had been planning to return for a long time.  Hungary was home from home at one point and much of my very early model photography practise was shot there. I planned the trip for the summer to try to utilise longer and warmer days (hopefully!). I got lucky and we had nearly all dry weather with blue skies.  I collaborated with three Budapest model agencies including NumberOne Models Group, Maverick Agency and Face Model Management. I worked 9:00 – 21:00 with back to back shoots and did 8 photo sessions in all; 2 guys and 5 girls (with Lilla coming back for a second shoot). The standard of models was mixed as is often the case when selecting models in advance online. Some models did exceed expectation and were both experienced and of high standard. I was lucky to catch them between their contracts overseas, often Paris, Milan, Istanbul and Asia.

Location – Budapest

Budapest is a very photogenic city so I wanted to try to capture some of it in my photography.  That said, I prepared for rain so booked a city centre apartment with balcony instead of the standard hotel booking approach. It was the best decision ever and I got really lucky with a nice room and amazing balcony to use for photos.  The apartment was located in the centre and I could see the crowd gathered around a big screen for Euro 2016 games! Nearly all photos  outside were shot within 5min walk of my apartment so my usual strategy.  I tend to only need a wall and some nice light for my style of photos normally but I did try to use some Budapest landmarks too.

Example Photos – Hasselblad H3D-31

Hasselblad H3D-31
Italian Style
Budapest Model
Hasselblad H3D-31
Digital Hasselblad H3D
Hasselblad H3D-31
Hasselblad Lingerie Shoot

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Hasselblad vs Mamiya 6

Hasselblad 501C vs Mamiya 6

Matthew Osborne Photography / @MrLeicaCom

May 2016

 

Hasselblad 501C vs Mamiya 6

(Hasselblad 501C + 50mm, 60mm, 80mm, 120mm, 150mm lenses)
(Mamiya 6 + 75mm lens)

Intro

Firstly, sorry for the delay on this!  I know a few of you asked me about it weeks ago and I said then I’d share my thoughts soon.  At least waiting til after two trips overseas using the Mamiya 6 I can now give a fair writeup  versus my Hasselblad 501C.  As a quick recap I recently bought the Mamiya 6 to provide a smaller alternative to my 500 series Hasselblad for trips abroad (especially).  Both cameras are 6×6 medium format film cameras taking 120 film.  Both camera are roughly the same price with the Mamiya 6 probably costing slightly more here in the UK due to there being not many Mamiya 6 cameras on the market.  My Hasselblad 501C was my favourite camera before buying the Mamiya 6 so expectation was very high.  Both cameras seem to receive positive reviews from reading prior to my purchase so without further ado lets crack on.

Size Comparison – Hasselblad 501C vs Mamiya 6

I love the modular 500 series Hasselblad cameras but I only use mine with a prism viewfinder which unfortunately adds both size and weight.  I wish I could focus accurately without the prism finder but I really cannot see properly with Acute Matte non-spot screen glass.  It is perhaps my biggest disappointment with the Hasselblad as I love the waist level viewfinder view / experience on my Mamiya RZ67 Pro II camera.  The Hasselblad 80mm kit lens is the most compact followed by the 100mm from those I have owned.  My go to lenses are the 60mm Distagon (second shortest of my Zeiss lenses and gives a very usable field of view) and 120mm Makro-Planar for close up portraits and ultimate image quality (more on that to follow below).  The Hasselblad has the advantage of a removable film back so I can use two film backs and have colour film and black and white film running side by side without having to finish a roll.  My Mamiya 6 has the 75mm lens which is the smallest of the 50mm, 75mm and 150mm lens line up.  The Mamiya 6 design allows the lens to partially retract when not in use making the camera small enough to fit in my Leica M camera bag. The bag I use is a Billingham Hadley Digital and the Mamiya 6 will just fit with lens down into the bag.  The size benefit of the Mamiya 6 is not to be under estimated.

Ease of Use – Hasselblad 501C vs Mamiya 6

Being ‘Mr Leica’ is it perhaps no surprise that I love rangefinder style cameras.  The Mamiya 6 like the Leica M cameras is a rangefinder focus design and I love the fact that I have a definitive focus confirmation regardless of the F stop.  I am a little short sighted and wear prescription glasses for driving but not when using cameras.  As such I enjoy knowing that a subject is in focus with a rangefinder when the subject is further away.  That said my biggest complaint of rangefinder cameras is I cannot focus as close as I would like.  Leica M cameras are my bread and butter so it is just normal for me to not be able to focus at a distance closer than 0.7m.  If I then add a Hasselblad 501C to the mix you can imagine my joy when I can focus in really close, especially with the Zeiss 120mm Makro-Planar lens.  I love nothing more than viewing subject through the big bright Hasselblad viewfinder.  If I could see every day life with the same view the Hasselblad gives I think the world would be a more beautiful place!

The Mamiya 6 rangefinder design lets me work at slower shutter speeds / lower light levels at the same aperture as it has no mirror to flap inside causing vibration.  I have shot the Mamiya 6 at a shutter speed of 1/8-1/15 and got a decent photo handheld.  I tend to use the Hasselblad handheld too for ease and shoot normally at a shutter speed of 1/60-1/125 with the light levels I am in.  That said, if I am honest to myself I think I can get more and sharper photos if go back to using a monopod.  I plan to try using a monopod again to compare results. Sometimes I am not sure if I moved or the model moved when using a very shallow depth of field and the eyes are not as sharp as I want.  I find the Hasselblad tends to pull me in perhaps too close at times resulting in many close up portraits.  The Mamiya 6 on the other hand let me work easily at a distance giving images with a different style and lets me make better use of the location.

Image Sharpness – Hasselblad 501C vs Mamiya 6

The main section of this post and to me what it all boils down to is image quality and more specifically for me image sharpness.  The Hasselblad had set the bench mark very high so the Mamiya 6 had a lot to live up to.  When I read ‘film vs digital’ reviews online the film camera used is often a Mamiya 7 as perhaps the best example camera film can offer in terms of sharpness, say (excluding large format).  To my knowledge the image quality of Mamiya 6 and Mamiya 7 lenses is not noticeably different.  As such I expected very good results from the Mamiya 6.  To explain further and to cover myself, the Mamiya 6 photos / experience / review is based on the 75mm lenses I own.  The Hasselblad has an advantage as I have the Zeiss 50mm Distagon CF, 60mm Distagon CF, 80mm Planar CF, 120mm Makro-Planar CF and 150mm Sonnar CF lenses.  I have also owned the Zeiss 100mm Planar CF lens.  If I have to place these lenses in order of sharpness I would say 120mm first, 50mm/60mm/100mm about equal (without thorough testing), 150mm and lastly  the 80mm.  I am rarely happy with the results from my 80mm lenses.  The 150mm Sonnar gives a completely different look to the other lenses, a less fine more buttery smooth image.  My conclusions of the Hasselblad 501C performance is based on the 60mm/120mm lenses that I use most often.

So how does the  image sharpness compare between the Hasselblad and Mamiya 6.  The Mamiya 6 does produce fine grained (if I can describe it like that, regardless of film stock) sharp images with lots of detail captured, with the lens shot wide open or stopped down.  It is perhaps comparable to a sharp digital image in that the image is flat but sharp.  I find it good for further away subjects especially like full body shots.  The Hasselblad 501C and it’s Zeiss lenses produces a different sharpness.  The next few sentences may make some readers cringe as they have read it a 100 times but I cannot describe it any more accurately.  The Zeiss optics on the Hasselblad camera make an image ‘pop’.  There is a lot written online about the mystically Zeiss 3D pop look but it is just fact in this instance.  The Mamiya 6 photos are very flat and to me lack the wow factor.  They are documentary style photos accurately capturing the detail in the scene but they lack the zing.  I don’t take photos to capture ordinary.  I try to create the extra-ordinary as cheesy as that sounds!

Fluff aside, how do the Hasselblad photos differ and perhaps why?  It seems the Zeiss optics have greater micro-contrast which helps give the apparent additional sharpness.  The Zeiss optics focus closer which gives a shallower depth of field at the same given aperture helping to give the 3D look.  Focusing closer can increase image distortion with wider lenses which can also give a kind of 3D look to an image.  Focusing closer to a face naturally lets me see every eye lash and skin pore using the Hasselblad that I can’t see as closely with the Mamiya 6 as I am too far away.  As such the Hasselblad photos look sharper to my eyes.

With all the excuses aside, I am 99.99% sure that my Hasselblad photos are a bit or a lot sharper than the Mamiya 6 photos.  Some Hasselblad negatives need no additional sharpening after scanning whereas I think I always boost sharpness with the Mamiya 6 film scans.  I tend to process all my film scans to bring out the sharpness in a image regardless of the camera I use.  All the example photos below have been processed but it is worth noting that each photos is probably as sharp as I can get it without introducing additional grain / over doing it (too much)(to my eyes / taste).

Conclusion – Hasselblad 501C vs Mamiya 6

Based on the cameras and lenses I use and the resulting photos I would say the Hasselblad 501C camera images appear sharper that the Mamiya 6. I will also say the Hasselblad Zeiss optics render images in a much more pleasing way, to my eyes and taste.  I prefer the Hasselblad camera for close up portraits and when working within up to say 1.5m distance.  The Mamiya 6 for me is still a keeper due to it’s compact size, rangefinder focus system and being sharp enough for me to use happily.  It is not always possible to carry the Hasselblad with me when working with models overseas so the Mamiya 6 is my next best option.  If carrying gear was no option I would take both cameras to a shoot and use the Hasselblad for <1m photos and the Mamiya 6 for those at a greater distance.  I would perhaps get the Mamiya 6 50mm f4 G lenses for wide shots and have the 120mm Zeiss Makro-Planar on the Hasselblad.  This combination would also suit me well for film wedding photography for my style of working.

I am not interested by a Mamiya 7 as I prefer the 6×6 film format of the Mamiya 6 (versus 6×7) and the retractable lenses of the Mamiya 6.

Below are lots of example images using the Hasselblad and Mamiya 6 with different models, different film, different light so you can make up your own mind on what camera produces the ‘nicer’ images to your taste.  I have also included a sneak peek of a few images to come from my Poland and Ukraine trips as I didn’t have enough examples photos from the Mamiya 6 in the UK.

Thanks

Hasselblad 501C Portraits

Hasselblad Portrait
Hasselblad Film Portrait
Hasselblad vs Mamiya 6 !!
Hasselblad Fashion
Hasselblad 501C + Delta 100
Flashback
Hasselblad + Zeiss Sonnar 150
Hasselblad Double Exposure Fashion
Hasselblad 501C
Hasselblad 501C + Sonnar
120 Ilford Pan F 50
Hasselblad + Pan F 50
Haselblad 501C Portrait
Hasselblad + Fomapan 100
Hasselblad Studio Session
Pageant Girl
London Model Shoot
120 Ilford FP4+
Zeiss Planar 80mm

Mamiya 6 Portraits

Mamiya 6 + 75mm Lens
Mamiya 6 Sharpness
Mamiya 6 + 75 + Tri-X
Fomapan 100@800
Mamiya 6 Fashion
Summer Vibe
Mamiya 6 Rangefinder
The view from my hotel, Ukraine

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Hasselblad Portraits – B&W (NYC I)

Hasselblad Portraits – B&W (NYC I)

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

January 2016

In December 2015 I took my Hasselblad 501C medium format film camera to teach a 1-2-1 model photography workshop for a week in New York.  I took two Hasselblad lenses; a Zeiss Sonnar 150mm f4 CF lens and a Zeiss Distagon 60mm f3.5 CF lens.  I took all photos on 120 Kodak Tri-X 400 film which was then developed at home in Xtol and scanned with an Epson v800 flatbed scanner.

Hasselblad Portraits - B&W

Hasselblad Portraits

Here is a selection of 6×6 Hasselblad portraits from the models we worked with on the first of two photography workshop weeks in New York.  Click any photos for more details about the model, lens and developing.

Manhattan Bridge
New York Model - Hasselblad
Hasselblad Portrait Session
Hasselblad 501C + Tri-X
Hasselblad Indoor Shoot
Hasselblad / Sonnar Portrait
Sonnar Lens Flare
Hasselblad Distagon 60mm Portrait
Window Light Hasselblad Shoot
Hasselblad Sonnar 150 Bokeh
Hasselblad 60mm Distagon Portrait
Hasselblad / Tri-X Portrait
Kodak Tri-X 400@200
Chains
Hasselblad 60mm Distagon Portrait
Hasselblad Shoot NYC
Hasselblad Sonnar 150 Porrtrait
New York Model
Kodak Tri-X 400@800
Hasselblad Film Portrait
Hasselblad Distagon 60mm Portrait
Hasselblad + Sonnar Portrait
Hasselblad Sonnar 150 f4
Hasselblad Sonnar Fashion
Hasselblad Model NYC

Hasselblad Camera

I have used and still use many different film cameras and digital cameras and I think my 500 Series Hasselblad is the best of the best.  I enjoy using the Hasselblad and I love how it makes and ordinary scene look really special with minimal effort. Some of my film photos may look perhaps over edited but in reality all I do is adjust contrast, sharpness and remove dust specks to the majority.  The Hasselblad does the rest.

I do like the small size and convenience of Leica cameras (as seen on the second NYC workshop) but when I revisit Hasselblad portrait photos I think the extra effort involved is more than repaid by higher image quality.  By this I mean the weight and bulk of the Hasselblad camera (and if I use a monopod too) is worth the effort as I get higher resolution images from the medium format film and Zeiss lens combination.  Medium format gives me sharper sharp areas and softer soft areas next to each other all in the same photo.  With 35mm I can have soft or sharp, not both in the same image.  The Hasselblad XPan 35mm rangefinder camera bridges the gap with resolution to match a 6×7 panoramic 120 film image yet shot on 35mm film.  An awesome combination that you will see much more of!

Colour film Hasselblad portrait photos still to come from NYC plus all those photos with the Leica M3, M6, M8 and XPan on the second trip.

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Hasselblad Fashion Portraits – Poland

Hasselblad Fashion Portraits – Model Photography, Poland

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

November 2015

Finally I can share a selection of Hasselblad portraits taken in Poland during my model photography trip last month.  There are still plenty of film negatives I have not yet edited but here are some of my favourites so far.  I have split the photos by film stock used.  Details of camera lens, filters, camera setting, developing method and model can be obtained by clicking on the any photo.

All photos were taken with a Hasselblad 501C 6×6 medium format film camera and shot with available light only.

Hasselblad Black and White Film Portraits

Hasselblad + 120 Fomapan 100 Classic film Portraits
Natural Beauty
Hasselblad Film Fashion
Fomapan 100 Fashion
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22366409789

Hasselblad + 120 Fuji Acros 100 film Portraits
Hasselblad Fashion
Hasselblad Model Photography
Film Fashion - Hasselblad
Hasselblad Fashion
Hasselblad 501C
Hasselblad Fashion
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22280771681/

Hasselblad + 120 Ilford Delta 100 film Portraits
120 Delta 100 Portrait
Smoking Kills
Hasselblad + Delta 100
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/21599331033

Hasselblad + 120 Kodak T-Max 400 film Portraits
120 Kodak T-Max 400
Hasselblad + T-Max 400
Kodak T-Max 400 Portrait
Hasselblad Portrait
Kodak T-Max 400 Portrait
Hasselblad + T-Max 400
Hasselblad T-Max 400 Portrait
Hasselblad Portrait
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/23191551005/

Hasselblad + 120 Kodak Tri-X 400 film Portraits
Hasselblad Portrait
Hasselblad Portrait
Hasselblad Fashion
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22207347931/

Hasselblad Colour Film Portraits

Hasselblad + 120 Kodak Portra 400 film Portraits
Hasselblad + Kodak Portra
120 Kodak Portra 400
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22766676486

Hasselblad + 120 Kodak Portra 160 film Portraits
Hasselblad + Zeiss 80mm  Planar
120 Kodak Portra 160
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22436532230/

Hasselblad + Expired 120 Kodak Portra 160NC film Portraits
Expired Kodak Portra 160 NC
120 Kodak Portra 160NC
Expired Kodak Portra 160NC
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22972010211

Favourite Film Stock?

It is difficult for me to chose one film stock as a clear winner as conditions were different each day and each model has a certain look. As mentioned in a recent blog post, I think 120 Fomapan 100 Classic offers excellent value for money (being the cheapest film I used).  I have just stocked up on 120 Kodak Tri-X 400 for the winter months and again I think it is an excellent film.  One of my favourites.  Kodak T-Max 400 was also a very strong performer and to be honest no film resulted in a sub-standard image. The expired Kodak Portra 160NC worked fine despite being out of date, without a foil wrapper and with an unknown storage history.  In these photos I preferred the Kodak Portra 400 to the Portra 160 but that might just be the lighting.  All in all I was happy with all the films chosen for the trip.

Do you have a favourite film stock?  It would be great to hear your thoughts!

Polish Models

Big thanks to all the girls again – Agnieszka, Irmina, Natalia, Marta, Marta, Teresa, Weronika (as included here).  With the help of these amazing models and my new Hasselblad 501C film camera I think I may have produced some of my best work to date.  I travelled to Poland with less cameras and a clear goal which was to take fewer but hopefully higher standard photos.  The Hasselblad seems to have helped me step up a gear with the quality of images I am now able to capture.

Favourite model?  I’m not sure I am allowed to have a favourite but if you think one girls stands out above the others let me know and I will feed it back to them.  I’m sure they would be thrilled to hear!

As always I cannot wait to get back to Poland.  My model photography trips overseas tend to be my highlights throughout the year.  Before I return to Poland I am heading out to New York City to teach 1-2-1 model photography for a week.  It will be my first visit to NYC and only my second visit to the US so you can imagine how excited I am!  Coming soon! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed these images as much I did.  I think my most photogenic blog post so far! 🙂

Thanks

Matt

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Hasselblad Fashion / Ektar – Poland

Hasselblad Fashion / Kodak Ektar Film – Poland

Matthew Osborne Photography / MrLeica.com

October 2015

Hasselblad Leica Fashion

Model photography location shoot – Sopot Beach, Poland

Models – Irmina @ Future Models and Marta (ex Malva Models)

Styling – Me (with help from the girls bringing the clothes / doing their own makeup)

Assistants – N/A

Camera gear – Hasselblad 501C + Zeiss Makro-Planar 120mm f4 lens + 81B warming filter + 120 Kodak Ektar 1oo film + daylight

Film Lab – AG Photographic, Birmingham UK ( C41 dev + Noritsu scan)

Hasselblad Fashion

Here is the results from a single roll of 120 Kodak Ektar 100 film shot in my Hasselblad film camera.  I am fast becoming a big fan of Kodak Ektar film and now often select it over Kodak Portra or Fuji Pro 400H film.  I like the saturated Ektar colours so planned this series of photos around the film I had loaded.

Big thanks to models Irmina and Marta.  More colour film photos to come from the Poland model photography trip from when I was shooting Kodak Portra film in the Hasselblad.  I will then have the Hasselblad black and white film photos to share too!

Thanks

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