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 Love

Hasselblad Love – First impressions of the 501C

Matthew Osborne Photography / MrLeica
September 2015

Hasselblad Love !

My Hasselblad journey so far..

After getting my first Hasselblad camera a few weeks ago it has been a bit of roller coaster ride.  I had the usual pre-arrival excitment and research phase, then the eagerly awaited arrival and just sheer appreciation of the form, feel and build quality.  What followed was real disappointment.  I tried to take some test photos using the Hasselblad 501C kit WLF (waist level viewfinder) and found that I really struggled to see to focus using the nice and bright acute-matte cross hair focus screen. I thought perhaps I was going mad so compared to my Mamiya RZ67 WLF and I could focus fine on the RZ. Hmm perhaps my Hasselblad love affair was going to be short lived.

Panic..

With a wedding fast approaching and where the client wanted me to photograph some images with a Hasselblad I was already starting to consider alternative film camera options for the day.  I thought perhaps my Fuji GF670 rangefinder camera to capture equally sharp 6×6 images on film. I then started researching the various Hasselblad focus screens options and reached out to forums for help.  I looked at the focus screens with the central split image spot but that is as far as I got before wedding day.

Relief..

I took both the Fui GF670 and the Hasselblad 501C to the wedding as the groom said I could try his 45 degree PM prism viewfinder. I tried the prism finder and hey presto, I could see!   So happy and relieved all mixed into one! Since then I have never looked back and am loving my Hasselblad.   It has quckly become one of my favourite cameras (together with my all time favourite, the Leica M3 (s))

What do I like about the Hasselblad V series cameras?

  • Build quality seems up there with Leica. Everything just feels exact and precise.  The Hasselblad really is a joy to use and at the opposite end of the spectrum from the equally sharp Fuji GF670 which to me lacks the fun factor and emotion that makes you want to use a camera.
  • Loving the 6×6 square format. I think Leica should make an M3 square crop camera! I have tried to like square format in the past and struggled but this time I have Instagram instilled in me so square format composition seems to come easier.
  • I like the almost 3D pop from the out of focus background yet sharp subject.  Without doubt the Mamiya 645 Super can create dreamier images more akin to the famous Contax 645 look but with dreamy comes softer focus.  The Hasselblad images are less dreamy (even ar wide open apertures) but appear much sharper.
  • The Zeiss lenses for the Hasselblad V series do indeed all seem super sharp. The Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 and Zeiss Sonnar 150mm f4 that I have used so far are both among some of the sharpest lenses I have used. That said the Mamiya RZ67 can create perhaps equally sharp yet more dreamy images from the results I have obtained so far with the backdrop melting away behind the subject.  I would compare the Hasselblad to the Leica Summilux ASPh 50mm f1.4 lens.  They are clinically sharp.  The Mamiya 645 Super can look more like the Leica Noctilux lens with a softer dreamy look.  I think the Mamiya RZ sits mid way between.  **Please note this is only based on the very few photos taken so far to date so I will update my conclusion if and when I see different.
  • Interchangeable film backs on the Hasselblad as also found on my Mamiya RZ67,  Mamiya 645 Super and Rolleiflex SL66E are great for weddings where I can pre load 2+ film backs or if I want to shoot a mix of colour and black and white film side by side.   For 35mm film cameras I need two bodies to cover this approach hence I use two Leica M3s for weddings.
  • The size of the Hasselblad “rig” with lens, lens hood, prism viewfinder and on a monopod is no discrete Leica M3 camera yet somehow it is purposeful and also get only positive remarks when out on the street.  It is a real head turner (and conversastion starter!).  I think people really appreciate seeing the older film cameras in action.

Hasselblad negative scans (all with Ilford HP5 plus film)

  • Here are some sample images from the first roll of film testing the Hasselblad

Hasselblad Selfie!

Hasselblad Macro Photography

Hasselblad Film Art

Hasselblad, 80mm + 21mm extension tube

Hasselblad 501C Test Photo

  • Here is a photo taken at the wedding

The Bentley Hotel - Hasselblad Wedding

  • Lastly here are a few images from a model photography workshop the day after the wedding

London Photography Workshop

Hasselblad Model Photography

Hasselblad / Sonnar Portrait

Conclusion

My wishes before the Hasselblad arrived were, I quote (my previous post)..

“The Hasselblad 501CM is by no means the perfect system but I want to try it as part of my quest for the ‘perfect’ camera.  I hope I can love it as much as my Leicas.  My biggest wish is reliability and sharp images and that alone will make me use the camera more than some of my existing ones.”

It is very very early days but I think the Hasselblad ticks all my boxes and is a keeper! 🙂

Coming soon..

More new Hasselblad images coming to Flickr (and here) soon.  I was shooting in London today with a male model in the morning and with an array of exciting (and new) Hasselblad lenses in the afternoon. 🙂

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Amateur Photographer Magazine – Film Portraits

Amateur Photographer Magazine – Film Portraits

August 1st, 2015

Matt Osborne / http://www.MrLeica.com

Here is an article I wrote recently for the August 1, 2015 issue of Amateur Photographer magazine – “Shoot a Film Portrait”.  You might find it of interest if you have never tried analogue film photography.  Old film cameras can now be purchased on eBay for next to nothing and 35mm AGFA Vista 200 Plus colour film can be bought from Poundland for only £1 a roll in the UK.  Bargain!  If you are used to using a 35mm digital camera and looking for that next step ‘up’ with your photos then film photography offers a cheap entry point to the world of medium format cameras.  Iconic camera brands such as Hassalblad, Rolleiflex, Mamiya and more can be picked up for less than the price of some modern lenses and they will last far longer if looked after.

Amateur Photographer Magazine

Article – #26.  Shoot a Film Portrait

Amateur Photographer Magazine

Original Image (as featured)

  • Model – Katie
  • Camera: Mamiya 645 Super medium format film camera
  • Lens: Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9 C @ f1.9
  • Film: 120 Kodak Portra 400

120 Kodak Portra 400

Expired Ilford Delta 400 Film

Expired Ilford Delta 400 Film

Matthew Osborne Photography

I was recently gifted a mixed batch of unrefrigerated expired camera film and some of the rolls were medium format 120 Ilford Delta 400 film dating back to 2006.  I thought I would try a shooting a few rolls to see how I got on.  I decided to expose the first film at  400@200 and developed in Rodinal.  Some of the photos were a little dark so for the next roll I exposed at 400@100.  Here are the results from recent model photography shoots in my Coventry studio. Cameras including my Mamiya 645 Super, Mamiya RZ 67 and 4×5 large format Pacemaker Speed Graphic with a 120 roll film back.

Mamiya 645 Super + Vega 28 MC 120mm f2.8 (Freelensing)

Model – Tegan (400@200)

Expired 120 Ilford Delta 400

Freelensing Mamiya 645 Super

Expired B&W Film

Vega 28 + Mamiya 645 Super

Expired Ilford Film

Mamiya 645 Super Freelensing

Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II + Mamiya Sekor 110mm f2.8 + RZ 6×6 Film Back

Model – Charlotte (400@100)

Mamiya RZ67 Pro ii 6x6 Film

Mamiya RZ 6x6 Film

Mamiya RZ 67 6x6

Mamiya RZ 6X6 Back

4×5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic + Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm f2.5 + Horseman 120 6×7 Roll Film Back

Model – Harriet (400@100)

Kodak Aero Ektar Portrait

4x5 Speed Graphic Portrait

Kodak Aero Ektar on Speed Graphic

4X5 Film - Speed Graphic

The next expired film I tried was 2006 C41 black and white film 35mm Kodak BW400CN in Rodinal.. coming next.

Big thanks again to Richard who gifted the film to me.

Mamiya 645 Super

Mamiya 645 Super – First Thoughts

Medium Format Film Camera – Matthew Osborne Photography

Happy Christmas to me #Mamiya 645 Super #mediumformatfilm #filmphotography #filmisnotdead @mrleicacom

I recently bought myself a Mamiya 645 Super medium format film camera.  When I wrote the last post “Contax 645 vs Mamiya 645” (link below) the camera had not yet arrived.  Now I have had chance to run a roll of film through it what do I think?

My first observation is the 645 format is in horizontal orientation in the camera rather than vertical.  As a portrait photographer I tend to shoot in the portrait orientation.  For anyone used to a digital camera such as a DSLR you might think so what?  Well I bought this particular camera as I wanted a waist level viewfinder (“WLF”).  To focus you look down at the top of the camera and it will show a horizontal image on the glass.  To take a portrait photo I have to hold the camera on it’s side and it is not quite as easy to compose when working quickly.  You don’t have this problem with say my Rolleiflex SL66E or a Hasselblad as they are 6×6 format.  I don’t have the issue with the Mamiya RZ67 either as it has a rotating film back.  That said the WLF makes the camera smaller and lighter than with a prism view finder so I am happy to compromise.

The modular design of the Mamiya 645 Super means I can remove and replace the film back.  For wedding photography it is good practice to have multiple film backs, for both speed and efficiency but also so you can load perhaps one film back with colour film and one with black and white.  For that reason I bought myself a spare 120 film back.

The Mamiya 645 Super comes with a Mamiya Sekor 80mm f2.8 lens as standard.  It is small and lightweight but the reason I bought the camera was to make use of the fast Mamiya Sekor C 80mm f1.9 lens.  I have this lens as it came on my Mamiya 645 1000S (link below) so the first task was to transfer it onto the M645 Super camera.

I bought the camera to use for analogue wedding photography as I can get 15 photos per roll and the 80mm f1.9 lens lets me photograph in low light conditions.  I now plan to use it alongside my Leica M3s and other cameras for film photography weddings.

#filmdeveloping #filmphotography #model Roisin #photographer www.MrLeica.com #camera #mamiya 645 Super #kodakfilm

My first chance to use the Mamiya 645 Super was in my Coventry studio for model photography with friend and model Roisin.  Above is an iPhone photo of my first 645 Mamiya negatives drip drying above the bath.  Below are a few samples of the resulting photos once the negatives had been scanned.

Mamiya 645 Super + T-Max

Mamiya 645 Super + 80mm f1.9

Specsavers Advert!

Mamiya 645 Super @ f1.9

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