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Moody Pano Photos of Waves Shot on Waterproofed Hasselblad XPan

Surf photographer Ben DeCamp has captured a beautifully moody series of black-and-white photos of waves using a waterproofed Hasselblad XPan film camera, considered by some to be a “holy grail” camera that DeCamp leveraged for his enthralling panorama-style images.

DeCamp is known for his stunning images of surfers and waves, but his latest series comes after experimenting with panoramic film cameras as a hobby as a means to decompress from his professional work, but what started as a personal project quickly grew into a new passion.

He tells PetaPixel that the inspiration for starting the project comes from the work of photographer Trent Mitchell and his use of the Hasselblad XPan and 45mm lens in Australia. According to DeCamp, Mitchell partnered with fabricator Dave Kelly which opened the door for other photographers to bring this unusual and rare camera into the ocean.

“I watch reruns of Antiques Roadshow on PBS, if that’s any indication to the type of person I am,” DeCamp says. “Since camera collectors consider this a ‘holy grail,’ it only added to the mystique and difficulty in sourcing a clean example to use. A lot of people who shoot with the XPan initially feel lost and frustrated; their typical subject matter doesn’t lend itself well to the panoramic format. Waves, however, fit snugly into the 65:24 wide-screen ratio and take full advantage of the additional resolution. 12,000+ pixel-wide images across nearly two frames of film enable seamless reproduction for billboards, vehicle wraps, and XL prints.”

Before getting to the point where he would wade out into the surf as pictured above, DeCamp first had to assure his camera would survive the trip.

“I acquired the XPan with 45mm and 90mm lenses in 2018 and then worked closely with SPL Waterhousings in San Diego to create a custom-machined aluminum powder-coated case with optical-grade acrylic lens ports,” he says.

“Since the camera features a motor drive (approximately one frame per second), it kept the water housing design simpler and more compact,” he says. “The catch is you only have 20 frames per 36-frame roll. If the waves are firing one-after-another, or the lighting shifts dramatically, I’ll swim in and quickly change rolls mid-session. The rangefinder functions inside the water housing, but the action happens so fast that I almost always zone focus. The shutter button triggers by a mechanical thumb lever that I can faintly feel through 7mm neoprene mittens. The two handles provide additional security and stability for leveling the horizon.”

DeCamp says that the best times to capture his images also happen to be the least hospitable to being in the water.

“Usually, the strongest storms with the best chances of high surf are in the dead of winter,” he explains. “In New England, there’s snow & ice on the beach with a slim time frame when all the conditions must come together. If you get hurt, sucked out in a rip current, chased by wildlife, there’s no one around who is going to jump in 38-degree Fahrenheit water in a quick hurry. I started wearing an LED light, a whistle, and a prototype emergency inflatable buoy system developed from spare parts around the workshop.

“Storms wash up lost fishing gear, tree trunks, old tires, all kinds of nasty stuff to avoid. I keep a gal. of hot water and a thermos of coffee on the beach in case of a frigid wetsuit flush,” DeCamp says.

“‘When in doubt, don’t paddle out!’” he says, quoting the warning phrase. “But if you have to, be prepared.”

DeCamp says that there is a little-known shipwrecked barge embedded into the beach somewhere around New England. After big storms, on a low tide, parts of it will emerge to the dismay of walkers and fishermen. The boat acts almost like an artificial reef, creating a reliable sandbar that morphs incoming waves into unique shapes.

“Usually, at sunrise and sunset, the ambient light is too low forcing me to open up the aperture and lose all the apparent sharpness from greater depth of field,” DeCamp says. “I often wait till mid-morning for the sun to rise higher and create backlit conditions while still being able to shoot at least at f/11 or even f/16. There’s something special about a backlit East Coast morning, it has a crisp color temperature. But the real magic comes with passing storm fronts. Dark skies and an occasional sliver of light will illuminate the waves. You have to be in the water, Ready in case that moment happens. Often, it does not, and all you’ve achieved is an ice cream headache.”

And then there’s the potato.

“I usually bring a half potato to the beach and rub it all over the acrylic port,” DeCamp explains. “The enzymes force the water to bead off the front. Most photographers lick their lens ports, but you lose hydration quickly leading to muscle cramps. In between every shot I use a squeegee to wipe the port clean of sand and water droplets and allow it to dry in the wind. When you make these little details part of your routine, that’s how you make it home safely with clean photos and if you’re lucky, time to eat the other half of your potato.”

Decamp says that he uses HP5+ film for mixed lighting conditions and TMAX 400 for sunny-day images.

“I typically push +2 in development, and ask the lab to ‘scan for highlight detail.’ Both films have responded well to a variety of graduated ND and color filters for balancing the exposure of the sky. For me, there’s a tangible depth to the mid-tones with HP5+ and TMAX handles the highlights without blowing out. One is dark & moody, the other lighter and ethereal. The result is two distinct black & white looks for the client to choose from.”

As he mentions, DeCamp develops his film through Richard Photo Lab rather than working with it himself.

“I enjoy waiting while weeks pass by without images, and then suddenly there’s news!” he says. “Your entire world stops. The lab also sleeves the negatives and scans the film, simplifying digitization and the archival process while I remain focused on creating.”

For more from DeCamp, make sure to subscribe to his YouTube Channel, and he encourages anyone who enjoys his images to let him know.

“Please reach out if you enjoyed these images, I would love to hear from you,” DeCamp says.

New “Hasselblad’s Home” documentary series reveals the X-series camera design philosophy

It wasn’t until I watched this that it struck me that the Hasselblad X1D was announced almost five years ago now, back in 2016. It revolutionised what people believed digital medium format cameras could be with a new DSLR-like form factor. Hasselblad has posted what appears to be the first episode of a new series […]

The post New “Hasselblad’s Home” documentary series reveals the X-series camera design philosophy appeared first on DIY Photography.

Hasselblad Reveals the Design Philosophy of its X-Series Cameras

Hasselblad has started a new series on YouTube that aims to give viewers an inside, behind-the-scenes look at the company’s headquarters in Sweden. Its first episode centers around the design philosophy of its X-system of mirrorless cameras, and the thought process behind it.

Called Hasselblad’s Home, this ongoing series is designed to show fans of the storied brand an “intimate look” at the company’s Gothenburg, Sweden headquarters. Hasselblad says that it intends to let its designers and engineers talk about their thoughts and processes behind the development of its medium format cameras and the philosophies that are at the core of the company’s foundation of bringing “Scandinavian design and craftmanship” to photographers around the world.

“Our intention was to make a product that kept the traveling photographer in mind, allowing medium format to be portable, comfortable, and still high quality,” Hasselblad says.

Hasselblad

Hasselblad says that the starting point for the camera was not specifically the X1D itself, but instead the development of a “design language” that the company could apply to all new Hasselblad products which would eventually include the X1D II and the 907X cameras.

Hasselblad

“We wanted to create a high-performance product with a well-defined personality that would connect to the essence of Hasselblad by using the original, classic V System as a reference,” the company says. “The orange button evolved as a vibrant accent, the final touch to balance the calm Scandinavian aesthetics. A symbol for the warmth and passion, the personal engagement and the love of imagery that is the at the core of the Hasselblad brand.”

Hasselblad

Deep-dives on design and aesthetics is not common for camera manufacturers. Only Leica and Hasselblad have spent this amount of time and resources explaining the purposes behind design choices rather than focusing entirely on performance and specifications. From the optics side, Sigma has dabbled in this as well. The message from these companies seems to be saying that even though the camera is a tool, how that tool is constructed is important, and why certain paths were taken is key in understanding why someone would want to own that brand’s equipment.

When the top of the industry is hotly-contested with incredible bleeding-edge specs and promises of extremely high performance, Hasselblad is an example of a company leaning on other core competencies to stand out from that crowd. Image quality is paramount, and getting the basics right around that is important. From there, it’s about tailoring the experience. The result feels like aiming at a much smaller target, but the hope is that customers in that condensed market will be customers for life and ambassadors for the brand.

Hasselblad

Hasselblad clearly intends to release more videos in the “Hasselblad’s Home” series, and you can be sure you don’t miss them by subscribing to the company’s YouTube Channel.

Great Reads in Photography: January 10, 2021

Every Sunday, we bring together a collection of easy reading articles from analytical to how-to to photo-features in no particular order that did not make our regular daily coverage. Enjoy!


Photojournalist Saul Loeb Captured Some of the Most Indelible Images of the Capital Attack – Rolling Stone

Saul Loeb, staff photographer for newswire service Agence France-Presse (AFP), based in Washington, DC, covering the White House, politics, and “anything behind a podium” had gone to take pictures of the joint session of Congress. “I had no idea what was coming our way,” Loeb, who has been working in Washington for 13 years, tells the Guardian.

An announcement warned of a security situation inside the US Capitol building, urging to shelter in place. The last place a photojournalist wants to be is stuck inside a room when all the action is happening outside.

So, Loeb grabbed his camera and started photographing protesters who had face paint and body paint on and wore costumes. One even had a Viking hat on. That’s when he saw people going into the offices of Nancy Pelosi. “Normally, this is a very secure part of the building; she’s the speaker of the House, second in line from the presidency – nobody can just wander in. But there was no staff, no police. It was just a free-for-all,” Loeb tells Poppy Noor of The Guardian.

You’re always worried people won’t want to be photographed, and you don’t want anyone to become violent towards you. But they either didn’t notice or didn’t care Loeb was there. No one tried to hide their face, and no one tried to discourage him from taking photos.

Andrew Harnik, (in the video above) Associated Press photographer, has been working in DC for 18 years. “We were told to get down on our hands and knees and keep our heads covered,” he said. Yet through all that, including watching Congress members put on their emergency gas masks, Harnik was capturing images.

More photos from The Guardian,  The Verge, San Francisco Chronicle, and Daily Mail.

5 News Photographers on What It Was Like to Document the Storming of the US Capitol


3 Ways to Light and Photograph Glittery Portraits – Rangefinder

© Daryna Barykina

The most challenging element Daryna Barykina, a Florida beauty and fashion photographer (she also holds an MBA!), has faced has been shooting products that contain reflective particles. Whether it be a shimmery eyeshadow, a blinding highlighter, or glitter, she knows she’ll need to build the entire concept and technical elements around the metallic glow or iridescence of what she is photographing.

© Daryna Barykina

Shooting such a product can be quite intimidating because your regular lighting setups may not work well with it.

Here are some techniques Barykina has practiced over time. Not only do they help get the job done for the client, but they are also just fun to play with.

  1. Focus on the Shimmer by Underexposing with Soft Light
  2. Light Up the Twinkles with Multiple Hard Sources
  3. Trace Glitter Trails and Fragments by Adding Long Exposure

Check out the full details at the article link above.


10 Cameras That Blew us Away in 2020 – Digital Camera World

Most photographers would like to forget 2020 as business was just one cancellation after another. However, camera manufacturers have still been able to launch some great new models, even if you cannot go out and shoot with them right away.

From stunning new mirrorless cameras, through to the weird, wacky, or simply technically incredible, here are our top 10 cameras that blew us away in 2020…


5 Quick Tips for New Drone Flyers

Photographers who are venturing out into drone photography have a lot to learn.

Billy Kyle, has drone and other tech videos, on his YouTube channel, but mainly drones.

Kyle uses the DJI Mini 2 as an example, but the techniques apply to other drones as well.

The 5 basic tips are: Monitor your Return to Home settings, Tools for regaining aircraft orientation, Power limiting, Tweak your gimbal and yaw settings, and Propeller changing. If you are a newbie with drones, these 9 minutes you spend here will save you many headaches later.


The Top Astronomical Events of 2021 for Astrophotography — Fstoppers

Whether you are looking to get into astrophotography or take your skills to the next level, 2021 has lots of great astronomical events happening worldwide. Planning in advance and being in the right place at the right time is the first step to getting amazing shots.

Photo by  Robson Hatsukami Morgan

With tools like PhotoPills or Dark Site Finder, you can plan a lot from your couch at home. Some events are only viewable in particular locations, while others can be seen from anywhere. So, it is essential to know when and where the best times to photograph them are.

Click the link above to see a calendar of various astronomical events, mostly ones that can be seen with basic equipment, to help you start. The year starts a little slow but picks up in the fall and moves into December.

If you are interested in hands-on learning about astrophotography, Boston based outdoor lifestyle and astrophotographer Michael DeStefano will teach a workshop at Palm Springs Photo Festival this April, taking photographers out to the Joshua Tree area.


Does Photo Show 2 Women Saving Electoral Votes During Capitol Siege? – Snopes

This photo is miscaptioned, although the photo is real.

Senate Aids transporting electoral votes while the Senate was attacked by Domestic Terrorists from r/pics

After rioters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, a viral photograph showed two women who appeared to “rescue” boxes containing Electoral College votes by transporting them to safety.

Sen. Jeff Merkley’s post claimed, “If our capable floor staff hadn’t grabbed them, they would have been burned by the mob.”

Getty Images published a similar picture.

Snopes confirmed with the photographer that both photographs were taken before the riots happened.

To get the full details check this Snopes link.


Elliott Erwitt: A Lifetime’s WorkRangefinder

Elliot Erwitt, the 92-year-old photographer, has captured every president since Harry Truman. Over the last 70 years, Erwitt has shot iconic photos of Marilyn Monroe, including her famous subway grate pose, the finger-pointing Nixon-Khrushchev Kitchen Debate in Moscow, segregated water fountains, a grieving Jacqueline Kennedy, and hundreds of humorous dog images.

FRANCE. Paris. 1989. Contact email: New York : photography@magnumphotos.com Paris : magnum@magnumphotos.fr London : magnum@magnumphotos.co.uk Tokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jp Contact phones: New York : +1 212 929 6000 Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00 London: + 44 20 7490 1771 Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771 Image URL: http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2S5RYDWH6L_E&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
Eliot Ervit, Pariz, Jun 14, 1989, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

When asked how he has managed to produce such a well-received body of personal work when on assignment for clients, he explains, “I have always brought two cameras; one for the client and one for me ….”

Ask him how he’s had the time for personal work with so many demanding assignments over the years, and he quips, “I use a fast shutter speed.”

Check out:
How Richard Nixon ‘Stole’ Elliot Erwitt’s Photo and Twisted It Into a Campaign Slogan
A Conversation with Photographer Elliott Erwitt

Notable: Why does Elliott Erwitt love photographing dogs?
“They don’t ask for prints.”

Quiz: Which 3-time past president of Magnum in 1948 exchanged janitorial work for film classes at the New School for Social Research in New York City?
Elliott Erwitt.


Why I Like This Photo – Nico Goodden

© Nico Goodden

This photo of a Londoner walking under the rain one winter night has always been one of my favorites and, generally speaking, one that gets love from people who enjoy my work. Many of them relate to it as they know London either from living there or visiting as a tourist. Since I’m UK based, rain is a big part of my life.

Photographs reveal a lot about the photographer as a person. Every decision we make reflects a particular mood or moment in our lives, just like the photo does. I took on photography because I enjoy being alone. I need time for my own. It’s also very meditative, and you forget all your worries.

This “theme” is omnipresent throughout my street photography. Often, I attempt to convey a feeling of solitude but one which feels familiar, not necessarily sad. Solitude needn’t mean loneliness or sadness.

I often search for balance in my street photography. I never get my ruler out or display the rule of thirds grid in my viewfinder but find myself applying it to my photographs, even if only subconsciously. In this particular example, the person is at a third from the right side of the image. To balance this, the telephone pole is located perfectly at a third from the left. Reflections help further the symmetry in the shot.

You may be wondering why the odd choice of color? It’s simple, that night, I saw the shot, and my Olympus camera was set on a creative effect typical of Olympus MFT cameras. It was a choice to either change settings back to normal (and probably miss the shot) or just take the shot that presented itself. So, I went for the full purple look. In retrospect, I think it works perfectly well and doesn’t offend me particularly much… Purists may disagree, and that’s fine too.

The camera used at the time was an Olympus OM-D E-M5 II. Lens was the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 II POWER OIS. Lens. It was shot at f/2.8, 1/125 exposure (to avoid motion blur), and 100mm as my subject was a bit far.

That night I was heading home after a long shoot with a rock band. I was tired and far from hunting my next shot. I just wanted to wear dry clothes and be home. That’s the magic with photography, always have a camera as you just never know when the next photo opportunity will present itself.

I mentioned the rule of thirds. Here’s how I feel about rules. Learn photography rules, learn to apply them, learn their advantages AND limitations. Finally, learn to bend them, break them, and explore beyond them.

Rules are prison cell walls for the creative mind, so beware of them, don’t let them take-over your photography.

Nico Goodden, who trained to be a chef from a young age in France, is passionate about creativity in photography. For over a decade, he has been a professional London photographer, writer/content creator, and photography tutor who likes to help others improve their own photography. The London photography he produces is regularly featured by Time Out, The Guardian, Evening Standard, The Huffington Post, Creative Review, Fstoppers, PetaPixel, Digital Rev, and many more.


Quote of the Week (or a Previous Week):

It is said that even if it is a Pentax, it should be mirrorless. We also have that technology, but we would abandon the enjoyment of an SLR camera that looks directly into the subject through the finder. I cannot do it.Shinobu Takahashi, President, and CEO of Ricoh Imaging

Ed. Note: This quote is the result of a translation from Japanese to English.


To see an archive of past issues of Great Reads in Photography, click here.


We welcome comments as well as suggestions. As we cannot possibly cover each and every source, if you see something interesting in your reading or local newspaper anywhere in the world, kindly forward the link to us here. ALL messages will be personally acknowledged.


About the author: Phil Mistry is a photographer and teacher based in Atlanta, GA. He started one of the first digital camera classes in New York City at The International Center of Photography in the 90s. He was the director and teacher for Sony/Popular Photography magazine’s Digital Days Workshops. You can reach him via email here.


Image credits: All photographs as credited and used with permission from the photographers or agencies.

Cooper & Gorfer’s Delirium: using art to capture a pandemic

Cooper & Gorfer's Delirium: using art to capture a pandemicDelirium is a new piece from Sweden-based Hasselblad Ambassadors Cooper & Gorfer. Photographed in a studio built inside a hospital, it captures the struggle of healthcare workers against the pandemic.

Known for their visually rich collage portraits and free visual language, Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer work focuses on female subjects while exploring powerful, political and personal themes. The fine art duo met in Sweden in 2005 while studying their master, and has Sarah Cooper says, “we released each other’s creativity, sort of that perfect storm”, so they decided to work together and set studio in Gothenburg.

With backgrounds in fine art photography/music production and architecture, respectively, Sarah Cooper (Pittsburgh, USA) and Nina Gorfer (Vienna, Austria) led different careers before photography became their common base. Now their creative partnership and collaborative work allows them to build narratives as Delirium, which represents their need to “humanise the story”. By getting close, the duo says, “it enabled us to face our own fears. The arts have a place in reclaiming this. The vulnerability of both the patients and healthcare workers needs the nuance of the creative approach to best capture it.”

Cooper & Gorfer's Delirium: using art to capture a pandemic

Like an epic Renaissance battle

Delirium, that embodies the Covid-19 pandemic, captures the constant struggle of healthcare workers fighting through this historical tragedy. Some suggest that it is beautifully reminiscent of the frontlines of an epic Renaissance battle, the soldiers consisting of nurses, doctors, physiotherapists and anaesthesiologists grapple with handling symbolic comatose patients in their quest to save them. The authors tell the whole story in one article published by Hasselblad, but here at ProVideo Coalition we share some of the images and the behind-the-scenes video revealing how the project was created.

Connecting with Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Mölndal just outside of Gothenburg, Sweden, Cooper & Gorfer worked closely with members of the Intensive Care Unit tending to Covid cases. “The idea was that we wanted to get all the facets of those who care for patients in a critical Covid situation, so it was a blend of nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, and anaesthesiologists. And we wanted to focus on the women so as to be true to our other bodies of work,” explains Sarah Cooper.

Cooper & Gorfer's Delirium: using art to capture a pandemicBuilding a studio inside a hospital

Similar to Cooper & Gorfer’s other works, Delirium was composed in stages. To create a full picture for the artists, they were walked through the different stages of what happens to a Covid patient upon arrival to the hospital. Afterwards, they conducted short interviews with the staff to get a true understanding of their emotions.

The second stage consisted of building up a photo studio at the hospital. Directing their subjects on the spot, they could bring together their vision of this heroic battle. “After the photoshoot, we work as we always do with collaging, taking apart the image, deconstructing and then reconstructing the image, because the feeling that we really wanted to achieve was this continuous struggle. When you look closely at the image, you see that actually some of the subjects are repeating. It’s many moments in time with many moments of their struggle. In total, we actually only photographed 7 care workers,” says Nina Gorfer.

To read the whole story, including technical info about the Hasselblad cameras used to shoot Delirium,  follow the link to Hasselblad’s website. All the images and video are published courtesy of Hasselblad and the final images are published courtesy Cooper & Gorfer.

Hasselblad reveals new XH Converter to reduce focal length

Hasselblad reveals new XH Converter to reduce focal lengthHasselblad announced a new solution to use the company’s HC/HCD lenses attached to an X System or 907X camera: the XH Converter 0,8, which offers enhanced functionality for H lenses.

The introduction of the Hasselblad XH Converter 0,8 brings new opportunities to Hasselblad photographers with the ability to unlock a whole new set of H System lens capabilities. The XH Converter 0,8, used on HC/HCD lenses attached to an X System or 907X camera, reduces the focal length of the lens by a factor of 0,8x, which delivers a wider field of view and improves the maximum aperture of the lens by two-thirds of a stop. Additionally, the XH Converter 0,8 improves lens performance in terms of contrast and apparent sharpness across the entire frame.

Hasselblad reveals new XH Converter to reduce focal lengthPhotographers, especially those who have HC/HCD lenses and X System cameras will want to explore what the new accessory brings in terms of options. One example: attaching the XH Converter 0,8 to the HC f/2,2 100mm lens, transforms the aperture and focal length to f/1,8 and 80mm, respectively, says Hasselblad, adding that this represents “an impressive combination for maximizing aperture”.

The pairing creates an extremely fast aperture that proves quicker than the XCD f/1,9 80mm lens, which until now has been the highest aperture lens option for X and 907X camera systems. An example of reducing focal length with the XH Converter 0,8 is when combined with the HCD f/4,8 24mm lens, it creates an aperture of f/3,8 with a 19mm focal length. This results in an even wider lens option than the existing XCD 21 lens, the widest lens in the X System.

Hasselblad reveals new XH Converter to reduce focal lengthFirmware update needed

The new converter is one more option available for Hasselblad photographers in terms of mixing systems. In fact, the XH Converter 0,8 joins a range of Hasselblad adapters and converters, including the XH Lens Adapter which allows the usage of all 12 H System lenses as they are on X and 907X camera systems. The addition of the XH Converter 0,8 to the existing accessories lineup now provides these systems with enhanced functionality for H lenses. In addition, H System users who decide to branch into the X or 907X systems gain more versatility from their current HC/HCD Lens options.

To access all the new options made available, all H System lenses with firmware 18.0.0 or later must be updated to the newest version 19.1.0 to work with the XH Converter 0,8 and to get auto focus (HC 120 and HC 120 II can only be used in manual focus mode). Other H System lenses (except HC 120 and HC 120 II) with firmware older than 18.0.0 will work but only in manual focus mode.

Those interested should note that only HC/HCD lenses with firmware 18.0.0 or later can be updated to 19.1.0. Lenses with older firmware have older hardware and therefore cannot be updated. Additionally, the X1D-50c must be updated with firmware 1.25.0 or later and the X1D II 50C, 907X 50C and 907X Special Edition cameras must all be updated with firmware 1.4.0 or later.

The XH Converter 0,8 is available now for purchase with a MSRP of €959 / £859 including VAT and $944 excluding sales tax. Follow the link to download H System Lens Firmware Update 19.1.0.

Hasselblad updates X1D II 50C and 907X cameras

Hasselblad updates X1D II 50C and 907X camerasThe newest firmware update from Hasselblad for its X1D II 50C and 907X cameras features a distance scale and enhanced interval timer, along with other improvements.

Hasselblad continues to expand the options available for users of its camera models, and the firmware update now announced, version 1.4.0, adds new functionality for an enhanced shooting experience with the X1D II 50C, 907X Special Edition and 907X 50C cameras. A much requested Distance Scale overlay has been added to Live View, Interval Timer has upgraded options for exposure metering and frame selection, and Phocus Mobile 2 functionality has been updated, in addition to general system improvements.

A new Distance Scale overlay is added to Live View. This provides information about the currently set focus position as well as the close range for the actual lens. In addition, it is possible to choose between using meters or feet in the Distance Scale. This function, Hasselblad says, requires the new Firmware Update 0.6.0 for all XCD Lenses except for XCD 45P, which requires Firmware Update 0.1.26.

Another improvement to the X1D II 50C, 907X Special Edition and 907X 50C cameras is the addition of exposure metering for multiple frames in interval timer. Previously, the photographer could only select Exposure Metering for the first frame when shooting multiple images. It is now possible to select Exposure Metering for each individual frame in a series of shots. Metering for each frame, for example, claims Hasselblad, “improves time lapse photography when photographing in changing light conditions.”

Hasselblad updates X1D II 50C and 907X camerasThe new features available from Hasselblad

The company also introduced changes to the way the cameras deal with Interval Timer. Before, it was only possible to specifically choose up to 99 frames to be taken with Interval Timer. The numbering system of frame options included every number between 2 and 99. It is now possible to specify up to 1000 frames where the photographer has the option of every number between 2-25, intervals of 5 between 25-100, and intervals of 50 between 100-1000. No Limit is, of course, still an option.

The software used with Hasselblad cameras has also been improved and Live View quality on Phocus Mobile 2 has been enhanced. As well, a change in the White Balance setting in Phocus Mobile 2 will now synchronize with X1D II 50C and 907X cameras. Taking user feedback into account, general system improvements have been implemented for a smoother user experience with the X1D II 50C and 907X cameras.

Users of Hasselblad cameras can download the Firmware Update 1.4.0, Firmware Update 0.1.26 for XCD 45P and Firmware Update 0.6.0 for all other XCD Lenses at www.hasselblad.com/x-system/x-system-firmware/x-firmware-1.4.0/.

Using a 17-Year-Old Digital Back on a Hasselblad 500C/M

Photographer Mark Fore has a classic Hasselblad 500C/M that he would love to shoot digitally, but he didn’t want to drop $6,400 on the new 907x 50c with the compatible CFV II 50C digital back. Instead, he picked up a 17-year-old Phase One H20 for less than $600 on eBay, and he couldn’t be happier about it.

The Phase One H20 digital back was released way back in 2003 as a native attachment for Hasselblad V-system cameras. Sporting a 16MP CCD image sensor capable of 16-bit color depth, an ISO range of 50-100, and a whopping 0.75 frames per second at top speed, it’s certainly not blowing minds in the modern day, but the price and performance you can get, makes this an amazing partner for an old Hasselblad camera.

“The results are amazing! The back goes from $400-600 on eBay and I couldn’t be happier,” Fore tells PetaPixel. “It just goes to show you don’t need the latest and greatest to still have all the dynamic range you need.”

Here are a few sample images that Fore has shot with the combo:

Fore dedicated his first ever YouTube video to sharing his experience with the 500C/M and H20 digital back, hoping to turn some more people on to this 17-year-old gem. He even shared one of his Raw files (click here to download) so that you can test the back’s latitude and pixel peep a real-world shot for yourself.

Suffice it to say that 16MP is plenty of resolution, and the dynamic range is surprisingly good… even compared to the latest and greatest.

Go ahead and watch the full video up top to hear more about this combo and see it in action, and if you want to see more from Fore, check out his website or give him a follow on Instagram.


Image credits: All photos by Mark Fore and used with permission.

Hasselblad 907X Hands-On Review and Vintage Lens Test

I have been so excited about this Hasselblad 907X camera. In this hands on review of the Hasselblad 907x and CFV II 50C we show you an image quality test, discuss the ergonomics and try it out on our Hasselblad 500cm with some vintage lenses. Check it out to see what we got!

In this video and review, we take a look at a very exciting camera. Those of you who love Hasselblad as I do—I have the Hasselblad 500CM and also an EL/M—have probably been super excited about having an affordable back you can put on one of your vintage systems and turn it into a digital camera.

That’s exactly what we have here.

We have the 907X and the CFV II 50 C. This is Hasselblad’s new camera, and it’s basically a lens mount that you can attach the CFV digital back onto. But the cool thing is, you can also take this back and replace the film back that’s on the old 500 series cameras. It’s awesome.

Ever since this was announced one or two years ago, I’ve been dying to get my hands on it. Finally, it’s available.

You can pick these things up for about $6,400. So it’s not cheap (affordable is a relative term here) but I am really excited to try this out. I love the form factor, and it’s honestly different than any other camera we’ve shot with. It’ll be fun to try this with the new XCD digital, show what it can do with a brand new sharp lens, and then try it with the old vintage camera and lenses as well.

We’re going to shoot the pier here, and see exactly what we got.

Ergonomics

Let’s talk about ergonomics. This is a funny one, because it’s basically a little box. It is the most interesting camera I think I’ve ever used, and I actually really like it. My one complaint is that it would be nice to have a handle on it, which is probably why they also released an extension grip that you can buy for like $700.

If I owned this camera, I would probably get that. But it’s definitely usable even without it.

As is, the 907x 50c is kind of discreet, which is what I like about it. You can just pop the screen out and shoot from down low using the LCD as your viewfinder. I was worried about shooting on the beach in the bright sun, and it was a tiny bit challenging, but not nearly as bad as some other cameras that you’ll shoot with.

It’s pretty bright. It’s pretty clear. And I kind of like how you can just hold the camera discreetly at waist level and shoot it like a twin reflex.

It’s also really small. Essentially the only controls on the camera are the shutter release and one single dial—a small little collar around the shutter release. That changes your aperture, or if you’re on shutter priority, it’ll change your shutter.

It’s the only dial on the camera, which is pretty awesome. Very minimalist.

Image Quality

Alright, so let’s look at our picture quality. This first image is one of the first images we took at the beach. We had the camera set up and then we switched the digital back, back and forth, between the CFV II 50C and the 500CM.

The framing is a little different because the 80mm is tighter than the 65mm. When we zoom in here to Ruby’s café they are pretty close. It feels a little like there’s a little less contrast and sharpness in the 500CM but it’s pretty dang close. And you do have a little bit more chromatic aberration that you’d expect that from a 40-year-old lens over a brand new one.

One thing I love about this camera is the deep but subtle color tonality. It’s really subtle and beautiful. It renders the blues into the warmth so incredibly well. So smooth. And there’s no abruptness about it and it catches all the subtle different hues and the different luminance values. This is one of the things I like about the sensor and the way that Hasselblad is.

If you look at the Ruby’s sign, it’s just a really beautiful, deep red. It’s not blowing out and it’s not turning a really weird color. It’s just red, like it should be, like it is with your eyes.

Look at the reflection down here. That is a really nice rendition. What’s interesting here is the star flare you get with the XCD lenses. It’s kind of fun, but you really don’t get any flare with the vintage lens which is surprising. Then I went to 16 second exposures.

There’s a general softness to them. That must have something to do with the vapor in the air.

It got really moist as the sun went down and the old Hasselblad just got covered with water, the body and the lens. I had to clean the lens constantly and I didn’t have a cable release. That might have contributed to that as well. But that’s the hard part about the old Hasselblad, you have to go to bulb. So once you hit it you have to count out your exposure with a stopwatch. It’s older technology.

Dynamic Range

From our past tests that we’ve done with the X1D, we know that you can under expose this camera by two or three stops and bring those shadows up in post and it will be just fine. That’s really the 14 stop dynamic range at play.

These next shots are meant to show you the dynamic range of this camera. It’s got a nicely exposed highlight, but the shadows are getting pretty deep.

But when you take it into Camera Raw, it had no problem bringing the shadows back up. It took 3 seconds. You could do a million things with this. And this could be even underexposed another stop and a half easily.

And look at the color rendition in that pink blanket, and the subtle warmth in his face. It just feels like you’re getting a true color with this. A deep rendition of the color spectrum that’s actually there.

Vintage Camera Test

It is interesting shooting it with a vintage camera. Here are of some of the challenges.

You certainly have to look through the eyepiece to frame the framing. It is difficult. If I used this regularly I would definitely have tape off my viewfinder so I could know exactly what is “live” with the digital back on the 500CM, because the sensor is smaller than the film you would normally use with this camera, so it crops in.

I’ll be in tight thinking I’ve got a great shot. And the reality is, it’s cropping a lot of it out. That’s a challenge.

Also, as I’m looking through the viewfinder and shooting, it’s interesting to me because I keep looking at the LCD—I shoot and I look and I shoot and I look. And that process is great. But I keep thinking that I want to see it in the viewfinder… but of course I can’t because it’s not electronic. So I’m missing that.

Vintage Lens Test

Next, we’re going to look at some shots we did with all the different lenses. I have three lenses. There’s a 40mm, an 80mm and a 120mm, and we also used the 65mm that came with the 907X. We wanted to look at the different styles and how those lenses resolve. Do they resolve as well as new style lenses? It’ll be interesting to see. I’m very curious.

These Hasselblad lenses are legendary, they’re beautiful, but they were designed for film and film is generally softer. Though, if you get into the medium format world there is a LOT of resolution to play with. So it’ll be interesting to look at how those two things balance out.

This is a 40mm. It’s worth noting that I dropped this lens and send it into Hasselblad for repairs at one point. And when I say I dropped it, it wasn’t like it dropped a couple feet. It dropped 20 feet out of a crow’s nest for shooting straight down onto the concrete floor. It was on the 500CM camera at the time, so it messed up my camera a little bit, but Hasselblad fixed it.

There are some weird things going on with the out of focus areas. It just feels really smudgy to me. But it’s kind of fun. It’s a nice lens. Not a lot of edge sharpness.

Here we have the 65mm. So this is the most modern lens of the bunch and you can tell immediately, even without zooming in or anything. The contrast is a little stronger and the edges are sharper.

And then when you do zoom in, it’s just a very crisp lens. We don’t have the chromatic aberration on it. Look at those pillars in the background with the bright lights on them:

If you look at the next one, you can see a difference in that that older lens (the 80mm). You see that halo along those highlight edges. And the contrast is a little lifted:

What is kind of amazing if you go back and forth between these two though, is that the overall color is pretty much the same. That lens is doing its job, even though they are old lenses.

And now here’s a quick look at the 120mm. I love this picture. And it is sharper. You can see it in the background and then you can really see it in his further eye if you zoom in to 100%.

Finally, we’ve talked a lot about shooting with the vintage lenses, but we also wanted to look at comparisons that show the results you can get with the new lens. So here’s a couple of images that we’re looking at from the new lens—some auto focused, and some manual focused:

Conclusions

My sense about this is this is an incredible offering, and people who have been in photography for a long time are going to buy this. They’re going to be using it on their old systems that they are shooting film with already. I also think some wedding photographers will start shooting on this just because it looks cool.

I think it’s the most affordable camera back we’ve ever had for medium format, and that is an incredible step. I think with this and the X1D, as a natural light shooter, you simply can’t beat the dynamic range. It gives you open shadows that you can work with and even holds the highlights. I just think it gives you a lot of options there.

On the down side, it is a little bit slow and a little bit more deliberate than using the camera where you’re looking for the viewfinder and you’re shooting away.

So, ultimately, a great offering from Hasselblad. I’m just so excited that they’re coming out with great products and the market is responding to them. I think the 907x system is a very interesting and innovative idea. I’m glad they did it. And I would love to see other camera companies do interesting stuff like this.


About the author: Jay P. Morgan is a commercial photographer with over two decades of experience in the industry. He teaches photography through his company, The Slanted Lens, which runs a popular YouTube channel. This article was also published here.