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Question: to Hasselblad or not to Hasselblad...

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Frits, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. I have but one regret, photography wise: I never got to shoot medium format.

    When I was shooting film (Nikon F4s), I came very close to getting a Hasselblad. It seemed like a natural evolution.
    Then DSLR's changed everything.
    I could not be more happy with my D2x and great Nikon glass, but I still often have flashes about medium format.

    I have had discussions with long time professional photographers, who insists that top DSLR's produce results at least as good as medium format. I believe it.

    BUT.....the feeling lingers...

    Request to those who have experience with both: Can you give me some arguments why I would enjoy medium format (the image, I don't particularly care for the tool)? Or can you talk me out of it, so that my mind is at ease forever on this?
  2. Frits,

    I don't have experience with MF yet, but just recently went through this process myself.

    The reason I decided against MF was the following:

    a) expense of film + developing

    b) in order to easily share things, you must scan, and you need a VERY expensive scanner to do MF correctly

    c) Most of the "stunning" images I'm seeing in recent landscape books are shot MF, but digitally and have a low to moderate amount of PP manipulation to them.

    I too have heard that today's top DSLR's can outperform medium format cameras.

    I still think it would be neat to try a Hassy some day, but it just didn't make any sense from a time/money standpoint.
  3. Thanks Gretchen, that is mostly where I am too. But.....
  4. I know that "but....."

    For me, with a young family, it just doesn't make financial sense. I need to be funding our house purchase, college funds, etc before I spend a lot of money on a whole new system. :smile:
  5. Fritz,

    I made the majority of my living income for 27 years with a Hassleblad and a view camera. Short of a view camera, there's nothing in the world like the negatives a Blad produces. They are a sight to behold and will literally take your breath away. And (I'm sure I'll take a lot of flack over this) I have never seen an image from any digital camera (at least that I know of) which compares. If you have any desire and have the money, a Blad will bring you immense pleasure and satisfaction.
  6. I agree with Chris that there's just something special about a Hasselblad image. I shot with one for several years. I tended to spend more time really thinking about a shot before taking it. The square format is fun as well.

    You can pick up a 500c or 500c/m w/80mm lens and A12 back for a pretty decent price these days.

    If you never give it a try, that nagging feeling will never go away.
  7. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    There is a look to a Hassy image that I have yet to see from any other camera/lens. Is it the camera, I don't think so, but those Hassy lenses have this wonderful almost 3D look to them. I have a Pentax 645 and 4x5 and 8x10 view cameras. Right now, I prefer the D2x. The image quality is there, and the film and processing costs aren't. There is no doubt that an 8x10 chrome on a light box blows the D2x away, and a custom scan/print (at $250/ 16x20) is so much better looking than a $35 inkjet 16x20, but is it that much better and how often do I use the 8x10? There are many subjects just not suited to slow, contemplative photography.
    As a previous poster has said, though, you might as well try it. Prices are low on gear right now and if you don't like it, it shouldn't be too hard to sell off.
  8. Or, you could rent one?

    While a trip to Toronto might be a bit of a long haul, Vistek has opened a store in Ottawa recently.

    That way you could try either the film or digital back for a weekend and either satisfy your body lust, or not.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2007
  9. I still enjoy shooting MF up to the point of having it on the light table; it's really the zenith of artistic fulfullment seeing that large transparency so alive and contrasty. The scanning/editing and the large file size that occupies a sizeable portion of the HD is the downer.

  10. I have been thinking about that Mark. If ever I want to take this one step further, I would definitely rent - with both a film and digital back.
    I should be able to find a place for that in Montreal.
  11. Get ready for "sticker shock" when you see the price of a digital back for medium or large format. In fact, it might be good to contact a cardiologist to make certain your heart can stand it!!!!!!!!:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
  12. :eek: :smile::eek: 
  13. yamo


    Jun 28, 2007
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Yeah, I mean how often do you get the chance to by a piece of camera equipment who's price exceeds the US median household income? And that's just for the digital back!


  14. I shot only Pentax in my film days Frits. I had 3 ME Supers, an LX, a 67 II, and a 645. The lone exception was a 4x5 Tachihara. Pentax MF glass is as good as it gets and I'd love to have a digital back but the cost is way above what I can justify unless I were to commit to being a pro. Even then I wonder about the selection of MF lenses compared to those available for 36mm and DSLRs.
  15. Frits,

    I think you've gotta try it, even if a rental. I never shot a Hassy, but I did use a Rollei (620 format if I remember), and I have a restored east European knockoff of the Rollei, plus one roll of film for it.

    The best pictures I ever took with the Rollei were of my girlfriend, and now wife. It's amazing what you can do with a cropped version of MF.....

    Seriously though, give it a try. Looking at your work here and elsewhere, you're going to provide us with some images that will put a smile on our face, or make us think. Pretty good investment in my book. It will answer your questions, create more questions, but it will be worth it.

  16. The chemist

    The chemist

    Jul 22, 2005
    Why go medium when you can go large?
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