Enjoy your new camera. May it bring you much pleasure---and great images.
Enjoy your new camera. May it bring you much pleasure---and great images.
So here are the impressions that I promised. I'm not calling this a review because I really don't have the time do fully controlled testing and organize and present the results. I've focused on the HCD 35-90 - I use the lens 70% or so of the time - and the HTS 1.5.
My tripod is a Gitzo GT3541LS with no center column and an Arca Swiss cube. I use the Kirk L bracket, which fits the camera snuggly and has a second attachment point at the auxiliary port on the left side of the camera, which makes it very stable and secure. It unfortunately means that you can't use the GPS attachment without removing the L bracket.
On workflow all conversions are in Phocus to 16 bit tiffs. I continue processing in LR, moving into PS if needed. For those of you new to Hasselblad, Hasselblad has two raw formats: When working untethered the camera saves in 3fr format, which provides some lossless compression. You import these the Phocus which converts them to fff. Hasselblad recommends considering the fffs as archives and tossing the 3frs. I do the opposite for reasons that I can discuss another time.
My goal in undertaking this was to understand the implications of the very large and high resolutions sensor for focus and depth of field, hand held exposures and in respect of lens limitations. In other words how am I going to have to adapt my shooting style to this thing.
Over the years I've griped a bit about Hasselblad ergonomics. I've gotten over that - I was really reacting to the fact that it's big and heavy. I've actually learned to enjoy it. The large, bright LCD is a joy and the camera is very well balanced. Interestingly it arrived with a lot of goodies in the box, but not the apparently optional hand strap, which if you are shooting hand-held is actually essential. The carrying weight of the camera, HCD 35-90, a couple of batteries and a well padded messenger bag is about 12 pounds - actually not that bad (my walk-around Leica kit with four lenses is 8 pounds).
So let's get down to some images. I'll be posting these over the next few hours (maybe days - we'll see) as I upload them. We'll start with Sarabeths. This was shot handheld at 1/125 with the HCD35-90 at 55mm and f6.8.
I focused on the Sarabeths awning with True Focus. The lens achieves focus almost instantly but then the camera continues to make little noises for a half second or so; then it beeps to tell you that it has achieved a True Focus lock (there's also a visual indicator in the viewfinder). I then tilted upward the frame the building as I wanted and shot the exposure. I corrected perspective in LR.
Here's a crop of the awning. You should see a couple of things here. The focus on the awning is dead on. We'll see later on that even tiny misses in focus are visible with this camera, so True Focus has handled this focus and recompose situation well. Note also the bottom of the ironwork at the top of the cropped frame. It wasn't green. What you're seeing is a color moire. I did this conversion with moire slider set at zero in Phocus. In an urban setting with a lot of repeating patterns the H4D-60 does generate moires - it comes with the no AA filter turf.
Here's the same image reprocessed in Phocus with the moire slider set at 5 (its slightly different because I didn't perspective correct the reprocessed image).
Did you process the moire reducted image to layered PSD and painted in the moire reduction or did you let Phocus moire reduce the whole image?
Often at 5 the moire reduction will also create color bleeding in other areas.
BTW. I love the Christmas Party image on your blog. To me it breathes the christmas atmosphere.
Let's move on to Brick Presbyterian Church, a brick wall torture test. I do a lot of stitches on the fly with my Leica. Here I've shot handheld two images with the HCD 35-90 at 45mm and f8 at 1/125 and stitched them in PTGui Pro. Pixel dimensions are 7200x11000.
Works fine. I've also included some crops. The crop from the very top exhibits the typical funkiness that you get with extreme perspective corrections. On a print this looks better than the crop - If you did the same correction as a shift in the camera with a 4x5 Wista and '70s era glass you'd end up a similar problem in the not-so-great part of the image circle.
I use the same tripod/head rig as yours. I'm not sure about the Kirk L-bracket, but I have used an RRS L-Bracket with all my H's and the GIL (gps). One has to use a steel file to shave away a bit of one edge, but it works perfectly. The added benefit of this setup is that the L-bracket forms a very usable left-side handle that I use as often as the grip for manipulating the camera on and off the tripod.
Just got my H4D-60 Friday and your photos are inspiring me to get out there today and use it in the field.
Let's move on to the Union Savings bank and a different topic. One important issue with the H4D-60 is that with HCD lenses Hasselblad and Phocus crop the image to 50 megs. This is the default - you can change in in Phocus. This is import to me because my two favorite lenses are HCDs: the 28mm and the 35-90mm. I'll explore this more systematically in later posts.
On all of the images in this series I've turned cropping off. In other words I'm using all 60 megs with my HCD 35-90. I've explored this systematically and will present results later, but for now let's look at practical applications. The following image is with the HCD 35-90 at 90mm, f6.8 handheld at 1/125 (iso 100 by the way).
Here's a crop from the top:
Not bad, right? This works (I mean not cropping to 50 megs) fairly well for two reasons: 1. The "last 10 megs" funkiness is least evident with this lens at 90mm - it becomes more evident as you move to smaller focal lengths. 2. I've made a minor perspective correction and a slight crop at the top.
The point I'm making is that if you have any reason to crop at all (I usually do) you're cutting the bad stuff off.
Thanks Woody for sharing your views on the H4D60 - especially I am interested in how the HCD lenses perform on the 60MP sensor without cropping.
I must say I really like the results! And I do agree - most times some cropping is needed anyway in post processing, but if there is more one can start from this is always a great benefit. Definitely I prefer this solution as compared to the HCD lenses which would not need any cropping, but as a result be much bigger.
Start thinking already about what to trade in in addition to my H3D39 in order to upgrade to the H4D60 maybe my Flextight X5 will be an option, as I almost do not any scanning since some time.
Think the H4D60 is worth the upgrade, not only because of the more MPs, but rather TF etc.
Next on the agenda are a couple of Donald Trump buildings at sunset along Riverside Drive South. I did a number of shots like this to torture test blooming, green stripes, banding, etc. I've included two of them in this post. These are typical - no problems with the sensor. (Neither is there any artistic merit.) The first: HC 35-90 @ 55mm. F6.8 and 1/400 sec (iso 200). Not a great choice of settings for the subject but it was cold and I was moving quickly. The dark area in the upper right is probably caused by an internal reflection lightening the rest of the image. Fixable with some effort. It looks like the source is the camera body (because of the straight edge). The lens appears to perform very well at this focal length in this extreme lighting situation.
Similar settup but at 35mm for the following image. This is all 60 megs (ie not cropped to 50). Note that the lens hood is invading the frame slightly on the right and left (and probably in the corners)! This would be cropped out at 50 megs. The solution for me is to use the hood for the 28mm for the 35-90.
Were the Trump shots hand-held, Woody? I assume the others were on your tripod.
I've spent a fair amount of time working with the HTS 1.5 and the new camera. My general comments on the difficulty of accurate focusing are recorded above. None of the table top stuff that I've tried with tilts meets my standards for posting here - I'll keep working on it.
How about pano shifts? The HTS 1.5 provides 18mm of shift in either direction. If you do three images, one centered, one all the way left and the other all the way right, in portrait orientation, and stitch them you end up with a frame in landscape orientation with a perfect 2x3 aspect ratio and pixel dimensions of 12,762 x 8,488 for a whopping 108 megs. Nice. Does this actually work?
Not with the HCD 28, unfortunately. This lens covers the 50 meg image circle beautifully, the 60 meg image circle less so (more on this below) and putting the HTS 1.5 behind it doesn't change this. So there is nowhere the shift to.
The HC 100 is a different matter. The image below was captured with the HC 100, ISO 50, f8.0 (I hoped to have a little headroom on focus) and 32 second exposure - three images with the HTS 1.5 shifted as above and stitched in PS. I was focused at infinity.
Here's the whole stitched image:
And a crop from the fair left side of the image:
The crop is from the extreme side of the image shifted 18mm. This is wildly impressive performance. Note that the images is sharp and has reasonable contrast (even in the extreme lighting in that portion of the image). But focus is really important here - I hit it exactly by focusing at infinity - the foreground which is about 200 meters away is well out of focus.
Note also that the 32 second exposure is fine (perhaps with the exception of the noise around the bright lights but the conditions are extreme). When you shoot long exposures the camera makes a dark frame of the same duration - Phocus is clearly making good use of it.
Let's try the HCD 35-90 at 35mm with a long exposure in some nasty light. Here's the skating rink at Rockefeller Center .3 seconds at f5.6 and Iso 200:
And the crop. Note that Phocus is doing a reasonable job on noise without killing the detail.
A few more posts to go. Let's take a break and look at some walk around images, before we plunge into the boring brick wall tests. The point of this is that the H4D-60 with the HCD 35-90 is a reasonable walk around camera. The 35mm "crop factor" is 0.6 (0.7 if you crop to 50 megs) providing a 35mm equivalent range of 21 - 55mm. I'm a wide shooter so this suits me. If I want wider than 21 I can put the 28 in the bag (equivalent 17mm), or stitch (which only works handheld if you're not doing near-far compositions). If I want longer I can crop in post to 40 meg dimensions and get the effect of 110mm (70mm), or to 24 megs and get the effect of 145mm (90mm). It's great to start out with a lot of pixels.
All of these images are full frame 60 meg with minor perspective corrections and croppings.
This is one of the amazing things about this camera - it lets you hand hold at traditional rule of thumb shutter speeds - one over the focal length (at the same time that it's punishing you on focus and depth of field), especially if I can find something to brace myself or the camera against. This surprises me - shooting digitally I general expect to need one stop faster shutter than one over the focal length.
I believe that Marc has reported similar experience. I use the factory default mirror delay of 50. Marc has suggested that the camera's mass operates to stabilize against the little vibration induced by the shutter and by human shake.
This is a case where the in-lens shutter offers a real advantage.
Amazing. I used the mirror delay of 100 on my H4D40, but then I use the tripod 90% of the time. Maybe I should loosen up a bit. Do you ever use the mirror-up handheld? Thanks for posting these, Woody. It will help me quite a bit as I begin to learn the contours of mine.
Ok. Let's have some fun with some brick walls. Out the window of our dining room. I've taken these with all lenses at all f/stops but let's focus for now on the HCD 35-90. Here for the record I'm on a tripod.
Starting at 35mm (in this post) wide open at f/4.0. This is all 60 megs. I've added lines to show where Phocus crops to if you turn on the 50 meg crop. Results in the corners improve as focal length increases. I'll post 90mm at some point but frankly this part bores me.
I don't understand why Hassleblad doesn't offer a focusing screen that shows the 50 meg crop lines.
Here are center and edge crops at f/4.0:
The softness of the corner is aggravated by the fact that the buildings on the edge are behind to focus plane so this is not a great test.
Center and edge crops at f/16 (I haven't reproduced the whole image because at web resulotion it looks the same but for vignetting).
minor thing...My RRS L bracket fit my H3D39 with no modification needed.
ixnay, no gps doodad in my case
Here we go with the last post in this series. I'll try to recap in a day or two have some others have had a chance to react. For now let's try something fun. I mounted the HTS 1.5 on the camera with the HCD 28. On tripod in landscape orientation. I shot 3 shots - centered, shifted full left and shifted full right - and stitched them in PS. I cropped roughly 10% off of the right side of the resulting long pano. ISO 100 and f/11. Pixel dimensions are 6,600 x 14,248.
Here it is. It's actually fairly interesting aesthetically. Note that contrast drops as you move toward the edges. It's noticable on the left, but not on the right were it is cutting shadow density which benefits that part of the picture. There is a slight green cast toward the left, which could have been corrected in Phocus with a gray frame exposure. I've include crops moving further and further to the left. Image quality in the center is outstanding. It drops once you leave the central area (which is what you would have seen without the crops) - but once it drops it remains more or less consistent all of the way to the far edge.
On the edge:
I've printed the funky right edge at a number of resolutions. Native image height is 22 inches at 300 dpi. Printed at 22 inches high the optical issues are clearly visible; at 15 inches high they have generally disappeared. This amounts to downsampling by a multiplier of .7. The effective downsampled file size would be 45 megs. So this is a way of getting a different aspect ratio but not any additional resolution.
At the next opportunity I'll try this with the HC 100 - probably with much different results.
Looking good Woody! Given you are looking at the files on a calibrated system before posting them to web, can you comment on the less tangible attributes like color, tonality and smoothness?
"Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
They are looking very sweet though have to say. Pretty much exactly what I expected from the 60 mpx wonders. Honestly if i did not choice Phase i would have gone Hassy no question. End of day they are both rock solid performers.
Interesting my web site went down due to the host going out of business and I am going through my life of images to rebuild my site( actually don't feel bad this is really a good thing it needed to be replaced badly). It is quite interesting to see my gear transformation with regards to image quality on my images over the years. No question I can SEE the differences . I know folks say show me proof all the time , frankly you would have to be blind not to see it. MF images just rock the house. I'm one of those if your in your golden regardless who's name is on the top plate.
Woody-could you recommend a Hasselblad dealer? I am considering the purchase of a similar system, and live on Long Island. When you print, what is the size of an uncropped picture(in inches-length X width) from the H4D-60 that is not upsized? Thanks---Charley
Woody, thanks to post all the pictures and infos, but I'm really like so much your dining room view! Great;-)
About the L-Plate... every time i handle my h4d-40 with the l-plat as a handgrip, why they took a "small" screw and not the "bigger" one? (174-3/8)... glg, rem
So I've actually gotten to work on some landscape with this thing. These from yesterday, at the front edge of the blizzard that is passing through here. H4d-60 with HTS 150 and HC 100 lens. These images are actually in color as it came out of the camera - all of the color was frozen out of the landscape! The first is at near maximum shift and tilt to get the vignetting and the skinny focus plane. I took 5 shots bracketing focus which is my current solution to the HTS focus issue. The second was shifted to frame, from a level set up.
More blizzard. The snow stopped, it cleared but the very high winds continued. It was very cold. Given the conditions I used my car (a beanbag over a half opened window) as a tripod. H4D-60 + HC 150; f45 at about 1/10 sec. I'm finding that a key appeal of this camera is not the high resolution, but the subtle rendering of color and light and dark, and again the flexible files.
By the way I'm very skeptical of people's claims about handholding their cameras - online you get posts of a cat with razor sharp whiskers handheld at 1/20, but he poster doesn't show you the 10 missses. The handholdability of the Hasselblad really surprises me - the "rule of thumb" successes are generally repeatable.
People's photos please. Need to check the skin colors. Tnx!
The subtile colors drawn by the H4D60 are really marvelous, even when looking to the results on web images.
Great camera! Thanks for sharing! Enjoy!
Woody this is a Dalsa sensor correct. Reason I ask I see a lot of subtle tones in these images which look very nice.
By the way the Boxing Day Blizzard was the first time that I've used a Hasselblad in truly bad weather. Temperatures in the teens. 40 mph winds drove freezing snow at people people and gear. Both days I went out with a plastic garbage bag and a towel. Didn't make much use of the former. The camera got wet, then frozen. The lens shade was frozen on to the HC 100. All of the controls worked fine for the hour or so that I was out there each day and the camera handles well with light gloves. I didn't try to change lenses. True focus got wonky a couple of times so I switched to normal autofocus and it worked fine. I suspect that True focus uses a bit of additional power and the frozen battery couldn't keep up. Once thawed out it returned to normal. I used the usual precautions when I returned to the house (blowing the snow off, drying the camera and then bagging it until it reached room temperature to avoid condensation).
I also have the H4D/40.
So as soon as I get the 60 I'll post impressions about both.
A few expectations:.
The 40 will perform better at higher ISOs when similar sized crops are compared. However, the 60 will require less enlargement for any given print size.
The 40 can shoot longer exposures than the 60, and can shoot faster.
Even though the pixel pitch is the same, the main difference I'm interested in is Kodak verse Dalsa sensors .... and rendering people images, since that is what I mostly shoot.