Something like three years ago I bought a P45+ back and a Hasselblad 555/ELD to go with it. I bought into that system, although I always have been an MFD skeptic. The reason I bought into it was that the back was available at 10k$US, which I set as my upper limit. The other reason was that I had a couple of Hasselblad lenses I really liked and wanted to utilise them on the system they were intended for.
So, how did it work out? It was a mixed experience. As I mentioned I was a bit of an MFD skeptic, and indeed first tests indicated that my reservations were justified. On the other hand, I actually liked to take pictures with the camera. Initially I had a grand plan:
- Start with the two lenses I had a Sonnar 150/4 and a Planar 120/4 macro
- Add a reasonable wide angle, like the Distagon 50/4 FLE
- Get a Planar 80/2.8
- In 18 months buy A HCam B1 and a Canon 24/3.5 TSE LII to fix tilt and shift and get really wide angles.
- I also got myself a Hartblei loupe type viewfinder
Initially, I was not very happy with corner performance of the Distagons and the Planars. The Sonnar was fine.
The Planar 120/4 Macro was not a great performer, but I found that I used it more than the Sonnar 150/4. So I traded the Sonnar 150/4 for a Sonnar 180/4.
What I also have found was the focusing loupe didn't work for me. So I bought a MP5 viewfinder. At the same time I also bought a Zeiss 3X monocular. With the PM5 it gives 9X magnification. This is still my favourite focusing solution.
What I have found that viewing with glasses didn't really work for me. So, I fixed a replacement ocular for the PM5 with help of my optician. With that I had perfect viewing but the Zeiss 3X monocular could not achieve correct focus. After a year or so I went back to the original ocular and the Zeiss loupe.
Meanwhile, I decided I wanted a real wide angle. The only reasonable option was Distagon 40/4 CF FLE. But, I was not that impressed by the MTF data from Hasselblad. There was a very nice Distagon 40/4 IF CFE, but it was a bit to expensive. So I got the Distagon 40/4 CF FLE. I also bought a Hasselblad Flexbody that offers tilts and shift with all lenses. It was nice to shoot at home, in studio conditions, but a PITA in the field. So what did I find?
- The lenses were OK at f/11
- Some shots were great
- But some were not so great in the corners
- The pictures making it to the wall tended to be coming from the 24x36 DSLR system.
- Many nice pictures from the P45+, it is just that they were not making it to the wall
- On long walks, it is the MFD kit is what's left behind
A couple of years ago the Sony A7/A7r were released:
- The Sony A7r would be a nice combo with the canon 24/3.5 TSELII.
- Soon enough, HCam DE released the HCam master TSII, that was the camera I wanted to have
- But, the A7r lacked some important features my Sony A99 head. It lacked Electronic First Shutter Curtain and on sensor PDAF. I wanted that Sony A7r, but not without those features! Long wait!
I got my A7rII in September 2015, with a Metabones IV adapter, the Canon 24/3.5 TSE LII and the Sony 90/2.8 macro. The Metabones IV failed early, the IV-T I have now is pretty OK. I also have a cheaper adapter as backup. I added the Canon 16-35/4L which is a very good lens and also bought the Canon 24-105/4L.
Also, I bought the HCam Master TS that I can use with almost all lenses I have. Hasselblad V, Pentax 67, Canon EF and the Yashica/Contax mount. The problem with Canon lenses on the HCam TSII is the electronic aperture. So I decided to buy two Yashica/Contax lenses for tilt work on the HCam. They work great.
So, where am I now?
- Right no it seems that the Sony A7rII with Canon lenses and the HCam Master TS can do most things I want to do.
- The Sony kit is essentially complete and delivers similar image quality to the Hasselblad P45+ combo, with the Sony having the edge in most cases.
- Sense says I would sell the Hasselblad kit, but I don't think it is worth a lot of money. I like using it, so it is a keeper.
Downsides with the Sony:
- Not everything is shiny, at least on two occasions I got bad sharpness with the Sony 90/2.8 G one side of the image. Need to find out how and why.
- The Canon lenses are very good, but AF is just OK.
- I am pretty much tripod bound.
- I feel the need to get a few native lenses.
So, my take right now is that Sony is workable. In the few comparison I made I would say that image quality is quite close between the Hassy/P45+, with the Sony having the edge except in the extreme corners.
The HCam TSII allows three way stitch with the Hasselblad lenses. I have just tested a few combos. The Planar 100/3.5 is great, the Distagon 60/3.5 is quite OK while the Distagon 40/4 fails miserably. The Pentax 67 45/4 is quite OK, but a bit soft overall.
My take is really that I still enjoy the Hasselblad/P45+ and it can deliver great results. The Sony is more flexible and probably a bit superior in image quality.