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Some reflections on my V-series Hasselblad/P45 kit…

ErikKaffehr

Active member
Hi,

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.

Best regards
Erik
 
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algrove

Well-known member
I also had the P45+ V mount. I opted for the SWC staright away and was always impressed with the image quality even at f22.

The most distrubing fact was the connection cord between old and new-i.e., the cord between the DB and the flash sync of the lens. It often gave inaccurate signals to the back of either change the CF card or the battery was low when neither were the case. All too often this occurred at just the one minute of sunup I was waiting to capture after getting up at 04H00.

Thus I bought the 645Z. Never a problem.

Sold it for the XF+100. Have only had one long shooting trip with it so far, but happy with my results to date.
 

PhiloFarmer

Member
Erik -

Some reflections for comparison.

My work is 90% field...10% studio.

I've been shooting Hassy-V since 1975. Almost every lens you can name, except 30mm and the achromats.

First film...of course...then Kodak DCS-Pro 16MP back. Then an Aptus-65. Now a Credo-60.

Hassy-40mm = stunning at 30x40 prints.....all 3-backs.

Hassy-180mm...truly stellar prints...all 3-backs.

Flexbody is a dream...EXCEPT for exchanging the viewfinder for the back. Sigh...can't have everything, I suppose.

I'm getting older, and I'm not well...so hauling full-kit is a struggle. But...the Flexbody beats hauling the Sinar P-2 around...although the movements can't be compared.

Just a comparison of experiences....

I also shoot DSLR...Canon, and several "pocket-shooters" (Canon, Sony...)...not to be compared.

Enjoy!

Hank
 

tjv

Active member
I have a Credo 60 in V mount but have never used it on a Hasselblad body, just a technical camera.

I've long thought about the need for a quicker to use, mainly tripod based but more flexible to use than the technical camera, SLR type camera. The announcement of the Hasselblad X1D has me excited, allthough the price of entry doesn't. I could get an excellent V series body, a 40mm IF and 60mm for a heck of a lot less.

But...

For those that have gone that route – Erik's comments above about focusing noted – how easy is a V series camera to focus if it's perfectly calibrated and you're using an accute matte screen with split prism? I'm not generally a wide open shooter, more f8-11, but it'd be good to have confidence in my focusing abilities out in the field, particularly if I need to shoot interior portraits at or near widest aperture.

Thanks,

T
 

ErikKaffehr

Active member
Hi,

I have not seen the problems you mention but I also feel the sync cable is not very reliable.

Interesting to hear that the SWC worked for you, as it is known not to work well with digital backs.

Hasselblad's own backs don't need the flash sync cord. On the other hand, the Hasselblad backs cannot be mounted vertically.

Best regards
Erik

I also had the P45+ V mount. I opted for the SWC staright away and was always impressed with the image quality even at f22.

The most distrubing fact was the connection cord between old and new-i.e., the cord between the DB and the flash sync of the lens. It often gave inaccurate signals to the back of either change the CF card or the battery was low when neither were the case. All too often this occurred at just the one minute of sunup I was waiting to capture after getting up at 04H00.

Thus I bought the 645Z. Never a problem.

Sold it for the XF+100. Have only had one long shooting trip with it so far, but happy with my results to date.
 

ErikKaffehr

Active member
Hi,

Accurate focusing depends on your definition of accurate.

I am using a PM5 viewfinder with a Zeiss 3X monocular for focusing, this gives around 9X magnification in total. Also, I mostly use f/11. With that i feel that I have reasonably accurate focusing on the centre of acute matte glass. Of axis it is a bit of a gamble.

Using the split image on smooth edge is "dead accurate" but say a trunk of a tree is not smooth enough for dead accurate focusing. For distant subjects the infinity stop is OK.

Some folks are better at focusing some are less good at focusing. Keep in mind that the viewfinder has much lower resolution than the sensor. So when you focus you try to maximise image contrast for fine visible detail. That takes skill, and skills can be learned. I am not so good at it. That said I have a lot of very good images from the P45+ and sharpness is not an issue.

The image belows shows a shot of a USAF test chart at actual pixels. I marked which groups I could resolve in the viewfinder, with the PM5, a Hartblei Loupe viewfinder and with the PM5/Zeiss monocular combo:


Best regards
Erik





I have a Credo 60 in V mount but have never used it on a Hasselblad body, just a technical camera.

I've long thought about the need for a quicker to use, mainly tripod based but more flexible to use than the technical camera, SLR type camera. The announcement of the Hasselblad X1D has me excited, allthough the price of entry doesn't. I could get an excellent V series body, a 40mm IF and 60mm for a heck of a lot less.

But...

For those that have gone that route – Erik's comments above about focusing noted – how easy is a V series camera to focus if it's perfectly calibrated and you're using an accute matte screen with split prism? I'm not generally a wide open shooter, more f8-11, but it'd be good to have confidence in my focusing abilities out in the field, particularly if I need to shoot interior portraits at or near widest aperture.

Thanks,

T
 

ErikKaffehr

Active member
Hi Hank,

Thanks for sharing. Your experience is obviously a bit different from mine.

I have been trough four of the Sonnars, and I was indeed very happy with those lenses. As I mentioned, very few of my MFD images made it to the wall, although I have a lot of MFD images I really like. So I cannot say about 30x40 images from the Distagons.

Comparing with my Sony gear, I found that the Distagons don't keep up with the Canon zooms, except in the extreme corner, so if we say that the Canon 16-35/4 Sony A7rII combo is sharper than the Distagon 40/P45+ combo over 95% of the image area than I prefer the Canon 16-35 and Sony A7rII combo. That combo also gives me ample shift and tilt on my HCam Master TSII. The P45+ and the Sony A7rII give essentially the same image size, approximately same number of pixels vertically, so comparison is easy.

So, for me the Sony stuff is best solution.

Best regards
Erik



Erik -

Some reflections for comparison.

My work is 90% field...10% studio.

I've been shooting Hassy-V since 1975. Almost every lens you can name, except 30mm and the achromats.

First film...of course...then Kodak DCS-Pro 16MP back. Then an Aptus-65. Now a Credo-60.

Hassy-40mm = stunning at 30x40 prints.....all 3-backs.

Hassy-180mm...truly stellar prints...all 3-backs.

Flexbody is a dream...EXCEPT for exchanging the viewfinder for the back. Sigh...can't have everything, I suppose.

I'm getting older, and I'm not well...so hauling full-kit is a struggle. But...the Flexbody beats hauling the Sinar P-2 around...although the movements can't be compared.

Just a comparison of experiences....

I also shoot DSLR...Canon, and several "pocket-shooters" (Canon, Sony...)...not to be compared.

Enjoy!

Hank
 

MomentsForZen

New member
Comparisons between a CCD back (P45) and a CMOS sensor (A7r/A7rII) are being expressed.

Can anyone compare a V-series with a CMOS back (CFV-50c) and the A7r/A7rII ? That would seem to be a more valid comparison.

I have no experience with the A7r/7rII but have a 500C/M and the CFV II (16MP CCD) and the CFV-50C (50MP CMOS). Resolution issues aside, the CMOS sensor has completely different qualities.

:) ... MomentsForZen (Richard)
 

tjv

Active member
How are your focusing skills with the 500c/m and 50c, not using live view?
I'm interested to hear other peoples opinions, especially if it saves me deciding I "need" the X1D for the times the Linhof isn't a great tool...

Comparisons between a CCD back (P45) and a CMOS sensor (A7r/A7rII) are being expressed.

Can anyone compare a V-series with a CMOS back (CFV-50c) and the A7r/A7rII ? That would seem to be a more valid comparison.

I have no experience with the A7r/7rII but have a 500C/M and the CFV II (16MP CCD) and the CFV-50C (50MP CMOS). Resolution issues aside, the CMOS sensor has completely different qualities.

:) ... MomentsForZen (Richard)
 
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fotografz

Well-known member
Ahhh, a subject close to my heart. So, please forgive the rambling reply:rolleyes:

When making comparative evaluations, I always have a tough time keeping nostalgia for the V system out of the equation:) Along with the Leica film Ms, these cameras were/are the epitome of mechanical aged tools which deliver a very satisfying user experience and manual user control.

As mentioned elsewhere, I have owned/used most of the bodies, accessories, and lenses, up to and including a 555ELD, 503CW, 203FE camera and FE lenses. Leaf-shutter lenses included the 40IF through a 250 Super "Acrobat" (my nickname for that lens). Leaf- Shutter was, and remains, important to me due to use of lighting.

A few years ago I left the V behind. Plain and simple, my primary addiction to the V was based on film. I shot film which I processed myself, then as the digital age encroached, scanned on a Imacon 949. The only digital backs I used were early tether based Imacons (PITA), A Kodak back with tilting LCD and giant Quantum battery (semi-PITA), then the self contained CFV/16s … all so called fat pixel backs with their particularly pleasing look and feel, as well as the drawbacks.

For my last iterations of the V, I used film backs and the CFV/16 on a 503CW and factory modified focal plane 203FE (for which I had a full compliment of the faster aperture FE lenses including the beautifully flawed 110/2).

I used various metered viewfinders with flip magnifiers for critical focus. Through repeated and frequent use, I became very fast at focusing these cameras (even action work) … but as time progressed, I increasingly had difficulty focusing both the V camera and my Leica Ms. It turned out that was due to growing cataracts and aging astigmatism (both since corrected with simple surgery). That operation allowed me to continue on with a digital Leica Rangefinder, which I still use quite a bit.

When Hasselblad introduced the next gen CFV backs (39 meg, then 50 meg) I had to make a longer term creative and business decision. The new backs were rectangle aspect ratio and couldn't be rotated to portrait orientation like with a RZ, plus dealing with film was "getting old" … So, I opted out. Many V owners pined for a FF square, but the handwriting was on the wall that made it a bet I would never take.

I committed to the H system and stayed through the H4D/60, including most the lenses from 28mm to 300mm, and special bodies that took film backs and a CF Multi-Shot DB. I also use the backs on a Rollie Xact-II for full movements control in the studio or location.

My applications differ from many here in that I use MF for commercial work, 80% of which is studio or controlled location shoots. Table top, corporate, some fashion, even certain higher end weddings and portraits, fitness advertising and portraiture. The closest I come to field work like landscapes, is environment portraiture.

Based on what I shoot, my evaluations of IQ also may not be focused on the same things others may deem critically important. For lack of a better description, I look for "presence" …. the native look and feel a system produces. The Zeiss optics delivered a look and feel I preferred … one I like so much that for many years I used select CFi and CFE lenses on the H camera via the clunky CF adapter that allowed you to wind the V lens' central shutter. In particular, the 40/4 IF was a much better performer than the HC-35/3.5 … a focal length I was likely to use for things like industrial interiors demanding acuity across the frame … where the 40IF murdered the previous FLE for edge/corner sharpness, only exhibiting pin-cushion distortion which was an easy fix with Phocus DAC corrections. Macro tended to be done with the view camera and Schneider lenses for ultimate DOF control.

By using so many different systems over the years, I found that certain systems with certain camera/back/lens combinations do offer a variety of aesthetic choices. For example, I found that the RZ Pro-II with a Leaf Aptus 33 meg back and the incredibly diverse range of Mamiya lenses seemed particularly suited to one another, plus the back rotated. The Hasselblad H4D/40 is another "sweet spot" system which in terms of versatility was probably as far as a CCD based kit was going to get you. Hasselblad's True Focus APL, and user selected micro delay, made it one of the best hand-held MFD cameras I've ever used.

Being now semi-retired, my current MFD systems is a Leica S(006) which blended a lot of my needs/preferences into one system. Dual FP and CS shutter/dual card capture/great AF-MF lenses/large,incredibly clear optical viewfinder … and a particularly satisfying native look and feel best described as organic, with natural colors and beautiful tonal roll-off. In short, it has a presence I am aesthetically drawn to.

At the risk of turning this into yet another Sony thread … like the OP, I have a A7R-II with its obvious advantages of size, customization, and vast versatility. I primarily use the Zeiss FE55/1.8, and Batis 25/2 and 85/1.8 … a few A mounts, and some of my Leica M lenses. I'm on record as not liking this camera for its UI, so I'll leave it at that. Still, I have a lot of fun with this camera, like shooting with a Sony AF 500 mirror that is IBS. Or my Leica 21/1.4 ASPH on a variable adapter … much better on the Sony in terms of not needing a separate viewfinder like my M needs. What I am ambivalent about the A7R-II is the native look and feel regardless which lenses I use. All the lenses are pretty good, but I've yet to warm up to the files compared to other choices … especially the Leica S. It certainly isn't bad, and a great choice for travel, adapted lenses, shooting in awkward positions because of the articulated LCD, and so on … but in the end, I'm not as enamored with it as many others are. However, if I really didn't like it, I wouldn't own it …. which I do. I think it is the best of the mirrorless offerings in production. I recently hands on tried the Leica SL, and was surprised by it size and weight, and my expectations of the EVF were overly optimistic.


- Marc

A few V shots over the years:

Sample-035.jpgSample-034.jpgSample-003.jpgFroggy.jpgGOLD-Poster.jpgPeople&Lifestyle-05 (1).jpg
 

ErikKaffehr

Active member
Hi Marc,

Your ramblings are most welcome! I would like to hear a bit more about that Distagon 40/4 IF, as I have read about it but never had the opportunity to use.

Comments on the 250/5.6 Super Achromat would also be interesting.

Nice to hear about you liking the Zeiss lenses. Personally, I am a bit middle ground. I feel the Zeiss lenses work well on my 555/ELD but I wouldn't say I am really enthusiastic about specific lenses.

I essentially always used my cameras with specific colour profiles. Right now I use DCamProf to generate profiles for both Sony and "Blad"/P45+.

Your comments on the Sony are interesting. I would say that I am quite happy about that camera, as it works well for my needs. The articulated screen is a part of that. I don't have a lot of love for the Sony, but it works. On the other hand, even if I like working with the 'Blad' it is still similar to working with the Sony. You set up tripod, select lens, mount camera and lens on tripod, compose, focus, guess exposure (on the Hassy/P45+), shoot, chimp, adjust and try again. The Sony gives you more lens choices, live view, T&S and quite few more lens choices.

Something I like with the Hasselblad is the feeling of shooting with a classical camera. Regarding image quality, I think that both deliver a bit beyond my needs.

Best regards
Erik




Ahhh, a subject close to my heart. So, please forgive the rambling reply:rolleyes:
 

tcdeveau

Well-known member
Hi Erik,
I would definitely look into some native lenses for the Sony and some off-tripod use of the Sony system. For me, the size, portability, and off-tripod potential of the Sony is a major strength compared to my Hassy (H4D-40). The A7R/55mm f1.8 combo is great handheld when I don't want to use my Hassy on a tripod, and I'm sure the A7RII would be even better. The 55mm f1.8 is crazy sharp and I've done some handheld stitching with that combo that produces 50-80mp files (from 3-4 image stitches) that people assume was done with the Hassy. I recently tested the Loxia 21mm for a week and was pretty impressed with that one as well, although it's really easy to turn the aperture ring when you're focusing and vice versa, so care must be taken to ensure sharp focus. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here (and elsewhere) about the Hcam TSII as well! I've always been curious about that adaptor but I'm not sure I want to pick one up for myself as I am trying to keep the Sony off of the tripod as much as possible
-Todd
 

Pradeep

Member
What an honest and reasoned post, Erik. Thank you for starting this thread. If it's musings and not rants, I am in.

I've always loved photography, and in my perhaps quixotic search for perfection, I came across MF. At this point in life I could afford it too (with the consent of She Who Must be Obeyed, of course). Jumped in at the deep end with the Phase IQ180, why not start with the best?

Gave up after a little over a year and a half - too bulky, too limited and certainly not my style. I don't do people or fashion/products and did not have the patience to try out tech cams. Low-light photography was non-existent which is where most landscapes work. Dark-frame issues were too much for me.

Then came Pentax 645z. What a difference, it opened up a new world in MF imaging, no more problems with low-light. Even able to take hand held shots at 1/15 with tack sharp images. Problems with bulk and size remained and lenses were archaic, though optically very good. Took it everywhere and even shot wildlife with it.

Then came Sony A7r and its newer version, the A7rII. Initial offerings in lenses were not stellar but with the Batis line and of course the 55 1.8 it shines like nothing else I've used.

I did my own comparison, not wanting to depend on somebody else's opinion. Ran the Pentax 645z against the Sony A7rII and the Canon 5DSR each with their best lineup of lenses. The Canon was not anywhere as good as the other two and got sold.

I then took the Pentax and the Sony to do fall photography. Took identical shots. Pixel peeping in LR and looking at 24X36 prints, found the Sony almost as good, but given its size and ease of use preferred it.

I have not used the Pentax in almost eight months now, but still have it.

My landscape kit now is the Sony A7rII with the 16-35 f4, Batis 25, 55 1.8 and Batis 85. Plan to get the Batis 18 which will then replace the 16-35.

There is no camera in the world that can do everything perfectly. Different needs dictate different pieces of equipment, unfortunately.

I am still very much intrigued with the idea of a large sensor and high resolution. However, my next foray into MF would be for a system that is not only small and light but also offers good AF, frame rate and low-light capability. A higher resolution than 50MP and (one can dream) a FF sensor would be ideal. The technology appears to be available, just needs implementation.
 

jng

Well-known member
Hi,

This is my first post on getdpi, although I've been somewhat active on LuLa for the past year or so...

Thanks to Erik for consolidating and summarizing his experiences with the V system/MFDB combination, and for starting this thread. To add to the conversation, here are some musings from a non-professional who shoots mainly landscapes/cityscapes and still life images from a tripod...

I first started using Hasselblads 40+ years ago. I've always loved the 6x6 film format, which compared to 135 is, well... there's really no comparison once you've been hooked. Longing for a more film-like tonality that I found lacking in my Nikon D800E (with that said, still a marvelous instrument) but without the hassle of developing and scanning (tried it, got frustrated), about two years ago I picked up a V mount 60 Mp IQ160 back. In addition to the 500 series bodies, I have a Flexbody which gives additional control over perspective etc. but as Erik has noted, it's a pain to work with in the field; it's basically a low-tech tech camera with no rangefinder and pretty terrible live view capability on the CCD back. This was my way of getting into full frame MFD without totally breaking the bank.

Lenses - some, but not all of the old V series glass are excellent. The lenses I've wound up keeping are:

- 40mm IF CFE (echoing Marc's comments, it renders stunning sharpness corner to corner, but it's a beast),
- 100mm Planar (superb),
- 120mm Makro-Planar (beautiful for macro work),
- 150mm and 180mm Sonnars (both excellent), and
- 350mm Tele-Tessar for additional reach/compression (literally not the sharpest tool in the shed, but better than one would surmise from reading on the internet and the prices of the 350 Superachromats are beyond nuts, if you can even find one to buy).

I recently sold my 50mm FLE - it helped me make some nice prints that are hanging on my wall, but it suffers a bit from field curvature. With the 40 IF in my kit, I recently decided to sell my SWC/M as it requires stopping down to f/16 to bring the corners into reasonable sharpness on the digital sensor. So, I'm finding myself with a versatile wide-normal-tele lens kit with a macro thrown in for good measure. More as collector's items than workhorses, I've also kept an old SWC, 60mm f/4 C and 80mm f/2.8 C, all dating back to the early 1960's, together with an assortment of film magazines.

Focus - an ongoing challenge for my 57 year-old eyes. With an Acute Matte ground glass screen the PME51 plus 2x loupe (total 6x magnification but only on center) has given me mixed results. I've now gone back to the waist-level finder (4.5x mag for the late model version). Both are corrected to my eyesight. The waist level finder is much brighter than the prism finder, gives a full view of the screen, and so far is giving me more reliable focus. I dabbled with a split/microprism screen as well. Suffice it to say that for a number of reasons I prefer the ground glass. YMMV. One obvious point worth mentioning: ensuring that the screen and mirror are properly aligned is essential. There is little tolerance for focusing errors when using a high resolution back (even stopped down) and the mirrors are known to get out of alignment with use.

Image quality - when everything falls into place, it's superb. I suppose that the magic lies in some combination of the old Zeiss lenses, the big Dalsa sensor and the Capture One raw conversion. Regarding the latter, at least in my hands the images are more "alive" and vibrant following a C1 conversion compared to ACR. However getting good results from C1 took a little practice, at least for me. My Nikon D800E (and some top-shelf Nikon and Sigma lenses) mostly sits in the closet except when I'm photographing moving subjects or need to be more mobile. Or shooting in bad light.

Ergonomics - I love the old school simplicity of the system: the camera UI consists of shutter speed, aperture and focus and I usually leave the back at base ISO and daylight white balance when shooting. By contrast I am still bewildered every time I pick up my A6000, which means that I use it infrequently, adding to my lack of familiarity with the controls when I do (but it does deliver very fine images). The downside of my MFDB kit is its bulk. I originally went digital with my old V system in anticipation of a trekking trip in Patagonia. I came back with some winners but the weight almost killed me.

Synching - almost never a problem as I typically pre-release the mirror. Otherwise a gentle release of the shutter button seems sufficient to arm the back via the little tab that sticks out of the body and into the back. For shooting on the Flexbody and SWC, the back needs to be set to "zero latency" mode (there's nothing to mechanically pre-arm the back). A PC synch cable is used at all times, of course.

Would I do it this way again, in 2016? Maybe, maybe not. I really favor the "full frame" 40 x 54 mm sensor but the cost of the XF-3100 and H6D-100 are too far beyond reason for me to consider seriously (this from someone who owns an IQ160!). I think that the size, weight and cost advantage of the new X1D (not to mention the more modern CMOS sensor) would probably tip me toward this new crop sensor Hassy were I to do this again today. If I ever go down this road I would probably just keep the IQ160 (its value is plummeting faster than the British Pound!) and continue having fun with it.

- John
 

jng

Well-known member
Are the V bodies worse for syncing issues? Why is that?
There shouldn't be a problem as long as the lens flash sync is working properly (my dealer told me this is a common culprit in these old lenses) and one doesn't stab the shutter button too quickly so that the back has enough time to arm. On the rare occasion I've had a problem (when I was trying to work quickly and wasn't pre-releasing the mirror/auxiliary shutter, if I recall correctly), setting the back to zero latency seemed to take care of it. The setup appears a little Rube Golberg-ish but it actually works pretty well.

- John
 

ErikKaffehr

Active member
Hi John,

Thanks for sharing.

Regarding the lenses I also found that the Distagon 50/4 CF was lacking a bit in sharpness at edges and yes that may have been due to curvature of field. But, I still think it can deliver great image even on large prints. My guess is that the Distagon 60/3.5 may perform similarly.

The reason I got rid of the Distagon 50 was that I got hold of a Planar 100/3.5 CF, that is known as one of the best lenses for the V. So I had 40, 50, 80, 100, 120 and 180 mm. A bit to much to carry. So I replaced the 50 and the 80 mm with the 60/3.5 CF.

I liked the Sonnar 150/4 very much, but I found that it was the 120/4 that got most use, so I switched to the 180/4.

With regard to the Macro Planar 120/4 it has very serious field curvature at infinity, so I feel it needs to be stopped down to f/11. Shooting close ups, it is just fine, and it is he close up range it is intended for.

As have been discussed, nailing focus is not easy.

I would also add that it is nice to shoot with the camera. It is very basic, but works very well. The model I have the 555/ELD has built for digital, with a bit titghter tolerances and electrical connections to the back.

Something I have noted that few of the Hasselblad images made it to the wall, but that may change, my boss got the idea that I would decorate a very long corridor at our offices. I have a lot of nice images from the Hasselblad…

Best regards
Erik


Hi,

This is my first post on getdpi, although I've been somewhat active on LuLa for the past year or so...

Thanks to Erik for consolidating and summarizing his experiences with the V system/MFDB combination, and for starting this thread. To add to the conversation, here are some musings from a non-professional who shoots mainly landscapes/cityscapes and still life images from a tripod...

I first started using Hasselblads 40+ years ago. I've always loved the 6x6 film format, which compared to 135 is, well... there's really no comparison once you've been hooked. Longing for a more film-like tonality that I found lacking in my Nikon D800E (with that said, still a marvelous instrument) but without the hassle of developing and scanning (tried it, got frustrated), about two years ago I picked up a V mount 60 Mp IQ160 back. In addition to the 500 series bodies, I have a Flexbody which gives additional control over perspective etc. but as Erik has noted, it's a pain to work with in the field; it's basically a low-tech tech camera with no rangefinder and pretty terrible live view capability on the CCD back. This was my way of getting into full frame MFD without totally breaking the bank.

Lenses - some, but not all of the old V series glass are excellent. The lenses I've wound up keeping are:

- 40mm IF CFE (echoing Marc's comments, it renders stunning sharpness corner to corner, but it's a beast),
- 100mm Planar (superb),
- 120mm Makro-Planar (beautiful for macro work),
- 150mm and 180mm Sonnars (both excellent), and
- 350mm Tele-Tessar for additional reach/compression (literally not the sharpest tool in the shed, but better than one would surmise from reading on the internet and the prices of the 350 Superachromats are beyond nuts, if you can even find one to buy).

I recently sold my 50mm FLE - it helped me make some nice prints that are hanging on my wall, but it suffers a bit from field curvature. With the 40 IF in my kit, I recently decided to sell my SWC/M as it requires stopping down to f/16 to bring the corners into reasonable sharpness on the digital sensor. So, I'm finding myself with a versatile wide-normal-tele lens kit with a macro thrown in for good measure. More as collector's items than workhorses, I've also kept an old SWC, 60mm f/4 C and 80mm f/2.8 C, all dating back to the early 1960's, together with an assortment of film magazines.

Focus - an ongoing challenge for my 57 year-old eyes. With an Acute Matte ground glass screen the PME51 plus 2x loupe (total 6x magnification but only on center) has given me mixed results. I've now gone back to the waist-level finder (4.5x mag for the late model version). Both are corrected to my eyesight. The waist level finder is much brighter than the prism finder, gives a full view of the screen, and so far is giving me more reliable focus. I dabbled with a split/microprism screen as well. Suffice it to say that for a number of reasons I prefer the ground glass. YMMV. One obvious point worth mentioning: ensuring that the screen and mirror are properly aligned is essential. There is little tolerance for focusing errors when using a high resolution back (even stopped down) and the mirrors are known to get out of alignment with use.

Image quality - when everything falls into place, it's superb. I suppose that the magic lies in some combination of the old Zeiss lenses, the big Dalsa sensor and the Capture One raw conversion. Regarding the latter, at least in my hands the images are more "alive" and vibrant following a C1 conversion compared to ACR. However getting good results from C1 took a little practice, at least for me. My Nikon D800E (and some top-shelf Nikon and Sigma lenses) mostly sits in the closet except when I'm photographing moving subjects or need to be more mobile. Or shooting in bad light.

Ergonomics - I love the old school simplicity of the system: the camera UI consists of shutter speed, aperture and focus and I usually leave the back at base ISO and daylight white balance when shooting. By contrast I am still bewildered every time I pick up my A6000, which means that I use it infrequently, adding to my lack of familiarity with the controls when I do (but it does deliver very fine images). The downside of my MFDB kit is its bulk. I originally went digital with my old V system in anticipation of a trekking trip in Patagonia. I came back with some winners but the weight almost killed me.

Synching - almost never a problem as I typically pre-release the mirror. Otherwise a gentle release of the shutter button seems sufficient to arm the back via the little tab that sticks out of the body and into the back. For shooting on the Flexbody and SWC, the back needs to be set to "zero latency" mode (there's nothing to mechanically pre-arm the back). A PC synch cable is used at all times, of course.

Would I do it this way again, in 2016? Maybe, maybe not. I really favor the "full frame" 40 x 54 mm sensor but the cost of the XF-3100 and H6D-100 are too far beyond reason for me to consider seriously (this from someone who owns an IQ160!). I think that the size, weight and cost advantage of the new X1D (not to mention the more modern CMOS sensor) would probably tip me toward this new crop sensor Hassy were I to do this again today. If I ever go down this road I would probably just keep the IQ160 (its value is plummeting faster than the British Pound!) and continue having fun with it.

- John
 

tjv

Active member
How many versions of the 60mm V mount lens are there? If choosing the best version, is it an average, good or great lens? Trying to figure out if I should dip my toes in the water with that FOV as the only other lens I'd want is the 40mm IF, and I'm not about the jump in the deep off the bat...
 

AreBee

Member
Erik,

...very few of my MFD images made it to the wall, although I have a lot of MFD images I really like.
You have written this on several occasions, but have you considered why it is the case?

Could be important.
 
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