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Thread: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Thought I'd start a thread about my experiences going mf digital. Feel free to join in with your own experiences, any suggestions, comments, advice.

    So I bought this H3dii/39 and four lenses (see http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19659). Printed out the manual. Read some of it. Took a few test images and went through some of the menus. Then took it out for the first time as second shooter for a wedding. Canon 5dmk2 was main camera.

    Well, I can say with certainty that mf digital is a lot like sex. You can read the manual, but it's not the same as when you go out there and do it!

    First thing I noticed Hassie gets heavy quickly if not on monopod or tripod. That's not a problem in the studio, but it is if you have to hand hold. (I had the Canon over one shoulder and Hassie on the other.) It's a lot heavier with the 100mm than my old Bronica 645 with 250mm. A lot more like my old RB67, but with batteries, menus, and a thousand options. I know it's not designed for handholding, but this was a nice opportunity to play....and get paid for it.

    Second thing I noticed was I totally forgot how to delete the last image taken. lol. Gotta go back and read the manual again.

    Old rule is if using, say, 100mm lens, you shouldn't handhold at less than 1/100th sec. That's a lot harder to do with this camera. I think I turned the wrong wheel a few times and took a few frames at 1/45th sec. and even 1/20th sec. That doesn't work. lol.

    The rubber eye cup on the Hassie is not meant for use when carrying over your shoulder. Get's knocked off all the time. But it does fit nicely into your pocket for safe keeping.

    Speaking of over your shoulder, I couldn't figure out how to get the neck strap on the camera. I needed to have the strap because, hey, I'm getting paid to bring back some wedding images and needed the Canon too. But as messy as my strap was, while totting the Hassie around, no one at the wedding came up to me and showed me their Canon Rebel and said they are using the same camera as me and there were over 250 people at the reception.

    I took a very few images with the 35mm and it's a chubby lens. Don't know what else to call it. Used the 100mm most of the time.

    It's easy to forget what you have the white balance set to. Sometimes I dialed in my guess using the Kelvin settings, sometimes I did the Cloudy, Shade, Flash, etc. settings. Sometimes I forgot to change it. Got a some nice blue tints I didn't mean to get. lol

    As my Daddy always said, the right tool for the right job. For formals and semi-formals, images we took at the NJ version of a castle, for the group of Civil War re-enactors I ask to form an arch with their swords for the bridal couple, the Hassie is the right tool. But maybe my favorite image of the day was taken with the Canon at iso 5000 outside late at night in the parking lot of the reception venue just propped against a sign in the driveway for support. For that, Hasselblad is obviously overmatched.

    Can't decide whether I like metal lens hoods. Not sure I care if metal or plastic. But metal is cool.

    Camera bag that says Hasselblad on it is nice. I covered it with blue painters tape right away. Hasselblad = steal me......if they know what a Hasselblad is.

    Didn't use strobe at all. Thought my friend, the primary wedding shooter, was going to put up a studio strobe or two to light the background at the reception, but he didn't.

    So first impression using the Hassie is it's a bit like driving in England or Japan or India for the first time. You have to remember to keep left. After awhile it becomes natural. Need to use the Hassie more to feel comfortable. It will take a few outings to get in full command of the controls. That's harder to do out of the studio when you have to move quickly.

    I had downloaded Phocus, but didn't look at the manual. So copied images onto computer to have a copy if I screwed something up and looked at Phocus. Personally, I HATE learning new software. Anyway, figured out how to import and export so I had some tiffs to look at. The rest will have to wait.

    First thing I did was look at the images I screwed up and figured out why. Slow shutter speed, sometimes that with too large f-stop. Need to get use to seeing the info in the camera better. Then I looked for an image or two that were about the same taken with the Hassie h3dii-39 and the Canon 5dkmk2. Found a couple and put them side by side. Found one taken at iso 400 with Hassie that was about the same as one taken with 5dmk2 at iso 500. Detail of the Hasselblad image was strikingly better. I'll have fun testing at iso 800. Then testing after running Noiseware on images.

    Have a few family sessions out of the studio coming up and hope to get up to speed. Can't afford to make toooo many mistakes. But you don't get better without make some mistakes. Just best if client doesn't know.
    Last edited by David Schneider; 4th October 2010 at 19:46.

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Thanks for sharing.

    Depending where in NJ you are, I might "sacrifice" myself and pose for you .

    As I am looking to get back in the MF, I would like to see how the new H system works.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Valentin,

    I'm in Trevose, PA about once a month for GPPDV meeting (www.gppdv.com for schedule). I can always get there early or stay later after meeting, depending.

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    Have a few family sessions out of the studio coming up and hope to get up to speed. Can't afford to make toooo many mistakes. But you don't get better without make some mistakes. Just best if client doesn't know.
    Nothing wrong with getting ready beforehand, using simple inanimated objects



    And yeah, handholding, while tempting, is kinda problematic at start, but then in no time you will have new buldging muscles to show off

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    No joke, but I have a stuffed monkey in the studio I've used for lighting. It looks like Curious George. Little kids get mad because I don't let them play with it. It MY monkey. lol.

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    Valentin,

    I'm in Trevose, PA about once a month for GPPDV meeting (www.gppdv.com for schedule). I can always get there early or stay later after meeting, depending.
    I've been to a couple of their meetings (last one was with Yervant). I was debating going to the one with Jerry. If I decide to go, I will definitely let you know and if it's not too much trouble, maybe spend a little time to show me your gear.

    Thanks,
    Valentin

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Hi,

    Reading about your "adventures" is interesting to me, I'm not even a newbie, just considering to become one. (see other thread).

    You have a 5D mkii and can make the comparison, but you seem to spend only one little line in your page-long story about image quality.

    Let IQ be the one and only reason I consider the switch.
    Can you comment further on the real (or percieved) IQ differences of printed images.

    I'm not asking to show us comparative stuff here on the internet, but what are your first impressions? (at ISO <400)

    Thanks
    Paul

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    Member Stan Lawrence's Avatar
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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    No joke, but I have a stuffed monkey in the studio I've used for lighting. It looks like Curious George. Little kids get mad because I don't let them play with it. It MY monkey. lol.
    As long as the monkey isn't on your back.... thanks for the info, I'm guessing I'll be going through the same learning curve when my 645 arrives. Gave back the RZ today, should have the 645 by next week. A few test sessions to be sure. It comes with an 80, I'll have to decide which other lenses I need. Enjoy the Hassie.....

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Hi David,

    Practice makes perfect!

    Try exploring the profiles function in the camera. This allows you to set upto eight different camera profiles so you can switch between a variety of camera settings just by loading a profile.

    So working quickly it makes swapping different camera settings much easier.

    Think about profiles for different environments, different equipment (on camera flash), different lenses... Ie shutter priority no lower than 1/100s when using the 100mm for example.

    Have an 'action' profile for when something spontaneous happens.... And so on!

    Enjoy the learning curve!

    David

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    David, as I said in my PM, a wedding shoot is sort of a pressure cooker environment to be cutting your teeth on with a new MFD camera ...

    Your camera was once my camera ... so I can share a few tips and tricks ... and specifically help with how to better shoot weddings and events or portrait sessions with one. I'll outline them here, but you may actually have to read the manual to set them up

    Weight: yep, these cameras weigh more than a Canon 5D. However, I found it no worse than a Nikon D3X or Canon 1DsMK-II with a 24-70.

    I use a heavy duty, 2" wide ProMaster "bouncy" strap with quick release snaps (to remove it during studio work). The elastic nature of this strap acts like a shock absorber to reduce the effects of carrying weight over extended shooting times. The one I use is medium grey, and matches the camera cosmetically.

    In addition, it is essential to get a hand strap to reduce fatigue. This is the single best way to do that, AND it helps steady your hand-held shots. I use ones from Camadapter. http://www.camdapter.com/products.html Specifically, I use one in tandem with their Plus Arca adapter Quick release plate which has two strap lugs so you can have a hand strap AND shoulder strap at the same time. The camera then hangs sideways. All of my tripod and monopod mounts use Arca type Quick release .... so the camera can easily be mounted and unmounted during hectic wedding and environmental portrait shoots.

    White Balance: Shooting in the ever changing color temp environments found at weddings is a challenge for any camera ... but more so for one that doesn't even offer Auto WB ... which as you probably know isn't really that accurate on any camera anyway. Trying to set the Kelvin without a color meter is a crap shoot when working fast.

    The solution with your camera is quite simple. You can assign most any user button to fire a Manual WB shot. This is done using the grip menu. Once set, it will stay that way until you change it again. How it works is the fastest Manual WB function I've used to date. I have mine set to fire when the stop down button on the front of the grip is pressed. Press the button, the camera fires a WB calibration shot immediately. No menu scrolling etc. Press, it shoots and sets the WB.


    Hand Held Shutter Speeds: Yep, one has to watch one's shutter speeds and hand held technique with any MF camera. The more resolution the DB, the more this becomes apparent.

    In addition to the hand-strap, you can set a mirror delay function on your camera. This is done in increments of milliseconds, but helps mitigate the effects of mirror slap.
    It can add up to a stop in shutter speed if done right. On a monopod or tripod, I use the mirror-up button on the front of the grip to shoot groups once composed. Because all HC lenses are leaf shutters, there is little to no shutter vibration at any shutter speed.

    Monopod: The trick with Monopods is the head you choose.

    I've tried most of them out there and finally found the answer to my needs. Really Right Stuff now makes a High Capacity Mono Pod head that is quick and very secure. It moves the camera from landscape to portrait orientation in seconds ... no removing the camera like with an L plate. http://reallyrightstuff.com/tripods/04.html

    As David has already pointed out, lots of choices can be set up with different user profiles. But it's nice to know a few specific answers as it relates to what you tend to shoot.

    -Marc

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentin View Post
    I've been to a couple of their meetings (last one was with Yervant). I was debating going to the one with Jerry. If I decide to go, I will definitely let you know and if it's not too much trouble, maybe spend a little time to show me your gear.

    Thanks,
    Valentin
    I think that's a 9-5pm meeting so we could go out for lunch or after the meeting. Chances are excellent I'll go.

    If you go, see if they'll credit you some or all of Yervant because if you go to Jerry, that's the same money as paying for a year's worth of dues.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post

    You have a 5D mkii and can make the comparison, but you seem to spend only one little line in your page-long story about image quality.


    I'm not asking to show us comparative stuff here on the internet, but what are your first impressions? (at ISO <400)
    Paul,

    I found a couple of examples comparing 5dmk2 to h3dii/39. Now these are real world examples, not a formal test. I'll post them when I have a chance.

    But quality, wow, that's a tough one. Certainly outdoors in reasonable light the mf is a step up in quality. That quality may not be seen in an 11x14 print though. (Haven't gotten near running that test.) But when sun sets, need though high iso's, not using flash, I don't think you can compare any mf out there to what you're going to bring back with a dslr that can go 3,200 or 4,000 or 6,400 ISO.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    David,

    Would have probably had better results if I didn't have to switch systems. After all, I was being paid to bring back some wedding images not test my gear. Fortunately, main photographer is a good friend of mine and he's photographing my daughter's wedding this Jan. 1st. (I know him, he'd lose control if I told him to use the H3dii/39; he'll do find with his Canon 5dmk2.) But it is kind of a fun learning curve!

    I'll look into the profiles, sounds like a good idea, but first have to figure out how to delete an image as soon as it comes up on the lcd. lol. First things first. I think I'll be a newbie for sometime to come.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Marc,

    Good stuff, man!! I'm sure your words of wisdom will help more than just little ole me.

    I was concerned about steadying the h3dii/39 without monopod so I attached my fairly ancient hand/table/tripod thingie. I don't know the technical term, it just the little legs that pop out of the handle and the whole thing screws into to tripod thread. I used it as a handle to help steady myself, sometimes put the legs right against my chest to steady it, and sometimes found a friendly wall to put legs against. I'm thinking it's over 30 years old and still a helpful tool if I'm not using tripod or monopod. Maybe I got it at Spiratone in NYC. Remember Spiratone?

    I did go looking for that mirror delay, but couldn't find it. I'll take another look. Have to say, there's something satisfying about that big mirror slap!!!! It can sure turn a few heads in a crowd. Preacher is doing his thing and all of a sudden there's me knocking off an image with the Hasselblad. lol. Not exactly Leica quiet. From what I've seen with the Canon 5d series, that body is so light that there's some mirror effect even on camera stand. I did a little, quickie test and images are generally sharper when mirror gets locked up. Hasselblad may have better dampening, but it's a fine sounding mirror slam. lol.

    Oh, I do miss the ratchet sound my thumb film advance made on my old Bronica hand grip. But the Hassie mirror makes up for it! Just can be a scary noise if you are at slow shutter speed. Yes, I will read the manual.

    Seems there are several ways to set WB. Hey, I have to learn them one at a time! With Hasselblad you do have to remember to change them. For weddings, I'm a fan of auto WB because I know darn well there will come a point when I forget to change the wb setting when moving from indoors to outside or sun to cool shade and the rest of the images will look weird. And honestly, in studio I keep things set at 5,200K and if I take, for example, a senior outside the studio, I leave it on 5,200K and batch adjust later. Just safer for me. But need to understand the Hasselblad options and pick and choose what works for me. Could be fun. Have to learn your method. Sounds beautiful.

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    hmm.. 5200 is a tad too low unless you like to shoot everyone pale 5600-6000k is a bit more warm toned.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    [QUOTE=PaulD;251563]
    Quote Originally Posted by SergeiR View Post
    hmm.. 5200 is a tad too low unless you like to shoot everyone pale 5600-6000k is a bit more warm toned.
    I'm far from a lighting guru, but with my Photogenics 1250dr's and my Larson boxes it works well. That said, I often run a skin softening filter with a touch of warmth, but with a mask so I make sure it doesn't warm up the background or change a dress color. Imagenomic Portraiture filter usually just keeps to skin tones, but it can do a nice job of getting the wrinkles out of my muslin backgrounds too.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Had a little time to compare images taken with H3DII/39 and Canon 5dMK2 from wedding. Very, very unscientific comparison and results are pretty much as expected. See if I can figure out how to post images here.
    Attachment 36270

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    Attachment 36277

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    In my continuing saga of learning mfd, I've run to a dof problem I didn't expect. I thought I'd have to open up a couple of stops to get the same dof as dslr and I understand the shallow dof of longer lenses, but I shot my daughter (test of her wedding dress, etc. in studio in Dec.) with 210mm at f11 and one eye is in focus and the other is not. Here's uncropped, cropped, and each eye.

    So question is, is it possible for dof to be that narrow at f11 with 210mm or is there something else happening I can't figure out?
    Attachment 40235

    Attachment 40236

    Attachment 40237

    Attachment 40238

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Yes, it is. I sometimes wonder where my DoF went. It has gotten worse with the H4D60, which is actually why I got it. I love the shallow DoF look.

    In this case it seems you were at the closest focussing distance and her right eye is obviously further away. This is a recipe for having virtually no apparent DoF.

    BTW, in most but the largest prints it will not be that apparent as it is on screen at 100%.

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Yup. Stop shooting with 250mm lens Check DOF charts, man It helps to realize how narrow it is with MF, and how far you should be with 250mm to have something like 50cm for good headshot.

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    In my continuing saga of learning mfd, I've run to a dof problem I didn't expect. I thought I'd have to open up a couple of stops to get the same dof as dslr and I understand the shallow dof of longer lenses, but I shot my daughter (test of her wedding dress, etc. in studio in Dec.) with 210mm at f11 and one eye is in focus and the other is not. Here's uncropped, cropped, and each eye.

    So question is, is it possible for dof to be that narrow at f11 with 210mm or is there something else happening I can't figure out?
    Attachment 40235

    Attachment 40236

    Attachment 40237

    Attachment 40238
    If you used AF I'd bet that the camera AFed on the veil in front of her face, not her forward eye ... at f/11 shot that close with a 210, the forward eye would be with-in the DOF tolerance but the back one probably not.

    How do I suspect this ... because I've done it myself one too many times ... LOL!

    When they are wearing a veil I now tend to manually focus.

    -Marc

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    I honestly had looked at dof charts before I first used the 210mm, but I think Dustbak hit on my problem. I was closer to subject than I thought, probably at closest focusing distance. If I was back just half an arm's length dof would have been about 50% more and both eyes would have been sharp. I think I looked at dof charts at 10 feet (3m), but not under that. Man, I got the warning about the mfd dof, but I guess I just had to see for myself how paper thin it can really be.

    Also explains why I didn't have the same problem at f8 that I did at f11. I was back farther.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    When they are wearing a veil I now tend to manually focus.
    Marc,

    I'm sure I was using auto focus. Sounds like good advise. I'm thinking more about getting that BrightScreen split horizontal focusing screen!
    Last edited by David Schneider; 10th February 2011 at 16:20.

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Speaking of dof charts, I've always used www.dofmaster.com, but there are no Hasselblad digital cameras there. (Surprised to see Pentax 645D there though.) What camera would give me the closed actual dof field numbers? I'm using H3D2-39.

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    Speaking of dof charts, I've always used www.dofmaster.com, but there are no Hasselblad digital cameras there. (Surprised to see Pentax 645D there though.) What camera would give me the closed actual dof field numbers? I'm using H3D2-39.
    For DoF calculations, try "Barnack": http://www.stegmann.dk/mikkel/barnack/

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    Speaking of dof charts, I've always used www.dofmaster.com, but there are no Hasselblad digital cameras there. (Surprised to see Pentax 645D there though.) What camera would give me the closed actual dof field numbers? I'm using H3D2-39.
    Doesnt matter - you can just pick up any 645 camera. DOF isnt really changing with crop factor for same focal lengths, only "scale" is. I mean you still get some wobble b/c 645 is a bit different, but it wont be anything major.

    Whats more fun is to select lens.. I just looked at chart this morning and found that RZ's 50mm lenses got two different bloody angles.. ULD version is like 4 degrees wider than non ULD.. despite being "about same"

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    Re: Misadventures of a Digital MF Newbie

    DoF charts give so-called 'acceptable sharpness' I also have a strong feeling that the term acceptable sharpness needs to be redefined since we use monitors at 100%.

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