Hasselblad Lenses

PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2012 and ShootNYC 2012

Welcome to my PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2012 (and ShootNYC 2012) coverage. This year did not bring too many shocking changes however there are still some noteworthy products, especially from lens makers Carl Zeiss and Schneider Optics (as well as others) which highlight good trends in photography for the next few years. It also features interviews with Multistitch, Nikon, Cokin Filters, Olympus, PhaseOne, and Hasselblad (ShootNYC).

PhaseOne

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I will be doing a full and In-depth review of PhaseOne CaptureOne 7 Pro in a week or so. However, until then, Doug Peterson from Digital Transitions introduces and goes through some of the key features and improvements in C1 7 Pro.

Carl Zeiss

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At Photokina 2012, Carl Zeiss announced a number of new products, and most notably two new series of lenses for markets that that they had not previously addressed. They also announced the 135mm f/2.0 APO-Sonnar lens which is available in both ZE (Canon) and ZF.2 (Nikon) mounts. This lens had only previously been available in the CP.2 cine series of lenses and is now re-housed like the rest of their prime lens series for 35mm cameras. Next, Carl Zeiss announced (at Photokina) the production of lenses for the Sony NEX mount as well as the Fuji X mount (for the X-Pro 1 and X-E1 digital cameras). These are in fact, all metal lenses, with superior optics as well as autofocus. Carl Zeiss’s 35mm lenses (excluding designs for Sony) have all been manual focus and this is a pleasant change. It is in fact good that they are recognizing that a) not everyone wants to shoot manual focus 100% of the time and b) that manual focus is sometimes less practical on smaller format cameras. The final and most interesting new series of lenses that Carl Zeiss has announced are their new line of high resolution lenses for digital cameras. The first lens they have announced in this series is the Distagon 55mm f/1.4 ZF.2 lens (which I believe will also be available in Canon mount). This is an outstanding lens, and I look forward to it as well as the other lenses that they will produce in this series. All of these lenses are excellent and show us that serious lens manufacturers are starting to see the potential in smaller formats, and are now producing lens for them like they have in the past. To a sceptic of the smaller formats like myself, this is an interesting development (especially in sub-35mm formats) because considering the pedigree of these companies and lineage of lenses they have produced, their nod of approval can be seen to offer confirmation of the quality of these smaller cameras. Of course, it could also be a directive from the business office to boost profits, but hey I guess I am an optimist. 

I have always enjoyed the 135mm focal length when I have had chances to shoot it. I say when I have had chances to shoot it because, I have not owned a 135mm lens ever. I have eyed the Nikon, Canon (and Leica) lenses of this focal length, however have not committed to them. The Nikon 135mm f/2.0 DC AF lens is outdated and due for an update with newer lens coatings, autofocus, and overall build quality. The newer Nikon 85mm f/1.4G is superior to the 85mm f/1.4D (I still have both but thats another story) and the change between these two lenses (the 85mm f/1.4D is comparable to the 135mm since they were from the same time period) is enough to make me wait for Nikon’s updated version of this lens. Canon has had an autofocus 135mm f/2.0 lens for some time and by all accounts it is supposed to be absolutely amazing performance wise and I would have to agree. Of course these lenses have Autofocus, something that this Carl Zeiss 135mm lacks. However, the control afforded by manual focus (something which is executed excellently by Carl Zeiss) combined with the accurate focus confirmation systems of newer DSLR’s makes it a wholly usable lens, and not a significant inconvenience. The lens is built excellently (of course) and preforms very well (as you can see from the samples below taken on the Canon 5D MrkII).

My first introduction to the Carl Zeiss telephoto lenses was the 100mm Macro, which preforms excellently both optically as well as functionally with a smooth and long focus throw which is pleasant to use. This 135mm preforms very similarly in terms of its functionality and its optics are no slouch, when this optic becomes available later this year, It will definitely be coming home with me.

Carl Zeiss only offered prototypes for viewing at PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2012 showing the final designs for the lens bodies which are all metal and come with screw in metal lens hoods. These touches are very nice considering that the majority of smaller-format lenses lack these touches. The lenses also have autofocus which is a pleasant change from their manual focus lineups of lenses. I have no doubt that they will preform very well and am curious to see their performance as well as what other focal lengths they will announce in the future. These lenses are a pleasant and realistic change compared to the Carl Zeiss lenses which are provided for the Sony system which are manufactured by Sony and not Carl Zeiss. However these lenses are produced in Germany by Carl Zeiss and I have no doubt that this difference will show in their performance. I am slightly disappointed that Carl Zeiss has not announced any plans to produce lenses for Micro Four-Thirds cameras (which you would assume would be an easy thing to do considering they have developed these lenses for the NEX and X-Pro 1 systems already) but I am willing to bet (and this is 100% conjecture) that this may happen in the future.

The Carl Zeiss Distagon 55mm f/1.4 is an entirely new design produced by Carl Zeiss for newer high-megapixel 35mm cameras (specifically like the Nikon D800 and D800e) which are considerably more demanding on lenses then older smaller megapixel count sensors and cameras. The lens is exceptionally well built and has a very very nice rubber focusing ring which is silky smooth to touch and operate. One concern that I have however is that the focusing distance “screen” does not seem to be weather sealed which can be an issue when taking this lens outdoors (where you will be wanting to use it). Considering the exceptional built quality of this lens, and the fact that it is not obviously a studio lens, I am willing to be that this lens is in fact either weather sealed or will be before it ships. The staff at the booth, were not briefed about this subject and could not offer any insight into whether it was currently weather sealed or would be prior to launch.

 f/2.8

 f/1.4

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However as we can see, optically it preforms great. These sample shots were taken with my Nikon D3s and were shot at f/1.4 and f/2.8, and even on the D3s which has a lower megapixel count (then the newer D4 which I was shooting the videos with, and the D800/D800e) the excellent sharpness and overall performance of this lens can be seen.

Multistitch

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Multistitch is accessory/tool/solution for use with 4×5 cameras and digital capture. It allows for every conceivable medium format digital mount as well as 35mm cameras to be used with it (or course on different versions of the plate). The Multistitch is essentially a plate which is attached to the back of a braflok back 4×5 camera (almost every 4×5 camera) after focusing and composing and removing the ground glass focusing screen. The premise is by flipping the orientation of the digital back 4x times you can cover a larger image area (with overlap) to extend the usefulness of older digital backs (a 22mp will become approx. a 75mp effective resolution) through stitching in photoshop (or other software). The video demonstration above demonstrates this tool rather effectively, and I will be getting my hands on both the 35mm version (most likely Nikon mount) as well as the PhaseOne 645DF M-Mount versions for review since it seems to be an interesting solution for using full view-camera movements in the studio (and possibly the field?) from a 4×5 camera with digital capture technology.

 Nikon

Nikon was not terribly interesting for me this year, considering they did not announce anything of any terrible significance to me this year. They did just announce (and show for the first time) the new Nikon V2 camera, the successor to the V1, which I am only pleased with in the sense that it is good that it gets back a real grip, and some of the practical form factor of DSLR’s. I believe that the most serious small-sensored cameras are those which do not abandon the SLR / DSLR form factor. One lens that I would be interested in experiencing on this camera was the also newly announced development of a 30mm (32mm?) f/1.2 lens for the Nikon mirror less system. Mirrorless systems afford great low-light opportunities with a slew of f/1.4, f/1.2, and f/0.95 lenses which offer all sorts of creative possibilities. While in this case, this one lens does not sell a system to me, if they continue with some ultra-fast autofocus lenses, it could have some potential, however knowing the larger camera manufacturers, they live to disappoint. Micro Four-Thirds has considerably more fast lenses available which makes it a considerably more attractive system since it has a number of native f/1.8, f/1.4, f/0.95 lenses across a number of focal lengths, not to mention the ability to accept Leica M lenses (via adapters) which are generally f/2.0 or faster. Anyway they had these two mirror less products, as well as my favorite part, the ultra-telephoto section where they had all of their extreme telephoto lenses mounted on D4′s to play with. Included in these is the spectacular 800mm f/5.6 (their longest production autofocus lens) which will unquestionably be accompanying me on safari if I ever so choose to go on one.

 Olympus

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Olympus has been doing a considerably good job of late surprising me with the quality of products they are putting out. The OM-D EM-5 is the closest I have come to date to buying a Micro Four-Thirds camera. It preforms very well and has a number of very interesting and high quality lenses available for it. Olympus has made some absolutely and insanely impressive Four-Thirds lenses, which can be used on this camera (with autofocus via adapter) as well as a number of Micro Four-Thirds lenses which do not disappoint. They have released a series of high quality metal bodied lenses, which are a step up from their normal Micro Four-Thirds fare in the past which has been quite pleasing. Now, they have shown to me for the first time the outstanding new 75mm f/1.8 and 60mm  f/2.4 Macro lens which are exceptional to say the least. Unfortunately, I forgot an SD card, so you will have to believe me that these cameras and lenses offer exceptional image quality.

 

The 75mm f/1.8 is Olympus’s high-quality / fast / telephoto solution  which is a very substantial lens. It is heavy, all metal and can be felt to contain some serious glass. While it is large, it does surprisingly fit very comfortably in the hand, and on the camera when being held and is not oppressively big like a Leica Noctilux on an M9. Olympus has done a very good job of balancing the weight of this large lens with the diminutive weight of the OM-D EM-5 body. The lens offers very quick autofocus, as well as buttery smooth manual focus, which is atypical of lenses for this system, however should be expected of this ~1000 dollar beast of a lens. Bokeh is nothing short of astounding and focused areas are rendered beautifully sharp. If you plan on doing street photography, or any kind of portraits with this camera, the 75mm f/1.8 lens is THE lens to get. If I get a Micro Four-Thirds camera system, this will absolutely be one of the lenses that I buy. The lens also offers silent focusing for both still and more relevantly movie recording. (I am not sure if this lens is weather-sealed but I would assume so)

 

The 60mm f/2.4 Macro is another exceptional lens for the Micro Four-Thirds system. It is built just as excellently as the 75mm f/1.8 lens and offers the possibility of 1:1 macro photography. This lens is fully weather-sealed and features a clever autofocus control dial on the left hand side of the lens barrel. It offers close-focus, full-focus, and far-focus switches as well as a clever fourth switch which sets the lens to its closest 1:1 macro focus setting. This then allows for the user to move the camera closer and further from the subject until it is in focus. This may sound tedious or confusing, and I may have poorly described it, but it is a good feature which makes macro work easier, and certainly faster which can be essentially when photographing things like insects.

 Schneider-Kreuznach

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Schneider is currently doing the same thing as Carl Zeiss in terms of diversifying their lens portfolios. To me, Schneider is personally the finer of the two companies, considering they still make Large Format lenses etc. They also happen to make the excellent series of Leaf Shutter lenses for PhaseOne/MamiyaLeaf. At Photokina Schneider announced plans for expending their 35mm lens line from just Tilt-Shift lenses to regular lenses as well. They also announced plans for Micro Four-Thirds lenses as well (which makes sense they are part of the Micro Four-Thirds consortium). Both of these series of lenses seem to be very high quality, and I was able to get some hands on time with one of the lenses in their new 35mm line up, the 85mm Makro lens in Nikon mount. They will also be producing a normal and wide lens in this series which will be manual focus exactly like the Carl Zeiss lenses. The lenses are amazingly superbly made, and I slightly prefer them to the Carl Zeiss lenses however they are are all excellent in terms of built quality. Unfortunately they did not their Micro Four-Thirds lenses on display at PDN Photoplus. but hey they did have the iPro iPhone lens and case system, lol. 

Schneider had two new lenses that they announced at Photokina 2012 on display. They had a new 28mm f/4.5 perspective control lens in Nikon, Canon, Sony or Pentax mounts. It features 8 degrees of tilt and 12mm of shit and offers the same fully rotatable design feature like the companies other perspective control lenses. The other and more significant series of lenses they announced are a new line of standard lenses for 35mm cameras. The lens that they had on display (still a prototype) was the 85mm Makro f/2.4 Symmar lens. This series is also announced to have 50mm f/1.8 and 35mm f/1.8 variants which are very high quality lenses for DSLR’s. They offer electronic integration for control of the aperture with Nikon (and possibly Canon) mounts. As you can see from these samples, the lens is very however seems to suffer from chromatic aberration (purple/green) but this seems to be something in the coatings which will be worked out before the lenses are shipping, this I have no doubt. However as can be seen in the second shot, the lens offers very nice out of focus elements, and sharpness which are quite pleasant and this lens is a pleasant focal length to have for macro especially if you want to take advantage of it for creative portraiture at close working distances. I am pleased to see these lenses as well as the the other lenses in the series and these along with the new Zeiss lenses may compliment each other nicely for a high quality lens set.

Schneider’s Micro Four-Thirds lenses are a very good sign, because these are some high quality optics which offer autofocus and excellent built quality. There are a ton of very high quality optics which can be used on Micro Four-Thirds however many of them are not purpose built (e.g Leica lenses et al.). There are some higher quality and unique optics available for Micro Four-Thirds like those offered by Voigtlander (manual focus f/0.95 lenses) and SLR Magic’s less high-quality and more creative lens solutions. So Schneider’s lenses will be welcome additions to the line-up of high quality optics like the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 and 60mm f/2.4 and other m4/3′s lenses. Again, do not doubt that they will be excellent, and certainly if I decide to purchase a Micro Four-Thirds these will also be coming home with me.

Cokin Filters

Hidden away in a distributors both (notice I say A distributor to hide the fact that I don’t remember which one) were these new Cokin UV MCUltra-Slim screw in filters. These are absolutely categorically the thinnest filters I have ever seen. You cannot believe how thin these are and pictures do not do them justice. They will be available around January and I am very eager to get my hands on these. If when tested they do not degrade image quality in any observable way (only the worst quality filters do this of course) then they will be unquestionably going on all of my lenses (except PhaseOne but that’s a different story too). It’s always great to find these little things that do in fact make a difference, however are almost never covered by anyone and consequently never noticed, but areundeniably still gems.

 

[Vulture Camera Straps]

Shoot NYC / Hasselblad 

Hasselblad announced the H5D, and the world sighed because they also released the Lunar which we will not even honor by discussing. However the H5D, like the PhaseOne 645DF+ also launched this week with CaptureOne Pro 7. The Hasselblad H5D offers slightly changed esthetics which were partially required for the technological changes which took place. However, we can all agree that it would have looked significantly better in all black. Officially, I was told that the camera looked “too small” in all black (which was done as a prototype) to which I sardonically replied “oh god, who would want a camera to look smaller!”. It would have looked better in all black like everyone else, but oh well we can’t have everything. The user interface which has remained virtually unchanged in the H series camera since its creation has finally been giving a 21st century re-vamp. The bottoms on the digital back portion of the camera (I pause before saying digital back because if its a closed system, is it originally a back?) have been changed and now function considerably better then they did before. The GUI on the back of the camera has also been improved and is much more responsive and fluid then the previous version, although maintaining the same design it is entirely new and much better then previous versions. The camera’s weather sealing has been improved and a number of small places where water could get in have now been sealed. The CF slot door, is no longer a flip open, but must be slid back to be opened and has silicone/rubber weather. The viewfinder has now had the seam treatment (since it is removable from the body) and the contact areas between the back and the camera have also been given this treatment. The camera also runs off a battery that is 50% more powerful, since the new electronics in the camera require more power. However the new battery can also be used on previous generations of H series cameras giving them a longer lasting battery.The camera’s top controls have been rearranged. However most importantly, the back of the camera can now be scrolled through using the two wheels available to the right hand when gripping the camera. These can be used to pan through images (which is considerably more responsive and does not need time to buffer on the higher quality screen on the back) as well as to zoom in and around an image which makes shooting with the camera considerably more pleasant. These controls can also be used when accessing the menus on the back of the camera to make selections.

The firewire port has also received a bit of a revamping which could be a curse or a blessing depending on how you look at it. First the firewire port has a protective door which can be slit back (and will snap back into place when released) which is part of the weather sealing improvements on this camera. The firewire cable itself has also received some improvements. Firstly, it should be noted that any FIrewire 800 cable can still be used with the camera, however Hasselblad has

produced their own cable with a few unique features. Rather then sticking directly out of the camera, Hasselblad has introduced a Firewire cord with a 90 degree bend in it, which helps to manage wires. If this was the only reason for this unquestionably expensive Firewire cord, it would be ridiculous however, it also features a proprietary mechanism (known to us lay folk as a groove) in it, which allows for it to be locked into the camera when inserted. This means that the cord cannot be accidentally pulled from the camera during shooting. Conversely as Hasselblad acknowledged, this means if the cord is pulled, the camera is going down with
it…..So you decide for yourself if this is an improvement or a poor idea. However this new connection is quite strong, another thing which Hasselblad was eager to point out, and demonstrate by inserting the cable and then tugging on it, while smiling, nodding its head and  saying “ah yes see it is quite strong!”. However, a comment was then made that the cable could support the weight of the camera entirely. Of course, being a bit of a sado-masochist I then encouraged/berated the gentleman helping me into holding the camera by the firewire cord in the air. At first he sheepishly did it holding his hand under the camera (not supporting it). However, I now fully engaged in this experience goaded him into removing his hand. Which, to his eternal credit he did in fact do, and the camera’s weight was in fact entirely supported by the cable. So Hasselblad (a term which I have used both to describe the company and the representative helping me) gets a few points for this, but again whether it is useful or not to you is an entirely different matter.

The next time you are in the Kandahar Valley in Afghanistan standing on the precipice of a extremely high cliff creating some fine art landscape images and are ambushed by the Taliban’s crack karate team, and within the tussle, your camera is thrown off the ledge and you are only able to grab the firewire cord right before it slips over the edge and into the abyss, you can feel safe in the knowledge that the camera will be safe and remain firmly affixed to the Firewire cable. 

In all seriousness though, the camera does offer some minor improvements over the older generation of H series cameras which may make it an attractive upgrade, however not as attractive as the H4x since the H4x is in fact an open system camera (meant to appease H1, and H2 owners who were pissed about Hasselblad’s closed and proprietary H3D and H4D systems. The sensors and image quality from the H5D are exactly the same as those within the H4D series of cameras, and the changes are entirely in the body of the camera. And while I, like may others dislike Hasselblad for a (growing) number of reasons, this camera does offer some improvements to those already invested in its system.

Hasselblad also had a few other announcements for us. They have released a new macro extension tube type device, which accomplishes closer

focusing not through adding distance between sensor and lens, but by adding optical elements which decrease the size of the adapter (which is

 

pleasant) making it much more comfortable to use on the camera with almost all of the lenses to allow closer focusing. To me, simply hearing about the idea, and not commenting on its image quality and optical performance, this seems like a very good idea, since I always like to be ableto have the option to get closer to a subject (thinking like when I am using the 80mm, 100mm, or 150mm lenses etc). Hasselblad also released a 24mm f/4.8 lens. It is a 1/3 or more stop slower then the Leica (Super-Elmar-S 24mm f/3.5 ASPH) and PhaseOne (Schneider-Kreuznach 28mm f/4.5 LS D) equivalents which are going to be discussed further in my PhaseOne 28mm lens review which comments on both its namesake and these other newly released medium format ultra-wides. But anyway, the Hasselblad 24mm accepts huge 95mm filters, which is sort of an inconvenience but necessary evil for this lens. It is built and functions in the same was as all of the other Hasselblad lenses, which is to say excellently.

 

Hasselblad 300mm f/4.5 HC Lens Review

Originally published: July 3, 2011

Review of the Hasselblad 300mm f/4.5 HC lens with the PhaseOne P65+ mounted on a Hasselblad H1 and Haselblad H3Dii-39ms

The 300mm focal length is common place in 35mm DSLR’s however it is an atypical and unique lens in Medium Format Photography. 35mm DSLR’s have come to have super telephoto lenses with focal lengths of production lenses commonly reaching 800mm with a few rarities like the Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 which using the coupled teleconverter becomes a 400-1000mm f/5.6 lens which is the same speed (aperture) as Canon’s super telephoto 800mm f/5.6. Medium format on the other hand is typically used for different kinds of work where telephoto capabilities are not often needed. There are rare examples of lenses exceeding the 300mm standard for medium format camera systems. Notable examples of these are the Mamiya 500mm f/4.5 C (Manual Focus0 the Hasselblad / Ziess 300mm  f/2.8 Tele-Superachromat TPP (Tele Power Pack) and Pentax FA SMC 400mm 5.6 ED. The current surviving medium format leaders (Hasseblad and Mamiya/Leaf/PhaseOne) each have their own 300mm f/4.5 autofocus lens in the Hasselblad 300mm f/4.5 HC and Mamiya 300mm f/4.5 IF APO lenses. I have not had any experience with the Mamiya version of this focal length however I have heard that it is a very good lens. -
The Hasselblad 300mm f/4.5 HC Lens was one of the lenses that I rented along with the PhaseOne P65+ (mounted on Hasselblad H2 Body) for my spring break trip to Costa Rica from K&M Camera in NYC. This lens was the stand out for me because I found it very useful and the lens that allowed me to take the best images. The Hasselblad 300mm f/4.5 HC lens has an equivalent focal length of 182mm on a 35mm format camera. This means it is a short to medium telephoto lens by 35mm format standards however it is quite long for medium format. -
This lens is superb in every way. Contrary to my comments on about the Hasselblad H system bodies the lenses are built like tanks. They are not built on the same optical level as a Leica lens, however they are superb and built to last. They are all metal and very heavy. You know that your holding a serious lens when you hold it. When I used the 300mm lens I had absolutely no complaints about it. For the shots I will showcase below they were all taken on a tripod. It is possible to utilize this lens off of a tripod, it will have to be done at fast shutter speeds. However as with any lens in the telephoto category it can be better utilized from a stabilization device like a tripod or monopod. This lens is sturdy and it is absolutely everything that you expect from a lens of this calibre.
The following are two of my favorite pictures from this trip and they were both taken with this lens. They were both taken on the Hasselbald H2 with a PhaseOne P65+ digital back which was rented from K&M Camera in NYC for the time that I was away. I used this lens mounted to my Gitzo Series 5 carbon fiber tripod.

1. THE LIZARD

While not a particularly dangerous journey to get to Gaunacaste National Park, it did take a lot of time and multiple forms of transportation. First we woke up early and left the hotel with a driver for a multiple hour journey to the national park. Then to get to where this particular picture was taken involved a riverboat. Now the boat and driver were both private so it wasn’t an uncomfortable journey by any sense of the imagination but it was a long one. This picture was taken from the boat. I had set up my Gitzo 5 series tripod on the deck of the boat and left the 300mm lens attached. At certain times I took the Hasselblad H2 and PhaseOne off of of the lens (which was still mounted to the tripod) to use it with other lenses like the Hasselblad HC 120mm f/4  macro lens. I had the Luxury of also having my Hasselblad H3Dii-39ms which worked with the Hasselblad HCD 35-90 f/4.0-5.6 zoom lens allowing me to use the PhaseOne P65+ digital back with the 300mm telephoto lens. When I saw this shot, I knew it would be good, or at least I hopped it would. The original picture looked like this:

Black Spiny Tail Iguana (Ctenosaura similis) taken with the PhaseOne P65+ and Hasselblad H1 with Hasselblad 300mm f/4.5 HC lens Original un-cropped image

Here is where the magic of the PhaseOne P65+ comes into play. This digital back of course has a 60mp sensor which up until very recently was the largest in the world (Leaf and

PhaseOne have recently started producing 80mp digital backs). It’s versatility can be greatly appreciated with this photograph. The 300mm lens first allowed me to get this close to the Iguana. However it was not nearly close enough to make a powerful image. If I had been using a lesser camera this would not have been possible. By lesser camera I mean one with a lower mega-pixel count. Even if I had used my Hasselblad H3dii-39ms digital back I would not have been able to create the crop required to make this a powerful image. I had to create approximately a 275% crop to make the final image that you see above. The end result yielded me an image with roughly 15mp theoretically. However since this was taken with an almost full frame medium format camera the detail and color renditions far exceed that of a simple 15mp 35mm DSLR. Initially when I had sat down to edit these images I was disappointed by the lackluster appearance, however I soon realized the versatility that a 60mp file gives you. Of course, Ideally it would’ve been ideal to frame the image the way i had wanted it without a crop, but this wasn’t an option. This is where the versatility of the PhaseOne can be appreciated. If the final image had been framed and taken sans cropping in post it would have yielded an unbelievably detailed result. That said the end result that was created is still very sharp and with great detail. When i had this image printed at 40×24 inches I was amazed at how great it still was even though it was a very heavily cropped image. I should also mention that I used Perfect Resize 7 (formerly genuine fractals) to increase the size of the image to allow me to be able to print it at 40×24 inches. I was also very impressed by this softwares ability to do this. I had heart great things about its abilities however I had never experienced them mostly because I had never really had a reason to use it for anything. Once I was home and I was looking at this image I knew I would finally have an opportunity to justify purchasing this software. Thanks to the wonders of the internet this process was completed in under 30 minutes and I had the full capability of this software at my disposal. Anyway the software worked perfectly and allowed me to resize the image so that I could have it printed large. This was the way that I knew I wanted to showcase this image. All of the stars were in alignment technologically in this image. I had the right camera equipment and and the right post processing abilities to yield a very good result. It all started with the Hasselblad 300mm f/4.5 HC lens. Everything else would not have been possible if I had not had the longer telephoto length of this lens. Using any of the other lenses that I had had with me in Costa Rica whether it was my 80mm f/2.8 lens or the rented 120mm f/4 macro or the 35-90mm f/4.0-5.6  this shot would not have been possible. Even with the amazing versatility that the PhaseOne P65+ allows and the wonders of modern digital imaging processing any of these other tools would not have allowed me to be able yield a result anything near what this lens let me. This is the final printed image:

40x24" Print of the crop of the Spiny Tail Iguana from Miller Photographic taken using the Hasselblad H1 camera body with the PhaseOne P65+ and Hasselblad 300mm f/4.5 HC

The final print of this image was done by Miller Photographic. I have used them for a couple of years now and they have been very good and consistent in their results. When they have made mistakes they have quickly fixed them. Although this may be something peculiar to me, It is very difficult for me to have a print on regular paper and not bend or dent it in some way. For this reason the finishing options that Miller’s offers have given me the ability to make this a non issues. They offer a number of different finishing options ranging from foam to harder materials like styrene. The latter is the option that I choose for most of my images. It is strong and firm and easy to carry without the risk of bending or ripping in any way. First I ordered  two prints one from Photoshop’s internal resizing software and one from Perfect Resize 7′s processing of the enlargement. I had ordered them as simple paper prints figuring that the one I didn’t like I could throw away while I would still have one I liked to keep and then order a final one that I would mount on styrene. However when they came they were both oddly bent and one of them had a rather significant tear in the upper right hand corner of it. I called Millers Photographic and they were very helpful and gave me a refund no questions asked and I was able to re-order the print that I liked which was the styrene version mounted. This shows that you get what you pay for from a professional photographic printing service. This print is perfect in every way and I could not be happier with it. After minimal other post processing like simple sharpening and levels work this image was ready to print. It again shows that you get what you pay for in terms of a digital back. The dynamic range and other technical attributes of the large medium format digital sensor are astounding and the advantages are clearly visible in this image.

2. WAVES

This image was something completely different for me because I usually do not do long exposure photography. That said this image was only 4 seconds, but it is significantly longer then any other image that I have taken and have liked. This image was also taken at a smaller aperture then any other image I have produced. All and all it came out very well and better then I thought it would. Long exposures are not the PhaseOne P65+’s forte, however it was fully capable of producing low noise results for this long exposure. This image is another one of my favorites form this trip.

This picture is opposite to the lizard picture in almost every way. Opposite to the Lizard picture (shown above) this is a full quality image with no cropping in post. Also opposite to the Lizard image, this image was shot at f/45.0 instead of f/4.5. Here you can appreciate the optical quality of this lens. Although not apparent in the Lizard picture since it is cropped, even though it was shot wide open there was no vignetting and here at the smallest aperture there is no vignetting. I cannot comment on lens diffraction at this small aperture because this image was designed to inherently be blurry although I’m sure it would’ve preformed admirably. This image looks even better in person. Once it was printed by Miller Photographic, the colors of it can be really appreciated. This image was printed very large as a 30×40 print and it looks absolutely amazing. The thing to take away from this image about the PhaseOne P65+ digital back is that is dynamic range exceeds comprehension, just like its megapixel count.

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The 300mm focal length has become one of my favorites for medium format. I am not completely able to articulate why I think this focal length and this lens are especially good. Some of it comes from intimately using the lens and understanding what it can do in certain situations. This lens handles well and does everything that I would expect it to and more. I preforms well in many conditions. The Hasselblad website says that his lens is applicable for certain Nature and Sports applications. As the Lizard image illustrates in sufficient lighting conditions this lens can preform very well. The autofocus is as fast as you can expect for medium format. Especially in bright lighting conditions it is capable of locking focus very quickly and getting razor sharp results. Certain sports applications might be a stretch because it can’t be used for any of the most popular televised sports because they move to quickly. Something like tennis or golf where there are times that the players are posed might be a time it could be used however why wouldn’t you just use a 35mm system that has a higher FPS then the approximate 1fps that the PhaseOne P65+ has. Despite its obvious inadequacies for fast paced sports it is a very capable lens for its intended applications. Overall I am very pleased with this lens and although I do not plan on continuing with the Hasselblad H system, I do plan on continuing with the 300mm focal length for medium format photography.