Following on from the previous post on my recent acquisition of a medium format digital system, I thought it’d be appropriate to share some of the results from the first serious shoot I used it for a little while back. I found that the system was much more sensitive to camera shake than expected; mirror lockup was an absolute necessity, though the Gitzo GT1542 carbon traveller and Arca-Swiss P0 head both performed very well and offered more than sufficient rigidity. (In hindsight, I should probably have bought the cup feet for the tripod to prevent it sinking into the mud though.) Though you can’t see it at this size, the frames with mirror lockup are distinctly crisper at the pixel level than those without.
All of the images were shot with the Hasselblad CFV-39 digital back on a 501CM with the 50/4 CF FLE and 150/4 CF lenses; almost all of them were long exposures, either during the dawn/dusk hours, or during daytime with the aid of a home-made variable ND filter*. This was to smooth out sea, or let me experiment with shooting the 150mm wide open even during bright daylight. Overall though, I’m pleased with the results from this outing; what you’re probably missing in the web-size jpegs is full accuracy of colour – yes, the sunsets out there were really that magenta. It’s very obvious on the monitor, and even more obvious in a print – I suppose those two extra bits of color do make a visible difference. I’ll need to be a bit more careful with exposure in the future, though – the LCD is completely useless for review in bright sunlight, and even when you can see it properly, it really doesn’t give any indication of the relative brightness of the image. Best to rely on the histogram; it seems that due to the lack of microlenses, the back is also about half to two thirds of a stop less sensitive than its rated ISO. In any case, enjoy the images, and if you’d like to see any of these in a future print run, please let me know in the comments MT
*I wanted to buy one, but all of the available options were both very expensive and not multicoated; in the end I discovered that two Carl Zeiss circular polarizers put back to front worked just as well, and were of course flare-free thanks to T* coatings on both sides. A 62-62mm male-male reverser ring off ebay later, and I’ve now got a two to approximately 12 stop variable ND. It does get darker, but anything above 12 stops seems to have a deep blue color cast – I suppose this has something to do with the physics of which wavelengths attenuate first upon polarization. But I can highly recommend this solution if you can find the right adaptor ring; it’s cheaper and better than the other available alternatives. No idea how it affects AF systems, though.
Enter the 2013 Maybank Photo Awards here – there’s US$35,000 worth of prizes up for grabs, it’s open to all ASEAN residents, and I’m the head judge! Entries close 31 October 2013.
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