Benched, and a very regretful garage sale

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In October last year I was in an accident that landed up pulling some ligaments and tearing a couple of discs in my lower back. The doctors say these things are supposed to heal by themselves over time, but a) it could be a long time and b) there’s always the possibility it won’t go back to how it was before. I was also told that prolonged heavy lifting of the photographic sort was most definitely out for the next year at least. I hoped to be stubborn enough to ride it out and go back to normal, but given three months later I’m still on Arcoxia twice a day, things are not looking good. I’m mobile enough to do most of what I usually do, but 20kg gear days are over for me.

It is with great sadness therefore that I have come to the conclusion it no longer makes sense for me to keep the Hasselblad H system since it’s physically impossible for me to shoot with it for more than an hour without serious pain. (Fortunately, I still have a full X system). It’s just too expensive an asset to keep idly depreciating.

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As is usual with these things, my loss is your gain, and what is probably going to be a once in a lifetime chance for the right buyer. The following items are available, and I would much prefer to sell them as a set (or at least the camera body and a few of the lenses first). Multiple items can be bundled and discounted, please (email me). The condition of everything is nearly new, or as new, and fully functional. I have boxes for everything but the H6D-100c (left that in Sweden as there was no space in luggage to bring it back when I collected the camera). I am the first owner. Bonus: all equipment has the benefit of being best-of-sample selected at HQ and lenses were adjusted to match perfectly to the camera with AF being spot on wide open.

Prices are in US Dollars and are reflective of item condition and general market conditions. Payment is via bank wire only above $5,000, or Paypal or bank wire below that. Shipping and insurance to be arranged once we figure out what’s going where; I have corporate rates on both. Please email me to buy, if you have questions or would like additional images of anything.

    1. Hasselblad H6D-100c body with a bunch of expensive extras: focusing screen with 16:9, 2.4:1 and square crop marks (installed); plain focusing screen; 6 original batteries total; additional charger; Markins L bracket; 64GB CFAST card; all cables etc (just no box). This is the same camera that was used in my Thaipusam and Koenigsegg BTS videos. Shutter count is approximately 6,500. Total current value of this is somewhere in the region of $35,000 new.- Sold
    2. Hasselblad HCD 35-90/4-5.6 orange dot – Sold
    3. Hasselblad H Extension tubes 13, 26 – Sold
    4. Hasselblad V-H (CF) adaptor and extra PC sync cable – Sold
    5. Hasselblad HCD 24/4.8 – Sold
    6. Hasselblad HC 100/2.2 – Sold
    7. Hasselblad HC 150/3.2 N orange dot – sold
    8. Hasselblad HTS 1.5x – sold
    9. Hasselblad HC 1.7x TC – sold

Thanks! MT

**Don’t-know-if-you-don’t-try-super-super-long-shot: trade all for an E39 BMW M5, in Malaysia.

Moving on

The short: I have elected not to renew my contract with Hasselblad/ DJI, which ended on 30 September 2018.

The long: the reasons for my departure are myriad. They mainly come down to a) increasing time demands of my watchmaking venture and family, and b) a difference between the company’s intentions for my role and where I believe I can add value/ what I feel passionate about.

I have spent the better part of the last few years fighting for things users want, need and find useful (thank me for electronic shutters, fast lenses and drone color later). But it’s been met mostly with internal resistance and a daily assortment of complaints, blames, demands and such from the user community. Worse, many insinuate that I am personally responsible for whatever grievance that individual has – which almost always could not be further from the truth. Some even get threatening. Bottom line: it isn’t worth my time or stress levels anymore.

However, I continue to remain in the Hasselblad family as an owner and user, as I believe the product still delivers the best image quality I’ve seen to date. A lot of the right roadmap was put into plan over the last two years (which you’ve already seen some of), and hopefully we’ll all get to see the rest of it.

Practically, this means I will of course no longer be representing either Hasselblad or DJI. For enquiries and service/ support going forward, please contact customersupport@hasselblad.com. My @hasselblad.com address is no longer active as of today.

In any case, I suppose it was a fun ride while it lasted – nearly three years since first signing as an ambassador at the start of 2016 – and there have been some truly memorable moments in my career that wouldn’t have happened without it.

One last thing: unsurprisingly, I have quite a number of cameras here, some of which I will be letting go of. Currently available:

  1. H5D-50c wifi body and back, complete (overhauled in March, including a new sensor), condition excellent, including extra battery; US$5,900 inc. Paypal, shipped via DHL or best offer On hold pending funds
  2. HC 50/3.5 II, as new, complete, US$2,200 ($5,150 new) inc. Paypal, shipped via DHL Sold

Please email me if interested.

Drone diaries: slices of green (more from the Mavic 2 Pro)

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In my previous post I posted a flight report/review/extended test of the new 2018 DJI Mavic 2 Pro, with 1″ Hasselblad L1D-20c camera module. As promised, today’s post contains additional images I shot around Malaysia during the testing and calibration period – and yes, there’s a forest in there. I see a new project (or rather an extension of an old one, with previously inaccessible perspectives) emerging… Enjoy! MT

Shot with the Mavic 2 Pro and processed with PS Workflow III.

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Drone diaries: the 2018 DJI Mavic 2 Pro review

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I’ve been flying the Mavic 2 Pro (Hasselblad version, of course) for nearly two months now – both for color/tonality tuning and flight testing. Yesterday, DJI announced two versions in an update to the highly successful original Mavic (which is what I’d been flying up to this point). The Mavic 2 Pro carries a 1″ sensor camera, 28mm-e f2.8 lens, and Hasselblad imaging pipeline; that camera module is designated as a Hasselblad L1D-20c. The second bird is a Mavic 2 Zoom, which carries a 2x 24-48mm-e zoom on a 1/2.3″ sensor. Everything across the board is significantly improved – we’ll go into the details after the jump. In short: it’s a Phantom 4 Pro in a Mavic’s clothes.

Disclosure notes: I work for Hasselblad/DJI, I was involved with the development of the Mavic 2 Pro, and this report was made on the basis of my experience with prototypes at various stages of development. Small image thumbnails are clickable for larger versions, and there are full sized samples where noted.

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Photoessay: Convergent shadows

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This set is a delayed curation that I wasn’t aware existed: a year had to pass and the other curations removed for it to reveal itself. As usual, there are elements and geometries we see subconsciously that do not always make themselves known until you look; yet we find ourselves executing somewhat on autopilot and our unconscious minds extracting repeating patterns. Perhaps it was the light, perhaps it was the urban wimmelbild elements, or perhaps the combined tension created by the presence of both – very hard shadows defining solid zones within the image, offset by colourful messes outside. One parting thought: how much of a final curation is the result of the initial (and probably most strongly felt) one – plus a desire not to repeat the use of images? Food for thought…MT

This series was shot in Istanbul with a Hasselblad H6D-100c, 50, 100 and 150mm lenses, and post processed with Photoshop and LR Workflow III. Get more out of your voyages with T1: Travel Photography.

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Thoughts on portraiture

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I have never been a portrait shooter – and as much as I find satisfaction (the reasons why we will discuss in due course) in a well-executed portrait, I don’t think it will ever be the mainstay of my photographic repertoire. The reason is both simple and complex: a portrait is not a photograph of the physical person – it’s a visual representation of your relationship with that person. A sort of mirror, if you will; even though all subjects reflect light and thus the environment to some degree, there are more and less reflective ones. Highly polished objects can land up being entirely representations of their surroundings only, with the merest interference of interpretation; one of the tenets I live by in watch/jewellery photography has always been ‘light for the reflection’. That’s not really relevant to portraiture, or is it?

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On-assignment photoessay: the face of construction

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Over the course of the last few years, I’ve had the chance to shoot quite a number of contextual portraits of the people behind construction – some I’ve presented previously, and thus are not shown here. Almost all of the images in this set are new, and the result of a much larger curation project I’ve been meaning to do for some time. Even as extensive as a single shoot for this client tends to be – thousands of images over a week or so – the subject matter and light conditions are so diverse that you seldom have a chance to shoot a thematically and visually consistent sequence; thus the only way to make a project like this work is over a longer period of time. It also ties in nicely with some monochrome portrait experiments I’ve been doing over the last couple of months. Interestingly, the main challenge with this body of work overall was not opportunity, but the fact that construction workers in Hong Kong seem to all be exceedingly shy… MT

Images shot with various hardware over the last three years, but all post processed with The Monochrome Masterclass workflow.

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Photoessay: Workaday life

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Alternate title: another day, another dollar. As otherworldly as some bits of Tokyo might be to the casual visitor, like every city – there are more than the fair army of salarymen keeping everything running below the surface. The job is thankless, uncelebrated, mostly unnoticed, but necessary to keep the big wheel turning. We do it because we have to, and in doing so, a sort of Stockholm syndrome emerges: not exactly love or affection, but we still take pride in our work. Are they happy? Sad? Indifferent? Perhaps the sort of bittersweet melancholy that comes from celebrating small triumphs and mourning little losses. Individually our problems are our own; collectively, they’re the mood of a society. Every time I visit Tokyo, the word that sticks in my head is ‘stoicism’ – even if there are little escapes here and there. MT

This series was shot with a Canon 100D, 24STM and 55-250STM lenses, an X1D-50c and 90mm, and a H6D-100c and 100mm. Post processing was completed using the techniques in the weekly workflow and PS Workflow III. Travel vicariously and make the most of your trip with How To See Ep.2: Tokyo, or T1: Travel Photography.

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Major firmware updates for X1D and H6D

You asked…we listened. V1.21 brings quite a few extra features, and is available immediately for download here. The changelog of major items is as follows:

For the X1D:

  • AF support is now present for all HC lenses (except the 120 macro) – firmware is lodged under individual lenses on the download site
  • Interval timer
  • Bracketing
  • Manual eyedropper WB tool
  • Auto ISO shutter speed limits (with both 1/fl multiple and 1/shutter speed options, of course)
  • Custom button options now include interval timer, manual WB, bracketing etc.
  • Long press of the AF-D button during playback goes to 100% actual pixel view at the focus point
  • During EVF playback, the rear display acts as a touchpad to scroll/browse images
  • During rear screen playback, LV now starts immediately when switching to the EVF to reduce capture time.
  • Tethered image import for Phocus over USB

For the H6D (all three versions):

  • Manual eyedropper WB tool
  • Setting profiles
  • Tethered image import for Phocus over USB
  • Audio notifications – H4/5 users will remember this as confirmations that an image is shot, camera ready, over/underexposure etc. in addition to the usual focus beeps
  • Long press of the True Focus button during playback to go to 100% actual pixel view
  • Use of rear screen as touchpad for browse/scroll when a HDMI monitor is connected

I think you’ll agree this is a solid set of additions – auto ISO limits, playback functions and manual WB are particularly useful. Lastly, yes, I am testing an XCD 21mm at the moment… MT

Photoessay: XPAN-eriments, part I

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…Or, evolutions of a scene. I admit to having more than a passing curiosity towards the original XPAN cameras* – mainly because of the very unusual panoramic format, and the relatively accessibility compared to say a 6×17 with movements. Whilst I work a lot in 16:9 for a more cinematic feel and a perspective that perhaps matches natural human vision more closely than the taller 3:2 and 4:3 formats – going wider is rare and either requires stitching or throwing away so many pixels you are limited in your printing options. The latter is less of an issue with the latest generation of 35mm cameras and MF, but one simple problem remains: it’s very difficult to compose for this aspect ratio if you have no means to visualize it. Few cameras have 16:9 previews or lines, and almost none have wider. My H6D-100c has 16:9 and Cinema 2.4:1, but only because I sacrificed a focusing screen and scored it with a razor blade. Other than that, it’s pure guesswork. Given that focusing screens are not readily available for any of my other cameras, I didn’t want to add any more confusing lines to the H6D’s finder, and scoring lines on an EVF is probably a bad idea, experiments had not really progressed further – until recently, when we got a whole slew of aspect ratios with the most recent firmware. This of course means it’s time for some experiments.

*For those unfamiliar – a 35mm rangefinder in two versions co-developed with Fuji and also sold as the TX1 and TX2, but with a 65x24mm film gate for a 2.7:1 aspect ratio; close enough to 6×17’s 2.83:1. There were native 30, 45 and 90mm lenses – no coincidence we also have these on the X1D. It took normal 35mm roll film to give 20-21 panoramic frames per 36 exposure roll, and could also shoot normal 24x36mm frames – but why on earth would you buy the camera to do that? They are fairly rare now and finding a lab to do the development, even rarer. Of course there’s always DIY, but for reasons explained earlier here it’s no longer really an option for me.

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