2016-02-24 I have been a longtime Hasselblad user. When I was still a student studying in England, I made my first purchase in a long relationship.
I bought a used, beat up 500c film camera. Beat up or not, that camera was beautiful and my photos were immediately crisper with better colors. When I turned pro, I added the 503CW and was so confident in the quality I was presenting to clients. But then digital hit, and as a young pro in New York all my clients started requesting it. I barely had enough money to pay rent, and bought a cheap DSLR that was “good enough.” Those were some tough days of worry. I was always concerned if my blow ups were crisp and my colors strong. I felt like I really lost something in my work. I kept buying nicer DSLR’s, but never really got back to that same feeling I had when I started. However, Hasselblad has always been amazing at offering deals and promotions and I reinvested a big advertising job into buying an H2D that I upgraded to the H3D. For 6 years that camera was the greatest quality workhorse. I put that beauty through several hundred thousand shutter presses on catalogs, magazine editorials and commercial assignments. I still had a top of the line 35mm digital camera, but over and over I noticed that all my favorite photo series were shot with my Hasselblad.
I have since upgraded to the H4D-50 a couple years ago, and love it. I strongly recommend anyone not sure if they can afford a Hasselblad to look at Hasselblad’s Certified Pre Owned List (CPO). Some of the deals are hard to believe. All the cameras and backs are so good, that if even you can’t afford the newest camera, you will still see an immediate upgrade of quality in your dynamic range, sharpness and getting that less digital looking feel.
As a comparison, this series was shot with my H3D-39. I did only the most basic corrections in Photoshop for the black and white tones (some skin retouching too). The raw images straight off the camera were very similar in tone. A few images, I brought out some subtle details in the blacks with some simple dodging in photoshop, but with Hasselblad’s amazing dynamic range, I had 100% control because 100% of the detail is there. One of the headshots was recently exhibited as part of a charity event. The print was 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall, and of course the first thing I did was get my face as close to the eyes as possible, and I felt this excitement at seeing how perfectly sharp and non-digital looking the eyes were. And the hair detail was perfect.
I shot this fashion editorial for Hunger Magazine in my New York studio. While the production was very small and simple, I had a stunning model and great team. Model Karolina Wallace was beautifully styled by Lisa Jarvis with incredible pieces from designers Corvus Crux, Renee Masoomian, Atsuko Kudo, and Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci. Makeup and the Swarovski crystals on the face were by Yuko Takahashi and the hair was by Dennis Fei. I used one light with a Broncolor Para88 reflector high and to the right of the model to give a dramatic feel. I used one white V flat to the left of the model to kick a little bit of detail on the shadows. I also had one light on the Thunder Gray seamless background paper.
Camera settings for all photos in the series were 1/350 of a second shutter speed, the lens aperture set to F13, and the ISO at 100. All full length, half, and three quarter photos were taken with the 80mm lens. The close headshots were taken with the 150mm lens.