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Hasselblad HC 120mm f/4 II Examples: Lundy Canyon

Get Hasselblad medium format at B&H Photo.

These examples shot in the Lundy Canyon with the Hasselblad H6D-100C.

What makes the quality possible in the images that follow is the extremely high pixel quality from the Hasselblad H6D-100C—time and again I am struck by the incredible amount of detail with outstanding pixel quality. Shoot the Hasselblad H6D-100C as ISO 64 with proper ETTR exposure and the resulting raw-file image quality is like putty in the hand for post processing. It is night and day better compared to say, a Sony A7R III— no “brittle” pixels to foil artistic intent.

Hasselblad HC 120mm f/4 II Examples: Lundy Canyon

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

f11 @ 2.0 sec focus stack 4 frames, ISO 64; 2018-11-16 16:26:23
Hasselblad H6D-100C + HC 120 II @ 79mm equiv (120mm)
ENV: Lundy Canyon, altitude 8200 ft / 2499 m, 45°F / 7°C
RAW: diffraction mitigating sharpening

[low-res image for bot]
Huge Lichen-Covered Boulder
f11 @ 1/20 sec focus stack 7 frames, ISO 64; 2018-11-16 15:15:48
Hasselblad H6D-100C + HC 120 II @ 79mm equiv (120mm)
ENV: Lundy Canyon, altitude 8150 ft / 2484 m, 55°F / 12°C
RAW: USM {0.8,50,0}, diffraction mitigating sharpening

[low-res image for bot]
Aspen by Stagnant Beaver Pond
f11 @ 0.4 sec focus stack 6 frames, ISO 64; 2018-11-16 15:39:00
Hasselblad H6D-100C + HC 120 II @ 79mm equiv (120mm)
ENV: Lundy Canyon, altitude 8150 ft / 2484 m, 45°F / 7°C
RAW: diffraction mitigating sharpening
hazy sunset

[low-res image for bot]

John G writes:

As usual, you have efficiently, and yet also in great detail, articulated what is so compelling about the Hassy system. Superb, as usual, Lloyd.

TW, I’ve compared at length the Hassy to the Phase One. The Phase is pure machine art. Heroically made and the lenses are also excellent. But, as cumbersome and is difficult as the Hassy can be, the Phase is that much more so. Especially in the area of autofocus, which in the Hassy is quite good once you understand its limitations and nuances. (True Focus really does work if you haven’t experimented with it.) The Phase’s focus isn’t even in the same league as the Hassy’s.

Sadly, both cameras are really obsolete. The Fujifilm GFX form factor is the future. Its image quality is similar to the H6D-50C (both use a similar sensor), but with different drawing and processing styles. But what you’ve done in your Hassy review is to establish a 100MP reference point, which I have little doubt is the best there currently is. It will be exciting indeed to see how Fuji’s 100MP offering stacks up. Especially since its sensor is smaller than the Hassy’s.

DIGLLOYD: I’m finding the experience invaluable in teaching me additional perspective on what is possible. I agree that the Hasselblad H6D-100C form factor feels very dinosaurish—it won’t last in the face of the Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX onslaught.

Greg H writes:

This reminds me so much of shooting with my Phase One XF and Trichromatic back. Extraordinary pixel quality, amazing dynamic range (I personally think better than the Hassy, but not by much), and lenses that deliver the resolution for the back. Ditto with the Trichro back and the Cambo plus Rodenstock lenses.

If my aging back can get the equipment there, there is nothing like these images in RAW. And working with them in post is such a luxury.

Am enjoying this review. It’s demonstrating why some of us haul this stuff around.

FWIW, a lightweight Cambo, plus a Rodenstock 40mm lens and one back can make a reasonable backpack kit. Of course, strap on a robust tripod and an Arca Swiss Cube, and the necessary batteries, and it will still add up!

DIGLLOYD: “haul” is certainly the operative concern.

David H writes:

I have been enjoying your ongoing review of the Hasselblad H6D-100C. The images you have posted are gorgeous examples of what 100 megapixels can deliver.

I have been shooting with Phase One backs for 10 years. My current system is the Phase One XF camera paired with the 100 MP IQ3 back. The camera is beautifully made, and the Schneider lenses I have are superb—but it is not a system for the faint at heart. The camera is large, bulky, and has the heft of a solid block of metal. The Schneider 45, my main landscape lens, is almost too large (front filter thread = 95mm) for my small hands to get a good enough grip around the lens barrel when I put the lens on, or remove it from, the camera. I don’t entirely trust the autofocus, so I focus manually, using live view and a loupe to get the plane of focus precisely where I want it. And of course, I focus stack wherever possible to extend sharpness in depth.

A lot to put up with—yes—but then there are the images. They have a tonal loveliness and sense of presence that makes it all worthwhile. The RAW files are a joy to work with; I am able to pull exquisite detail and color out of even the darkest shadows in a high contrast scene. I use other cameras from time time (Nikon D810, Sony A7R II, but I find that they cannot match the results I get from the XF and the IQ3 100. It’s not even a close contest.

DIGLLOYD: would that high-end were not so expensive. But usability trumps just about everything much of the time, so I if high high-end is to survive, over time it must migrate to non-dinosaur design.

CLICK TO VIEW: Hasselblad H System

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