Thanks to a great dayjob, I get to spend a lot of quality time hands-on with Hasselblad cameras. I've been in love with the cameras since before photo school, and the flames were fanned when I assisted Hasselblad Master Gregor Halenda and met another, Chase Jarvis. They're both stunningly amazing photographers that have shaped my career as I study their work to become a better photographer.
Getting access to a wide range of their digital lineup means that I get to learn everything about Hasselblad without the pressure of a weekend rental, or trying to figure it out on the job. I warmed up by doing a series of still lifes and a portrait session with the H4D40, and found it to be an extraordinarily versatile camera, and then pushed it to the limits by doing an all day shoot with a sportswear company (pictures coming soon).
I primarily shoot on my Canon 1DmkIV, and while the quality is great, it hardly compares to over twice the megapixels and a physically larger image sensor. Pictures on the H4D seem to pop off the screen with little to no post processing.
Shooting bottles has been one of my ongoing personal projects as I wade through the wide world of whiskeys, and I've been shooting most of them on H4D. The color rendering of liquor is extremely important to clients, and the H4D seems to capture the range necessary to accurately portray each shade. Newer lighting technique counts for a lot, but the colors and depth make the bottles sing.
This recent shot of the new Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey was shot on white plexi lying down, with two 8' silks on either side with grid spots on Profoto 7a2400 packs. I find myself reversing my earlier lighting from small on products and large on people to the complete opposite. Glass bottles take well to massive modifiers, even if only used as a bounce, and I've experimented with using smaller, harsher light on certain subjects.
Hasselblad has their proprietary software, Phocus, which is used to tether to your computer. The software is intuitive, easy to manage and a great asset to have when checking focus and composition. The screen on the camera is limited the same as any other brand, so I have Phocus running on my laptop or cinema display whenever possible. Occasionally when I need to drop the cord, I feel confident enough to rely on the screen if I know that my lighting is already dialed in.
I worked with the H4D for an entire 10 hour session recently, and the camera body itself is easy to hold and even comfortable. The back was warm from being tethered non-stop all day, but it never shut down on me, unlike some other digital backs I've used that will lock you out without any obvious reason. I turned down a demo of a back made by another company because I couldn't afford to waste time rebooting the entire system, from my laptop to the back, body and lens.
More pictures from the most recent session are coming soon, as well as a video highlight of the shoot where you'll see some of the lighting setups used on a commercial shoot, and I'll also demo some of the camera's features and how I used them on this job.
Follow Me on Twitter|Be a fan on Facebook|Tumblr|Ustream