Hasselblad H2 F-stop Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by joe_casey|5, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. Well I feel like a kid in grade-school again, starting over after all these years. It's been a LONG TIME since I had a film camera and this H2, though highly rated to produce great shots, comes with a steep learning curve. I recently was testing the camera with a new 50-110 zoom lens and shot off two rolls of 120 / ISO 100 (1-Velvia, 1-Kodak) in my backyard. It was mid-afternoon with moderate sun and I used a polarized filter to shoot some roses and plants (and then a warming filter as the sun began to set) within about a 10' range. I recall the F-stop at around F16-F22 and didn't think about it at the time, but the lab phoned days later and said the film was so underexposed they could barely see the images on them. I'm new to the medium format world and want to make sure I get enough light and have the proper aperture to fully expose the film to get the most out of my images. I bought the camera to take on trips to do landscape shooting mostly but still want to take some basic shots within a 20'-30' range. Any suggestions?
  2. What shutter speed did you use? At f/16 you'd be shooting at about 1/125s in bright sunlight with no filter;
    with a polarizer that might have to be two or three stops slower, and as the day wears on then your shutter
    speeds would get even slower.

    This is nothing really to do with film or format - the same would apply to your digital photography.
  3. This sounds like a metering problem to me. Every camera is the same if you use manual. There is no learning curve. If your camera is giving you underexposed results, then either the camera is broken, you are (intentionally or not) telling it to do something wrong or the lab is at fault.
    First, check the camera. Did you set it on manual when you wanted an auto mode? Did you set teh film speed properly? 120 film doesn't have DX coding ;) If you have another camera or meter, check the meter readings to make sure that they are reasonably close. Or you can go outside and check for sunny 16.
    If the camera is working then maybe you are doing something wrong. Did you set the settings on the camera properly? Taking photos up close or at landscape distances doesn't change much except if you are going into the macro range you need to take into account the bellows factor, which you don't need to in your example.
    If you have set the camera properly then the last thing to try is the lab. They might be screwing things up. Its quite unlikely but it can happen. Try a different lab.
  4. Just a small correction:
    Velvia (Fuji) most definitely will have and Kodak may have the equivalent of DX coding. Fuji call it "Barcode System" on their 120/220 rollfilm stock.
    Whether the Hasselblad backs have the sophistication to "read" it is another matter
  5. Joe, you need to tell us, how were you metering? Handheld or built-in?
    Built-in meters need to have the correct ISO set manually (either on the film back or on the camera/finder itself...I guess the former in the case of the H2). Also keep an eye out for inadvertently setting the exposure compensation dial away from zero, unless you do deliberately want to apply compensation.
    Also, some cameras are very sensitive to light entering via the viewing eyepiece - this causes the meter to think that the scene is much brighter than it really is, and so it underexposes. This is a particular problem if you are shooting from a tripod and don't have your eye up to the eyepiece when the shutter is tripped. The H2 probably has an eyepiece blind switch? If so, use it.
    If you were using a handheld meter, in addition to dialing in the ISO, you would have to manually compensate for the polarizing filter (it's on the camera but not on the meter, so they are seeing different light)...by adding about +2 stops to the meter reading.
  6. I have considerable experience with H2's, having shot over 30,000 frames before switching to digital capture. There could be several issues here: 1) if my memory is correct the film back does not read Kodak DX codes; 2) check the exposure compensation set on the viewfinder (there's a button on the right side) 3) what is your metering mode (spot, average, center)? 3) Were you on manual exposure or a program?
    Kind regards,
    Derek Jecxz
  7. I tried the handheld light meter but it doesn't match up with the light meter inside. Sunny 16 isn't correct on the 50-110 zoom lens I have, I think perhaps because it has an internal filter that offsets this + I spoke with a Hassy rep and he said Sunny 16 isn't always true to the lens you have.
    I been experimenting with both the polarizing filter and shooting in strong light without. Recently I shot surfers at Venice Beach and the tide rolling in kept pegging my light meter so we'll find out next week how the shots came out.
    Crazy! The film is romantic but I've given some consideration to selling my H2 system and going with a Canon 5D Mark II for ease of use and lighter weight.

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