Tips for taking pictures using a film Hasselblad

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by george_nowakowski, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. A friend of mine at work is going to lend me his film Hasselblad camera for a weekend. He is also kind enough to give me some b&w film!
    I have a fair amount of experience with digital (Nikon) cameras, but have never shot a Hasselblad. I want to take some portrait shots of my family on a white background, using flash. I have a Sekonic light meter. Can you give me any simple tips on how I can take some good film shots? Would I meter the scene the same way I would for a digital camera? My friend said that it captures more there something that I have to do to compensate for that? My plan was to set up the photo and take it with my digital. Once I was happy with the settings for the digital, I'd take a film shot. Is that a good approach?
    Thank you pros!
  2. I would use readings from the Sekonic rather than the settings from your digital unless you want to try both and do two of each shot. Different films respond differently as well, so it matters which film your friend gives you. You should ask him what he does - whether he uses box speed or his own personal EI.
    I don't know that B&W film captures more contrast. It does capture more of a range of the tones available, imo. How it's developed will also affect that.
  3. Yes. You do not need to overthink things. Just
    meter with the Sekonic, set on the Hasselblad,
    and see how it turns out. One tip... most
    Sekonics give you a direct EV value, which can
    be set on the lens EV marking, and all speeds
    and apertures are set.
  4. Film captures more contrast... or less contrast, depending on the film, conditions and development.
    Compared to my own processing, commercial labs use to overdevelop film. Contrast use to be excessive to my taste. Maybe yours do it right. As Bethe says, ask the owner for advice in this regard.
    I cannot give you advice about the metering, I only use my Sekonic for that task.
    Theoretically, the larger the format the shallower DoF... and probably, your digital camera will show a different latitude (and a different color rendition, it will depend on the film, too). So I think your digital camera is almost useless for other than "to check how nice it looks".
    I find a bit harder to focus my Mamiya when compared to the perfect AF on my Nikons... so I`d take extra care for having perfectly sharp eyelashes. It`s quite irritating to check that any pic is wasted with wrong focus.
  5. Important point - exposure with digital cameras (and with film cameras loaded with slide film) is governed by highlight brightness - blow the highlights on a digital camera and you'll never get them back. Exposure with b+w negative films is governed by the required shadow detail. The ideal thing would be to measure this with a separate meter, but if you don't have one, work on the basis that if your digital camera set to a certain ISO (such as 100) requires a certain exposure (let's say f11 with strobes), the film camera loaded with ISO100 film is going to need to be set to f8 or even f5.6 1/2 (i.e. between f5.6 and f8). Most film workers in general use a meter setting of half the "box speed" of the film and shorten the development time slightly (5% in my case).
  6. As others have said, use the Sekonic meter. For your family portrait use the flash metering capability to determine your exposure. If it does not have flash meter capability, then do it the old-fashihioned way - GN divided by distance = aperture (shutter speed can be anything if using Hassy with leaf shutter). Use box speed and commercial processing unless you have reason to do otherwise. If taking the portrait with natural light, use the incident light metering feature.
    Two other suggestions: Use a tripod; Learn how to use the stop-down feature of the lens BEFORE you start (that will trip you up if you lock down the aperture and can't figure out how to unlock it)
  7. George:
    You either have a good friend (for generously lending you his 'blad), or a very evil one (after you use it, you may want one). Either way, I'm envious! Have fun this weekend.
  8. My opinion, The blads are the best cameras ever. I suspect you will not want to return it.
    As others have said, don't over think it. If you know how to use the Sekonic well, just rely on it and then only concern yourself with the compositions. Everything should be a great experience.
    Good luck.
  9. My opinion, The blads are the best cameras ever. I suspect you will not want to return it.
    As others have said, don't over think it. If you know how to use the Sekonic well, just rely on it and then only concern yourself with the compositions. Everything should be a great experience.
    Good luck.
  10. 1. If you are using flash, the meter is probably irrelevant.
    2. If you are using (on-camera) flash to take portraits, expect to be disappointed.
    3. If you are using the (normal) 80mm lens, don't try to take "head" shots or you
    will have generally unappealing perspective distortion (big noses, small ears).
    4. If you know what you are doing (even from digital experience) you will know about items 1,2,3 and can (for example) use automatic flash exposure with compensation for white background, bounce flash, appropriate poses and distance for group portraits. You might also use a tripod and no flash so you can experiment with flattering light.
    Good luck.
  11. Use a tripod. This may help you more than anything else. Until you get a feel for how the Blad works.
    Diffuse your flash too.
  12. A tripod is not needed in the studio with a strobe.
  13. Scott, I understand what you are saying relevant to the flash speed canceling out camera movement, but a tripod is the best tool on earth (short of a studio camera stand) for stabilizing your composition and having hands free for focusing, etc.
  14. And I wonder if the ambient light of the studio could also contribute to some unsharpness if handheld (I assume the strobes are not the 100% of the hitting light, -I may be wrong-).
  15. Do you have a LIGHT meter or a FLASH meter? There is a big difference.
  16. And to help the list move along nicely on its way to the blatantly obvious: make sure you take the lens cap off.<br>;-)
  17. Consider finding a backdrop scene that you like, and will fill the frame, corner to corner, that your subjects will be in. Don't chase the scene, or location with your camera intern dragging your subjects all over the place. Once set up, get your reading, and have fun. You'll be hooked.

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