Hasselblad SWC street shooting style

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ymc226, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    For those who use this camera shooting "street" style, that is, of people that may be moving shortly, how does one frame and focus?

    I am thinking of getting one and plan on using the hyper-focal technique at the smallest aperture possible for the given situation to maximize depth of field. (I have a Leica M and a 21mm Zeiss Biogon 2.8 and use it with success using it this way but want the larger negative of the SWC)

    Are there any other effective techniques in focusing that could be used on a potentially moving target?
     
  2. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    The SWC ONLY has "guess" focusing, unless you have an accessory ground-glass back, and use it on a tripod.
     
  3. david b

    david b Member

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    You can easily zone focus and shoot at f16, and everything will be in focus. Easy to do.
     
  4. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    I use hyper-focal and don't worry about it. There is so much depth of focus that just about everything is going to be sharp.
     
  5. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Thanks, you all have convinced me that it will be easy to learn. I think the weight savings of not having to lug around my 205FCC/50mm Distagon will be great. Now I have to locate a SWC.

    Are there any issues when buying a SWC I should ask?
     
  6. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    At f/11 the zone is from 4' to infinity, at f/16 it's from 3' to infinity. Together with some TriX/HP5+/TMY ... the SWC is a lovely street camera, though without the grain from pushed 35mm film.
    A good SWC could cost anything between $1000 and $6000, depending upon model etc. I found an old SWC (not /M) but black with T* for about $1000, but I recon I was lucky. My intention were more or less the same as yours, i.e. a street camera which I didn't have to look after like a 2 month old baby.
    If you have the choice, go for a SWC/M which is a bit easier to put on a tripod etc. You will also get T* with the /M if multicoating matters to you. The earlier SWC's had Compur shutters/lens housings, while (except for the early ones) the /M's and onward have the modern Prontor shutter/lens housings. Again, the choice is simply a matter of money, the more you pay, the newer a camera. The optical performance is the same regardless of model, i.e. the only thing that differs from an early chrome SWC and a late 905 is the single- vs. multicoating - nothing else in terms of optics. (Unless you are really nitpicking. The 905's are redesigned to use lead-free glass, which possibly is negative to the MTF readings.)
    Else, check for general wear, check all the time settings several times so that they are consistent. While my SWC came from a pro, the general advice is "stay away from pro cameras", as they put more mileage into a camera in a year than you do in a lifetime.

    //Björn
     
  7. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    Try Craig's List, Portland, Oregon, type in "hasselblad" to the search window. There's one for sale here.

    Peter Gomena
     
  8. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Wirelessly posted (BBBold: BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.297 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    This is kinda like squirrel hunting with an RPG.
     
  9. patawauke

    patawauke Subscriber

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    Most has already been said, but a word of caution about framing, especially close up. Due to the viewfinder's high up position, there is a risk of parallax, and what you see is not what you get, so take that into account around the image edges.

    It's a super camera, and was the ultimate WA street camera in its day, rivalling the Rollei TLR's, and it still has relevance now if you prefer film, due its legendary sharpness, DoF, and flat plane. I have the old chrome SWC and a 903, I trot them out on different occasions. Fantastic travel camera too.

    Don't underestimate the challenge of framing with this camera. It is very easy to end up with uninteresting foregrounds, and you need to work on your composition.

    The Photo-Net site has good archive posts about using the SWC for street shooting, also check out Lee Friedlander's and Giorgia Fiorio's work.

    Last word - if you shoot colour you need a T lens, if it's just B&W then the older model will suffice. It is just as sharp, but is more prone to flare and has less contrast, but you can deal with this partly with choice of filters, film and processing methods.

    Hope this helps, you've made a great choice!
     
  10. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Patawauke,

    Thanks for the very practical advice, especially regarding foreground issues. I will look at the Photo.net site regarding examples of SWC photos.

    I just ordered a 903 SWC from KEH and cannot wait to start taking photos with it. Hopefully, it will be here by mid week.
     
  11. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    [​IMG]

    (In red: the viewfinder image. In black the image as recorded on film.)

    The parallax is always the same, no matter how close or far away your subject.
    So always 12.5 cm on top, always 5 cm extra on both left and right, and always 3 cm too little down below.
     
  12. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Thanks Q.G.

    Does this pertain to the Voigtlander right angle viewfinder as well?

    How do photographers who use the VL VF find the VF image to match what is caught on the final photo?
     
  13. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Don't know. Sorry!
    But probably not. The numbers will be different.
     
  14. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    This figure has always confused me. The focal plane is 2.25" by 2.25" or 56cm x 56cm. So where do I measure 12.5 cm or 5" from.

    Would you please be a bit more verbose in describing how to apply this figure?

    Steve
     
  15. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    You measure from the edge of what you see through the viewfinder.
    When you frame something in the viewfinder, what you see is the red outline, what you get on film is the black outline.
    No matter how large the field of view, i.e. how wide the thing that fills the finder from left to right and top to bottom, the finder image always shows an extra 5 cm on either side, [etc.].

    [P.S. Should i add a "read the manual" here too? :D]
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The manual is not all that clear either. How far away from the lens are you making the measurements?

    Steve
     
  17. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    I'll try to be more clear.
    Say you frame a square poster on a wall somewhere, such that it fits exactly in the viewfinder.
    What you get on film differs from what you see by the amounts in the diagram: the poster has been cropped by 5 cm on both left and right sides, by 12.5 cm on top, and you'll see a strip of the wall below the poster measuring 3 cm.

    Now if that poster is 1 m, you'll only get 1 m - 5 cm - 5 cm = 0.9 m of it on film, left to right.
    You'll be missing 12.5 cm of it on top - only 87.5 cm of it on film, top to bottom - but record another extra 3 cm of the wall below it on film.

    If that poster measures 100 m (rather big for a poster, i know :wink:), you'll get 100 m - 5 cm - 5 cm = 99.9 m of it on film, left to right.
    You'll again be missing 12.5 cm of it on top - so only 99.875 m of it on film, top to bottom - while again recording another extra 3 cm of the wall below it on film.

    Or (as said before): through the viewfinder you'll see 5 cm extra on either side, 12.5 cm extra on top, but miss 3 cm on the bottom.
    At any distance from the lens.

    You could look at it this way: the field of view of the lens is a four sided pyramid, going out from the center of the lens, getting wider the greater the distance to the lens.
    That pyramid is inside a larger pyramid - the field of view of the viewfinder - going in the same direction, with the sides of both pyramids parallel to each other.
    The distance between the sides of these two pyramids is 5 cm. And it is and remains just that - 5 cm - no matter how far away you are from the lens and viewfinder, i.e. how wide the base of the pyramid.
    The centers of lens and viewfinder are offset vertically, thus so also are the pyramids: hence the distance between the sides is 12.5 cm on top, and the viewfinder's pyramid's lower side is not outside the lens' pyramid as it is on the left, right and on top, but has crossed the plane of the lens' pyramid's lower side and is inside, above the lens pyramid's lower side. The distance between the lower sides is 3 cm, and that too no matter how far from the lens and viewfinder.

    Hm... Perhaps a failed attempt to put it across in a more clear and easier to grasp fashion... :wink:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2009
  18. Dave Pritchard

    Dave Pritchard Member

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    Let me get this straight. You are going to spend way over $1500 USD to get a camera without an accurate viewfinder or rangefinder. You're range and composition will be by-guess-and-by-golly. You will still have to hold the camera up to your face like you are taking someone's picture. And this for street photography?
     
  19. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    It isn't that bad, considering the angle of view.
    It's wide enough for the field of view to be rather large compared to the viewfinder offset, at normal shooting distances, so accuracy is quite o.k. No worse than any other non-reflex finders.

    I hate the guesstimate focussing much more.
    Relying on DoF may sound an o.k. thing to do, wide angle, and all that. But it is a 38 mm lens, and DoF really isn't that big.
    Besides, DoF is 'acceptable' unsharpness. And what someone else may find acceptable, i may find not. And i really like to have focus really there were it belongs.

    So i like the 40 mm Distagon more than the SWC/Biogon.

    I forget who it was, but i believe someone somewhere here in APUG mentioned the "Blik" rangefinders. I got me one, and though not a marvel of precision engineering, it is quite good. And small.
     
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  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Thanks, now I got it.

    Steve
     
  21. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    Yes and that is way over $1500 for maybe a 30 year old camera too. (It's some $7-8000 new.) On the other hand, you get an extremely good lens with this camera. There are/where a few others, like the Fuji GSW 65mm and the 43mm for the Mamaya 7 which are somewhere in that same league. Please note that the Fuji is not a system camera, but the lens is bolted to the camera housing (same as the SWC). The Mamaya needs a separate viewfinder for that lens.
    So what do you get? The lens (and thus the camera) is constructed to give maximal sharpness over a wide range of apertures with minimal distortion. Imagine a 100 cm (side) print with a flagpole just by the very edge of the picture. That flagpole will still be straight in the print, all without the use of computors, photoshop etc. Just "straight" photography and darkroom printing.
    The Hasselblad alternative have been mentioned earlier in this thread. The Distagon 40mm which fits any "ordinary" camera. The Distagon is as heavy as the SWC with a film magazine, it takes 93mm filters and even though it's a very good performer the Biogon of the SWC is definitely better.

    A fair comparison to e.g. a Leica, say M4 as I mentioned "30 years old" above with a used 24mm lens (and a viewfinder!) would render the SWC quite cheap. Still you get negatives that will rock the socks off any Leica (and I really like Leica).

    The SWC is great for setting at hyperfocal distance and simply point and shoot. You don't need to make the final cropping in the camera, as there is plenty of negative area to deal with.
    Now, it wouldn't be fair to say that the SWC is the "best" wide-angle camera. All cameras have pro's and con's. The SWC is way to special to be that "best camera" for most people. I know that I have to somewhat adapt to the way the SWC works, but I'll gladly do that as I've gotten many pictures which would have been very hard to get with other cameras and as long as I hold the camera still the negatives are bitingly sharp.

    But this is just about the very same discussion which was held in the days of Leica M vs. Leica R (or Nikon, Canon ...). Some people really like the way to compose on a rangefinder, while others perfer SLR's.

    //Björn
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2009