Joe Cornish, the great British landscape photographer, advocates taking most of your photographs no more than thirty minutes from your home. So, here's my blog featuring pictures either thirty minutes drive or walk away from my front door or from the place where I'm staying for a few days. I'll also be writing about photography in general from time to time. Please enjoy!

Monday, 23 May 2011

I'm So Blad!*

The lovely people at Calumet Manchester held their spring open day a few weeks ago and I toddled over for a look and a play. Most of the major manufacturers had representatives present and I was able to get a few technical queries answered. Calumet offered free camera sensor cleaning, which was most useful for me having been in some sandy and windy places recently! There were free refreshments and a free lunch, too. 

I was glad to get the chance to have a decent look at Fuji's new X100; wow! What a lovely little camera. Small and compact, light, easy controls, fixed focal length lens and a host of nice features make this an affordable option to the Leica X1 (which I covet!). The results I saw from a preproduction version were excellent and I'd like to try one out when they are more readily available. I'm adding it to my wish list ;-)

It's not often you see Hasselblad at a trade show these days but with Calumet being a mainly professional dealer they clearly felt it was worthwhile. They built a small studio and were doing some lighting seminars and I thought I'd have a little look. I'm glad I did!

At the end of an interesting lecture the few folks present were offered the chance to experiment with the lighting and have a play with a 'Blad H4D-31. Of course, I had to have a go!

What a lovely camera; light, easy to use, controls just where you want them, clever electronics, tethered shooting, big viewfinder that was really bright and uncluttered and so much more. I fired off a few shots of Stacey, the model the Hasselblad team had brought along, and was viewing them on a MacBook Pro within seconds of taking them. I liked the focusing system on the camera very much. Once locked onto a focus point (the eyes in portraiture) the picture can be recomposed without having to refocus. 

At the end of my little session the first thing I noticed was the clarity of the images. Using software designed purely for the images of one camera means that when the image is rendered every little detail is captured whereas a package like Photoshop can only guess at what some of the really fine detail captures resulting in pixellated sections at high magnification. Hasselblad's Phocus knocks Photoshop into a cocked hat and the fine detail produced by the camera wasl beautifully rendered.

I was able to bring my RAW images home (always carry a memory stick!) and I downloaded Phocus Light from Hasselblad's website to process them. Here's Stacey in one of my images...

Click the image for the bigger picture

The original RAW image was 61Mb and I've converted it to JPEG format and resized to 5x5 format, which reduced the file size to less than 1Mb; the clarity and detail is still startlingly good.

I love my Nikon and my little Leica and the quality of the images they produce. I can only dream about the quality of the pictures I might get with the H4D-31. My meagre budget won't run to one but if anyone wants to sponsor me...

Thanks to Calumet for a grand day out and a BIG thank you to the guys from Hasselblad and to Stacey for their kindness and patience - you made a camera fan very happy.

*With apologies to Cream for butchering their song title! I should have used ''Blad All Over'!

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