My search for a medium format film camera continues. Prior to purchasing the Hasselblad H1 I've tried the pentax 67ii, several fujifilm 645 cameras, and the GF670 (6x7). They were all great, but my biggest issues were manual focusing problems (pentax 67ii/GF670) due to my not so great eyesight and the lack of easy manual control on the fujifilm 645 cameras. So enter the Hasselblad H1 with the 100mm f2.2. It's fairly heavy, but so are most medium format cameras. Lift your weights kids. The shutter click is not really a click, it's more like a CLACK. The shutter is nice and loud so that everyone in the room knows what's up and you're shooting with a mini tank. The H1 is awesome.
I loved shooting with this camera. The autofocus is actually quite good; center point only. It locked onto backlit subjects pretty well and was definitely accurate. One of the main reasons I wanted to try the H1 out was because of the 100mm f2.2 lens. It's a solid lens that can blur out the background and isolate my subject. I really like shooting in the 50mm-60mm range on 35mm full frame and this lens gives about a 60mm f1.3ish look on 35mm. I love shooting with the canon 50mm f1.2 (except for the misfocusing issues I had... however, it looks like the sony a7rii with an adapted 50mm f1.2 solved that though) and the nikon 58mm f1.4G. This 100mm f2.2 lens on the H1 made me feel right at home. *A quick note about the sony a7rii. Pairing the canon 50mm f1.2 with the metabones adapter on the sony a7rii really surprised me. The 50L on the canon 5d3 was somewhat unreliable because of focus inaccuracy, but on the sony a7rii, the focusing seemed faster and was definitely more accurate. I can finally use the 50mm f1.2 without getting annoyed after a shoot and later find out that some of my favorite images are out of focus. the 50L and a7rii worked so well, I will eventually try the 85mm f1.2L mkii on it; hoping it will work just as well!
The H1 has a maximum shutter speed of 1/800th of a second. This isn't a really big deal if you expose for the shadows. Check out Johnny's blog, he's super helpful teaching metering for that bright exuberant look on film. if you're new to film, this is an excellent read: http://www.johnnypatience.com/metering-for-film/
What's cool about the 100mm f2.2 is that it has a leaf shutter, so if you wanted to shoot with off camera strobes, you can sync at 1/800th of a second. Most digital DSLRs and mirrorless cameras top out at a sync of 1/250th of a second or slower.
I also bought an additional 3 film backs so I didn't have to fiddle with the film during a shoot. It's so easy to just pull one off and slap one back on. It's also easy to change the film as well. I felt the backs were really solid and were not that expensive used if you take your time and look around.
I also had a H13 extension tube to get in closer for head shots. The minimum focusing distance is slightly less than 3 feet on the 100mm f2.2, so the extension tube can be pretty useful if you need to get in closer.
So why this camera and not the Contax 645? Pretty soon here, the parts for the Contax 645 are going bye bye. I don't really want to have to deal with that in the future. Not like it matters now since I ended up selling.
The images out of this camera and lens combo were sharp and crisp with smooth bokeh. I have no complaints as this is my favorite 645 camera and lens combo so far.
This is my top choice for the 645 format. Wish I could have the chance to play with a Contax 645, but this system is so solid, I would be perfectly happy shooting the H1 and 100mm f2.2 combo.
I ended up selling the H1 to fund other purchases. Wish I didn't, but I didn't use it much once I acquired the Rolleiflex 6008AF and the Rolleiflex Hy6 mod 2. I really started liking the square 6x6 photos from the Rolleiflex cameras. More on the Rolleiflex in another post.
Below are a few shots from the H1 and 100mm f2.2 combo. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab.