Desmond Louw goes hands on with Hasselblad’s H4D-50 medium format DSLR and shoots a Maserati Stradale MC.

By Desmond Louw.

The first time I met up with Michael North from The Sunshine Co., he handed me a Hasselblad H4D-50 medium format DSLR. I looked through the viewfinder and was blown away.

It was like being 7 years old and watching an IMAX movie for the first time. The clarity and brightness was just insane.

The reason for our meeting was for me to shoot a Maserati Stradale MC with a Hasselblad for GQ magazine, and then to blog about it. I was amped! I took the camera home and started studying it from back to front.

The lenses I received were:
HCD 28mm f/4
HC 80mm f/2.8
HC Macro 120mm f/4

I love the build quality: every single piece of hardware is made out of the best material possible. The whole camera can be disassembled. You can take the viewfinder, grip, CCD and the lens apart in under 10 seconds. This allows the user to not only clean the camera with ease, but also to fit other parts on, such as a bigger CCD and different viewfinders.

The camera also has an Absolute Position Lock (APL) processor and this is used for True Focus – a great feature. The True Focus button is neatly placed at your thumb, and if pressed while focussing on your subject’s eye (for example), it will stay focussed on the eye as you change your composition. Very handy for focus-and-recompose shooters, especially when shooting at a very shallow depth of field and you want to keep those eyes razor sharp.

The Maserati Shoot

So the day arrived to shoot the Maserati, we decided to go to the back of Durbanville to a smooth and windy road.

Download the original JPG.

I used the Hasselblad and my Elinchrom Ranger lights to shoot the detail and interior shots of the car:

Download the original JPG.

Hasselblad’s Phocus software works well, and is similar to Adobe Lightroom. Phocus also makes it very easy to tether with an iPhone or iPad. This is very handy when you have clients with you – they don’t have to gather around one laptop to see the photos that are being taken. Alternatively, Lightroom also works effortlessly with the RAW Hasselblad files, which range in size from 57MB to 70MB. What a pleasure to edit these monster files!

However, when we started doing the driving shots I had some problems.

I was in another car while taking these photos, driving at around 90 km/h. As the continuous focus of the Hasselblad was struggling to track the car, I decided to use my Nikon D700 to do this job.

On another note: as a fast moving location photographer, I rely heavily on my camera’s display. The Hasselblad display was pixilated, and the white balance was completely off. This Hassy wants to work with a laptop next to it. That being said, the display has recently been upgraded on the new cameras being sold.

These are the shots I took with my Nikon D700 and 14mm-24mm f/2.8:


Shooting A Maserati With A Hasselblad

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