Quick Looks from Pro Solutions Tour!

A quick glimpse of some amazing images from our Pro Solutions Tour stop in Miami at the awesome One Source Studios!

We rocked a broncolor Para 222 setup with a Scoro 3200S. The quality of light from the Para is so unique in producing light that provides both large coverage and punchy contrast. Because of the size of the Para 222, the photographer was able to stand directly in front of the light with no visible effects on the model.

150626_HBI_PST_MI-9-EditA big thanks to Kristyn Pilgrim, our model for the day. Make sure to check out her instagram and blog for some behind the scenes shots too!




We used the Hasselblad H5D-50C WIFI and the HC 2,2/100MM lens. The 50C offers some of the best color rendition with an amazing 50 megapixel CMOS sensor.






Hasselblad H5D-50C – CMOS sensor magic!


Hasselblad H5D-50C w/HC 35mm f/3.5 at f/11, ISO 800, 1 sec

We recently had an intro event for the new CMOS sensor equipped Hasselblad H5D-50C and I had a chance to do some side by side tests with the previous CCD equipped model. The new CMOS 1.3x crop 645 medium format sensor used in the H5D-50C is actually made by Sony, and that’s a good thing since they also make the best sensors for the DSLR world. The Nikon D7000, D800 / D800E and even the underlying silicon used in Fujifilm X-Trans sensors are made by Sony for example. What this means for medium format camera systems is that finally, there is a sensor capable of not only superb low ISO sharpness and tonality, but also excellent high ISO image quality with much less chroma noise in the shadows when those shadows need to be opened up in a high dynamic range scenario.

In addition, this new sensor seems to have slightly better highlight dynamic range as well and you can also do much longer time exposures with no need for long exposure noise-reduction, up to 12 minutes in length. This means after a 12 minute exposure, you don’t need to wait an additional 12 minutes for the camera to do a “dark frame” – you can start another time exposure immediately.

The previous CCD sensors did indeed have very good shadow tonality when shot at their base ISO, as long as one didn’t push those shadows too far in post, but the new ones allow you to also do this at much higher ISOs and still open up the shadows dramatically without any major loss in quality. In fact the differences between the old 1.1x crop factor 50MP CCD sensor and the new 1.3x crop 50MP CMOS sensor are so dramatic that I could scarcely believe what I was seeing when I did some challenging side by side tests. Basically, OMGYHGTBK* was my reaction upon comparing the images side by side!

Absolutely the only downside I see with the new camera is that for those seeking the widest angle shots, they will be disappointed with the slightly greater crop factor of the smaller sensor. However if you are an available light photographer of any kind, where you have no control over lighting and are often dealing with challenging lighting, you absolutely need to consider upgrading your camera – the difference is really that great. Buy a wider lens if you need it! Yes, I know the Hasselblad 24mm or 28mm lenses are expensive, but they are both exceptionally good too. In fact, if you have a 28mm or 35mm lens, the next widest offering when shot with the new 1.3x crop sensor will more or less give you the same angle of view. The 28mm on the 50C will be slightly wider than the 35mm on the regular 50, and in the same scenario, the 24mm will be ever so slightly longer than the 28mm.


The image at the top of this blog entry was underexposed on purpose, more than it actually needed to be in fact, in order to maintain as much highlight detail as possible. It was then adjusted dramatically in Adobe Lightroom v5.4 to bring up the exposure in the shadows and mid tones.



Above is a side by side of that image, the left side being with all the exposure sliders zeroed and the right side adjusted to taste. Click on the image to see the full-resolution screen-shot of the side-by-side from my 27″ display.

The series of test shots I did were intentionally shot dark, knowing that I would be cranking things up, in order to torture test the new CMOS equipped Hasselblad and to highlight just how much better it performs in really difficult situations when compared to the older CCD model.

To the left, is a screenshot showing the Lightroom settings used in the brightened, adjusted version of that image, as well as all the comparisons below. You can see how far the exposure and shadows have been pushed…

In the series of outdoor test photos, I shot the older H5D-50C at ISO 50, 100, 200, 400 and 800, the highest it would go. I also shot the new H5D-50C at ISO 100 (its lowest), 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 and at a whopping 6400 as well. All the images were processed in Adobe Lightroom v5.4 with the settings shown on the left. Note that I used a mid-level noise-reduction setting for all the photos, luminance at 10 and colour at 25. The lower ISO shots on the H5D-50C would actually benefit for lower NR settings and of course, the higher ones could use more. On the older H5D-50, much higher NR settings would somewhat benefit most of the shots, although at the expense of a lot of fine detail.

The most challenging subjects are ones with bright highlights and deep shadows, where one often underexposes to maintain important highlight detail and then boosts the shadows and mid-tones in post to increase the visible dynamic range of the shot. My Nikon D800 does this exceptionally well but previous digital backs would often start getting noisy in the shadows, especially if you were shooting at anything other than base ISO. The new sensor is so good that in a high-DR situation, you can shoot it at ISO 800 (let’s say you need the shutter speed to freeze things moving in the shot), underexpose and then boost the shadows like crazy, as in the above example, and still end up with a cleaner file than the old 50MP CCD sensor at ISO 100 in the same situation. In fact, apart from some “white speck” noise, similar to what one sees on a D800 at times too, the new back at ISO 1600 will even outperform the old one at ISO 100 when it comes to chroma noise in the shadows. Massive, huge, amazing difference if you ask me.

Below are a bunch of side-by-side screen shots at 100% zoom in Lightroom, where each image pair was shot with identical settings, starting at ISO 100 and going to ISO 800, the range where both cameras overlap. Note that I used a 50mm lens on the H5D-50 and a 35mm lens on the H5D-50C, so that I could shoot then simultaneously and avoid the changing light levels causing differences in exposure between the cameras. That is why the 100% zoom views are showing different degrees of magnification of the scene, however since these shots are intended to judge noise and shadow detail, that doesn’t really matter. Note that the 35mm lens is quite old and needs some optical tweaking to perform up to snuff. The 50mm is a brand new version II we have in rentals now and it is amazingly sharp, clearly outperforming the 35mm in acutance.

As with the above side-by-side exposure example, click each one to open in a new window to allow 100% viewing in order to accurately judge the differences. In all cases the older H5D-50 (CCD) is on the left and the newer H5D-50C (CMOS) is on the right…





Here is a comparison with both cameras at their lowest ISO…


The next three images compare the H5D-50 at ISO 800, its highest available setting, versus the H5D-50C at ISO 1600, 3200 and 6400…H5D50-Compare-ISO800_1600thmb



[NOTE: I am planning on including some comparisons with my Nikon D800 in the same series of tests at the same ISOs. I will also be providing some of the raw .3FR image files for download so you can see the differences for yourself. Check back in the next couple of days for those updates…]

The H5D-50C is shipping now and upgrades are being done pretty much immediately. If you have an older Hasselblad digital system, aggressive trade-in allowances are available from Hasselblad. If you are strictly a studio shooter where you have complete control over your lighting and contrast, you might decide to pass this one by, but for anyone else I’d say it really is worth seriously looking at an upgrade. This is a far greater upgrade than simply going to a higher resolution digital back with old sensor technology. The image quality improvements can be staggering! Call me for more details or if you want to get a price quote on a purchase or trade-in…

* OMGYHGTBK – Oh My God You Have Got To Be Kidding!

Blog written by: Mike Mander


Sam Hon Shoots UFC Fighters with Hasselblad H4D

Sam Hon always had an affinity for the arts. From Chinese painting as a child, to graphic design in high school and college, Hon eventually settled down with photography, the field that most artistically inspired him. His background in graphic design and art, plays an important role in the images he creates.

Sam Hon Shoots Urijah Faber

“Optical Panecea was created when I did an image for Urijah Faber, and it was inspired by a story I saw in a youtube clip of him defending himself, when he was in Bali Indonesia, against it was a group of guys, maybe 10-15 guys.” The video inspired an idea for a photoshoot where Faber would be fighting himself. Taking photos from a variety of positions, Faber had no idea what the final product would look like. The final image delivered was a panoramic composite of Urijah in combat with himself. Blown away by the photo, Urijah approached Hon and said, “We’re starting a company.” Optical Panecea was formed under the collaboration of these two talents.

“Chael Sonnen is one of my favorite fighters, I mean, although he is a great fighter; I feel that he is an even better character. He has this charisma that you just can’t look away; you can’t stop listening to him.  Whatever comes out of his mouth is just gold. And he is very political with whatever he says, or completely non political in what he says.” Inspired by his personality and characteristics, Hon envisioned a scene with Chael in a political debate against himself. Using the H4D, Hon was able to place Sonnen in the correct space each time. “I didn’t have time to set him up, mark the spot, come back, remark the spot, so I basically had to pick out where he was. Fortunately Hasselbad has the great big LED screen where you can clearly see the scenes where your subject is, so you can pick out a point whether he is three feet to the left,  four feet to the right, and it’s easy to see it.  You can gage it very easily… I would have him punch and I would be able to see where his hand would line up to the background, from there I could just have him reposition right in front of me, and I am looking at that big LED screen and I have him move into place. From there I can just reset the camera and take the picture.” This led to minimal photoshop work in post production.

See more of Sam Hon’s work at:

Motorcycles and Medium Format

It is through perseverance, determination and careful calculation that we come to see extraordinary results. Testing Hasselblad’s H4D-40 during the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas took my breath away. MotoGP makes up the premier class of riders developing prototype motorcycles around the world. These machines can exceed 200mph on a single straight! It is not the speed that has intrigued me though. Instead my research lies in the subtleties of the track design—sweeping curves, tight hairpins, and the occasional sudden drop in track elevation––where champions are challenged. I knew the Hasselblad would top out at 1/800s, a shutter speed that is slow in comparison to the modern DSLR. It would also pale in comparison to any DSLR’s capture; the H4D-40’s 1.1 frames per second may not be acceptable to some. Here I was still interested in the subtleties; top of the line sensor and camera software, unbelievable lens mechanics, and editing software that would make the most of the innovative technology. Capture Integration supported my pursuit and let me have a go at my first medium format test! Riding the edge I packed the H4D-40 and flew out to Texas with my partner, Bruce LaFollette, to meet with Dorna Sports S.L., international sports management, marketing and media company holding exclusive commercial and television rights for the FIM RoadRacing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGPTM). We were well prepared to record the fine balance of focused concentration contained in a single decisive moment.

Motorcycles and Medium Format - Kelly Hudak

Lingering in my mind was John Parker’s article on the H4D-40 at He is one of the top air-to-air photographers and had used the Hasselblad camera, hand held on assignment, photographing the Breitling Aerobatic and Jet Teams. His stunning images and positive attitude towards medium format action photography inspired me to move forward and try it out for myself. While visiting with Dorna Sports in the past five years, Bruce and I have been exploring the idea of large scale race images, integrated into sculptural installation works—site specific in nature—further connecting a MotoGP host city to the race circuit itself. We needed the H4D-40 to interpret the depth of the scene our eyes were experiencing; full of light, reflections, shadow and texture.

Since 2008, I have been using DSLR’s at MotoGP events in preparation for public sculpture works and installation art. At 21 mega pixels, I found the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and 5D Mark II perfect for requirements in printing larger mock up concepts for future art spaces. I ended up collaging several DSLR captures into one and then printing the results on a translucent material that would be manipulated in such a way that the image took on an ethereal form. Somehow it wasn’t enough. I needed more than the 36 x 24mm sensor that my Canon provided to complete a monumental work. I dove into the Hasselblad sensor CCD at 33 x 44 carrying 40 mega pixels. I was not interested in how many images I could capture in one second, though auto-focus and exposure would prove to be an important consideration. I started to look over my exposure data from the last five years of captures at various races. I did use high shutter speeds for many compositions—surprisingly there were some great shots below 1/800s. I determined that I was within the limits to photograph MotoGP’s first visit to the Circuit of The Americas with the Hasselblad. I would later work out any anxieties I had over the auto-focus mechanism not being one of multi-point caliber! Practice is key. Larry Hansen, CEO of Hasselblad wished for the younger generations to see the value of medium format upon the H4D-40’s release in 2010—at this point he officially had my attention!

To see more from this article, click here

Original article written by Kelly Hudak

Shoot NYC Recap

A packed house at Michael Grecco's Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait seminar. Photo by Mike Hill.

Hasselblad and broncolor wrapped up another Shoot NYC event at La Venue on October 25 and 26, 2012. Shoot NYC has become a photography staple, a place where people can network, educate themselves on photographic tools, and foster a community with their fellow photographers. Free seminars and workshops ran both days and included a variety of topics ranging from how to create and maintain a photography business, to learning about key lighting modifiers and copyright information. These free seminars were incredible in terms of the quality of information, and our speakers spoke to packed rooms of eager photographers that wanted to enhance their photo businesses.

The broncolor Para family lights up Shoot NYC. Photo by Andre Rowe.

Lara Jade's business seminar focused on online marketing and promotion using social media tools and networking. Photo by Kermit Mercado and Victoria Harrington.

Rick Friedman spoke to a full house, and taught how to light on-location, with the use of Sunbounce reflectors. Photo by Kermit Mercado and Victoria Harrington.

Bryan O'Neil Hughes taught the ins and outs of Adobe Photoshop with on-screen instruction. Photo by Mike Hill.

Sunbounce, Sun-Sniper, broncolor, FOBA, Kobold and Visatec products were on the show floor for anyone to get their hands on and use. Shoot NYC also featured new products including the broncolor Move 1200 L battery pack, the Hasselblad H5D, the Sunbounce Bounce-Wall portable flash accessory, and the Sun-Sniper Pro-II camera strap.

The broncolor Move 1200 L battery pack was featured at Shoot NYC

The new Hasselblad H5D was available to see for the first time since Photokina. Peter Stig, Hasselblad product manager for the H system camera, spoke about the new H5D, including its technical advancements and new product features.

The Hasselblad station at Shoot NYC. Photo by Mike Hill.

A live shooting sets with photographers Franklin Thompson, Thomas Liggett, Gregor Halenda, Jodi Jones and David Perkins (with two dancers and a Ducati) were a main focal point. With an array of broncolor modifiers and Kobold HMIs, they played with light to create some amazing images.

Dancers Aaron and Kristin. Photo by David Perkins.

Photographer Franklin Thompson with dancers Aaron White and Kristin Yancy . Photo by Mike Hill.

Photo by Franklin Thompson.

The Ducati. Photo by Thomas Liggett.

In case you missed it, here are some video compilations of the speakers who talk about their businesses, their seminars and a little about themselves:

Shoot NYC 2012: Lindsay Adler, Kawai Matthews and Lara Jade from Hasselblad Bron Inc. on Vimeo.

Shoot NYC 2012: Rick Friedman, Ryan Enn Hughes, Arash Moallemi, Andre Rowe, Michael Grecco and David Robin from Hasselblad Bron Inc. on Vimeo.

Shoot NYC 2012: Chase Jarvis and Vincent Laforet from Hasselblad Bron Inc. on Vimeo.

The student event ran on late Friday afternoon with photographers/directors Chase Jarvis and Vincent Laforet, and was an informative Q&A session that spoke volumes on starting off as a photographer and following your dreams. “Rejection is another opportunity” and “don’t be incrementally better, be different” were some of the mottos behind the two. The students asked everything from “how to make it big” to “what was your biggest mistake,” and everything in-between.

Shoot NYC 2012: Peter Stig, Bryan O’Neil Hughes, Beth Taubner and John Harrington from Hasselblad Bron Inc. on Vimeo.

Shoot NYC 2012: Carrie McCarthy, Alexandra Niki, Aurelie Jezequel and Viktoria Sorochinski from Hasselblad Bron Inc. on Vimeo.

Shoot NYC 2012: Franklin Thompson, David Perkins and Jodi Jones from Hasselblad Bron Inc. on Vimeo.

We would like to thank our partners: Scheimpflug, Adorama, APA, Capture Integration, Fotocare, Resource Magazine, Digital Photo Pro, B&H, HD Video Pro, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, Lucie Foundation, ASMP NY, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Calumet and the Art of Photography Show.

And our speakers and photographers: Ghada Khunji,Viktoria Sorochinski, Rick Friedman, John Harrington, Lindsay Adler, Bryan O’Neil Hughes, Ryan Enn Hughes, Arash Moallemi, Alexandra Niki, Aurelie Jezequel, David Robin, Lara Jade, Peter Stig, Kawai Matthews, Michael Grecco, Chase Jarvis, Vincent Laforet, Andre Rowe, Jodi Jones, Franklin Thompson, David Perkins, Thomas Liggett and Jeff Mosier.

We would also like to thank our invaluable extra hands: Elizabeth Stacy and Ryan Burke,  and our army of interns.

Without all of you, this wouldn’t be possible.

And, let’s not forget, the infamous Flugoween Halloween party on Saturday night. After a long week of Shoot NYC and Photoplus, our team rallied together in our costumes and headed over to the event in Dumbo that was hosted with our good friends from Scheimpflug and Resource Magazine. There was an electric chair photo-op and enough food and beer to make anyone merry. Overall, it was a good time with good friends.

We are already looking forward to next year. Cheers!

Photos courtesy of: Kermit Mercado, Victoria Harrington, Ryan Burke, Andre Rowe, Mike Hill and David Perkins