Since I received my demo X1D it has been a love hate relationship. The lenses and the image quality were offset by poor speed and buggy firmware. It improved gradually but the latest version has made a real difference.
The electronic shutter and the resizable focus points speed up the cameras operation considerably, not only has it become quicker to use I have recently discovered thats its tethered studio operation is amazing- go figure its actually a spectacular portrait camera.
The electronic shutter has a couple of drawbacks-
It will band badly under certain types of artificial light.
It won’t sync with flash because of the rolling shutter.
This same shutter can give some jello effects to moving objects.
As a professional working camera it is a real contender and works well with studio flash at 1/2000, the Profoto B1 is especially good. I have also shot it using Fiilex LED and the results are very good. I am finding I am shooting at 400, 800 and 1600 iso just because I can and the quality at high ISO is outstanding.
Tokyo is an easy city to shoot, even with the Hasselblad H6- usually a digital but for this trip it reverted to its roots with the addition on a film back.
Back in the day the Hasselblad square format was the “go to” camera for some big time photographers names like Bailey, Weston, Avedon and many more. I first encountered a 503cx when I started as an assistant many years ago and subsequently learnt my trade on this body, from that point on I was hooked.
The square format worked for me and still does even though the larger Mamiya cameras were more common and your average art director seemed more at home with the rectangular format the lenses with their Zeiss optics made the images from the little Swedish box shine with a special something.
Fast forward to digital and even Hasselblad has moved to the more common 6 x 4.5 format and so it was with a back loaded with Kodak Ektar that I hit the streets of Ginza.
Colour negative film has a certain latitude that transparency or positive film does not but still it requires fairly accurate metering to get the best out of it and the H6 managed quite well, it also helps that I have access to one of the best scanners made- the Hasselblad X5.
Film has the benefit of being scalable, meaning you can pretty much produce a file that will print to any size given the right scanner especially the larger medium format film- this is where the medium format quality comes into its own, big pictures.
Ginza is premium shopping district in Tokyo so all the big international brands are there and no one shops like the Japanese, it’s a national pastime and obsession. I don’t think I know of any country that takes consumerism to the level that the Japanese manage.
All in all its a great feeling to shoot a camera designed with a 100mp back in mind using film, it really is an experience even though it isn’t square or 6 x 6 for that matter.
Not a big fan of big lenses, very unwieldy and embarrassing to pull out in public plus they are usually pretty disappointing when it comes to sharpness. The Pentax 150-450 although living up to big and embarrassing seems to break the rule of unsharp. Nice. The K-1 is one excellent camera, I haven’t shot my Canon DSLR for a while but I can safely say that the K-1 is a better experience all round. Its a testement to Pentax that with the same sensor as the Nikon D810 the K-1 can out perform the Nikon- well done Pentax.
Its an amazing camera in low light. I have tested up to 3200 and it is amazing, I would say that shooting night and interiors under natural lighting will be a strong point of this camera. Its auto white balance seems to be very accurate as well. Great colours and sharpness under mixed lighting.
So one of the great benefits of the X1D is the shutter in the lens- turn day into night shooting at 1/2000 of a second with the little Metz on camera flash. Bit harsh but a great look in black and white. I have to say, under this light EVERY crease and wrinkle pops out so maybe not one for the self conscious, heaps of character and coupled with the 50mp sensor it is pretty mind blowing.
Its an amazing lens, I reckon it will be a classic portrait and fashion lens. Apologies for the self portrait- 50mp selfie! Shot at f3.2 with two lights. Amazing focus fall off, its perfect for sharp eyes and smooth fall off.
Summer is on its way and the X1D handles the high contrast sunlight like a champion. Medium format sensors have enough headroom to hold the whites of the surf and give you shadow details as well.
It may be a little slow to start but once it gets up and running it works as quick as most of the current smaller sensor mirrorless cameras. The latest firmware update is starting to show the potential of the system and the lenses are still amazing.
Ok so its here but its a demo version which is not quite complete when it comes to features- firmware updates are on their way but suffice to say the beast feels great and shoots pretty well. I picked it up at the end of the day so the files are shot at 3200 ISO and processed in Phocus 3.1. Phocus definitely handles files better than Adobe, the output has less noise and better tonal gradation with brilliant colour.
Adobe seems to process things a bit warm and noisy, to be fair, its personal preference and most people will not pick the difference.