Pages: [1] 2   Go Down

Author Topic: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31  (Read 2509 times)

iezhy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« on: January 28, 2018, 02:18:54 PM »

This might be a strange post, but please bear with me - I will split it into two parts - questions first, and back story later :)

I'm thinking on investing in used digital medium format system - preferably Hasselblad. For my budget I could afford either H3D-II 39 or H4D31.
I had a chance to shoot with H4D40 in a studio a while ago, and absolutely loved IQ - a completely different feeling from Canon 5DII/6D i used to own.

However, 40mp back is a tad too expensive, so I was leaning towards H4D31 - due true focus, which i loved. But upon some research i found that differences between 31 an 40 backs are not limited to pixel count, is that true? How does IQ compare between the two?

Another option is older generation H3DII-39 - it lacks true focus, but has bigger sensor and lower crop factor, supposedly it would have feel closer to my beloved 501C. How would IQ compare to H4D31?

And also, given the fact that both options are quite old, maybe just get a new 5Dmk4 and postpone dreams about MF till i can afford new generation?
Logged

iezhy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2018, 02:31:44 PM »

A bit of backstory - need both advice and validation on my own thoughts, but please bear with me, even if some questions sound quite amateur.

After a longer break I'm getting back to studio photography, and I'm thinking about going a digital medium format.

I'm leaning towards Hasselblad, as the studio I was renting used to have a Hasselblad H4D40, and I absolutely loved it - the feel, IQ compared to 35mm I had at the time, ease of post processing. The only annoying thing was high crop factor, we did not have much space, so some shots were a tight call.

Some of this nostalgia might be attributed to fact that I used to shoot a lot with film on V system (501c), and this was how I got into portraiture.
I still use it natural light/outdoor and personal projects - however due to long and unpredictable development times in local lab this is not an option for shoots when hard commitment on delivery date is required. Also, I prefer minimal retouch on film shots, which contradicts with studio setting (at least for me).

Most of my shoots are TFP projects, so budget is limited - but a view it as an expensive hobby rather something i do for profit.

For digital outdoor and casual photography I used a beat up Canon 6d with mixed set of primes. I was planning for a while to upgrade it to newer model - a 5d mk4 probably, but then got an offer to join on co-renting a studio. Thats then I started thinking and researching alternative option - instead of upgrading 35mm, sell some of less used lenses and maybe go for used Hasselblad? The only problem is i never had a chance to use these available models, and not sure how they compare IQ wise to new 35mm (maybe its not worth a hassle anymore?).

Also, I heard a lot of good words about pentax 645d, which also seems to be within budget. The only problem is that i never had a chance to try it - where i live to only option is to buy online.

Sorry for long, messy and complicated first post.

Any comments, tips, warnings and pointers will be highly appreciated
Logged

BobShaw

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1235
    • Aspiration Images
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2018, 04:12:22 PM »

I have never used a 500 series but have used all of H1, H2, H3, H4. It is a fabulous camera. Images quality and colour accuracy is much better than Canon etc. I have the H3DII-39 and use the back with an H4D. For things like product photography and art reproduction I don't think that you can beat it. For portraits etc I use both the Hasselblad and Canon. The Canon obviously has the advantage in low light. The Hasselblad with flash especially outdoors because of the high sync speed.
Logged
Website - http://AspirationImages.com
Fine Art Photography

epines

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 293
    • ethan pines photography
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2018, 06:15:33 PM »

This might be a strange post, but please bear with me - I will split it into two parts - questions first, and back story later :)

I'm thinking on investing in used digital medium format system - preferably Hasselblad. For my budget I could afford either H3D-II 39 or H4D31.
I had a chance to shoot with H4D40 in a studio a while ago, and absolutely loved IQ - a completely different feeling from Canon 5DII/6D i used to own.

However, 40mp back is a tad too expensive, so I was leaning towards H4D31 - due true focus, which i loved. But upon some research i found that differences between 31 an 40 backs are not limited to pixel count, is that true? How does IQ compare between the two?

Another option is older generation H3DII-39 - it lacks true focus, but has bigger sensor and lower crop factor, supposedly it would have feel closer to my beloved 501C. How would IQ compare to H4D31?

And also, given the fact that both options are quite old, maybe just get a new 5Dmk4 and postpone dreams about MF till i can afford new generation?

Before I upgraded to my current H5D-50 (CCD), I used an H3DII-39 for several years as my main workhorse camera. Loved it. Terrific image quality; reliable; great lenses; stable tethering into Phocus; an extensive system. Yes, it doesn't have True Focus, but I still found that just about every shot was sharp. Depends, of course, on your depth of field in the first place -- distance to subject, shooting aperture, wide vs longer lenses, etc.

The H4D-31 has a smaller sensor, as you know, and is 31MP. I wanted the larger sensor, so it wasn't a question for me. The H4D-31 has microlenses on the sensor, so it shoots a stop faster in terms of ISO. Whereas the H3DII-39 is clean enough to use up to ISO 200, and passable at 400 depending on the size of your final output, the H4D-31 will give you at least a stop more in ISO to work with. I've shot the H3DII-39 at 800 ISO before; it was chunky, but it works with the right subject matter. You basically should just consider the noise to be grain. H4D-31 can probably be described the same way at ISO 1600.

The H4D-31 will exhibit artifacts when shifting on a tech camera, if you ever do that.

Regarding the 5D IV question, I think if you want to shoot MF, do it. It's a pleasure. The large viewfinder experience alone is enough to justify this not-expensive choice. Plus faster sync speeds, overall better lenses (unless you're shooting in low light), rich image death and great ergonomics. One note: You won't be able to confirm sharp focus on the LCD of the H3DII-39. It's decent for evaluating the overall image, but it's not sharp when you zoom in to 100 percent, even if the image is.

Hope that helps. I can answer specific questions, if you have any.

ethan

BobShaw

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1235
    • Aspiration Images
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2018, 11:37:47 PM »

You won't be able to confirm sharp focus on the LCD of the H3DII-39. It's decent for evaluating the overall image, but it's not sharp when you zoom in to 100 percent, even if the image is.
ethan
That threw me the first time I observed it. i couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong so I had to run with it. They were fine in Phocus. Not sure if that is just because of the 3FR compression.
Logged
Website - http://AspirationImages.com
Fine Art Photography

David Watson

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 480
    • David Watson
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2018, 02:02:33 AM »

I have owned all of the H series cameras except the H5 and I am now on the X1D.  Personally if I was buying back into that format I would go for the H3D2-39.  I owned two of these for several years and they are very very good cameras.  Truefocus is an asset but it is ideally suited to handheld studio work at relatively close distances.  I had a 31 for a short time but quickly changed to the 39 which I liked more.  These cameras are now very good value second hand and are built to last a long time. 
Logged
David Watson ARPS

Steve Hendrix

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1442
    • http://www.captureintegration.com/
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2018, 04:30:12 PM »

That threw me the first time I observed it. i couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong so I had to run with it. They were fine in Phocus. Not sure if that is just because of the 3FR compression.


The rez of the LCD's on the H3D-II were 230,000 dots, half the H4D resolution. I remember being so excited about a 3" screen and then wondering "where's the beef"? The H4D 460,000 dot screen is nothing to shout about (by today's standards), but certainly much more usable than 230,000 dots.


Steve Hendrix/CI
Logged
Steve Hendrix 404-543-8475 www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Alpa | Cambo | Sinar | Arca Swiss

iezhy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2018, 11:11:14 AM »

Thank you everyone for your tips and advice

The H4D-31 will exhibit artifacts when shifting on a tech camera, if you ever do that.

no i do not, not sure what that even means :)

You won't be able to confirm sharp focus on the LCD of the H3DII-39. It's decent for evaluating the overall image, but it's not sharp when you zoom in to 100 percent, even if the image is.

i didn't know that, how to check focus then? use tethered mode with phocus only?

also, i have found that H4D31 does not support "latest" firmware for H4D, so "single button focus check" is not available. Does this mean its impossible to check focus on the back (same as H3DII, or that its possible but more complicated?



Logged

iezhy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2018, 11:17:33 AM »

Truefocus is an asset but it is ideally suited to handheld studio work at relatively close distances.

I mostly shoot handheld, so "studio at relatively close distances" quite matches :) actually i managed to get much better correct focus rate than with 35mm, probably thats why i loved this feature so much

I had a 31 for a short time but quickly changed to the 39 which I liked more.

any more reasons apart bigger sensor?


----

at this point i'm more leaning towards H4D31... unfortunately that good deal i was offered is gone, so I will have either save on H4D40, or settled for H3DII-39..

any more tips what to look at buying any of those used?


also, i'm still interested how those two compare to pentax 645d - seems to be not so much popular option for some reason
Logged

DougDolde

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 150
    • Images of the American West
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2018, 01:00:24 PM »

I had a Hasselblad HD3-31 a while back. It was OK but not nearly as good as my new Nikon D850.  A much better choice than an outdated medium format back.
Logged

David Watson

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 480
    • David Watson
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2018, 01:06:12 PM »

Worth having a look here.  Pro Centre is owned by Hasselblad.

http://www.procentre.co.uk/sales-secondhand-hasselblad-h-system.php
Logged
David Watson ARPS

Steve Hendrix

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1442
    • http://www.captureintegration.com/
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2018, 02:38:21 PM »

Thank you everyone for your tips and advice

no i do not, not sure what that even means :)

i didn't know that, how to check focus then? use tethered mode with phocus only?

also, i have found that H4D31 does not support "latest" firmware for H4D, so "single button focus check" is not available. Does this mean its impossible to check focus on the back (same as H3DII, or that its possible but more complicated?


Not having "single button focus check" only means you cannot dedicate a button that can zoom to 100% with one press. However, you can still press the zoom button and just hold it down until it gets to 100% (have done this for years).


Steve Hendrix/CI
Logged
Steve Hendrix 404-543-8475 www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Alpa | Cambo | Sinar | Arca Swiss

Joe Towner

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 904
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2018, 04:20:41 PM »

Do you still have your 500c?  Would a digital back for that work for you?  I see some P25/30 range items come up on eBay.

As to the 645D, it's a different camera.  Since it has a focal plane shutter, the lenses are much cheaper and even lower when dealing with 'A' manual focus lenses.  The chip is the same as the Hasselblad so base iso is 100.  There are some great works done with the 645d in the threads. 

I've got both a 645z and H4D-50 and normally carry the Pentax as I have more glass for it, a CMOS sensor for higher iso's & battery life.  I love everything about my Hass, but with only the 80mm & 1.7x I don't shoot her as much as I did when I started.  I am lucky in that I have local rental options on the Hass lenses, and depending on your needs, it may be something to consider.  KEH has a number of 'FA' auto-focus and 'A' glass for the Pentax 645, ditto Amazon and eBay.
Logged
t: @PNWMF

epines

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 293
    • ethan pines photography
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2018, 04:51:51 PM »


i didn't know that, how to check focus then? use tethered mode with phocus only?


I honestly never felt that I needed to check focus. I found the focusing to be very accurate, and I trusted it. It focused where I placed the AF point. (Single central point only.) I shoot people -- portraits, lifestyle -- so there's a lot of subject movement, which really puts an AF system to the test. I focused and recomposed all the time. And I found it to be excellent. Shooting tethered is great, and rock solid with Phocus, but of course you can't always do that.

iezhy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2018, 07:49:25 AM »

thank you all for advice

I honestly never felt that I needed to check focus. I found the focusing to be very accurate, and I trusted it. It focused where I placed the AF point. (Single central point only.) I shoot people -- portraits, lifestyle -- so there's a lot of subject movement, which really puts an AF system to the test. I focused and recomposed all the time.

I dont even doubt it reliable, I doubt my own skills - especially the shooting close portraits, and recomposing - e.g. focus on the eyes, recompose so the body fits - focus plane might shift and eyes are not in focus anymore :/
Logged

eronald

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6180
    • My gallery on Instagram
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2018, 12:52:25 PM »

thank you all for advice

I dont even doubt it reliable, I doubt my own skills - especially the shooting close portraits, and recomposing - e.g. focus on the eyes, recompose so the body fits - focus plane might shift and eyes are not in focus anymore :/

yes this is the problem which H4D Truefocus solves. I'm not sure the H4D31 has it though.

Edmund
Logged
My gallery on Instagram: https://instagram.com/edmundronald

landscapephoto

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 576
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2018, 04:54:02 PM »

yes this is the problem which H4D Truefocus solves. I'm not sure the H4D31 has it though.

As far as I know, all H4D have true focus, including the 31.
Logged

BobShaw

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1235
    • Aspiration Images
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2018, 07:03:32 PM »

As far as I know, all H4D have true focus, including the 31.
From personal experience, sometimes the reason True Focus doesn't work is that you haven't done the Viewfinder firmware update. Who'd have thought viewfinders have firmware. (;-)
Logged
Website - http://AspirationImages.com
Fine Art Photography

iezhy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2018, 05:09:31 AM »

From personal experience, sometimes the reason True Focus doesn't work is that you haven't done the Viewfinder firmware update. Who'd have thought viewfinders have firmware. (;-)

Thanks for the tip. Is it posdible to do on your own, or would I have to send camera in?
Logged

BobShaw

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1235
    • Aspiration Images
Re: Advice: buying used Hasselblad - H3DII-39 vs H4D31
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2018, 05:16:01 PM »

Thanks for the tip. Is it posdible to do on your own, or would I have to send camera in?
It is very easy using Phocus as for any other firmware update.
Go into settings and System information on the camera and record the body, back and viewfinder versions.
Search to the Hasselblad Support area for downloads and see what's there.
Download and save somewhere. Go to Firmware Updates in Phocus and pick them one by one. Fully charged battery of course.
Logged
Website - http://AspirationImages.com
Fine Art Photography
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up