In this gear series, I want to show you my favorite cameras and tell you a bit about the format and what it is I love most about them. We've already talked about my favorite square format camera, and today I'm going to talk about my love for the Hasselblad H1.
Yesterday, I showed on Periscope the H1 and some of the functions (the replay of that video is at the end of this post). But today, I'll go into a bit more depth about how I came to love this camera.
When I started shooting film I only had a hand me down Minolta x-700 35mm. It was great, but when I started learning more about the craft, I knew I wanted to shoot medium format. I took a short online class and ordered my first 645, the Mamiya 645 ProTL. With a dark screen, manual focus, and a big learning curve, I spent the next 18 months with that camera, learning and perfecting manual focus, and lugging it around everywhere. I began to get tired of the weight of it and the darker screen and moved on to the Pentax 645n paired with the Pentax 67 105mm lens. It was night and day. Literally, the screen was like bright sunshine compared to the mamiya screen! I fell in love with that 105 lens and that made up for the fact that the Pentax was so loud it woke sleeping babies during my shoots. I started shooting more weddings and felt very self conscious about shooting the Pentax at the ceremony. I knew I needed something a little quieter and easier for weddings, since at the time it seemed that was the direction I wanted. I took a big gulp, and rented the Contax. And I loved it. At first. It was another night and day situation. SO different than the Pentax, and finally auto focus! Hooray!! Except there were so many reasons I grew to realize that made the camera not right for me. After a few months, I rented the H1, and boom. I knew, KNEW, that was it. The feel, ergonomics, the AF was fast and spot on, the meter was accurate, the weight was just right, the lens was beautiful and the buttons were perfectly placed for my hands and flow of shooting.
I started shooting it with my kids, and they were in focus. My crazy boys, who unless I bribed them with every ounce of candy in the house, did not sit still, were in focus. It was a damn miracle!
I finally felt like I had my fit. And in the last year and half I've been shooting with it, I haven't felt even the slightest twinge of desire to look for a different system. And if you get anything out of my previous paragraphs, it's definitely that I get that twinge often.
Still have questions about the H1? Comment here or on our FB page!