Technology

100mp Phase One vs Canon 5DSR and A7RII: Architectural photography

What is the absolute best camera you can buy for Architectural photography? Many professional photographers would immediately say "medium format technical camera". For the longest time, I believed this to be true and assumed that for the absolute best image quality for the kind of work I do I would eventually need to upgrade to a medium format system. I believed this until I actually tried the system and made some objective comparisons.

In the video linked below, I demonstrate how medium format and Rodenstock lenses actually perform against full frame cameras and dispel some widely known "truths".  
 

Link to images  

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Fuji X100F vs XT-2 with 23mm F2

When it comes to APS-C cameras, Fuji may have some of the best currently available. This is one of the reasons why the X100F from Fuji is so popular. Even now months after its initial release, supply still has not caught up with the demand, the X100 series continues to be very popular. 

Like many Fuji shooters, I was interested in how the lens on the X100F compares against another similar lens, the XF23 mm F2 R WR. For this comparison, my good friend Chloé was kind enough to let me borrow her Fuji XT-2. This is quite obviously an unfair comparison and not at all meant to be used as a way of deciding which camera is better. Both cameras are meant for very different purposes, however, curiosity can be fun. 

Looking at the quick comparison above you can see how soft the X100F is when shot wide open, however, when you stop down to around F5.6 the difference is huge. The image sharpens up by a significant amount. 

When compared to the 23mm on the XT-2, the first thing is the size difference. To some, the smaller lens may be an advantage, although, the ergonomics suffer greatly on the X100F. The manual focus ring is really tricky to use and the aperture ring always seems to be a little out of reach and awkward to find. In comparison, the 23mm lens is a joy to use with its much larger focus ring and an aperture ring that's always easy to find. 

Holding the XT-2 is also much more pleasant with its better grip and button placement. I keep finding myself pressing the 'Q' button on the X100F which is a little frustrating not to mention the difficulty of holding it for long periods of time due to the lack of a proper grip. 

I didn't test the focusing speeds extensively, however, in general, they didn't seem to be very different in performance. The XT-2 did seem a little snappier and nailed focus quicker and more easily. The X100F however, is no slouch and has been vastly improved when compared to the last model. 

Also, the extra card slot on the XT-2 is extremely useful. Some may say it's not a big deal but whilst filming the video below, the SD card I was using in the X100F failed and it meant I lost all of the images that were taken on the day. It's not a huge issue for a camera like this but it's an issue nonetheless.  

Comparing image quality from both lenses up close, the 23mm on the XT-2 is noticeably sharper. The X100F is known to be quite soft wide open and has an almost glowing haze over the image. This haze also means that adding sharpening in post doesn't improvge things very much. 

As you start to stop down, around F4.5 it becomes very difficult to differentiate the two lenses. I might even go as far as to say the X100F could be a little bit sharper around F5.6. All in all both lenses perform incredibly well at most apertures although the X100F suffers quite badly wide open.
Some have suggested that when shooting at distances, the haze on the X100F isn't noticeable meaning both will perform at a similar level even wide open. 

For a more detailed comparison please check out the video below. 

 

 

When full-frame outperforms medium format... Hasselblad H6D-100c review

Ever since I got into photography medium format has been something I've admired from a distance, mainly due to the price. Countless conversations with peers and other photographers lead me to believe that medium format was THE system to use if you wanted the best possible image quality. Over the last few months, I've had the pleasure of being able to test and use the Hasselblad H6D 100c, to determine just how good this system actually is.

To begin, we can have a quick look at the images above, although both have been shot using a 100mm focal length, the difference is very clear. This is because the Hasselblad has a much larger sensor allowing for a much larger angle of view, with the same depth of field of a Tele lens. This is essentially the "medium format look". The colours are the other thing you may notice and how the Hasselblad has much cleaner and detailed colours. The Sony, on the other hand, is quite muddy and muted in comparison. 

There is a slight issue when shooting wide open with medium format and that is the focusing system. With the Sony, it's fairly straight forward in that you can choose where you want to focus using a single point. The Hasselblad, however, relies on focus and recompose. The difference is quite significant with the eye being out of focus. Focus recompose can be effective with Hasselblads "True Focus" mode, however, this method is still not perfect especially if your subject is moving or moves slightly. The flagship medium format cameras are in dire need of a proper focusing system. 

The second set of images were shot in a studio with controlled lighting and settings for optimal performance. The left image was shot with the Hasselblad using the 150mm f3.2N and the right is with the Sony A7RII and Canon 100mm Macro. Once again you can see how the colours from the Hasselblad are far more vibrant and detailed due to the 16bit RAW files. Both images have been shot wide open to demonstrate what each lens is fully capable of. Once you zoom into the eye of the soft toy you can see far more detail from the Canon/Sony combination than you can from the Hasselblad system. The lenses from the Hasselblad are much softer and lack a huge amount of detail. This is extremely surprising especially considering the massive price difference. This terrible performance seems to be a common trait of most if not all Hasselblad lenses. 

Although I discussed colours as being a great feature for medium format, it's not something that limits full frame. Taking a look at the images above, the left is again the Hasselblad with the 150mm and the right image was shot using the Canon 5DS with the Zeiss 135mm f2. I don't need to discuss which lens is sharper and more detailed, obviously, it's the Zeiss by a huge margin. The colours, however, are very close and this is simply done by adjusting the white balance and adding a little vibrance. Adding a little bit of vibrance can really shrink the gap between both systems. 

Ultimately, the Hasselblad suffers from ridiculously bad build quality, it's very cheap and unacceptable considering the huge price tag. The system and software is buggy and glitchy, it still uses an outdated focusing system and the lenses perform far below what's currently available for full frame. Due to this, it's not a viable option for professionals. The reason people say medium format is worth the huge price tag, is because it supposedly produces the best in terms of image quality. This of course is not true at all and the evidence can be found in this comparison and the video linked below. Many professionals who use Hasselblad will more than likely defend it due to the amount they've probably paid for it and do to the brands current reputation. This I think will change if Hasselblad do not make some major changes and people start to realise it's very apparant shortcomings. 

iPhone 7 plus vs 100mp Hasselblad

When it comes to unfair comparisons, this one probably takes the cake. The thing is, there's something quite interesting about nonsense comparisons and that's why I decided to do this one. 

Check out the video and find out if the iPhone has any chance against the £30,000 medium format camera from Hasselblad. 

Download the images using the link below.