Monday, February 13, 2012

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Ahhh, but when I see images like this I'm reminded how remarkably potent the H3DII-31 performs! This is an iPhone pic of the back of my H3DII-31 during a client shoot.

I have an interesting dilemma to share with you guys. It's a little game of "Should I Stay or Should I Go"

Off the top of my head I own the following:

-24-70mm f/2.8G
-70-200mm f/2.8G
-14-28mm f/2.8G
-50mm f/1.8D
-85mm f/1.4D
-105mm f/2.8 (Sigma)
-300mm f/4

-HC 80mm
-HC 200mm

-24-70mm f/2.8L
-14mm f/2.8
-50mm f/1.4
-85mm f/1.8

A little history on these systems. I've shot Nikon since 1995 (film) and when I went digital, I stayed with Nikon. I acquired most of my Nikon gear before even becoming a professional photographer.

I acquired the Hasselblad in 2010 when I felt the need for more megapixels, dynamic range, and more detail. It serves its purpose as my "client/campaign camera" when the clients need more detail for ads. It also serves a unique psychological function in allowing me to differentiate myself from the rest of the market. Most of my competitors don't own or shoot digital medium format.

A couple of months ago, I decided to stop waiting for Nikon to get their act together regarding video. This was pre D800 and D4 announcement and I felt the urge to make a decision regarding the future of video. I purchased a used 7D and assortment of new lenses from B&H. I've shot 2 videos on this system and plan on making more videos going forward.

The question is, does it make sense to run 3 parallel systems? Probably not. Especially now that the D800 and D4 have at least matched what the 7D does in video. But if I sold my Canon gear, the 5DMIII and 7DMII would undoubtedly have better video capabilities than the D4/D800 which would leave me in virtually the same conundrum that got me into Canon in the first place.

And then there's the Hasselblad. The D800 closes the gap between 35mm and digital MF. While the difference in sensor size will always remain, they've at least currently closed the megapixels gap between the 31 and 40MP Hasselblads. Dynamic range? Of course not. The dynamic range on a larger sensor will inevitably be better. And of course Hasselblad and PhaseOne have their higher MP sensors from 50MP to 80MP. But temporarily speaking, the Nikon D800 seemingly creeps into the digital MF territory with its unreal 36MP and makes me reconsider owning a H3DII-31.

Only time will tell and it's very likely that I'll run these 3 separate systems for a while. The one most likely to get divested is the Hasselblad system because I find that I use it so infrequently these days that I might as well just retain the lenses and just rent when necessary. However, for the amount I could potentially recoup, I could very well just keep it.

It's fun to think about gear now and then though... part of what makes photography interesting!


  1. hi charles my name is david and im thinking of getting a nikon a canon man..but im about to make the switch..and i was looking at getting a d3 or the d3x but now the d800 and d4 or coming..what do you think i should do because my images dont look as crisp as i need them shoot on a canon t2i and yes the megapixels are ok but the clarity is never as sharp or as details as yours..which nikon should i choose to upgrade to?

  2. I think first it's important to define "crisp". They might be a result of user/camera induced focusing issues, depth of field issues, glass issues, sensor issues. I think you must define that your issue of crispness can be resolved by a different body before deciding whether or not to purchase a new camera body much less a Nikon camera body.

    My images are simply resized too. They're never sharpened. I don't think my images are sharp at all actually.