Here it is, my first roll of medium format!!! All taken on the Hasselblad 500c/m, which is a completely manual camera. That means that I had to use a meter to get the correct exposure, and I had to manually focus (which is possibly the trickiest bit, even using zone focus).

On the whole I’m very happy with how the roll turned out, I didn’t play it safe, I tried a couple of long exposures which take a lot of calculating due to film reciprocity. The long exposures were darker than I would like, but that means next time I’ll take this into account.

The images were scanned in on my own scanner which means the quality is not up to a high standard (generally usable for being viewed on a mobile but not for my large Mac or being blown up for a wall).

The images were shot on Illford’s HP5 400 speed film. It’s a film I’ve used a lot in the 35mm format and I’ll still keep using it in 120.

So here it is, the very first test shot – nothing special but exposed correctly and in focus!

I went out into the fields in South Yorkshire and tried to capture the beautiful crop we had this spring. The third and forth are the long exposures.

As you can tell, the long exposures aren’t exposed correctly.  The first long exposure I did was quite funny, I originally set the shot up on the Fuji X-T2 with the 10stop ND filter, this gave me a certain exposure (around 2 seconds), I then moved the filter onto the Hasselblad and started to calculate the reciprocity affect to give me an exposure for the film. Unfortunately whilst I was doing this a giant black cloud came and completely covered the sun and the sky.  I tried waiting but the cloud was not going to budge. So I added a few seconds to the exposure time hoping this would counter the loss of light.  Obviously, I didn’t add enough. This was a shame, but it’s all part of the process of shooting film manually.  If I’d really wanted the original shot I could have waited the 30 minutes it took for the cloud to move and for the sun to come back out, but I didn’t wait and this is what I got.

Below are my two favourite photos from the roll. When I thought of medium format before seeing the photos these are what I had in mind.  The tulips are perfect, the definition between light and dark is exactly how I’d envisioned the shot. For me the tulips have a fine art quality that I’m always trying to add into my photography. And the first shot is of my grandfather. I asked him to move into that seat by the window for the evening light and I metered both the light and the shadow to give myself an average exposure. This was quite a slow shutter speed to be handheld (especially with the big clap of the Hasselblad mirror!) so I’m so happy that this is in focus.


The final two images are of Camilla and Binky. These are one off shots, I didn’t take a few just in case. And that is something that I’m pleased with, normally I have a tendency to overshoot with digital just in case. But these are images that I metered, focused and composed with intention. Obviously I’m still learning how to compose through the Hasselblad prism and with the square 6x6 image, but I’m still happy with the detail and the depth of these images.

Overall, I’m very happy with the outcome – I really enjoyed the process and I’m relieved that the end results are usable.

Lots to learn still, but super excited to carry on shooting fully manual with medium format.

And, yes, the negatives are huge!!