The Rolex Daytona Ref. 116500LN (full hands on detailed review here) is a super popular sports Rolex model, with an almost perpetual waiting list. We feature a user watch today, complete with dirt, and dust of a well loved watch worn on a daily basis.
We return to large format Watchscapes with the Rolex Daytona in this article. Following each photograph is a link to a wallpaper sized image with 1920 pixels across.
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Camera setup: Hasselblad H3D-39 with HC4/80 + H26 + HTS 1.5
All the photographs on this page were made with a Hasselblad H3D-39 with the HC80mm lens with the H26 extension tube. In addition we used the Hasselblad HTS 1.5 to perform the advanced tilt and shift functions. We explain as follows:
The H3D-39 is a camera with a 40 Mp CCD sensor. It was in production from about 2006 to 2009, and was the third iteration of the H camera series made by legendary camera maker Hasselblad. This particular example was made circa 2009. Hasselblad updated the camera to H3D-39ii soon after this camera was purchased and have continued to develop the system, and is now in the sixth iteration. The current version is the H6D-100.
The digital sensor on the H3D is quite large at 49mm x 36mm. This sensor size is a bit larger than double the area of 35mm film, or what the digital photography world calls “Full Frame”. An example of a full frame camera is the Leica SL Type 601 which we reviewed recently.
This results in a very high resolution and very detailed photographs. The microtonal and microcolour gradations are also very fine, and this allows for beautiful and smooth gradations across the image.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116500LN
The first image is what the industry calls the “Cobra” image, and displays the watch head in a cobra-like strike position, with the back (top) of the bezel tilted back. The other images all also feature the watch at an angle to the camera sensor.
This presents some difficulty in obtaining an image which is sharp from the near side (bottom of the bezel) all the way to the far side (top of the bezel), as in macro working distances, depth of field is very small.
Used in this combination (HC80 + H26), at minimum focus distance, the magnification is approximately 0.47x. Without extension, the HC80 produces an image with a 0.15x magnification. The depth of field at this working distance is very small. Even at f/11 used here, only about 1/3 of the frame will be in sharp focus.
To increase the depth of field in order to achieve these images, where the entire watch is in focus, I used the Hasselblad HTS1.5. This is an adapter which features geared tilts and shifts. The HTS 1.5 does this with optics – viz 6 elements in 5 groups. This increases the focal length of the HC80 from 80mm to about 120mm and also enlarges the image circle projected by the combination to enable the lens to be shifted and tilted. Interestingly, magnification remains unchanged.
The HTS 1.5 goes between the extension tubes and the camera body. This device allows the lens to be tilted with respect to the sensor plane, changing the plane of focus.
Sufficient tilt is applied with the HTS to coincide its plane of focus to the plane of the dial. This ensures that the entire dial is in focus, even though it is nearer to the sensor at 6 than it is at 12. The operating principle in optics is known as Sheimpflug Principle.
In the image above, the flash is intentionally arranged to provide a slight glare on the left side of the dial, to show the sapphire glass of the Daytona. As you can see, even with maximum tilt applied, the depth of field is insufficient to render the entire bezel and dial in focus. Focus dropping off on the near and far sides. To get the entire watch in focus in this extreme position, we can employ another technique – focus stacking. I will leave that for another day.
I hope you have enjoyed and learnt a bit about photographing your watch. In this article, I have employed the use of the Scheimpflug Principle to achieve a wider depth of field. Admittedly, this technique requires the use of expensive equipment in the form of a tilt shift adapter. The Hasselblad HTS 1.5 alone costs about US$5,400.
Similar results can be achieved with shift and tilt lenses designed for other systems. For example, Canon and Nikon makes a series of tilt shift lenses. And also some third party manufacturers like Schneider, Samyang, Laowa and Rokinon make them for Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts. Other manufacturers like Kipon and Fotodiox and Novoflex also make various adapters to allow tilt and swings. Of interest is the Novaflex bellows system which includes a macro bellows and a special Schneider Kreuznach macro lens. These use the same optical principle to achieve similar results.
What do you think you’re doing taking pack shots at 9.15, 9.40 ?! How about the black dial? Any difference in techniques?
I don’t understand what you mean by pack shots.
Black dials are photographed the same way. The only thing to be careful of is placement of the flash, and ensuring that it is not caught in the photograph as a hot spot. If the dial is black and curved with a curved crystal, like many Mosers, this presents a more significant challenge, and the standard way to deal with this is by keeping the watch and camera still, but moving the flash heads to different locations. Each location will have its own hot spot, and the final image is a composite with no hot spots.
Nice work but the watch should have been cleaned before appearing in the spotlight.
Thanks for your comment. But it was the intention and artistic call not to clean the watch, as this is not a commercial shoot. But to show the watch, as loved. I also intentionally did not adjust time to 10:10:35.