Best Way to Buy a New Hasselblad?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Rafal Lukawiecki, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Things have moved on a bit since my yesterday's question about a Bronica SQ or an RZ67. My very understanding husband is trying to convince me (I still cannot quite understand why) to just go ahead, skip the eBay and all, and buy a new Hasselblad 503CW since perhaps that is what I have always wanted MF-wise.

    :surprised:

    I am not sure this is what I have always wanted, but a lot of happy users (and contributors here) may point to that conclusion. I have been doing photography for about 28 years, more arty and personal and definitely not as a pro. For the past 8 years I shoot 4x5 landscapes using a lovely Ebony but I have just started taking more portraits, indoors with studio flashes, and I am looking for a more handheld approach.

    I live in Ireland and I have looked at Robert White, Teamwork, Calumet, but I am wondering what would be the most economical and sensible way to go about getting this as a kit. Would anyone wish to recommend places to talk to? Should I make a pilgrimage of sorts to Gothenburg (I will be there in March anyway but if I buy I'd rather do it now) :smile:

    If you prefer to PM me with your experience I'd be happy to hear though I thought it might be interesting to get your suggestions for everyone's benefit.

    Naturally, I would like to get a nice deal on the kit.

    Thanks for your suggestions.
    Rafal
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2009
  2. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    I'll make one last pitch for almost new. With some email/phone communication with KEH you should be able to come up with a nearly new, this decade, 503CW and 80mm CFE or CFi lens. Assuming they will ship to Ireland. Next try: Forums like this, Rangefinder Forum, Large Format Photography Forum. Various U.S. dealers like Midwest, Igor's, Samy's. GOOGLE can find them.

    www.keh.com

    Q.C. will provide a link to the Hasselblad date code so you can shop by year of manufacture. It's easy.
     
  3. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Thanks - this is very useful though I fear the dreaded customs duty might make it less attractive than buying within EU. However if the price is way lower, it may make sense. I'll work through the sites...
     
  4. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    The Hasselblad historical site has the date coding; http://www.hasselbladhistorical.eu/

    There is a lot to be said for skipping ebay. While you might get a deal, you incur a lot of risk, KEH's prices tend to be around the average selling price on ebay, and you get a no questions asked return policy. But, my understanding is that their shipping out of the US is pretty costly. You would probably be better off working with a European or UK dealer, though the cost might be somewhat more. B&H or Adorama might be worth considering too.
     
  5. Larry.Manuel

    Larry.Manuel Member

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    Perhaps you might be happy with an overhauled H'blad from David Odess. He's well-respected. I suspect that you could place a standing order for the equipment you want, and he would notify you when it is available.

    http://www.david-odess.com/
     
  6. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Buy from KEH - credit card works better than cash :wink:

    The translation of the first to letter of the camera body, film backs, prisms is

    V H P I C T U R E S
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

    So RR would be 1988
    and SP would be 2003

    Steve
     
  7. rwboyer

    rwboyer Member

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    I personally would get a lightly used like new 503 and spend the savings on glass - like a 50 FLD, 110 planar/120 Mako and a 150 or 180 sonar with the three lenses (get all CFi used but like new)you can get the whole shooting match for less/same as a brand new 503 + 80 kit if you shop well.

    Really.

    I bought all my stuff new when the V system was still THE camera to have back in the 80's/90's/early 00's if I had to do it now i would go for the very very lightly used like new stuff and save a ton of money or better yet buy more glass/mags for the same.

    RB

    Ps. Your husband wants to buy something to.
     
  8. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    You can't use a 110 mm Planar on a 503. :wink:

    Buying used from across the Pond (KEH) is not such a good idea, no. Because taxes and duties (it's not what you have to pay for shipping) will indeed add a huge amount of money* to the total you have to pay. You would then end up paying too much really.
    Finding something used from a reliable source in Ireland or the rest of Europe (no taxes and/or duties to pay then) could save a good amount. These thingies are still rather expensive new. :sad:
    But where indeed?

    I'm not sure that Hasselblads are more affordable when you buy them (new) in Sweden. You may find they cost less elsewhere. The only/best way to find out is to search the net for dealers (Hasselblad's partner locator may help), and compare prices.


    *To give you an idea: it can easily amount to 30% extra, over the total of purchasing price + shipping.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2009
  9. rwboyer

    rwboyer Member

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    Oooops meant a 100 planar - my double ones vs double zeros. I wish I could type.

    RB

     
  10. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    I'm sorry to say that there is nothing much left of the "temple", sorry Hasselblad factory in Gothenburg nowadays. As Q.G. says Sweden isn't the cheapest place to source a new or lighty used 'blad either. Anyhow, you can most probably find a nice 503 anywhere in Europe (not excluding Sweden though :smile: ) at a good price.
    As for lenses. As you intend to shoot studio flash, the TTL/OTF flash meter will not work anyhow (you'll need a camera-mounted flash for that to work), but you have to rely on your existing meter and metering skills. (Which should be fine given your LF background.) Well, lenses: You can use any glass from the early chrome C lenses up to the modern CFi/CFe versions (except for the F/FE lenses which are intended for the 200-series). You'd probably want at least CF lenses, as they are easier to operate/manipulate than the older C lenses. Please note that you will not gain anything in terms of performance if you buy new or next to new glass as most of the lenses have been the same since the 60's. So e.g. a chrome C 150 Sonnar will probably perform equal to a brand new CFi Sonnar. (There have of course been updates to the lenses as well as there's been updates to the cameras. So newer glass does have somewhat better light dampening (?), but as always there's a balance between cost and performance. What I'm trying to say is that I'm very content with using (in my case) late C lenses, made in the mid to late 70's. I know that I will not gain anything of significance if I traded these lenses for newer or even new counterparts.)

    Anyhow, welcome to the wonderful world where you simply can answer "Yes" when people come up to you and ask "Is that a Hasselblad?". :smile: :smile:

    //Björn
     
  11. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Somewhat misleading...

    There ARE "Studio Flashes" that will interface with the OTF system; but they are *VERY* expensive (ProFoto has one, IMS.)

    Dedicated flash systems, from Hasselblad/ Metz, and other manufacturers, through SCA adapters, work WELL, and efficiently meter the flash component of the exposure.
    For painfully *fine* work, metering and calculating ratios, etc., is always necessary.
     
  12. Keith Cocker

    Keith Cocker Member

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    Robert White are excellent to deal with.
     
  13. mesh

    mesh Subscriber

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    One of the really nice things about a Hasselblad (or any other well made mechanical camera of course) is that after a CLA from a good tech, you essentially have a new camera. Not sure if you have a good Hasselblad tech in Ireland, but if you do, I'd be inclined to get almost any second hand 503CW you can find because the bucket load you will save can go into a CLA (think of it as insurance) and some nice glass.

    Any 503CW is going to be fairly new and (you would assume) in pretty good condition anyway. I just couldn't imagine it really being worth going for one new these days - certainly at prices they are here in Australia. A 'near mint' body tends goes for about a quarter of the new price. Your husband is a good man BTW! It's always worth getting EXACTLY want you want or you end up paying for it down the track anyway ;-)
     
  14. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    You're so helpful, thanks guys (and girls). It seems if I order from RW or elsewhere in London there is a 3 weeks wait before it arrives. I wonder if it is made to order? Everyone tells me this system (V) is being slowly phased out and the 503CW is the last one that would ever be made. I am finding that new prices in Europe are surprisingly on par with US for once.

    Thanks for comments about metering. I am more-than-happy with my L-508 and metering-wise for studio flash I find that just too straightforward to worry about the camera doing that job. What I am wondering, however, is if I would suddenly love taking the Hasselblad out in the open and missing some metering functionality. I guess it is not a pocket camera, but it would be nice not to lug the 508 with me. Still, I could get a small and dinky meter or just estimate - B&W film is so blissfully good for estimating...

    I am trawling through EU retailers now.

    Merry Christmas!
    Rafal

    PS. Husband says I don't like to have someone else's dings on my cameras, which is a bit true, but I have a few 2nd hand lenses, some bought from members here, which I like to use a lot with my LF.
     
  15. seoirse

    seoirse Member

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    Rafal,

    I own and use a very lightly used (near mint) Hasselblad 503CW which I bought from Ebay. The original owner lived in Northern Ireland so I had no customs duties etc to pay.

    Couldn't afford to buy new - although if your husband feels you deserve it then why not!

    I have to say i do not regret buying a nice used camera and it has performed faultlessly for me for the last few years.

    If you want to buy new then go through DML in ParkWay Industrial Estate beside the m50. They are the Hasselblad Stockists here in Ireland.

    Also, DML use a guy I have known for many years to service Hasselblads - his name is Alan McDonald and his phone number is 087 1350345. His business partner is Declan and his number is 087 9891001.
    I can recommend their work and they might even know of or have a Hasselblad that you can buy?

    Anyway, If you need to know more just send me a pm.

    S.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2009
  16. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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  17. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Welcome to the elite club of snobs! :wink:

    Steve
     
  18. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

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    Enjoy your 503CW if you get one Rafal - they are lovely cameras. But I would advise against joining Steve's club of snobs as it seems to involve a lot of tedious marketing obligations...

    Robert White are really very good to deal with if you decide to buy stuff from the UK. (I am considerably poorer as a result!)

    Ian
     
  19. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Hey, I am just jerkin' your chain which evidently I did. Come on Ian, you should know me better than that by now.

    Steve
     
  20. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

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    Thanks Steve. My chain was jerked, but I feel better as a result - just in time for upcoming Xmas lunch :D
     
  21. seoirse

    seoirse Member

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    Oh...forgot to add that you should join up with www.hasslbladinfo.com as there is a steady stream of hasselblad equipment placed in their classifieds for sale. European based too so there should be no mad taxes involved.
     
  22. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    Regarding the metering, there is a prism viewfinder which has a good meter in it. (Mine is called PM 51, but there are newer ones too. Anyhow mine works with the modern "Acute-matte" screens.) So, once you take your 'blad out for some fresh air, you can have the meter on the camera, including the "joy" of looking at a right turned picture. (The ground glass shows everything like a mirror.)
    Anyhow, one of my first experiences with a 'blad was taking it out on a walk with some TriX in it and a bog standard chrome 80mm in the front. No tripod, but handheld. Once I came home and developed the film (in standard D76 1+1) I put the film in my enlarger and just for the fun of it tried to make a 50x50cm print of the best negative (still handheld), which was very sharp and had very small and tight grain. I had no problems to continue to work with that negative in that size (even though I finally decided that it looked better when printed it smaller).
    As you come from the LF side of photography, you will get a pleasant surprise with the quality of both Hasselblad and modern rollfilm. While I really like LF, I don't find myself limited in terms of quality when I "only" bring my 'blad instead of a Sinar F2, as I usually don't print that big anyhow. (In my opinion, it's very hard to see the difference between LF and MF in print sizes up to about 12x16" or so, given the same care to the MF regarding tripods, metering, development etc.)

    //Björn
     
  23. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Thanks Everyone for all your advice. Thanks Seoirse for the Irish comments. :smile: I have sent a general "get back to me" to the retailers and I hope to make the purchase by Tuesday. :smile: Cannot wait!