Does anyone here use a Hasselblad for everyday photographic fun?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ted_smith, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

    Messages:
    416
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    uk
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi

    Further to http://www.apug.org/forums/forum45/98104-ive-had-all-my-gear-stolen.html, I have been weighing up whether to restock on Nikon equipment, or move to film Hasselblad.

    I've never, ever, considered Hassies before because I had so much Nikon stuff that I didn't want to sell and Hassies were always so expensive and beyond my reach. But now that's all been stolen, I know I won't be able to replenish all that Nikon equipment with the money I've been given by way of compensation (£1,500). So I'm thinking of just treating myself to a H System Hassie - I've always dreamed of owning one but never had the money to get one, and while I had Nikon equipment, I didn't see the point in necessarily discarding it all. In addition, my style of photography these days is mostly that of landscapes and photographing my kids with the occasional wedding here and there (friends of friends). Gone are the days or rolling around in muddy fields photographing dog shows and things like I used to with my Nikon kit.

    I've done my research and gather that the V system, 503cx, is the way to go and for £1,500 I could get a decent one with standard 80mm Zeiss lens. OK, I won't haver the range of optics I had before, but I'll have a camera setup which I can be really proud of and which should be suitable for most of my photography needs (landscapes, family shots and I'll be the business for those occasional weddings).

    I'm just worried though that somehow it won't be for me. Hassies are for top level fashion photographers and the like - not people like me who shoot the odd landscape, the odd wedding and their kids playing in the park. So I'm not sure if it's an overindulgence. So my question is - does anyone else here use a Hassie for "everyday" photography, or are they only ever used by pros?

    And lastly, just how much better is an 80mm Carl Zeiss Plannar lens over a 50mm 1.4 manual focus Nikon lens? Is the quality difference enough to merit the price difference? YouTube sugests it is as everyone raves on about the colour and contrast that CZ lenses produce. But I'd be intrigued to get a more knowledgable verdict.

    Ted
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2011
  2. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Location:
    Metro DC are
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The "H" system is the newer 645/digi series.
    The 6x6 500 series is the "V" (for victor) series.

    IMO while you can shoot action with a 'blad its not where it excels.
    Focussing with a 500 series is quite bit slower and you can miss some in the moment shots although this will come down to your experience/skill with the camera.

    Zeiss for hasselblad will deliver contrast, and punch with color materials.
    No doubt.

    Wether you like the look is down to your vision.
    I certainly do.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2011
  3. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Westminster,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Hasselblads were always to domain of wedding photographers. Ansel Adams used a Hasselblad for landscapes. Fashion photography is not dominated by Hasselblad users.

    The important consideration is this, does the format work with your photographic expression?

    I recommend testing before buying. Make sure it is correct for your photographic eye before spending money.
     
  4. Dave in Kansas

    Dave in Kansas Member

    Messages:
    304
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Location:
    Eastern Kans
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use a 500 C/M for pictures of my family and landscapes. I shot a roll at a tractor show last year and it worked well for that. It is not my primary most used camera and I tend to rotate between several different cameras depending on what I want to use. It works well for what I use it for, but sometimes I ask myself if I could only have one of my cameras, which would it be? I really don't know.

    For faster paced work, I generally prefer my Mamiya 645. I've never shot a wedding, but if I did I would probably choose the Mamiya.

    My suggestion would be to find a Hasselblad to borrow and see if it suits your style.

    Dave
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,947
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I used a Hasselblad for pretty much everything for a couple of years. Landscape, weddings, portraits, low light long exposures, hand held it a lot even...

    Once you get used to it, it's actually a very versatile camera. It isn't particularly quick, but once you have the film wound to a new frame the only thing left that takes a bit of time is focusing. It's also tough to change the aperture on the fly, IF you have sudden changes in lighting conditions.

    I would vow that using it as an every day camera for nearly everything, it would be wise to try one out first.

    - Thomas
     
  6. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

    Messages:
    797
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Location:
    IN
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    For a long time it was the only camera that I used. I carried it daily, mostly handheld, lowlight, bright sun, professional jobs, street, i used it for everything, and it was great. Focusing is a tad slow for me though. It was and still is a great camera.
     
  7. AgentX

    AgentX Member

    Messages:
    203
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I don't use a Hassy for general photography, but a Rollei...

    If you don't need the interchangeable backs and are planning on sticking with an 80mm, could be an option as well. I prefer the quieter operation without the moving mirror and consequent finder black-out. If parallax would be a massive problem for your photos, that could be the deal-breaker, but unless your shooting regularly requires scientifically precise relationships between objects, it's likely to be a non-issue. I prefer waist-level finders, so the Rollei's ergos work nicely for me...at eye level they kind of suck.

    Also not the greatest for close-ups, but the Rolleinar attachments are really quite good and have worked excellently for me close-in with baby and pets.


    Mamiya TLRs might be a cheaper and more versatile, if bulkier, option to try out 6x6 for a while, with interchangeable lenses to boot. Parallax can be completely negated with them if you're shooting static subjects from a tripod, too. (Or a Mamiya 6?)

    Very best thing you could do would be renting or borrowing a Hassy 500-something and giving it a whirl for a few days.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2011
  8. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

    Messages:
    875
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I had a similar experience to Thomas. I bought a Hassy 500 series camera and used it for general photography for about a year. They are excellent cameras. Extremely well built and the lenses are very good. I sold my camera because I never did get used to the square format. I found I ended up cropping most photos to fit 8x10. I ended up with a Mamiya 7II. The 6x7 frame fits my vision much better than the square format. I also picked up a cheap Mamiya RZ67 for use in the studio. Your milage may vary. If you want to shoot the square format, then it is hard to beat a Hassy. Before plunking down the money, try to rent or borrow one first.
     
  9. Trond

    Trond Subscriber

    Messages:
    717
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use my Bronica S2A for general photography, including family snapshots. A bit slower than 35mm perhaps, but with a little experience it works well.

    Trond
     
  10. pgomena

    pgomena Member

    Messages:
    1,363
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, Or
    As folks above have said, it's a hand-holdable rig but not as fast to handle as 35mm. I almost always have mine on a tripod, but that's just me. Yes, the lenses are great and you'll notice a difference in image quality and contrast over 35mm, but remember that you're making a bigger negative. You're going from 1.5 square inches of film to 5 square inches. That's a big difference. (Compare transparencies from 35mm to Hasselblad. It's an experience!)

    If you're a zoom lens shooter, you'll miss that capability. Get used to moving the camera around more or just not making shots that can't be zoomed into a tighter composition. I don't consider it a handicap - I just make a different-looking shot than could be made with a zoom lens.

    I really like the system in general. If you look through the camera using the acute-matte screen and the prism finder, you really appreciate the quality of the optics. As my eyes age, I much prefer it to squinting through a 35mm viewfinder. I use my camera primarily for landscape and other outdoor work, but it was a standard tool for the wedding industry.

    Ditto folks' advice to borrow or rent one for a few days. Rent a couple of different lenses if you can. People have very different views about their favorite lenses. I don't have a particular favorite, but I find I use the 120mm as much or more than the standard 80mm. Again, that's just my preference and how I shoot.

    Peter Gomena
     
  11. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    19,446
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For many decades I used 35mm slrs exclusively. I inherited my father's Mamiya C330 with every device, attachement and lens in the know world for it. I never liked it as a teenager, and liked less as an adult. I traded it in for a 503CX and never looked back. I also have a 903 CF SWC. Now 35mm is for when I do not have time and just want to grab photographs on the fly, for example when I am travelling lightly. For everything that is serious, I use the Hasselblad even when I am off-roading [read: action photographs and landscapes]. I use the Hasselblad on almost all trips and vacation. If I will want to make quality prints I use the Hasselblad. This includes taking photographs of the grandchildren.

    The Graflex Model D and the Pacemaker Speed Graphic are used when I want to experiment with 4"x5" hand held or for using shift and tilt movements to learn about them. I choose LF over the Hasselblad FlexBody because of the cost of the FlexBody and limited movements. If I really get into movements, I may reconsider the FlexBody. My Zeiss lenses will work on the FlexBody; the ArcBody would require purchasing Rodenstock Lenses.

    When I want to play around and experiment, I use LF. If I want to product high quality work or do not plan on experimenting with movements, the the Hasselblads are my go to cameras.

    Steve
     
  12. amac212

    amac212 Member

    Messages:
    95
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    East Coast,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The 503cw is my primary camera. I absolutely love the handling and output of the hasselblad v series which is a fabulously manual body.

    Last week in the woods, I turned to see a large buck headed like a freight train right for me. It decided to veer off and pass/cross in front of me and then it stopped and stared. I wanted to reach into my camera bag, compose a shot and click... but knew the only picture I could take on the fly before the moment was over was in my mind's eye. There have been other moments like this. Gone...

    Nevertheless, it is still my favorite camera. I absolutely love the method of measuring the light, setting the exposure values and manually focusing... but again -it's a slow endeavor. Oh - and the focus rings have more tension than my old Canon equipment. One must grab the lense around the barrel and turn - not just nudge it with a finger. Depending on your style of shooting, some of this may be an issue.

    Naturally there are no black and white answers and no one can make the decision but you yourself. Give it a try! I add to those who encourage you to rent first. It may generate other questions for which you'd like some feedback or seal the deal for you whether it's a yay or a nay. Cheers!
     
  13. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    19,446
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The 503CX with the 45 degree angle finder handles like a slightly large 35mm camera with changeable film backs sans a zoom lens.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

    Messages:
    6,225
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I really love MF and the Hassy V system, but it is rediculous as an every day camera (my opinion, please feel free to feel otherwise)... just like LF is rediculous as an every day system, and I love that even more. I use 35mm film as my every day system. If I had to start over again I would have to consider "the other alternative" (not Hassy, though) since film/processing is getting more and more scarce, and the standard expectation is quick turnaround or "the other alternative" media.

    It all depends on what is meant by the term "every day photographic fun". I generally intrepreted that as taking pics of family, kiddie sports, and places visited. My selfish fun ALWAYS consists of MF and LF.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,183
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Try something in medium format first before you decide.

    Personally, I like having lots of choices available to me. Many prefer to have their choices limited.

    The 645 cameras are decent compromises.

    This: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum379/96737-mamiya-pro-tl-system-lenses.html

    and this: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum379/98882-fs-mamiya-645-pro-tl-45-80-150-210-lenses-2-backs-motor-grip.html

    will give you some sense about what you can get in fairly complete Mamiya 645 systems for your money.

    I wouldn't start with a full system though - you need to decide for yourself first which approach to take.
     
  17. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

    Messages:
    764
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Me too ... Love my mamiya 7.
     
  18. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,307
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Location:
    florida
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have a 500CM and 503CX as well as a 4x5 field camera. I use the Hasselblads for most of my images having switched many years ago from a Bronica S2A. Before that I used 35mm. I do have a couple of Nikons but rarely use them. Since I do my own printing (BW) I prefer the larger negatives and the square negatives can be cropped to be verticals or horizontals if desired. Once you get used to the equipment and format it becomes second nature. That said I do have (dare I say a DSLR) a DSLR that comes in handy for family gatherings and snapshots. So the bottom line is what has already been mentioned is what do you find most important in your photographic pursuits ? Go with the equipment that suits your need the best. It's the photographer that makes the picture not the camera.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  19. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,254
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    France
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have both, and would agree with you on this. The Rolleiflex plus Rolleinars, a table-top tripod and some filters make a very versatile kit. It's, at least for me, much easier for "action" (see my gallery to see what I consider as action... A workshop is somewhat challenging in terms of reactivity) shooting than the 'Blad.

    More than the time to focus or change the speed/aperture, it's for me due to the fact that, with the Rolleiflex, I do not lose the subject when I shoot, so I have a better view of what ACTUALLY happened when I tripped the shutter. In the workshop again, this made a difference (I tried the Hassy in the same conditions, and soon used it more for closeups than action).
     
  20. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

    Messages:
    416
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    uk
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi

    Thanks for all the tips guys.

    Several of you have mentioned Mamiya 645's. I've done a quick search on eBay, and there are several listed - much more affordable!

    I have looked at the links posted by Matt, and they look like good deals. I note from the Wikiepedia entry that The Mamiya 645 Pro-TL (discontinued) was first released in 1997 and The Mamiya 645AF was first released in 1999. These are more recent models than some of the others and I'd prefer to get one from that era rather than the 70's range.

    Of the two, 645 Pro-TL or 645AF, obviously the AF allows autofocus but is there any difference in image quality compared to the Pro-TL? What about the Mamiya 645 AFD, that was more recent still in the early 2000's? I have my eye on this one : http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mamiya-64...170803?pt=UK_Film_Cameras&hash=item20c02da6f3
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2011
  21. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I'd say "yes" to a Mamiya 645. The first link is a 645 Super, the earliest of the "new" 645 line. There were subsequent bodies, the Pro and ProTL with additional features you can research. The Super with a plain prism, 80/2.8, and winder grip was my first MF camera five years ago. The second is the 645 AF. The last is an early 645, the old "heavy metal" variety which I think are too old to bother with now.

    These are more 35mm-like in handling and ergonomics than a Hassie. The latter 645 series takes interchangeable backs, allowing film swaps mid-roll. Lenses are good and affordable in popular focal lengths(55mm/80mm/150mm). You can get metered prisms but a plain prism and a decent light meter are more versatile. A winder grip greatly improves the handling and lets you keep eye contact. Skip a WLF--they're all but useless unless you shoot everything in landscape orientation. The IQ improvement over 35mm isn't subtle. BTW UK prices are a bit scary vs N. America!
     
  22. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,318
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  23. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

    Messages:
    416
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    uk
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Sorry CGW - I edited my post while you were typing. I've learnt lots from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamiya and have edited my earlier reply accordingly. Thans for the details though, much appreciated.
     
  24. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

    Messages:
    416
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    uk
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Fred

    That 2nd link you've posted looks great! I am very very tempted!! It looks in great condition, reasonable price etc. Worried about rushing in though. Must be a good starting point though, having only used 35mm my entire life!? Spending so much on a Hasselblad might be risky. This Mamiya sale looks very tempting.
     
  25. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    3,941
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    ɹǝpunuʍop. F
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Moving up from the 35mm format to the square format can be both a blessing and a curse, but it is immediately satisfying. But don't turn your back forever on 35mm at the beck and call of the larger frames. Maybe you should try before you buy. There are those satisfying kickbacks of a much bigger view, lots more space to fill (remember to fit the subject to the frame, not the camera to the subject), a lot better quality of the format (e.g. 6x7 is 400% larger than 35mm) but the square format, or 645, can be quite restrictive in a landscape context. With brilliant skill, Russian wilderness landscape mogul Oleg Novikov uses a Hassy much of the time for his landscape work, and his images are the stuff of dreams. Big formats give a big picture, but I think the square format has its place in formals and studio work. I think the Mamiyas and Bronicas are fairly heavy beasts? I recall reading something here on APUG somewhere about that?
     
  26. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,311
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    hey ted

    do you have any photo-buds you can borrow a camera from
    or a pro shop you can rent something ? i have learned that often times
    things look and seem different than they do once you are holding them in your hands.

    and sometimes things look and feel great in your hands, but they aren't as intuitive as you might
    have hoped, so they don't lend well to your photographic style ..

    that said, i agree with pinholemaster ... try it, you like it ( or maybe not ) ...

    good luck !
    john