Hasselblad 500CM - What Am I Missing?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by JDW22, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. JDW22

    JDW22 Subscriber

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    BACKGROUND - I am the son of a retired pro shooter. As a kid I spent countless hours in my father's dark room as his youthful assistant. That was a long time ago. My career path went outside of photography, but I've reached an age (58) where I have time to rekindle and pursue this passion. For the past few years I've been shooting various Canon DSLR's (7D, 1D4, & 5D3). While my digital shooting has been fun, it is not as rewarding and satisfying as I had hoped. I have a strong yearning to pursue black and white image-making and I want to start shooting film again. I've determined to begin with a medium format camera and I am extremely fond of the 6x6 format. In addition, my wife is a 1st generation Swedish immigrant. Accordingly, it would appear that I have no choice but to become a Hasselblad shooter. My medium photography targets would primarily be photographed from a tripod and long exposures will sometimes be employed.

    Based upon my research of APUG and a few other sites, I intend to obtain and start this endeavor with a 500C/M chrome body, A12 back, and 80mm f/2.8 Planar lens.

    QUESTIONS:

    1. Is there a particular 'vintage' of Hasselblad bodies that is better than others? I've read that the workmanship of the 1970's - 1980's is excellent.

    2. Is there a particular series of lenses that would be preferred for my intended use? While I think the chrome lenses look marvelous, it is my understanding that any of the C/CF/CB/CFi/CFE series lenses will work on the 500C/M.

    3. Are there certified Hasselblad repair facilities in the southwest USA that can provide reliable CLA and repair services? I live/photograph in Arizona.

    4. Any thoughts on eBay Japanese sellers as a source for my intended purchases?

    5. What am I missing or forgetting to ask before I take the plunge?

    Thanks in advance for your help and generous counsel.
     
  2. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    Buy from KEH in Atlanta. Read their return/guarantee policy, it's top-notch as is their customer service.

    Later model 500C/M comes with the rapid winding knob, a sometimes useful feature. You may be able to find one with a Acute-Matte screen, which is much brighter than the original screen. This is a good thing.

    Go for the CF lenses, C lens repair parts are no longer made. Focal length choices are entirely up to you, everyone seems to have their own opinions as to which they like.

    Plan to pay for a clean/lube/adjust for every piece you purchase. You then will be set for a decade of trouble-free shooting.
     
  3. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    A newer model would have the gliding mirror, which reduces vignetting with longer lenses. I have a 501CM, so I don't know how much of an issue it is with the older models. I've heard it's not worth the extra money for most uses.

    I would spend the extra money to get a model with the Acute-Matte screen.

    The older chrome lenses are harder to repair since some parts are not still available. I would stick with the CF lenses, but I did buy a 250mm C, since the price was so low and I don't use it a lot. I like its quality and hope it lasts a long time. But if it fails and isn't repairable I only spent a bit more than the cost of a CLA on it to start with. That's something to consider.

    I would recommend http://www.david-odess.com for repairs, unless you find a local repair man with factory training and some experience.
     
  4. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    I took in a 500cm with 80mm Planar as a trade. Mine came with both the original screen and a Beattie Intenscreen. I also highly recommend purchasing one of the bright screens available.

    The 80mm is nice and well balanced but an old design. If you want the sharpest you need to buy the latest Zeiss computer designed lenses. Of course they will be pricier.

    If you plan on using long lenses you might prefer a later model than the 500cm. They have gliding mirrors and do not vignette like the 500cm does.

    KEH is an excellent place to buy. On numerous occasions when pricing Hasselblad lenses I have actually seen KEH less expensive than ended Ebay auctions. I would check KEH first before bidding on Ebay. I'm not saying to not buy off Ebay but to go into it educated before you make your purchase. Hasselblad cameras and lenses are not cheap!
     
  5. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Plus 1 with the suggestions. Definitely buy from a trusted source with a fair return policy. If you happen to find one in your locale, take a couple of rolls of film and shoot with the equipment before purchasing. Develop or have the film developed so you can check actual performance before you commit. Actual condition is sometimes exaggerated. Don't rule out a 503CXi.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    As a Swedish immigrant myself I would concur with the Hasselblad acquisition.

    Have lots of fun! Those 500 series cameras are all great, and mine has provided me with nothing but countless joy over the years.
    You can be certain that when the photographs are not good enough, it is not because of the camera. :smile:

    Hälsa så gott till din fru från en till svenskättling.
     
  7. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    While not a Hasselblad user (yet!), it's worth remembering that millions and millions of photographers published their exquisite works in coffee-table books shot entirely with the stalwart combination of a 500C/M and 80mm Planar. And the astute-minded analogue photographers looking for enduring quality, I would say this combination still rules many, many decades after it was first introduced, and it's far cheaper to get hold of than in its hey day when a kit would easily bankrupt the family. I will acquire a Hassy kit one day, probably a 503CW with 45° viewfinder and 80mm. Importantly, and irrespective of how many have owned a 500C/M body before you, it is a solid piece of photographic history that has risen above the ordinary to reach the legendary, something that will never, ever go out of style so long as there is film to put in it.
     
  8. JDW22

    JDW22 Subscriber

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    Thanks all for the helpful comments and encouragement. I hope others will continue to opine.

    I definitely will acquire a body with an Acute-Matte screen or I'll acquire a brighter screen separately and have it installed as part of a CLA. I will start with a waist level viewfinder. There is something about looking down onto the screen and composing an image that just seems right to me. I also think the 4.5x magnifier in the later models will be helpful. Who knows, I may change viewfinders down the road.

    I'm hopeful that acquiring a 80mm Planar in the CF or later versions (with T-coating) should be reliable and provide excellent service consistent with the Zeiss reputation. I truly like the idea of learning the 500C/M with a 'normal' lens perspective. I'm sure other lenses will be added over time. For the type of photography I anticipate enjoying with the Hasselblad, I don't think I'll ever go longer than the 150mm Sonnar - so I don't think vignetting should be an issue.

    Just to clarify, is the 500C/M's "Pre-Release Button" the method used to lock-up the mirror to minimize vibration from "mirror-slap" - especially during long exposures?

    Also, does a good CLA involve only the body or does the lenses benefit for similar attention?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2013
  9. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    Yes.

    Body. lens and back assuming you don't know when it was done before.
     
  10. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    If you're planning on lenses 120mm or longer, a newer model with the gliding mirror is nice to have. My body doesn't have it and I find myself using my 120 and 250 way more than I ever thought I would. I have to estimate my frame coverage a lot more than I like. (turns out the 553 ELX I found turned out to need more fixing than it's price warranted).

    Because I work almost exclusively on a tripod and I'm not 6'6" tall, I find the 45 degree finder exceedingly useful as I don't always want my camera low enough to allow me to use the WLF. I was able to find one of the later versions, the PM-45, and haven't use my high-mag chimney finder since.

    I fell in love with the Hasselblad when I was 11, I was late in my later '50s when I finally got it. I love it.

    KEH is a good resource. I've been very happy with my purchases from them. Craigslist locally has been a fine resource too. (Vancouver has very active photo section)
     
  11. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    Swapping out a focussing screen on a 500cm is very simple. You can do it yourself in just a few seconds. :smile:
     
  12. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    I shoot a 150 and 2x on the 500cm (non glided mirror) and have found no problems with it. Yes there is a small black line but your brain fixes it. I started with c lenses but now have all cf lenses.
    I also shoot without the newer screen and have never had a problem with it.
     
  13. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    It all depends upon how good your eyesight is. The OP stated that he is 58 and I turn 52 in two days. If his eyesight is like mine, the bright screen is not necessary but it makes the camera much more enjoyable to use. :smile:
     
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  15. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Man, you just can not go wrong with a 500 C/M, I have one and a 501C/M and love the whole darn system. I did find a little vignetting with my 180 and longer with my 500 C/M but not a deal breaker.

    I agree with CF lenses as a first choice, best price to performance point really. I just had a 120mm 5.6 S Planar seviced and ouuuch it was expensive to get done but it will be good for years.

    Have fun with it, best camera system ever made in my experience!
     
  16. JDW22

    JDW22 Subscriber

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    Thanks for the info Alan, I'm glad the swap is user friendly. My eyesight is good; however, I always welcome a brighter screen. While I'm not 6'6", I am 6'4". I'll be OK with the waist level viewfinder to start. The 45-degree finder certainly may be added in the future.

    Point of clarification on the 500CM mirror creating vignetting problems with longer lenses. Am I correct in my understanding that the vignetting only occurs in the viewfinder and does not create image vignetting on the film?

    Lastly, what $$$ ballpark should I be anticipating for a CLA on the body, 80mm Planar, and A12 back? I am planning on using a certified Hasselblad repair facility for the CLA.
     
  17. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    The vignetting only affects viewing and does not affect the image on the film.

    I have both a waist level and prism finder. It's nice to have the choice of the two.

    I have owned my camera for a couple years now and have not needed a CLA yet so I don't know what it would run. Maybe someone else on here can answer that one.
     
  18. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Without testing your shutter speeds and knowing where you really stand, a Hasselblad is no better than any other camera.
     
  19. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    I agree. If you own leaf shutter lenses you really need to be able to test the shutters. I own a couple Calumet testers. They show up on Ebay from time to time, normally for $100.00 to $150.00.
     
  20. asamimasa

    asamimasa Member

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    The 80mm's with the T* coating should perform better, it's the stuff that gets applied to the modern lenses. Side by side comparisons might not yield immediately obvious results, but against flare, the difference is more apparent. Plenty of folks out there happy with their chrome version though. I've got a CF, and am highly satisfied with it. Slightly long MFD though, you'll want to invest in a short extension tube for head shots.

    Also of note, the aperture blades are supposedly bent on purpose to reduce impact. Something that caused me a bit of worry when I first got mine.
     
  21. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Bullshit.

    Sent from my C6603 using Tapatalk 2
     
  22. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Translation: One can "read" their negative and determine if exposure is significantly off.

    Sent from my fingers using Windows Internet Explorer.
     
  23. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    David Odess has prices on his website for CLA's. Other vendors are probably similar. Without looking it up, the cost is roughly $200.00 for each component.
    The back is probably the least likely to need service, and the lens/shutter perhaps the most likely, especially for a C series lens.

    Since you are in the west, some folks have recommended Samy's camera in L.A. as a good repair source, they have a Hasselblad trained tech on staff, so I understand.
     
  24. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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  25. momus

    momus Member

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    I put together just such a kit from KEH years ago for around $500 (w/ the old style back) and had excellent results w/ it. The 'blad did not suit my style of shooting, but I appreciated the camera, once I figured out all of the interlocks! Mine had the old focus screen w/ the circle spot in the middle and I liked it just fine (I'm 62 and wear bifocals). My chrome 80 Planar was not as sharp as the Rolleiflex cameras I was used to, but it was plenty sharp enough, and had a nice way of imaging. I even tried a reflex prism in an attempt to shoot it like a 35mm camera and it was a lot of fun, although a side grip would have really helped. One thing to mention is that these cameras get a LOT more attention on the street than a TLR.

    You will do well to start w/ the camera and lens that you stated, and I always recommend KEH for just about anything photographic. These are old cameras, but I've had good results just shooting them w/o an expensive CLA or anything, knock on wood.

    The testers Alan mentioned are very good, but I make do w/ a $40 one and it's on the money. If you have the time you can bracket, keep notes, and figure it out w/o a tester, but that's not necessarily a lot of fun.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2013
  26. JDW22

    JDW22 Subscriber

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    While I'm actively pursuing my 500C/M setup, questions regarding filters suddenly surfaced in my cranium. Accordingly, I'm looking for a continuation of the sage counsel given thus far.

    As I intend to shoot black and white film exclusively, I wondered what filters are recommended?

    Does Hasselblad have a unique method of attaching filters?

    Again, thanks in advance for the help.