Hasselblad or Rollie SL66, Please advise.

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Dan Quan, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Dan Quan

    Dan Quan Subscriber

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    I am actually looking for input and deciding between a Rollie SL66 and a Hasselblad. Whatever input/advice you can offer will be weighed and . Thanks.
     
  2. Jim Rice

    Jim Rice Member

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    The biggest difference will be focal plane shutter (SL66) vs. leaf shutter ('blad.) I would imagine that lens availability and cost would be next in line (advantage: 'blad.) The SL66 tilt capability is mitigated by the inability to use it near infinity. Rack and pinion vs. helical focusing (IMO, advantage: Rollei). Cost for everything you might ever want (certainly advantage:
    'blad.) I am certain that the Rollei is a jewel but at what premium?
     
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  3. jamespierce

    jamespierce Subscriber

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    There is so much blad gear out there not at really good prices. And the lenses and system is simply beautiful. Camera lego.
     
  4. martinjames

    martinjames Member

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    Hello Dan,
    I have several Hasselblad bodies and lenses and have previously owned two SL66 cameras. They are both really excellent systems, the build quality for both is just great. The Zeiss lenses are essentially the same (the SL66 lenses lacking, of course, the leaf shutters that the Hasselblad versions include. And I'm assuming here that you're interested in a Hasselblad such as the 500C/M and not one of the focal plane shutter bodies). If you're okay with the focal plane shutter of the SL66, it's kinda nice not to have shutters in every lens (that need occasional servicing). And the SL66 does have some interesting features that you won't get with the Hasselblad, notably the built-in capability to reverse the lens mounting (combined with the bellows focusing this allows pretty extreme close-ups even before resorting to any extension tubes) and the lens tilt (allowing you to extend focus along a plane without having to rely on smaller apertures). Of course you can add a bellows extension accessory to the Hasselblad for great closeup work, but the SL66 is cool for its included capabilities in this area.
    Also, the SL66 film magazines have a switch so the same back can be used for either 120 or 220 film.
    Things to consider regarding the SL66: the bellows focusing, as with any camera that uses one, is something to be a bit careful with (as in, not poking holes in the bellows during handling). Also, the SL66 is a little bit larger and, with the bellows focusing, a different handling camera compared with the Hasselblad for handheld work. If you plan to use mostly or exclusively on a tripod, no problem.
    At any given time there are many more Hasselblad bodies, lenses, and accessories available in the market (especially lately it seems) than SL66 items. So for sheer availability the Hasselblad route is bountiful, to say the least.
    Of course, each camera system out there has certain definable features which can be listed and evaluated... and then there is the intangible, less well-defined "feel" and such that only handling the things can let you know which you will want to keep and actually use. I really liked and appreciated much about the SL66. But, as I mentioned, I have lots of Hasselblad stuff today and no SL66. I just didn't find that I often used, for example, the lens tilt feature (even as cool as it is). And for more casual, handheld stuff I like the compactness of, say, the 500C or C/M with the basic 80mm Planar (or 60mm Distagon). For a 6x6 camera with interchangeable lenses and film backs, they made it about as small as they could! It works for me.
    Good luck with whichever you decide upon. Like I said, they're both superb.
     
  5. Slixtiesix

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    Hi Dan,

    I also used a SL66 for years and own a Hasselblad 555ELD for half a year now. Basically, I can confirm everything that Martin already said. The SL66 is quite bulky in comparison to a Hasselblad 500CM and the protruding focussing knob adds to its dimensions. Lenses are basically the same, except for the newer lenses like 50 FLE, 60, 100, 180mm that were not available for the Rollei. If you only intend to use the classic lenses like 50mm, 80mm, 150mm, 250mm there is no difference, except that the Rollei lenses are much lighter and do not need any maintenance under normal circumstances, since they don´t have a shutter. By the way, I was stunned by the quality of the old 120/5,6 S-Planar. This lens is extremely sharp and has beautiful bokeh. As for helicoid vs rack focusing I think it is a standoff. The Rollei focusing mechanism is pretty smooth, but it can be worn out if the camera had seen heavy use. Regarding the Hasselblad lenses I only have experience with the newer CFi lenses and these are a real joy to focus. On the other hand I´ve heard that the older lenses can be stiff. As for the screens: I got rid of the Rollei´s original screen soon after I bought it and installed the latest Rollei High-D Screen. What a difference! I think it is even superior to the much praised Hasselblad Acute Matte D, which I have in the 555ELD.
    Please also mind that the Rolleis are between 30 and 50 years old now. It may be difficult to find one that is still in good working order, so you should plan in some money for an overhaul. I had a complete overhaul done on mine and it really made a difference. However, if you buy 30 or 40 years old Hasselblad equipment it may benefit from an overhaul either.
     
  6. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    Although you can't tilt the lens when the lens is at the untilted infinity position, you can get infinity subjects in focus even at full tilt because the lens does not have to be fully back. I will check this in the morning (it's night here) but I have done it without straining the mechanism.

    With any system of this age, repairs could be very difficult. With the number of Hasselblads out there one would have to have more confidence in having one fixed. I happen to like the SL66 and because of the potential for breakdowns bought a spare body but so far, no problems (fingers crossed). It is a bit of a handful hand held.
     
  7. TheToadMen

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    Both are good cameras. But if you want something "not so common" go for the SL66.
    I have one and like the lenses very much.
     
  8. jspillane

    jspillane Member

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    I don't own a SL66, but I would say that if cost is no object and you plan to use it primarily on a tripod without a flash, it will probably best the Hasselblad. It seems like it has become a cult camera among landscape / nature photographers due to the built in tilt and easy macro capabilities. If you primarily shoot people, however, I would opt for the Hasselblad due to the leaf shutters and superior handling off of a tripod.

    I own a Hasselblad, because A) accessories are surprisingly affordable if you are patient and keep your eyes peeled, and B) I use it both handheld and with flash regularly. If I want movements and a camera on a tripod, I use a 4x5 (rarely).
     
  9. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I've owned both for a while. They are both terrific. Most aspects and differences well-outlined above. In the end handling and use can be quite different and subjective so I recommend you buy a basic set of both, three months later sell off the one you favor less. I doubt you'll take a hit.

    Or then keep both like I did.
     
  10. deisenlord

    deisenlord Member

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    I have both and would probably go with only the blad were it not for the ability to use strange lenses on the SL66. I have a 5" Verito soft focus lens as well as a petzval mounted for the Rollei.

     
  11. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Only ever owned a Hasselblad 503cx, pretty much a perfect camera, lenses are easy to come by and fairly inexpensive. The back system works great and is foolproof.

    The SL66 is very attractive though, and having movements built in is very cool. I'd check out how much the SL66 with the lens you want will be, I expect it may end up being a lot more than a Hasselblad.
     
  12. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    Sheer cost kept me away from the Rolleis when they were available new on the market. I thought they were magnificent cameras, and they probably are. Beside the fact that they are not nearly as common as Hasselblads, the age factor has to be a consideration. They've been off the market new for a long time. I'd be concerned about parts and maintenance, although that appears not to be a big problem - owners talk about being able to get them fixed without much of a problem.

    I own a Hasselblad and three lenses, and love using it. My only problem is not owning all the lenses. If I did own all the lenses, I'd not be able to carry my kit.
     
  13. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

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    I have a SL66 and can confirm that it is a PITA used handheld. OTOH at least in Germany it is comparatively cheap. The Habla and SL66 do weight nearly the same if you compare a whole system consisting of the usual lens set of 50, 80, 150 and 250mm.
    If you prefer leaf shutter I suggest having a look at the 600x system from Rollei. They can be had for a song.
     
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  15. Dan Quan

    Dan Quan Subscriber

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    WOW! Thank you all so much for the really useful replies! I am getting exactly what I was hoping for, information and considerations that I had not thought of. I will likely be using this medium format system mainly for portrait photography, with an occasional still-life or landscape. I love the idea of using a Petzval or other non-OEM lens for unique results, that idea never occurred to me. Unfortunately I will need to build this system over the next 6 months or so, or save and research and purchase when the mostly complete package presents itself, if it does.

    Until then, please tell me more about using Petzvals and other non-standard lenses on medium format bodies. How does one go about this and what resources are commonly available? Would I need to have custom machining done or are adapters fairly common etc?
     
  16. whlogan

    whlogan Subscriber

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    i'VE GOT 'EM Both and use 'em both and by far like the Rollei best. Just do. Rollei is a better camera in my eye, tho the 'blad is a fine competitor in all categories. I am just a Rollei man all the way. In fact I have 2 Sl66's. I have a vanilla one and a SL66E, the meter on which and I have not come to terms yet. I just cannot figure it out, but I mostly use a hand held anyway. Any way, I'd say get the SL66 first then get the 'blad for the fun of it!!!!
    Logan
     
  17. deisenlord

    deisenlord Member

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    To use an odd shutter less lens on a medium format camera you need a focal plane shutter and a way to focus it. What people do with the focal plane blad is usually have some kind of tubular sliding focusing rig built for the lens. That's the nice thing about the SL66, you've got a bellows for focus. You can find adapter plates on ebay, there's one made by a guy in china. I had mine made from an "official" Rollei SL66 lens mount blank, you can still find these on ebay but they are usually expensive.

    The lens needs to be at least ~102mm or so to focus at infinity. You can use a standard SL66 extension tube if you need extra bellows draw, can also use these as the basis of a lens mount.
     
  18. k.hendrik

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  19. Dan Quan

    Dan Quan Subscriber

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  20. TheToadMen

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    I just thought of something, have you any experience with this type of cameras?
    If not and you're in a hurry, you could also get a nice Bronica SQ set for starters. Here is an example:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum379/120675-bronica-sq-ai-outfit-priced-quick-sale.html

    As I said before, I would go for the Rollei SL66. But if you want a Hasselblad, you might also consider the Bronica SQ-series. They are as good (if not better) and have excellent glass, also for portraits. And are much cheaper. I bought a Bronica SQ-B new in 2004 instead of a Hasselblad and never regretted it.
    So you could get the Bronica kit within/for the next 6 months and take you're time to find a nice Rollei SL66 in due time as well.

    Just a thought.
     
  21. Dan Quan

    Dan Quan Subscriber

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    I do have some limited experience with medium format. I used a Hasselblad about 30 years ago when I briefly worked for a portrait photographer and then a Rollei 6008 system about 15 years ago while working in another commercial studio, but at that time I really took to the 4x5 and shooting tabletop and not so much the models and medium format. I do remember the 6008 producing really beautiful images, but I like the idea of an all mechanical body and esoteric non-standard lenses in addition to the Rollei SL66 glass.
     
  22. k.hendrik

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  23. TheToadMen

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  24. Dan Quan

    Dan Quan Subscriber

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  25. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    Dan: VERY good arguements here...

    I have both systems - never ever use the hasselblad.... (I think it is much harder to work with - and I love how easy it is to focus the SL.. even hand held!)

    So not so many words from me - just an image showing a very modern lens arrangement... :wink: and two resusts - one with a meniscus type landscape lens - the other using a small Busch Ki Petzval lens...
     

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  26. Dan Quan

    Dan Quan Subscriber

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    See now, this is cool! The breadth of palette and possibilities this body opens up is truly exciting! Sometimes an 80mm ƒ2.8 Planar and other times half of a Goerz Berlin Binocular or perhaps a Petval, or maybe a...