Hassey vs SL66

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by michael9793, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. michael9793

    michael9793 Member

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    I own a Hassey right now. but I noticed in my Brett Weston DVD that he is using a SL66 . it has a bellows and slight correct to it.
    If you had an opportunity to own either one. which one would you own and why. I have owned a Rollie 2006 but it is all electrical and if the rechargeable battery goes so goes your shooting.
    thanks
    Michael Andersen:cool:
     
  2. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    Well, I only own an Hasselblad V system, yet I have tried a friends Rollei SL 66.
    Wonderfull camera for close-ups (way superior to my Blad) yet much heavier to carry around.

    The optics are identical in every way (exception to the 50 and 40mm f/4 if I remember correctly), the coating is also very similar in both systems optics (share Zeiss optics).

    If I was searching for a system again, I would keep my present choice (Hasselblad) mainly based on weight, handling, design and superior flash capability (in case I need, not atm though), otherwise, the cameras are very similar in what they can deliver, with the macro/flash edge, being the main relevant diference, between these two superb systems.


    Have fun!
     
  3. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    I have both.
    And I almost never touch the Hasselblad...

    I love the SL66 for so many reasons. I don't care, that it is a little heavier.

    The bellows makes the difference. "default" close-up feature. (you can even turn the lens backwards and fit it on the camera for even closer-up'er images)

    Also the bellows makes it possible to fit old interesting lenses on the camera (petzval and such..)

    great system!
     
  4. mesh

    mesh Subscriber

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    I own Hasselblad and have only tried the SL66 a few times. I must say I love both cameras, and yes, the 66 is close to being the perfect macro camera. Overall the Hasselblad is the more reliable system however (this is not me saying it - it comes from numerous repair people) and is slightly more versatile (things like better flash sync, more available accessories, newer lenses etc.) I also find the Hasselblad easier to use - but that could be that I am used to it ;-)
     
  5. epavelin

    epavelin Member

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    I tested both systems recently. The SL66 is a wonderfully made camera, with some excellent design features - the bellows and tilt are of course the stars of the show and make it a great system for close-ups and landscapes. On the other hand, accessories are hard to come by (in the UK at least) and the wide-angle lenses are older designs compared with the later Hasselblad versions (although they still perform well, just not as well as the newer FLE 'Blad lenses). I owned my SL66 for about three months and unfortunately had to send it for repair twice in that time. So I cut my losses and switched to a Hasselblad 503CW, in the knowledge that parts and repair would be more readily available for the forseeable future.

    Sometimes I regret that choice, as the bellows do come in incredibly useful for detail shots. On the other hand, the Hasselblad 50mm FLE lens is noticeably better in the corners than the older SL66 version (which is the same as the non-FLE 'Blad 50mm). So if wide-angle photography is important to you, this might be a consideration.

    Regarding weight, there isn't really much difference if you carry a complete system. The SL66 body is larger and heavier than a 'Blad, but the lenses are a lot smaller and lighter (there's no shutter or focusing helical in them).

    Ed.
     
  6. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    The SL66 was a camera I always dreamed of owning beginning when I was in college 30+ years ago. I never could afford one and "made do" with a Rollie 2.8C for a long time. I had the opportunity to buy a used SL66 on a couple of occasions, but finally passed on the deal because the whole system was dated by then and I could get a Hasselblad for the same amount or less. I still love the idea of the camera and the design, but repairs and parts would seem expensive at this point. There's lots of Hasselblads and parts available. Not that a Hasselblad is any cheaper to repair, but there are plenty of parts.

    Peter Gomena
     
  7. Rinthe

    Rinthe Member

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    i got a hasselblad, it's great and i love it! but now i am wanting to move up to LF because i want movements. how are the movements on the SL66?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2010
  8. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    The SL66 is still a great camera and I´m a big fan of it. The bellow is a huge advantage if you are doing macro and portraiture. With a Hasselblad, you have to use extension tubes if you want to get closer to the subject. With the SL66, you can do this effortlessly.
    The SL66 also offers an instant-return mirror, which a Hasselblad does not. However, you should have in mind that these cameras are ususally between 30 and 40 years old. I think one can compare this to an Oldtimer: It will cost a lot when in good shape and you have to have it overhauled to be happy with it. You might also want a new screen for it. Accessories will also cost a lot and are rare, as are some of the lenses, especially the 30/3,5, 40/4, 60/3,5 (ultra-rare) 120/5,6 and 500/5,6. The 150/4, 250/5,6 and 50/4 are quite common. On the other hand, you can get all of these lenses (except the 500/5,6) also in Hasselblad-mount, plus some newer designs. The SL66 also has a slow sync speed. Regarding the movements: They are rather limited with an 8° tilt. I would recommend a LF field camera like the Linhof Technika with roll film back instead.
    The built and feel of the camera however are exceptional and I never stop beeing fond of it, as my nick name shows.

    Best, Benjamin
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2010
  9. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Just to get this misunderstanding out of the way: more than "a" Hasselblad does. There isn't just "a" Hasselblad, and it depends on what model you go for.
     
  10. Jed Freudenthal

    Jed Freudenthal Member

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    I fully agree. I now have an SL 66 for about 35 years and I have chosen it at that time for its dependability. The Hassies were usually in the repairshop. May be the Hassis of that age or not around anymore.

    Jed
     
  11. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Okay, Q.G. sorry, I should have rather stated "as most Hasselblads do not". But to be realistic, the overwhelming majority of Hasselblad cameras that are around belong to the 500-system. It seems to me that the 200/2000-system is quite rare and the cameras are very pricey, even by today, so I didn´t mention them.

    Best, Benjamin
     
  12. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    That's just nonsense.
    If anything, it's the other way round, and the SL 66s enjoy a bit of a reputation for being fond of the repair shop a bit too much.

    One thing can be said without hesitation is that there are very many Hasselblads in use today that are quite a bit older than the oldest still working SL 66.
    Easy, that, since they have an 18 years headstart. :wink: And because they are second to none regarding build-quality.

    And now that i'm well and truly 'in' this thread: that's the bit i'd say.
    SL 66, while good cameras, are - as any SL 66 owner would confirm - a bit (!) of a gamble. They always have been, from the very beginning.

    They are bigger and heavier too.

    You have to like the ergonomics, with (just like the Rolleiflexes) controls on both sides of the camera: you need three hands: two to operate the controls, one to hold the camera.

    (And, Slixtiesix, they are much rarer than 2000/200 series Hasselblads. :wink:)

    But i wouldn't say they are bad.
     
  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    If you could do what you need with a larger and slightly "fiddlier" camera, the Mamiya RB or RZ system may be a good compromise for those who want most of the benefits of a Hasselblad, plus a built-in bellows. There are also 6x6 backs for these cameras.

    over the SL66, I'd even be tempted to go with a Hasselblad for its benefits and a separate Mamiya C-something with a Paramender if I just had to have a camera with a built-in bellows. The C-series cameras are very cheap now, and they, along with an RZ, have kept me from wanting a Hasselblad (which is a good thing :D $$$).
     
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  15. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    :D Okay Q.G., you really brought some good points. Yes, the SL can be a bit awkward to use, especially with the more heavy lenses. I must admit that. If they are really rarer than the 200-series - I don´t know...
    However, here is my killer-argument for you tonight:
    The 200-series surely marks the peak of Hasselbladanian camera-building, because after some 40 years and many dead end trials with their metallic foil-shutters, they finally realised that the cloth-focal-plane shutter - exactly as it had been used in the SL66 for more than two decades by then :cool: - was the only way for them to construct a durable and reliable focal-plane-shutter.

    Good Night :wink: Benjamin
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    But there is still time for your to buy the FlexBody and use all your Hasselblad lenses! That will give you swing and tilt!

    Steve
     
  17. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    The SL66 is the one camera I regret selling. The downside is that fewer lenses and accessories are available compared to other cameras, qualified repair people and parts are few, and if you do jam the camera it will very likely need to be serviced by one of those repair people. Otherwise, I think it is a joy to work with. I wish I shared the same fondness for the RB67.
     
  18. dande

    dande Member

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    Years ago I purchased an SL66 instead of a Hassey. I loved the camera and regret eventually selling it. I loved the tilt feature it had. Great for landscape photography. Never had to worry about depth of field. Optics were as good as Hassey. Same lens if I recall. If I had a choice I would still prefer the SL66, mainly because of the bellows and tilt features.
     
  19. Merg Ross

    Merg Ross Member

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    I still have two SL66 systems that I acquired in the mid 1970's, and they have never needed repairs. However, being nervous after 25 years of faithful service, I did send them for a CLA to Brett Weston's former Rollei person (Jurgen) and they are no doubt good for another 25 years.

    It was Brett who first introduced me to the camera, and his love of the system is legendary. What he was particularly excited about were the tilt and bellows, and the extremely sharp lenses. The system is my favorite for the same reasons.

    I have nothing negative to say about the SL66 system, and must add that I have no experience with the Hassey camera.

    www.mergross.com
     
  20. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Absolutely right.

    The irony of it all: they had considered cloth shutters right from the start (quite common back then) but dismissed it right from the start also, because Victor wanted to avoid problems due to the sun burning holes in cloth. (Apparently also something not uncommon? Leica and other rangefinders?)
    So it just had to be something else. So even though they put someone on the problem the moment they changed to leaf shutters, it kept the focal plane shutter out of Hasselblads for some 20 years. Silly.


    Say, you know a bit about SL 66s: can you say something about the problems that befall SL 66 and SL 66 E cameras?
     
  21. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

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    No :smile:
    I have a SL66 now for about five years now. I got it CLA'd shortly after I bought it, just to be sure.

    Ulrich
     
  22. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

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    First time I hear that.
    It is a PITA hand holding it. You would need the rather clumsy handle, which makes the whole thing even larger, to use it comfortably from free hand. It is a camera for the tripod.

    Ulrich
     
  23. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Yes, it can be quite difficult. I find it to be easy with the 50mm, 80mm and 120mm, but the other lenses do definitely require a tripod.
    The problem is that you cannot support the lens with your hand, because it has to be on the focussing knob. I always use a neckstrap when hand holding it, otherwise it would be nearly impossible. I second that the SL66 works best on a tripod, but then it is a real joy to use.
    Regarding Q.G.´s question for problems: There are indeed some weak points:
    1. The earlier cameras do occasionally suffer from a mirror jam. The mirror is locked in the up-position then and will not return. Rollei later improved the mechanism, so a repair with the new service parts will solve this. This does however only affect very early cameras, from the 60s. Rollei also improved the magazines later and added a security lever as well as winder release button.
    2. The focussing knob is rather delicate and will not stand hard knocks.
    3. The SL66SE often develops a problem with the metering. The cables that are connected to the cell behind the mirror are made from some sort of fiberglass, they ofter break when the camera is used extensively. Repair is expensive. You can still use the camera, but it works like a classic SL66 without metering then. The SL66E however still uses metal cables and does not suffer from this problem.
    4. One should never try to focus back to infinity when the lens board is tilted. Will definitely damage the camera.

    Apart from this, I do not know any common problem. As long as they are used properly, these cameras are very reliable. As are Hasselblads. One should expect that from a camera that had cost a small fortune when new.
    My camera is from 1977, I bought it in 2006 after it had not been used for 15 years. It was rather stiff then and the shutter times were a little bit off. I sent it to Mr. Kuschnik for an overhaul and it came back perfectly smooth. He did a great job. I also replaced the old screen with the Rollei High*D-Screen, which is insanely bright compared to the old one. The only thing I do miss from time to time are some newer lenses, like the 180/4, which were never available for the Rollei. Would be the only reason for me to switch to Hasselblad. Apart from this, it´s a great camera.
     
  24. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    The weather is fine today, now I will go out and shoot some Velvia ;-)
     
  25. Jed Freudenthal

    Jed Freudenthal Member

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    When I bought the SL 66 so many years ago, it was for professional applications ( large numbers of negatives). My friend did the repairs for Hasselblad in The Netherlands, and at a certain point of time all Hasseblads were in his possession. His advice was to buy the SL66. That does not mean that the quality of Hasseblad has not improved in the mean time.
    And we never had problems with the SL66 after a huge number of exposures. Last year, I verified the quality of the shutter and mirror system. It weas still operating like new and the image quality was like with a leaf shutter.

    Jed
     
  26. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Yes, I can confirm that the shutter system of the SL66 is - though beeing fully mechanical - very, very precise.