Have you shot with Hassys for more than 5 years?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Andrey, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. Andrey

    Andrey Member

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    I'm all film at this point and discouting two cheap TLRs most of the shooting is done with 35mm.

    I'm contemplating medium format or a 4*5.

    The volume will be minuscule. A couple of dozen of exposures per year. I'll measurebate to the extreme and be really frugal.

    I'm thinking of a hassy because of the lens and the large negative. I'll shoot color and b/w negatives. I'll print both myself, optically.

    The question is for the guys who have been shooting hassy for a while.

    How much was/is it to maintain your blad system?

    I hear two different ends of the spectrum. On one hand they are "the machines that never break, I've been shooting mine for eons and it still shoots like new"

    On the other stuff like: "The shutters need adjustments, it costs 350 bucks to CLA the magazine... it costs a lot to maintain"

    Should I consider a bronica instead? Or maybe a rangefinder?
     
  2. Uncle Goose

    Uncle Goose Member

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    If you get a camera that has been treated nicely and already had a CLA you will not have to worry about it. Camera's are like any machine, if you use them they will wear, only the amount of (ab)use determines the wear. So if you get a good one you will not have to send it in for a CLA for years to come judging that you will not use it that often.
     
  3. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    I think you should consider a Bronica, a rangefinder or even a better quality TLR!

    Good luck!


    André
     
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  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    For shooting as little as you will be, many of the advantages of the Hassy will be wasted; that is, the complete system nature of the camera, which is what makes Hassy so great and versatile. If you won't be using it that often, why do you need a complete system camera that is relatively expensive? Will you be using any of the accessories or unique features, or do you just need a light-tight box that shoots a square frame with high-quality interchangeable lenses? If the latter, I would just get a Mamiya TLR. They are cheap as dirt and there is not much on them that can break, really...and if it does, you can fix it yourself or pay relatively little to have it fixed. The lenses are great, and you have a fair variety of FLs from which to choose: 55mm, 65mm, 80mm, 105mm, 135mm, 180mm, and 250mm.
     
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  5. Ian Tindale

    Ian Tindale Member

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    I'm not sure if it's just a numbers game at this point.

    If you want a Hasselblad, then don't get a Bronica. If you do, then you'll still want a Hasselblad; wonder whether it's better than your Bronica; find little faults and deficiencies with your Bronica until one day you end up with a Hasselblad and a Bronica prior to selling one of them eventually.

    I used to use a Hasselblad many decades ago, and I now own a Bronica ETRSi which came with a 75mm PE lens, and in no way do I wish for a Hasselblad - I get remarkably similar results from that lens to the old Planar 80mm I used to use (although the old CZ Distagon 50mm was quite superb). I even think I'm better off with the Zenzanon 150mm f3.5 MC (not the new PE - but nevertheless a quite excellent lens) than the CZ 150mm. But the point is, whether they were as good as, better than, or tolerably not as good as - I decided that the Hasselblad was not the system I wanted, and the Bronica was.

    As a result, I don't have this nagging feeling that the Bronica is an intermediate step towards one day getting the Hasselblad. It isn't. If it was, I'd have been better off going directly to it and that's what I'd advise anyone even half thinking that one day they'll end up with a Hasselblad: go there directly in one step, not via a series of other cameras. It's an emotional decision more than it is a technical one or even a financial one (until you add up what it costs to build a system rather than a body/back/wlf/std.lens that is!).
     
  6. arigram

    arigram Member

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    If you plan to shoot so little, why don't you get a 4x5 then?
    The advantage of the Hasselblad is the roll film that enables to quickly take many frames, as opposed to the much slower sheet film cameras. It is also generally lighter than even a field 4x5 and so its much easier to hand hold (as I do). I also found out that with a 50 iso film (like PanF+ which I use) the detail is astonishing and your prints come out grain free even enlarged at 50x60cm.
    But if you are really meticulous about your photographs and the subject stands at least moderately still, go for the larger format.
    You can create a 4x5 system for much less money than a Hasselblad and you can always get 120 roll film backs if you decide you need them and of course you get the movements.
    (and that comes from a guy who has a complete Hasseblad system and no need for LF cameras).
     
  7. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    André, I'm surprised! :smile:

    I've been shooting with a Hasselblad for about 5 years and can't imagine being without it. Low maintainence and wonderful quality. Hire/Rent one for a week or two and see how you like the fit. Good luck.
     
  8. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Andrey,
    after lusting after a hassy since the mid 70's, I finally fell into a system last year that I could afford, and figured it would contrast the RB 67 outfit nicely. Long story short, the hassy sat on the shelf, maybe had 10 rolls in a year shot through it, it just didint' work for me. Nicole is spot on, rent/beg/borrow one for a week and see if it fits your style.

    erie
     
  9. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    I bought my Hassey brand new in 2002, have taken with on about 30 trips, across 3 continents, and put through about 2000 rolls of film. Hmmm ... Now that I think about it; maybe I should send it in for a CLA ... Anyway I've dished out $0 since I bought it.

    Regards, Art
     
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  10. arigram

    arigram Member

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    No wonder it has turned yellow...
     
  11. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    LOL!

    Regards, Art
     
  12. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I got a Bronica because I couldn't afford a Hassy. Most definitely do some research if you decide to get one. The older ones, like the S I have, are getting on in years and may need servicing. There may or may not be folks out there who can fix them. From what I've read the older Bronicas used brass gears instead of steel, which makes them weaker and possibly more prone to failure (<-- not 100% confirmed.)

    The Nikkor lenses are fantastic though.
     
  13. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    If you buy a camera with a known history, or perhaps better, from a source like David Odess who will sell it freshly CLA'd, then there is no reason it won't give you 5 years, and many, many more of dependable service.
    Though, that statement is no more or less true for Hasselblad than any other quality make.
    However, for what you envision, you'd probably get more value in a 4x5, assuming things like hand-holding or overall size aren't a concern.
    The Hasselblad is a great system camera, very adaptable, but all those bits can get expensive. For example, most lenses still command very high prices, compared to comparable 4x5 optics.
    The 500 C/M I bought last year was made in the 70's, I don't know its history, but I'm inclinded to suspect it's never been serviced.
    I recently bought a mid-80's body, and I am it's second owner, it's never had a CLA either.
    Eventually, of course, some service will be necesary, I'm hoping to get one of them done this year while it's still a matter of choice.
     
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  15. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    They're like cars. Service them prior to there being a 'problem' and it's likely to last you much longer. It's called preventative maintenance... :smile: My 500C is old but was completely gone through by a Hasselblad trained repair man (in Sweden) before I got it. I've only had it for eight months but it's worked perfectly since without hickups.
    But the maintenance goes for any camera. Even a view camera could use to have gears, nuts and bolts well lubricated. The shutters for the lenses you use are suspect to needing CLA too.
    I love my Hasselblad, but I like my Mamiya 645 almost as much, and there is nothing better about the Planar lens than the Mamiya Sekors.
    I believe that a Mamiya, Pentax, Contax, or Bronica setup will give you very similar results to the Hasselblad. My plan is to focus on the Hasselblad system, sell the rest and get another body, a couple more A12 backs and some lenses. It's a well thought out system that works well.
    Hope that didn't confuse matters...
    - Thomas
     
  16. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    If you get a good camera/lens(es) to start with the cost for maintenence should be low. As you plan very little useage the main thing to remember is to exersize the camera and shutters once per month or so. Then they will stay in shape. Just go through all the time settings, putting some extra attention to the long times. This goes for most of the suggestions that you find in this thread. While I use and love my Hasselblads having used them on and off for 20 years, I would probably be as happy with a Mamaya or Bronica if I had choosen that route. Also, don't go for the oldest gear around. A decently modern 500C/M with preferably a CF lens or at least a black C T* lens will take you a long way, if it is in good order when you buy it.

    The difference between 35mm and medium format is sometimes quite drastic (while the step up to 4x5" is less noticeable). You will sacrifice some flexibility when using e.g. a Hasselblad compared to a 35mm, but once you get the hang of it the quality of the negatives will be a very nice reward.

    //Björn
     
  17. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    "The difference between 35mm and medium format is sometimes quite drastic (while the step up to 4x5" is less noticeable)"

    I do not understand this statement.

    I find 35 to 4x5 much more noticeable than 35 to 6x6, myself. With 4x5, you'll be able to get a grain-free 16x20 from a 400 film without even trying, not to mention how unreal it looks at smaller sizes. Definitely a big difference between 6x6 and 4x5 as I sees it.
     
  18. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    I bought a used system with three lenses and two backs five years ago. It had been stored a long time. One of the lenses had a sticky shutter. I had the money, so had the entire kit CLA'd for $800. It's run perfectly and hasn't needed any service since then. What kills cameras? Dirt, infrequent use, carelessness. I think if you use a Hasselblad regularly and with a little respect you can see many years of trouble-free use without visiting the shop. Prices are so low now on CM's, 80's, 150's and backs, that you can be patient and find one that looks excellent and works perfectly for very little money.
    Neal
     
  19. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    What I didn't see in your post is how you actually plan to use the Hasselblad. For example, will you require additional lenses or just one (a 150 for portraits or a 50mm for landscapes, for example). Do you have a need for interchangeable backs?

    I really enjoy my 500c. But every type of system has its advantages and disadvantages. One thing to consider, especially given your planned limited use, is that the cost of additional Hasselblad lenses (beyond the 80) is relatively expensive. Another is that leaf shutters do need occasional exercise to stay "limber".

    Some questions you may want to consider or, if you have, add to your post:
    Will you require additional lenses? (leaf shutter lenses cost more)
    Do you need through the lens viewing? (if so, limits you to SLRs or TLRs)
    Do you need interchangeable backs?
    Will you take advantage of a square negative? (if not, 6x4.5 is effectively the same as 6x6)

    But I wouldn't shy away from a Hasselblad due to maintenace costs. What I would caution is that with most of the wedding photographers having switched to digital SLRs, you will still see some Hasselblads, Mamiya, and Bronica SLRs that have had a lot of use.

    Since you want a large negative and don't appear to need TTL viewing, I'd add a Mamiya Universal (with the later Seiko shutter) to the mix. May be the least expensive way to get quality lenses and a large negative.
     
  20. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    To me, your question is not really a question of reliability. Any camera needs service and maintenance. Hassies, and most decent cameras, are perfectly reliable if you get a good one and take care of it. It's really a question of how much camera you need for what you want to do. I am assuming (based only on your description, so I could be wrong) that there is a lot of the functionality of the Hassy system that you just would not use. If they were cheap cameras, fine. But no point paying for expensive (and great) cameras if you won't use them that often, or if they are overkill for what you want to do. Do you need all the accessories? Do you need interchangeable magazines? Polaroid? Zeiss lenses? Etc? Does the work that you want to do with the camera warrant a lifetime of buying expensive (and great) European $hit (meaning lenses and accessories)? If not, you will get just the same results from $500-worth of a Mamiya TLR or Bronica SQ system. Let's not even bring up the subject of Kiev 88s or 60s...oops. Too late. I just brought it up.
     
  21. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Member

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    Hi Andrey,

    I've owned/used a Hassy 500C/M with an assortment of lenes (50, 100, 150, 250) since the mid-80's. Today, I don't shoot with it nearly as much as I used to, but the only maintenance I've ever had done is to have a CLA done on one of the A12 backs. So, basically, my entire system has been maintenance free for 20 years! One thought, though, before you dive into a Hassey outfit or any 2 1/4 square system...think about composing in the square format. True, you can always crop to landscape or portrait orientation but I, for one, like to use all the real estate I have available on the neg/tranny. Some subjects seems to fall naturally to the square format, while others you've got to really work at. Just something to think about...

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  22. Andrey

    Andrey Member

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    I don't want a hasselblad... and I definitely don't want to pay for it. It's not status, I just want a large quality negative and contemplating the easiest way to get there.

    But I do want a nice camera with a contrasty lens. The zeiss T* stuff I have had in 35mm proved to be very contrasty and flare resistant. I was hoping in MF it would be the same thing.
     
  23. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    Maybe a bit too brief, it should read "... while the step from 6x6 up to 4x5" is less noticeable".
    Anyhow, that's my opinion. I.e given a steady tripod, comparable prime lenses at "sweet spot" apertures, sound darkroom routines etc. a 6x6 neg from a decent camera will show much more tonalities and details than a comparable 35mm neg. A 4x5 neg is even better than the 6x6 with an even smoother scale, even more details and an even softer sharpness, but the difference is not that big.
    Sinar (the factory i.e.) did some research on 120 film compared to sheet film and concluded that 120 film actually was able of better resolution. I think I read that in some brochure on their 120 film backs.
    Now, even though that fact promotes the MF camera, I personally shoot 4x5 (and 5x7) for other reasons. I like the fact that it takes time to set up the camera, as I do this to relax. I sometimes want the camera movements etc. But also, I love the big smooth negs. With that in mind, I use my Hasselblad more like a point & shoot camera.
    The day I cannot see the difference it's time to sell the Sinar and the collection of lenses to someone with better eyesight (and a big wallet). :smile:

    //Björn
     
  24. Andrey

    Andrey Member

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    This is what I was thinking too. But it's scary having no intermediate bridge in between the systems - either too big or too small. :smile:

    With LF there's less stuff to break and it's cheaper. Which is good... on the other hand it's REALLY slow.
     
  25. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I bought my Hassy 500cm with 80mm Planar and A12 back used (but in new condition) in 1980 for $1000. I bought it from a colleague of mine who was responding to a (sell the camera-you're not using it) edict from his bride.

    I've added more lenses and backs to the kit since buying it and have shot thousands of pictures with, it hauling it though several countries up mountains and through deserts in the process. It still works fine - no failures - ever. I've had a total of 2 CLA's done of the camera, backs and lenses during the time I've owned them.

    The MFs that I currently shoot are my 2 6x7 Mamyia 7ii s plus my Fuji 645s, 6x7 and 6x9. IMHO the MF Mamiya and Fuji glass is fully equal to (or better than) the Zeiss glass on my Hassy system.
     
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  26. Andrey

    Andrey Member

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    Those are some very hard questions.

    I'll need the normal and a wide - that's all I'm going to need in terms of lenses.

    The interchangeable backs would be nice, of course. But it might be cheaper to just get two extra bodies and use those for different kinds of film.

    I like square negative. All of the stuff I shoot in MF will eventually wind up in an album and there the square format is my favorite. But I've never tried 6*7 either.

    Basically, all I know is that I want a better lens in terms of contrast than I currently have on my TLRs. I like to shoot into the light often, so ideally I'd like to find something multicoated with minimum number of glass to air surfaces.

    Are there any T* coated tessars for medium format?