Help! Hasselblad purchase decisions are driving me to insanity. Anyone live near me?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ted_smith, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

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    Help!! I need conselling!

    As many of you will now from my many threads of late (http://www.apug.org/forums/forum51/99887-difference-between-acute-matte-screen-acute-matte-d-screen.html, http://www.apug.org/forums/forum48/...503cws-dont-come-light-meters.html?highlight=, http://www.apug.org/forums/forum51/...-cunning-way-save-money-risky.html?highlight=, http://www.apug.org/forums/forum51/...lad-everyday-photographic-fun.html?highlight=, http://www.apug.org/forums/forum51/...sb800-flash-mamiya-645-pro-tl.html?highlight=), I am on the verge of buying a Hasselblad 503CW. A long standing dream of mine which has been forced into focus recently by the theft of almost all of Nikon equipment (lenses, SB800 flash and an F5 body - I have one F5 body left and that's it).

    On the one hand, I am being told and I know and I have read that Hassies are amazing cameras - CZ lenses producing the finest crispest photos created by cameras that are sturdy, reliable and extremely well built.

    However, on the other hand I have been told or know or have read that :

    1) They don't have a light meter, so you have to calculate that yourself or use the Sunny 16 rule or fork out another £200+ for either an incident light meter or a PME3 or something to attach to the blad

    2) The manual focussing can be a nightmare, depending on what kind of screen comes with the camera

    3) I'll need a special kind of flash like a Metz 4 etc etc

    4) I should have a hold and a play before I buy. However, all the one's I am trying to buy are not local to where I live and are mostly on eBay. None of the photo stores near me stock any other than the newer H series, which I don't want nor can afford.

    So, on the one hand I'm being pulled towards getting a Blad on the grounds that they are amazing with the best lenses in the world and, when used properly, take the most amazing pictures imaginable. But on the other, I'm thinking "How the hell will I be able to use one to snap a photo of my dynamically moving 3 year old daughter with a system like this?". But then I think, "What's the point in spending all that money again just to buy the same Nikon gear I had before?". Life's all about experiences, and they say there's no experience like the feeling of moving to Medium Format with a camera system like a Blad. I don't want to die one day having never experienced the feeling of using such a fine camera system!

    So a, I need to some words of wisdom. Any will do. And b, does anyone happen to live near me who owns such a Blad? I am in Derby, England. If anyone is within 30 miles or so of Derby who would let me pop round for a chat, a cup of tea with a Bourbon and a play with their Blad (I've never even held one before, let alone pressed the buttons, tried to focus one etc) I'd be much obliged.

    Ted
     
  2. LeicaM3

    LeicaM3 Member

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    - sunny 16 (free)
    - used sekonic flashmeter 305 that does incident and flash (50 euros)
    - your F5 (free)

    No at all. All 503CW come with new split thingie whatever itscalled screen - simple and fast with some practice.

    Not at all. A dirt cheap vivitar 283 with a pc cord will do for manual flash.
    Unless you really want TTL, but why?
    A 553ELX is a much better deal IMHO if you really want TTL and a body should be 300-400 euros.

    Absolutely. Sorry I am across the pond.

    I would rather save some money on equipment (503cw vs 553elx or others) and order 200 rolls of Acros from adorama for 2.69$ a pop.


    PS: You may have to alter your signature to reflect the changes...
     
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  3. OldBodyOldSoul

    OldBodyOldSoul Member

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    You have another F5, get a 50/1.8D for next to nothing, it should be good and fast enough for getting photos of your daughter.
    If you can find a Hasselblad with a fair price, you can always sell it at no to little loss if you realize it's not for you. Obviously, it's itching you to try so just scratch the damn thing.

    That's what I would do, at least.

    Good luck!
     
  4. postalman

    postalman Member

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    I'll add in that the Arax metered prism is $60 new for centre weight and $100 new for spot/centre weight. No flash support though (I don't think). You'll find them cheaper used I'm sure. 50 euros may be optimistic for a sekonic 308, but it shouldn't be more than $100
     
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  5. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    If you are going to photograph a 3 year old bundle of joy with a Hasselblad, I guess anticipation will be the word of the day. And a few extra film backs and a lot of film. Unless you try you will never know as you say.
     
  6. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    1) You can get a 45 degree PME for $150US to $250US
    2) Just get an Acute Matte screen to your preference. I have one with long crosshairs for lining up vertical lines. I did not like to one with the two microprisms.
    3) Not so, with a hotshoe adapter only, I can use my Nikon SB800 on automatic mode. The 503CX which I have and the 503CW [and others] with the special strobes measure the light bouncing off the film. I have not found that degree of control is necessary.
    4) Fly out and meet me when I am in Los Angeles and you can handle my Hasselblads [503CX and 903 SWC] while I crack open a bottle of Crown Royal.

    Steve
     
  7. mesh

    mesh Subscriber

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    Hi Ted.

    Sorry to hear about the theft. With regards to the Hassy, I can totally understand your concerns. I found learning the Hasselbald 'system' took me quite a while and I certainly didn't warm to it after the first roll ;-) Once I spent a little while devouring all the info I could find (including great advice from Steve above) it all clicked. I bought a cheap Sekonic L308s - it handles my flash metering, and I found that the best way to handle lighting (I have a 500cm which doesn't have flash control - the 503cw is different of course with the appropriate Metz controller).

    Focussing is not an issue although the screen quality as you and others have mentioned is important. A 503cw should come with a newer style acute-matte which are great. I had a split-screen too but for some reason never got on with it. I prefer the standard version.

    I can say that holding a Hassy is almost perfect IMO - I love the ergonomics. Nothing in MF comes close; particularly if hand-holding. As mentioned, you should be able to get your money back on any purchase if it does't work out. I'd just go for it ;-)
     
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    This will not be a problem. Many others have done this in the past. I have not have problems doing this.
     
  9. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I found a new 501CM last year and it has been a great camera. I usually use an external meter with my other cameras, so this hasn't been an issue for me. If you shoot in rapidly changing light, then get a metered prism. For following a running child, you want a prism anyway. I can't focus and follow action with the waist level finder because the image is reversed. The Acute Matte screen in the 501CM is very nice. I think the 503 has this as well. Manual flash works fine. I even use my Nikon flash in A mode and it works fine since the sensor is on the flash. You just can't adjust the lens aperture without adjusting the flash. And I'm sure it's easier to fool than a TTL setup. I got to hold the camera first, but if that's not possible just make sure you can return it. But I think you really need to live with a camera for a few weeks to know if it's for you anyway.
     
  10. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The left-right reversal is the reason I was not happy with TLR. One TLR I inherited had a prism because I convinced my father that he should have. Once he got it, it never came off!
     
  11. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Here are my words of wisdom. Per your signature, you have the following lenses for your Nikon:
    80-200mm 2.8 zoom
    60mm 2.8 Macro prime
    50mm 1.8 standard prime
    20mm 1.8 superwide prime

    I'll assume you were reasonably content with that mix. Realistically, only 2 lenses (the 50mm and 60mm macro) are replicable in the H'blad V mount. To reach even close to a 20mm perspective, you need to go to the Superwide (I think). You cannot duplicate the 80-200 zoom.

    So, IMHO, either:
    -you don't like the mix of lenses you had with the Nikon (or the list in your sig is not accurate)
    -you will change your style to match the camera
    -you will need to have both H'blad and Nikon
    -you will be frustrated because you can't get the shots you want

    I just don't see how it's feasible to switch when you've built your style around this collection (or, perhaps more accurately, built this collection around your style).

    So, my suggestion, either:
    -rebuild your Nikon system and add a less expensive, older, H'blad (with non-metered prism) to see how it fits you (cameras aren't spouses - you're not limited to 1)
    -rebuild your Nikon system, forget the H'blad and find some other experience to worry about missing before you die
     
  12. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    My recommendations:
    50mm, 80mm, 150mm*, 250mm lenses, all CF or later
    50mm, 100mm, 150mm*, 250mm lenses, all CF or later

    If you do not need the electronic interface, the CF is the best buy for multicoated lenses, easier to get serviced, all use the same size filters [B60], easier to use than the C lenses and newer than the C lenses. CF lenses are lower cost than the later lenses, but worth the difference in cost above the C lenses.

    I have CF 38mm [SWC], CF 50mm, CF 80mm, CF 150mm, CF 250mm and a 2X extender

    * 150mm or 180mm only if you shoot portraits
     
  13. keithostertag

    keithostertag Subscriber

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    Hasselblads are really nice, but after all it is just a camera!

    If you are stretching your money to be able to afford a Hasselblad system, I would say wait until you are more comfortable with your decision. Ebay is the _last_ place I would go to buy a system, unless you plan (financially) for having the equipment CLA'd by a trusted professional in addition to the purchase price. This is true for the backs and lenses as well as the bodies.

    You _could_ learn to be quick enough with a Hasselblad to take fast candid photos, but then again you may never develop that kind of proficiency with it. We all have different talents :smile:

    IMHO, learning enough about light, film, and equipment to be able to properly expose without a meter would be one of the best things you could do for your photography (this includes flash use). That way TTL (or an expensive meter) would be a luxury rather than a necessity.

    BTW: why a 503 and not an older 500 to start with? Unless you really want the advanced features, you can save some money by buying older bodies and lenses as long as they are in good condition.

    Keith
     
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  15. Hikari

    Hikari Member

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    Before you buy a Hasselbled, buy a cheap medium-format TLR like ones from Mamiya or Yashica. You can then get an idea of the benefits of medium-foram without spending too much. You can also find out if waist level finders are for you. I have always found prisms on a Hasselblad awkward and heavy.

    You may want to think about a eye level camera like the Pentax 67, Pentax 645, or Contax 645. I think Mamiya made an eye level camera as well.

    Hasselbled made/makes nice lenses, but so do a lot of other companies.
     
  16. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    Bought a 500 cm new in 1978-9.Did not take long to start using it for weddings and beautiful snap shots of my then young kids, 100's of them.Used mostly a pistol grip and metered view finder ( a must for trying to follow a 3 to 7 yr old and pan also) some times my 650 or 550 Sunpak flash with a cheap old flash bracket, the 550 had a thyristor circuit so only had to keep track of F stop.

    Some times would sit in the back yard with the 150mm lens and a tripod to record the action, best pictures I have are of family taken with that camera.

    Mike
     
  17. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    It took me 20 years to a) accumulate enough cash to buy a Hasselblad system and b) have the right opportunity come along. When I had the cash and opportunity, I bought. I haven't had a second thought about it. It's a pleasure to use and makes excellent negatives. (I could make better images, but that's not the point here.) If I sold the system today (503cx, 80, 120, 50, prism finder) I probably could get close to what I paid for it.

    I use mine with a Vivitar 285 flash, and usually meter with a spot meter. I don't use it for action scenes, and have reflexes much too slow to have recorded my high-speed kids when they were small. That's what 35mm is for in my experience.

    There is a bit of a learning curve, but so is there with any new camera or system. Given the number of fashion photos taken with Hasselblads over the years, you'll probably learn to hand-hold it with little trouble. Yes, get the CF lenses. A 500C/M in good condition is a good choice, unless you want a winder. The winders aren't all that fast, and the EL/ELM models only advanced at 1 frame per second, so there's no gigantic advantage there. A pistol grip is very helpful. Focusing quickly is a little difficult, but the acute-matte screens coupled with a prism finder make it much easier than without.

    Good luck! I know it's not an easy decision, but you won't get burned if you decide to re-sell it.

    Peter Gomena
     
  18. agfarapid

    agfarapid Subscriber

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    Before you jump into this new way of shooting, make sure this is what you want. 35mm and medium format are two very different ways of seeing. Since you've never handled a 6x6 with WLF, I strongly concur with Hikari that you get an inexpensive TLR or even a Mamiya 645 with an 80mm. Let me share some insights. I've been shooting 35mm as well as MF for many years. I bought my first MF--the Mamiya 645-- over 20 years ago and it still works & I still use it. I've also used many 35's over the years and currently shoot with an M3, a Contax 137 and more recently some older Canon equipment. I've found that 35mm is great for shooting action and taking photos of people in fast moving situations. I've been using my MF equipment (including my 500c) primarily for scenics (especially seascapes) and still lifes. My shooting styles with both types of equipment are very different and driven by subject matter. As you decide which way to go to rebuild your photographic collection, give a great deal of thought on what you will be shooting.

    If you plan to continue the same shooting style that you had with your Nikon but now your going to use a Hasselblad, your in for a very rude awakening. Start by thinking 12 frames vs 35 on a roll. Decide about your processing. Do you do your own darkroom work or do you have it processed? If you do your own lab work, plan to invest in 120 reels & tanks. Does your present enlarger handle 6x6? Plan on getting an 80mm enlarging lens. If you send your film out, does your current processor handle 120 film? Don't get me wrong, processing 120 has been a lot of fun for me & I enjoy the creative process. I don't mean to discourage you either, but making this change and to not expect a change in your shooting style might be very frustrating. If you are moving from an auto focus and in-camera metering platform to one in which you focus manually and meter your scenes with an external meter, you will have to incorporate these as well into your shooting style. A Hasselblad is a great creative instrument with it's square format and slower pace but don't expect it to be a panacea for all your photographic challenges.

    Didn't mean to muddy the waters, or deter you from your purchase but make sure you think through all the various different dynamics. If I were you (and of course, I'm not!) I'd probably purchase another Nikon, maybe an F100 with zoom for well under $400 and purchase a cheaper 6x6 (Yashica, Mamiya, etc) and see how it works for you. Then, after you've had a chance to handle an MF camera and like the feel and the outcome, by all means get that Hassey (but still keep the Nikon). Cheers!
     
  19. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    I'm not very experienced in the medium format category, but this fall I did buy a Hasselblad 503CW with the 80 CF T*got it relatively cheap too from a working photographer.
    ( I also bought a 160 CB lens, brand new, but got it very cheap, a very nice underrated lens btw)

    I also bought a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II about the same time, that I got really cheap, with two lenses, cost me about 1/5'th of the Hasselblad, but I think I was rather lucky with that one ^^.

    Now, I have used 35mm a lot, especially the Canon 1v, which can use all the lenses that my digital 1ds mk II can.
    And I agree with agfarapid, shooting 35mm vs shooting medium format with the 503 or the RZII is a huge difference. Currently I have not yet warmed up to the Hasselblad , I find it difficult to compose properly (due to the square format) and I also struggle a bit with focus, as I have some kind of accu-matte split screen thingy, I constantly focus/recompose while shooting models, but recomposing is very confusing due to the flipped screen you are looking at. (left movement goes right and right movement goes left, the same with tilting left or right).
    IE. until you get the hang of it, you will have serious issues tracking a small child running around, that's for sure :smile:

    I find the RZ pro II a bit better concerning focus, because it has a pure acu-matte screen, no split screen, it also focuses trough movement of bellows and I find it much easier to adjust than on-the-lens focusing (always turning the wrong way :tongue: ).

    That said though, I do not regret buying any of my medium format cameras, just looking at the negatives is a jaw-dropping experience, 6*6 or 6*7 isn't a huge difference, really, they are both dang huge :D Still, for christmas this year, I shot 35mm only, to capture my nephews and niece as they were running around, playing, opening gifts etc.

    If I were you, I would use a Nikon 35mm for action/snaps and the medium format for controlled environments/stationary people/sleeping child/landscapes etc, at least until the Hasselblad experience is second nature to you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2012
  20. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    Hasselblad would not have become a highly priced industry standard if they were not fast and easy to use and produced superb images

    If you get rich get the fun one, the SWC.M, which is the World's most expensive box camera

    SWC1.jpg

    My very full Hbd kit is up for grabs as I no longer like printing from such tiny little negatives, but Quinninup is a long way from Derbyshire - There must be a Hasselblad user near you
     
  21. declark

    declark Subscriber

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    Hello Ted, sorry about your loss.

    Ive previously owned a Pentax 645 and 45, 55, 150 lenses. Great system but I prefer something more mechanical and i like the square format so I sold it for a 500cm with WLF and 50CF, 80C, 150CF, 250C. I gotta say the Pentax gives it a good run and for action shots I would think a lot easier to use. I find focusing the Hasselblad lenses stiff and slowwww. Beautifully made but I use it from a tripod mostly. Kudos to those who can follow action with one.
     
  22. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

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    Hey guys

    Well, I thought "sod it", and I took the leap! I've just bought a 501C/M with a recently serviced 80mm CB lens, WLF, strap etc for £1400. I am yet to have it delivered! (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/280789655006?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649)

    I have taken on board all the points and acknowledge the risks with eBay, though I have to say that to date I have always chosen sellers carefully and have not yet been stung. Given my location and the seeming lack of second hand places to buy these from round here in Derby (I even bought the Ad-Mag and Derby Telegraph, just to check) eBay is my best option. I tried ffordes.co.uk and a retailer in Paris but it's the usual thing - a shop will always add a few hundred more. I realise you get warranty for a month or two or maybe 6 if you're lucky, but I've sold almost everything I own to buy this so every peeny counts.

    I've also bought another standard 50mm prime for my Nikon F5 with lens hood for those more rapid pace requirements. Besides, I have about £100 of 35mm film in my fridge! I just need to get this flash issue sorted (see my other related post about a flash that works with F5 and Hassie) because I do like a bit of -1 fill in flash, just to brighten the mince pies a bit :smile:

    When the beast arrives I'll let you all know :smile: I will no doubt upload pictures of me with my new posession just for vanity sake. I am so excited about owning a Hasselblad I really can't explain it. I have wanted one since I was a teenager (I'm 35 now!).
     
  23. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    You'll enjoy the Hassy. Congratulations. Got a tripod? If not, get one ASAP... and a Hassy quick release.
     
  24. keithostertag

    keithostertag Subscriber

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    RE: alternatives to eBay- You _will_ be wanting lots of additional Hasselblad accessories in the future. You'll benefit from an additional back, for instance. Maybe you could consider putting in a WTB ad here on APUG or on other boards? Another thing I occasionally do is post a WTB ad in the local free newspaper or on Craig's List. You might be surprised to find that there are local people interested and willing to sell you stuff but who haven't wanted to take the time or effort to advertise... It's also a good way to meet local photographers , and/or take a trip to a nearby city. In 20 years I have bought very little photo gear from a retail establishment (other than supplies).

    Keith Ostertag
     
  25. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    Good catch! Congratulations and enjoy your new camera. Give your cache of 35mm some 120 roll film friends to keep them company in the fridge, too.

    Peter Gomena
     
  26. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Referencing the flash, there's no big deal unless you want TTL for the Nikon. The Hasselblad doesn't have an accessory shoe so it may be easier to get a bracket that will hold the flash and mount to the bottom of the camera "L bracket". The 'Blad uses a standard PC cord
    Flash could be as simple as a Vivitar 283 or 285. The 285 has the ability to reduce the power of the flash. THe 283 has an optional module that does the same.