Inherited a Hasselblad 500CM: What do I do now?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by patashnik, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. patashnik

    patashnik Member

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    OK, this might be the dumbest question ever, but I'm gonna push my luck here... :smile:

    I just inherited a Hasselblad 500CM camera house, without lenses, magazine, etc. Since I'm a verified nerd, I was wondering what I need to actually take pictures with this camera... Surfing the net, I've come up with a couple of things:

    - lens
    - viewfinder
    - magazine

    That's it?

    And then we have the 120 film format. How do I decide what format it will use? I mean, I read all about 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7, etc.

    I do feel like an absolute newbie when it comes to MF (I do have a Leica that I use and love), but I really want to respect the person that left me this camera - and use it. Selling it is not an option, and I'm not one of those guys who think a Hasselblad (or any camera) should gather dust.

    Any help is deeply appreciated :smile:
     
  2. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    - lens (normal is 80mm for 6x6)
    - viewfinder
    - magazine (or two-with dark slides)

    Yes, that is what you will need, and a meter if you don't have one. I'm thinking you might have one already, for the Leica.

    The format of your Hasse is 6x6. Thats it. All the formats you mention are 120 formats used by various cameras. You will get 12 6x6 frames per roll.

    No stupid questions about film cameras exist on APUG.
    You will receive many helpful suggestions from the kind folks here, and the incredible network and information source of film users you have found.
    Welcome.
     
  3. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    If your camera is without a viewfinder, the most usual choice would be a waist-level finder aka WLF. Magazines do come in 6x6 and 6x4.5 formats, 6x6 is the natural choice. I have not used Hasselblad for a long time, I seem to recall the slightly later magazines are referred to as A12 and are preferred to the earlier "12-on" type. I believe any lens with a leaf (Synchro-Compur) shutter will fit, older is cheaper, more modern is more expensive!

    Regards,

    David
     
  4. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Hey Patashnik, I thought you were an RF(F) guy? :wink: Welcome!

    Well, seriously, you happened to inherit the least expensive part of the system. Any magazine would work, but an A12 (with the more automatic winding-on versus the C12 which you wind on, looking through a peephole in the back), a standard WLF (no metering in that, but prisms are available, both the H-blad ones and if you wanna get it cheap, the Kiev ones) and finally, the lens.

    I'd start with a normal, 80 mm lens. Shop around and look at prices and condition. The market (at least here, in good old Sweden) is quite flooded with stuff and prices are rather low, compared to what they've been, at least. On the back of the house there's a code starting with two characters followed by a serial number. I suppose you've seen it already, but here you can find out when the camera was made: http://www.photoethnography.com/ClassicCameras/index-frameset.html?Hasselblad500.html~mainFrame

    Good luck with the hunt! :smile:
     
  5. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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  6. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    They are great cameras to use. I have one body with a waist level finder, one lens (60 mm) and two A12 film magazines. I find that this set up works fine for me and I have not needed/wanted any other lenses for this camera.
     
  7. Terence

    Terence Member

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    Assuming you're in the U.S., www.keh.com has very decent prices, a wide selection, and very good return policies. I have no connection to them other than having bought all my Hasselblad gear from them.

    I've bought all "bargain" grade stuff except for the film back, which I bought "excellent" as they're a little more finicky. Keh's "bargain" grade stuff is usually better than what many places call "9" or "9+". A "bargain" lens will function perfectly but may have a little wear on the outside. I have one that I can't even figure out why they didn't grade it excellent.

    The only tricky part I've found of Hassies is to ALWAYS make sure the lens and body are cocked when you mount or remove the lens. Otherwise you get the classic "Hasselblad jam" (do a search on the term and you'll find many sites showing how to avoid it and how to remedy it). It's usually able to be corrected with a jeweler's screwdriver and a steady hand, but once you do it once you'll probably never do it again.
     
  8. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    See, ... I didn't know that. I thought they were 6x6 only. Thats why APUG is so great. I learn something new about photography every day. :smile:
     
  9. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    Tricky? Why? It´s just a characteristic of the camera itself!
    Respect that and you will have no trouble, simple!

    Cheers

    André
     
  10. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Have fun with it.
    You will soon adjust to the reversed image in the finder and find that the square is not difficult to compose in.
    The only difficulties I have had is to remember to remove the darkslide when I insert a new magazine and to work well its slow and precise focus.
    They all take a bit of habit, that's all.
     
  11. Drew B.

    Drew B. Subscriber

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    What do you do with it....the answer is simple...give it to me. thats all you need to know!
     
  12. mono

    mono Subscriber

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    ... or to me ;-))
     
  13. Drew B.

    Drew B. Subscriber

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    Wait..I had the simple answer..you've gone ahead and complicated things!
     
  14. patashnik

    patashnik Member

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    Thank you all for your warm welcome! And Jerevan, yes - I'm an RFF guy... :wink: But I can't get rid of a camera that someone left me, so the best thing to do would be to use it.

    I'll have a look around, hopefully I'll be able to pick something up - for a reasonable price.
     
  15. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Congratulations! :smile: I agree that if you are in the US, KEH.com is your friend. Check some of the threads here to find rave reviews about them. Their ratings are extremely conservative, so buying something rated bargain can sometimes yield you a true bargain, with high quality and low cash outlay! :wink:

    Here is a link to the Manual for the camera; it's free... print it out & you will be a happy camper! :D
    http://www.urmonas.net/manuals/500cm/500cm.html
     
  16. patashnik

    patashnik Member

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    I'm from Norway, but KEH is still a good advice. They seem to have nice prices, and seem to represent the "Good guys".

    Thanks for the manual, I've already printed it!
     
  17. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    Congrats you have a great camera. Some shooters dont like them but they are the standard by which all MF cameras are judged. If I could keep only one camera it would be my Hassy. Get it put togethe and shoot.

    P.S. Ditto on KEH. They are the good guys in my opinion.
     
  18. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    I hope the camera came with a focusing screen - those can be pricey too.

    You can examine a lens and pretty quickly decide whether its working properly or not. The place to be careful with Hasselblad is the backs - they are notorious for developing light leaks. You won't know until you burn some film with it whether it needs new light seals or not. New seals are a relatively minor repair - where they can also burn you is if the frame spacing is off.

    They are nice cameras - I think you will be shocked how nice when you slap your first roll of 6x6cm transparencies on the light table.
     
  19. Terence

    Terence Member

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    Tricky because almost every other camera doesn't do this. Someone coming from experience with 35mm or most other MF wouldn't even think of this unless specifically mentioned.

    As I said, ONE time was enough to scare me into checking the lens and body EVERY time so as not to offset my "good deal" on the camera with technician's billing. In my case the lens was cocked when I removed it, but had "unwound" in my camera bag and I didn't check it. It hadn't occured to me that it could uncock when off the camera. It's happened to me twice since, but I caught it before mounting the lens.

    I'm not saying it's a negative aspect of the camera. I LOVE my Hasselblad. I'm just saying it's a quirk of the design that isn't well known outside the Hasselbladeratti.
     
  20. A.C.

    A.C. Subscriber

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    no-one seems to have mentioned this, so...

    Assuming that your knowledge of Hassy is limited (forgive me if its not)...
    Your 500CM is a fully manual device, and does not contain a shutter. The fabric covered flaps at the rear of the box are NOT a shutter. The body uses lenses broadly labelled as "C" type, dependent upon development over time. {C, CF, CFe, CFi, for example} The older ones are C, and the latest CFi (with some electronic stuff in them)
    An older (and therefore less expensive, potentially) lens may be described like this; 150mm f/4 C.
    Very old (1000 series camera types) may also not be suitable. Seek specialist advice if in doubt.
    If you're buying without knowledge, please take care that you only buy these "C**" types.
    When exploring the wonderful world of Hasselblad, you will note that there are also "F" type lenses, which do NOT have shutters within them, and they are not suitable for your camera, being designed for a different camera range.
    Please, please DO pay attention to the advice regarding the mounting of cocked/uncocked lenses and backs to the body. It will save you much heartache if you do...Its easiest in the early stages of acquaintance to ensure that you mount cocked backs to cocked bodies to cocked lenses, and check that it is so. Make sure they are all still cocked when you take 'em off.
    Also note that the camera back (roll film holder bit) won't detach unless the darkslide (siver square thing with a rectangular wire handle that sticks out the left side of the body at the point near to where the back and body join) is inserted.
    Also, you can NOT trigger the shutter if the darkslide IS inserted, no matter how hard you press the button at the front, bottom right of the box...
    Hope this helps.
    and PS - never was the acronym RTFM better applied than here...