Need advice on a life-changing decision...

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Ara Ghajanian, May 13, 2005.

  1. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    A bit of history before I ask the question:
    A few years ago I traded my RB-67 system to a friend for his Hasselblad 500C/M. The Hasselblad is in perfect condition with all boxes, instructions, etc. It's almost like having a brand new one. Anyways, I've used the Hasselbald once in all those years, I'm not sure why, but I've been doing just about everything with my Nikon F3. The problem I have with the Hasselblad is that I can't afford any accessories. I've got a 80mm Planar and a Polaroid back, but anything else I would like to get is way beyond my means (I've got a mortgage and a car payment to worry about). The Nikon suits most of my needs, but I don't want to lose the medium format negative size when needed. I used to shoot a lot with the RB-67, but since I got the F3 most of my work, if not all, has been 35mm. I have to mention that I also have a Rolleiflex TLR 3.5 Planar (don't quote me on the lens, it's definitely a 3.5 though) in excellent cosmetic condition, but it desparately needs a CLA because the slower shutter speeds stick. I want to sell the Hassleblad for financial reasons, but I'm not sure if the Rollei is a suitable replacement. I'll never be able to afford a Hasselblad lens or prism finder, etc. so I figure the Rollei is basically the same camera minus the Polaroid back.

    My question is: In your opinion, IS a Rolleiflex TLR capable of replacing a Hasselblad in this case? Obviously, it's not an SLR, nor does it have interchangable backs or lenses, but if I can't afford those extras then what is the point of having a Hasselblad over the Rollei? Plus, I love the fact that the Rollei shutter is a leaf shutter that's almost silent and can be held still at slower shutter speeds. The Hasselblad shutter sounds like the door of a Cadillac being shut. My decision is almost made, but I just wanted to ask you guys and gals to make sure I'm not overlooking anything.

    Question 2: How much should I ask for a mint Hasseblad 500C/M (circa 1992) with 80mm f2.8 Planar, A12 Back, Polaroid back, all boxes, all instructions? I'm thinking $1300.

    Thanks in advance, I know I can count on you great people,
    Ara
     
  2. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    very tough spot you are in!

    Given your situation, and the amount of use you give the Hasselblad the Rolleiflex maybe a good replacement.

    If you want to keep a SLR a Bronica maye a good replacement, they are selling cheap.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This is partially why I use a Bronica S2A for medium format. For $1300, you should be able to put together a kit with an S2A, 3 Nikkor lenses, 3 backs, and a few other odds and ends of your choosing (extension tubes and Polaroid back, or another lens, or maybe even the tilt-shift macro bellows).
     
  4. Surly

    Surly Member

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    Oh, I think you've opened Pandora's box here Ara. The Rollei and Hassy camps can be quite divided :wink:
    In my opinion the Hasselblads when used alot need more frequent servicing. The Rollei probably will be good for many years after you get it dialed in. Also, the Rollei, if it has a 3.5 lens is probably 75mm which is slightly wider than the 80 on your Hassy. Not much to worry about but I would prefer the wider lens, albeit a stop or so slower.
    It sounds like your minds already made up- but there is nothing wrong with keeping things simple. If your going to have one camera with a fixed lens you cant go wrong with the Rollei. Send it to Oceanside camera repair and Harry Fleenor will get it fixed up for you.
    The Hasselblad folks can advise on the price.
    Good luck.
     
  5. jmdavis

    jmdavis Member

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    Well, the Pro-S is still around. You know that you've used them in the past. You should be able to get a Pro-S, Waistlevel, 50 and 90 lenses and at least one back (maybe 2 and a polaroid) for under $1200. But would you use them?

    Another possibility that offers some merit might be a c220 or c330.

    But, a Rollei TLR is a hard camera to beat even without interchangeable lenses.

    Mike
     
  6. mark

    mark Member

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    If you don't use the blad dump it. It is taking up space. Get something you would use. If you are dumping it because you need the money to live off them the Rollei would be a good substitute because it is completely usable. My favorite picture in gallery right now was made with a TLR. TLR's are not my cup of tea but I could use one-did for a few years-if there was nothing else. Tempe Camera in Phoenix AZ is a quick reliable place to get something CLA'ed and their prices are very reasonable.

    Good luck. I have yet to be able to sell a camera. Too much sentimental connection.
     
  7. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I'm not sure why the Rollei, another 6x6, would need to replace a system you don't use, but I guess if it's a tool and you have a need for it, and it suffices, then I see no reason it won't, unless your expectations come to exceed it's capabilities. In so much as your Hasselblad sale is concerned, I've found to a degree that the auction site has more influence on pricing then I would like. Attempts to sell mine thru classifieds have hads it's pricing compared to the recent ( and usually lowest) prices that were bid online. In an attempt to do an end run, my attempts to trade have so far been futile. I refuse to sell thru auction and would keep the camera instead.

    Now, as a Hassy owner, I see no reason that the hasselblad should not be able to be used as a tool, as needed. I own the 60mm, a fine lens, but did always want the 80's view. I essentially see it as a more useable lens. When you bought the Hassy, just what was your intentions with it? Is it too slow and clunky for you somehow? Is the speed of use of the 35mm your suit? If so, maybe either 6x6 won't do for you.

    I own a Pro-S as well; It has it uses, but I find that I don't have a need for those uses just yet. Maybe, and probably, you could trade the Hassy for a RZ, or RB, and return to a camera that you did find more use for. The problem might be tho, that it's such a different camera to use over a 35mm system. You might be a little spoiled by now. Each camera and format obviously is not necessarily a do it all, which is why many of us have alot of different tools in our toolbox. As far as the Rollei again is concerned, of course any cash sale of the Hassy would fix it, and it is emminently more saleable, depending on model, if you find you just don't like it.
     
  8. photobum

    photobum Member

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    I have both a 500 CM (3 lenses) and a TLR f/3.5. Because of the weight I use the Rollei more. If I could only have one, with one lens it's the Rollei. Having said that, the price on 'Blad lenses are dropping like a rock. It is a good time to buy M/F.
     
  9. noblebeast

    noblebeast Member

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    Ara, It sounds like you're already leaning in this direction anyway, but: sell the Hassy, fix the Rollei, pay some bills with the leftover cash. I have a Rolleiflex with a 3.5 Tessar and am always more than happy with the results I get. Plus once your Rollei has been CLA'd it will give you years and years of trouble free service. And since, by your own statement, you're doing most of your work with your Nikon, you're not really going to feel a great loss at no longer having the Hassy. It seems that you've talked yourself into this move already, so this is just a gentle shove.:smile:

    Joe
     
  10. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I would have the Rollei cleaned and serviced. The Rollei at wider apertues, while very good will not equal the Hassleblad but from f6.3 and smaller it will be mighty hard to tell a difference. The 3.5 Planar is, in my opinion, the best of the single coated Rollei lenses. Nice quiet vibration free camera.. It will take quality pictures that delight you.

    Goodbye Hassleblad.
     
  11. skahde

    skahde Member

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    I went into the opposite direction. I needed other focal lengths than just the 80mm and had to bite the bullet. I had to sell a very nice collectors condition 2,8f white face as I couldn't afford to keep both. Good move at that time as far as my photography was concerned but I still wish I could have kept both as the Rollei is a very nice and capable camera. If a normal lens is all you need in MF sell the Hasselblad, have the Rollei overhauled, buy a new groundglass for it and don't look back.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2005
  12. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I would offer one warning, concerning selling the Hasselblad outfit. It is a "soft market" right now for medium format equipment. Getting what it's worth might be difficult. The good side of that bad coin is that the prices of lenses, backs and accessories to fit the Hasselblad are currently favorable to buyers. If you want to expand the 'blad outfit, it's a good time to do so.
     
  13. Dr David Hall

    Dr David Hall Member

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    Need advice....

    Your reasoning for the sale is sound, your usage of 35mm suggests it is working in creating your vision, and a tlr, particularily this tlr, is good for when you might need 6X6 in capture of that vision. What would you like to resolve in your mind about this issue before taking action?
     
  14. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    Dr Hall,
    Good observation. I guess it is obvious that I have an issue with selling any camera. I tend to get a bit attached to posessions which help in my pursuit of the perfect image. I was watching a documentary last night where the photographer was using almost the exact camera and every time the shutter went off I got goose bumps.

    Thanks to everyone for their sound advice. I don't think there was one answer that didn't make sense in this situation. I need to do some more thinking now.
    Ara
     
  15. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    Lee,
    I took a look on eBay to see how 'soft' the market really is. You weren't kidding. I'm having second thoughts about selling now. Most of the similar auctions were going for around $800. I really don't want to take that kind of hit. On the bright side (as you said), lenses are dropping in price and maybe I can pick one up in the distant future.
    Ara
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Price out a Polaroid back for the Hassy, and that might solve your other problem.
     
  17. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    David,
    Actually, I have a Polaroid back for the Hassy. Are you saying I should just use the Hassy as a Polaroid camera? That's a great idea. Why didn't I think of that? Thanks, man.
    Ara
     
  18. akar

    akar Member

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    Hi Ara,
    Just an observation. I have never heard of anyone saying "Boy, am I glad I sold that Hasselblad." I have heard/read several people say just the opposite. If your situation is such that you really need to sell it to get what you want, then you may need to sell it. But if you can at all hang on to it (and still meet your photographic needs), then you probably should.
     
  19. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    I would - IF I had the good fortune to have the Rollei SL66 instead!

    that's a camera! and it's cheap! pol an'all...
     
  20. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    Forgive me , but if you've found only one usage for the Hasselblad in years, is this the right way to approach the issue? By which I mean is it not the case that the disposal of the Hasselblad is a given (and quickly; prices are dropping) and that the real issue is whether to get the Rollei fixed and keep it or whether that should go as well? I mean you say that you'd like to have the bigger image when you need it, but it does rather sound like you never actually need it. Either get the Rollei fixed in the belief that you'll use it, or shed that one too.

    Buying used Medium format equipment is not difficult. If you later decide to make images that would benefit from a bigger image, its going to be easy.
     
  21. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    David,
    The problem is I spent the first few years of my photo 'career' with an RB-67 in hand. After working with negs of that size, it's hard to imagine all my future work will be done with 35mm. It seems that lately I haven't been using medium format enough, but I feel like someday I will again. When that day comes the Hasselblad is the perfect instrument of choice.

    After looking at your website (David) I'm having second thoughts about selling the Blad. You work is excellent and you use the square format to its full potential. Very nice.

    Knowing my self pretty well, I have to say that when I can't make a solid decision that I can live with, it usually means that I should make no decision at all. I'm going to keep the beast for a while longer and try to force myself to use it as much as possible. Thanks to everyone for their advice, it all made sense and ultimately contributed to my decision. Now it's time to put my money (or film) where my mouth is and produce some good images with the Blad.
    Thanks for the insight,
    Ara