Thinking of either a Hasselblad or Rolleiflex??

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by chrisl, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. chrisl

    chrisl Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm thinking of getting a MF camera to lug around when I don't want to shoot 4x5, but want a larger negative than my Canon A2E 35 system.

    I bought a Contax T3 for fun as a p&s...and had my first exposure to Carl Zeiss lens...WOW! I can't believe the difference comp. to all 4 of my Non-L Eos lenses. So now I'm hooked on wanting a camera that supports Zeiss lenses...I've researched and found that Rolleiflex SL66 (no ttl metering though) w. a 80mm lens can be had for around$600...or a Hasselblad C series w. a 80mm for about $1000 (haven't done alot of research yet on all the diff. C series). Any things to consider here b/w these two? Any reasons to choose one over the other?

    I am just pondering the thought right now and thought it might be interesting to hear other viewpoints re. these cameras.

    Thanks for any opinions!!
    Chris
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think you can get the Hassy for less than $1000 if you look a bit harder. I'd go with that over the Rolleiflex just because there's more Hassy stuff around and you can upgrade lenses/bodies/backs/finders, if that appeals to you.

    The Zeiss glass is attractive. I have a 135/3.5 Planar for my Linhof that's just outstanding. I thought for a moment--"trade the Bronica for a Hassy?"--then came to my senses and said--"and waste all that money on such a puny neg? Better to save up for a Sonnar and maybe a Biogon for the 4x5" kit!"
     
  3. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    I'd really like the quality of the Zeiss glass and the Hassy used prices are tempting. But every report I read of the dreaded Hassy jam and other problems makes me wonder whether I should consider Rollei instead.

    Either way, I'd have to consider the total package: cost of available lenses, backs, prism finders, service and availability of service, etc.
     
  4. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I haven't had a "dreaded Hassy jam" for some years now. This occurs when one removes the uncocked lens after an exposure without advancing the film. When it does occur, a small screwdriver applied to the proper slot in the lens cocking shaft and turned will re-cock the shutter and everything will be OK.
    It is one of those deals where it becomes a learned reflex. I'm not sure I *could* remove an uncocked lens now - it would be as probable as shifting into first gear in an automobile with the engine running - without depressing the clutch.

    There are many reasons to go with the Hasselblad, in my book. One was their dedication to interchangeability beyond model changes. Lenses and accessories made in, and available in, November of 2003 will fit bodies produced in the 1960's. Another is depreciation - the 'Blads I bought in 1993 are worth more now than when I bought them (yes, I know the dollar was worth more then ...) and nothing else I know as far as operating systems comes close.

    Just "food for thought".
     
  5. chrisl

    chrisl Member

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    Thanks for the feedback guys, I don't anticipate I'll need alot of accessories, but availability is a good thing to have. Any particular 'C' model that would be the 'minimal entry point body', or any models to avoid?

    David's right also about the prices, just found this: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2968154179&category=3351
    CM w/80 for 800

    David, yeah, was thinking too it'd be great to have a Zeiss lens for my Wisner :smile:. I know there's not many to choose from, but maybe one of these days I'll be able to get my hands on one!

    Good to know too Ed they at least keep some resale value as ya never know how you might like something or not.

    Thanks again for the responses!
    Chris
     
  6. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Rollei Advantage: front movements. To my knowledge this is the only medium format reflex camera with swings and tilts. If perspective corrections are important to you, you may give this one the nod.

    Hasselblad Advantage: ergonomics. You hold it in your left hand, trip the shutter with your left index finger, and both focus and crank with your right hand. You can go through an entire roll without your eye ever leaving the viewfinder. Truly an extension of your hand, just like a Leica. After a few rolls, you don't think about anything except the picture. You can't do this with a Rollei because the damned focussing knob is on the left side. So, if the camera is hand held, you hold it in your right hand to focus, then switch hands to expose and wind for the next exposure. This is true of both the SL66 and the TLR, and it drives me nuts.

    I've had 3 different Hasselblads over the last 35 years and have never had the "dreaded Hassy jam" happen. Not once. I wouldn't let that enter into my thinking at all.
     
  7. Jeanne

    Jeanne Subscriber

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    I'm a SL66 user & lover. The front tilt is wonderful. The lens also racks out on a bellows so that you can get very close (6 inches, I think)with the standard 80mm lens -- and if that's not close enough, you can reverse mount the lens to get even closer.

    It's big, it's heavy, and it's true that you have to change hands to focus & wind, but you get used to it -- wouldn't trade mine for anything in the world.
     
  8. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    A few weeks back I had the opportunity to handle a number of the 6x6 SLR options, new and old. I had just returned a rented Hasselblad 503 (w/o the motorized winder) and wanted to know how the "others" felt. A local dealer with a good supply of new and used cameras let me fiddle with the following: Bronica SQ? (newest version), Rollei SL66, Rollei 6003, Bronica GS1 (OK, so it's a 6x7) and a Hassy 203FE ($13K !!). To my hand the plain old Hassy 500/501/503 "felt" the best. Each of the others had bits and pieces that either protruded and didn't fit my hands nicely or were awkward in other ways. (I'm left handed and maybe that figures into things ergonomically...)

    Before you plunk down the money, do try to handle the real thing to see whether YOU like the way it feels.

    If you aren't comfortable with it, you might end up leaving it behind and grabbing something else...

    (for the sort of things I like to shoot, a plain jane Hassy 50X will suit me just fine - now the find the $$)

    Dave
     
  9. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Ed is absolutely right AGAIN.

    I have owned Hasselblad since 1976. I originally owned 4 but now just have a CM and an ELM. I would definately recommend this system over any other. Virtually anything they make fits. No built in obsolescence. The cameras I bought in 1976 work the same they did the day I bought them. And I have used them a miniumum of 4 times a week.

    I would stay away from the C lenses and don't but anything older than CF as they are running out of parts for the older lenses. If it's a silver lens don't buy it.

    If possible buy a 503 with the 60 series lenses, and you will never be sorry.

    The problem you could find with Rollei compared to Hasselblad is that there are hundreds of thousands of Hasselblads around and if you want to add on or upgrade you have a far better chance with Hasselblad.

    Michael McBlane
     
  10. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Chris, when I bought my Hasselblad I went through the same desicion so I will relate what made me choose the Hasselblad. Like you I was looking at the Rollei 6008i or the hasselblad 501CM with various lenses. At the time ( I dont know the current situation) the lenses were made by Zeiss for both companies, so I expected to pay premium for lenses either way, but as I researched the prices for lenses I found out that the good lenses in Rollei were far more expensive than the blad, which were already very expensive. So that was a check mark for the Hasselblad.

    Then I compared the bodies, a similar body for the hasselblad that had all the features of the Rollei was at least twice as much as the Rollei body, check for Rollei. But the one thing I did not like is that if your Rollei battery dies, you are SOL. Yes, the Rollei body is wonderful with all kinds of gizmos and wistles, but then they are no good if you have a dead battery. So really although it was a check for Rollei on the body, the Hasselblad got a half check for functionality without a battery.

    Then I checked availability, parts and repair. Here Hasselblad wins hands down. You can find a Hasselblad dealer, repairman and parts just about anywhere, not so for Rollei. Hell if you have an emergency and need a lens, just go to the nearest hospital or court house and yell in the lobby "who has a Hasselblad?" and you will see 30 doctors or lawyers raise their hands...:smile:

    The best example is E bay, check their auctions for Hasselblad as opposed to Rollei and you will see the great difference in things available.

    In the end I settled for the Hasselblad with 3 lenses. Spent a lot of money, but I think it was the best desicion I have made for purchasing photo equipment. I know this camera will last me until I can no linger use it, and the pics...well, them lenses are an extraordinary thing...shame Hassleblad no longer puts Zeiss lenses in their cameras.
     
  11. chrisl

    chrisl Member

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    Boy, no doubt what you guys like overall! lol

    Thanks Jorge for that execellent comparison. I appreciate the response and well thought out comparison. And, as such, I've decided to
    hold out till I can get at least a 500cm and lens (and very good to know Michael to not get the silver lenses, I was wondering about those. As well as to limiting to the CF series. I didn't know exactly where to cut off my choices in lenses). It may take awhile, still paying off all the new 4x5 stuff I got earlier this yr. lol

    But in the mean time, Aggie offered me the use of her Mamiya that would be fun to shoot a few rolls. Very kind of her.

    Thanks again to everyone's response!

    Chris
     
  12. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I have a full set of silver hassy lenses and they are very sharp and contrasty. I have also not had any problem getting them overhauled and in the one instance that a lens needed repair (last spring) there was no problem getting the part required. There are T* silver lenses as well.

    As with any lens, old or new a lenshade should always be used.

    When I was out shooting with Les in the snow covered flat lands I shot several pics straight into the sun with my 50mm WA and had practically no flare and still great contrast.

    People who say stay away from the silver lenses probably don't use them themselves and are just going on rumour or bias IMHO. I have not had any prints put side by side with mine from any non Hassy MF system that comes close to the razor sharpness and great contrast and tonal range of my old silver lenses. Zeiss glass is Zeiss glass, period.
     
  13. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Chris:

    Hasselblad is a good choice. I get my lenses rebuilt every few years at Associated Camera Repair in Portland OR. 1-877-278-8244. If you want any questions answered about availability for parts etc or which bodies and lenses to shy away from, ask him.

    Eric;

    The reason I mentioned the silver lenses is that there have been bulletins sent around that Hasselblad is running out of parts for these lenses. I certainly didn't mean to offend your old aging silver lenses. I don't want to be accused of silver discrimination. I also didn't say it wasn't a good lens, as I've had a set of 3. I was just saying that if buying it used , number one, is is quite old, and number two, they are supposedly running out of parts.

    Boy you Canadians are so militant. By the way, the only reason the Flames are now doing well is with the old retreads the Sharks sent you. So say thank you.

    Michael McBlane
     
  14. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Takes one to know one Michael!! With all the old hassy stuff running around I'm sure there will be a good supply of parts for a long time to come.
     
  15. Leon

    Leon Member

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    I have recently bought a Rollei SL66, and it is outstanding. It also has the CZ glass, so no advantage there either way. It is VERY solidly built, again no head start ... but then come the movements/ belows. Although only very small (max 8 deg tilt up or down) it is still a distinct advantage over not having any - the Hassy Flexbody and discontinued Arcbody are phenomenally expensive to get the same effect.

    The extendable belows allow for close focusing with any lens (no special macro needed), but, it gets better, the lens mounts and front bayonets enable you to also retro mount any lens too for extreme close ups, making a HUGE saving if close up work is your thing.

    Also, no batteries, an internal shutter, and the other standards like mirror lock and multi exposures.

    (sorry - I just read Jeanne's comments on the SL66 - didnt mean to repeat!)
    the only prob I've had is the focusing screens are a touch dim - a small outlay on a Beattie Intenscreen has solved that.

    If the above advantages are for you, then go with the SL66.
     
  16. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    Hasselblad. Once you go blad, you don't go back.

    Art.