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  1. #1
    ted_smith's Avatar
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    Help! Hasselblad purchase decisions are driving me to insanity. Anyone live near me?

    Help!! I need conselling!

    As many of you will now from my many threads of late (http://www.apug.org/forums/forum51/9...-d-screen.html, http://www.apug.org/forums/forum48/1...tml?highlight=, http://www.apug.org/forums/forum51/9...tml?highlight=, http://www.apug.org/forums/forum51/9...tml?highlight=, http://www.apug.org/forums/forum51/9...tml?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
    Ted Smith Photography
    Hasselblad 501CM...my 2nd love.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    Help!! I need conselling!

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

    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    2) The manual focussing can be a nightmare, depending on what kind of screen comes with the camera
    No at all. All 503CW come with new split thingie whatever itscalled screen - simple and fast with some practice.

    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    3) I'll need a special kind of flash like a Metz 4 etc etc
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    4) I should have a hold and a play before I buy.
    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...
    Last edited by LeicaM3; 01-02-2012 at 01:51 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: add

  3. #3
    OldBodyOldSoul's Avatar
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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. #4

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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
    Last edited by postalman; 01-02-2012 at 06:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5
    Jerevan's Avatar
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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.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  6. #6

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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 ;-)

  7. #7
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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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.

  8. #8

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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
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

  9. #9

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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 :-)

    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
    Keith Ostertag
    keitho at strucktower dot com

  10. #10

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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.

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