Hasselblad or Rollie SL66, Please advise.
I am actually looking for input and deciding between a Rollie SL66 and a Hasselblad. Whatever input/advice you can offer will be weighed and . Thanks.
"The world is full of sloppy Bohemians and their work betrays them.”
The biggest difference will be focal plane shutter (SL66) vs. leaf shutter ('blad.) I would imagine that lens availability and cost would be next in line (advantage: 'blad.) The SL66 tilt capability is mitigated by the inability to use it near infinity. Rack and pinion vs. helical focusing (IMO, advantage: Rollei). Cost for everything you might ever want (certainly advantage:
'blad.) I am certain that the Rollei is a jewel but at what premium?
Last edited by Jim Rice; 08-08-2013 at 12:14 AM. Click to view previous post history.
There is so much blad gear out there not at really good prices. And the lenses and system is simply beautiful. Camera lego.
I have several Hasselblad bodies and lenses and have previously owned two SL66 cameras. They are both really excellent systems, the build quality for both is just great. The Zeiss lenses are essentially the same (the SL66 lenses lacking, of course, the leaf shutters that the Hasselblad versions include. And I'm assuming here that you're interested in a Hasselblad such as the 500C/M and not one of the focal plane shutter bodies). If you're okay with the focal plane shutter of the SL66, it's kinda nice not to have shutters in every lens (that need occasional servicing). And the SL66 does have some interesting features that you won't get with the Hasselblad, notably the built-in capability to reverse the lens mounting (combined with the bellows focusing this allows pretty extreme close-ups even before resorting to any extension tubes) and the lens tilt (allowing you to extend focus along a plane without having to rely on smaller apertures). Of course you can add a bellows extension accessory to the Hasselblad for great closeup work, but the SL66 is cool for its included capabilities in this area.
Also, the SL66 film magazines have a switch so the same back can be used for either 120 or 220 film.
Things to consider regarding the SL66: the bellows focusing, as with any camera that uses one, is something to be a bit careful with (as in, not poking holes in the bellows during handling). Also, the SL66 is a little bit larger and, with the bellows focusing, a different handling camera compared with the Hasselblad for handheld work. If you plan to use mostly or exclusively on a tripod, no problem.
At any given time there are many more Hasselblad bodies, lenses, and accessories available in the market (especially lately it seems) than SL66 items. So for sheer availability the Hasselblad route is bountiful, to say the least.
Of course, each camera system out there has certain definable features which can be listed and evaluated... and then there is the intangible, less well-defined "feel" and such that only handling the things can let you know which you will want to keep and actually use. I really liked and appreciated much about the SL66. But, as I mentioned, I have lots of Hasselblad stuff today and no SL66. I just didn't find that I often used, for example, the lens tilt feature (even as cool as it is). And for more casual, handheld stuff I like the compactness of, say, the 500C or C/M with the basic 80mm Planar (or 60mm Distagon). For a 6x6 camera with interchangeable lenses and film backs, they made it about as small as they could! It works for me.
Good luck with whichever you decide upon. Like I said, they're both superb.
I also used a SL66 for years and own a Hasselblad 555ELD for half a year now. Basically, I can confirm everything that Martin already said. The SL66 is quite bulky in comparison to a Hasselblad 500CM and the protruding focussing knob adds to its dimensions. Lenses are basically the same, except for the newer lenses like 50 FLE, 60, 100, 180mm that were not available for the Rollei. If you only intend to use the classic lenses like 50mm, 80mm, 150mm, 250mm there is no difference, except that the Rollei lenses are much lighter and do not need any maintenance under normal circumstances, since they don´t have a shutter. By the way, I was stunned by the quality of the old 120/5,6 S-Planar. This lens is extremely sharp and has beautiful bokeh. As for helicoid vs rack focusing I think it is a standoff. The Rollei focusing mechanism is pretty smooth, but it can be worn out if the camera had seen heavy use. Regarding the Hasselblad lenses I only have experience with the newer CFi lenses and these are a real joy to focus. On the other hand I´ve heard that the older lenses can be stiff. As for the screens: I got rid of the Rollei´s original screen soon after I bought it and installed the latest Rollei High-D Screen. What a difference! I think it is even superior to the much praised Hasselblad Acute Matte D, which I have in the 555ELD.
Please also mind that the Rolleis are between 30 and 50 years old now. It may be difficult to find one that is still in good working order, so you should plan in some money for an overhaul. I had a complete overhaul done on mine and it really made a difference. However, if you buy 30 or 40 years old Hasselblad equipment it may benefit from an overhaul either.
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Although you can't tilt the lens when the lens is at the untilted infinity position, you can get infinity subjects in focus even at full tilt because the lens does not have to be fully back. I will check this in the morning (it's night here) but I have done it without straining the mechanism.
Originally Posted by Jim Rice
With any system of this age, repairs could be very difficult. With the number of Hasselblads out there one would have to have more confidence in having one fixed. I happen to like the SL66 and because of the potential for breakdowns bought a spare body but so far, no problems (fingers crossed). It is a bit of a handful hand held.
Both are good cameras. But if you want something "not so common" go for the SL66.
I have one and like the lenses very much.
"Have fun and catch that light beam!"
Bert from Holland
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* I'm an analogue enthusiast, trying not to fall into the digital abyss.
* My favorite cameras: Mamiya C330f, Nikon S2, Hasselblad SWC, Leica SL, Leica M7, Russian FKD 18x24, Bronica SQ-B and RF645, Rolleiflex T, Nikon F4s, Olympus Pen FT, Agfa Clack and my pinhole cameras.
I don't own a SL66, but I would say that if cost is no object and you plan to use it primarily on a tripod without a flash, it will probably best the Hasselblad. It seems like it has become a cult camera among landscape / nature photographers due to the built in tilt and easy macro capabilities. If you primarily shoot people, however, I would opt for the Hasselblad due to the leaf shutters and superior handling off of a tripod.
I own a Hasselblad, because A) accessories are surprisingly affordable if you are patient and keep your eyes peeled, and B) I use it both handheld and with flash regularly. If I want movements and a camera on a tripod, I use a 4x5 (rarely).
I've owned both for a while. They are both terrific. Most aspects and differences well-outlined above. In the end handling and use can be quite different and subjective so I recommend you buy a basic set of both, three months later sell off the one you favor less. I doubt you'll take a hit.
Or then keep both like I did.
I have both and would probably go with only the blad were it not for the ability to use strange lenses on the SL66. I have a 5" Verito soft focus lens as well as a petzval mounted for the Rollei.
Originally Posted by Dan Quan