I finally think I'm going to bite the bullet and pickup a Hasselblad. I can't resist the prices on a camera I've drooled over for over 30 years. Looking around the web at some of the hassey sites, I'm still left with a few questions.
What are the differences between the different lens series, C T*, CF, etc.?
I know I want at least a 500C/M (the C models are just too old), should I look for a 501C/M? Is the 503 series the only ones with TTL Flash? and is it worth the price difference?
On backs, which backs should I look for? I see several versions of the A12. With 220 film becoming more difficult to find, can an A24 be loaded with 120?
On viewfinders, I'll either stick with the waistlevel or go with a 45. Anything I should be looking for or thinking about?
I'm looking to get the body, 2 backs, 50, 80, 150 lenses, and a viewfinder. I'll probably purchase at KEH, bgn or higher.
Last edited by magic823; 03-23-2007 at 10:41 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: because spelling counts
The soul never thinks without an image.
You can find super deals on ebay - especially for the older lenses. Which brings us to your FIRST question.
There is actually almost NO difference in optical quality between C and CF lenses (some would argue that the QC in some of the Cs is superior to the CF). Apart from the more 'modern' styling of the CFs, the Cs tend to be a little better built, IMO. You will, in reality see NO quantifiable difference between the series in terms of image quality. Anybody that tells you different is a victim of marketing hype.
500 vs 501:
I like the bigger mirror on the 501. But the 500 is a great camera nonetheless. Get a 501 only if you're planning to do macro work or use lenses LONGER than a 150.
Don't pay attention to the 'matching serial number for the insert' thing. It makes zero practical difference. Again - just another hassy myth. There was an article (somewhere) put out by Zeiss dispelling this myth as well. The 220 backs are cheap enough that it really shouldn't matter - nor would it be worth the money to convert one.
I don't like the newer style backs. Go for 80s era backs - the newer ones, again, like the CFs, seem a bit more cheaply made and klunky. 70s era may be a bit TOO old. But it really depends on usage - you'll just have to check 'em out yourself. I bought a few backs from KEH and trusted the person I spoke with over the phone. I was very happy with what I got.
I can only really offer you personal opinion. I had a 45, but went back to the regular finder after deciding that my compositions on the GG were superior to that of the aerial image which a 45 offers.
The 100mm is a killer lens. But I think what you choose should really depend on what focal lengths you have a really good rapport with. You can only determine this by trying and shooting. Personally - I'd be inclined to go 50 -> 100 -> 180. But hell, that's me.
Be aware that repair parts are no longer made for C lenses and haven't been manufactured for a few years now. If you're thinking long-term, go for the newer lenses.
I personally like the CFT* lenses better than the C lenses because they don't lock the aperture and shutter speed dials together by default.
Personally - I'd think the CFs would be more likely to break down. Much more. And, in a few years, when they stop making the CF parts... well, think about it. There aren't too many parts in a C lens that would need replacement that ISN'T standard (like springs, etc...).That's MY take on it anyway. History may well prove me wrong.
I wouldn't worry too much about the differences in the mirrors between the 500c/m and the 501c/m. I shoot with a 250mm on my old 500c/m all the time, and it's easy to judge the small amount of cutoff at the top of the ground glass due to the mirror in the 500c/m.
If you're planning on doing a lot of close-up work, however, the mirror might be a lot more important.
As to lenses: I recommend the 50mm-FLE (floating element), 80mm, 150mm and 250mm, if you can afford four lenses; otherwise, just the first three.
As to the backs, yes you can use 120 film in a 220 back, but only if you process the film yourself or have a very careful lab. When using the 220 back for 120 film, the first exposure on the roll will be very close to the end of the film strip; in fact, I can just barely get a film clip on that end without encroaching on the first frame.
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I use all C lenses (50, 80 and 250) and a friend of mine uses CF and CFE. Having tried his, I have to say that there are actually a couple of design features of the C that I prefer. One is the mechanical DoF indicators which I really like. The other is that unlike Peter, since I prefer to set my meter to read EVs I find it more convenient to have the aperture and exposure rings locked by default. When I started using Hasselblad a few years ago the whole EV thing seemed a little strange, but I quickly got used to it, and I find it makes it easier to estimate exposure if I need to.
Two things which I bought, but which I would not bother with if I were doing it all again:
1. Prism finder. Coming from the 35mm SLR world I thought I would need it, but I find that I hardly ever use it. The WLF is enough for me.
2. A16 back. Again, coming from 35mm I thought the square format would be a problem. Now I prefer it and seldom use the A16.
Have fun - you will not regret it.
For lenses, I would look for a CF lens, simply because it is newer, and probably has less wear. That said, if you find a pristine C with obvious low miles, it may be a better choice. If you do get a C lens, have it CLA’d now, while parts are available. As to the 50mm lens, I would get the model with the floating element (I think it’s FLE). More expensive, but worth it.
For the body, again, I would look for a newer model, such as the 501C/M. Newer bodies generally have less wear, and they generally have the later model Accute Matte focus screen. But regardless of the body, I would have a good CLA performed. I don’t think the TTL flash option is worth the additional price. If you want TTL, you need the 503, of for the motor drive version, the 553. Finally, you may wish to consider the motor cameras. The 553 uses AA cells, and the older 500EL uses nicads, but a converter that uses 9v cells is available. I would guess the motor cameras have had more use
For the back, get an A12 for 120. The A24 for 220 are a little cheaper, and can take 120 film, but the frame spacing is a little off, and you may only get 11 exposures. I like the newer backs, from about 1997 or so, that have the dark slide holder. The older backs work just as good, but buy the add-on slide holder.
I use a PM5 45-degree finder. Incredibly bright as compared to 35mm, and well worth the price. I find the prism much easier to use than the waist finder, but I have a history with 35mm. Almost mint condition PM5 finders are going for under $250 on ebay. Personally, I would not get the meter finder—it’s too expensive and probably won’t last as long.
Good luck--you will never regret the Hasselblad.
I began with a 500 CM and C lenses, a Kiev 45 finder, and 2 backs of different vintages. The body has experienced those Hasselblad lockups from time to time. Usually I can unlock it myself, other times it has had to go in for repair. Since I'm going to Iceland soon and didn't want to risk my camera letting me down mid-trip, I decided to buy another one. I went with a 501 since I intend to use this system for as long as I can hold a camera, and it made sense to buy a newer camera that should have more life ahead of it. My 80mm C lens started to not stay open on B, so rather than pay to repair it I put the money into a CF lens for the same reason: less life behind should equal more life ahead. I added a 50mm CF to my kit, and will continue to use my old, chrome 150 C lens until it lets me down, then upgrade to a CF. Both backs have been rebuilt and are working fine. I've bought most of this from KEH and have been superlatively satisfied with them. When spending this kind of money, I get a little leery of eBay.
That's my take.
I currently have 3 Hasselblad bodies. Never had a problem with anyone of them. My favorite and the one that gets the most work is the 503cw. I keep updating my glass and currently have all cfe or cfi lenses except for my 250mm CF.
The system to me, is as good as it gets.
And I too use a PM45 prism.
If money is an issue, you may also want to look into the CB lenses. They are often thought of as "bargain lenses" but from what I've read, including from many people on this forum, you will not be able to distinguish the differences in optical quality. And like Sparky says, if you believe there's a difference (optically) between CB and CF lenses, you're a victim of marketing hype.
You may also want to take a browse through David Odess's website as he CLA's Hasselblads for a living and everything he sells is up to factory spec, and oftentimes well priced too, I might add.