Only ever owned a Hasselblad 503cx, pretty much a perfect camera, lenses are easy to come by and fairly inexpensive. The back system works great and is foolproof.
The SL66 is very attractive though, and having movements built in is very cool. I'd check out how much the SL66 with the lens you want will be, I expect it may end up being a lot more than a Hasselblad.
Sheer cost kept me away from the Rolleis when they were available new on the market. I thought they were magnificent cameras, and they probably are. Beside the fact that they are not nearly as common as Hasselblads, the age factor has to be a consideration. They've been off the market new for a long time. I'd be concerned about parts and maintenance, although that appears not to be a big problem - owners talk about being able to get them fixed without much of a problem.
I own a Hasselblad and three lenses, and love using it. My only problem is not owning all the lenses. If I did own all the lenses, I'd not be able to carry my kit.
I have a SL66 and can confirm that it is a PITA used handheld. OTOH at least in Germany it is comparatively cheap. The Habla and SL66 do weight nearly the same if you compare a whole system consisting of the usual lens set of 50, 80, 150 and 250mm.
If you prefer leaf shutter I suggest having a look at the 600x system from Rollei. They can be had for a song.
WOW! Thank you all so much for the really useful replies! I am getting exactly what I was hoping for, information and considerations that I had not thought of. I will likely be using this medium format system mainly for portrait photography, with an occasional still-life or landscape. I love the idea of using a Petzval or other non-OEM lens for unique results, that idea never occurred to me. Unfortunately I will need to build this system over the next 6 months or so, or save and research and purchase when the mostly complete package presents itself, if it does.
Until then, please tell me more about using Petzvals and other non-standard lenses on medium format bodies. How does one go about this and what resources are commonly available? Would I need to have custom machining done or are adapters fairly common etc?
i'VE GOT 'EM Both and use 'em both and by far like the Rollei best. Just do. Rollei is a better camera in my eye, tho the 'blad is a fine competitor in all categories. I am just a Rollei man all the way. In fact I have 2 Sl66's. I have a vanilla one and a SL66E, the meter on which and I have not come to terms yet. I just cannot figure it out, but I mostly use a hand held anyway. Any way, I'd say get the SL66 first then get the 'blad for the fun of it!!!!
To use an odd shutter less lens on a medium format camera you need a focal plane shutter and a way to focus it. What people do with the focal plane blad is usually have some kind of tubular sliding focusing rig built for the lens. That's the nice thing about the SL66, you've got a bellows for focus. You can find adapter plates on ebay, there's one made by a guy in china. I had mine made from an "official" Rollei SL66 lens mount blank, you can still find these on ebay but they are usually expensive.
The lens needs to be at least ~102mm or so to focus at infinity. You can use a standard SL66 extension tube if you need extra bellows draw, can also use these as the basis of a lens mount.
Dear Dan, go where the heart is ! I mean sl66se ;) use cardboard/ducktape and any(and I mean any!) piece of glass you want for a lens and use it in front of the most beautiful camera ever made. Used a very cheap binocular lense for these pictures.
I would love to see photos of these mounted to the camera, if you have some.
Originally Posted by k.hendrik
I just thought of something, have you any experience with this type of cameras?
If not and you're in a hurry, you could also get a nice Bronica SQ set for starters. Here is an example:
As I said before, I would go for the Rollei SL66. But if you want a Hasselblad, you might also consider the Bronica SQ-series. They are as good (if not better) and have excellent glass, also for portraits. And are much cheaper. I bought a Bronica SQ-B new in 2004 instead of a Hasselblad and never regretted it.
So you could get the Bronica kit within/for the next 6 months and take you're time to find a nice Rollei SL66 in due time as well.
Just a thought.
I do have some limited experience with medium format. I used a Hasselblad about 30 years ago when I briefly worked for a portrait photographer and then a Rollei 6008 system about 15 years ago while working in another commercial studio, but at that time I really took to the 4x5 and shooting tabletop and not so much the models and medium format. I do remember the 6008 producing really beautiful images, but I like the idea of an all mechanical body and esoteric non-standard lenses in addition to the Rollei SL66 glass.