Advice sought on CF22 Multi-shot and 203FE

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by dennis_ng, May 20, 2019.

  1. Just got a CF22 Multi-shot (not CFV). May I ask for my 203FE

    1) do I need to modify the 203FE?
    2) if I have not modified 203FE, can the two still be used together?
    3) In particular, if I do not modify it, I think I can only use C setting and also only C lens for CF22?
    4) Or I need to get 203FE fixed then I can use F lens and F setting as well.
    5) If I do not have battery in my 203FE (and sort of like a C camera), can it still be used with the back
    6) I assume I cannot use the multi-shot using 203fe
    7) any experience of such backs on other camera?

    Thanks for any advice in advance.
  2. For all practical purposes, the Hasselblad 200-series cameras were orphaned when digital came in. There is something in the way Hasselblad implements their 200 focal plane shutter that resists easy communication with most digital backs. IIRC,the 203FE digital modification involves rewiring the ISO contacts that normally transmit film speed from the film backs into wake/trigger contact for the Hasselblad/Imacon digital backs. The modification may be a convenience only, not a necessity: backs can also be triggered by a cord from the CF lens (AFAIK, shutterless FE lenses cannot be used to shoot digital on any Hasselblad V cameras). Once configured for digital with leaf shutter lenses, the 200 cameras lose almost all their advanced functionality, essentially becoming a 500cm.

    Regarding the CF22-MS specifically, Hasselblad itself seems not to have supported it on the 200 cameras, at least as shown in their own literature. It may have been an oversight, but in this Hasselblad CF-22 brochure the 200 cameras are conspicuously absent from the chart (while even the ultra-niche Fuji 680 is shown as supported). Of course anything is possible: In the heyday of these backs, there were all kinds of official and unofficial hacks that made various backs work on various unsupported bodies, generally involving hideously expensive bespoke cables and adapter plates.

    For really accurate advice on this tricky combo of camera and back, I'd recommend speaking to a couple of long-term sales reps who worked with the top dealers of CF-22 backs when they were current. Both have posted periodically to this forum, and are always willing to share their knowledge (tho I think both now work primarily for Phase One dealers). Doug Henderson can be reached at Digital Transitions in New York City, Steve Hendrix is at Capture Integration in Atlanta. Phone and email contact info can be found on each dealers web site.

    Good Luck!
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  3. You can use it on the 203FE by using a CF lens (using the lens shutter) and connecting the digital back to the synchro flash jack on the lens; you can use without tue battery in the camera body (obviously the light meter does not work).
    The modification of the 203 FE is required to use the digital back with the focal plane shutter in the body, with CF lenses set in F mode or with F lenses (that, ad you know, don't have lead shutter).
  4. I just had a chance to review the Hasselblad paper again on a normal size computer monitor, and see that I missed the little graphic indicating the CF22MS was supported for the 200 series (hard to see on phone screen). The 203FE was initially supported for single shot mode only, and only with leaf shutter CF lenses. There may be updates to enable MS mode, but probably not with FE shutterless lenses.

    Discussion of these issues is archived in old threads at Luminous Landscape, APUG, etc. But it would be best to speak with a Hasselblad specialty dealer: they would have the latest info on firmware updates and other aspects that may have changed in recent years, making the 203FE + CF22MS combo more compatible.
  5. The camera must be modified for a digital back to work with the focal plane shutter. This costs about $400 at the New Jersey facility, and permits coupling with the back electronically. The internal meter can then be used to control the FP shutter speed. You lose the ability to transfer data between "smart" backs and the camera in that modification.

    On the other hand, you can use the lens shutter easily, but will need a cable to connect the PC port on the lens to the back for synchronization. That done, there is no need to adjust timings nor set a limit on the maximum exposure time. I used this method for nearly 10 years, but found it preferable to use an ELD-555, which couples to the back electronically (without a sync cable). You can use a metered prism, but must manually transfer the EV reading to the lens and shutter.

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