Hasselblad recomandation, need help please

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by george popovici, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. Hi,
    my name is George, my old medium format camera was Mamiya RZ Pro II, now I want to know please what Hasselblad you will recommend me for the same quality or better than Mamiya best deal at a good monney.
    Please give me some options, I never use Hasselblad medium format, only the Mamiya RZ Pro II. I'm a professional photographer, and I teach at University of Arts. I have a professional darkroom also.
  2. First of all find someone that knows Hasselblads to look at them with you if possible.
    Someone will chime in and disagree with everything I post no matter what I post.

    The "cheapest" Hasselbad is the ELM motor body camera (approx $200 0r less), they are heavier and need battery's. These batteries are expensive and hard to find......but you can easily convert the camera to run 9 volt batteries.
    The next would be the CM, do not get the C as you can not change the screens in them without a service background. Hard to guess the price range I would guess around ($400) for a body?
    All of the newer cameras will cost more......these two were from the early 1980s.
    You also need a finder Imost bodies include a waist level finder.
    A low cost eye level finder is the NC2 (should be around $200 or less)
    Then you need film backs........make sure you get an automatic back.
    A120 back is called an A12........matching insert if possible. You can tell by serial numbers.
    I would guess ($150ish range)
    Then you have the optics......
    THis is where most will argue
    A C lens will be the least expensive but older......may require service (some parts are not available)
    These are silver in finish for the early ones, black for the latter ones.
    I have several of these with no issues..........All newer optics will cost more, they may need service also?
    Check slow speeds close on all of them, prices are all over the board?
    Hundreds to thousands. An 80mm is the normal lens, the 150mm is the main portrait lens used........

    You can get a complete camera with all of this included if you look..........the A220 back are very cheap but 220 film is not widely available anymore..but you would already know this.

    I would guess a CM with waist level finder and an 80mm should now be $600-$800 depending on condition>
    All of this equipment is from the early 80s......you can pay $1500 or more for newer cameras.
    All old film backs WILL need new light seals and this can be DIY and parts are online cheap. If back has film spacing issues it will need service probally at least $100.

    You can save yourself problems and buy from David as he has serviced everything in advance, or you can buy cheap and send it all to him for check and service.


    Hope this helps...........and all of this will be refuted very soon.
    Good luck, I made the switch in 1980 myself.
  3. Someone will chime in and disagree with everything I post no matter what I post.​
    Doesn't that make you crazy? I hate when that happens.
    YES to everything Russ says. I have a 503CX and love it; it has just about the most "features" of the line, but I don't really use the TTL Off-the-film flash feature much at all.
    As Russ says, a CM is a good choice.
    David Odess has serviced my camera and film backs, and he is a factory-trained Hassy tech. His work is outstanding and I highly recommend him for any service needed.
  4. In addition to what the previous posters said:
    The main difference between the "silver" and "black" old "C" lenses is that the blacks are multicoated, which may give you more contrast and better resistance to flare. There might be very few lenses that does not follow this pattern, so look for T* (in red) which identify the multicoating.

    I second the advise about David Odess. It will cost you more but you will enjoy the experience. These cameras are around 40 years old by now and lubricans may have lost their properties and some parts may need replacement beyond the obvious light traps of the back. One example is the rubber piece (the name might not be accurate) that goes around the frame that supports the focusing screen, that absorbs the impact when the mirror rises: this deteriorates with time and it should be replace.

    If you are looking for critical focusing with the lens wide open: Get the new series with the gliding mirror. The old mirror sits on top of three cushions that also deteriorate which are difficult / expensive to replace. The new system is much better (They are more expensive of course).

    For the record, I have a 500C/M, 500EL/M with black C lenses.
  5. All Hasselblad bodies and lenses are of the highest quality, but some are getting pretty old and lack some useful features. 5xx bodies use only lenses with a built-in shutter, designated C, CF, CFi, etc. 2xx bodies have a focal plane shutter, and can use the same lenses by selecting the "C" shutter, or lenses without shutters, designated F. There are several motorized 5xx bodies, culminating with the 555ELD, which uses 5 AA batteries, which seem to last forever.
    Viewfinders start with the basic folding waist level finder, but include a focusing "chimney" finder and a series of 45 deg (most useful) and 90 deg prisms (eye-level).
    C lenses uses a Compur shutter (ergo "C"), whereas CF lenses and newer use a greatly improved shutter and have much better ergonomics. Repair parts for CF lenses are widely available, but are often difficult to find for C lenses. The CF shutter spring is much less likely to break.
    • 500C is the oldest body worth consideration. Discontinued in about 1982, it has a non-replaceable viewing screen.
    • 500CM is the first camera to have an interchangeable viewing screen. Lenses longer than 100 mm will vignette at the top of the finder, although the image itself is not affected
    • 501CM added a longer mirror, which does not vignette with long lenses or extension tubes
    • 503CW adds a sensor for automatic flash exposure, using compatible flash units. All 5xx bodies can be used with a CFV digital back, but need sync cable attached to the lens. The 503CW can trigger the CFV back mechanically.
    • 555ELD is motorized, using inexpensive AA batteries. It can trigger the CFV back electronically
    • 205TCC/FCC has a focal plane shutter but can use C lenses. A digital back only works with C lenses with a cable, unless you have a factor modification which triggers a digital back electronically. It also has auto exposure, shutter priority, using the focal plane shutter. The FCC is an updated version of the TCC, with similar properties.
    My personal collection includes a 500CM, 205TCC and 555ELD, several film backs, and a CFV16 digital back. All of my lenses are CF or CFI.
    Budget for a factory level cleaning, lubrication and adjustment (CLA) for all but the latest used bodies and lenses. It's money well spent for continued enjoyment and reliability.
  6. To me, the Mamiya RZ Pro II is a very tactile camera; it invites you to pick it up (if you can) and 'play' with it. The wind-on lever fits my hand beautifully, the focus knobs - on both sides - make it easy to focus and adjust, the rotating back enables you to change easily from portrait to landscape orientation, the screen is big, the bellows focussing allows you to focus close with shorter focal length lenses (one of the problems of the bellows focussing is that you cannot focus the longer focal length lenses very closely and you need extension tubes - the longest lens I have for my RZ is the 350 APO). The downsides are that it is heavy and bulky. I have benefitted from professionals selling off their medium format equipment and have built up an extensive RZ collection; sadly I don't use it as much as I should.
    When I first picked up a Hasselblad I didn't like it - although I felt I should because so many professionals use(d) it. I didn't like that the shutter speed and the aperture controls on the lens were linked - you set the EV but if you wanted to change either the aperture or shutter speed separately you had to press in a button to disconnect them, I like to be able to control them separately. I found the 'feel' of the focussing ring too sharp, some of lenses I tried may have been stiff but the effort to focus was uncomfortable. When you took out the dark slide there was nowhere for you to put it - do you put it in your shirt pocket, in your camera bag, on the table - or lose it? Then, a few years ago, I picked up a 503CW with an 80 mm CFE lens. The aperture and shutter controls operated independently (if I wanted to use the same EV I could press a button in and turn the linked combination), the focussing ring was softer - and smoother, and there was a slot on the film back to put the dark slide! It felt so comfortable. The mirror lock up is a simple lever under the wind-on knob and you can then fire the shutter normally - not like having to use a cable release on the lens. For portraits I could fill the frame with a 150 mm lens without being at the end of the bellows extension or need to use a 'half' extension tube. So now I have a small Hasselblad system (503 CW with 50 mm CFi, 80 mm CFE and 150 mm CFi lenses and a 903SWC) and, like Edward,...I use a CFV16 digital back! I recently handled the new X1D and am considering purchasing one, although a CFV-50c back is also in the mix.
    So my advice would be to go for a 503CW with the later lenses and newest backs. I realise that is the more expensive route but, to me, avoids frustrations with handling coming from an RZ. Of course, to get the most benefit you will also need to compose square otherwise you are losing the benefit of the larger image you get with the RZ - cropping a square image to portrait or landscape seems counterproductive to me.
  7. it


    I just picked up an unused 503CW Millennium model with the 80mm from 2003 for around 40% of the new price. (Store tag was still on it.) Using it all the time and considering buying a back for it. Best gear purchase of the past couple of years. (Along with the Ricoh GR.)
  8. The CFV50c is now the same price I paid for a CFV16 in 2007, and that was a sale price before the II version was released. However I've had 9 years of good use without the expense and ambiguities of film.
    Newer film backs have a slot for storing the darkslide. The appearance of this attachment upsets some purists, but the alternatives were shirt pockets, someplace in the camera bag or laying them on a table. There was always a good market for replacement slides. I installed an aftermarket device, which stuck to the back with double-sided tape. Ugly as sin, but functional.
    With film, you have a good, working system with three lenses, 50, 80, and 150. Everything else is extra, depending on your needs and budget. With digital, due to the cropping factor, a 40 mm lens is almost essential. The basic system then consists of a 40, 60, and 150 (or a 120 Makro, which is my choice).
    They say you can see if you will like sailing if you stand in a shower, tearing up $50 bills. I think there is a similar analog to medium format photography, only a dark room instead of a shower.
  9. I purchased a 500c in 1972 and a 501cm in 2002. If you don't mind the cost the 501cm is a much better camera. Better mirror and brighter viewfinder with split image focusing and a rapid wind crank. Also the new magazines have a slot for the dark slide. Since it is newer there is a better chance of getting parts.

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