Is it still worth getting a hasselblad 500c/m ?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by hjoseph7, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. I'm getting up in age and I always wanted one but could never afford one. So I settled for a Mamiya 1000s. These days the 500 C/M is going for around $1000 on ebay with 80mm lens. However I'm wondering about the age of those cameras. The earliest models came out in the late 1950's ! I'm wondering if I can still get parts for it, or will it wind up as a very expensive paper-weight.
  2. Most but not all parts are available. Servicing is still available at this time from Hasselblad and independents! S/H values are going up (UK prices). Great bargains can be had on ebay but always be prepared for the possibility that an item like a Hasselblad may be described as "working" by the seller in good faith but may require repair/service/cla to make it perform to specifications.
  3. The "CM" came out in 1980, so if you stick with a CM or newer you are at least as new as your 645.
    Hasselbald in New Jersey is still selling parts and doing service. They would be my preference over a independent. I ordered a part for a ELM just last month, they shipped it very fast.
    Some independents are great, but unless you know them they can be hit and miss. I know from experience, but have only had the best from the New Jersey office.
    I switched from 645 to Hasselblad in 1980, the main service is on the backs....light seals etc.
    If the optics have been setting with out use, be weary of the slow shutter speeds.
    I personally have not needed a part that was not in stock as of yet.
    My recent need was the plastic screw that hold the battery cover on the ELM stock, had it in less than a week.
    Good luck with what ever you decide, I have been very happy with Hasselblad.
  4. The 500CM is a solid, relatively light weight body, which operates very smoothly if it's in good shape. With any used camera more than 10 years old, plan to spend another $250 or so on a CLA with a competentent service technician. That done, it's good for another decade or two.
    The screen in a 500CM can be easily changed. The original version was rather dim, IMO, so I replaced it with an used Acute-Matte screen with grid markings and a rangefinder. The 500CM viewfinder cuts off the top of the screen with lenses longer than 100mm or so. This is a limitation of the mirror length, and has no effect on the final image. It is annoying. Bodies with a "gliding mirror" do not exhibit this effect. Models 501cm, 503cw and all 200 series bodies, among others, have the gliding mirror feature.
  5. Whether the cost is worth it is something only you can answer, of course. My late-70s 500c/m still works great, and I love using it; it's always a joy and delight. Now, I'm seeing Mamiyas and Bronicas a LOT cheaper than Hasselblads these days, and I might be just as happy with one of those. But there's no denying that the Hassy is a joy to use. :) Please be sure to post back and let everybody know what you decided on!
  6. The 500 C/M came out in the 1970, early model was still marked C even if it was a C/M. C/M differred from C in the user interchangeable
    focus screen.
  7. Harry, if you are near a city you may have better luck finding one on Craigslist where you can go and see the camera in person. eBay is a crapshoot. KEH is also honest and has a good warranty on their used cameras. There are many options, but I would only use eBay as a last resort. Also I might tend to avoid the C body due to non user interchangeable screens, and the C lens parts are getting to be in short supply.Enjoy learning your new to you Blad, they are still a lot of fun even if it seems like the rest of the world forgot about film.
  8. It's not worth it to not get one. I have no regrets buying my Hasselblad over 7 years ago.
  9. It depends on how badly you want two little notches on the side of your photos.
  10. If you're still shooting your Mamiya, then you know about the problems of getting medium-format film processed these days unless you do it yourself.
    Aside from that minor inconvenience, if you always wanted it and can now afford it, why not?
    I, too, am of a 'certain age' and have been indulging myself without regrets and with much enjoyment. :)
  11. "If you're still shooting your Mamiya, then you know about the problems of getting medium-format film processed these days unless you do it yourself."

    I only shoot B&W with my Mamiya 1000s and yes I develop the film myself . The Hassy 500 was introduced to me about 30 years ago by an Uncle who used to be a photographer. I'm not sure if it was the C, or CM, but it did have that legendary chrome 80mm f2.8 lens. After I saw the images coming out of that camera, I knew I had to get one. Unfortunately, I could never afford one.

    Does the CM take a digital back ?
  12. Does the CM take a digital back ?​
    Yes, the CVF line will work with no additional accesories, some other backs might require adapters or cables.
    The issue with the CM with digital backs could be critical focusing. If you can afford it, the new CVF50c has Live view capability.
    In relation to medium-format film processing, I guess it depends on where you live. In some major cities is still easy to find processing, albeit expensive.
  13. I agree with Francisco. I keep hearing how difficult it is to secure medium format film processing. I've not found that to be true. Holland Photo in Austin, Texas, processes just about any kind of current film: 35mm, 120 and larger. They do B&W, E6, and C41. They offer printing as well as digital services. North Coast Photographic Services (that Ken Rockwell praises) also offers many kinds of processing. If one wants 120 film processed, it is available. Maybe your local drugstore and/or discount store no longer offers it, but it's out there.
  14. The best part about digital photography is the fact that it has dropped the prices of film cameras dramatically. I could not afford Hassy equipment during the 80's but now it is quite affordable. If you want Hassy equipment, NOW is the time to get it.
    The $100,000 question is what are you going to do with the images? Do you have a darkroom available or do you plan to scan all of your negatives? If you plan to scan your negatives and print them on a printer, I would tell you NOT TO BOTHER. If you plan to print the images in a darkroom on high quality paper like Oriental Seagull, like I do, then by all means do it. Especially in Black and White, digital has come a long way but it falls WAY SHORT of a properly printed silver halide print. In fact, in my not so humble opinion it SUCKS.
  15. I can't agree that the OP shouldn't bother unless he intends to wet print. In fact I think that might be taken as being just ever-so slightly chauvinistic about wet printing! I'm not so terribly old, but my time is limited by leukemia. I've bought an old 500c, and I'm having a ball scanning the negatives with an X1. I'd say 'Go for it!' and have some fun whilst you can.
  16. david_henderson


    Mr Murphy's opinion is a long way from mine. I don't think there is any need to allow your printing intentions to influence your choice of camera, except insofar as if you intend to print small and cheap you won't see all the benefit of your camera and film size choices. Get the camera you want.
    A little story to illustrate. I have a large collection of B&W mounted prints that I use on the occasions when I'm asked to give talks to Photographic Societies/Camera Clubs. Generally I'll feature either a selection photographed on a 6x6 camera and printed on fibre by a top lab printer, or alternatively a selection photographed on a Canon 5Dii , processed by myself and printed on a Harman Baryta-based inkjet paper at a lab. Each portfolio is printed on a similarly warmtone paper and presented as prints about 8" sq.
    Now I encourage the audience to handle the mounted prints so they can see up close what's going on. In each presentation I've a habit of putting one or two digital prints into a show of traditional fibre prints and vice versa; telling the audience what I've done and inviting them to handle the prints during a break and identify the odd one(s) out. So far no-one has ever got it right. Now not all these people print their own b&w but some do, some of them pretty well. You can get excellent b&w on an inkjet, or from traditional processes.

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