What is minimum 501CM gear needed to be up and running?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by graham_martin|2, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. I am thinking about getting a 501CM and need to know which components I would need at a minumum to be up and running. I want to travel with this outfit and so I don't want to bulk it up too much. From what I have seen so far I would want to get the Acute Matte or Acute Matte D focusing screen (any opinions about a Beattie screen as a less expensive alternative?). I would want to get a standard angle lens (80mm), and two backs. Initially I would be using this outdoors for landscapes and portraits. Later on I would start adding lenses.
    I do have a Metz 145 CL-45. Is this compatible?
    What else do I need? In looking at KEH I see they have a lot of different backs and I am not familiar with the nomenclature. I assume the A12 backs are for 120 film with 12 exposures and the A24 for 220 film with 24 exposures. Is that correct?
    So far my KEH shopping cart for a 501CM body with fast crank, WLF , Acute Matte D, A12 back, 80mm lens comes to right around $1,300.00.
  2. That's all you need. (you don't need the Acute Matte), just a body, finder, back and lens. Haven't compared a Beattie, but there was an extensive discussion on AM screens recently. You are correct about the diffrerence in the backs. Make sure your lens is not just an "F" (it needs to have the shutter in it), and you'll be fine.
  3. The only things I would add would be a good light meter and a 150mm lens. I worked for over 6 years with a 500C/M, and 80mm, a 150mm, one A-12, a Bogen 3221 and a meter.
  4. Thanks guys. I have a Pentax spotmeter, and a Bogen 3021N with a Markins ballhead so I should be OK there. I will call KEH to make sure that the lens has the leaf shutter.
  5. You didn't explicitly say, and others have mentioned it, but in addition to body, lens, and back, you'll want a finder, not just a screen. While it may be technically possible to use the camera without a finder, you'll want at least a waist level finder in order to protect your screen while transporting the camera, and in order to shade the screen while in use. A waist level finder (sometimes abbreviated WL or W/L) is smaller, lighter, and cheaper than a prism, and is probably the better choice to start with, at least for relatively static subjects. A body may or may not come with a finder, so be sure and confirm that you're getting a finder.
  6. Thanks Richard but I did mention that my shopping cart included a WLF (waist level finder). Thanks for pointing it though out in case I had omitted it.
  7. What you described will get you going. What do you shoot now and what is your favorite lens for what you like shooting? That answer will tell you what lens you might look for. When I first got into medium format, I could only afford the camera a couple of backs and one lens. Since I shot mostly a 28mm on 35, I decided to go with a 65 on the 6x7 format. I used that one lens for more than a year before adding to it. I think one lens, maybe two, is the best way to learn a camera anyway. (Oh yea, I use a Pentax spot meter and a 3021 as well, good choices!)
    The nice thing about the V system and the waist level is that you can turn the camera on its side if you want to put the camera at a higher level than what you can do and look down into it. You just look into the side of the camera. I have the 503cw and two prisms, but find the waist level finder handy for working low to the ground.
  8. @ Graham
    WhenI read your post I, maybe wrongly, get the impression that you have little experience with the hasselblad system. Do you have experience with other medium format systems, like twin lens reflexes such as rollei (mamiyas have interchangeable lenses) or rangefinders?
    If not, it may be woth it to try some different systems before you buy and are more or less stuck with a system.
    I use hasselblad, rangefinders and tlr's but for my usual walk around and travel photography I definitely prefer a rolleiflex. A hasselblad is possible for street and travel if you have to, but is heavy. I just weighed my hassy body + WLF, two backs, standard and wide angle lens at 2,95 kilo's. For landscape rangefinders and mamiya tlr's might be a possibillity as well.
    My suggestion is, compare a few systems and choose what you like to work with in the intended situations and what will probably meet your future requirements, gear should not be ennoying.
  9. "A hasselblad is possible for street and travel if you have to, but is heavy. I just weighed my hassy body + WLF, two backs, standard and wide angle lens at 2,95 kilo's. For landscape rangefinders and mamiya tlr's might be a possibillity as well."
    The Hasselblad with one lens and film magazine weighs in at a bit less than 1.5 kg.
    To put that into perspective, a Rolleiflex TLR is only 200 grams less.
    A Mamiya 7 rangefinder, at 1.2 kg, not even 300 grams less.
    A Mamiya TLR, weighing about 1.7 kg, is even 200 grams more!
    You have to drop down a format to find cameras that are significantly lighter, and have a look at 645 rangefinders (between about 850 and 1000 grams).
    Not SLRs; 6x45 SLRs weigh about the same as, maybe 100 grams less than, a 6x6 Hasselblad.
  10. If you want to do portraits you'll probably need the 150mm lens as well. That said, if you want to shoot headshots that fill
    the frame, you'll also need an extension tube to do close focusing. And obviously some sort of cable release as well.
  11. While I do not have any experience with Hasselblad I do have a Mamiya RB67 with a full set of gear of 3 lenses and various accesories. I also have a Pentax 645N with 2 lenses. I had recently posted a thread about keeping one and selling the other. While I don't want to re-start that discussion again here, one poster suggested that I sell both and buy a Hassy system instead. The reason that I am considering this option is that, for travel, the RB67 is somewaht heavy while the Pentax is too similar to a 35mm SLR. I am looking for a different experience and wanted to try out the legendary Hasselblad name. (maybe there is just a wee bit of snobbery in me that likes the idea of people being suitably impressed with me having a Hassy). If I sell both the other cameras I could probably generate enough cash to cover the cost of a basic Hasselblad system.
  12. Do you really like square format ? If not, what is so different between 6x6 cropped and 645 ? Yes, 645 is "just a little" (but not so little, actually) larger than 35mm, but by now, you have also good 6x7 gear which is indeed "a lot" larger than 35mm.
    So why change 2 cams for 2 formats and 5 lenses for 1 cam 1 lens with equivalent format (if you are not a square format absolute afficionado) ?
    OK, don't answer, I don't want to restart a discussion here.
  13. Thanks, I won't answer then. :)
  14. Garaham, if you have the hasselblad bug, by all means go for it, get it out of your system, you will not be disappointed with the results. You can take an extension tube with you for close up and you will still be carrying 1.5 kg as de Bakker pointed out. It seems you used different MF systems, so you know what you are doing. It doesn't always have to be rational choice anyway.
    Here a link to a street shot taken with a recent hasselblad +standard planar:
    I worked like that for a quite some time until I discovered that the more recent rolleiflex t's have a redesigned and very nice tessar and only weigh 1 kg, at the expense maybe of ruggedness. I did not sell the hasselblad though and still use it regularly, also for travel.
  15. Graham, have you thought about borrowing or renting a Haselblad to try before you buy? If you are used to using a Pentax 645, there is a considerable learning curve ahead for you. It will be slower to load, and operate, and will be more prone to vibration while working handheld than the Pentax. But if you take the time to learn to use the Hasselblad properly, the resulting images will be very rewarding. Switching from rectangular to square framing is easier than one might think though. Start saving now for one of the CFV digital backs. :)
  16. Yep, nice basic kit. When you decide to further your collection, 3 "hot" lenses are the 50 fle, 100, and 180. I think that 100 is the wickedest Zeiss glass known to humankind. Another thing that doesn't get much mention is how nice and flat the Hasselblad backs, when in good adjustment, keep the film, this, imho also separates the HB system from others.
  17. Dave Wilson has a good point. Many folks start with the 80/2.8, but you might first consider what you ultimately want in a kit for your photographic style, and purchase your first lens accordingly. After much thought about how and what I photograph, I started with a 503 and 100/3.5. My optimum kit today is the 50fle/100/180 Dave mentions, and there was some $$ advantage to getting there without having to swap out or sell the ubiquitous 80, which many people eventually do.
    Just a thought. You really can't go wrong with the 80 if you are unsure about your eventual MF photographic direction. And it certainly is a lot less expensive than any of the other three.
    Two other thoughts: I personally think an Acu-matte screen adds a lot to viewfinder clarity and would not be without one. You can always add it later. I also find a monopod very handy as a way to improve the "handholding" capability of the hasselblad when the light is less than perfect or I need a bit more depth of field. The Giottos MM-9550 is a perfect match to a 500 body for me.
  18. Graham, I just got back from walking the dog this morning, I took my `blad exactly as you describe. 500 C/M, 80mm, WLF, A24, standard screen, old gossen meter, the dog was more of a handfull than the camera. It is a fantastic system, I have a beatti screen, grid lines / split prism, it is indeed much brighter than the standard screen, but I`ve swapped back to the standard screen, to see if it focuses any better and I think it does. Lens wise I have an old 50mm C lens and a 150mm C/F lens, there is difference in the way they operate, plus the C lenes are getting on a bit now. Try and get the C/F lenses if you can, and as some have suggested the 100mm F/3.5 is supposedly the bees knees of Zeiss lenses. Which ever way you go lens wise you will not be disappointed, as for weight, my `blad set up as above is LIGHTER than my F2 motor drive combo. Film backs can be a little tricky to load but once you get the knack of them, they are pretty quick to load, make sure the back insert # matches the back outer #. Pick up a copy of The Hasselblad Compendium, great source of information, explains how to date your camera,back & lenses. As you can see I`m a bit of a fan, I have used 645 Bronicas, nice, quick handeling, but battery dependent, and not as robust as Hasselblads. Mamiyas, I briefly used an RZ67 with their zoom lens, for some studio portraits, very nice, but oh so heavy. Hasselblads have never been cheaper, but word on the street is film is fashionable, old film camera prices are rising, check out the thread in classic manual cameras. Best of luck, they are great cameras.
  19. And a $15 cable release couldn't hurt.
  20. Lots of good advice here. I have thought about the learning curve, but I went through a similar one with the RB67. After making basic mistakes like not cocking the shutter or removing the dark slide I got the hang of it. To me that is half the beauty in that kind of a camera having to go through multiple steps. I will search for a place to rent the Hassy setup or, and this might be easier and cheaper, I could just but the rig from KEH. They have a 14 day no questions asked return policy. I think 2 weeks would give me enough time to familiarize myself with the camera and run several rolls through it. I have several rolls of 120 film already.
    If I find that I like the Hasselblad system better then I will sell the RB67 especially if the weight difference means that I would use the Hassy more often. I took the Pentax 645N out today precisely because it is so light and easy to use. The last time I used the RB67 was 5 months ago when I went up to the Georgia mountains and was able to lug all my gear in my car. I was very pleased with the results.
  21. What about the 500ELM with battery operated film advance? Those bodies seem to be a little cheaper. Are they just as good as the 500 c/m or should I just stick with the non-battery model? Do they both take the same lenses?
  22. Sorry folks, but does it matter if the insert # doesn't match the A12 back? KEH has several with and without and there is up to a $100 difference.
  23. If you are going to have only three lenses, think about getting a 50 as well. That's pretty wide on a 6x6 format, but it works well for a lot of shots.
    The 501CM is a good system. It will do pretty much anything you want it to do, within reason. You also are not going to be losing any money on the 501CM, come what may. That camera is still in much demand.
    If I were going to buy only one , I would avoid the battery-powered film advance. Your instincts are good on this one. Go with it and don't look back.
  24. mismatched back / insert # can lead to frame spacing errors.
  25. Thanks Alan
    I will pay the extra $100 for the "matched set" and I'm going to try the 100mm lens instead of the 80 since the former got such glowing reviews here.
  26. There's nothing wrong with the 80mm lens - if you intended to have only one lens for a while, it's probably the better choice ( slightly wider ).
    Stick to CF (or the new C that came with the 501C) and avoid the CB that often came with the 501CM.
    Better to pick a newer ~1990 or later A12 ( less chance of light leaks ) than two older ones.
    The 501C, 501CM and 503CW all came with Acute Matt screens, WLF and rapid cranks - if they have been split from any of those it's more likely to have had a hard professional working life - similarly unmatched backs.
    The 501C will save you some money - the only difference from the 501CM/503CW is the shorter mirror ( i.e same as used on the older 500/503CXi ) which is supposed to cut off a little with lenses above 150mm.
  27. I agree with the 100 over 80 - the 80 is a fine lens, but the 100 is special. I'll also throw in and suggest the next lens as a 50 - it's a very useful, and fun length for interesting portraits and wider landscape shots.
  28. I'm sorry, but it's not correct that backs being 'mismatched' will lead to frame spacing problems.
    Frame spacing issues can have a few causes, the most probable one is that the nylon stop lever (which gets a good pounding in use) is worn and needs to be replaced.
    But the cause never lies in any interaction between shell and insert
    The matching was done to ensure greatest film flatness. There are rollers on the insert and rollers in the shell, and their position relative to each other could matter.
    'Could', because if it actually does, it is in the realm of micro-tuning. The only ill effect you can expect from mismatched backs is that on resale value. An extra price that is paid for peace of mind.
    And that is, i think too, worth a bit more.
    Apropos replacing: the dark slide slot seal in a back very likely needs replacing in any back you buy used, in older and newer backs alike.
    And even if it does not straight away, it will in at most a couple of years time.
    It is easy to replace the seal yourself, and the materials needed (most of the time only the foam pad. The mylar foil only needs to be replaced when it is damaged) are readily available and do not cost much.
    I do agree with Donald that there is nothing wrong with the 80 mm. The 100 mm is a specialist lens, that shows superior performance only under certain circumstances (wide open, and at infinity). The 80 mm is easily its equal when stopped down moderately, or/and when used at closer range.
    The 100 mm's low distortion is a bit harder to beat, but that too lets off, the difference to that of the 80 mm becoming smaller, when the lens is not used at infinity.
    So i agree too that the choice between the two should better be made based on angles of view. How useful will either be for the type of photography you engage in?
    The EL (...) models take the same lenses, viewfinders and magazines, yes.
    They are also great. But, of course, a bit heavier.
    And they obvioulsy rely on battery power. The older ones (EL, EL/M, 500 ELX) use NiCads of a certain, not very common size, and need a charger. The other, later models take common AA batteries.
    The NiCads are still available new, and there are also a number of alternative options available: you can buy adapters that take a 9 V block batteries, AA batteries, or Lithium CR (i forgot the number) type batteries. All of these alternatives work. I have chosen the Lithium battery adapter myself. If you search the Web for a bit, you can find instructions telling you how to fabricate such adapters yourself too.
    They need batteries, but will expose a huge number of films before they run out. So nothing like DSLRs that need a couple of fresh ones every single day. ;-)
  29. Too much talking. It is a great camera and will function fine with what you are getting. Learn to avoid jamming it and you could not have a better 120 camera.
  30. Thanks for the additional vote of confidence Bruce. I ordered the kit from KEH last night and it should arrive here on Wednesday with a bit of luck. Also was able to find a lens hood on eBay from a reputable seller.
  31. KEH is good. Also try nine-volt.com for stuff. I think KEH gets a lot of their inventory from Nine Volt.
  32. Received the 500 c/m today. Very pleased with its comapct size and this will work great for me. The 100mm lens was not so good. I bought a BGN one form KEH and it doesn't mount properly due to the drive shaft slot not lining up with the red dot. I will have to return and get an 80mm in EX condition for the same price.
    Is there a back that will "convert" the image to 645?
  33. A16 back will give you 645.
    I don't know how much you know about Hasselblad, but when you say the drive shaft not lining up with the red dot, do you mean the line is oriented in the wrong direction? If so, the lens just needs to be cocked.
  34. Thanks Norton
    I started a separate thread about the lens mounting problem. I have tried re-cocking the lens (at least I think I did it right), and still no go.

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