which prism for 501CM?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by jnorman|2, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. i am considering adding a prism finder to my 501CM. i have a nice
    handheld meter already. is it worth it to buy one fo the metered
    prisms, or are the non-metered prisms preferable for some reason? i
    see there are several models, from PME, PM45 PM5, etc. what are the
    differences, and is one preferred over the others? thoughts,
    suggestions? thanks.
  2. I do nopt find Hasselblad's metering any better than handheld ( except the build in ones inside the 20X series ) and I much prefer the 45 degreee ones myself. It work pretty good on tripod whether for landscape or Macro.

    None of them work particularly good with portrait though.
  3. I have a 500CM, vintage 1983, which I use with a PM prism, purchased in 1984. It is a 45 degree unmetered prism and works well. Even though it adds a bit of weight, I carry it everywhere, even on long uphill hikes. I remove it only to clean it or to replace the viewing screen. I have no experience with metered prisms in medium format cameras but feel that proper handheld metering is likely to give the detailed information needed to make proper exposures.
  4. <4020.net>
    You have a "nice handheld meter already", so why not save yourself $100s of dollars and buy a non-metered Kiev NC-2 45-degree prism finder?
    I bought mine new from Kiev USA via eBay a few months ago. $US 70 including shipping to Australia.
    Granted its quality isn't in the Hasselblad league, but it works and it's more than good enough :?)
  5. I use a 45 degrees unmetered PM prism, never had the need for a metered one as i allways carry my seconic L-508 (or a 35mm camera), and usually use a tripod when shooting MF. I kind of like the finder more as a tool for precise framing and viewing DOF aid, rather than some sort of lightmeter, especially since the WLF tend to reflect a lot of stray light. Theese days MF gear comes cheap, bought mine in mint condition, and it really is in mint condition, for the eqvivalent amount of 200usd. I guess your going to like it a lot, whatever you choose as it really improves shooting with the hasselblad IMO.
  6. Metered prisms are useful if you do closups with extension tubes or use filters, particularly a polarizer. On the whole, they're hard to use. You must manually enter the ISO and maximum aperture of the lens. When you take a reading, you must manually transfer the EV value to the lens. The metering patterns are a little strange in older versions. You also need the right viewing screen, or use a correction factor.

    The latest prisms have an adjustable eyepiece diopter. In older versions, you need to change eyepiece lenses. I find the eyepoint high enough to use "distance" glasses.

    Personally, I prefer to use a separate meter, and calculate the extension and filter factors manually. I have an older, un-metered PM5, a 45 deg prism with 3x magnification (the new PM45 is 2.5x).

    The other choice is between a 90 and 45 degree prism. The 45 is the most popular in general, and the 90 most useful for weddings. The 45 prisms offer more magnification than the 90's, which is useful.
  7. The latest incarnation of the Kiev metering prism has a choice of spot or average metering, is fairly accurate and I find it bright and contrasty. It doesn't look too bad either. Cost? About 1/20th of a Hasselblad prism.
  8. I only use a hand held meter, so I bought a recent but used PM45. It's ideal for non-waist level work and accepts diopters. I can't say how it compares to the earlier versions.

    I did not want a PM90 because it won't allow a Polaroid back to fit and I don't like the 90 degree angle.
  9. I use a meterless PM5 and love it.
  10. I got the PME90, because I got a good deal on it on Ebay, but also because it can be useful when you're shooting something angling downwards or very high up. Personally, I prefer to use the 4X magnifier, so I use the WLF more often than not.
  11. Like anything else, the best method of metering with a Hasselblad all depends on several factors.

    Most importantly, it depends on what kind of photography you're doing. If your primary mode of shooting is street photography, where speed, simplicity, and keeping a distance from your subject are the order of the day, you want the metered prism. A handheld incident meter doesn't do you any good unless you can approach/disturb the subject to meter with the incident dome; when working from a distance, you must use reflected (spot or averaging) meters.

    Regarding speed and simplicity: the reality of street shooting is that you just don't have the time to do a zone-system analysis of your subject's frame with a spot meter, calculate a nice midpoint expsosure, calculate your film's ideal speed, change out backs, AND accomplish the shot. By the time you've set your EV on your lens, the subject has disappeared. And you've potentially dropped your Sekonic onto the sidewalk in the confusion of juggling all that gear.

    For this application, you want the speed and simplicity of a center-weighted averaging metering through your viewfinder. Get one of the newer LED-readout types such as the PME, PME-3, PME-5, PME-51, or PME-45. The older metered prism is significantly larger and slower, although quite accurate and rugged. You could start with that if on a budget. I used one for about a year for street photography before upgrading to a PME-3 a few months ago. I love the PME-3 for this application and make sure it's always on the 500 C/M when I'm traveling.

    When the Hasselblad is on a tripod, such as in a portrait shoot, your priorities shift away from speed and move towards placing a premium on accuracy and control. That's where a nice handheld meter like the Sekonic 508 comes in really handy, as it lets you go to town with the Zone System. With both a spot meter and an incident dome/disk combined in one tidy package, you can map out your exposure range across the area of the 6x6 frame, adjusting your key light, flags, fill, relfectors until the perfect contrast ratios are achieved for the particular look you're after. Particularly when you are controlling the lighting and can approach your subject, a spot and an incident meter are mandantory in my opinion.

    So, the long and the short of it is that both center-weighted averaging prisms and spot/incident handheld meters are useful to the working photog, depending on WHAT your shooting context is. I have both and use both and find both indispensable in their respective places.

    Good luck!
  12. J,<br><br>The difference between the PME (first known as VFC-6) and later meters is that the PME is calibrated to give correct readings with the old, dimmer, non-Acute Matte screens. The first metering prism that is calibrated for the Acute Matte screens is the PME 3.<br>You can of course still use an older prism with new screens, and vice versa, by simply dialing in an exposure compensation of 1 stop.<br><br>The PME also had a rather annoying quirk. It indicated the lowest value on the scale even when the metered value was below that. No underexposure warning.<br><br>The PME3 (apart from also being calibrated for Acute Mat screens) fixed that.<br><br>Later PME 5 and PME 51 finders have a cut-out in the prism's foot to clear the LCD display in the 200-series Hasselblad's viewfinder. They also were "micro-improved", not enough to wroory about though: an earlier meter works very well too.<br><br>The current PME45 is a different kettle of fish. While all previously mentioned meters offer center weighed metering only, indicating the result in EV's on a led scale, the PME 45 offers spot metering, center weighed metering and incident metering. It displays results in a number of different ways on an LCD-display. It is, as one says, the "bee's knees"<br><br>The 45 degree PME 45 has a 90 degree equivalent: the PME 90.<br><br.There was another 45 degre prism, which i wouldn't recommend anymore. It's a Zeiss Ikon made huge lump of metal encased glass, using a slow CDS-cell (as opposed to the quick sillicon-cells in the other meters), which is prone to memory effects, showing rsults using a microampere meter's needle moving across a scale, and which also needs no longer available batteries.<br>It is called "meter prism finder", and is easily recognized by its "undesigned" appearance (many facetted, plane surfaces, very angular: almost "stealth").<br><br>The ergonomics of a 45 degree viewing angle are unbeatable. Very nice.<br>The versatility of the PME 45 cannot be overtrumped either.<br>But since none of the metered prisms are coupled to the camera's shutter or aperture, they are not as fast as coupled meters in automatic camera's, like the 200-series, or many other cameras.<br>Disregarding the extra weight of the glass in the PME 45 prism, i do not see how a handheld meter would be a better choice. On the contrary. But compared to the other, center-weighed-only, meters, a handheld meter offers some advantages (again disregarding the fact that the prism also includes a viewing system). Advantages like incident light metering mode. There however are tiny (and excellent) handheld meters to complement one of these prisms: the Gossen Digisix or Digiflash meters, which will fit the "cold shoe" on top of the meter, if so desired. ;-)
  13. For the type of shooting you've shown here in the past, I'd go for a cheap Kiev
    unmetered prism and a used Pentax spotmeter.

Share This Page