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Hasselblad 501CM Medium Format

4.75 star rating
                      4.75 / 5 (28 Reviews)
MSRP : $1795.00

  • Camera TypeSLR (Single Lens Reflex)
    Interchangeable LensesInterchangeable Lenses
    Shutter Speed1 - 500 sec
    Light Metering ModesTTL
    Bulb Shutter SpeedWith Bulb Shutter Speed
    Interchangeable Film BackWith Interchangeable Film Back
    Depth7.08 in.
    Height4.33 in.
    Width7.08 in.
    Weight16 oz.
    Product ID20296309

Product Description

The Hasselblad 501CM is a lightweight, compact, first-rate camera, available as a separate camera body, or as a complete kit. The camera kit offers an ideal opportunity for those photographers wishing to enter the Hasselblad system. The separate camera body is a useful item for committed Hasselblad photographers requiring an additional camera body.

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Reviews 1 - 5 (28 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Packard a Professional

Date Reviewed: September 2, 2005

Strengths:    Big negative. Solid construction. Timeless design. Syncs at all shutter speeds. Buy price is high, but because of its reliablitiy and durability, ownership costs are low. All manual.

Weaknesses:    Loud. Not for sneaky candids. Bulky with the pentaprism; compact with the waist level finder. All manual.

Bottom Line:   
I use this camera for portraits in the studio exclusively. I have an 80mm and 150mm. I shoot a lot of child portraits and by keeping with the waist level finder I can keep my point of view at the child's eye level without getting down on my belly.

The lenses are too sharp for adult portraits. I have a Calumet Compendium lens hood that allows a slip in diffusion filter. This makes focusing easier because of the speed in which the filter can be installed and removed.

When I am not shooting children, I keep the camera on a camera stand.

I have two bodies, three 120 backs, 1 polaroid back, and an extension tube.

Great care has to be used when removing and installing the extension tube. If you get the sequence wrong you will end up with an expensive shutter repair. The tube has to be installed on the body first, then the lens. To remove, the lens must be removed first, then the tube. If you reverse the sequence you trash your savings account.

Loading the film is not intuitive but easily learned.

It looks totally professional; if your image is important to your, you can't look more "pro" than with a Hasselblad (except a Sinar View Camera, maybe).

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $2000.00

Purchased At:   KEN-MAR CAMERA

Similar Products Used:   I have a Omega Rapid 200 that I use for situations requiring eye-level shooting and on-camera flash.

Type of photography:   People

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by tinbaby a Professional

Date Reviewed: September 30, 2004

Strengths:    The optics is worth both waiting and killing for - so crisp, so spiritual; almost intelligent when it comes to handling the motif/image... Lovely to touch and then the 6 x 6 composition!

Weaknesses:    Way too pricey on the whole; not only optics makes a camnera, you know...
Common with light leakage between camera and back after (excessive?) use.
The shutter can break with very expensive repair work to follow.
Expensive accessories and lenses.
Fragile and difficult to handle outside without a mono- or tripod.

Bottom Line:   
I always dreamed of having the very camera model that NASA used to take the first pictures of the earth, but it always seemed almost like an impossible goal. But with the market changing into a more digital world, prices have dropped distinctly and I bought a used model from a pro shop. Unfortunately, the problems started after only a month and when the shutter broke down during a job without me knowing (no polaroids), it cost me both loss of income, repairs and just general grief.

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Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   YFO (Pro Photographe

Similar Products Used:   Mamiya 645
Rollei Twin Lens Reflex

Type of photography:   People

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by NMPhotoj a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: May 25, 2004

Strengths:    No battery, No electronics, simple and reliable. Unrivaled optics.

Weaknesses:    Pricey accessories

Bottom Line:   
I am a photojournalism student and awhile back my professor lent me his 501c. After that, I had to have one. Shooting with digital is a little TOO convenient and I have found using this camera, you concentrate more on developing your skills than simply point and shoot.

Shooting medium format and developing your own film and prints is the only way to go for a beginner.
With a full manual tank like this, there are no auto modes, no built in light meter (I use a minolta ambiant meter), no excuses for bad images, only yourself to blame. With this camera you have a big negative a big sharp lens and your eye.
If it doesn't look right, there is no photoshop to lean on unless you break down and scan it in.

I am no pro but despite the expense of this camera, it is worth the investment. If you shop carefully you can find excellent examples on ebay for a lot less than new. I have the 500 c/m with the standard 80mm zeiss T* lens.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2-5 years

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Nikon F100, D100, D 70

Type of photography:   People

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by SPG a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: March 9, 2004

Strengths:    Quality of everything; the results it produces; the overall system; ease of use; reliability; user features; the CZ lens range and amazing optics.

Weaknesses:    Some accessories / components have a price that is hard to reconcile regardless of their quality.

Bottom Line:   
There are two critical aspects to this remarkable camera: the sensational product design, enginbeering, quality and usability of it. Secondly what it does to your photography skills and creativity. The 510CM is simply sensational and brings you back to what photography is all about - composition and lighting. It enables you to do this with uncompromising quality.
Together with Hasselblads' optics partner, Zeiss, the huge 6x6 negatives (and positives) are image perfection.
That said, while equipment is only a means to an end, and taking photographs is what it is all about regardless of what we use, the 501CM actually brings you back to that.
The 501CM is a lifetime investment that should not suffer from obsolescence or a fickled market-place. It will. as it has done before, retain value because there is nothing to really improve!
The 501CM is a light-box and a remarkable one at that - mechanically superb and functionally intelligent.
Using it (I have 50mm, 80mm and 180mm CZ lenses and A12 backs) draws you back to composition - square format seen through the superb 3D screen. With a non-metered finder (waist level or PM45) draws you back to understyanding light and there is no better way to do that than with a hand held meter.
But it is also intuitive - the way the filmback works; the rear light curtain coupled to the shutter; the lens coupling; the compactness of the boody; gliding mirror system and mirror lock up; removable view finder; demountable overall construction - the list goes on and on.
Every component and design element is superb.
But above all the results are superior to anything else. While digital has everyone buzzing about the relative merits between 35mm film and digital - nothing does more for the art of photography than the "'blad".
The lenses are magnificent and the benchmark for all others.
The system is significant and comprehensive, but everything offered is by all comp;arisons expensive - but so too is the absolute best of anything!
But you can start out simply - 510CM, CFI 80mm and A12 film back is all that's needed.
So now I used my EOS 1V when a mnachine gun is needed and the 501CM when I have tiome to be creative.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $2700.00

Purchased At:   The Camera Exchange

Similar Products Used:   Bronica SQA 10 years ago. Very good but the Hasselblad is more compact and intuitive.

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Sergio Guillen a Expert

Date Reviewed: February 3, 2004

Strengths:    Excellent craftmanship
Superb optics
Reliable system
Excellent resale value
Very good used market

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
The model I have is the 500 C/M. At the time it was built, the 500 C/M was the flagship of Hasselblad. This camera is still the flagship of my camera equipment, which includes a Bronica RF645, a Nikon F100 and a Toyo field camera with Nikkor lenses. The camera is built with incredible precision and excellent craftsmanship. The color contrast and sharpness of the lenses are superb. (Remember, these are the reasons why the company has become so famous.)

The 500 C/M operates under any condition. I have used it in subfreezing temperatures where other cameras would stop working, and in the California desert with heat and dust without any problem.

I shoot most of my photos using a tripod, so ergonomics is not an issue. I also use a 45-degree prism that helps keep the image straight and keeps he snow and dust from getting on the focusing screen. I have the habit of always using a spot meter and/or an ambient light meter regardless of the camera system I am using. Therefore the fact that there is through-the-lens meter is not important to me.

My perspective on the cost is different than the majority of the reviewers. First of all, all high-quality medium format cameras are expensive, so if you are into medium format, you will pay the price. Secondly, it is a camera you would keep for a lifetime, making the annual cost less than other systems that you would sell after a few years. Thirdly, there is a very good selection of used lenses and accessories worldwide. Another aspect is that since the camera is fully mechanical, there are not electronic components that could go wrong., lowering your maintenance cost. The resale value is also excellent.

In every photography exhibit that I have had, there is always an enlargement from a transparency made with this camera. If I were to keep only one camera, the Hasselblad 500 C/M would be it.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $2000.00

Purchased At:   Camera Arts, Califor

Similar Products Used:   Mamiya C-330, Bronica RF-645, Fuji 670, other formats

Type of photography:   Fine Art

Reviews 1 - 5 (28 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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