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Hasselblad 903SWC Medium Format

4.88 star rating
                      4.88 / 5 (8 Reviews)
MSRP : $5104.00

  • Camera TypeSLR (Single Lens Reflex)
    Product ID20742798

Product Description

Based on view camera lens design, the permanently attached Biogon 38mm lens with 90( diagonal angle of view is a true wide angle type.

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Reviews 1 - 5 (8 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by karlmar@sbcglobal.net a Expert

Date Reviewed: February 11, 2011

Strengths:    Focusing with this camera is done one three ways.
1. You can measure the distance with a tape, ruler or.....
2. One may just hyperfocus, even wide open this lens has great depth of focus.
3. There is a veiwing system that works like a view camera.

With the above reflex system one may get a dead on framing.
By the way one also needs a tripod.
It has great viewer that fits into the flash shoe.

Weaknesses:    It is slow operating camera.It will not do 5 frams per second. One must have a handheld meter or know the rule of F/16.

Bottom Line:   
For the fun of it I read a few reviews on the Hasselblad 905 swc. I cannot believe the miss information out there. Frist,the last 38mm made is not different from the ones that were made in years gone by, they just removed the lead from the glass. This is something all the lens companies have done.
Second, is the element count. For the 6x6cm it has always been 8 elements in 5 groups. It is based on a large format lens, a 10 element lens. This large format lens has a larger circle of focus. That is why 6x7cm rangefinder camera uses the older 10 element lens. Is it better, maybe, never used one. But it is not better because it has more elements. Some very sharp marco lens are slow with few elements. Only a fool thinks more elements make for a sharper lens. As a matter of fact 35mm lens are enherently sharper then larger format lens.
Bottom line Hassi SWC have always the same sharp lens from day one and them boys at Carl Ziess make some of the finest lens in the world.
Deal with it SWC are one of kind and photographic jewel.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $6000.00

Purchased At:   Samy's Camera

Type of photography:   Fine Art

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by JOHN AARON a Expert from NYC

Date Reviewed: May 19, 2001

Strengths:    simple,simple,simple

Weaknesses:    I'm becoming hunched backed with this camera dangling from my neck.

Bottom Line:   
I've been eyeballing this camera from afar since i was kid.The price of this camera put it into a love to have when i win the lottery bracket.but lo and behold i got a used one for a few bucks{$450}The wait was worth it-this camera is unreal in its simplicity and razor edged sharpness.my only gripe is that it's a heavy point and shoot camera{lol}-I LOVE this camera--enuf said.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $450.00

Purchased At:   from a compatriot

Similar Products Used:   my first 6x6.Have been using wide angles lenses on nikon bodies.

Type of photography:   Other

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Henrik Rundgren a Expert from Stockholm, Sweden

Date Reviewed: May 11, 2001

Strengths:    Quite small package

Weaknesses:    No rangefinder / focus confirmation at close range.
No built in meter.

Bottom Line:   
It took some time to get used to guesstimate focusing but it isn't that hard really. I use a Contax G2 (which digitally displays the distance) for closer range shooting and for metering with great results. The Biogon is a great great lens and the vast depth of field is a great bonus. The Mamiya 43mm is actually a tad better (IMO) but the SWC is so much fun to shoot! And I really like the square format! And the optical quality is good enough, I am sure, for the most demanding work.

I am planning on getting the RMfx viewfinder for more accurate framing at close quarters but the camera does work quite well without it.

Though it is expensive for being a camera without a meter and/or a rangefinder I still hold this as a very very nice camera. Value rating is 4, because it´s bloody expensive.
Fun value is 5+ stars.
Lens performance is 4.80 stars (with the Mamiya7 43 being a 4.95 ;-) ) but overall I can't give it more than 4 as it is lacking a meter and rangefinder.

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Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Similar Products Used:   Mamiya7 43mm lens

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dr. Benjamin Chang a Professional from London

Date Reviewed: March 30, 2001

Strengths:    Sharpness of course easy to use after a short accomdation period excellent built quality

Weaknesses:    None now with RMfx view finder and ability to use polaroid back and also don't forget a digital back.......think think

Bottom Line:   
One can get drunk with a bottle of Chateau Laffite and also on anti freeze but the feeling is very different when doing so. i.e. Mamiya 7II and SWC....so I bought both.....just like a Modena 360 and a Corvette I suppose.....happy shooting. technically this lens is completely distortion free edge to edge...that's all I needed so nothing else to complaint....I know it is expensive but if you shots are sellable it will pay for itself over time.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $6000.00

Purchased At:   London

Similar Products Used:   All Hasselbald lenses Rollei and Mamiya 7II

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by James Collins a Intermediate from New York, USA

Date Reviewed: March 11, 2001

Strengths:    Simply superb. Compact medium format with the finest ultra wide-angle lens. No distortion, no vignetting, no fuss, no bother. After a while even using the bubble-level becomes natural.

Weaknesses:    My Leica rangefinders (10 bodies M1-M6, 22 lenses including 3 21mm's) are just gathering dust - who would have thought.

Bottom Line:   
OK, I admit it, the new body with the new finder while great is expensive, but you don't have to go that route. Buy any of the SWC/M models with T* (mine is the CF version, but only because I couldn't find a used Compur version) for under $3,000 and trust me you will get used to the external bubble-level.

What you will not get used to is the extraordinary results. Color, B&W, 50 or 3200 ISO, shot from the hip or from the tripod, whatever you do (maybe not standard portrait - I'll give you that) the results will have you lifting your jaw off the floor. The sharpness is just breathtaking, and that nice large negative or transparency (use Velvia and the world will never have looked so good) will have you ordering 16x16 custom enlargements.

Now if I haven't quite convinced you and you are a B&W photographer, you can get a good non-T* outfit for well under $2,000. Many people, even some dealers will tell you that while there is a difference between T* and non-T* it is a difference without consequence. But you know if you are a color user you will always have that nagging doubt in the back of your mind, so spend the extra bucks and sleep easy at night.

A friend of mine is a serious amateur who recently purchased the Contax 645 auto-focus, a bunch of lenses, backs, etc. for around $10,000. After looking at my Velvia transparencies, she is rethinking her decision. She wanted auto-focus, but may now be willing to live without it. She wanted interchangable lenses, but is now willing to live without them. She wanted fancy metering and TTL flash, she is now willing to live without them. She wanted reflex viewing, she... well you get the idea.

Yes this is a camera which makes you think, but you know what, when you think you take better pictures. Gil Ghitelman (a great dealer, although I did not purchase this camera from him) once remarked to me that just like a Rollie TLR a person always regrets selling a SWC. Buy it, use it, you will have no regrets.

Now one final word about the bubble-level. The ergonomics of the new finder are clearly better, try both and compare for yourself. However, part of the beauty of the SWC, in all of its incarnations (see www.gilghitelman.com for a nice history) is the classic quality of its design - just like the Leica. The megaphone finder of the older version is simply more beautiful and quite possibly more durable - metal not plastic.

So, if you want fine photography without a lot of battery-powered automation getting in the way, get the SWC - no regrets.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $2900.00

Purchased At:   Jim Kuehl

Similar Products Used:   Leicas with 21mm Super-Angulons and Aspheric.

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Reviews 1 - 5 (8 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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