Hasselblad 501CM Medium Format

Hasselblad 501CM Medium Format 

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.



USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 28  
[Sep 02, 2005]
Packard
Professional

Strength:

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.

Weakness:

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

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).

Customer Service

My 150mm lens had some problem (I cannot remember what) I sent it back to Hasselblad and they returned it repaired. It has not failed me since (about 18 years).

Similar Products Used:

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

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 30, 2004]
tinbaby
Professional

Strength:

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!

Weakness:

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.

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.

Customer Service

The shop that I bought the camera from graciously took the camera back due to the extensive repairs necessary and I really appreciated it! Thank you YFO guys - that was great service...

Similar Products Used:

Mamiya 645 Rollei Twin Lens Reflex

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[May 25, 2004]
NMPhotoj
Intermediate

Strength:

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

Weakness:

Pricey accessories

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.

Customer Service

Afraid to ask

Similar Products Used:

Nikon F100, D100, D 70

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Mar 09, 2004]
SPG
Intermediate

Strength:

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

Weakness:

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

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.

Customer Service

None needed.

Similar Products Used:

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

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Feb 03, 2004]
Sergio Guillen
Expert

Strength:

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

Weakness:

None

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.

Customer Service

Excellent. I had a new back with a minor problem: the "ready" indicator was stock in the red position. Sent it to Hasselblad and had it back in less than two weeks under warranty.

Similar Products Used:

Mamiya C-330, Bronica RF-645, Fuji 670, other formats

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 04, 2003]
neil
Intermediate

Strength:

Intuitive, basic photography for B&W in the classic mode:composition, aperature, shutter speed, film speed:thinking persons tool for great pictures; complete freedom from battery dependence[but get a hand held light meter].

Weakness:

Even in the second hand market, everything is a significant financial commitment. To get the most out of the Zeiss lenses, use a tripod. Consider the electronic prism view finder[PME-45] if you want more ease of transition from 35mm. Camera manuals not as helpful; much better to buy The Hasselblad Manual by Ernst Wildi, latest edition tells you everything about this camera system.

I bought this used, with the 80mm lens, A12 back; added a Polaroid back recently.After 3 decades of 35mm with an old Minolta[still have it], the move to medium format is wonderful. Huge negative, very sharp images, easy to crop.

Customer Service

Have not needed it. Excellent camera repair service available in my location, as recommended by friends who are pro.

Similar Products Used:

Minolta SRT 101 with 50mm1.4, 135mm 3.5; Fujipix S602Z digital; Contax G1 rangefinder with 35mm,45mm,90mm lenses.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Sep 26, 2003]
kommini
Intermediate

Strength:

Superb picture quality. Exceptionally well balanced piece of equipment inspite of its weight. Precision built.

Weakness:

Expensive accessories

I have had this camera for the last 3 weeks - what an experience ! Big defference between 35mm and MF. The W?L finder is clear and focusing is precise. The zeiss lens is unbelievably faithful in picture quality. While the infatuation and excitement of owning a hasselblad will wear off in about 10 or 15 years, the high quality of pictures will continue well into next 2 or 3 generations !

Customer Service

never needed

Similar Products Used:

Only 35mm...Nikons

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 21, 2003]
rjphoto
Expert

Strength:

Bigger negative sizes Sharp Zeiss lenses Lightweight, lighter than other brands of cameras for medium format Interchangeability with older and newer cameras as far as lenses, film backs, and accessories are concerned

Weakness:

High priced - though the kit is a better deal if one is just starting out with this system. I honestly believe the price isn't justifiable, though many would argue otherwise. I have seen many other bodies and zeiss items from other known cameras and manufacturers, 35mm and medium, and they aren't as steep. High maintenance and maintenance cost - Hasselblads are not cheap to repair. For the cost of replacing a back gate shutter, you might be better off just getting a used backup body on ebay for a couple of hundred dollars instead. Accessories - film backs seem to be very uncertain over time, ending up having problems with them

I had acquired the Hasselblad 501c kit through use of loans and at the student discount when I was a photo student in 1995. I used the loan also to get the 120mm F4 lens and I also received the free A-12 magazine through a promotion. The cameras take a while to get use to and feel foreign when starting out if one has always used 35mm equipment, but in time the camera becomes second nature to use. The lenses are top-notch and I have made many fine images with them. I do however have a few issues with the camera system, one being the body and of the film backs. I'm not sure how many people have had trouble occasionally with their own systems but I feel that I shouldn't have had the problems that had occured. After about almost two years my hasselblad had a problem, and that problem happened during an assignment I might add, the back shutter gate wouldn't retract to it's closed position and was in essence probably worn out. I hadn't used it as much nor have I ever treated any of my cameras with aggressiveness, always very ginger and careful. I always had taken care of my equipment. The school sent in my camera for repair at Cambridge's repair shop, where the school got their equipment from at the time. The Charge for this back shutter plate was 610.00!! This charge was included within my student loans. The same year the eyepiece in the waist level finder popped out, many students had this happen at the same time. From what I overheard by my instructor was that the plant that made the finders had to be recalled and the ones made to be detroyed; some defective batches of finders and every student, including myself, got a free replacement finder very quickly. After leaving school and a little ways down the road I process a roll of film and the frames on some of the rolls showed overlapping while others showed larger film rebate spacings. I had put this back away and I had the spare back and used this one instead. Now this back has a light leak problem. My conclusion: I am in no way trying to down this system, it is an excellent tool and is capable of delivering exceptional images when one knows their craft well, but for me situations haven't been ideal. There is no way I will be able to afford to get these items fixed. I'm on low-income and have no idea when my loans will ever get paid, if they do. I had taken time of from photography for way over a year now and just got back into it after some difficulty. I am not able to use my hassy without apparent defects showing. At least I have my K-1000 left to use, all not lost I guess.

Customer Service

Never used them. I don't have enough money to even try to get a ballpark estimate, won't even try it.

Similar Products Used:

Have used mamiya's and pentax 6X7's along with 4X5 in the commercial studio when I was a photo student, now it's just the pentax 35's

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Jan 09, 2003]
Oscar Urena
Professional

Strength:

Superb construction, and lenses. Kit well priced. Not a big camera, nor heavy. Very comfortable to handle.

Weakness:

Expensive line of lenses.

The 501 CM is a superb camera, and I give lots of credit to the construction and the Carl Zeis T* Lens = Outstanding image quality. I mostly shoot B&W Negatives and I develop and print my own negs and prints. The camera is very easy to work with, just follow your basic photography skills and you get what you want. I purchased the camera kit and bought a PME-90 Auto exposure prizm finder with it. This way I use it flawlessly. PME meters my scene in spot or average mode and I expose my negs accordingly. The camera mechanism is very reliable, without need of batteries. I love the system. E-Mail Oscarprophoto@yahoo.com

Customer Service

Have not experienced them.

Similar Products Used:

None

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 02, 2002]
David Azia
Expert

Strength:

The photographs produced with the 501CM and 80mm CFE are sharp and contrasty, and there is incredible detail in subjects photographed. There is a certain ‘smoothness’ that doesn’t exist in small format cameras. Considering the fact that the image area is much larger than on 35mm cameras, the camera is lightweight and relatively compact. The 501CM weighs about the same as the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L lens. If you have the money, the range of accessories and lenses available is amazing. You can buy as many film backs as you need, and switch between different film types (and formats) without ever wasting any film. Luckily, there are many film backs on the used market for those of us who can’t afford new ones. Although a bit daunting at first, the 501CM is very simple in use – there are few features, you just set the aperture and shutter speed. I must admit though, I did read the manual before fiddling with the camera – it was so different from anything that I had used that I was a bit worried that I would break something. I found that loading film was a bit strange and awkward the first time round, but you soon get used to it. I love using the waist-level finder, it means

Weakness:

The 501CM kit is expensive enough. It’s a shame that the kit doesn’t include the lens-shade for the 80mm CFE lens. If there’s one thing that you should purchase, it is the lens-shade. It’s probably the single most important accessory that has a definite impact on image quality. This is the type of camera that should be used on a tripod to fully profit of the larger image area, which means carrying more weight. That shouldn’t change your habits if you’re into landscape photography. It will if you’re used to Leica Ms though. .

There comes a time when you need change, and I had decided that after sticking with 35mm cameras for five years I wanted to have a go at a larger film format. My first interest lied in the new economy Toyo 4x5, which offered large-format quality at a very decent price. However, I soon decided against purchasing a large format camera because of the need to buy plenty of film holders and the difficulty of finding a lab. I then considered buying the Mamiya 645E, but it lacked some of the features that attracted me to the Hasselblad 500 series: the waist level finder (as well as the possibility of changing viewfinders), interchangeable film backs, the 6x6 format, and the large second-hand market. Although I had never used a medium format camera prior to purchasing the 501CM, I decided that I might as well stick with Hasselblad – even though it is very expensive. I would rather pay a lot for a camera and know that it will keep its value if I ever decide to sell it. After using it for a few months, I am quite pleased with the photographs that I have taken with this camera. You cannot compare 35mm slides or negatives with their 6x6 equivalents. The rendition of details and colour are just far better, thanks mostly to the larger image area. When I first looked at medium format cameras I had imagined that film and processing would be far more expensive, but here in Switzerland it isn’t. If you use slide film, it costs even a little less than 35mm film. Do note that buying a Hasselblad is taking a big step, not only financially but also in the way you take photographs. The 501CM is not as flexible as a 35mm camera that can be used for nearly any type of photography. I would definitely not sell my 35mm equipment to purchase the Hasselblad (except for the odd unused lenses).

Customer Service

Although I have never had any problems with the camera, I have found that Leica Camera Switzerland (the official Hasselblad distributor in CH) is very efficient. Items that are in stock will usually a

Similar Products Used:

Unfortunately, only 35mm products: Canon EOS 3, 5, 500, 1n, D2000; Leica M4P, M6TTL; The Leica’s are probably the closest to the Hasselblad in terms of simplicity and cost. Both designs date back to t

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 28  

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