Hasselblad 503CW Medium Format

Hasselblad 503CW Medium Format 

DESCRIPTION

The Hasselblad 503CW is a mechanical, medium-format, single-lens reflex camera. It is part of the Hasselblad System which covers interchangeable lenses, viewfinders, film magazines and a host of other accessories.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 18  
[Mar 29, 2010]
Irfan Omer
Intermediate

Strength:

500 and 200 are complete cameras there are no weakness in their making.
Tough robust and longlife partners not only 500 and 200 series but H is also designed. The H series is not fully Hasselblad Camera but borrowed from Fuji.
It lacks beautiful Carl Zeiss lenses.
200 and 500 series are complete cameras in every aspect for a professionals and series amateurs.
There are more than fifteen lenses for 500 series. Superachromatic lenses are 250 m.m and 350 m.m all are having mechanical aperture shutters but long life.
200 series have six lenses made by Zeiss but with no shutters. The 200 series have Focal Plane Shutters.

Weakness:

No Weakness

This is a wonderful camera.
Totally mechanical and depndable runs without batteries except winder and Prism Finder.
This camera is with Carl Zeiss lenses no other lens is designed for this camera it runs on lens with central shutters. The camera was launched in 1957 as Hasselblad 500c and never gets old for a person who is comploetely aware with principles of photgraphy. It is very unfortunate that the Hasselbald is sold to Shriro China Ltd. They are so busy in their other business that have handed over to the management of Imacon who has killed the 200 and 500 series.
The only reason is for not having good relation with the management of Zeiss.
So now Hasselbald is depndent on Fuji GX645 Camera known as Hasselbad H which is being attached with Imacon Digital Backs and are called HD cmeras.
The 500 and 200 were also attached Digital Backs Imacon but only 16MP.
The higher MP Digital Backs are available with Phase One.
The Danish Brothers are more interested in attaching the Digital Backs to the camera so they thought best is to get rid all the film cameras which were 200 and attached 16 MP CFV Digital Back to 200 and 500 series and forgot the series.
The lenses of H are made by Fuji and are not bettter than 500 and 200 series so a adapter was provided to H series to accept Carl Zeiss. H is a gist of 203Fe, 202FA and 205 FCC but more of a electronic and autofocus camera.
H lenses are having similar central shutter but electronic ones which ofcourse has shorter life as compared to Carl Zeiss Prontar shutter lenses.
The 500 and 200 series are wonderful cameras but unfortunately they were not liked by Danish Brothers.
The 200 and 500 series are work horses not only for professionals but for amateurs like me also who take pictures everywhere to test their skill.
If you have proper exposure meter for 500 series and 200 series are already with exposure meters you take perfect photos using your skills,
They are complete cameras.

Similar Products Used:

Rollei Hy6

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 10, 2008]
David Scouffas
Professional

Strength:

Image quality, image quality, image quality

Weakness:

the winder accessory is balky

I noticed that the last review of this camera system is from several years ago. That being said, this camera is still manufactured by Hasselblad and offers the photographer a unique set of capabilities. I got mine just 4 years ago and use it almost every week.

I shoot digital, large format and 2 different medium format systems, the Hasselblad and a Pentax 67II. Some of my work is commercial (all digital) and fine art (90% film). After some years of work with all of these systems I can truly say that the best results I've gotten in any of the work I've done comes from the Hasselblad. Over and over, I find that looking over the work I've done its the Hasselbad images that stand out.

It comes down to lenses and the Zeiss optics are the best I've ever used. Just superb. Leaf shutters in the lenses are a part of this as well. they result in minimum camera shake and flash synch at almost any shutter speed. There is also an almost undefinable character to the light they put on the emulsion - just amazing

Look at work by Mona Kuhn and Josef Hoflehner to see what can be done with this camera system.

As many others have pointed out, its expensive gear. It is not a perfect system. I wish they had faster shutter speeds, and more reasonably priced accessories, but I have never regretted the money I paid.

Fim and digital technologies are both excellent and each has its own strengths. Try shooting film with the Hasselblad.

Customer Service

The best

Similar Products Used:

Pentax 67 II medium format system

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jun 04, 2004]
lgpod1
Intermediate

Strength:

The highest quality optics, joined with a finely crafted body and film backs. The TTL flash works superbly, as does the metered prism. Camera works great on a tripod as well as hand held.

Weakness:

Everything in this system is very expensive, but worth every penny

I find the Hasselblad 503CW the best camera I have ever used. You can feel the percision craftsmanship of this camera in your hand every time you trip the shutter. The Zeiss lenes product images of the finest definition, sharpness and quality.

Customer Service

Ecellent

Similar Products Used:

Bronica 6x6

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 27, 2003]
Karl Winkler
Expert

Strength:

Build quality, feel, and precision performance. Hasselblad cameras and lenses hold their value very well. Wide range of accessories available, new and used.

Weakness:

Expensive, but you get what you pay for. This camera makes you have to think, and for some, this may be a problem.

After much consideration on the subject of moving from 35mm to medium format for my main camera, I ended up going with Hasselblad. The Pentax 645 also was considered, but I felt that for the long haul, the Hasselblad would hold its value, perform for many, many years, and that the German-made Zeiss lenses are simply unbeatable. Then due to my desire to do studio portraits (along with other types of photography) I decided to get the 503 for it's ability to meter flash exposure off the film. The 503 also allows for a wider range of accessories than the 501. I couldn't be more pleased with my choice. From day one, I've loved the way this camera feels in the hands, and the absolute precision of operation and construction quality. I have experienced nothing but great results, as long as I do my job as the photographer!

Customer Service

I haven't yet needed it.

Similar Products Used:

Pentax 645, 6x7, Yashica-Mat TLR.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 07, 2003]
emilio_garay
Expert

Strength:

all

Weakness:

nothing

when you take the hasselblad 503 cw on your hands, you want to take the pictures inmediatly, because the 503cw ivites to take a lot of pictures, a true master piece . i love it.

Customer Service

not used

Similar Products Used:

nikon f5

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 24, 2002]
patrickx
Professional

Strength:

timeless design, NO BATTERIES needed, basic photography no needless gadgets, modular design, ready to be converted to a digital camera by changing filmback (+ winderCW+kodak dcs pro)snap lock for X-contact flash is great- I am promised a good after sales service

Weakness:

expensive, but so is a Steinway&sons or a Porsche (get the picture?)

after years of 35mm format I wanted to go MF. I rented all possible types of MF cameras to test them. Nothing compares to Hasselblad. It is back to the basics and by this, definitely timeless. this is a camera, shutter, diaphragm, lens, film, thats it. but all components are of extremely high quality and solid build. My first rolls of film delivered surprising results. Images pop out of their frame. (kodak E100SW)It is SO ALIVE. Beautifull B&W (Agfa APX100)but I had to get used to the depth of field of this camera. compared to my canon eos5 with EF50/1.4 the Hasselblad lens is very limited in dof when wide open.check DOF indication on lens all the time when you first use it !loading and changing the film magazine is very easy compared to other brands.(I can do it while jogging - really !) After a while I added the PME-45, so It became more like a reflex-camera I was used to work with. Did not buy winder CW because it does use batteries ...Often used a Minolta spotmeter-F with it too. Extension rings are very expensive but in combination with the 80/2.8 CFE gives beautifull macro possibilities without loss of quality!!!Weight is not a problem, especially when you are used to cary along a SONY Betacam all day ... I have the D-flash40 as well, this is great, TTL-OTF works very good

Customer Service

not needed yet, very good contact with Belgian head of sales mr. Bruyninckx

Similar Products Used:

Rollei 6008i, Mamiya 645, Mamiya RZ, Bronica ETRSi, Pentax 6x6,

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 14, 2001]
hasseyman
Professional

Strength:

very dependable quality made

Weakness:

None

I purchased it used from an individual and have had no problems with the hasselblad. I love the camera. The only drawback I don''t like over the 501CM is that the only pc port is on the lens. There is no pc port on the 503. Other than that, I would buy another 503. It is a great camera and plan to use it for years.

Similar Products Used:

RZ Pro II

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 28, 2000]
Carl Sanders
Professional
Model Reviewed: 503CW Medium Format Black Body

Strength:

Well it is swedish!
This system has been around for some time. It has always been at the front for commercial and advertising needs. Why? The system is easy to use, simple in putting it together and there are no idiosyncratic practices in film loading or winding on film. The RB67 for example requires two cranks to move onto the the next shot. In comparison to other systems it is small and easy to carry in smaller photobags. The body relates more to a 645 than a 6x6 in comparrison to other medium formats. The grip on the winder allows for remote controlled shots to be taken from a distance which can be useful when the client is not expecting a shot to be taken. Did we mention robust? Lenses are the best with reference to the contrast index over resolution. Even more solid than before with a good smooth motion in focussing. Allows for digital backs to be added.Syncronising flash with auto flash cut off.
Looks good, a well engineered and finished product. This camera will also keep its value.

Clients want to know that you are using the best equipment for their job they recognise the Hasselblad name and its reputation.

Weakness:

None. but on receiving fresh from the box the camera jammed and had to be driven over to hasselblad UK. Heard this happened to someone else as well. This was easily fixed by a technician but was replaced with another new Hasselblad body. Some will mention price but this is false economy. This system will last a life time.
Is someone going to mention digital cameras?
Fortunately this camera has the facilities for digital backs (It worried me at first!)

The standard at which other medium format follow.
Why purchase a poor copy when you can have the original. The hasselblad concept has been copied by other manufacturers but not with the same design and ease of use that hasselblad offers. This is the only one medium format camera that is worth considering. I use black bodies,(avoiding any chance of reflection off the flash appearing in a shot, this can happen) clients still go oooooh! because everything attatched to it is black as well. They like the idea of firing off the 503cw when I am not behind the camera or shooting from a distance with the remote. marvellous.

Customer Service

Excellent, one to one professional basis.
Hasselblad UK. Exceptional backup.

Similar Products Used:

Mamiya 6x6 twin lens, RBz67, Pentax 6x7. Bronica 6 x 6. Rolliflex 6x6

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 27, 2000]
Derek Rader
Professional
Model Reviewed: 503CW Medium Format Black Body

Strength:

The durability of any hasselblad body is exceptional. I've never expierenced any mechanical failure and the owner of the studio has three bodies and without exception they deliver.

The comments from other reviews about the Zeiss lenses are correct. You can crop horizontally or vertically without a loss in quality compared to 6x7 but you get faster lenses and you don't have to mess with the rotating back. If you choose to keep the square format some companies will print up to 30x30 and a 6x6 from a Hasselblad printed into a square is better than anything out there in medium format.

The camerea and lenses are built like a tank and the focus is smooth and well damped. Contrast and resolution are unmatched by the Japanese.

Enjoy a light comfortable and portable system while your RB67, RZ67, PENTAX 67, etc. sit in the studio and you earn the keep with your Hasselblad.

One last note, it looks better too. Don't buy a black body, get the chrome, your customer will go...aaahhhh.

Forgot one thing: Everything Hasselblad makes in a model line works with old stuff, no other company can claim that except Pentax whose old stuff is their new stuff because they never improve their equipment.

Weakness:

The price, but in the end the miser pays more.

Don't sacrifice a customer or customers to save 300 dollars on one or two lenses. Also C T* are much better than the origonal C non multicoated and very affordable.

That is the only weakness, Hasselblad dominates in every other area.

No matter what other brand people use if it isn't a Hasselblad they wish it was and they will constantly compare their results to yours. Hasselblad sets the GOLD standard.

If you can swallow a few extra dollars the results will outweigh the price. The convience and comfort will allow you to treat your Hasselblad just like it was a big manual focus 35mm and you will never outgrow the accecories and products made for this camera. No other manufacturer has a such a support network.

Customer Service

I have called Hasselblad twice. Both times they helped me with my problem (self induced) and sent me an old manual without me even asking after one of the calls. They are polite and knowledgable.

WORD OF WARNING:
I decided not to buy a Mamiya for three reasons, first size, second, their customer service representatives are rude. Third and most important, just like Pentax, Mamiya will not fix cameras when they become extinct from the shelves, Hasselblad will fix any item they ever sold, no one else can match that, if you think it doesn't matter, think again. I am 21 and entering professional photography, all my equipment is older than I am and I plan to never sell it, so when I'm 60 and still working and my lens needs a new element because I dropped it I know Hasselblad will fix it.

Similar Products Used:

PENTAX 645 (manual focus)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 26, 2000]
armando conti
Model Reviewed: 503CW Medium Format Black Body

Strength:

Part of a comprehensive system.

Great compatibility with past parts including lenses, backs, screens, viewfinders

All mechanical, metal, time tested construction

High resale.

Weakness:

Expensive lenses and metering prisms, can't be made auto exposure.

I hate products that live off legendary reputations, but in many cases the reputation is deserved. In this case, the 503CW is not a watered down version of what created the legend, but an improved version. They have resisted so far the temptation to cheapen construction, like a couple of other legends in photography where the old ones are the ones to own, at least for reliability reasons.

I love playing with new things, so I have been investigating other medium format options to use in addition to Hasselblad, not instead of. It seems with each brand I know what to watch out for in the used ones, frame spacing problems, focusing track wear, advance lever problems, electronics problems that are excessively expensive to fix........But with Hasselblad, it seems that there are no chronic problems that have not been addressed. The only one I can thik of is the possible jamming of the 500 when the shutter button is mistakenly hit when taking off a lens. And this has been addressed. And even that problem was quickly remedied with no sustained damage. This is just bulletproof equipment.

Optically, we all know that it is up there with the best. The furnishing of MTF diagrams by Hasselblad is really valuable to the end user in choosing lenses over the years.

The camera/lens/back is reasonable in size and weight for a 6 x 6. 6 x 6 is important to me as although a 645 has the same enlargement for an 8 x 10 as a 6 x 6 does, if you happen to have a subject for which you want a square final print you end up with much less enlargement if you have a 6 x 6 neg.

I am a devil's advocate in second guessing decisions, and recognizing weak points in products I have decided on. I am not hesitant at all in making a change. Recently I seriously considered going to an alternative, but I came to the same conclusion I did the first time I entered this system: for me it covers more bases than any other system.

If a better system comes along, I'll be the first to jump, but for now, this system fits my needs of extreme reliability, quality of build, quality of optics, ability to rent mating equipment anywhere (almost!), numerous service stations, good resale, compatibility with used equipment, probably compatibility of future equipment, good client impression........

Regarding value, although I would not give all accessories 5 thumbs, the basic 80/503cw/back is a good value if you look for the best promotion and price from the dealer, especially considering the perfectionist construcion.

Customer Service

Great number of authorized service centers, only needed once on a past Hasselblad when it jammed. Service in that case was walk in, walk out.

Similar Products Used:

Pentax 6 x 7, Bronica ETRS

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 18  

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