- Victor Hasselblad, Inc.:
- in 2003, Hasselblad was acquired by Hong kong based company Shriro
- in 2004, Hasselblad merged with digital image sensor developer Imacon
- the future seems to be with the auto-focus H-series as the manual
focus V-series (500, 2000 & 200 series) seems to have reached its
V series cameras:
- manual focus 6cm x 6cm cameras with interchangeable lenses, backs and
- work horses of studio & wedding photographers
- Hasselblad oddities:
- H'blad components (but not Zeiss lenses) can be dated by
looking at the 2 characters in the serial number which equate to the
last two digits in the year as follows:
- V=1, H=2, P=3, I=4, C=5, T=6, U=7, R=8, E=9,S=0
- Zeiss C lenses have a 3 or 4 digit number, the last 2 digits
are the month and the 1st one or two is the number of years
- Zeiss CF lenses use a different code: one letter and two
digits. The letter is the month (A=Jan; B = Feb; C=March; D=
April) and the two digits are the year flipped. So 28 = 82 =
1982. So F58 = June 1985.
- The lens must be cocked before mounting to, or dismounting from,
The body must be cocked before mounting a lens (this is the most
usual cause of the infamous locked body/lens combo that costs money to get
apart.). If a cocked back is mounted to an uncocked body, the
unexposed film will wind to the next frame. All of the 500 series camera
bodies (except the newest 501c, 503 cx/cxi/cw), all of the 2000 series
cameras and all of the backs have a little dot that changes from red (uncocked)
to white (cocked) to warn of the current state of the cockedness.
- The M12/A12 backs have no place to store the darkslide when
not in use and back/insert combo's should have matching serial #'s in order
to insure perfect mating (this greatly affects a backs value as well,
- The back inserts also have a clip that must be threaded by the
film leader in order for the film to feed properly through the camera.
Another distraction (though common to all leaf shuttered, unmotorized
is that the mirror isn't an instant return.
- There have been six V lens series:
- Compur leaf-shutter lenses with maximum shutter 1/500th sec:
- the C (old constant interlock, single coated), CB, CF,
- CF (1982):
- the C lenses themselves were redesigned and renamed CF
lenses in recognition that they could be used in both
500C and 2000FC bodies.
- Prontor leaf-shutter (a bit more reliable), F setting
for focal-plane shutter bodies, EV interlock removed,
shutter and aperture move independently (can be EV
locked optionally), Printed DOF scale, rubberized
focusing and aperture rings
- examples of CF lenses:
- 50mm Distagon with floating
- 60mm Distagon (good choice)
- 100mm 1:3.5 Planar
(incredible acutance and correction of distortion -
initially designed for NASA)
- 120mm Makro-Planar
(sensational resolution and the choice of many
editorial portrait photographers - see Nigel Parry's
- 180mm Sonnar (a new
formulation and superior to the dated 150mm Sonnar -
another great portrait lens for a 'longer' look)
- 250mm Super-Achromat (in
1990 it was $A9,500)
- CB (1997) - Lower-cost 80mm Planar lens sold with 501CM
kit, one less element than regular CF Planar (7->6), no F
setting for focal plane cameras (use B setting instead)
- CFi - Better internal light baffling to reduce flare,
stronger shutter spring, easier focusing, improved DOF
preview lever, PC terminal lock
- CFE (1997) - Databus communication with 202/203/205 series
camera bodies (allows for open-aperture metering)
- lenses without the leaf-shutter, designed for the 2000/200
- F (1977)
- FE or TCC (1991) - addition of databus communication with
202/203/205 series bodies, communicates aperture setting to
- as the F (and later FE) lenses were more expensive and
more limited than their C/CF/CFE counterparts, they had
limited popularity and are rarer on the secondary market.
- Hasselblad 500 series:
- see http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/ghassy.html
- current models are 501cm, 503cw, 555eld
- 500 series are completely mechanical cameras (except for the motorized EL
series) and do not have a focal-plane shutter nor do they have
in-camera metering - so you needed to buy an accessory prism meter
which would only provide uncoupled metering or meter handheld.
- closest focus with the leaf shutter lenses is about 1m without
using an extension tube or diopter (whereas the Mamiya RB/RZ have
in-built bellows to allow easier close-up photography.
- 500c (1957) - oldest (problems with CF lens); The 'C' indicated
the Compur in-lens leaf shutter mounted in a Zeiss lens.
- 500cm (1970) - added interchangeable focusing screens
- 1988: All four existing Hasselblad camera bodies were reintroduced
as the updated models: 503CX, 553ELX, 2003FCW and 903SWC. The three
SLR models featured the new Acute-Matte focusing screen. In
addition, the 553 ELX and 503CX both offered OTF dedicated
- 503cx (1988) - adds an acutematte focus screen, ttl flash metering (via
SCA adaptor), flash ready and OK lights in finder and palpas
- 503cxi -
- accepts another new winder model specific to this camera (the
CW) that winds at a rate of 0.8 frames a second. There is an IR
remote release set for use with this newest winder that allows
remote release and frame rate mode change.
- the 'gliding mirror system', (which means that the camera
sports the longer mirror of the 2000/200 series
cameras) and the lack of the 'body cocked' indicator.
- A new 90° meter prism , PME90, incorporates a metering system
that includes spot and integrated as well as incident metering
- $A3328 body only (2005)
- $A4500 body + 80mmCFE + A12 back (2005 shipped from Germany
via EBay new)
- 501cm (1997):
- identical to the 501c with the exception of two additions: It
is standard as a chrome body and adds the Gliding Mirror system,
which cures the finder top cutoff of lenses 120 through 500mm.
It's an interesting, less expensive
alternative to the 503c/w.
- with 80mm, A12 back student kit $A3300 (2005)
- motorised winder models:
- no longer functional due to discontinued batteries:
Nicad battery Varta made for the EL/ELM/ELX has been officially
discontinued. This greatly affects the future usability
of these cameras and most wouldn't now recommend that anyone
purchase any but the latest versions (553 ELX with AA holder) of
- 500el (1965) /elm (1970) - motorised, elm adds the changing
- 500elx (1985) - adds the Palpas coating and and a longer mirror to
prevent finder image top blackening with lenses longer than 150mm
(This doesn't affect the film image, just the view and haunts the
503cx/501c with the 180mm on up, still), plus dedicated flash
- 553elx (1988)
- it adds the Acutematte screen, TTL flash with
viewfinder OK and ready signals and makes use of AA 's - powered
by five batteries, providing up to 4,000 exposures.
- current model (2005), adds Integrated
data bus connections for digital backs
- $A4592 body only (2005).
- 503CWD (2006?):
- limited edition of 500 cameras with
16mpixel digital backs
- Hasselblad 2000/200 series:
- The older, non-electric databus (though still battery
powered) F cameras are called the 2000 series and are renowned for
their excellent optics, compact size, and extraordinarily
ridiculously high original retail price in Japan, Europe, and the
- 2000FC (1977)
- titanium foil focal plane shutter camera with a 1/2000 second
shutter speed, and five F lenses without shutters and thus
allowed wider apertures and closer focusing than the
leaf-shutter lenses, the C lenses.
- 2000FCM (1981)
- focal plane shutter opened automatically when the film
magazine was removed to resolve the problem of the 2000FC which
had the same problem of the 1940's 1600F/1000F, namely that
photographers had the unsettling problem of putting their thumbs
through the fragile and expensive titanium foil shutter.
- 2000FCW (1984)
- added motor-winder capability
- The 2000FCW and the 2003 FCW are the most reliable cameras in the
2000 series (and the only ones that Hasselblad will still repair)
and the only models you should seriously consider buying. Otherwise,
get a 200 series.
- The advantages of this lesser known, 'other'
H'blad system include the ability to use either the bodies 1/2000th of a sec.
shutter or the C and/or CF lense's, leaf shutter; the ability
to use superspeed (and extra close focusing) Zeiss lenses, a choice of
three mirror modes, the 'Gliding mirror system' and better used market
- The 200 series doesn't seem to experience the lens jamming problem
of the 500 series. However, if you run out of batteries then the 200
series camera may exhibit what looks like a jam: the mirror will
raise, the lens shutter will release or the mirror , but the mirror
won't fall again. You can't wind on and the lens won't bayonet off.
Clearing this jam is easy. Just push in the multiple-exposure button
in the middle of the winding crank. This will allow you to crank the
camera, winding the shutter and resetting the lens.
The newest 203FE, 205F and TCC offer TTL flash metering, motor
capability, Acutematte screens as standard equipt (these features are also
common to the 201F and 2003FCW) and H'blad's first TTL, fully coupled metering
2000FCM + 50mm f/2.8 lens 2nd hand ~$A2500
202FA + 80FE + E12 kit new $A6622 (2005)
- Hasselblad 200 series:
- see http://www.photoethnography.com/ClassicCameras/index-frameset.html?Hasselblad200.html~mainFrame
- Launched in 1991, it solved the problem plaguing the 2000 series
by using a relatively tough silk-cloth shutter curtain instead of
fragile titanium foil, ECC film backs with electronic data
communications, new series of F/TCC lenses (now called FE lenses),
while the initial, high-end 205TCC added built-in metering - the 1st
in a H'blad.
- 205TCC (1991) - high end; aperture-priority, spot & zone
- 201F (1994):
- the basic
model, is very much like a 2003FCW except that it loses
the titanium foil curtains, and the 2000th of a second top shutter
speed and replaces it with a far more reliable and durable, cloth
shutter. This shutter, common to all of the latest 200 series
cameras, max's out at a
1000th of a second (2000th on the 205 FCC).
- no in-camera metering
- 203FE (1994):
- Based on high-end model 205TCC, new series of CFE lenses (in
1999) and E filmbacks with electronic databus communications
- coupled open-aperture metering (center-weighted), aperture
priority automatic exposure but no zone metering
- perhaps the most popular model of the 200 series and is
readily available on the used market.
- $A8386 body only (2005)
- 205FCC (1995):
- Based 205TCC with 203FE additions + adds auto-bracketing to
- 202FA (1998):
- Based on 203FE with some features removed, can only use its
own focal-plane shutter, cannot use C lenses at all, cannot use
leaf-shutters in CF/CFe lenses, top shutter speed of 1/1000 sec,
voted "Most Disliked Camera" in the 200 series
- The most important improvements to the latest 203FE and 205T
and/or FCC models are only fully enabled with the very latest 'databus'
equipped backs and lenses.
- Photokina in Cologne 1954 was used to introduce the Hasselblad
SuperWide with a fixed 38mm f4.5 Zeiss Biogon lens mounted in a
- SuperWide SWC/M was introduced in 1979, allowing the use of the
Polaroid film magazine.
- SWC/SWCM (1979) /903SWC (1988) super wide angle:
- manual with a permanently attached 38mm 91deg view Biogon lens
direct view only finder (without parallax compensation) It is guess or groundglass focussed and has recently become something
of a bargain in superwide cameras
- The new 903SWC had a minor body change and came with the new
viewfinder with built-in spirit level.
- SWCm ~$A2100 2nd hand
- 905SWC (2006?)
Hasselblad H series
- newer AF cameras but 6cm x 4.5cm
- requires a CF adapter to allow C-type
lenses designed for V-series to be used.
- H1 (2001)
- H1 + 80mm + film back + prism finder new $A10890 (2005)
- H1 Kit + HC 2,8/80mm + HM 16/32 Mag. + HV-90x Prisma $A7000
(2005 shipped from Germany via EBay)
- H1+ Digitalback Ixpress H 96 C + HC 2,8/80mm+ HV90x Prisma
$A22,000 (2005 shipped from Germany via EBay)
- cannot use the newer digital backs such as Ixpress CFH or the
- 1st fully digital medium format camera; $A34,000 2004.
uses Ixpress 132C digital back; 56x42mm film;
- adds power supply & "instant approval architecture" to
support Ixpress CFH digital backs (can't use these on H1)
- 22mpixels, 4080x5440, 16-bit - 132Mb or 8-bit 66Mb file; save
as DNG; Flexcolor color management; 1.5sec per image; 2.2"
color display; 2.2kg;
- Digital APO Correction using highly detailed mapping of each
lens to reduce moire.
- Hblad Natural Color Solution using a new 3F RAW (3FR) raw file
format which is optimised to allow capturing 35 images per
minute with support for conversion to Adobe's DNG file.
- H3D (2007):
- 1st double-35mm sensor camera ie. 48mmx36mm in either 22mpixel
or 39mpixel sensors.
- also available in a 31mpixel 44x33mm sensor with microlenses
to minimise vignetting and 1 stop increase in sensitivity to
ISO800, this version is priced at $US25,000.
- Digital APO Correction
- built around a brand new digital camera engine, providing a
new standard of image sharpness, ‘Ultra-Focus’.
- interchangeable, waist-level viewfinder for the H system
- 60Mb/s write speed
- no longer supports third party backs, only Hasselblad's own
- new 28mm lens, the H3D allows photographers for the first time
ever to take wide angle shots on a 36 x 48mm sensor.
- H3DII (2009):
- as for H3D but 1fps 50mp back with 6 micron pixels (down from
6.8 micron in the 39mp sensor), but same noise levels &
- new red pigment in Bayer layer to improve colour accuracy.
- optional new HTS 1.5 tilt-shift adapter