I have a bit of a long history when it comes to the Hasselblad 500c/m. Back in the early 2000’s I bought a 500c/m off of Ebay and made some pretty fantastic work with it. I loved the quality of the 80mm Zeiss Planar. I liked the ergonomics and the size of the Hasselblad camera body. I thought it was a really great camera. Unfortunately the camera I had came bundled with some major reliability issues. I had to fix several light leak issues in a couple of film backs. I had to fix another film back that constantly jammed with film loaded in it. I had a shutter failure and an issue with the aperture blades sticking. I even had an issue with the barn doors on the main body not opening all the way when the shutter was tripped.
In short, I was spending a mountain of money constantly repairing the camera and I ended up selling it after a few years for the sake of my own sanity.
However, the mystique and the wonderful image quality of the Hasselblad 500c/m never quite left me so here I am almost two decades later giving the Hasselblad 500c/m another shot. This time I bought the camera from a local shop and I very much hope the reliability issues I went through last time do not repeat themselves here. I also bought a model that was manufactured at a much later date so in theory it has seen a lot less use. I had to sell a few cameras in order to fund the purchase including my Mamiya M645, a Yashica 124-G, and my Kiev 88. In theory, if all goes well, I’m not going to miss the other cameras all that much.
As soon as I got the new Hasselblad 500c/m home I decided to do a quick test roll in my house. These aren’t exactly earth shattering images but I wanted to make sure the camera didn’t have any major shutter issues, film spacing issues, or light leaks while I still had some time to return it if necessary. Also, I have a photo shoot coming up on Monday and I plan to bring the Hasselblad as my primary camera so I wanted to make sure I was going to at least get images out of the session.
All of these images were photographed at f/2.8 and 1/15th of a second. That would pretty much explain why none of them are ultra sharp. It was a cloudy overcast day and not a lot of natural light entering the room. Plus, the cat wasn’t exactly sitting completely still. It was for sure the kind of situation where I would normally use a tripod but I also like to experiment and test the limits of how slow of a shutter speed I can go handheld with any given camera. There were a couple of frames I exposed all the way down to 1/8th of a second but they were beyond the limits of what I would consider viewable. So it looks like 1/15th of a second it is, at least with the 80mm f/2.8 Planar anyway.
I suspect I’ll be using the Hasselblad 500c/m a lot over the coming years, assuming this particular camera lives up to the Hasselblad’s infamous reliability standards. Even after only one roll of film it has all started to come back to me how much I like holding a Hasselblad and how much the control layout and the ergonomics of the camera just make sense. It’s like riding a bicycle in that way. No matter how this experiment turns out in the long run I have to give the Hasselblad 500c/m that much.