Many photographers collect cameras, lenses, and other bits and bobs and seem to never have the right kit necessary to be content. Not me. My Hasselblad 500 C/M, purchased piece by piece while working as photographic assistant jobs fifteen years ago, is as close to perfect as possible.
The modularity of the system, while common to medium format cameras, is totally foreign to today’s consumer to pro lines of 35mm digital cameras. I hesitate to compare an aging medium format system to today’s digital medium format ones, as the price difference between the two beasts is so vast that the latter is (generally) only available to well-heeled hobbyists and working professionals. Conversely, a setup like pictured above will costs less than one thousand dollars, roughly the cost of a current digital medium format lens cap. 🙂
As I mentioned earlier, I assembled this kit over six months of working for various photographers and printers and took my bosses’ advice to get into the Hasselblad system before considering a then-contemporary system with autofocus. I am happy that I followed their lead. The kit was put together piecemeal over eBay and other private sales, my purchases coinciding with the moment that I had enough cash to order something online and wait feverishly for its delivery. Admittedly, the kit sat on my computer for a month before I ran any film through it – I was pretty intimidated by it!
The camera has proven itself a worthy companion. With only occasional TLC, it has traveled around the world with me and has never let me down. No sticky shutter blades, no jammed lenses. Just big, beautiful, perfect square negatives that look beautiful handprinted up to about twenty four inches by twenty four inches.
Fifteen years later, my first Hasselblad is still going strong and offers a fantastic compliment to a modern digital setup. Fifteen years from now, my Hasselblad 500 C/M will probably be just as reliable.