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Please help educate me on buying my first Hasselblad

Discussion in 'Film Forum' started by panda81, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. panda81


    Feb 7, 2008
    I'm considering buying one sometime (not necessarily soon, but it could be tomorrow, who knows?! :tongue:) , but I'm weary of purchasing them from private sellers. Unless they have a lot of positive feedback, then I won't know if the camera will have any issues that cannot be seen through photos. So, I figure the most reliable source will be through KEH, at least they have a return policy if something turns bad. Has anyone ever purchased Hasselblads or other MF gear from KEH? I know their gear ratings are incredibly conservative for lenses, but I wonder if they're the same for cameras.

    Here is the link to what they have - I want to look at already-assembled camera kits instead of piecing together individual parts. I'm specifically looking at the 500CM


    Something else I don't quite understand is why there is such variability in some of these prices. Some of the descriptions sound almost identical, but the prices may vary between a few hundred dollars.

    What are the differences between the 80mm and 80mm T* lenses?

    Lastly, what are the differences between the different backs? The way I understand it, A12 holds 120 film, and A24 holds 220 film? But some of the descriptions sound like there are different types of A12 backs, I see at least 3 different types described:
    1) A12 back
    2) A12 back with 12 release
    3) A12 (6x6) back

    Thanks for your help everyone!
  2. ArtScott


    Jul 11, 2009
    I use the 'Blad copy....Kiev and purchased all of mine from individuals in the Ukraine.....so I may not be much help.
    Normally if someone owns a 'Blad they are not just jo schmo snapt shooter and I would bet the cam has been well taken care of.
    My question is......are you wanting to get into film shooting or are you lookingat going Digital with this MF purchase? If you are thinking of going digital, then I would be looking athe Digital 'Blads.....I have priced backs for my Kiev and they are more expensive than buying a digital 'Blad to start with........

    I have never purchased from KEH due to the fact that I always thought their pricing was too high, usually higher than B/H used equipment...........

    If you are going the film route then I would suggest a 500CM.....BASIC workhorse cam.....don't think they ever wear out:smile::smile:
  3. I've purchased all my Hassy gear from KEH and been very pleased with the cameras and the competitive pricing. KEH is normally cheaper than eBay for Hasselblad gear. Whereas I find eBay generally better than KEH for Leica gear. I can't explain it, but that's my experience over the last two years.
    If someone else doesn't chime in, I'll try to run through your questions tonight.
  4. Julien


    Jul 28, 2006
    Paris, France
    Well that's just because of that, they sound similar but aren't, either they aren't the same age, physical aspect, don't exactly have the same gear (like a T* lens or not, a C, CF or CFE lens) etc.

    Zeiss has a special front element lens treatment that they call the T*. So not only are T* lenses supposed to be a bit better than normal lenses they're also de facto newer.

    You're correct about A12 having 120 and A24 having 220 film. Now for your description. First off Hasselblad is 6x6 medium format so all A12 backs are 6x6, so the third back is just redundant, the first is the "normal" way to call the back. I've never heard of "A12 back with 12 release" but considering that you get 12 shots with 120 film I suppose that's what the buyer meant, though it's a pretty weird way to say it.

    So all the backs you've mentionned are actually the same. :wink:

    They are the newer style where you don't have to manually turn a crank to wind the film to set it to the first frame. With these A backs (as in A for automatic) you just load the film (aligning the arrow on the film and the one in the back) and then turn the little crank on the side of the back until you can't crank it anymore, and then you're good to go.

    Easy as that.
  5. panda81


    Feb 7, 2008
    Thanks for your replies so far everyone. Especially Julien, thanks for going point by point, very helpful :smile:
  6. Quick note on backs...
    12 backs (no 'A') Avoid, unless you are on a real tight budget...a more manual first frame advance process required...
    The early 'A' (automatic) backs have the Hasselblad 'V' trademark on the back release button...
    later backs the V was dropped and the number '12' replaced it...hence '12 Release'...
    The newest backs the 12 was dropped and the button has a black circle...
    [​IMG] These backs are still in production and are $829 at B&H...I wonder when the last one was sold new...
    A back with a Lindahl or Hassy dark slide holder is much more desirable than one without for most people.
    A back with matching insert is more desirable than one without. These backs are built as one unit and while inserts and housings that are mixed will work, they may not work as well.
    The most common things to go wrong with backs are light leaks (cheap ebay fix available) and improper frame spacing (requires service)
    Read the descriptions carefully as there are some specialty backs (35mm mask, 1 5/8 inch square mask, etc)
  7. panda81


    Feb 7, 2008
    Thanks Tim, that was a very helpful post!

    I tried to do a little background reading, but I'm not sure if I have this straightened out. Can someone please explain the differences between C, CF, CB, and CFE lenses? From what I understand, the advantages of CF lenses over C lenses are : 1) they are newer 2) Hasselblad still has parts for them for repair, 3) and I can uncouple the shutter speed and aperture if I don't want to use EV for determining exposure. However, what about CB and CFE? Most of the material I read seem to say that there is no optical difference between these four versions, so is there any reason to buy anything other than CF lenses?

    Thanks again!
  8. Julien


    Jul 28, 2006
    Paris, France
    I only have a C lens so I can't speak for all the others but I quite like the fact that Aperture and Speed are coupled. That way once you've got the EV set you can either choose your speed or aperture and never have to worry about your exposition again, it's a no brainer.

    I suppose newer lenses are better in the sense that well they're newer so easier to repair if need be.

    for your information my back is 39 years old, my lens 33 and my backs in their 30s as well. I've never had them checked (maybe they were before I bought them) and not a single glitch. I'm not saying every piece out there will be the same, but that might help :wink:
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