Personal Work: Hasselblad 503CW Test

Hasselblad 503CW - looking up a Pylon

The Why

I should warn you before you start reading, that this post is a bit waffly and it’s definitely heavy on the ‘camera geekery’.  I’d skip all the writing bit and head for the photographs personally.

So, why the change over to a Hasselblad all of a sudden? Well, over the past couple of years I’ve been using various models of the Pentax 67 Medium Format Film Cameras, which I loved.  For some reason though, although I loved the actual cameras, I could never bring myself to feel the same way about the format.  I know a lot of photographers love it and use it very successfully.  There’s quite a few different 6×7 format cameras on the market & I’ve used most of them. But, while I enjoyed the process of using the cameras and the feel of them, something was always missing for me with the format.

Coupled with my own personal issues with the format there was ‘a thing’ I had about the Pentax 67ii.  Firstly I should say that it is a beautiful camera to use. Pentax did a really good job on this one. It’s a masterpiece. But, it relies very heavily on electronics and that’s where my ‘thing’ was.  20 years is a long time for circuit boards and electronics to keep working under heavy use. So with every Pentax 67ii comes the niggling thought in the back of your mind that one day, it will break down. Parts are scarce and that’s only going to get worse.  One day, you’ll end up with a beautiful looking and expensive paperweight.

The What

I’d given it a lot of thought over the summer.  Fiona will testify that I don’t rush into decisions when it comes to buying something.  If there’s more than one option, then there’s research to be done.  That goes for any purchase, be it toothpaste or a new camera – research is the key. Webpages to be trawled late at night to see some graphs that a guy in Japan did.  Reviews comparing various iterations of one model of camera body, to see which year’s model was best.  Buying a film camera is complicated. It’s not for the feint hearted.

I settled on the Hasselblad 503CW.  I wanted one of the Hasselblad V cameras because they are all cogs and springs and bits of brass, with not many circuit boards and wires.  There’s hardly anything to go wrong with them.  They’re even made out of a hollowed out block of aluminium, how can that go wrong?.  I also wanted one of the most recent ones that could afford, so this particular model seemed like the logical choice.  I’ve used them before. I even owned one before, many years ago. You can’t go wrong with a ‘blad.

There’s also something comforting about the square format.  I find it much easier to compose minimalist images in square format although it can be hard to get used to at first.  I’m a member of the Film Shooter’s Collective and a friend of mine, Robert Law, wrote a piece for them earlier this year about adapting to square format, you can see it here . Of course it could just be laziness on my part. You don’t have to worry about which way up to hold a square format camera.

The Test

I’ve started processing my own colour films.  I’ve had varying degrees of success.  I’m not going to lie to you, some of the films I’ve processed have looked like they were every colour under the sun except the right ones. I think I’m getting there now though, I’d be interested to hear anyone else’s opinions in the comments though.  When you look at something you created for too long, you stop noticing good things about it and it becomes a fault finding exercise.

Anyway, enough of the waffling.  Here’s the photographs.


Hasselblad 503CW flowers Hasselblad 503CW cab side Hasselblad 503CW cab front close Hasselblad 503CW truck Hasselblad 503CW cab front Hasselblad 503CW Dashboard Hasselblad 503CW Poppies Hasselblad 503CW - Power Hasselblad 503CW sub station Hasselblad 503CW lanscape Hasselblad 503CW Pylon Hasselblad 503CW - looking up a Pylon



Personal Work

If you’re interested, I have a separate website that i use just for personal work.  You can see it here.