Digital backs for Hasselblad 501CM

Discussion in 'Photography / Video' started by Trapper Badovinac, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

    Posts: 444
    Helena, Montana
    Ratings: +589 / 0
    For years I shot film with Hasselblads. I now have a low end Canon DSLR, but I confess I really miss shooting medium format. I don't shoot professionally any more.

    I see myself as having a few options.
    1. Sell my Hasselblad 503 CM system for pennies on the dollar.
    2. Buy a Digital back for it now $15,000 (not gonna' happen)
    3. Hang on to the Hasselblad and hope for a low cost digital back.
    3. Put the Hassalblad in the closet with my other outdated film cameras and forget about it.

    Any suggestions?

    Trapper
  2. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,695
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,742 / 0
    http://www.pentaximaging.com/medium-format
    One option but still over 8 grand for the body. I have a Nikon D800 which rivals the resolution of some medium format cameras but still 3 grand for the body.

    I dunno. If it were me I would make the move to a full size digital and keep the Hasselblad to shoot from time to time when it fancied me.
  3. Josh dead in the water

    Posts: 2,934
    NW Washington
    Ratings: +496 / 2
    Low cost medium format back is not likely to happen. The market for them is too small and the quality of 35mm frame sensors rises too fast to make a medium format back drop in price.

    Shoot the Hassy if you like it and have the film developed somewhere that they use a Fuji/Noritsu digital printing system and have them scan them when developing. Scans won't be amazing, but will be good enough for web or small prints. Then you can just get a high quality scan if there's something you really like or want to print big or intend to use professionally.
  4. Siskiyoublues Member

    Posts: 96
    United States
    Ratings: +11 / 0
    I just sold my medium format set up, a Contax 645AF. Very sad moment but it just never got shot anymore. I went through the same process you did. Fact of the matter is that modern day 35mm DSLR cameras will do everything I need and more.


    I miss that gorgeous zeiss 80mm/2 the most....


    :(
  5. Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

    Posts: 444
    Helena, Montana
    Ratings: +589 / 0
    Zeiss is some very nice glass indeed.

    I also got so used to looking at square format through those lenses, it's taking some adjustment. Plus, there's just something about film.

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    I'll probably keep the Hasselblad. I've got a few bricks of Velvia 50 ASA in the freezer and I'll thaw out a few rolls every now and then and expose them. I'll get the film developed and scan the film myself. For anything really worth the cost, I'll have it drummed scanned.
    JesseCFowl and orangeradish like this.
  6. Daryle Holmstrom retiredfishak

    Posts: 2,572
    Mount Vernon, WA
    Ratings: +105 / 0
    Have lots of Cams and Glass in a special case, It would break my heart to part with any, and they all still work:)
  7. tkww Member

    Posts: 461
    WA
    Ratings: +66 / 2
    For what you're going to get for it, keep it. I think the biggest hitch is that lots of MF users go the lease route on the backs, precisely because of the cost and the desire to upgrade at some point down the road. I just don't see many used MF backs for sale. Which is too bad because a 6 year old back ought to be able to be picked up for pennies on the dollar. I don't know, I'm drifting out of touch with the industry, but it seems that all MF is kinda going the way of the dodo. Or at least become so niche that it's pretty much pointless.
  8. Brian Thomas Active Member

    Posts: 801
    Kamloops B.C
    Ratings: +120 / 0
    I have a Bronica GS-1 that does`nt get much use anymore . Still like to get the 4x5 out though .
  9. Robert Engleheart Robert

    Posts: 1,147
    Lemoore, CA
    Ratings: +112 / 0
    I knew the handwriting was on the wall when they quit making Kodachrome.
  10. Bradley Miller Dances with fish

    Posts: 442
    Tacoma
    Ratings: +104 / 0
    As I write this, my two twin lens Mamiyas sit on a shelf and haven't been used since I bought my first digital camera around eight years ago. In my view, if you really need to make hi rez large prints (16x20 and bigger) then a full frame 35 digital has virtually the same visual quality as any old film medium format gear I ever used. On the other hand, the Zeiss optics have a very special look to them. Solution? Digital SLR with Zeiss lens mount adapters. But if you're THAT fussy, you already know more about this than what you'll learn here. :)