Monday, August 8, 2011

Hasselblad 500 c/m!

I've had a bad case of Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) this year.  It started in January when my wife purchased a Polaroid SX-70 for my birthday.  From there, I've accumulated numerous film cameras and I'm up to a total of 15 different makes and models.  Some of them I haven't even shot yet.  It's somewhat of an addiction.  When you began diving into the world of film photography, you become aware of so many combinations to achieve your artistic vision.  Cameras manufactured decades earlier are still relevant and in good condition.  Most of them are in perfect working order or may need a simple CLA, but film can still be purchased and wonderful images can be created; all at a fraction of the cost of shooting digitally. 

I'm in my infancy of using 120 medium format film; mostly shooting the roll film through my Lomography cameras, the Holga and the Diana F+.  I've had great results, but I've been wanting to upgrade to a professional medium format camera.  There are a number of great models out there, but there was just something about the iconic Hasselblad 500 c/m camera that I couldn't resist.  Hasselblad is a name that's synonymous with quality and the 500 c/m was a completely interchangeable machine.  The iconic box shape is not the only thing intriguing about this camera. It's truly a professional kit with a variety of interchangeable options.  In addition to the lenses, if you don't like the focusing screen, you can change it.  You don't like the viewfinder, change it; you want to switch from black and white film to color film mid roll, change it.  It's a highly flexible system that produces gorgeously sharp 6x6 "square" negatives.  So, after seeing some of the results on Flickr and reading about this camera and it's surprisingly cheap price point compared to today's digital standards, I just had to get one.  I saved some money and perused eBay until I found a great deal from Columbus Camera Group.  I couldn't resist and I ended up winning the auction. 

It arrived a couple days later and actually handling this camera in person is better than I expected.  It's well built; it's definitely not like holding a Holga in your hand.  The camera is very particular and there are functions that I simply wasn't used to.  A great deal of reading and researching was required before I could actually take this camera on a test run.  After getting a good handle on the basic functions of my new Hasselblad, I was ready to take it for a spin.  Unfortunately, for such a great camera, the only roll of film I had to run through it at the time was a roll of Lomography Red Scale.  Not the ideal roll, but at least I was going to go shooting with this new toy.  I had to pick up a few of my images that were hanging in the Gateway Arts Council Spring Fling Exhibit, so I thought I would swing by Tawawa Park afterwards and run that first roll through.  I spent a couple hours wandering down paths and setting up shots.  This was only the second time that I used a light meter and I had to get used to seeing the image reversed in the viewfinder.  Regardless, it was a good time and I really enjoyed using the camera.  The sound of shutter is magnificent and to hear it is simply enough to convince me to continue using the camera.  After a couple of hours, I had finished the roll of film and I sent it off to my lab for processing.  I received it back within a week and I was a little disappointed.  While my exposures were pretty close, my shots weren't great and I just didn't get anything of outstanding quality.  My negatives also came back heavily scratched.  I had a bit of a freak out moment and thought something was wrong with my A12 back.  I searched all over the Internet and found that Lomography Redscale film scratches easily.  I couldn't be 100 percent certain that my film back was functioning properly until I ran another roll through.  The FPP Midwest Meet Up was coming up in a few weeks, which made for the perfect opportunity to shoot the Hasselblad again.

This time I was armed with a roll of Adox 50 ISO black and white film.  After the photo walk portion of the meet up, I ventured back out alone to do some additional shooting.  I shot the entire roll, focusing mainly on urban and rural decay type shots.  The roll came back from my lab without scratching and I was happy with some of the results.  While I have a lot to learn and I still have to get used to this camera, I know I'm going to love it.  I have a project that I'm going to be working on in August and I'll be using the same Adox film and the Hasselblad to complete it.  If the results are as promising as I know they can be, I can't wait to share it with all of you.  In the mean time, check out a few images from my second roll.  Enjoy!

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