A Short Pithy Guide to the Hasselblad 501cm

The Hasselblad camera firm produced numerous cameras and camera equipment, including the Hasselblad 501cm. The Hasselblad is part of the V line of cameras. You can purchase this camera of the fifth series from eBay.

What kind of camera is the 501cm?

This camera model is a medium format camera, which means it takes images on media greater than 24 millimeters by 36 millimeters. It can also take full-frame images or large format images, but they are less than 4 inches by 5 inches. It's a meter-less camera with a lens-based leaf shutter, interchangeable focusing screens, and gliding mirror geometry to prevent vignetting when the photographer shoots with longer lenses. It has a pop-up magnifier that helps with critical focusing. The 501cm bears close resemblance to the company's 911GT3, but it's more lightweight.

How do you take a photo with the 501cm?

Support the body and lens with your left hand. Place your left index finger on the shutter release. Use your right hand to operate the winding crank and the lens rings. Be careful of your left thumb's placement because if it slips, it can depress the lens release.

How do you load the camera film?

Use 6 by 6 medium format, black and white film. Choose either a 120 roll or 220 roll. A 120 roll produces about 12 exposures. You can load a 120 roll in sunlight because the film has a black backing. This is not the case with 220 rolls, though. They lack the black backing and must be loaded in a darkroom setting. Follow these steps to load the camera:

  • Load the film: Load the film in the direction facing the rollers.
  • Snake the film: Snake the film through the rollers and under the pressure plate tab.
  • Close the back: Close the back opening key.
  • Roll it. Roll it onto the opposite spool and wind it until the word 'start' shows on the roll. Some devices need a little more film wound on, so you may lose part of the first frame.
  • Open it: Open the opening key.
  • Load it: Load the back and close the key.
  • Wind it: Wind the frame count until it reaches '1.'
Why would you shoot in medium format?

The larger film surface lets light-sensitive halide crystals on the film stock distribute further apart. This results in a less grainy photo. The larger surface also allows for more halide crystals, which reproduces greater detail. Medium format photos are known for better photo quality and greater crispness and tonality than 35mm. It is easier to develop than large format, or sheet sized, film.

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