Hasselblad 500 C/M Camera

Since the beginning of my journey into film photography last April, I knew at some point, if the passion didn’t fade, that I would want to invest in a higher end film camera.

I had originally started off with my beloved Pentax K1000 as I knew I wanted a 35mm SLR camera and since this is a fully manual camera, I learnt lots about Aperture in relation to Shutter Speed and ISO with the help of the built in light meter in the camera.

Apart from my investment in some nice instant cameras such as the Leica Sofort and Polaroid SX-70 I suppose my next investment and step up into a film camera was my much loved Olympus Pen FT half frame camera. I love this camera and the image quality it produces.

In recent months I’ve been really getting into medium format photography. I really love having to think about my composition and how it can work into the square style box.

I think I must have a thing for composing a photo in a slightly different photo size as this is what I love about composing shots with the my Olympus FT.

I suppose my love of the medium format style photos first began when I bought a Diana F+ Camera cheaply on eBay.

As the months progressed I then bought another Lomography style camera, the Lubitel 166B which was originally meant to be a present for my husband as he had taken an interest in this camera but couldn’t get on with it when he tried it so I persevered and began using it.

I love the square format of the photos and I was starting to use more black and white film in it since I knew I wanted to do more darkroom work.

I always thought when investing in a high end camera it may be one of the Leica 35mm film cameras but my heart was telling me to invest in a medium format camera.

As we all know, there is so much choice in the medium format world. You can get fairly decent medium format film cameras ranging from a few hundred pounds right up to thousands of pounds.

If you had asked me in the summer of last year which high end medium format camera I would ever consider buying, I would have said the Pentax 67 which isn’t technically square but I was already in love with Pentax since owning the K1000 and thought I would love the fact the camera style and viewfinder can be used like a 35mm SLR camera.

However, I was fortunate enough to try out somebody’s Pentax 67 camera last year during a photography walk in Brighton. I knew instantly that it wasn’t for me. The main reason……because it was too heavy and big! I really struggled to hold that camera up to my eye and I knew that I would never use it or take it out with me if I owned one.

I had always thought that I would never like a ‘shoot from the hip’ style camera as that just seemed too weird to me to take a photo. However, after using the Lubitel 166B, I realised I loved taking photos in this way which I was really surprised at!

I then looked at potentially investing in a decent TLR camera and again was fortunate enough to have a friend who owns a decent Yashica TLR. However, on trying this, the dial placement just didn’t feel natural to me. I can’t really explain why as the picture quality and image in the viewfinder was much better than the Lubitel but I wasn’t falling in love with it. Also, I knew at some point I would like the option of interchangeable lenses. I know some of the TLR’s have this option but I just wasn’t feeling it.

I then looked at the various Bronica’s and Kiev’s at my local camera shop. Clocktower Camera’s had several for sale but again, on looking at each one, I just wasn’t feeling them.

I’m sure there are still loads and loads of medium format cameras I could have tried but by this point I started to consider the Mamiya and Hasselblad cameras.

Whilst I think the Hasselblad camera looks extremely stylish and I love the modular system, I really thought it wouldn’t be the camera for me either. No where locally had one for me to try out and I didn’t know anyone that owned one although one of my friends used to own one years ago and told me how great they were.

Back in December I met up with one of my camera buddies for taking photos around London and we decided to head to the Camera Museum in Museum Street in Holborn so I could check our their Hasselblad collection as they specialise in repairing Hasselblad’s and also sell them.

The staff were really helpful in there and talked me through the different Hasselblad cameras from the more modern ones, to the V series.

Once I held one of the V series one’s (the 500 C/M to be exact) I instantly fell in love! I had seen the prices so knew I would only want to spend within the budget of the 500 C or C/M and I liked the fact they are fully manual which is what I personally look for in a film camera.

I was amazed at how light weight it was for a decent medium format camera! I was easily able to hold it with my left hand and turn the lens and fire the shutter with my right. It felt great. I loved the viewfinder which was very bright and clear, almost like looking at a television screen. The whole camera felt very natural to me.

The quality of the camera was amazing, it felt well built and not at all plastic.

I was very honest with the camera shop and admitted I didn’t have the funds to buy one there and then but that didn’t seem to bother them with the time they took going through the various camera’s with me which was lovely and helpful of them.

Even if I had the funds there and then I would have held back from purchasing one because I knew I needed to do more research. Also, the 500 C/M model from 1981 that I tried in the shop wasn’t in the best of condition cosmetically (although the price they were selling it for reflected that).

I had a lot of chats with different people about the Hasselblad cameras including one of my ex photography tutors who is also a professional photographer and does freelance work for companies such as Sunseeker Yachts and I really like his photography so I value his opinion. He knows my style of photography and also knows you can take photos hand held with this camera and he couldn’t find a bad word to say about this camera either. He also checked with a friend who owned a 500 C/M for quite a number of years before moving to digital and he also only had great things to say about the photo quality and use of the camera etc.

My ex tutor did say that for several hundred less the Bronica’s are quite good but he said I need to go with what I’m feeling and if I settled for a Bronica, I would only end up pining for a Hasselblad so would never be quite happy with the Bronica and I agreed with him.

I could have easily bought a Bronica since I had sufficient funds for one of those but I decided to be patient and save for the Hasselblad.

By this point I had also decided the Mamiya wasn’t for me. Although I had done much research on the different models and heard great things about those camera’s which I know are used by a lot of professional film photographers today. I suppose we have to just listen to what we would like rather than what everyone tells us is best for us and what we should like. Quite frankly my gut told me, buy the Hasselblad.

Through out January, I sold off a load of stuff I’d been meaning to sell for the past year and now I finally had an incentive to do it.

By last week I had made enough money to buy a Hasselblad 500.

I had already decided in my research that I wouldn’t buy a 500C, purely because I wouldn’t be able to change the viewfinder myself and I knew this may be something I possibly would want to change for a particular type of project at some point so it was going to be a C/M model.

I next had to decide on the type of lens as I initially liked the look of the original Chrome lenses but after further chats with the guys at the Camera Museum I discovered that they don’t have the special multicoated layer on the lens so I wouldn’t get as much contrast on clouds etc as I would with a later C T* lens (which are black not chrome). There is also a slightly later lens known as the CF and I was told the image quality wouldn’t be any different to the C T* but it just turned differently so it was personal preference on what style I would like out of these two. The CF lens is also a bit bigger which put me off and is also slightly more expensive so as a newbie to the Hasselblad system, I was quite happy to have a C T* lens when I bought my camera. I also knew for now, I would be happy with the standard 80mm lens since I had tried out the different size mm lenses (from the more zoom type to the wider angle) at the shop and got an idea of the scope of photo I could take through each one.

I already knew that I wanted to buy my camera from the Camera Museum, as they had been really helpful. Also, they provide new light seals with every second hand camera (which would normally cost £80 plus VAT if you asked them to do these for one of your Hasselblad’s) and they provide a 6 month warranty in case of any failures in the camera.

Since I would be spending quite a bit of money, I knew I wanted a warranty. I also knew I wouldn’t be getting any bargains on eBay or Gumtree as they were all going for the same price as what the Camera Museum was charging, if not more on some of them!

Whilst saving for one, the Camera Museum had listed a 500 C/M model for sale which was in a condition I was happy with (unlike the one I viewed in December). This particular model was from 1978 which again, I was happy with. After having a chat with them on Wednesday, I got on a train that morning and tried it out. I spent over an hour with them going through the workings of it. I was extremely impressed by the overall condition, especially the back curtains as you can see in the photo below:

We went through all the shutter speeds which seemed to work perfectly. I was also warned about potentially jamming the camera if I take the lens off and it’s been fired and the camera hasn’t etc so I need to make sure they all match before putting back together. So currently I’m a bit scared of accidentally doing this but hopefully I won’t!

Needless to say I purchased the camera along with a nice original thick Hasselblad strap in excellent condition to give me good support as again, the joys of visiting an actual shop rather than buying the camera online meant that I could try out various straps. I had liked the look of the thin leather strap but after trying it, the camera easily slipped off my shoulder and it just didn’t feel that well supported so I knew that I would need the thicker strap.

They also gave me a free black and white film which I loaded into the camera in front of them so they could make sure I did this properly. It also meant I was ready to go and shoot. I would have loved to have taken some shots in London but I had to rush back to Brighton on the train before rush hour ensued so I used the film locally.

I’ve since got the roll of film developed and am extremely happy with the results. I’ll be blogging about this separately since this blog is really long so thank you to everybody who has taken the time to read it.

For anybody interested in purchasing a Hasselblad, accessories or who would like some more information about the camera or getting a repair done, their website is:

https://www.cameramuseum.uk

Olympus Pen FT Half Frame Camera

I first discovered this camera when I was reading the Tokyo Camera Style book by John Sypal.

I initially fell in love with the design of the camera but was also very intrigued when I discovered on the internet that it’s a half frame camera.

Half frame camera’s were popular before I was born so I wasn’t sure what this type of camera was.

After further research I discovered that a half frame camera uses twice as many frames at half the normal frame width on a 35mm negative to an ordinary film camera. For instance, if I loaded this camera with a 36 exposure film, I would be able to get 72 images instead of 36. This was because developing pictures back in the 1950s/60s was quite expensive so this was a great way to get twice as many photos developed for the same price. As development of photos got cheaper in subsequent years, the half frame camera became less popular.

I found this highly fascinating and immediately knew I would love to add a half frame camera to my collection.

After further research I found lots of half frame cameras had been released into the market over the years. Initially Olympus had released the Olympus Pen F camera and some of these camera’s have a cool F design on the front of the camera (like the lens cap design in my picture) but these didn’t include a self timer. Olympus also released other types of half frame camera’s as well as these Pen SLR camera’s.

I also discovered that Canon released a half frame version too. In the end I decided that the Olympus Pen FT was the camera I really wanted to own and use. The main reason being that it had a self-timer.

Unfortunately my local second hand camera shops didn’t have any in stock and although they’re not rare, they are not as readily available as perhaps an Olympus Trip 35 and they also come at a higher price tag.

I’d already decided that I was willing to pay more for a nicer condition one as I prefer to have my cameras in great condition, especially if I’m going to use them regularly.

Initially I found that most of these cameras are available for sale on eBay but are mainly for sale in Japan. Ideally I wanted to purchase mine from a UK seller so knew I had to be patient as they are few and far between.

After several months of searching and checking in with my local second hand camera shops to see if they miraculously had one come into their shop I finally found the one I wanted on Etsy.

I bought it from a gentleman in Scotland who is a professional photographer and refurbishes vintage camera’s as a hobby. He mainly finds his vintage camera’s in charity shops and he told me a lot of them are a complete write off and beyond repair but every now and again, he’ll find a camera in amazing condition or which he’s able to easily repair and cosmetically it’s in great condition.

This camera was one he had discovered in immaculate condition and only needed some slight refurbishment. He had personally owned the camera for over a year but found due to other photography commitments, it wasn’t getting the use it truly deserved so reluctantly he decided to sell it.

The camera came with it’s original leather case and the Zuiko 40mm f1.4 lens. The Olympus Pen FT camera was in production from 1966 to 1972 and what I loved even more was that the camera came with the original receipt which showed that it was purchased on 11th June 1972 and written on the receipt was the serial number of the camera and the serial number of the lens which matched my camera and lens.

The shutter speeds on this camera are B/1 to 1/500 and it has a unique rotating disc design that syncs with the flash at all speeds. The aperture is from f1.4 to f16. It has a light meter reading in the viewfinder which is numbered with a needle rather than a needle which you aim to point to the centre which I found unusual but was easy to understand. Basically the needle in the viewfinder will point to a number (ranging from 0 – 7) and you’ll match the number on front of the lens to make sure you get the right exposure. You can adjust the shutter speed to change this number if you need to.

I certainly wasn’t disappointed when I received and started using this camera. It’s an SLR and has interchangeable lenses. I also loved the half frame viewfinder and how I had to think a bit differently when shooting an image in comparison to taking pictures with a normal camera.

It’s a much smaller camera in comparison to my Pentax K1000 so I can literally pop it into my handbag which is great.

Here are some photos I’ve taken using the 40mm lens. I took the film for development to my local film development shop called Colourstream in Brighton. They told me they could only develop the film on a normal frame width which means that there would be two photos on the frame with a black border. They also informed me that the exposure would be a compromise between the two images rather than each individual one.

I was keen to get my first film developed asap so was happy for them to develop the film this way and was interested to see how two photos would turn out printed together.

Here are some of the results which I shot on a Kodak Colour Plus 200 (36 exposure) film:

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I also experimented using the self-timer which was great fun. However, one of my friends who is a photographer and has a lot of knowledge on vintage camera’s since informed me that I was taking a great risk in using the self-timer option as vintage camera’s are notorious for having the mechanics of the camera break on you if you use this because they are old and fragile. I therefore haven’t risked using it anymore but below is an image on the left where I used the self-timer:

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Olympus Trip 35

I was first made aware of this camera when I was recently in my local second hand camera shop and a young guy popped into the shop and put this model of camera on their counter asking if they had a case for it.

The chrome and black, accompanied with the really cool style lens really caught my eye and it helped having Olympus Trip 35 written on it so I knew I could do some more research about the camera online once I got home.

I found that it’s a 35mm compact film camera (which means it doesn’t have interchangeable lenses) and was produced from 1967 (hence the cool design) until 1984. I also discovered that David Bailey had promoted the camera in some adverts during the 1970s so couldn’t help but take a look at these on youtube.

I am too young to remember this camera originally but I can imagine it was a great travel camera back in it’s day.

I had been after a compact film camera to accompany my Pentax K1000 for times when I needed something a bit more lightweight and compact to take film photos with so I knew this was the camera for me.

After further research I found that two types of shutter button had been produced on this camera. The first was the chrome shutter button which later changed to a black shutter button.

I immediately decided that I wanted an Olympus Trip 35 with a chrome shutter button as I personally preferred how that looked overall on the camera.

These cameras are very common (because so many were produced) so they are very easy to get hold of. They can also be bought quite cheaply from £5, with the price increasing with older models and if they’ve recently been refurbished.

Within an initial enquiry to all my local second hand camera shops, they all had one in stock but unfortunately all with the black plastic shutter button.

In the end I purchased mine on eBay for less than £40. It came with the case, original instruction manual and a miniature flash (which still works!) so I was really happy with my purchase.

The only slight flaw with the camera (hence why I think it wasn’t for sale at a higher price of around £70-£80) was that the light seals needed replacing. I wasn’t put off doing this myself as I found a website http://www.cameramill.co.uk/product/olympus-trip-35-light-seal-kit/ where I could purchase a light seal kit for £4.20

This website also provides two lots of the kit (in case of any mistakes) and instructions about how to remove the original light seals and fit the new ones. I found it really easy to replace the old light seals and my camera works great.

The camera overall is automatic and by that I mean that you turn the lens to single person, group of people or landscape mode to take a picture. It takes some practice to make sure your standing at the correct distance for each of these modes so your picture doesn’t come out blurry. There are also aperture numbers for you to choose from if you add a flash to your camera that you would pick instead.

If you’re not using the flash, the camera requires well lit conditions to work as it is has a solar-powered selenium light meter. The shutter will not fire if it’s too dark and a red flag will show in the viewfinder to confirm this is why the camera won’t work.

Overall this camera is great for a simple point and shoot camera without having to put too much thought into taking the picture. I can see why it had ‘Trip’ in the title as I can imagine it’s a great travel camera.

When I got my first roll of film developed I was amazed at the quality and sharpness of the photos. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting great photos because of the camera’s simplicity but it clearly has a really good lens.

I discovered online that this camera is very popular and there is a little cult following for this camera. There is a great website http://www.tripman.co.uk who is dedicated to the Olympus Trip 35 camera and you can buy refurbished camera’s through them too.

Here are some photos I’ve currently taken on my trip:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pentax K1000

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In previous posts I mentioned that my Zeiss-Ikon camera no longer worked and I needed to find a replacement.

After much research I finally decided on the Pentax K1000 SLR camera. I know that I wanted an SLR 35mm camera and I also knew that I wanted it to be as manual as possible so I could learn the basics of photography on it.

There is plenty of information on the internet regarding this camera and I heard from people I had spoken to that it was a good ‘student camera’ to learn on. I had also read that it is a good robust quality camera.

This camera has a shutter speed of 1 /1000th to 1 second and a centre-needle metering in the viewfinder. There is a battery that is required for the centre-needle metering system. However, what is great about this camera is that it’s still fully functional if the battery runs out. This means you’d have to work out the exposure yourself (you can’t go too wrong with the ‘sunny 16’ rule) or alternatively use an external light meter. This is one of the main reasons I picked the Pentax K1000 over the Canon AE-1 because if the battery dies on the Canon AE-1, the mirror will lock up so no more photos can be taken until the battery is replaced.

I really liked the fact that the Pentax K1000 was manufactured from 1976 to 1997 which made me think it must be a good camera if it was in production for 21 years.

Whilst in production, from what I’ve read, it was initially manufactured in Japan and then in other countries. The earlier models state Asahi Pentax on them where as the later models only state Pentax which again, from what I’ve read, the quality of the materials produced on the later models isn’t always as good quality.

I therefore decided that I wanted an earlier ‘Asahi Pentax’ version. Thanks to the timespan of manufacturing of these cameras, they are very easy to get hold of but they are going up in price every year.

I decided that I wanted my camera to be in an excellent condition and was willing to pay a little extra for this. After much searching in my local camera shops and online I finally managed to find an older style ‘Asahi Pentax’ that was cosmetically in beautiful condition, fully working with the light meter working correctly and the light seals newly replaced on eBay from a reputable camera dealer with an SMC Pentax-M 1:2 50mm lens (Asahi Optical Co.) included. What was also lovely was that the camera came with it’s original case which again was in immaculate condition and also the original cool 70’s  blue and white embroidered strap. I find the strap extremely comfortable to wear when using the camera.

I think the pictures do come out really nice on this camera (will show examples in a later blog) and I’ve learnt a lot about shutter speeds and aperture since using this camera.

It is a proper solid, well built camera and I’ve certainly not regretted my purchase and have had much joy in using it.

When I started using the camera I did feel rather restricted in the lens I was using so decided that I wanted to purchase some further lenses, ideally for wider shots and a zoom type lens for closer shots of wildlife when I’m on the beach etc.

I managed to find a copy of the ‘Complete Pentax user’s guide K1000’ by David Kilpatrick on eBay. This gives great information regarding the mechanics/use of the camera and also the types of lenses available.

I visited my local camera shop, Clock Tower cameras in Brighton (www.clocktowercameras.co.uk) where I was able to purchase two of the lenses I was after.

The first one was the SMC Pentax-M 1:2.8 28mm lens (Asahi Opt. Co. Japan) which I was able to pick up for less than £60 and is in excellent condition and gives wider angle shots.

The second lens I purchased from there was the SMC Pentax-M zoom 1:4 75-150mm lens (Asahi Opt. Co. Japan) which again was in excellent condition and cost around £30. The zoom is quite a good general zoom lens but if you wanted really detailed shots, you definitely need a larger zoom. For me though I was happy enough with this purchase.

I learnt from my local camera shop that the wider angle lenses are more costly than the zoom lenses for this camera. They told me this was because people don’t always want the bulk of carrying the zoom lenses around so they’re ultimately not as popular.

The main lens I use the most out of the three I currently own is the 28mm lens because of the coverage I can get in a shot. If I was taking a picture of something closer up (such as a portrait) then I would opt for the 50mm lens. When I need to zoom in then I obviously use my zoom lens.

I use this camera a lot and I’m currently trying different films, both in colour and black and white, to see what types of pictures each film produces.

 

 

 

Vintage Camera Manuals

When I decided to use my Zeiss-Ikon camera again (before I realised it no longer worked) I couldn’t quite remember all the functions because it had been a while since I last used it.

When I originally purchased the camera from a vintage camera shop in Arundel there was never a manual included and the owner at the shop had given me a basic run through at the time of how to use it.

I therefore looked on the internet to see if I could find a copy of the original manual.

I came across this fantastic website which has been invaluable to me for other film cameras (and vintage flashes) I have since acquired.

The website is http://www.cameramanuals.org

The gentleman who runs the website, M Butkus recommends a donation of $3 (which can be done via PayPal) if you find any manual you download useful.

I personally make a donation every time I download a manual from him as I think it’s only fair as it has helped me understand my vintage film camera’s, especially when I’m unable to find an out of print hard copy of the manual.