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

Using the Ilford HP5 Plus Black and White 120mm film with my Lubitel 166B

Since I really loved the previous black and white photos I had taken using my Lubitel 166B, I thought I would try out the Ilford HP5 Plus film as it’s a very easy film to get hold of in a few of my local shops in Brighton.

The more I use the camera, the more I continue to love it. Since my last blog, I’ve now discovered how to focus the photo properly by using the attached magnifying glass in the viewfinder and looking at the central circle in the viewfinder.

I also thought I’d test out the eye level viewfinder on the camera which is a small square in the plastic at the top so you don’t actually look into the picture part of the camera. Here are two photos I took using this method of shooting:

I didn’t feel that using the little square viewfinder gave an accurate image of  what I inevitably shot so I know I definitely prefer using the actual picture viewfinder and mainly shooting from the hip.

It was a cloudy, windy day in Brighton and the waves were immense. I wanted to capture this as best I could using the Lubitel and here are the results:

I wasn’t sure when taking the photos if I was going to find them boring once developed but I do really like them. Again for me, I just really like the style of photo this camera produces.

Trip Zine Issue 2

A Couple of months ago, I blogged about a new magazine that had recently been published called Trip Zine.

The magazine is completely dedicated to photos taken on the Olympus Trip 35 camera.

Trip Zine recently had asked for submissions for their upcoming second issue and I was pleased to find out that three of my photos taken on the Olympus Trip had made it into the magazine:

Trip Zine Issue 2 can be purchased at https://www.etsy.com/shop/TripZine

Shooting black and white film with the Lubitel 166B

Following on from my recent blog about using the Lubitel 166B camera for the first time and after being quite impressed with the photos I took with some colour 120mm film, I knew I wanted to try out some black and white film in the camera.

I had some Lomography Lady Grey 400 120mm black and white film in my stash so promptly loaded the camera with it and had a walk along Brighton Beach.

I’m still getting used to the camera so there were again some wonky photos but that aside, I was really impressed with the overall style of the black and white photos that the camera produced.

Here are some of the photos I took and you can judge for yourselves:

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I’m definitely going to be shooting more black and white film with this camera, perhaps with some different makes of film to see the difference in the photos.

Lubitel 166B TLR Camera

I recently became aware of the Lubitel range of cameras when I arranged for my husband, a couple of friends and myself to go on a photography workshop with Lomography in London.

We were to choose one of their range of cameras for the workshop which, involved an evening of wondering around Soho for a couple of hours taking night time shots with one of their loaned cameras.

We had to decide on which camera’s we would like to try beforehand so they could make sure it was available at the workshop. I therefore showed my husband the range of camera’s on the Lomography website and he decided that he liked the look of their Lubitel 166+ camera.

I asked him what he liked about it over the other cameras and he said he liked the fact it was a medium format camera using 120mm film (as he likes the square photos) and that you have to look down into the viewfinder rather than a standard camera that you put up to your eye. He also liked the fact it had two lenses rather than one and just the general box style of it.

I had never been particularly interested in this style of camera before. However, the more I researched it, the more fascinated I was by it.

When I booked the workshop, Lomography informed me that they may not have a spare Lubitel 166+ camera for my husband to try as they had already loaned one out and wasn’t sure if it would be back in the shop in time for the workshop.

I thought this would be a shame since he seemed so keen on trying it out so I thought about buying him one as a surprise so he would have his own to keep instead.

However, I wasn’t prepared to pay £289.00! I therefore began the hunt of finding a second hand cheaper one….

I quickly discovered that the actual Lomography 166+ Camera doesn’t seem to come up for sale second hand that often. There was one on eBay for £40 but it didn’t have it’s original box or any of the accessories that it would have originally come with. It also wasn’t in great condition with marks on the paintwork.

I knew from my research that this camera was based on the original Lomo Russian Lubitel camera and quickly found that various models of the original Lubitel camera are for sale in abundance second hand and at a price that doesn’t break the bank.

I quickly decided that I would like to buy him the Lubitel 166B model since it was a bit more simplified than the earlier models, plus it is easy to do multiple exposures if you wanted to because you have to wind the film on manually with this particular model.

Ideally I wanted to buy one that had the original box, instruction manual and accessories. A few complete ones I found on eBay in great condition unfortunately also came with a higher asking price of £60-£80 plus.

As luck would have it, I ended up purchasing one completely boxed in mint working condition (looked like it had hardly ever been used) with the original box, a film winding spool, soft case, lens cap, neck strap (still in packet!), english instruction manual and cable release from a guy in Littlehampton, which had recently been listed on Etsy for £34.50. What was even more lovely was that the date of manufacture is handwritten on the back of the instruction manual (February 1986):

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So I attended the Lomography Workshop and fortunately they were able to loan my husband the Lubitel 166+ camera. Since he isn’t that familiar with film camera’s, it quickly became clear that he had picked a rather complex camera to try out since it doesn’t have a built in light meter and the way of winding the film on in this camera and how to point and shoot it was extremely unusual to him.

On this particular evening in London, there was a constant heavy down pour of rain throughout the whole evening and we got completely drenched. It meant that it was very difficult for any of us to try and take decent photos outside and I found myself constantly apologising to my friends and husband for dragging them all they way from Brighton on the train (which had engineering works so was a long journey each way) to an event that none of us were really enjoying due to the bad weather.

What made things worse is that within 5-10 minutes of us leaving the Lomography shop to take our photos, it became clear that there seemed to be a fault with the Lubitel 166+ camera my husband was trying to use and it just didn’t seem to wind on properly and we weren’t sure if any of it was actually working at all. By this point we had lost the leader of the lomography workshop and was doing our own thing until it was time to return back to the shop and hand back our loan cameras and the films to be developed.

The following week, once our films had been developed by Lomography, we discovered that the Lubitel 166+ hadn’t produced any photos whatsoever and the roll came back blank so the camera hadn’t worked at all which was a shame.

This in turn, put my husband off completely using this style of camera. I then had to break the news to him that I had actually treated him to a version of one and as you can imagine, he wasn’t very excited by this.

So the camera arrived in the post and since I knew my husband wouldn’t be using it anytime soon I decided I would try it out for myself.

I managed to pick up a copy of the ‘Lubitel+ Love from the waist level’ book by Lomography cheaply on eBay (since Lomography have currently sold out of this book) and after reading that (which I really enjoyed) and watching various youtube videos and reading the actual Lubitel 166B instruction manual, I took the camera out to play and test that it actually worked.

As mentioned before, it doesn’t have a built in light meter and the photos I took was on a cloudy day. I was using Lomography Colour ISO 400 120mm film in the camera and rather than use a light meter, I went by my gut and my experience from using my Pentax K1000 camera and shot the film at aperture f/8 with a shutter speed of 1/125.

After my husband’s experience with the camera in London, I was quite nervous about getting the photos developed as I wasn’t sure I had done anything right on the camera and if there would be any photos. The main reason for this is because the shutter button releases so fast when pressed that it almost doesn’t feel like the camera has taken an actual photo.

Yesterday, I picked up the negatives from Colourstream in Brighton and thankfully there were photos…..11 in total! I knew I had missed a frame because I accidentally wound the camera on over one frame in error and couldn’t figure out how to wind it back.

Here are the photos:

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To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect which in my opinion is part of the fun of film photography.

However, I am quite impressed by the colours and detail in these photos! I really love the overall feel and style of photo that the camera produces. The last image is a double exposure as I wanted to see how that would look but I chose a tree and a bush to photograph which seem to merge so it may be difficult to tell that it’s actually a double exposure.

I really love this camera which I’m quite surprised at. I’ve much to learn still as some of the photos are wonky because I’m not used to shooting a camera ‘from the hip’ so to speak so I’m currently working out the best way of holding the camera to keep the image as straight as possible without having to use a tripod.

I feel this camera actually suits my style of photography because it is a slow camera. By that I mean that you have to take your time in taking a photograph as it’s not easy to point and shoot. You have to really work on getting the photo as you want it in the viewfinder and it shows as a reversed image which I’m actually fine with but I can imagine some people may find that quite tricky to work with if they want absolute precision of an image. As I work quite artistically with my photography, there is give in my style of photos so they don’t have to be 100% accurate to what I’m actually seeing.

A lot of my photos tend to be of still objects so I can patiently take my time perfecting the shot to how I want it to be. I would imagine in other fields of photography such as street photography that this camera would be an absolute nightmare to use because I would imagine the moment would have passed in the time it would have taken to line up the shot, get the exposure correct and distance etc.

I also need to work on the distance scale. From my first attempt, I couldn’t seem to see the focus in the viewfinder making any difference if I changed the lens from 1 metre to infinity. Apparently from what I’ve read the camera has a well know flaw for this and most people just tend to shoot with it on infinity.

You’ll see that some of my photos do seem out of focus so I’m hoping as I use the camera more, I’ll become more accurate with the focusing and if not, then perhaps I’ll just have to see that as being a fun quirk of the camera!

Now I know it can take photos, I’m going to be using it a lot to learn more about how it works. This camera is also quite light weight as I suppose it is cheap and cheerful in comparison to better made TLR’s but I actually like that because it is easy for me to walk around with it.

I look forward to blogging further about this camera as and when I take more photos with it.

I’m also hoping that when I show my husband the photos, it may encourage him to try it out again.

 

 

Polaroid SX-70 Camera

Since I wrote my blog about the Polaroid 600 camera, I have been completely obsessed with taking photos on a Polaroid camera.

The main reason is because I love the size of polaroid film. I feel the detail that comes from the photo is much greater than what I ever got on a mini instax film.

I was using my Polaroid 600 box camera quite a bit but quickly found myself getting frustrated with it. This was due to it being quite boxy which I struggled with taking out and about everyday with me unless I took a larger bag. I also quickly realised that I didn’t have much control on the focusing, which is fine if I’m taking a picture from a long distance but on shorter distances the photos were hit and miss.

I really love the design of the SX-70 folding camera and particularly loved the chrome and tan detail of some of the models so I knew that this was ultimately the Polaroid camera I would really love to have.

There are different types of the SX-70 folding camera but thanks to the Polaroid book by Rhiannon Adam I was able to decide that I would like to own the SX-70 Alpha 1 which came out around 1977.

The key differences that the Alpha 1 model has to the earlier SX-70s is that they have a built-in tripod socket, a guaranteed split-focus viewfinder, neck strap lugs and a fill flash capability where the flash isn’t limited to just being fired in low light conditions.

I had already decided if I was going to purchase one of these then I would need to pay a fairly high price for one if I wanted it in great condition. On eBay they are extremely popular and can go for quite a bit of money if several people get into a bidding war. There are some that come up cheap on eBay but they are often untested which I feel personally, you could end up paying even more to then get it refurbished. Also, I found that the Alpha 1 models don’t seem to come up as often for sale as the earlier models.

After much research I ended up purchasing my camera from a company called Revival Studio who are based on London. They sell refurbished polaroid cameras and they also come with a 6 month warranty.

The camera was immaculate and beautifully restored. Since the Alpha 1 model has the neck strap lugs, I was able to attach an original strap to the camera which makes it great for carrying around over my shoulder.

I’ve not been disappointed by this camera. I absolutely love it. The folding option makes it quite compact so I can also put it in an everyday handbag.

What’s also great is that I can use 600 Polaroid film in the camera if I use the Mint Flash Bar. I do tend to use the 600 film more than the SX-70 film because of the wider range of editions Polaroid Originals do. The cheapest place I’ve found the flash bar for sale is at Mr Porter where it costs £60 instead of around £80 which seems to be the usual price. You can also use the flash bar for the SX-70 film if taking photos indoors.

Another great accessory for this camera is the Mint SX-70 Lens set which can also be purchased from Mr Porter for £60 so again is cheaper than other websites that sell it for around £85.99. I was pleased to buy mine from there and delivery in the UK was really quick.

I purchased the camera back in September but wanted to experiment with it for a while before I blogged about it.

Since the camera is very transportable I do use it several times a week and I’m beginning to get a real feel for how it works and the best ways to take photos and when to use the light and darken switch depending on the film I’m using in the camera.

I’m at the early stages of experimenting with this camera and currently have tried both the Blue and Pink 600 Duochrome film, SX70 Colour film, 600 colour and black and white films and also expired films which have produced some interesting results!

I’m going to be blogging about the different film types and filters I’ve currently been using with the camera and some of the actual photos over the next week.

PhotoKlassik International Magazine Review

I first heard about this magazine through a fellow blogger called karenshootsfilm where she had noted that the magazine were on Kickstarter trying to raise enough funds to publish their first international magazine about analogue photography.

This magazine has been produced for a while for the German market but due to the popularity of it, they felt it was time to produce an international English version.

For sometime I have been trawling the local newsagents in the hope I may one day find a magazine purely dedicated to analogue photography. There are plenty dedicated to digital photography (sometimes with an article about analogue photography here and there) but I’d yet to find a magazine like this.

I therefore knew I wanted to invest in the Kickstarter scheme and subscribe to it for a year.

Thankfully a lot of other people must have felt the same way since they managed to reach in excess of their target on Kickstarter and the magazine was published.

It’s a quarterly magazine and the first edition then needed to be printed once the Kickstarter pledge had ended so I had to be patient and wait a couple of months to receive my copy.

On first impressions, I was a little underwhelmed by the front cover page. To be honest, if I was looking in the photography section of the magazines of my local newsagents I think I would have most likely missed this because I find the front cover photo misleading.

For me personally on initial glance I thought it would be a magazine related to classical music or some form of music due to the woman holding the violin. I also wasn’t that keen on the Red and Grey type set which seemed a little dated to me (and not in a cool retro way). The caption on the front where it states ‘The entire world of analog photography’ is quite small and overshadowed by the photo so again, I probably wouldn’t have read that.

However, I’m a big believer of ‘never judge a book by it’s cover’ so I was keen to see what contents were inside.

The magazine is very thick and reasonably heavy and is printed on good quality, glossy sheets of paper.

Although I knew the magazine would be about analogue photography, I wasn’t sure exactly what type of content it would contain, whether it would be about the technical side of how to use a film camera etc or more articles on analogue photographers.

I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The content is great and varied. There is a section on Portfolios, gear talk & techniques and the world of analogue.

I wondered if a magazine so thick would have a lot of adverts but it hardly had any and was full of good quality decent content which I found very interesting and read every single page.

A couple of my favourite articles to mention was one about Bellamy Hunt from Japan Camera Hunter. It was really interesting reading about his photography background and how Japan Camera Hunter came about.

Another one was the One Hour Photo Re-Imagined which mentioned some analogue photography shops around the globe that I wasn’t aware of and would definitely like to visit if I’m ever abroad in their countries.

Since I’m a massive fan of instant photography, I absolutely loved the article about Lovers of analogue photography which was dedicated to the subject of instant film photography over several pages.

PhotoKlassik International was so much more than just an analogue magazine as it has introduced me to some new photographers who I had never heard of before and really liked their photographic work. I also learnt about new shops and some interesting information about some cameras and film which would have taken me hours to research and find on the internet.

Overall, I think this magazine is great and I’m not disappointed in purchasing it.

It is quite an expensive magazine (£17.90 per issue) so this may put some people off purchasing it but I feel the price tag is justified for the quality of the content inside the magazine. Plus since it’s quarterly, I think the price is reasonable.

Through Kickstarter and because I signed up for the annual subscription, I did pay slightly less than the cover price (I think it was around £15 per issue with postage costs).

If I had only bought the first issue and not subscribed, I certainly would have signed up for the subscription now and I’m really looking forward to receiving my next copy in a few months time.

If you’re interested in purchasing this magazine, click here. If you enter code PKIFIRST10 you’ll receive a 10% discount on a one-year subscription where four issues will be delivered to your door.