Walking around with a Pentax 6x7 vs. Hasselblad 500c?

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Two very different schools of thought, two different form factors and formats. As a current Pentax 6x7 shooter, sometimes I wonder what the Hasselblad would be like. Thoughts? I'm debating a switch to a Hasselblad V system, mostly out of GAS and not necessity.

Reliability seems to be on the same level for both cameras, but personally the Pentax is infinitely more reliable. I got to know exactly how it works when I originally tore it down for repair and tackled a myriad of issues with a watch servicing kit and a soldering iron in my university's workshop. (Shutter speed dial realignment + calibration, mirror magnet, shutter curtain alignment, reinforcing old circuit connections, checking electrical components, CLA of all the light seals, cleaning/lubing the winding pawl). Hasselblad is fully mechanical, but I wouldn't open it up compared to the Pentax simply because it's a more expensive system. I know that CLA technicians exist for both, with Hasselblad still being around.

For those that own both, I'd like to hear your perspective on weight and form factor. Both systems have fantastically sharp/artsy lens ecosystems and are very modular, the Pentax being the eye-level king and the Hasselblad the best for WLF. I love both 6x7 and square format, and sometimes when shooting the Pentax I'll visualize square format and crop in post. They're unique systems and I'd like to hear what you guys have to say for either.
 

Alan9940

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I currently own a Pentax 67II with a complement of both primes and two zooms, and a Hasselblad 500C/M with several primes. The biggest difference between these two systems is the WEIGHT! If I'm planning to walk any great distance from the car, I'll pack the Hasselblad. Another big difference is that with the P67 I'm stuck with whatever film stock is in the camera until the end, whereas the Hassey allows me to shoot, say, B&W and color simply by changing out a back. I don't like handholding the Hassey so it's the P67 for that. IMO, both systems have good lenses.

A lot comes down to format. Since I really like the square format, I tend to shoot the Hassey more than the P67. Yes, you can visualize for a square in the 6x7 format, as you said, but personally I like to see my frame as it's going to appear on the film. But that's just me...we all be different. :wink:
 

guangong

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I never owned a P67, but I was able to handle one when they were first offered for sale. Compared to my Hasselblad (a 1000F at the time...and definitely much less reliable than any Pentax), the Pentax just seemed more unwieldy and heavy. In addition to Hassy, my MF cameras were Rollei and Super Ikonta B. 1000F died and later replaced with 2000 FCM. I prefer Hassy because it is more ergonomic. That being said, the Pentax may seem more ergonomic to you.
While I own and sometimes use a prism finder, the Hassy is definitely a waist level finder camera, as opposed to Pentax eye level.
Before buying, unless you have lots of loose change, I would borrow or rent before buying. Both cameras produce fine negatives.
 

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I currently own a Pentax 67II with a complement of both primes and two zooms, and a Hasselblad 500C/M with several primes. The biggest difference between these two systems is the WEIGHT! If I'm planning to walk any great distance from the car, I'll pack the Hasselblad. Another big difference is that with the P67 I'm stuck with whatever film stock is in the camera until the end, whereas the Hassey allows me to shoot, say, B&W and color simply by changing out a back. I don't like handholding the Hassey so it's the P67 for that. IMO, both systems have good lenses.

A lot comes down to format. Since I really like the square format, I tend to shoot the Hassey more than the P67. Yes, you can visualize for a square in the 6x7 format, as you said, but personally I like to see my frame as it's going to appear on the film. But that's just me...we all be different. :wink:

The control layout is very different for the two cameras, so there will be some adjusting to make to familiarize yourself with the Hasselblad. The Hasselblad without a prism weighs much less, but it is a different animal altogether. Waist-level shooting with a reversed image is an acquired technique and of course you're looking at square vs 6x7. It is handy to have a spare back for quick changes of film, either a reload or a different emulsion, but that will add a bit of weight to your bag, and it does take up space. You can also just carry a loaded insert instead of a full back to cut down on space and weight. The purists will moan that the back and insert numbers have to match, but I have never run into any issues.
 

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I use the Hasselblad 503 CX with a 45° PME prism and I find it easy to carry around, no left-right reversal [right-left in the UK]. Parts, lenses and service are readily available and I have found it to be highly reliable.
 
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The control layout is very different for the two cameras, so there will be some adjusting to make to familiarize yourself with the Hasselblad. The Hasselblad without a prism weighs much less, but it is a different animal altogether. Waist-level shooting with a reversed image is an acquired technique and of course you're looking at square vs 6x7. It is handy to have a spare back for quick changes of film, either a reload or a different emulsion, but that will add a bit of weight to your bag, and it does take up space. You can also just carry a loaded insert instead of a full back to cut down on space and weight. The purists will moan that the back and insert numbers have to match, but I have never run into any issues.

The good thing is that I migrated to the Pentax 6x7 system from the Mamiya RB67, so waist-level viewfinders are very intuitive. So much so that using a flip-out screen as a waist-level viewfinder on a digital camera is all backward for me, I can't compose when the image is flipped the right way.
 
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I use the Hasselblad 503 CX with a 45° PME prism and I find it easy to carry around, no left-right reversal [right-left in the UK]. Parts, lenses and service are readily available and I have found it to be highly reliable.

Are there big differences between a cheaper 500C/M kit and your 503CX? KEH.com has a bargain grade Hassy in my price range but it's the earlier 500C series.
 

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Are there big differences between a cheaper 500C/M kit and your 503CX? KEH.com has a bargain grade Hassy in my price range but it's the earlier 500C series.

I recommend buying the newest body in the best condition one can afford. I did not buy the CW because I never wanted to add a power winder. Many have been happy with the 500C/M. Look at http://www.hasselbladhistorical.eu/HS/HSTable.aspx to learn about the difference between models. This article tells one how old the body and equipment other than lenses are http://www.hasselbladhistorical.eu/HT/HTDating.aspx Also in the left column you can use that for the body manufacture date and below for lens manufacture date.
 

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I've used a P67 and a Bronica SQ.

P67 is a bit more fun to shoot with the eye-level finder, loud operation and quick mirror return. But it is much heavier that the Bronica or Hasselblad. I think 2.2kg vs 1.5kg. And it needs a grip. I can carry it for an outing but it is straining. I prefer the wider image vs. square.

The Bronica was easy to carry around, and I miss shooting with the waist finder. I have one for the P67 but it is limiting. I very rarely needed to swap backs.

I would get an Hasselblad if I could afford it. I found the Bronica lacking in sharpness when the first roll out of my P67 came out.
 

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I've used a P67 and a Bronica SQ.

P67 is a bit more fun to shoot with the eye-level finder, loud operation and quick mirror return. But it is much heavier that the Bronica or Hasselblad. I think 2.2kg vs 1.5kg. And it needs a grip. I can carry it for an outing but it is straining. I prefer the wider image vs. square.

The Bronica was easy to carry around, and I miss shooting with the waist finder. I have one for the P67 but it is limiting. I very rarely needed to swap backs.

I would get an Hasselblad if I could afford it. I found the Bronica lacking in sharpness when the first roll out of my P67 came out.
I think a 500/503 with a prism, back and 80mm lens weighs in around 2kg.
 

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I think a 500/503 with a prism, back and 80mm lens weighs in around 2kg.

The P67 is 1810g with the metered prism and the 105mm is 624g (or 590g for the last generation--so 2434g.

I found one site listing the Hassleblad with 80 (no prism) at 1.5kg, band the right angle prism is 428g. So a hair under 2kg.

So the P67 is a bit heeavier heavier, but (to me) the whole point of a Hasselblad 500 (which I've never used) is the WLF. I've used a prism on a Bronica ETRSi and GS-1, and I find the handling awful and ungainly, so I use WLFs on both, even if it makes verticals difficult. Of course lots of people here shoot their Hassleblads with prisms, so some people like the handling, but I don't.
 

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Can't speak for the Hassie, but my brother owned a couple of even more expensive 6X6 Rolleis with comparable lenses and backs, and he was always asking to borrow my P67 instead. Eventually he had it for an entire decade before he passed away. Preferred the better ergonics and easier viewing of the Pentax. It also obviously also yields a larger negative. Pentax has more bang for the buck when it comes to lens pricing. Some of their teles are among the very best ever in the med format category. But the Pentax is not a stealth camera. I think half the earthquakes blamed on the San Andreas fault around here are actually due to the mirror slap when I'm out with my Pentax.
 

Andrew O'Neill

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Can't speak for the Hassie, but my brother owned a couple of even more expensive 6X6 Rolleis with comparable lenses and backs, and he was always asking to borrow my P67 instead. Eventually he had it for an entire decade before he passed away. Preferred the better ergonics and easier viewing of the Pentax. It also obviously also yields a larger negative. Pentax has more bang for the buck when it comes to lens pricing. Some of their teles are among the very best ever in the med format category. But the Pentax is not a stealth camera. I think half the earthquakes blamed on the San Andreas fault around here are actually due to the mirror slap when I'm out with my Pentax.

I heard that was mainly caused by The RB67. Combined, it would be catastrophic! 😄
 

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There are some RB's around nearby. Geologists study them. The San Andreas Fault line itself is basically just a loose-fitting RB back.
 

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So the P67 is a bit heeavier heavier, but (to me) the whole point of a Hasselblad 500 (which I've never used) is the WLF.

A bad assumption. I and many others have never used the WLF which explains the popularity of the PMs and PMEs.
 

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My experience w/ the 'blad was.....a fine camera, but not one you want to carry around all day. The shutter is on the loud side as well. The Pentax67 is probably a camera you won't want to carry for 15 minutes, but if you're up to the task, it's just a big 'ol SLR, like a 35mm on steroids that needs to go on a serious diet. It also had one of those wake-the-dead shutter/mirror slaps w/ quite a bit of vibration. Excellent glass on both.

To put this into perspective, the Pentax weighs over FIVE pounds! w/ a lens and prism.
 
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The P67 is 1810g with the metered prism and the 105mm is 624g (or 590g for the last generation--so 2434g.

I found one site listing the Hassleblad with 80 (no prism) at 1.5kg, band the right angle prism is 428g. So a hair under 2kg.

So the P67 is a bit heeavier heavier, but (to me) the whole point of a Hasselblad 500 (which I've never used) is the WLF. I've used a prism on a Bronica ETRSi and GS-1, and I find the handling awful and ungainly, so I use WLFs on both, even if it makes verticals difficult. Of course lots of people here shoot their Hassleblads with prisms, so some people like the handling, but I don't.

If I got a Hasselblad, I'd only ever shoot with the waist level finder. I got very quick with composing when I had an RB67, but that camera is stupid heavy and the weight was the reason I switched to a Pentax.
 
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My experience w/ the 'blad was.....a fine camera, but not one you want to carry around all day. The shutter is on the loud side as well. The Pentax67 is probably a camera you won't want to carry for 15 minutes, but if you're up to the task, it's just a big 'ol SLR, like a 35mm on steroids that needs to go on a serious diet. It also had one of those wake-the-dead shutter/mirror slaps w/ quite a bit of vibration. Excellent glass on both.

To put this into perspective, the Pentax weighs over FIVE pounds! w/ a lens and prism.

I have the older 6x7 non-mlu with a 75mm 4.5 and the left hand wooden grip. I also 3d printed the right side grip for ergonomics. Took the rig hiking today with a strap attached to the grip, I think I can attribute the veins popping up on my forearms to the damn Pentax. Went shooting two weeks ago in Boston and carried the camera around for 9 hours with the Sony A7Rii on my other shoulder, now THAT was a workout.

Shutter slap means that I got super quick with figuring out composition when shooting street. The whole block knows you're taking photos the second you shoot once, so that one photo better be a banger.
 

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I like WLF, prisms are heavy. I have used Mamiya RZ67II and Hasselblad 503cw walking about. I use a left hand grip for ease of handling.
 
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There are some RB's around nearby. Geologists study them. The San Andreas Fault line itself is basically just a loose-fitting RB back.

The RB system actually has excellent mirror damping (personal experience w/ long exposures not using MLU), whereas the Pentax is just a thunderclap. For night photography a sturdy tripod and a cable release are a must-have for my non-MLU Pentax unless you like wasting Cinestill 800T and Portra 800.
 
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A bad assumption. I and many others have never used the WLF which explains the popularity of the PMs and PMEs.

I think if I were exclusively in the eye-level viewfinder camp, I'd keep the Pentax. But from time to time I miss the RB's waist-level finder. I don't miss the bulk, moving the RB around was a literal pain in the ass.
 

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Heck, I've often carried two P67 bodies with multiple lenses all day long. Weighed less than my personal belt-line increase over the past twenty years. I still think of it as my mini-system. But it's all relative; and compared to my 8x10 or Sinar Norma gear pack, it is light; but not so much compared to my little 4x5 wooden folder. Cumulative weight start getting up there when using my wonderful P67 300EDIF, which for optimal effect needs just as heavy and solid a tripod as my 8x10. Mirror lock-up is also essential unless shooting at higher shutter speeds allowing the shutter screen to fully do its thing before the mirror kicks. You also need to be aware of your surroundings. Never shoot a P67 standing below a brick chimney or fractured granite wall in the mountains, lest it collapse upon you.

My brother not only shot Rollei 6x6's, but sold them. He'd demonstrate the softness of the shutter by setting the camera on a table and setting a dime upright on edge atop the camera itself. When he tripped the shutter, the dime didn't even tip over. If you tried that with a Pentax, the dime would land atop the roof of a coin laundry six blocks away. But even with my big 300 P67 teles, I've been able to rest them on a folded jacket atop a car roof or fencepost, and hand shoot them at relatively high shutter speed, and come away with perfectly crisp shots. I prefer to do that, however, with a big wooden Ries tripod instead, plus mirror lock-up.

P67 finders? I have em all. The folding waist level one is the most compact. The magnifying chimney hood is the most deluxe in terms of bright viewing and focus accuracy. But both kinds are clumsy in many common scenarios, especially if you want a vertical composition. Since I'm out in storms or quickie opportunities so often, the standard prism finders make more sense generally; and I have accessory magnifiers for these as well, even a right angle prism attachment in case of copy stand use in the studio.
 
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Sirius Glass

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Heck, I've often carried two P67 bodies with multiple lenses all day long. Weighed less than my personal belt-line increase over the past twenty years. I still think of it as my mini-system. But it's all relative; and compared to my 8x10 or Sinar Norma gear pack, it is light; but not so much compared to my little 4x5 wooden folder. Cumulative weight start getting up there when using my wonderful P67 300EDIF, which for optimal effect needs just as heavy and solid a tripod as my 8x10. Mirror lock-up is also essential unless shooting at higher shutter speeds allowing the shutter screen to fully do its thing before the mirror kicks. You also need to be aware of your surroundings. Never shoot a P67 standing below a brick chimney or fractured granite wall in the mountains, lest it collapse upon you.

My brother not only shot Rollei 6x6's, but sold them. He'd demonstrate the softness of the shutter by setting the camera on a table and setting a dime upright on edge atop the camera itself. When he tripped the shutter, the dime didn't even tip over. If you tried that with a Pentax, the dime would land atop the roof of a coin laundry six blocks away. But even with my big 300 P67 teles, I've been able to rest them on a folded jacket atop a car roof or fencepost, and hand shoot them at relatively high shutter speed, and come away with perfectly crisp shots. I prefer to do that, however, with a big wooden Ries tripod instead, plus mirror lock-up.

P67 finders? I have em all. The folding waist level one is the most compact. The magnifying chimney hood is the most deluxe in terms of bright viewing and focus accuracy. But both kinds are clumsy in many common scenarios, especially if you want a vertical composition. Since I'm out in storms or quickie opportunities so often, the standard prism finders make more sense generally; and I have accessory magnifiers for these as well, even a right angle prism attachment in case of copy stand use in the studio.

If you had a Hasselblad, you could carry one camera and two film backs.

Save 9¢!
 

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But the Hassle side of it would involve lugging a film stretcher too, plus the hassle of finding Rubbermaid branded film, if you want 6x7 or 6x9 shots from a Hassie 6X6 back. But that penny trick thing, yeah; I can't think of much else a penny is useful for these days.
 
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