I have an upcoming project that I’ve wanted to shoot on a Hasselblad 500CM (perhaps it’s just “justification” to get this legendary camera). Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, that project is on indefinite hold. I decided to still get the camera recently, to give me some time to get used to it.
Thankfully, my first roll test model was my very much available quarantine buddy, Vinny (AKA Vincent Van Gogh) the Bengal cat. Before shooting, I explained to Vinny that he needed to hold very still since the shutter speeds would be fairly low (the camera was already loaded with 400-speed film for my first few test frames outdoors).
He didn’t seem to care about my needs, so I instead resorted to bribery by holding a treat right above the lens. That definitely did the trick!
The camera was an absolute dream to use. Everything just works, and if feels super solid and well built in the hands. That being said, I can see myself upgrading to a brighter focusing screen sometime in the future. As you can probably see in one of the images, focusing was a bit challenging. My 500CM came with a waist-level finder, so I used my Sekonic L-508 to meter the scene (spot-metered on Vinny’s face, then bumped up about a stop). All frames were shot on ILFORD HP5 PLUS at EI 400 (a film I’m very familiar with).
Why did I get the Hasselblad?
Obviously so I could become a bougie snob and make fun of lesser mortals who don’t shoot Hasselblad. That’s not true at all. Here’s the real reason. I’ve been on earth long enough to know that this is a great camera AND that great photos don’t necessarily have to do with great cameras (I love the photos I take with all my various cameras, which have varying degrees of camera quality legacy). I got this camera for one main reason: I’m a science nerd. Yep, that’s the big reason. I love the connection/legacy with NASA.
Wellll, I think that about sums everything up. And, of course, please stay tuned for Vinny’s upcoming heavy metal album \m/.
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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