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501C, my first 'blad


New Member
I just picked up my first 'blad from KEH this week. It is a black 501C with the acute-matte D screen. I am using it with a Phase One P21 and a 60/3.5 lens. The thing is I can't see to nail the focus to save my life. My old manual Nikon F series seem to be much easier to see when things are in focus. Is there a screen that gives much more snap to when things are in focus? I am using the PM90 BTW.
I wonder , how the PM90 fits with a digital back attached . (any brand) .
Show us an image of that combination .

An acute matte D screen has two little triangular marks on the frame of the screen . If these marks are not there , its NOT an acute matte D .

Regards Jürgen
This has the two little marks. I will post pictures of the screen and the PM90 in a moment. Any help on screen selection or technique would be appreciated.
Up close crop/shots of the screen.



Shots of the camera with PM90 and P21 back.


First of all congratulations on the purchase of your new camera.

The screen fitted to your camera is the 42217 it has a grid and a split.
The split makes focusing on vertical lines easier.
If you turn the screen 90 degrees this also works for horizontal lines.
This is one of the most popular screens.
Unless the split and the grid bother you. That is a personal matter.

The PM90 offers an adjustable eyepiece.
It offers a standard one that is fitted to your PM90 prism now and two other ones
to enlarge the range to adjust.
Your standard eyepiece allows adjustment from -2 till +0,5 dioptre.
Operation is simple: watch the grid and or the split while you adjust the eyepiece.
As soon as the grid and or the split appears tack sharp lock the eyepiece.
If you are wearing glasses outside this range you will need to change the eyepiece.
The others give -4,5 till -2 or +0,5 till +3 dioptr.

Consider a straight finder like the 4x4 DPS as another option.
This finder enlarges 5 times instead of 2 times for the PM 90.
Partnumber for the 4x4 DPS is 72534.

Do not hesitate to ask for help if you are still having problems to focus.
Polypal, Thanks for the congrats. I am really excited about this but I might trade up to a P30 if the P21 doesn't provide enough "POP" although I believe it will. I will look into the magnified finder although I would like to retain a 90 degree option. Would something like the 42215 finder work well considering I like the ring of micro-prisms in my Nikon's finder? I don't like the "bulls eye" hashes on it. Is there a finder that might not be as bright, has the micro-prisms and perhaps a split prism that is positioned at 45 degrees?
Focusing screens are a personal choice.
I can only suggest some screens that were or are available.
The user must decide what works best for him or her.

The 42215 does not have a grid but it has a ring of microprisms around the split.
This is also a screen from the later D series Acute Matte.

Hasselblad produced a screen with 45 degree split and microprisms.
This screen is from an older generation and is quite rare.
It is not as bright as later Acute Matte screens.
Partnumber is 42218.

Beware of Chinese made screens with 45 degree split.
They do not align with standard Hasselblad calibration.
Unlike what the seller suggests they are not brighter than older Hasselblad screens.

In case you have been trying to adjust the eyepiece, the PM 90 does not have that facility.
I have to correct my earlier information about that.
Hasselblad sales information is not very clear at that point.
I just checked the instruction manual of the PM90 because I was having doubts.
The PME 90 has an adjustable eyepiece though.
The 4X4 DPS sensor is not produced any more .
I have that viewer and focussing with that viewer is very easy as the magnification factor is 5.5 .
If you use a 203FE , you will not be able to see the shutter time and aperture value , because the viewer covers the display .

The 4x4 DPS viewer was designed to allow better focusing for a smaller area of the image that coincides with a square digital sensor.

Espressogeek just started with a nice 501C and a digital back.
It may take some time for him to get to know the 200 series cameras.
Maybe get acquainted with this camera first before it becomes too much altogether?
I would like to use the 200 series so I could use the 110mm lens. The problem is that the phase back, and others, can't use the focal plane shutter and the lenses designed for that use. So I went with a 501C since I could not find a black 501CM in a timely manner. I will likely try a 501CM will I can find a black one.

Ill try to find one of those 4x4 finders and try it out.

Thanks for all of the help!
You can get an eyepiece magnifier for your PM90. It enlarges the central portion of your screen for very easy focusing. Only available used though I think. Part number 42459.
Thanks for the info. I got to thinking about the 4x4 and would it not crop off the edges of my frame in the viewfinder? It is designed for backs with a sensor size of 36mmx36mm where the P21 is 44mmx33mm I believe. Perhaps a magnifier and a different choice of screen is a better solution.
Effective view of the 4x4 DPS viewer is 41x41 mm.
That leaves 1,5 mm on either side that you will not see.

The magnifier does not give full image either.
You win some , you lose some.
I just wanted to provide an update for anyone who is interested. The PM90 does not work with the phase back in vertical orientation. This stinks. I suppose I will get a waist level finder. Should I go for a new style one or get an old style unit that perhaps came with the 501c?

Also, I swapped out my screen with a hasselblad 20/20 with microprisms and 45 degree split prism. I have only shot a few frames but I am able to focus much better and quicker using this screen. It was only about 65 dollars at KEH in bargin condition yet it had no visible damage what so ever.
Please explain why the PM 90 does not work in vertical orientation.
I take it you mean portrait mode?

Hasselblad V cameras are envied for their forwards and backwards compatibility since 1957.
Those early cameras can even be used with a digital back that was developed 50 years later.
No other manufacturer offers this facility.

It does not mean that all parts of the system will work together.
Your expression " this stinks" is uncalled for.
Oh get over it man, it does stink that you can't use the P21 in vertical orientation with the prism. I don't blame Hasselblad for not foreseeing this issue 50 years ago, it is the situation that stinks.

I bought a waist level finder and I am in business with the vertical or "portrait" orientation of the P21 now. :)