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Best choice 503CW & PME45 or 205FCC




I am quite new to Hasselblad and for a while now I am considering to buy a V-sytem based kit because of the wonderful and legendary format of 6x6. I am wondering if anyone can help me on choosing between a 503CW with a PME45 prism or a 205FCC. Except for the huge price difference between these two systems, what are the most important reasons to put one above the other?

I know that the 205FCC has an electronic controlled shutter that can reach from 35m to 1/2000s (the 503CW ‘just’ reaches from 1m to 1/500s and is mechanical). The most important thing that I will make my decision up on will be the light meter's reliability and capability. I have read that the 205FCC has a ‘Zonesytem’ build in, my question is whether such system also works with color slide film (like Velvia and Provia). Also, can the 205FCC be used with a digital back?

I don't have that exact combination but my experience with my 503CW and=20 a 203FE might be of value. I have a 503CW with a winder and the PME90 prism. This is a great=20 combination and the meter/camera combination has proven to be very=20 reliable and versatile. The winder is very good and comes with an=20 infrared remote release that I use often for remote photos of wildlife=20 and family groups photos. It's also handy for macro with you would=20 like to not cause camera shake with the manual release. I especially=20 like the meter choice of a spot meter or larger area metering. Of=20 course, you must remember to reset the f number and film speed on the=20 meter when you change lenses or film backs. I prefer the 203FE with=20 and winder and CFE lenses for wildlife and nature because you don't need=20 to worry about manually setting the shutter speed since the meter is=20 built in to the camera. The meter in the 203FE is not a spot meter=20 and I occasionally miss the spot meter function. The 1/2000 sec=20 shutter speed is nice also for fast moving subjects. However, unless=20 you have the electronic film backs for the 203FE, you must remember to=20 set the film speed when you change film backs. The 203FE doesn't have a=20 remote release but does have a timed release that's handy for group shot=20 and macro when you would like to avoid a manual release. The winder is=20 also a good accessory for fast wildlife shots.

Either camera/meter/winder combination is a great choice and both=20 require a little bit of developing your routine to avoid mistakes.

Enjoy!! Bob

First, I would suggest reading the Hasselblad Manual by Ernst Wilde.

Second, if you do not have a catalog obtain one or download a current V-system catalog from the Hasselblad website.

Also, at the website you can view the list of Digital backs for the 200 series cameras.

Unless you really need or want a spot meter and the Zone system feature, the 203FE is a versatile choice.

One advantage of using 200 series cameras with "C" lenses (c for central shutter: lens shutter, leaf shutter lenses) is you have a choice of using the 1/500 second lens shutter or the 1/2000 focal plane shutter. The central lens shutter allows flash sync at any speed. However, the lenses are one stop slower. CFE and FE lenses transmit aperture information to the camera allowing for aperture preferred shooting.

I believe that the 203 FE is very easy to hand hold and compose using 4X magnifier with the waist level finder, of course it is a matter of needs, application, and preference as to using a PM finder. The PM 45 offers 2.5X magnification and correct left right orientation.

Happy Shooting

Thanks guys! I have already gotten myself a catalog and pre-ordered the Ernst Wildi Manual for Hasselblad 6th edition.

I guess I will have to work myself through the manual to find out what system is best for my needs. I must say though that the combination of two shutter systems and the choice of automated exposure settings for more 'snap shot' like photography sound very tempting as it is the most versatile, also I prefer spot-metering (will also give me the Zone System exposure control settings on the 205FCC). I am a perfectionist and always look for the five-legged sheep (some Dutch saying) and I am starting to understand that the 205FCC adds a sixth one to it! The 203FE adds a very good and somewhat cheaper alternative that I will also look into.


Hi Vincent
You really can not go wrong with either 503CW or 200 series. The appeal (for me) of the 503 system is that the basic body with waist level finder is really light. You can then add on the finder or winder as need be.

A few points not mentioned earlier;
firstly the metered finder for the 503 is not coupled in any way to the camera so it works like a hand held meter (but with the advantage of TTL)
Having said that, the spot meter function on it is 'spot on'.

Secondly, if you are planning on buying second hand lenses, anything earlier than CF will not work on the 200 series cameras.


Richard Marks
Hi Richard,

> The > appeal (for me) of the 503 system is that the basic body with waist > level finder is really light.

Is there really a significant weight difference between the 503 and the 203/5? I'd be hard pressed to believe there is...and...the F/FE lenses, I believe, are substantially lighter.


You are wrong about the C-lenses not working on a 200, Richard.
They work the same as the CF-lenses. It is even explained in the manual of the 205 how to use a C-lens!
Thanks for your info!

Thanks for your email; I will contact you back by email shortly (in Dutch as requested).

The only 200-series camera that can't handle C-lenses is the already discontinued (what a surprise... ;-)) 202 FA.

However... the synchronization between lens shutter and body shutter is a finicky matter. Old lenses may be a bit slow (gummed up), and can cause problems.
That, by the way, is true for all leaf shuttered lenses, even new, but very dirty CFi/CFE versions.


Except for the f/4 250 mm Tele-Tessar, the F/FE lenses are indeed heavier than their C/CF/CFi/CFE counterparts.
And both 203/205 are about 25% heavier than the 503.

> Except for the f/4 250 mm Tele-Tessar, the F/FE lenses are indeed > heavier than their C/CF/CFi/CFE counterparts.

What were you basing your info on? My Zeiss info shows, and what my scale weighs, disagree with your claim:

80/2.8 CFE - 510g - heavier 80/2.8 FE - 389g

150/4 CFI - 780g - heavier 150/2.8 FE - 680g

250/5.6 CFI - 1000g - heavier (as you said) 250/4 FE - 920g

The 50/2.8 is going to be a very heavy lense, and is knows as being very heavy, and I have one, and it's I have no doubt that one will be heavier.

I have all the lenses I mentioned, and I assure you, with exception of the 50/2.8, the FE lenses are lighter.

> And both 203/205 are about 25% heavier than the 503.

205FCC - 678g (w/ screen, WLF & crank handle) 503 - 610g (from catalog, and I don't know what with...)

I weighed the 205FCC (as I have one) and that's what my (very good) scale told I don't know where Hasselblad got the 760g number in the V series catalog (which is where I am guessing you simply looked this info up), but since I included everything that a body has on it but a film magazine and lense, I think their number might very well be wrong. I'll add body caps (which I believe should be separate) and weigh it. I don't have a 503 to weigh, but I can weigh a 500C/M with same circumstances...and see what that gives me...that would at least be apples for apples. If my 205 number is right, that's more like just over %10, not %25 from the info I have, but for completeness, I'll go weigh a 500 and see, with the same screen.


I am looking for a copy of a 205FCC manual; please let me know if any of you can scan (preferably pdf-format) and mail me one. Thanks! Regards, Vincent
I'm selling my 205FCC system. Like new, excellent most all boxes, includes 350mm 5.6, 150mm, 80mm and 50mm lenses, 4 "e" backs, one with contrast control, PM45 viewfinder, Hassy UV filters on all lenses with shades, proshade, filters, strap and quickfix tripod mount. $25G's OBO and will not separate.
This forum is great! I am new to hasselblad and I am in the progress of buy a V system. I just don't know if I would be satisfied with a 305. I will be using the hasselblad for interior photography mostly and for some general photography. Maybe I should just get the 205 seeing that it has some benefits and time savers when it needs to fall into that general photography bracket. I have a digital Nikon system and refuse to get into 35mm because of the small film size. Entry level for film would by the 6X6. I know that the 905SWC is excellent for interior photography but the dedication to one lense would kill me. For interior I will be using a 40,80,120 lens. I think that this would capture any place wonderfully.

Eagerly awaiting your professional response.

Thank you, Philip from Cape Town
Get the cheapest set up you can, with Zeiss lenses and Hassy body. Get a lite meter, a couple of light bulbs on electric plug-in wires and be creative. That's all.
No need to buy anything more, UNLESS you want to go digital. If you want to go digital, get the H1, an Imacon 132C back with 4 shot rez option and buy the 35, 50, 80 and 150mm HC lenses. Set the back up for tungsten and shoot with those two lite bulbs. OR buy Profoto Pro 7 heads and a D4 pack (two if you want more than 4 lites) and shoot away. Of course this option will run you into the mega thousands ($$), but you will perhaps be hires for having the best gear. If you are not creative, then don't bother either way.

Get the best of both - the SWC instead of the 40, and then a 501/503 with th 80 and 120.

You could pick up a nice used swc/m with t* and a used 501 c/m with an 80 and 120 CF for the price of a new SWC 905! and then you would not hav e to worry about a dedicated lense - you can start enjoy having a very sharp and very non-distorting lens for architecture