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CW Winder and 503 CW


Active Member
I thought I'd share this experience with my "new" CW winder I recently opportunistically added to my wonderful 503CW.

I had previously never seen much need for the winder, although I did fancy its right hand grip. Anyway, a favourite dealer showed me one that had been traded in unused along with much other beautiful barely used Hassy gear. For the price, I thought I might as well give it a go.

The upshot is that this great device has and should continue to add about 30% useage I get from my much loved 503CW. Why? Simply because it now has a new-found convenience for "walk-about" shooting (in the street, travelling and with friends) - especially combined with the PM45 viewfinder.

If you ever contemplated adding one to your Hassy 503 my suggestion is to go for it! Yes, anyway you look at it, they are comparatively expensive units. But, they are (as one would expect of Hassy) a masterful piece of design, engineering and quality.

Fitting one to the camera body is the first indication of great engineering - the way it cl&s itself tight to the boddy disallowing even a micron of movement between it and the body. Hearing it adjust the winding mechanism to the advance mechanism; the excellent ergonomics of the right hand grip and ease of changing the mode switch with one finger while holding the camera to your face; superb smoothness of the firing button; the superbly machined stainless steel components linking the hand strap to the unit.

Yes, every aspect of the design and finish is superb and full Hassy quality.

In use it's as "easy as pie" and seems absolutely reliable. The ergonomics are superb and add to that feeling you don't want to put your 503 down! It is so comfortable to hold and makes the whole 503 seem so easy to use.

With a prism finder on the 503 body, the CW winder enables you to fire away with precision without taking the camera away from your eye (yes, even when using an unmetered prism finder).

So, for me this unit has become a new joy and greatly increased my willingness to take the 503 and a couple of lenses for a stroll more regularly!.

In use (like most things Hassy) it is as silent as a 911 with a sports exhaust - matches the usual mirror slap noise with a noticeable but not unreasonable mild chain-saw like sound as it does its job. And that lightening speed 1.0+ frames a second (not sure how accurate my memory is about that) is a joy in continuous mode! Wow it can really whip through a roll of 120 film in no time!

I usually shoot mu 501CM on a tripod and wander around with my 503 sometimes with a D40 on top.

The IR remote control is a treasure too - such a clever design that enables multiple units to be macthed up to one control etc. This adds such a convenience out in the bush while awaiting the right "moment" before shooting, without having to be close to the camera. Studio users must love these units.

The CW winder has added great value to my 503. So I highly recomend it for its ergonomics alone even; its precision in use and the value it adds to the use you get from a 503.
I love the sound of the 503CW and CW wider. There's a certain assuring authority to it. The ergonomics of the grip is positively "glove like". Why Hasselblad did not follow that design for the 200 series winder I cannot fathom.

The "strolling around" part is precisely what I do at weddings. But I must say that five hours into a wedding with a 503CW, winder, D-40 and a 50/4 and one can long for a Leica M : -)
Marc, interesting link you make with the Leica M. Having an M7 myself, IMHO the 503 kit is no true stitute for the absolute convenience and discretion of the M7; but, the M7 does not produce such huge beautiful frames.

Having seen some of your lovely hand-held images at weddings it's obvious how your work is aided by the "walk-around" benefits of the 503 with a CW winder attached.

What I need to do is master use of D40 flash compensation using the ISO dial in different lighting. For ex&le, outdoors in mild to bright sun, I find I still under compensate to get an optimal lighting effect - I suppose I need to set the ISO more like 2 to 3 stops (neg film) below the actual film speed to "break through" the harsh sun and its shaddows, whereas I'd been using 1 to 2 stops. Your view?

What has also struck me when I have added a Hasselblad accessory was that the often comparatively "frightening" cost (even for good used gear) proves to be good value for money. The design, engineering and finish quality have, to me, always stood out as superb. The CW winder is a good ex&le.

With regard to "stolling around" with the CF 50mm FLE, I ask you if you find its "wider" angle ideal? Of course it's a personal thing and situation dependent. But like many Leica M users, I regularly use my 35mm Summicron on my M7 as my "strolling around" lens. Now that I'm using my 503CW with the CW winder "strolling around" more in places where bigger images are desireable, I felt the CF 50 FLE was a bit too wide and a bit "sensitive" to camera angle driven distortion as well as important subject material out at the edges.

This has made me plan to get a CF 60mm with the minor benefit of 1/2 stop faster; a little lighter weight and a little more compact. Since it is more like a 35mm angle of view in 135 format, I wondered if Hassey users see similar benefits in the CF 60mm. What do you think?
Favorite M lens is the 35/1.4 ASPH

Have the Hasselblad 60 CFi and love it ... but then, I love them all !!!

Strolling with the 50/2.8 on a 203FE (or 50/4 on the 503CW) is because I'm in close quarters indoors at a wedding. Outside it provides vistas ... sort of landscapes with people in them. But the 60/3.5 is a better street lens IMO.

My newest toy is the 60-120/4.8FE beast. Good for fast paced tri-pod type formal shots rather than changing lenses for each group. Hard to hand hold for very long however... but I did it anyway... like this shot at the wider end of the zoom.

Thanks Marc. Nice work again. At the 60mm end I really like that AOV. Even over the web I can see that zoom resolves fine detail very nicely.

Seeing the low sun peeking through at the top makes me ask you: is the 60mm prime as good as the CF 50mm FLE in the way it handles such direct sun. Months ago I posted a trial shot I did with my CF 50mm FLE with the late low sun virtually directly into the higher end of the frame - rather than produce flare effect I got a lovely sharp star surrounded with some nicely structured golden colour. It really impressed me.

Of course the zoom will have different attributes of its own but I just wonded about how you find the CF 60mm's attributes overall?

Also do you suspect I, as an amateur, may find the 60mm too close an AOV to the 50? Your situation as a busy pro is very different to mine as a quite intensive experienced amateur. Of course every lens and focal length in the Hassy V series seems to have its place explaining why I have 50, 80, 120, 150, 180 and 250 primes, all of which get much use and have very logical places in my 6x6 kit.

But, that's the only hesitation I have in buying a 60mm despite the benefits I expect I will get and the "street" AOV benefits as with a 35mm Leica M lens. A 10mm focal length gap makes me nervous whereas a 20mm gap to me has a very noticeable difference. But, then again I do see a big difference between a 40mm and a 50mm, so maybe I will see similar differences between my 50mm and a 60mm. But, I'd be interested in your view.
Hello guys
Can anyone please tell me what is IMHO and what is AVO .
Please don't laugh about me , but some abreviations are just new for me .
Hi Jurgen. May apologies for using acronyms! I certainly won't laugh as I generally (especially in business) don't like them - so should not use them.

AOV - angle of view; IMHO - in my humble opinion!

As you are likely aware, a difference of 5-10 degrees angle-of-view with wide angle lens is far more significant than the same difference at the short tele end. For instance, I have been 'feeling-out' my recently acquired SWC/M by setting it up side-by-side with my 50 FLE and shooting a variety of scenarios. These exercises have been quite illuminating and bear out what I originally suspected: the 50 is my prime wide angle lens, but at times a distinctly wider perspective better suits specific approaches of mine. This preference isn't much of a surprise to me, back in 1984 I similarly chose a 21 over a 28 as a complement to a 35 when I had Leica M kit (a 24 would have probably been bang-on, but they weren't available then).

[One may ask why I have a 50 rather than a 60, since this better matches my earlier Leica kit? In short, my 'Blad kit is used primarily for landscape and portrait work; the Leica was used principally for street and theatre/dance shoots. Different needs; somewhat different kit.]

Since you have found that a 40 is too wide for yourself, a 60 mm. may similarly fit your needs and subsequently complete the short end of your kit. Of further note is that the perceptible differences betweeen a 50 and 60 are more subtle than those between a 50 and a 38/40; you would thus have a reasonable back-up for either in the event one goes south and requires service. Just curious about one thing: have you considered acquiring a 60 CB rather than a CFi/CF; my understanding is that the former is optically as good, and may provide the better 'bang-for-the-buck' respective to your needs (i.e., if the 60 is intended to fill a 'sometimes' gap, why spend more than you need?).
So the lens hood for the 60-120 is not very effective?

Not that the flare doesn't add to the picture, but...
... a quick, imperfect mock-up

So the lens hood for the 60-120 is not very effective? >

What's your point? Do you think a lens hood would make a difference?


Boys, I added the flare in PS. ( Filter > Render > Lens Flare )

The lens didn't flare even pointed into the sun, so I did it myself for mood and emotional feel.
Wayne, many thanks for your comments and perspective which is really helpful - like some say: "the devil lies in the detail". One thing I have learned over the years as my photography has become a much more intensive past time (if not passion) is that there are many nuances to be considered in the gear your select - generally and for a specific event.

Yes, in 6x6 I'm not very keen on wide angle beyond 50mm. Like you my MF shooting is more landscape and portrait interests as well as buildings and other structures. I seem to see 6x6 much closer than in other formats I shoot.

I had a similar experience to yours with my Leica M kit and unlike your situation, the 24mm was available and I bought one - one truly magnificent lens and attractive AOV. But in 135 format I realised that I am not keen on very wide angle generally as it is a lot of detail to "squeeze" into a small frame.

Interestingly I ultimately sold my 24mm Elmarit-M ASPH to help fund an XPan II with both the 45mm and 90mm lenses. WOW! I adore this camera and 99% of the time shoot in pan mode. It seems I see wide images as a panorama so the 45mm len's effective AOV of a 25mm 135 format lens is a JOY for me!

My very wide landscape and architecture images are made on a 4x5 which does justice to the detail captured.

Wherever I take my Hassy 6x6 kit I always have the XPan around my neck!

Anyway, back to the CF (or indeed CB) 60mm, I'm thinking that the subtle differences between it and my 50mm, combined with the "walk around" benefits of 1/2 a stop, lighter, slightly shorter and its generally excellent imaging quality and lesser sensitivity to camera angle; might just complete the wide end on my kit like you say.
Marc, I liked the appearance of that golden flare. It really adds to the mood and "event" - something like a "halo" above the couple. I wondered how the "flare" appeared as (although I don't have that Hassy Zoom) I've never experienced that type of flare in that type of sun (only my limited experience of course) fom a Hassy lens. To my eyes it was a nice touch that you added.
Thanks Simon. Wedding photography is sometimes a bit of fantasy. I'm not one to add to many "effects" to images, preferring to take it as it is ... but on occasion, like the shot above, I wanted a bit more "atmosphere". I also like Q.G.s fix which is more how the original shot looked actually. But in this case "romance" wins over "reality" ; -)

One consideration on M verses Hasselblad as a street shooter ... the M is far easier to hold steady in marginal light, and certainly more accurate focussing with wides in lower light. Those two considerations can add up to more usable and sharp frames than with the Hasselblad at times.

Here's another from the same "walk around" with the Bride & Groom. No special effects needed this time ... except pulling some of the shade/flash blue cast out of the foreground in PS.

Again, the 203FE with 60-120/4.8FE ... by the way, who makes this lens for Hasselblad? Fuji? I don't like Fuji bokeh, but that isn't much of a consideration for a 4.8 max aperture lens anyway. I like getting it all in focus (or nearly) sometimes. Landscapes with people in them. These shots are intended for 11X14 prints, so all the stuff in them (including the people) become more "apparent".

Another interesting observation I've made: my Hasselblad frames scanned on a Minolta MultiScan Pro @ 3200 dpi don't look as good as frames from my 1DsMKII ON SCREEN, but strangely look waaaaaay better WHEN PRINTED on the Epson 2400. I think too many people evaluate image based on screen presence rather than what it was intended for: Prints !

I agree Marc that QG made a good "fix" on the run.

I have no real idea who made the 60-120 for Hasselblad and even wondered if it was Schneider? Maybe QG knows since he has such a strong knowledge of Hasselblad's history.

The 203FE must be a wonderful tool. Quite a remarkable piece of engineering and design. But, I can't see myself affording to own one. Then again, my 6x6 photography would not really benefit from its capabilities - for me it would simply be a "luxury" (as well as a joy!).

Reagrding scanning 6x6 images - I feel on the whole that they actually lose a lot of their "feel" in some way. To me a scan is a "come-down" from the original neg or trannie. But, scans are a great convenience enabling quick and easy access and sharing. It also seems to me that the scan image only allows the viewer to see the image (i.e. the man and woman walking in the garden on their wedding day) rather than the whole story from the print or projected image that communicates more of the "feel" often aided by the characteristics of the chosen lens and film, which in my view is lost in digital conversion and not there in digital imaging. Remember the tonality of a high end valve &lifier and turntable (both making a big comeback today)!

Without question (in my opinion) an image on a computer screen is just an image - a price paid for convenience. And sometimes a frustrating one - then a whole new complex issue arises - screen quality, colour calibration etc etc, all in an attempt to equal the beauty of a well produced print from an original neg or trannie.
What i know? Not a lot.

When this first "Hasselblad" lens came out, it was rumoured that it was made by Sigma.
Later, when the Fuji connection became known, Fuji became the 'likely suspect'.

It's certainly not Zeiss.
Zeiss at that time was reported to first (again) want to shut down their Camera Lens Division (a tiny part of the Zeiss concern), later to keep it running anyhow, and to begin making modern zoom lenses (a type of lens they had neglected).
But Hasselblad first 'ditched' the Zeiss Mutar teleconverter in favour of a "Hasselblad" product, then let someone else make a zoom lens (of all things), and finally teamed up with Fuji.
The Zeiss-Hasselblad relation had soured.
Zeiss (in retaliation? Couldn't be just coincidental, could it?) then produced their own MF-camera, the Contax 645, and made a superlative lens (the 300 mm TPP) in Hasselblad mount that they, not Hasselblad !, sold (Hasselblad later bought the lot from Zeiss, and took over marketing these).
They later kissed and made up again, in a well publicized reenactment of the original hand-shake deal that started all many years before.


Hasselblad themselves have an Optical Design department, and the lens itself may have been designed by them. But they certainly haven't manufactured any "Hasselblad" lens.

They only did the rough design of the H-system lenses, and let Fuji do the rest. It's more than just probable that the Zoom went along the same lines.

When asked though, they wouldn't say. They wouldn't confirm nor deny any suggested possible manufacturer.

Must be because of the same reason the "Prontor" name disappeared from the CF lenses. The "F" bit in the CF shutter was a Hasselblad, not Zeiss/Prontor, invention (Hasselblad's mr. Lave Tenne was responsible for that) to begin with. But the main reason was that the Hasselblad marketing people did not find it opportune to have another manufacturer's name on a Hasselblad item. So it went from "Prontor CF" to plain "CF".
So likewise, the zoom is a "Hasselblad" lens. Period.

And to think that before they were so proud, or at least not ashamed, to let us know who made 'stuff' for them...
So it was not all hot love between HASSELBLAD and ZEISS as both companies made us all believe . Your last contribution is very interesting and reveals a lot "dark policy" of the two companies .
So there is no "WYSIWYG" in HASSELBLAD and ZEISS news.
"WYRINWWP" what you read is not what we produce . ? ?
Thanks Q.G., now I know the lens is actually made by ... huh ... hmmm ... well I'll call it the adopted Hassey Zoomster ... although at 4.8 it is hardly fast : -)

The lens isn't bad at all ... for a zoom ... and for my needs : "the one to have, when you're only having one" (to steal an old advertising line for a premium beer).

The only thing I do not like about the lens is that the focusing ring isn't quite as firm as I am used to from the other Hasselblad FE lenses. What I do like is that it holds focus through the zoom range. So you can zoom in, focus, and zoom out wide while keeping focus ... which is why I wish the focusing ring was firmer.

BTW, if Zeiss had made it, or Schneider, I sure wouldn't have been able to buy a new one in the box for $1,800. ; -)

Speaking of zooms, I played with the Schneider Rollei Zoom that is similar or the same as the Hasselblad version, and found it, while huge, quite an excellent image maker. Perhaps an addition for the 503CW in our already packed gear closet should we stumble across a mint ex&le in future.

Concerning the 300 Zeiss for Contax 645 mentioned above: Do you mean the 350/4 APO? I had that lens for quite a few years and found it to be incredible. I recently sold it and will stay on the look out for it's Hasselblad counterpart focal length ... which I hear actually surpassed that Contax lens ( which could just be propaganda on Hasselblad's part ; -)

The whole Zeiss, Contax, Kyocera debacle has been a crying shame. If Hasselblad had come out with the H camera sporting Zeiss lenses they would have owned the market immediately. Well, at least they would have owned "my market" that's for sure.

Personally, i do not like the weight of zoom lenses. Over all, the weight is less than the combined weight of the lenses it replaces, and the entire kit will be more compact and lighter, yes. But to hold all that in your hand, plus camera, plus magazine, plus...
At 1.5 kg, the 60-120 mm is a 'beast'. The Schneider Variogon, with its 1.75 kg, is even worse.

The 300 mm i mentioned is one made exclusively in Hasselblad mount: the Telephoto Power Pack, consisting of the f/2.8 300 mm Tele-Superachromat, an Apo-Mutar 1.7x converter, and a Polarizer filter, rotating in ball-bearings.

This TPP is a rather peculiar product.
They first designed the lens, letting the computers tell them what glass they needed. And some special glass it was. To make it worth the effort, to get that extra high performance they were after, the glass' property-variance needed to be within strict limits. Difficult.
The next step was to try and find/produce those types of glass.
Next again, they measured the exact, actual properties of that glass, and the design was adjusted to fit these. If the glass could not be tuned finely enough to fit the design, the design had to be fitted to the glass they had. That meant that as soon as all the glass was used up, there would be no more lenses. A limited edition!
And of course, the glass has been used all up. It was first calculated that the amount of glass they had would suffice to make about 300 lenses. It didn't.

Then they manufactured the lens elements and set them inside their mounts.
Then (not done yet, no) they measured the compound lens' performance, and fine-tuned the shape of one aspherical element to optimize performance of the individual TPP.

Because of all the fine tuning, it would be madness to set all this in a regular lens mount. So they made one with very low temperature dependency (that's why the barrel is not the usual black too), having a very precise focussing track too.

The result of all this is supposed to be outstanding (with the price of this thing, i'm not going to be able to see for myself. But considering the length they've gone to to make it a good lens, it better be oustanding!).

But this is not something that will be repeated.
Theoretically, they could go through the 'glass making - testing - design adjusting' cycle again, but seeing that the first, limited, batch hasn't been all sold...

By the way, Zeiss' dr. Fleischer/Müller (he uses two names) has produced another piece of propaganda, describing how the idea of the TPP was a joint Hasselblad-Zeiss thing.
The same dr Fleischer/Müller let us know before that it wasn't.
His job title is/was "Manager strategic marketing". This translates to "Propagandist", "spin doctor", and explains all...

Anyway, it's not the f/4 350 mm Contax lens, no.
The Contax Tele-Apotessar looks very similar to the Hasselblad f/4 350 mm Tele-Tessar. Only the front group is a bit different.

MTF curves (no personal experience with either lens) show that the Contax version actually is the better one of the two. Especially at f/4.
The Hasselblad version is said to be very good too. I hope to add that one to my set one day and find out myself.

The H-system lens thing is another fine ex&le of "propaganda": the Fuji lenses are excellent, in no way less than the Zeiss lenses. (I'm sure that in a 'blind test', not many photographers will be able to distinguish Fuji from Zeiss. If any at all.
It's just that the Fuji lenses lack a name steeped in tradition.