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How good is 503 TTL flash


Active Member
I use a 501CM (and adore it) and am considering adding a 503CW as a second body. I understand the feature differences between them and the only extra feature that matters to me is the TTL/OTF flash.

I currently use a Metz CL-4 and while it's a good gun, flash metering is a bit mediocre.

So, do users of 503CW TTL flash find it a real advantage? Does it help take out the "guess work" or make shooting on the run easier? What are its limitations? Is it more accurate/reliable in portraits and outdoor fill-in flash? Or, is it really marginal?

Ultimately it seems a good idea to me, but I just wonder if the few hundred bucks extra (I'll be buying a good used ex&le) realy delivers a noticeable difference?

Many thanks.
I use a Hasselblad D40 bare-bulb flash on my 503CW, both as a primary light and as fill. Mostly to shoot weddings either with film or with a V96 back. It is a very easy to use unit that holds 5 AA batteries in a cartridge type insert or can Coupled with a 503 or any other TTL Hasselblad, it is a surprisingly accurate combination.

If you get a 503CW, look for the later one with an ISO dial that goes to ISO 3200. The older one only goes to ISO 800.
Oops, the D40 hold 6 AAs.

Here's a D40 shot on the 503CW. A "getting ready" shot from a wedding shoot. Just enough "fill" to balance out the strong window back light source. Retains the feel of the room and all the personal details without allowing the window source to burn out to pure white.

Very good ! The light is so nice inside the room, the big flow of light from the window is indeed perfectly counterbalanced so that one can see all the details, even on the computer screen, and the expression on the bride's face is so typical, so spontaneous ! Well done.
Yeah Patrick, who says you can't do candid photojournalism type wedding work with a Hasselblad ; -)

Ring Bearer kisses his Aunt before the wedding: 503CW, 100/3.5CFi, D40 fill flash ...

On the subject of D40 flash...Question: Does the ttl allow you to use ANY shutter and aperture combination or do I have to use the meter on my PME 51 or Sekonic Flash meter to set prior to shooting. I used it only ONE time with settings gained with the Sekonic and had EXCELLENT results with exposure on candids. Can this thing REALLY be this easy to use?:D
No Milton, it isn't quite that easy. Fill flash requires metering the scene and setting the shutter speed aperture combo for the ambient light, then dialing UP the ISO on the TTL flash to cut the light from the D40. In darker conditions you can preset a shutter speed you can reasonably hold steady, then set the aperture you need for DOF, keeping in mind the distance that the flash is effective to.

BTW, What happened to my first photo upload???? It's gone.

Oh well, here it is again ...

Marc, many thanks for your tip, comments and s&les. The shots are superb - well done! Was the "getting ready" shot done with a 50mm?

Like Melton, I use a Sekonic L558 but have not fully explored its combines ambient/flash fill capabilities.

I hear what you are saying about both flash/fill situations which is much like I do the same with my CL45-4 on a 501CM using the Metz's "auto" flash mode.

So I wondered if you and others find the TTL a real advantage to help ensure a reliable flash result with the TTL/OTF capability, not as possible using non-TTL flash?

Again thanks and that 100mm gives a great result in good hands.
Thought so Marc. It is a sensational lens.

Does the D40 give good even spread over the 50mm angle of view?
All of the Quantum light modifiers work on the D40, including those available for W/A coverage (available in silver or gold) that I just got.

Most of the time I use a ball diffuser on the D40 that I found years ago in an ShutterBug ad. Never saw it again anywhere. Works even with the fisheye. Here it is mounted to a Sunpack 120J which it also fits.
Thanks Marc. I use a Stofen soft box on my Metz and find it great. Recently I added a Stofen to my Canon 550EX, which I use on my EOS 1vHS - fantastic results, always a nice mix of light that renders faces superbly. While the EOS ETTL system is very very good and reliable, the addition of the Stofen makes it "perfect".

On Sunday I shot a friend's arrival at her surprise birthday - 10fps and all 15 shots in one blast were perfectly exposed = "horses for courses"!
Does anyone know what year 503CW increased the TTL flash film speed up to 3200? How can I tell (other than play with the dial)?
Just ask the seller to look at the dial on the side of the camera. I just bought another all black 503CW and it only went up to 800, but I got it for studio use with the Imacon back which only goes to ISO 400 anyway, so it didn't matter. The 503CW isn't that old of a Camera, so I wouldn't worry to much about when the ISO dial changed. BUT, if you want to do available light work with higher ISO films and fill flash hold out for the 3200 version. Not just for shooting ISO 1600 and 3200 films, but also for being able to compensate the flash for fill using 400 and 800 films.
Thanks Marc. That's what I did (and fill flash compensation is why the 3200 version is important to me), and the seller's was a 3200 version (mint hardly used and in box etc.), so I bought it.

Hopefully it is like new as he promised but his responsiveness to email interrogation was excellent, so I live in hope!!
Hello everybody, as I've purchased an used 503cw without user's manual, I just wonder why in the "manual section" of this lovely forum is still missing the link to the 503cw one;))) could anyone that have a recent manual just scan it and then convert it in a pdf file? I apologize for my straight request, but the intention is extremely kind
. If it's not possible I wil be thankful to every user of this forum anyway
A little comment on the thread above: is really so important the 3200 iso range to fill flash light with av.light, when you always could set on your flash gear an higher (I mean closer)F. value to underexpose flash light index? (to keep your lightning ratio in 2:1 or 3:1 anyway, this is possible, for istance with my Quantum QFlash T) I hope my question is clear enough.
I apologize with the forum for my silly posting of above. My "new" 2nd hand 503cw is arrived and it is a new model up to 3200iso range. But now I'm right sure of something: I do need the manual, because I've no Idea how the ttl system is going to work. I have a quantum Q Tflash with its dedicated hot shoe and cable. May be if some one give me a cheat on its working I won't need the manual anymore. Is there someone that can give me an hand? I have an approximated idea on which is the way to make it work, But I'm not sure.
Every comment will be blessed

Should be pretty easy, at least is with Metz units. Metz supplies a dedication unit, or "half of it", for the flash and Hasselblad the rest of the unit with it's three cables. Red light in finder tells you that flash is ready, the same light blinking after exposure tells that everything was in control. Very easy and amazingly accurate as fill or what ever. With EPL and Metz 60 CT-4 I wave used indoors 1/3 or even 2/3 less accurate film setting to avoid unwanted darkness in slides. Outdoors film setting as is. With smaller Metz units correction has not been needed, surprice. Do your tests according to flash unit and film and enjoy.

Kerkko K.
> [Thank you so much Kerkko, I did some test and, surprise, is really really > simple. I was just wandering if the camera shows any "good shot" display, > but it seems that the only one is the red light of "ready flash", that's > all, if there aren't any other light supposed to be showed, the camera > works fine. The Quantum display indeed shows when the exposure is done > right with an "ok" blinking. I don't think I need more information, I have > used a 500CM and It is almost the same. I wish you a very nice week end. Sandro]
> I have never used a 503, but in the 553 there is a red LED light in > the viewfinder that blinks too. Don't know if the 503 has anything > similar though.....