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Newbie Advice on Buying Classic 500 cm


New Member
Hello all.

Im a student at Derby Uni and last year I used a Hasselblad 500c/m for the 1st time, and of course fell in love. I now have to have one.

I fell in love with one I found on ebay but lost the bidding by £2.64, which Im sure you can imagine was hugely distressing. I have recently been contacted by the seller advising it is now available for sale again as the buyer sent it back.

The buyer sent it back due to finding two microscopic scratches on the lens (only visible under a loupe). I have been in constant contact with the seller regarding the camera and he has advised me of all the details the buyer has supplied regarding the return. The buyer said "After careful scrutiny with guy in lab, we found that the lens didn’t affect pictures even under point sources, except some flare at very far corners, but could have been due to no shade."

I am really not sure what to do as I have fallen for this particular camera which is in brilliant condition, but am concerned about the small scratches. I don't know exactly where the scratches are on the lens, but please could someone offer some advice as I am going crazy.

I sounds to me that the lens isn't effecting the negatives but I really wanted some advise as I am new to this.

Luckily the seller is going away for 3 weeks so I have that time to make my decision so I'm using this time to research.

I am awaiting the serial numbers so I can date it exactly, but the most I know at the moment is that it is a 500 c/m "500 Classic" which were made between 1989 - 1994 and where sold as a whole kit with lens and back. I don't know if this kit is original with all parts. Since I began my research I have not been able to find another like it with the "500 Classic" badge on it.

Also, can anyone give me any further information about this series? Does it have the new clearer focusing screen? Is it any different apart from the badge?

Resale value doesnt bother me as I intend to keep it.
A Hassy's is for life and not just for Christmas.

Thank you all in advance and I look forward to your responses.

An anxious Frog

As you know, the "500 Classic" was a package deal, not a camera model.
The camera in the kit was a regular 500 C/M. "Regular", i.e not a different camera, and thus saying "500 C/M" on the badge.
They did not carry any marking identifying them as having been part of the "Classic" package.

However, in 1991 Hasselblad celebrated 50 years of making cameras. To mark the occasion, the 500 C/M in the "CLassic" Kit was given a commemorative plaque above the accessory rail (which still carried the regular "500 C/M" badge).

Would that be the badge you are referring to?

The camera in the "Classic" kit was sold with an old-style, non-Acute Matte checked focussing screen inside.
But that of couse does not mean that screen hasn't been changed for another one since. You can only tell by checking what's in there.

The same, by the way, holds for the other bits: the "Classic" kit contained a CF 80 mm Planar lens. An A12 magazine. And the 'new' style focussing hood. (And a carrying strap.)
You should check before buying whether you will get these when buying this particular camera, or perhaps some other, older lens, focussing hood and/or magazine.
The trouble with interchangeability.

I would be concerned about the scratches (front lens?) too.
They can indeed be so small that they have no effect at all. Or big enough to seriously impact image quality, and with it the value of the item.
The 'previous buyer' thought they were too much. Perhaps a hint?
But you will have to inspect the thing, see how bad they really are, yourself. Maybe you can arrange to have the kit for inspection and test shots first, before you decide to buy (or hand over money).

You don't say how much the kit should cost. Have you compared that to what other cameras go for?


You might try KEH to see if they have something you might be interested in. I have found there ratings to be very good. My only suggestion is to buy the best one you can afford. If you plan to use TTL flash perhaps a 503 CW would meet your needs.

Good Luck:


Used Hasselblads for sale come by like buses now. The next one comes in five minutes.

Frankly, you are better off buying at, where you have a two week period for returns with no questions asked. They are very conservative about their ratings and equipment is usually in much better condition than it was rated. The one time that I had a problem they took it back and credited the shipping to my credit card. Then they sent the replacement with no shipping charge.

Thank you both for your comments.

Gilbert, I have already set my heard on the 500c/m, but thanks for the advice anyway.

De Bakker
I was not aware that the 500c/m with the "Classic 500" badge was only made in 1991, however I was aware that it was the same as a regular 500 c/m. You saying this may have just made it even more desirable as it is even more rare than I had thought. This may explain why I have been unable to source any other like it. Once I have the serial numbers I will be able to determine if its the genuine article from 1991.

The seller is unable to advise if the kit is all original as purchased as he received it as an insurance claim and has only had it a short while, however he knows where the camera came from so they may be able to find out on his behalf. However as I am not planning on selling I guess apart from the "500 Classic" badge it is the same a regular 500 c/m which would be purchased separate from the backs and lens, so therefore I dont think this is a huge concern.

The previous buyer wanted a large discount from priced payed which the seller declined, however he also said although he didnt think it would effect his images, it would/could effect the resale value, which isnt a concern of mine.

If i decide to go ahead with a purchase then by all means I will try an arrange a probation period so that I can test the camera, maybe even get a second opinion.

With regards to price the kit is £550 which i believe is about normal for one in good condition, am I correct in thinking this?

Thanks again for your help, I may have more questions in the future.

If the seller thinks the damage will affect resale value, it should be a concern to you.
The seller is hoping to sell this thing, with you as a buyer, isn't he?

Anyhow, £550 for the complete kit (good condition presumed) is quite a fair price, yes

Can we see this kit somewhere on the net?
Sorry it is the person who bought it orginally that thinks it might affect the resale value. But yes you are right, he is hoping to sell it to me.

Here are the images: im not sure if this will work

In my opinion this is in good condition, I am used to using university cameras which dont have lens caps or cases and generally are a bit battered. I have had no problems with the negs I have produced from the uni cameras, and I guess they cant be in great condition.

It's not the 1991 "50 years" commemorative plaque.
I haven't seen this before, i think. It looks 'genuine' though, albeit not in the place where Hasselblad would put a plaque.

It's an old (1980) C lens.
Not the newer CF lens that was part of the kit. The item description's mention of a CF lens is wrong.

The film magazine is, i think, pre-1985, i.e. from at least 5 years before they starting selling the "Classic" kit.

So except for perhaps the body, the box is the only thing that was part of a "Classic" package.

But you're not looking to buy a genuine "Classic" package, but a nice, working camera, that will give good use for years to come.

But on the whole, i wouldn't be very excited about this kit myself.
Yet the price seems 'rightish'.
It being a C lens makes more of a difference than it having tiny scratches on it. A good CF lens goes for twice as much as a good C lens.

The plaque might be part of a local distributor's sales c&aign.
I'll have to go through some papers to see if i can find anything on it.
wow I am totally amazed, you know everything!

So by looking, how can I tell the difference between the C and CF lens?

It really shows how little I know.

I found a few messgages of yours from a few years ago on another forum and either you or the person posing the question stated something about having 3 serial numbers on the box its self, I am presuming these should, if it was the original kit, correspond to the body, back and lens. As I said I am still awaiting the serial numbers from the seller.

If only it wasnt 2 years ago, she may have still had the camera to sell.

do you have a picture of the "500 Classic" with the proper plaque? I would be interested to see it, as I cant find any images online. Although I found the other Aniversary cameras with coloured leather and gold.

Thanks again,


The design and ergonomics of CF lenses is rather different from that of C lenses.
One tell-tale sign is the focussing ring: 'knurled' metal ring on C lenses, ruberized grip surfaces on CF lenses.

But to confuse matters, there are later versions Hasselblad lenses (CFi/CFE) too.

Have a peek in, say, the 553ELX manual for CF lenses, and the 500 C manual for C lenses.
You can find these manuals here.

The box will display the serial numbers of the items inside.
But like i said, neither lens (certain) nor the magazine (very likely) are older, and not part of the original kit that came in that box.

I don't get what you mean when you say "if only it wasn't 2 years ago [...]".

I think that the seller is being less than honest by selling this as a kit.

Go buy from a reputable dealer.

I'm sorry, but i can't find a picture of the "50 years" commemorative plaque that was put on the 500 C/M body in the "Classic" kit in 1991.
Not one that i can put onlie easily. I'll have a further look around, or perhaps scan a picture from a book.

Apropos books: do you know Richard Nordin's excellent "Hasselblad System Compendium"? And Wildi's "Hasselblad Manual"?
Both great resources. See this page (you will have to scroll a bit).

I have and presume that you do also, some pdf. V catalogs. If you like I will send them to you for you Historical site. I tried to send Laura one through the forum, but it did not work.



I don't want to "rain on your parade" but a few words of caution.

Is the seller re-listing this camera or has he contacted you outside the parameters of Ebay?

If it's the latter, I suggest you be very, very careful. I don't know how much experience you have on buying via Ebay but there are some less than trustworthy individuals plying their wares out there.

If you read much of the preamble/postamble, from Ebay, you will note that they caution you against dealing directly with the seller of a previously listed item,subsequently being offered outside of the system.

You will have absolutely no protection from Ebay and possibly Paypal.

Once again......tread carefully!

ps You may not have lost it by 2.64p. If you had bid higher, then the successful buyer may have bid higher. You don't know how far he/she would have gone. (If infact there was a "buyer") I have not been "burned" on Ebay, but I have felt various degrees of increased temperature!!!


Thanks for the offer.
I think i do have some catalogues in 'digital' form, yes. Have to go look which ones though.

But that will be another day. Have to get up early, and it's way past bedtime. I'm afraid i'll be like this
tomorrow morning.
>Here is a photo of the plaque on the 1991 commemorative Anniversary >500 Classic. Not sure it was ever shown in any of the annual >catalogs?
As an experienced eBay buyer and seller, I strongly recommend that you fall out of love with this deal. There is nothing special about any deal like this. As mentioned before, you have been approached outside of eBay - stay away.

You may have the auction hunt sickness.

When buying, look at the seller closely - especially feedback. Also, there are several very reputable dealers on ebay - look for them. The price comparison with KEH is also an excellent suggestion.

One of my "deals" that I bought into early on was a lovely Nikon telephoto that wound up going to Nikon for repair (complete overhaul) for mucho bucks. I could have bought the thing new....

Also, just as another suggestion, be prepared to have your Hassy purchase CLA'd (Cleaned, Lubricated, Adjusted) by a reputable technician. I recently purchased an 180CF lens (used) that had a sticky shutter. Once CLA'd, it works wonders.

(I once went berserk at a surplus auction and wound up with 20 adding machines, 7 sewing machines, and a pile of surplus computer boards which I had no understanding of. My wife went berserk too....)