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One for the holiday break so if you could what would you


Active Member
The thought crossed my mind yesterday, so I though I'd share it for everyone's comments and thoughts.

"If, today, I only owned the 35mm film equipment that I have (no digi junk in my house
), what MF system / gear would I buy today?

Bearing in mind that most of us got into out chosen MF system some time ago to gain the advantage of bigger film image and all that offers. So, all things "ceteris paribus" - whatever budget we might have and whatever our preferences have become - a different system, and why; a decision not to buy into MF today, and why; the same system and why; fewer lenses, and why; a mix of digi and film, and why....?

Now, I won't say what my answer is yet! But I will say that only one digital product has ever made me seriously contemplate a partial digital change-over lately - the Canon 5D. At it's nearly affordable price; full frame sensor and imaging quality this camera is just about an ideal replacement for my Canon EOS 1vHS. But nothing comes near my Leica M7.......


Though whether "MF" applies would be somewhat debatable, my choice would be an H2D.
Same high build quality and optical quality we Hasselbladians have grown to expect.

But i'm not sure i would not buy a Canon (or Nikon, if they pull up) instead.
Where's the MF advantage? 'Bigger' prices, yes. And 'bigger' gear. But the quality to match? Hardly.

With all signs saying that the Hasselblad V-System already is as dead* as the Contax and Bronica systems, i would not be buying V-System Hasselblad again.
I do enjoy the stuff, and even like to play with antiques, i also do like to be able to get things when and where i need them, and be able to rely on quick and competent service.

* Hasselblad is currently (per the 1st of january 2006) pulling out of the U.S, their single largest market. They only keep the New Jersey service facility, and let everything else be handled by (guess?) Imacon in Washington state (the final blow to the press releases of long ago, saying that Hasselblad and Imacon had become one company, trading under the Hasselblad name).
It need not be mentioned that for Imacon, the V-System does not exist, right?
Rumours, though very credible ones, are that the production of anything V-System related has been stopped already, and what's still available now will be available only for as long as stocks last. No more.
How long stocks will last? Dealers have been dumping their inventory on eBay for some time already. They will not be ordering. In fact, with Hasselblad dismanteling the network of dealers, there will be no dealers, except those selling H-System stuff and Imacon backs and scanners.
So talk to the factory in a short while, and you might be able to pick up their inventory for a low per-kilo (or whatever your favourite unit of weight is) price.
"So , if you could , what would you ? ? ? "

There is one thing for shure : i will not go into the new year with dreams of IMABLAD or HASSELCON . Never , ever ! ! ! And i will also not buy any SHRIROBLAD with a lot of FUJI GLAS . What i could imagine is an IMACON scanner like the 646 or 848 . The advantage for me would be , that i can scan all my negatives from 6x6 + 6x12 and even 4x5 inches . And , there is no cheaper way to keep your images stored , than have them on film . You do not have to worry about new formats , like JPEG , RAW and others , and that you will be able to read these files again in 3 or 4 years .

An other important point for me has become the fact , that the progress in digital imaging is so fast , that you shurely loose a lot of money , when buying today . Ok. I know , here comes the point , when is the correct time to buy ? ? ? Knowing , that IMACON is going for the 40 MEG chip , buying a 22 MEG back today could be a bad decision . A 22MEG back will shurely give you good pictures , but when you want to sell it , you will run in trouble .
So i have decided to go the hybrid way . Thats : using my superb V-SYSTEM gear , no new lenses , and using a minimum of digital equipment . My current scanner is an ARTIX 1800 and that machine gives me very good results . Especially for my 4x5 inch work .

My kind if work allows me , to have time , and therefore i will take the time and do a good hybrid workflow .
Welcome V-SYSTEM , i love you .

Since I just back into photography again after a long hiatus this past February, and just put together a 'Blad system what do you think my choice would be?
I am intrigued by the Gilde system though, and if I hadn't found a good deal on a late SWC/M was sorely tempted by the Alpa TC. A Panasonic LC-1 is the only piece of digital photo equipment I currently use.

If I were to acquire digital gear this coming year my answer is similar to Jurgen's for similar reasons -- an Imacon 343 is tabled as my next large purchase. However, that isn't going to happen until I have my current kit paid off, which likely won't be until mid '07. Now, if Blad/Imacon came out with an untethered digital back for the V system I would definitely reconsider my options -- an unlikely swan song for the V system?
Well, having given consideration to my own question, my answer is that I would chose exactly the same MF system as I have today - Hasselblad V series - with only one minor adjustment/exception.

Given today's Hassy V series pricing, today I would start with a 503CW body (I started with a 501CM body) and then add a 203FE (I added a 503CW) or similar body.

While an H series body would be very very tempting, I'd find it's cost (even in the used market) prohibitive and I think I'd still lust after the Carl Zeiss optics (although I have no negative view of Fujinon optics) as well as the 6x6 square format.

Today 6x6 square is still creatively compelling to me although the format itself does/should not restrict compositional style/framing. But, when I want a rectangular format I feel more confident framing in 6x6 in the knowledge I have plenty of "real estate" to work/crop with.

Even if I were starting out in MF today, I'd know that the V series is still digital "ready". And in the real world of a finite budget, I could not dip my toes in the digital waters of MF.

So even with my time again there is no other system that I'd select over my V series. I suppose there is some comfort in knowing that.

Having been careful to logically plan the purchase of each system and component I have (MF, 135 and LF) I've been lucky to never have purchased anything that had become redundant.

The closest thing to making a redundant purchase was having bought a beautiful used 24mm Elmarit-M ASPH Leica lens. But after 6 months of intensive use I learned that I see very wide images more as a panorama and cropped 100% of my 24mm images down to a panorama. This was at the obvious cost of printable size to do justice to the image.

I then discovered Hasselblad XPan and traded my Leica 24mm lens towards that system and have never looked back. In doing so I recoverred 100%+ of the 24mm lens cost, so have no regrets.

But with my Hassy V series every lens bought was as part of a long term plan, knowing what specific purpose each focal length has and over 5 years I progressively added them according to a priority plan.

Today I have just one lens to go - CF 60mm Distagon, which I'm itching for. I love the way that focal length appears in the square viewfinder.

Do others have any regrets about kit they bought - for ex&le any specific lens that turned out to be a bad idea for whatever reason?
I have regretted doing a Sonnar f/4 150 mm away. I thought the 120 mm would 'have it covered', and that i carried too much already.

But can you really have too many lenses? I think not. Though you can certainly carry too much!

So a bad, 'regrettable', decision that was.
QG, funnily enough the 150 was the last longer lens I added. Prior to then I was a bit unkind to that lens and focal length feeling it was no match for my 180 and 120 lenses. But, alas like you said some time ago, every lens has its place!

The 150's special place in my kit is for "longer" handheld, travel and street shooting - a quite (relatively speaking) compact and convenient lens to use. It is also a "kinder" portrait lens than the 180 (a favourite of mine) so has a role there too.

Just this weekend I went out with it and the 1.4xe to do some city shooting and really enjoyed using it - the AOV is beautiful and it's very nice to use "in the street"; even with the 1.4xe it's still "compact" enough giving me fantastic reach.

But when I want a minimum travel or street kit, the 150 and 1.4Xe and 80 or 60 (when it arrives) are optimal for my needs (hence my recent search for a 60).

Someone should warn budding Hassy 6x6 shooters that ultimately every lens in the range is a "must have"!