Medium Format Forum

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.



Well-Known Member
I had a look to HASSELBLAD's new WEB-PAGE and found , there is no more V-SYSTEM catalogue as a download version .
Under products for the V-SYSTEM i can only find the 503CW and some lenses and accessories.
Does this mean the SWC905 is out of production ? ? ?
Is the 503CW the only V-SYSTEM surviver ? ? ? And , if so , how long will that be the true ? ? ?
The SWC is out of production. At the photokina I was told that still 503CW bodies are assembled. I was also told that Hasselblad still receives lenses from Zeiss. But some lenses are not shown any more in their catalogue (small brochure) like the Superachromat 250. But be prepared fr the worst: that all you can buy from the Hasselblad V-system is what is left available from stock. Buy now if you want to buy new.

> I'm glad I already have the XPan and 903SWC. I had been toying > with selling one to finance some other "immediate" purchases, and > then (hopefully) replace it when $$$ was more plentiful in the > future, but now I think I'll hold onto both.
That's the problem ... few are buying new.

The pro studios and institutions that keep that going ... are going digital. That's where all the effort and money is being spent. The 503 has the CFV back to keep it afloat for awhile, but I'm sure that won't last either.

I've a line on a 203FE new at a dealer which I can get for $1,400. I think I'll do it.
For the wide "un-distorted" images, Hasselblad are probably hoping the new 28mm lens will make the SWC obsolete... a real shame. At least they will be plentiful on ebay for some time yet.

Most of my gear is new , simply because i hate having trouble .
And , just to make shure , i don't want to show off here , but in between my HASSELBLAD collection , I have still aquired a SWC905 and one of the last 503CW 's .
That completes my V-SYSTEM to a 500CM 501CM 503CW 201F 203FE and a SWC905 , all either new or mint . Not talking about the other friends in my collection .

Now , when the CFV back was announced , i think , if it would have been available right away , i would have bought it . Glad , i did not . ! ! !

So , i would like to bring up an other discussion , just to see , what other photographers would decide to do .

I use , with joy , a BRONICA RF645 (great camera) , HASSELBLAD V-SYSTEM , FUJI GW 690III , HORSEMAN 6x12 and also an ARCA SWISS SYSTEM 6x9 and 4x5 inch including a vacuum back .

Why the hell should i buy a CFV back ? ? ?
I am very much thinking of replacing my ARTIX SCAN 1800F by a FLEXTIGHT X1 instead .
That would allow me to use all my gear in the hybrid way .

Is there anybody out there who could share his experience in the hybrid workflow here ? ? ?
I use a hybrid method, scanning my slides and negatives with my Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400. This of course will only scan 35mm film and I am looking at new options to scan my medium format films. Among the options is the thought of paying someone else to scan them. While this is not a cheap option, it is considerably cheaper than buying an Imacon/Hasselblad scanner and it is cheaper in time as it allows a photographer to be out taking photgraphs rather then being stuck in front of a computer. I do have a now rather elderly Canon flat bed which does a surprisingly good job on medium format.

The trouble with scanning using one of the scanners that most of us can afford without mortgaging the house or selling the car (probably both cars and then some in my case - and you can't drive around in a scanner) is the time it takes. It takes forever and "digitising" 50 years worth of work would take another 50 years, which is not really a practicable prospect although admittedly I used to send much time in the dark room but somehow it was not as all time consuming as working on a computer with a scanner.

I like film. I like to be able to use my existing expensively acquired equipment and I like to be able to hold a negative or slide in my hand and look at it rather than having to access an electronic file.

That said, for convenience, I want to digitise my pictures and also so that I can upload them to the library I supply. For convenience again, I probably will eventually go digital and forsake the benefits of film but that still doesn't get around the current scanning need.

I would love an Imacon with the quality of scans it produces and to me, very importantly, the speed at which it does them. A little while ago I suggested in one of the threads that buying one of those was the way to go because although it costs an arm and a leg or two there should, all being well, be no further need to upgrade anything again and it could work out to be cost effective. Joseph and Marc have bought them and Marc's reports are glowing. If I could afford it, that is what I would do.

Jürgen, Unfortunately I am not in the position to tell you about the "hybrid way". But be aware that the Flextight X1 does not have hardware based ICE and that the software based dust removal feature is not very impressing. I had the chance to see that in detail during the photokina. When it removes dust it also removes important details from the picture like the catchlight in the eyes.

digital. That's where all the effort and money is being spent. The 503 > has the CFV back to keep it afloat for awhile, but I'm sure that won't > last either.>

One realizes the costs involved with developing, manufacturing, and selling the various digital backs available for our V system Hasselblads. However, it does not take much intuition to realize that the costs of such units have effectively limited the sales of the CV and other digital backs to Hasselblad professionals and wealthy hobbyists. I guess that Hasselblad will have to be content with selling less cameras, and selling digital to the segment of the population that can rationalize the large cash outlay. When one looks about at the prices of various "high end" digital gear ( Rollei, the H system, etc. ) one can readily see that MF digital ( at least with regards to Hasselblad and Rollei ) will cost not much less then an entry level Nissan or Toyota.

Will the demand for MF digital be enough so as to tempt Mamiya and others to produce MF digital at a price point that is low enough to entice users to "defect" to their systems, or will some Hasselblad users consider switching to one of the very excellent higher end DSLR cameras ( e.g., Nikon D200 ) that will cost about 25% as much ( including some excellent Nikon lenses ) as the CV back? As long as film is around one can continue to use the V system, and selectively scan images so as to merge film and digital. I might add that if one selectively scans just those images that one considers "worth-while" improving and then printing, the excellent scans done at a professional lab need not be cost prohibitive. An alternate "work flow" might involve ( with E 6 ), developing, evaluating with a very selective eye, scanning by a professional lab, and then printing ( if one projects slides then such work flow is obviously not an issue ). With C41 the work flow would be similar, but one might need to have a contact proof sheet in order to evaluate ( or, of course, prints of each frame ). There is no need to scan each image into the computer, and thus the use of a costly, high end "home" scanner might not be deemed to be necessary-especially since many here have spoken of the uneven results ( and the prodigious time needed ) obtained with even the best scanners. To those of us who expose a limited number of frames and yet feel the need to enter the MF digital world such an approach will allow us to continue to use the V series for the forseeable future. All bets are off if and when film becomes harder to find and much more costly. Should such an eventually occur then the digital SLR approach is the way I would go.

The question is whether Hasselblad will be selling less cameras. One could buy a V series camera and use it for decades. The life span of pro level digital is now measured in months.

Look at the recent introduction of the HD3 ... less than a year from the H2D ... the HD3 is the only camera that takes the new 28mm. The upgrade path is promoted, and the cost of that upgrade can be as high as a new 503CW.

Commercial use is driving this onslaught. Almost no one shoots film for commercial applications now (there are exceptions). All reproduction printing is now digital and clients will not pay for $50.00 to $70.00 drum scans on 200 catalog shots.

In many ways I would hate going back to film for many jobs I do. The CFV back on a V camera can pay for itself in less than a year of shooting portraits. No re-shoots. Shoot right to a computer screen and the client buys it right then and there ... they leave prints in hand.

Scanning is my preferred personal way of making images. Mostly B&W. It just requires the same disipline as one employed in the darkroom when it comes to dust removal. My 949 scans a 6300 dpi neg in under 2 minutes, and there is very little dust if any because I prep the negs the same way I did for the enlarger.
I find that contacts and small proof prints don't really let me compare which negatives to scan as well as doing pre scans on to the computer so I tend to pre scan each strip and then choose the ones to do a final scan. Although it's easier with slides I find the same applies to an extent. Also, for old negatives, I usually haven't any proofs or contacts.

A problem with digital for me also would be that the Library I send pictures to, while it doesn't reject small file sizes, asks for files between 48 and 100 MB with a preference for files around 48MB saying there is little call for files larger than 50MBish. It frowns upon interpolation, even using Genuine Fractals and asks to be informed when GF has been used.

I hadn't realized that the Imacon did not have digital ICE. I do prefer that although some people say that it softens images. I was looking at a Microtek scanner mainly because of the price but was being put off partly because it doesn't have ICE although it comes with Silverfast which has its own dust removal program.

Does anyone know what ICE is an acronym for?
John Strain (JSMISC) response to query on ICE

The mission of the Information and Content Exchange (ICE) Protocol is to facilitate the controlled exchange and management of valued electronic assets between partners and affiliates across the Web. Applications based on ICE allow companies to easily construct syndicated publishing networks by establishing Web Services based information networks.

The ICE specification, originally developed in 1998 by a community of 80 content providers and software venders, provides businesses with an XML-based common language and architecture to facilitate automated delivery, update and management of content assets in a trusted fashion without manual packaging or knowledge of remote Web-site structures.

Unlike lightweight syndication protocols, we have designed ICE 2.0 to support industrial-strength content syndication. ICE 2.0 is the only XML-based Web syndication protocol that provides for subscription management, verification of delivery, and scheduled delivery in both push and pull modes.

Lightweight syndication protocols, such as RSS, have proven quite useful for the distribution of links-free content, but remain limited in their ability to enforce business rules. ICE is the protocol for syndicators who distribute 'valued content' intended to generate a revenue stream or who require guaranteed delivery in a secure environment.

While ICE 1.0 was contained in a single specification document, ICE 2.0 has been modularized and is presented as a six-document set that includes ICE 2.0: Primer, ICE 2.0: Cookbook, ICE 2.0: Basic ICE Specification, ICE 2.0: Full ICE Specification, ICE 2.0: Schemas and Scripts, and ICE 2.0: Guidelines to Extending the Protocol. The six-document specification, set as well as the .XSD and .WSDL s&le files, can be downloaded
V system disappearing?

Hasselblad is just not the same company it once was, nor is photography the same medium it once was. Hasselblad has attempted to re-invent its core business with reliance on digital and automatic focus as key system components. YET the days of Victor Hasselblad, where the Hasselblad was chosen for 'Man on the Moon' are long past. Moon photos changed Hasselblad into a company which stood for a quality combination of lens and camera using 'film'.

Digital is relatively new, and rapidly changing. Digital is limited by factors of pixels, number of pixels, file storage, file transfer times, etc. What ever the limits are today, will be surpassed tomorrow with technology advances. Technology end points are unknown.

What is known, is that Hasselblad Film cameras are antiques, which produce superb images with Ziess lenses. A photographer's skill dictates whether or not he has produced 'Art'. Art is constantly being defined anew. Film has become an Art Form.

I would suggest that any form of digital back is obsolete the minute it hits the market. Yet Film backs despite being 'antique' is simple, easy to operate, fool proof, and can operate for years.

There are dedicated Hasselblad users who are creative 'Artists'. They will continue to use their equipment, make quality images, and appreciate their work product. Image factories such as our fashion industry, industrial products, and consumer products will cater to the photographer who can produce inexpensive quantity images, from which a final image will be chosen for 'Print'.

YET even 'Print' is changing, as it moves from paper media to web media. As you all know Web media does not need 49 megabyte files for publishing. Thus the artist who produces a 12" x 12", 16" x 16", 20" x 20" or larger finished print, will survive all of this using his 'V' System.
Obsolescence is a marketing concept when applied to photography. While digital technology may advance even more in the coming years, it has reached a place where the advancements will be specialized, make things more convenient, or be small in comparison to the whole of digital capture.

I actually don't need more than the H2D/39 will deliver. So, I don't need to upgrade. I may want to, but don't need to anymore.

Film is great. I love how it looks. I have discovered something of a secret ... what a scanned film image looks like on a computer screen has little to do with what it looks like printed ... even when printed via an Ink-Jet.

In fact, scanned film looks worse than a digital file does on the screen, and looks better than a digital image when printed. Trust me, I do hundreds of these a month.

Digital Ice is great. It is too slow. It makes scanning a chore. I scan 40 to 50 MF and 35mm frames at a crack. The Imacon is a speed freak. It scans at a higher resolution with more D-Max than anything short of a $100,000. drum scanner. Dusting off negs is small price to pay for that speed. One wisk of my anti-static brush and a puff from the canned air, and Flextouch can deal with the rest by setting it lower so it doesn't affect the specular highlights.

Best of both worlds. It's a grat time to be a photographer ; -)
This thread turned out to be an interesting discussion . Thanks so far .

@ Marc
You pointed out the main thing and hit the nail on the head .
"BEST OF BOTH WORLDS" . So , as my work does not require immediate results , i can live very well with the hybrid way .
That enables me , to use all my gear with all formats , including shift and tilt in the 6x9 and 4x5 inch format . And there is no need for me , to buy a H-SYSTEM with all the cost for new lenses .

As Mark already pointed out , dust is not really a problem . An antistatic brush and compressed air , helps a lot , but not all . But then , we still have photoshop .
Retousche has never been so easy as with photoshop .

So my plans turn out to replace my ARTIX SCAN 1800F by a FLEXTIGHT X1 .
But the price is extremely high . I just can not afford at the moment .
But in comparison to a digiback for my V-SYSTEM cameras , that scanner would give me much more equivalent , as then , i can use all my gear to go digital with a better resolution , my ARTIX gives me currently .

Marc , as i understand , you already have some experience with an IMACON 646 .
I would very much like to know about the quality of the scans . Can you share some of your experience . I would be very pleased to learn more about this scanner .

The 646 is very similar to the FLEXTIGHT X1 . Is that true ? ? ?

Regards Jurgen

In additon to the end of the 903SWC. Perhaps this is an indicator of what I was told some months ago that, when the commemorative units were gone that would be the end of production of the V system.