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Comparing C645 to a Hasselblad

avid

Member
Anybody here who own both a Contax 645 and a Hasselblad (any model), which one do you prefer shooting with more? Does one camera get preference over the other due to any particular unique characteristics (like the rendering from respective Zeiss lenses), square format or some such reason? Is one more convenient or reliable than the other? Any particular reason to have both? How do they compare overall in terms of image quality, even though both cameras sport Zeiss lenses? Just curious.
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
Have C645, Hasselblad 503CW and 203FE that I use on a regular basis.

Hasselblad has a wider range of lenses to select from. However, all of them can be adapted to the C645 with any number of adapters, but must be used with stopped down metering and shooting ... not good if you like to shoot at f/8 ; -) (I also use the Hasselblad lenses on a Canon 1DMKII digital body via an adapter, but tend to use them with wide open apertures).

None of the C645 lenses can be used on any other camera because they are electronically controlled apertures so they could not be stopped down at all even IF there were adapters, which there are not (all the Hasselblad lenses are mechanical, so they can be stopped down).

The C645 offers auto-focus lenses which the 500 and 200 series Hasselblads do not. It is a focal plane shutter camera that has a higher top shutter speed than the Hasselblad 200 series (1/4000th verses 1/2000th).

Hasselblad C series lenses are leaf shutter type and provide flash sync at all shutter speeds to 1/500th which is good for stopping action better, and for use with fill flash in bright conditions. The 200 series focal plane cameras sync up to 1/90th and the Contax syncs to 1/125th, which limits their use in certain conditions and with certain lenses.

Quality of the glass is fairly comparable. There are shining ex&les of outstanding performance in each system. I'd give the edge to Hasselblad here because there are more spectacular performers than in the C645 system.

Hasselblad 500 series is the most versatile MF system available, and virtually all digital backs fit it from the very first backs offered, to the latest ones just announced. Most also can be fitted to the C645, but we'll have to see if that continues as we move into the future because Kyrocera has discontinued the entire Contax line.

If anything in my arsenal of photo gear goes, it'll be the Mamiya RZ system first, then the C645 system ... the Hasselblad is here to stay, and I have recently upgraded all the lenses to CFi or CFE status and added any lens I had missing ... from 35 to 350 as well as 2 E type extenders.

When I order my next digital back it will be for the Hasselblad 500 series system ... which includes a 500SWC as well as the 503CW.
 

bobk

New Member
I have both the 645 Contax and a 503 Hasselblad. The main reason for going to the Contax was the auto-focus. My eyes are not as good as they used to be and I was getting images that were not sharp. Other than that, I don't think I would have switched as I prefer the square format.
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
I sometimes had similar Hasselblad focussing issues as Robert.

A flip magnifier on my meter prism solved that completely for me ... and the correct diopter on the waist level finder solved it there.
 

johnw

Member
I'm going back and forth. I've had the C645 for a few years and recently got into Hassy due to the light and compact nature of the standard bodies (without prism or motor drive). I've really enjoyed the WLF and ground glass for composing, especially landscape. I've made some mistakes forgetting to do certain procedures, like manually stopping down CF or CFi lenses prior to metering or exposing with my 203FE. So, for me, when I'm mentally or physically tired on a mountain trail, I'm more likely to make mistakes with the Hassy bodies. But its really just getting into a set routine of procedures - just using the camera a lot until everything's second nature. I will try to compose in whatever format I'm using, but Ive been suprised how many scenes DO lend themselves to the square composition. I like the Hassy 50, 80 and 180 lens a little better than most of Contax lenes - seem to have more contrast or better color, or ? and they work on the C645 w/ the adapter. I probably like the Hassy better when I really want to slow down and pretend I'm a fine art photog. Both cameras be optimized on a tripod w/mirror lock up - the Contax is just more automated. But Hassy is still around and theres a mega market in used Hassy equipment. Both cameras accept digital backs and you can use one back on both with adapters (Imacon I think).
 
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