First Rolls | Hasselblad 500 c/m | Marc Nagainis

I have a theory about hunting for used cameras, wherein the closer you get to that payment sweet spot, the more you will love that camera.  I’m frugal (ask my wife) so most of my purchases will tend to be low cost and high return. For me, it's not the kill, but the thrill of the chase.  I’m also not a collector, I’m a user and I shoot everyday. None of my cameras sit on a shelf and look pretty, although some don't get used anywhere near as much as they should.  I process all my own film at home, and scan to digital with an Epson v550. I have a B&W darkroom in the basement that will someday get the love it deserves.

This camera was my first foray into film photography after an extended hiatus.  I was wholly digital from 2001 up until 2014 but in retrospect, I was looking for a change. That change came in spades.  To contrast;  prior to 2014, i had amassed a digital archive of perhaps 25,000 shots.  Since 2014 I have shot digital with my Iphone, and perhaps 50 frames with my various digital cams while averaging 70+ rolls of film a year.  My goal was a film roll a week and a film photo a day published on my website.  I’m into year 2 with the website and going strong and have easily surpassed the “roll a week”.  My Hassy.  It's a trooper. I take that thing everywhere.  Street shooting, landscape, macro, colour, black and white, slides?  Check check check. I’d estimate that between the hassy and my Fuji GA645, they account for 95% of my shooting these days.



The Hassy was acquired in a trade.  I swapped a Fuji X-10 digital camera (a great little cam) and a Wacom Intuos tablet for a user condition Hasselblad 500 c/m body, 80mm lens, 2x A-12 backs, a 45 degree non metered viewfinder, a few focussing screens, bellows and other odds and ends.  Straight trade.  I think I got the better deal.  About a year later i was able to purchase the same gentlemens Zeiss 150 f4.  The one that got away was his 50mm Distagon f4 which he passed along to another photographer.  Oh well, perhaps I’ll find one someday...  Time to set up an eBay alert :)

There really isn’t much that I could say about the Hassy that hasn’t been better said by far more knowledgeable people than I.  Sure, it's finicky sometimes, frame spacing can be a bit hit and miss and I have to replace the light seals in one of the backs... again, but i just love it.  Like all my equipment, it’s a user camera, and since I added a 55mm extension tube and an A-24 back, this was the "Summer of 2016’s" medium format daily driver (don't worry GA645i, daddy still loves you).  I’m shooting E-6 like it is going out of style and LOVING the results.  How come no one told me about this combo before?

If you ever have the chance to get a Hasselblad kit, go for it.  There’s a reason it has the reputation it has, both good and bad… you’ll love it.


Film photographer Marc Nagainis is based in Canada.  You can see more of his work on his website .