The 500C is a camera of outstanding quality. In fact, the quality is so high that NASA chose to use it as the camera to be used on Project Mercury, NASA’s first mission to put a human in orbit.
Image from shooterslab
Introduced in 1957 by Victor Hasselblad AB, the 500C was the camera that really established Hasselblad as one of the front runners of professional medium format photography. The quality of this new camera was so outstanding that NASA chose it for their first human space flight (the camera used was actually a slightly modified 500C.)
The camera is completely modular, i.e. everything is interchangeable, the lens, the viewfinder, the film magazine — and you can change them while you shoot! This really comes in handy when you loaded the camera with 100 iso film and are suddenly in a dark basement bar: Just take off the magazine and put on another one with faster film, and finish the first roll another time.
But this camera is more than just a piece of fantastic engineering art. It really has soul. Looking down the dirty viewfinder of this bulky camera, you’ll suddenly find yourself in slowly moving world of the past. You’ll feel like you are looking at the world through a cloud of cigarette smoke, and that sensuality in pure form is dripping down the walls just behind the narrow depth of field of the focus screen. If you put on a yellow filter (which I often do) the effect will multiply, and the world on the other side of that Carl Zeiss lens will seem like a mystical fairytale told by Wong Kar-wai.
It is my hope that I have been able to show a glimpse of the magic of this camera, which is my all time favorite. Below you’ll find some of the pictures I’ve taken with the 500C.