Monday, 6 January 2014

It's Hip to be Square

Hasselblad 503cx with Carl Zeiss 80mm C f/2.8 T* Planar and the other spoils of war
Yes, that's a Kodak coaster
A little while ago I bought a Hasselblad 503cx after an initial foray into medium format courtesy of James Ruff. Unfortunately I didn't have the funds for a lens and even though I attempted to purchase a single Zeiss 80mm f/2.8 from whatever 500 kit I came across, none seller was willing to separate lens and body lest the other get lonely.

Eventually I came across a BGN grade 80mm C T* on and I bit the bullet. And what a delicious bullet it was, none of that licorice shit, just good old-fashioned West German know-how.

Notwithstanding its BGN grading, it is a beautiful lens free from optical imperfections and showing very little wear on the barrel. I can even see the white shutter speeds and red exposure values inked on the front ring. Obviously Carl Zeiss was having a bit of trouble with the engraver during the entirety of the C T* production, perfectly willing to engrave the aperture values but unable to do the same with the shutter values.

Still, the whole thing is wonderfully over-engineered and still leaves me wondering who the hell thought the union of the shutter speed and the aperture as one was a good idea. I don't think I've ever used it the way it is engineered. If you don't know what I'm talking about, when you set an aperture value and shutter speed, the two and then linked when you rotate the rings. You change the values separately by pushing on a little silver tab and then moving the ring. It's designed so you can change your depth of field while keeping the same exposure value. I'm sure someone on Whirlpool will have some idea I joke. They only have an idea about every item except the one you're asking about. LOLs. JKS. Film is totes rad. Pentax is better than Nikon etc.

But I digress. It's a beautiful piece of kit. Now I just have to work out how the hell I'm going to scan the negatives, considering I gunned for a Nikon Coolscan 5000ED instead of its bigger 120-capable brother, the Coolscan 9000ED back in 2009. Even though I consider them brothers, they don't particularly look alike. It's as if they came from different times, different fathers perhaps. Same colour skin, different features. For today's discerning photographer (aren't we all?) Plustek offers the very nice Opticfilm 120 at a reasonable price...

A big thanks to James and Chris Zissiadis (urbanlight) for stoking my medium format fire until I got my shit together.

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