To continue the SWC saga -
Despite searching around the internet for ages, I failed to turn up a nice silver lens SWC at the right sort of price. I did find out one useful thing however, which is that the silver lens SWCs from 1966 onwards (serial numbers TTW) to 1969 (TEW) have the later style backplate which will take a CFV digital back. So that is a handy thing to know. With all of these non-/M models though, there will be a problem with the tripod mounting plate, which will either have to be removed, or be spaced out, /M style, or be shortened in order to clear the CFV battery.
In the end I decided to get a black lens SWC and see how I liked it. In the past I have avoided the black ‘C’ lenses because they wear so badly – the black finish wears off rather too easily and the metal below shows through, making them look really tatty very quickly. Whereas the silver lenses carry their scars rather more gracefully. The SWC I eventually tracked down turned out to be a little beauty – see the pic below (with the CFV-39 back attached). The black finish is almost pristine, the focus ring is smooth as silk, the shutter is lively at all speeds, and most importantly the glass is perfect, with not a mark on the front or rear elements. This one is from 1972 (UHW), and it has certainly been looked after very well indeed for a Hasselblad which is almost forty years old. As you can see, the CFV back integrates perfectly with the camera and the whole kit looks all of a piece.
Over the past few years I had been collecting SWC bits and pieces when I saw them, so I already had lens caps, filter retaining ring and UV filters, lens hood and the 645 mask for the viewfinder. I have only had a couple of days to get some test shots, but so far things are looking more hopeful than the prophets of doom at Hasselblad and photo.net would have you believe. There are a couple of odd quirks -
* Very occasionally when the camera shutter fires, it does not trigger the CFV back, and I have to re-take the shot. This has never happened with my 500s.
* The CFV back has settings in the setup menu for the various Hasselblad cameras, view cameras etc. Strangely, when it is set to “SWC” (as it should be), it malfunctions – the images are underexposed with a horrible magenta cast. If I set the back to “500” instead (which is what I normally use) it functions perfectly. Very odd. And again, worth knowing.
As far as the test shots go, I can’t say I have noticed any great problems at all. The 38mm Biogon is one nice (and very wide) lens. Yes, it is a little bit soft in the corners, but absolutely no worse than the 50 and 60mm Distagons on the 500. Seeing how close the rear element is to the sensor, I’m amazed how good it is. I’ve shot a few frames of blank sky and I do not see the awful magenta/cyan colour casts that were prophesied either, and as I work in B/W anyway this is a non-issue. One thing that surprised me is that handheld shots are rather prone to camera shake – I need to keep the shutter speed at 1/125s and upwards. Probably I need to work on my technique. Anyhow, I attach a couple of test shots just for fun – nothing artistic, just buildings next to my cottage which make handy subjects.
When I bought this SWC, I was thinking that I would play around with it until a nice silver lens one came along, grab that instead and sell the black one on. I might still do that, but I must say that I am already rather fond of it – it’s hard to find one as nice as this for a sensible price.