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Hasselblad SLR Film Cameras

Medium Format Photography and the Hasselblad SLR Film Camera

Hasselblad was established in 1937 as Viktor Foto. The company developed its first camera by reverse-engineering a German spy camera and then improving on the design for the Swedish military during World War II. The firm produced its first cameras for the civilian market in 1948.

What is a medium format camera?

A medium format camera features the following:

  • A viewfinder at waist level
  • A ground glass reflex screen
  • In some cases, a leaf shutter or focal plane shutters

The medium format camera uses 6 x 6 format film and an interchangeable film magazine, lenses, and viewfinders. Without lenses attached, a medium format camera resembles a box.

What is an SLR camera?

This term refers to a single lens reflex camera. The designation means it is not a point-and-shoot camera. You cannot set it to automatically focus on your subject, and you can change the lens out.

What film types can you use with medium format cameras?

This film comes in 120 or 220 rolls. The 120 rolls usually produce 12 exposures while the 220 rolls have 24. Some cameras cant use the 220 double rolls. The common size is 6 x 6, but you can also find 6 x 4.5. The 120 rolls feature a black paper back that protects the film from light exposure, so you can change the roll in daylight.

What are the technical advantages of medium format?

The larger film surface results in a crisper photo with less graininess by letting light-sensitive halide crystals distribute themselves further apart. This format lets a greater number of halide crystals collect on the surface. It provides a more easily developed film than larger format sheet film.

What are some unique uses of these cameras?

Hasselblad developed its first camera by reverse-engineering a German spy camera. The company improved on the design for the Swedish military during the second world war. The camera went behind enemy lines to help document the enemys situation. Another of its WWII designs was mounted to Swedish Air Force planes to document enemy territory and troop movements.

Two decades later, the firm sent one of its cameras into space when NASA took it into orbit in 1962. Seven years later, another of its hand-held medium format cameras went to the moon with NASA on Apollo 11. With it, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. took the first images on the moon and the first photos of Earth from the moons surface.

Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by Hasselblad.