My question comes about as a result of the quality advancements in the medium format market by Hasselblad's competitors.
Hasselblad definitely has some photographic heavy-hitters promoting its equipment.
And not only does Hasselblad have a quality reputation, but it has a pricetag to match.
Is the quality difference enough to warrant such a large difference in price?
I have only shot with a MAMIYA 645 1000s, so my opinion is based only on one brand.
I've seen the results of both Hasselblad and Mamiya cameras; and in the hands of good photographers, I can discern very little difference between the performance of the two cameras and the quality of their respective images.
As a side note, it seems that fine camera manufacturers and watchmakers have something in common: the best ones are either East-Asian or North European.
They're both good. However, Hasselblad (is that the correct spelling?) is better made, and uses Zeiss lenses. My brother-in-law swears by Zeiss. But for me, I simply cannot afford this, so I make due with what I can barely afford. (I used to have a Yashica large format cam. It did the job.)
It's most likely that the blad is worth it's price. It's way out of my budget, but it's like anything else, if you want it you will have to pay for it.
Sort of like the Rollies or a Benz. They built the quality in for those who demand or desire that level of quality. The engineer who figures out how to cut $1.25 from the production cost of my Cavalier will probably get a bonus at the end of the year (cutting costs and building cheaper is a priority). At Benz, rather than cut quality or build-down the quality, they just give you a little less car (C-230), smaller but every bit as good as one would expect of a Benz. It's all in where your/their priorities are.
Nothing wrong with Hassies. I've shot with both a Hassie, and a Mamyia a few times doing some portraiture work back in the early 90's fresh out of HS. owned a Bronica EC, but always dreampt of a Rollei 6000 series. Only thing I have never owned was a Pentax MFC. I found no one brand to be considerably better than another one. (There's something I always liked about the design of the 6003.)
Aaron J. Heiner Team Coast Guard Photographer US Department of Homeland Security
Hasselblad has the (well earned) reputation of being the finest cameras with the absolute best glass available. If it's worth the money to you to KNOW you have the best available, buy it. If not, look for the best alternative.
Mamiya makes great stuff. It will serve you very well. But if you find yourself frequently wondering if this picture would look better with a Zeiss lens or would have more detail etc. then you should save up and buy a Hasselblad and never look back.
Nikonian in the High Desert of Southern California.
I feel that the number of ten, twenty and thirty year old Hassie's on the market speaks enough of them. I will save and eventually own one some day. I suppose I just like the simplicity of a 501CM. Thats just me though... Neal The Floridian Nikonian
With the advent of hi performance 35mm based digitals with big megs looming, I wouldn't want to be a manufacturer of any medium format system. I think prices and value will tumble on all. Some quicker than others. Ones that havent adapters to digi,Pentax 6x7, for example are plumeting.even Blads will stumble, if not fall in value. Im ex-Blad, currently Pentax, Im afeared.... but DSC-14 in 3 weeks hopefully!!!! happy shootin
I also have to say that I bought a new Rollei SL66 from an ex-vet for $150.00 (1970). Yes, new.
I soon realized that getting the film at the local drug store was getting harder and harder (1971). Also, my enlarger was a Patterson 35 (not 2 1/4 compatible), and there was no way I could afford a differant lens.
This issue is like comparing a Rolex to a Swatch. They both give time, maybe the Swatch even more accurately as it is quartz and the Rolex mechanic. But there is no way you can compare them. The first has jewel status, the other is a utility piece.
JRP, if you ever need to clear out space, feel free to mail me one of the Hasselblads. I generally don't accept charity, but could make an exception at least once...
Dougie, or anyone who cares; You can't beat the 35mm slr for convienence, interchangable lenses, size and weight, etc. BUT, if you want to blow up a photo to say, 16 X 16 or 24 X 24, just about any medium format will beat just about any 35mm hands down. It's not the lens or particular system being used, it's the film size. 120 film will give you the same image spread over 3 times as much negative as the 35. There is a tremendous amount of potential in that big film size.
Overrated? I don't think so. Just as I don't think the Rollei's or Nikons are overrated. I'm with JRP on this one, and I think his little analogy is fairly accurate...