The Hoff – Rolls 3&4. Learning the Hasselblad 2000fcw

If you are following this I have embarked on a journey to learn to use my newly acquired camera by shooting 52 rolls through it and then putting down my thoughts on this blog.

Last time you may recall I had an issue with the film, there were overlapping frames on the negative and I did not know why. The advice I received was to wind on the crank in a more gentle fashion to see if that helped and if not get the magazine serviced.

Thus I set out on a trip to Brighton (UK) carrying two rolls of Portra 800 as the weather was changeable so I did not know what light I would get.

I choose to load the film on the train down to Brighton. About 20 or so minutes of trying to spool it, it suddenly occurred to me what I had done wrong last time and that I am an idiot ( no no please don’t all rush to correct me).

Turns out I can’t read instructions properly and secondly it seems to be a theme with this camera and I, I feel the need to over complicate things based on its reputation.

What did I do wrong. Let me explain.

Take a look at picture 5. It is showing that the tongue of the paper should be put into the take up spool. Last time I read it completely different. I somehow managed to read that as run the paper through the rollers, not over them. Thus I had threaded the film through one roller at the start then across and under and through the other end before putting it on the take up spool. How did I know this is what I had done, you ask? Because I spent the best part of 25 minutes trying to load the Portra 800 exactly the same way and was getting extremely frustrated at not being able to get the paper in between the first roller. It was then I stopped looked at it rationally and thought. No way would they make it this hard, took another look at the book and had the lightbulb moment of Oh so that’s what they mean. The film was loaded in seconds after that.

As you will see, no issues with frame spacing or camera advance this time.

So what did I learn or take from my shooting for the day? Firstly, the camera does attract a lot of attention. The couple of times I have used it now people have come up to me asking about it and photography in general. Thankfully not saying “wow they still make film for those things”. I don’t mind this at all as it’s interesting to meet people and hear their stories about photography.

The next thing that struck me and this is hard to describe as it’s a feeling, but it feels very intuitive to use. I can fire off a couple of shots almost as quickly as I do with my OM1n the only difference with The Hoff is that I need to meter the scene first. At its basic set up for shooting, it really is not a difficult camera.

The other thing to mention is that I was hesitant buying this camera because of the waist level finder and imagined I would need a prism finder. This was based on the fact that when I used a Yashica Mat G I felt as seasick as a landlubber that had just got on a small fishing vessel in a storm. For some reason The Hoff does not do this to me. I think and Mat G people please correct me if I am wrong but it helps the up and down are the right way, was it the same on the Mat G? But mainly it also helps that the camera is long with a lens, almost like playing a driving game and having the car bonnet in the scene to help.

As mentioned I loaded with Portra 800 a favourite c-41 colour film of mine. There is no doubt it is an expensive film but I can live with that for a few reasons:

  1. Most of my colour shooting is done with slide film and processed E6. Thus the Portra 800 with C-41 development actually works out cheaper for me when you add both the cost of the films and the development and scanning of them.
  2. I love the colours of Portra 800. I have never been a fan of Portra 400 (too warm/orange for my tastes)
  3. It is very versatile film and handles different light, even within a scene really well, You can shoot it rated at 200, 400 or 800 and mainly get good results in terms of colour and exposure. It’s not a miracle worker though!

So in terms of images here are some that I will share today

The one below is an example where I shot a bit too much into the sun. One thing I probably should think of getting, even though unlikely to help in this scene is a lens hood.

The other ‘accessory’ I need to get is a good strap. The one on the camera is the standard thin leather Hasselblad one. Nothing wrong with it, just don’t find it overly comfortable. Now I could be sensible and get a new one that had all the supports and recommendations and looks very nice, I believe Optech (?) come highly rated, but I won’t. This is a beautiful camera and I want a beautiful strap to complement it. I don’t care if that makes me a ‘Show Pony’ yes it’s a working camera but why should it not also be adorned in the finest. Tap and Dye are current top of my list, but I continue to research.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this update, plenty more to come.

2 thoughts on “The Hoff – Rolls 3&4. Learning the Hasselblad 2000fcw

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