Hasselblad is a Swedish manufacturer of high-quality still photography cameras based in Gothenburg, Sweden. The company was established in 1841 as a trading company. In the 1890s, Hasselblad began distributing photographic products from Eastman. The photography branch grew, and during the second world war Victor Hasselblad was commissioned to develop an aerial camera for the Royal Swedish Air Force. After the war, camera production changed into civilian cameras. Introduced in 1948, the Hasselblad 1600F was a medium format SLR that became the camera of choice for many professional photographers.
Perhaps the most famous use of the Hasselblad camera was during the Apollo Program missions when man first set foot on the moon. All photographs taken during these missions used specially modified Hasselblad cameras.
Hasselblad cameras are still widely used by professional and serious amateur photographers. One reason is the superior image quality of 6x6cm size rollfilm over smaller film and digital sensor formats, along with a reputation for long service life.
In August 2004 Hasselblad merged with the Danish company Imacon A/S. Imacon is a manufacturer of digital photography equipment, e.g. digital camera backs.1
A pictorial History of Hasselblads, a unique system consists of a body, lens removable film magazine and interchangable viewfinders. Each lens incorporates its own leaf shutter. The design has been copied by several other medium format camera manufacturers. Although recent models incorporate electronics, the bulk of the cameras are totally mechanical incorporating intricate interlocks. The use of interchangable film backs allow a photographer to change film types in mid roll.
One of the highlights in Hasselblad history was its role in the US space program. The moon camera used by Neil Armstrong was a Hasselblad 500EL/70 (special model 500 with a motor drive and a 70 mm film back). Due to weight restrictions only the film (backs) returned to earth with the astronauts. There are 12 Hasselblads available free, for the next person who visits the moon.
The 500 C/M was in production from 1970 until 1989. A Hasselblad camera or accessory can be dated by a 2 letter code in the serial number. V H P I C T U R E S represents the codes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0. Therefore a two letter code UC in a serial number indicates the year 1975.2
An extensive look at the 500 series Hasselblad.
A brief look at the differences between 35mm and 120 format cameras.