More Shooting With The Hasselblad And A Flash

While many move toward carrying only an iPhone or small, mirrorless system, I’ve been thinking bigger.

Hasselblad 503CXi, 150mm Sonnar, Prism finder, D-Flash 40 on a bracket

A Hasselblad is big enough on its own, but add a prism finder, longer lens, and that big awkward flash unit and it becomes downright unwieldy. It’s also awesome. Most of my favorite images from recent years are from the Hasselblads. I blame the Zeiss lenses. I love the look they produce and have yet to find anything matching it.

The flash, a Hasselblad D-Flash 40, is a recent addition. With the 503CXi body, it’s fully TTL and meters directly off the film. This means getting a decent exposure every time without doing much of anything. I just set the camera to f8 and 125th second and shoot.

This is terrific for shooting indoors. I just don’t have the eye or the hands for handheld natural-light shooting indoors. I’ve always preferred natural-light photography, but using the Hasselblad handheld with an on-camera flash creates a different look, and I’m learning to enjoy it.

Using Flash with the Hasselblad

Kelly Photobombs (2015). Hasselblad 503CXi

Carrying around a Hasselblad and flash unit makes for a cumbersome kit.

Hasselblad 503CXi with D-Flash 40

See what I mean? It’s a monster. Shooting handheld with a big camera in natural indoor light makes for a nearly impossible situation. Using a flash dramatically reduces the number of blown shots and with medium format film the higher the hit rate the better.

While the rig is bulky, it’s also dead simple to use. The Hasselblad 503CXi offers TTL metering when used with the D-Flash 40 so the whole thing ends up being sort of a giant point-and-shoot. I just set the shutter speed to 160 and the aperture to f/8, focus and shoot.

Dad-splaining (2015). Hasselblad 503CXi with D-Flash 40