How to load the Hasselblad roll film magazine

Hasselblad cameras in the 500 or “V” series are completely manual and to know how to properly load on them the roll film magazine is one of the fundamental procedures for obtaining good pictures.
These single-lens reflex were one of the most popular camera among professionals until the digital era. 
Without shutter and light meter, they are extremely equipped cameras with high precision mechanics. Moreover, their optics are absolutely legendary for quality and sharpness.
To be able using these cameras is not that difficult since they are completely manual but it is needed a specific cure and attention to carry out all the steps in the correct sequence. Format used for these films is called “120” and it needs to be handled carefully since there is not a metal container.

Using the video as support, let’s go through the step by step loading of the roll film the magazine into a Hasselblad 503CW camera.

  1. Insert the volet in the special slot between the machine body and the magazine. This operation as well as protecting the film from the light, it will also allow the release of the two parts.
  2. Once the magazine has been separated from the machine body by pressing the button above, a slight rotation of the locking key will be necessary to extract the film holder chassis. Unlike the 35 mm films that wrap and rewind in the same roll, in medium format cameras the film rewinds into a new spool.
  3. Insert the film in the appropriate space slightly widening the metal guide to allow correct insertion. The black side of the paper should be visible and not the white side.
  4. Insert the paper under the film clamp and locked in place by turning the spool holder catch counter clockwise. It will be enough to set only one complete turn.
  5. Align the black arrow that appears on the “transferring” spool, with the red metallic triangle, engraved on one of the two guide tabs of the virgin film.
  6. The chassis will then be inserted in the magazine and locked by acting on the locking key. 
  7. Set the exposure counter by turning the film winding knob counter clockwise as far as it will go.  Below the knob is a small porthole that allows to read the frame counter of the magazine.
  8. Before putting together magazine and camera, it will be necessary to check that the camera body is loaded. At this point you can put on the magazine and remove the volet, using the two alignment guides at the base of the camera.
  9. The camera is now ready to take 12 picture, 6X6 format.

After the last frame has been exposed, the exposure stop come into action automatically.
It will therefore be necessary to reinsert the van, unhook the magazine and finish wrapping the paper queue with the special knob.
Developing films as soon as possible guarantees a better yield in terms of color and contrast. 

If you would like to know where its name is coming from, learn the Hasselblad story.

(Video recorded  during the Professional Photography course)