Contax vs Hasselblad

Hasselblad H1 100mm 2.2

Right before COVID-19 tore through our lives, I bought (pieced together) a Hasselblad H1 and a 100mm 2.2 lens. I had heard that this comes close to the magic that a Contax 645 with a 80mm 2.0 lens creates. I also wanted to have a back up medium format camera at weddings just in case my Contax decides to take an inconvenient break that day. I went out with a new friend and family photographer, Eliza Bolen, and her daughter to do some comparisons. She showed me one of her secret spots which was simply an empty lot surrounded by houses, but just happened to be a spring wonderland.

Hasselblad Pros
-Fast and Accurate Autofocus: The autofocus on my Contax works (which is rare) but it’s slow and inaccurate.
-Less Expensive: I pieced together my kit for $2631.93. I didn’t buy a kit with the standard 80mm lens because I knew I wouldn’t use it and would just have to resell it. You can also ask for the shutter count since the electronic body will tell you the count for both the body and lens. My breakdown was H1 Body w/ viewfinder: $427.19, HM 16-32 Film Back*: $473.67, Hasselblad 100mm 2.2 Lens: $1731.07. Everything was in “like new” condition except for the body, which was a little beat up but still had a low shutter count. Contax kits run between $3500 and $4300 USD right now. *The film back was the hardest part to find. I didn’t know that I could use a Fujifilm film back which runs $100 less. Live and learn.
Hasselblad Cons
-It’s a Beefy, Heavy, Beast: It’s solid and feels sturdy, but it’s also going to give my arms a workout at weddings. The Contax is heavy as well, but this is next level.
-Max Shutter Speed: It only goes up to 1/800 which is hard for bright lighting conditions. I feel fine about this since I’m hoping to use it during cocktail and reception times when I need something that can focus quickly and lighting is lower anyway.

In review, I’m really excited about the Hassey and can’t wait to see more of what it can do! Here’s a few side-by-side comparisons. Most were shot at 2.8 and all were Fuji 400h. Photo development and scanning by the rockstars at PhotoVision.

Also, if things are looking up, the month of July will be dedicated to family photography. I’d love to capture you and your loves on film. You can contact me here.

Contax Left, Hasselblad Right
Contax Left, Hasselblad Right
Contax Left, Hasselblad Right
Contax Top, Hasselblad Bottom
Contax Top, Hasselblad Bottom
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