Hasselblad 500C/M and family: the medium format cameras that made it cool to be square

Paul Burrows
Hasselblad 500C/M (Image credit: Future)

A keen ornithologist and amateur photographer, Victor Hasselblad tried many camera systems in his quest to find the ideal tool for taking pictures of birds. He liked the image quality of 4x5- and 5x7-inch sheet film, but even ‘portable’ cameras like the Speed Graphic were still too unwieldy. He liked the size of Leica’s 35mm rangefinder cameras, but really wanted reflex viewfinding… and, ideally, a bigger negative with more cropping fl exibility. The solution? Victor came up with his own design, based on the box-form aerial cameras that his family company had built for the Swedish Air Force during the second World War.

The prototype was a 6x6cm format SLR with interchangeable lenses badged ‘Rossex’ and designed by Sixten Sason who, incidentally, also penned the first Saab passenger car, the 92. The visual similarity between the two products is obvious even though they were obviously very different.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Paul Burrows

Paul has been writing about cameras, photography and photographers for 40 years. He joined Australian Camera as an editorial assistant in 1982, subsequently becoming the magazine’s technical editor, and has been editor since 1998. He is also the editor of sister publication ProPhoto, a position he has held since 1989. In 2011, Paul was made an Honorary Fellow of the Institute Of Australian Photography (AIPP) in recognition of his long-term contribution to the Australian photo industry. Outside of his magazine work, he is the editor of the Contemporary Photographers: Australia series of monographs which document the lives of Australia’s most important photographers.