Hasselblad 503CW

Medium format MF film SLR camera


Production details
System: Hasselblad V (1957)
Imaging plane
Maximum format:Medium format 6x6
Mount and Flange focal distance:Hasselblad V [74.9mm]
Imaging plane:56 × 56mm film
Type:In-lens leaf shutter
Exposure metering:None
Exposure modes:Manual
Physical characteristics

Manufacturer description #1

New York October 96 - Hasselblad introduces a new camera


At the VISCOMM photo exhibition in New York Victor Hasselblad AB today presents the Hasselblad 503CW, the latest addition to the extensive Hasselblad medium format camera line. This newly designed camera body has been re-developed from the workhorse model, the 503CXi. The new camera features an ingeneous development in the GMS (Gliding Mirror System) which gives a full image in the viewfinder regardless of focal length of lens or extension.

The 503CW is the next evolution of the timeless design of the Hasselblad camera which is one of the most respected cameras in the world. It is compatible with the entire line of leaf shutter lenses from 30mm to 500mm. There are also two tele converters available; 2X and 1.4X.

As with the 503CXi, flash synchronization can be made up to 1/500th of a second and the cameras OTF/TTL dedicated flash feature assures users of superb exposure control on the film plane where the actual image is formed.

In addition to the new camera, Hasselblad also has broken ground with the new Winder CW. This new product has been developed for use with the 503CW and the 503CXi camera bodies. Its ergonomically designed hand grip is comfortable in all possitions and the winder fits tightly against the camera body offering stability and balance, while maintaining easy access to all of the cameras functions. The Winder CW has four firing modes plus on/off lock. Single exposure, continuous exposure, multiple exposure, and infrared remote control.

Another exciting new accessory, an IR Remote Control for the winder, allows the photographer the option of working away from the camera, in the studio or on location. The transmitter resembles an auto alarm transmitter in size and can be individually programmed for a specific camera or multiple camera setups making it a perfect solution for sporting events or industrial uses. The IR remote control is also ideally suited for studio work with children, groups, etc.

Another quality that the Winder CW features is SAI (Self-Adjusting Interface) which not only senses the subtle characteristics of each camera, but also adjusts itself to their specific tolerances for perfect compatibility. In other words, it adjusts itself to minimize the potential for unneccessary wear and tear on the camera and/or the motor.

Manufacturer description #2

Camera type: Single lens reflex camera with 6 x 6 cm (2 1/4 x 2 1/4 in) max. film size. Interchangeable lenses, film magazines, viewfinders, and focusing screens.

Design: Mechanical, with an aluminum alloy camera body shell cast in one piece.

Viewfinder: Folding focusing hood interchangeable with reflex viewfinder, prism viewfinders with or without built-in light meter, or magnifying hood.

Film advance: Manual advance or motor driven with Winder CW. Simultaneous shutter winding. Winder CW winding time: 1.05 s, approx. 0.8 frames/sec in continuous mode.

Flash control: TTL/OTF-metering. ISO 64-4000 with flash adaptors SCA390 for connection with flash units from the SCA 300 systems. Metering area within 40 mm diameter in the centre of the image area.

Tripod coupling: 1/4 in. and 3/8 in. socket thread and base plate for quick coupling attachment.

Focusing screen: Hasselblad Acute-Matte D focusing screen.


Thank you for choosing Hasselblad equipment and welcome to the best and most comprehensive medium-format photographic system in the world. Hasselblad cameras provide a sound investment for your future in photography and you can rely on the standards and service that have become the benchmark in the medium-format. Hasselblad is the choice of the world's leading photographers, and the name is synonymous with compatibility, reliability and image quality, reaching beyond the ends of the earth and into space.

The 501CM and 503CW cameras are simple to use, battery independent, and fully compatible with the Hasselblad system. They feature the sophisticated GMS (Gliding Mirror System) which provides a full viewfinder image with virtually all Hasselblad 'C' lenses. Although fundamentally 6x6 cameras, they also accept masks for the 6x4.5 cm or panoramic 6x3 cm formats without having to change film magazines. The bright viewfinder image is further enhanced by the new improved focusing screen from the brilliant 'Acute-Matte D' range. Altogether, a winning combination for professional or dedicated amateur use.

You have access to the whole range of Hasselblad 'C' series lenses both old and new. Lenses are specially manufactured for Hasselblad by Carl Zeiss of Germany - the indisputable leader in camera optics. The accessory range - the most comprehensive medium-format assortment in the world - allows you to extend your photographic potential even further providing an almost limitless flexibility for superb images whatever your field. The Hasselblad System features interchangeability of 14 different lenses, 1.4X and 2X teleconverters, magazines for different image formats and films including Polaroid type films, viewfinders with or without exposure metering capabilities, a number of focusing screens and a variety of accessories to suit your special requirements.

With the Winder CW, specifically designed for the 503CW, fast sequential photography and various choices of remote control, including IR, are at your disposal. The dedicated D-Flash is another powerful option for exploiting the 503CW's additional TTL/OTF facilities.

From the editor

The weight and dimensions are indicated for the camera body with the 80mm Planar CF lens and film magazine A12.

This camera was also officially available from September 2001 in the Ruby Red, Cobalt Blue, Forest Green, or Sun Yellow finish. These were not special limited editions.

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2

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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.