Hasselblad 645 Photos (A16 Hasselblad 645 Back)(V vs H System 6×4.5 Film)
Here I share some Hasselblad 645 photos using the less common A16 Hasselblad 645 back. (This provides a more economical alternative to the classic 6×6 Hasselblad A12 film back). I also discuss the option of Hasselblad V vs H system for Hasselblad 6×4.5 film images.
Hasselblad classic 6×6 film back (A12 back)
The standard film back for Hasselblad V series or Hasselblad 500 series cameras is the 6×6 format Hasselblad A12 film back. The classic Hasselblad square format gives 12 photos per roll of 120 film. As much as I love the Hassy square format occasionally a subject or scene is better suited to a rectangular composition. Rather than just crop a square film negative scan to the desired more narrow final dimensions I rather see and compose the final image in camera.
A16 Hasselblad 645 film back
To be able to shoot rectangular format with the Hasselblad cameras I bought myself some A16 Hasselblad film backs. These are 6×4.5 format film backs that give an extra 4 photos per roll of 120 film. 16 photos not the usual 12. Not only does this make it more economical to shoot film but it means I can compose the final images in camera. The 645 film format often suits my portrait images better than a square (for my taste)(unless a Hasselblad headshot). The 6×4.5 crop also works nicely for some horizontal compositions.
Hasselblad 645 Back + Hasselblad 500CM/501C
Here I show my usual Hasselblad 500 setup whether it is a Hasselblad 500CM or 501C camera. I usually prefer to use the 45 degree prism viewfinder as I find it easier to focus my images. In an ideal situation I would use a carbon monopod and a cable release as shown here. Often I don’t do this but it does help to keep the camera steady if using slower shutter speeds. On cloudy days in Europe I often shoot with a shutter speed of 1/60 with the lens at it’s widest aperture. Again, where possible I use a lens hood but if I have to travel with minimal kit I will use the Hasselblad without it and with a waist lens finder instead. (For the smallest lightest setup).
645 Hasselblad SWC /M setup
Here I show my Hasselblad SWC/M camera setup. The SWC is a fixed lens Hasselblad so it looks the same most the time. What you see here is probably the same as most photos you will see of the Hasselblad Super Wide.
Hasselblad 645 Portraits
More Hasselblad 645 Photos (Hasselblad 501C/500CM)
645 Hasselblad SWC Photos
In addition to using the A16 645 film back on the Hasselblad 500 cameras I also use it on my Hasselblad Super Wide (aka. Hasselblad SWC/M). With the SWC camera the composition is often a guestimate, as is the focusing. There is no mirror or coupled rangefinder for precision focusing. This makes the 645 format good for me as I just aim at the horizon for a horizontal image.
Hasselblad SWC Portrait Photos
Hasselblad SWC Landscapes – 645 Format
Close up images with the Hasselblad SWC/M
You may wonder how it is possible to focus so accurately when you can’t focus the SWC camera via a mirror or rangefinder? The answer is you can get a Hasselblad SWC/M adapter to clip on the rear of the camera to provide a ground glass. The camera then becomes a mini 4×5 camera where you focus on the back of the camera. (See the full Hasselblad SWC/M review to see this in practice).
645 Hasselblad Photo – Camera Options
The two common options to shoot 645 Hasselblad photos are –
- Hasselblad V series camera + Hasselblad A16 film back
- Hasselblad H series camera + Hasselblad H film back
Option 1 is covered above in this review where I use my Hasselblad 500CM, Hasselblad 501C and Hasselblad SWC / M cameras.
Option 2 was covered in my Hasselblad H3D camera review using a 645 film back – Digital Camera That Shoots Film!? (Hasselblad H Film Back)
Hasselblad H3D-31 Camera
The Hasselblad H3D-31 is a brilliant camera as the platform lets you use either a standard Hasselblad H digital back or a Hasselblad H film back.
Here is an example photo using the Hasselblad H3D camera with it’s 645 format film back. You can find a full review of the Hasselblad H system together with example images at – Digital Camera That Shoots Film!? (Hasselblad H Film Back)
Best Hasselblad 645 camera setup
What is the best Hasselblad 645 camera setup if your love Hasselblad and want to shoot 645 film rather than the standard Hasselblad 6×6 format? You should check out the mentioned Hasselblad H3D film back article (Digital Camera That Shoots Film!? (Hasselblad H Film Back) to draw you own conclusions but for me the H3D camera gives better photos.
This might be purely down to the autofocus lens of the Hasselblad H3D or the fact that I use the 80mm f2.8 lens on the H system. On the V series cameras I tend to use other focal lengths whether shorter (say 60mm) or longer (100mm, 120mm, 150mm..). There should be enough example images from both cameras shared to let you decide what camera setup would suit your taste best. If you are in the market for a Hasselblad 645 system that is.
Hasselblad H vs V system – What is better?
So what does better mean? Hasselblad H vs V system. In my conclusion I am looking only at the final photos. I am not considering all the pros and cons of each camera. To me it is usually the image that is the most important aspect of a camera. You can have a cheap simple camera that takes amazing photos and likewise a beautiful expensive camera that takes average photos. (I will perhaps write a Hasselblad H vs V system camera comparison in a future article).
My preferred Hasselblad H3D camera setup
Hasselblad H3D camera body + 645 film back + Hasselblad HC 80mm f/2.8 kit lens.
Hasselblad 500 vs Hasselblad SWC – In more details
More Hasselblad Camera Specific Blog Posts
- Hasselblad H3D
- Hasselblad H film back
- Hasselblad 500CM Examples
- Hasselblad 501C
- Hasselblad 501C – Examples
- Hasselblad XPan – Examples
- Hasselblad SWC/M
- Hasselblad Focusing Issues
- Hasselblad SWC/M Super Wide Camera
- Hasselblad Wedding Photography: Amy & Mike
- Hasselblad Film Wedding Photography: Alex & Lisa
- Leica / Hasselblad Wedding Photography Gear
- Budapest Models – Hasselblad H3D-31
- Digital Hasselblad H3D-31 !!
- Leica / Hasselblad H3D-31 Wedding
- Hasselblad Portraits – Hamburg Models
- Hasselblad vs Mamiya 6
- Leica M6 vs Hasselblad 501c!
- Hasselblad XPan in NYC (II)
- Hasselblad Portraits – Colour (NYC I)
- Hasselblad Portraits – B&W (NYC I)
- Hasselblad XPan!
- 2015 Hasselblad Film Wedding Photography
- Hasselblad vs Mamiya RZ67
- Hasselblad Fashion Portraits – Poland
- Hasselblad Camera Cafe London
- Hasselblad Fashion / Ektar – Poland
- Hasselblad vs Kiev 88
- New! Hasselblad 501CM
- Hasselblad 500C – Camera PinUp
You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!
8 thoughts on “Hasselblad 645 Photos (A16 Hasselblad 645 Back)(V vs H System 6×4.5 Film)”
Enjoyed your article and have also used this 645 set up / option. Not sure I ever considered the cost savings concerning image count? I also enjoyed not cropping at printing and why I used 645 option. Your images are excellent, but would like to know more about your film, development, paper choices for the images – those are great!
Hi Alan, thanks. I’ve inserted a Hasselblad YouTube video link I forgot to add if interested. Good to hear you enjoy the 645 setup too. I use many films (see various film reviews on this blog) but my developers are usually Kodak Xtol and or Rodinal. (See film developing blog posts). Click any image to see the specific film/ developing details. I don’t current;y print so I have no preference there. Thanks Matt
How do you feel about shooting portrait with the Hasselblad 645 back? Does the eye piece feel natural handheld or do you always use a tripod? Just curious.
Great images too
Hi Ian, I absolutely love it (see the YouTube video in action – https://youtu.be/IFIhfsl9djE
Handheld and very easy (this is with the H2 that I got more recently but the same as the H3D etc).
Hi Matthew, enjoyed the article and your lovely photos. I have the 500CM, A16 backs, and a 90 degree prism, and I’m just wondering if you use a particular grip when you take shots in portrait orientation.
Hi David thanks, I think I do it without thinking. Search Hasselblad on my YouTube and one video shows me in Budapest using that setup.
Hi David! Just a small question about using the 645 Back: Do you use some kind of mask or so for the viewfinder? I guess just putting an A16 Back to my 500c Hassi will not be the solution for the whole thing? Best, Martin
Hi Martin, i’m not sure if this is directed at me (Matt) or someone who commented but i’ll answer. No I just estimate by composing in the centre of the frame for A16. It always seems to capture more than I expect and works well. The only difficulty is portrait shots without a prism as you soon get neck ache using WTF haha.