Leica vs Hasselblad (M6 vs 501C)(35mm vs 120)

(35mm vs 120 medium format film portraits)

Leica vs Hasselblad Shoot Out!

Leica vs Hasselblad: I did a shoot with Stacey recently in my home studio in Coventry UK.  I decided to shoot my Leica M6 35mm film camera up against the medium format 6×6 Hasselblad 501C film camera.  To give the Leica M6 rangefinder a fighting chance I loaded it with the super fine Ilford Pan F 50 film and attached the super sharp Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens.  I did do a few wider shots with the Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii lens which is also nice and sharp.  The Hasselblad was already loaded with Kodak Tri-X 400 but for some reason I thought it had Fomapan 100 film is so shot the roll of Tri-X 400@100 and developed accordingly  Both rolls of film were developed in Xtol developer.  Click any photo for more details.

Here is a sample of the film scans:

Hasselblad 501C Portraits

(Hasselblad 501C + 120 Fomapan 100 Medium Format Film)

Hasselblad vs Leica
Hasselblad 501C
Hasselblad 501C in the Studio
Hasselblad Portrait

Leica M6 Portraits

(Leica M6 + 35mm Ilford Pan F 50 Film)

35mm Ilford Pan F 50 film
Leica M6 + Ilford Pan F 50
Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO + Film
Ilford Pan F 50 Fashion
Leica M6 Fashion
Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 + SOOKY-M
Ilford Pan F 50 Film Portrait
Leica M6 Portrait

Leica M8 (Digital Leica)

I was also using my digital Leica M8 for the shoot and it still impresses me as to how film like the Leica CCD sensor appears.  Here are a few examples.

Leica M8 Digital Camera

Digital comparison!

Leica M8 Loveliness!
Leica M8 B&W

Leica vs Hasselblad – Results

I think the Leica M6 was at the top of it’s game and thanks to the choice of Ilford Pan F 50 film. I actually preferred the Leica M6 photos on the whole to that of the Hasselblad.  That is quite an achievement as the Hasselblad has done nothing but impress me since my purchase.  The real test will be using the Hasselblad 501C + Zeiss Makro-Planar 120mm f4 CF lens + 120 Ilford Pan F 50 film for sharp lens and super fine grain film. That said, it’s great to remind myself of how good the little 35mm Leica film cameras can be.  I loved the film portraits from both cameras but I think the M6 won it.

Big thanks to Stacey for putting up with my usual array of quirky cameras pointing at her!

Related Posts

You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!
  • See full details of my portrait photography lighting kit (2018) – HERE
  • See full details of my portrait photography equipment kit (2018) – HERE

12 thoughts on “Leica vs Hasselblad (M6 vs 501C)(35mm vs 120)(Film Portraits)”

  1. Pingback: Nikon F4 vs Leica M3: Photo Test | MrLeica.com – Matthew Osborne Photography

  2. Robert H. Bruce

    The 35 mm pictures that you made are great as are the Hasselblad’s but in essence their different because of the aspect ratio of the film. What would be really nice would be to see the enlargements of both film choices!

  3. You change the film… wich is the sense of this compairson? Why you talk about cameras? I think it woud be better to talk about lenses

  4. I thought they were broadly similar, which given the size difference means your 35mm technique is really, really good.

    That said, using an M6 in the studio feels, to me, like it’s missing the point. I love Avedon’s early Rolleiflex work, and David Bailey’s 60s stuff, because they have a wonderful sense of realness and spontaneity – you feel like you’re seeing an actual event, not something set up in a studio. (Even when Bailey is working in the studio)

    The M6 would be killer for that kind of thing. I get the feeling that fashion / glamour photography is a lot less welcoming to new approaches than it used to be. Hopefully I’m wrong.

    1. Thanks Stephen, Yes I agree the M6 did well. I think my only reservations with spontaneous photos and film is as film is relatively more expensive now I try to get a highish rate of keepers. I think you need to shoot film like digital to get the best spontaneous photos.. click away carefree.

      I do agree many of my photos feel too posed (often as I use stillness for slow shutter speeds or shallow DOF) but in the studio with lots of light there is no excuse. I am going a little that way after being inspired by work I like on Instagram but often habits arer hard to shake off! 🙂 Work in progress and thanks for the suggestion.

  5. I understand the logic behind you putting a slower film in the 135 format camera than in the 120 format, but would be very interested by a comparison Leica M6 vs Hasselblad 501C that would use the same film in both cameras.

  6. Pingback: Leica M6 Classic - MrLeica.com - Matthew Osborne Photography

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: