Hasselblad 500cm



Hasselblad 500cm


The 500cm was one of the V series cameras designed by Victor Hasselblad.  It uses 120 roll film that offers superior image quality over the 35mm format.  To prove the good design, versions of this camera were produced between 1957 to 2005 - 48 years! with the 500cm being the model produced between 1970 to 1994. The earlier 500c model was used by NASA on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions before being replaced by the 500EL which  had motorized film advance.  The quality and the reliability of these Hasselblads make them the best medium format cameras ever made.


Simply the best medium format camera ever made.



Camera Date Coding


How do you tell the age of one of these V series cameras?  Hasselblad use the following coded two letter prefix to the serial number of the bodies and film backs to identify the year of manufacture:


12 34567890

Therefore, a body or back with the serial number starting with the letters RS would have been manufactured in 1980 with R being the 8th (8) letter in the series and S being the 10th (0).



Product Codes


Later V system Hasselblad bodies, backs and some accessories carry a two digit prefix to denote the product type.  An example of one of these serial numbers is:


Therefore, this serial number relates to a Hasselblad 205TCC made in 1991 where ‘15’ is the product code for a 205TCC body and ‘EV’ is the date code for 1991.


Further product type prefixes are:

V System Bodies

10        500CM / 501CM

12        553ELX / 555ELD

13        903SWC

14        202FA

15        205TCC

17        501C

18        203FE

19        503CW


V System Backs

30        A12

31        A16

32        A24

35        E12CC

36        E12

37        E16

38        E24



Lens Date Coding


C Lenses

It is also possible to tell the age of C and C T* lenses from the three or four digit code marked in red on the lens.  It can be found by focusing the lens to its closest focusing setting and, from the rear, looking inside the barrel.

The last two numbers indicate the month and the remaining one or two numbers indicate the year when 1957 has been added to it.

Therefore a lens with the code 2104 would have been manufactured in April 1978.


CF Lenses

Newer CF lenses use a different code system which is found in the same location as the C lenses.

It consists of a one letter and two number code.  The letter represents the month with "A" being January "B" February etc.  And the following two numbers are the last two digits of the year in reverse.

Therefore a lens with the code H98 would have been manufactured in August 1989.




Hasselblad 500cm Gallery



Skiddaw & Derwent Water







Stearman Tail




Eggscape Reflections



Learn how to use your camera at my School of Photography



Please use the back button on your browser to return



© 2007-2024 Michael Anderson LRPS

All Rights Reserved


Hints & TipsContactLinksSite Map

Photography & Design School of Photography

footer image footer image