Find Viewfinders for Your Hasselblad Camera

The Swedish company Hasselblad has a long reputation in the photography industry going back to its founding in 1841. Hasselblad cameras gained an international reputation when they were chosen by NASA to be used by astronauts on space flights.

Why does a camera need a viewfinder?

Imagine that you stand on a hilltop and overlook a valley that has an old barn in the middle that you want to make the subject of your photograph. You point the lens and shoot several pictures. When the film is developed, the barn is off-center. What you saw in the scene with your eyes differed than what appeared to the camera lens.

In contrast to simply pointing the camera lens or looking through a hole next to the lens, a viewing system uses mirrors and a lens of its own to enable the photographer to more accurately frame the scene as the film will record it.

What models of Hasselblad cameras are available?

This product category includes items for vintage, or older, Hasselblad models, which used film instead of digital technology. These earlier models were called SLR as opposed to the Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) models that have since come into common use. In addition to using film instead of digitally recording images, SLRs use optical rather than electronic systems for aiming purposes.

Systems for DSLRs project images onto video screens. SLR incorporate a mechanical optical system to present actual light from the scene, similar in the way that binoculars do. Since their images are analog, they can show high resolution, but they cannot enhance images the way that digital systems can. For example, an analog system cannot enhance brightness.

What are some of the features?

Here are some of the features for vintage systems:

  • Magnification: How much the image can be telescopically enlarged.
  • Coverage: Percentage of how much of the scene you see through the eyepiece compared to what will be recorded on the film itself.
  • Eyepoint (or eye relief): How far your eye can be away from the eyepiece and still see everything that is shown in the eyepiece.
  • Prism: Shaped glass that redirects light through the camera to your eye.
  • Angle: Viewing angle for looking down at the eyepiece.
What are other types?

The sports viewfinder is a mechanical device mounted on top of the finder housing that enables the photographer to follow actions across a large field while also being able to see what will actually be photographed by the camera. Hasselblad models can be equipped with sports finders in addition to optical eyepieces.

Twin-reflex systems use a separate lens for the image seen in the eyepiece. Since a different lens is being viewed through, the scene in the eyepiece has a parallax error with the scene as recorded on the film. Hasselblad models do not use the twin-reflex system.

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