The Hasselblad 500C was introduced in 1957 by the Victor Hasselblad AB, replacing the original focal plane shutter models 1600F and 1000F, which, despite the novel concept never got rid of the problems associated with the shutter. Realizing this, Hasselblad decided to start almost from scratch in order to make a more reliable model. It was a major decision for the company to create a completely new camera, only keeping the physical shape of the original, while everything inside would be new. The single inspiring factor was the promising new Compur shutter, based on Zeiss Ikon’s Contaflex experience, and the fact that Zeiss committed them selves to manufacture the new range of lenses. The shutter would be an integral part of every interchangeable Hasselblad lens. The new design meant electronic flash synchronization at all shutter speeds, and automatic aperture stop down, the latter one year before the first 35mm SLR, the Minolta SR-2. The new model name 500C reflects the fastest shutter speed and the shutter type, already an established practice: a 1/500th second and the Central lens shutter made by Compur.
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The new camera, the first in the long lasting 6x6cm series (named the V-series after Hasselblad started marketing the 6×4.5cm Fuji cameras ), comprising the 500, SWC, 2000 and 200 range of cameras, was received with skepticism. Both the lens shutter concept associated with less advanced 35mm SLR cameras, and the moderate top speed of 1/500th of a second worried the critics. However, the decision was proven a sound one. Very short exposure time is easily and more accurately obtained using strobe light, in the studio anyway. The original model stayed in production until 1970. It was replaced by the 500C/M (M for modified according to the factory), featuring an interchangeable focusing screen and an improved automatic back, the A-series film magazines.
The new Hasselblad camera has gained a reputation over the years for its robustness, mechanical accuracy and for having a wide range of high-quality lenses, making it the medium-format camera of choice for generations of professional photographers. Victor Hasselblad AB reinforced this reputation by making the most of the fact that their camera had been chosen by NASA for use in space, although not without modifications.