5 frames with...

5 Frames with Hasselblad 501c/Zeiss 80mm f/2.8 and Cinestill 400D – By Eric L. Woods

January 21, 2023

This will be a short one. I went to Cinestill’s website recently and the results were predictable. I glazed over and evidently ordered a mess of film. Included in this haul were a few rolls of Cinestill 400D since I had not tried it yet. Spoiler alert. I like it.

The camera and lens used are favorite of mine. One of the few cameras that are as good as everything I have heard about them.

But first a bit about the camera. Plenty has been written about this camera so I will spare you too much of my gushing praise. Acquired from a friend a few years ago this is actually the first film medium format camera I used. Had heard and read much about medium format film in general and this camera specifically. As always I was skeptical. But this may be one of the few things I have encountered in life that actually lived up to the hype. Many speak of it slowing them down and that is a certainty. Feel in hand and while using it are all pleasing experiences. Many praise the 80mm f/2.8 Zeiss lens and I wholeheartedly agree. And thus far my copy has been rock solid.

The first roll had a 100% hit rate and an image of my dearly departed Father on that roll is one of my favorite images I have ever captured of him.

Dad in the center during a gathering at the family homestead in rural NC.

I have since used it for occasions large and small. Like when I captured my Grandmother as one of the honorees at a family reunion a few years ago.

And called on it once again to help me cope when I traveled to upstate NY when my Grandmother passed away. Used it to capture photos of her home where so many of my early memories were formed. A coping mechanism. Analog therapy if you will.

Tagged along on family vacations.

While visiting family in NYC.

The Bronx

And I also use it just knocking about when I feel like killing a roll of film.

This post has to do with the latter.

If you have the opportunity to try one, I highly recommend you take it. If you have the opportunity to purchase one I say the same. That being said there are other excellent 6×6 120 film options out there also that cost considerably less.

I wanted to try out Cinestill 400D. I heard good things about it, I had tried the 35mm variant…

…and wanted to give the 120 strength a try. I ran the roll through the camera walking around a local town. Nothing Earth-shattering. Captured what I saw. All 12 came out. Here are my favorite 5.

Well. That about wraps things up. I will likely not unseat my favorite color films, like Lomography 400 or Kodak Gold 200, but I will definitely be adding it to the rotation.

I appreciate having this opportunity to share my experiences with this film.

Eric L. Woods

I shoot a variety of new and old digital and film cameras. Industrial Engineer by education, IT is my vocation, and I really enjoy using, testing, and writing about cameras. All three of the latter are very therapeutic exercises for me. If you are so inclined my blog address is ewoodsphoto.com and I can be found on twitter and Instagram. All the best to you.

 

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Wes Hall
    January 21, 2023 at 10:42 am

    Lovely read Eric, the quality of the portrait shots is fantastic even on a mobile screen, especially the shot of your dad. Medium format is magical, would you agree it’s worth revisits of film stocks shot on 35mm in 120 as quite often it supercharged them?

    • Reply
      Eric
      January 21, 2023 at 4:21 pm

      Thank you very much. I would agree regarding 35mm and 120 film.

  • Reply
    Stephen Fretz
    January 21, 2023 at 1:05 pm

    The 35mm shot – is that at the Latvian cemetery in the Catskills?

    Your review makes me want to buy a Hassie again, and your pictures are very nice.

    • Reply
      Eric
      January 21, 2023 at 4:19 pm

      The 35mm shot was taken at Duke Gardens in Durham, NC.

      Thank you very much.

  • Reply
    Castelli Daniel
    January 21, 2023 at 2:24 pm

    Dear Eric,
    A nice variety of photos. The ‘Blad continues to be an awesome camera.
    My favorite pictures are the shots of your Dad and the beautiful portrait of your grandmother. I wish I had taken more shots of my family over the years. These pics are worth more than a new Leica M6!
    Dan

    • Reply
      Eric
      January 21, 2023 at 4:18 pm

      Thank you.

  • Reply
    Gil Aegerter
    January 21, 2023 at 3:31 pm

    Lovely post. The images of your father and grandmother are excellent.

    • Reply
      Eric
      January 21, 2023 at 4:17 pm

      Thank you Gil.

  • Reply
    Steve B
    January 21, 2023 at 3:48 pm

    Eric,
    Very nice photos. I especially liked the one of your father and grandmother, but I enjoyed them all.
    Thank you,
    Steve

    • Reply
      Eric
      January 21, 2023 at 4:16 pm

      Thank you Steve.

  • Reply
    Erik Brammer
    January 21, 2023 at 4:53 pm

    Hi Eric,
    Great story and lovely images, especially those of your grandparents. Reminds me that I should also make family pictures on film.
    I have just taken my black C/M setup very similar to yours to the snow covered rolling hills and forest where I live. Always photographing the same scenes, just in different lighting, season, weather. Using this setup is pure joy to me.
    Best regards,
    Erik with a k 😃

    • Reply
      Eric
      January 24, 2023 at 5:38 pm

      Hello Erik,

      Thank you very much.

      You have a great set up and those scenes sound amazing.

      All the best.

      Eric with a c

  • Reply
    Ted Ayre
    January 21, 2023 at 5:13 pm

    Lovely photos Eric! I too appreciate Cinestill 400D, and love seeing the 80mm in action here too. My favourite pic is the last one of the fire truck, it just sings with detail and texture! Thanks for sharing mate

    • Reply
      Eric
      January 24, 2023 at 5:39 pm

      Thank you very much Ted. CInetsill 400D is a definite winner.

  • Reply
    Andrew B
    January 21, 2023 at 10:59 pm

    You have a good eye for color. Really like your 5 picks.
    And your grandmother looks like a cool lady.

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