THE VERY FIRST 1600F
As a passionate photographer fascinated by bird watching, Victor Hasselblad wanted to create a camera that could capture the beauty of nature and easily fit in his hand – a portable, high-quality piece of technology.
THE FIRST HASSELBLAD 1600F NR. 0001
In October 1948, he introduced the world to the Hasselblad 1600F, the world’s first single lens reflex camera for medium format. With its sleek, innovative design and modular build, the 1600F was a truly groundbreaking feat of engineering and one of the most influential models in the history of photography. In preserving Victor’s legacy, the Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg, Sweden has the very first 1600F (serial number 0001) and its prototype models on display at the Gothenburg Museum of Art. And to further the preservation of this momentous first camera, Hasselblad documented it with the H6D-100c.
The Hasselblad, as it was originally called before the introduction of the 1000F, is a historic example of photographic innovation. Not only was the 1600F smaller and lighter than most models of the time, but it was also a system camera, which meant it boasted a modular design. As the first of its kind, this gave extreme flexibility with interchangeable lenses and the ability to attach a viewfinder. Most importantly, this modularity allowed for removable film magazines; because of this, photographers today can attach a digital back in place of the film magazine and use the camera. It wasn’t until 10 years later that full frame producers adopted this type of modular construction. In addition, the innovatory choice to utilize a Fresnel lens in the focusing screen of the 1600F allowed for a much brighter viewfinder image. Using a focal plane shutter with a top shutter speed of 1/1600 sec, roughly 3000 1600F cameras were made between 1948 and 1952.
FIRST MODEL OF VICTOR’S “IDEAL” CAMERA, 1943
MADE FROM WOOD AND METAL
FIRST MODEL OF THE 1600F, 1945/1946
MADE FROM WOOD AND METAL
The original prototypes of the 1600F, made of wood and metal, were constructed in 1943 and 1945/46. Hints from Victor’s work with the HK-7 shined through in the camera’s design, in the form of interchangeable film magazines and lenses as well as its compact build. Sixten Sason, the Swedish product designer behind the designs of previous Saab automobiles, Electrolux vacuums, and airplanes, was part of the 1600F’s prototype design, styling the iconic smooth edges and rounded top of the boxy camera.
With the powerful 100-megapixel CMOS sensor of the Hasselblad H6D-100c, high resolution imagery of the very first Hasselblad 1600F, and in that, the very first SLR medium format camera and its prototypes, is digitally preserved for future generations of camera historians, dedicated Hasselblad users, and photography aficionados the world over.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO ZOOM IN
More Hasselblad storiesAll stories ⟶
Magical Mountainous Landscapes
on the XCD 30
Italian photographer Isabella Tabacchi escaped to the dreamy mountain views of the Dolomites and the Swiss Alps to capture the beauty of the Milky Way across the skies and the grand Matterhorn Mountain with the X1D II 50C and XCD 30 lens.
Image Quality Specialist Tests X and 907X Cameras in Namibia
As team leader and specialist in the Image Quality Team at Hasselblad, Mathias Elmeskog constantly puts Hasselblad cameras to the test in multiple locations to ensure the sharpest quality and smoothest colour accuracy.
Documenting Thirty Years of the Los Angeles Metro
What started out as going underground for a one-time photo session with his Hasselblad 503CX turned into 30 years of documenting the creation of the Los Angeles Metro system by artist Ken Karagozian.
SWIMMING POOLS OF ANOTHER ERA
2018 Hasselblad Master in Art Maria Svarbova is widely recognised for her captivating Swimming Pool series. After switching to the X System, Maria tells us about how it has dramatically affected creating her dream-like compositions.
The Art of Contortion
Dazzled by the enormous strength and flexibility of a young troupe of female contortionists, Hasselblad Ambassador Julia Fullerton-Batten brilliantly photographed these girls bending in all sorts of unimaginable positions.
100 Years of Nature Photographer Sven Gillsäter
Swedish photographer and a friend to Victor Hasselblad, Sven Gillsäter used Hasselblad cameras to capture stunning wildlife photography from all corners of the globe while driving environmental concern and sustainability efforts.
Capturing the texture and colours of local cuisine
Using the XCD 45P lens on the X1D II 50C, food photography expert Qiu Zifeng shares his thoughts on using this lightweight combination for capturing the rich colours found within his local cuisine.
Finding the Dramatic and the Delicate in Swedish Nature
Whether wandering through forests or farmland, Swedish creative Linus Englund finds spectacular lighting that helps elevate his flora and fauna images on the X1D II 50C to another level.
The Powerful Simplicity of Symmetry
A limited tonal palette and simple yet sharp props combined for a superb photoshoot with a focus on form, colour, and symmetry for South African photographer Gavin Goodman and his team.
COOPER & GORFER
Sweden-based Hasselblad Ambassadors Cooper & Gorfer embarked on a new piece, Delirium, that embodies the Covid-19 pandemic, capturing the constant struggle of healthcare workers fighting through this historical tragedy.