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 stories

All stories
 Julia Fullerton-Batten | The Art of Contortion

Julia Fullerton-Batten

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.

 Linus Englund | Finding the Dramatic and the Delicate in Swedish Nature

Linus Englund

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.

Gavin Goodman | The Powerful Simplicity of Symmetry

Gavin Goodman

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 | Delirium

DELIRIUM

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.

 Karim Iliya | Hasselblad Goes Underwater among Whales and Turtles

KARIM ILIYA

HASSELBLAD GOES UNDERWATER AMONG WHALES AND TURTLES

Freediver and 2018 Hasselblad Master Karim Iliya ventured underwater with the AquaTech REFLEX Water Housing for the Hasselblad X1D II 50C, capturing serene imagery of whales and turtles in their natural worlds around the French Polynesian island of Moorea and Maui, Hawaii.

Sean Conboy | Capturing Architectural Grandeur with the XH Converter 0,8

SEAN CONBOY

CAPTURING ARCHITECTURAL GRANDEUR WITH THE XH CONVERTER 0,8

Sean Conboy put the XH Converter 0,8 to the architectural test, photographing the exquisite interior of the Winter Gardens Blackpool in England.

Cooper & Gorfer | Between These Folded Walls, Utopia

COOPER & GORFER

BETWEEN THESE FOLDED WALLS, UTOPIA

Using the Hasselblad X1D, Cooper & Gorfer intertwine photographic portraiture with beautifully executed collage techniques and hand-drawn textures, blending photography and painting in their series, Between These Folded Walls, Utopia.

Tom Oldham | Unlocking New Lens Opportunities With XH Converter 0,8

TOM OLDHAM

UNLOCKING NEW LENS OPPORTUNITIES WITH XH CONVERTER 0,8

As one of the first to try out the new XH Converter 0,8 on the 907X 50C, British photographer Tom Oldham executed a brilliantly dynamic studio session with Greek model and activist Billie Dellios. The XH Converter 0,8 opened Tom’s typical portrait-taking style of shooting on f/11 to a wide f/1,8 to create stunningly bold visuals.

Isa Leshko | Allowed to Grow Old: Elderly Animal Portraits Preserved on the 503CW

ISA LESHKO

ALLOWED TO GROW OLD: ELDERLY ANIMAL PORTRAITS PRESERVED ON THE 503CW

As a project that started off with confronting her own mortality after caring for her mother suffering from Alzheimer’s, Isa Leshko embarked on a decade-long project photographing elderly farm animals. Creating connections with pigs, cows, turkeys, and sheep, among others, Isa captured the unique personalities of each animal on film through the lens of her Hasselblad 503CW.

Dino Kužnik | The Solitude of the American West

DINO KUŽNIK

THE SOLITUDE OF THE AMERICAN WEST

With an affinity for photographing the American West, Slovenian creative Dino Kužnik embarked on a two-week road trip across Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico after months of lockdown in his New York home base. Used to shooting on medium format film, Dino opted for digital medium format using the X1D II 50C and XCD 45 and 90 Lenses. Driving through the earthy terrain of the rugged desert landscape, Dino’s images let us travel back in time to an America of yesteryear.