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
Made from wood and metal
1943

First model of the 1600F
Made from wood and metal
1945/1946

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. 


Tom Oldham

Silent Street Portraits with the XCD 45P

Hasselblad H System photographer Tom Oldham was one of the first in the world to put the new XCD 45P lens, the world’s lightest digital medium format autofocus lens on the market today, to the test in the low winter light of London. Its compact design and nearly silent shutter coupled with the X1D II made for an ideal combination for shooting street portraits, minimizing the feeling of a camera between the photographer and subject.

Read more

Daniel Rueda & Anna Devís

Pink A Boo: A Visual Game of Hide-and-Seek Inside La Muralla Roja

For three full days, Daniel Rueda and Anna Devís explored the pastel pink and blue walls of La Muralla Roja. Within this magical structure, the duo staged a visual game of hide-and-seek, photographing only during sunrise or sunset in order to catch the same soft lighting for every image.

Read more

Unimatic Watches

Capturing the Details of Timepieces Unseen by the Naked Eye

Italy-based Unimatic Watches have regularly shot their product images with the Hasselblad H3D-39 since their inception in 2015. Testing out the H6D-100c and HC Macro 120mm to capture their newest line-up of timepieces, we spoke to co-founder Simone Nunziato, who tells us all about the outstanding capabilities of using the H6D-100c to carry out the extremely difficult task of photographing watches and all their minuscule details.

Read more

Ruairidh Mcglynn

The Cruel Beauty of Winter in the Scottish Highlands

Ruairidh McGlynn has always been drawn to otherworldly landscapes – and for him, the harsher the environment, the better. Seeking out the winter storms of the Scottish Highlands, he ventured into rain, sleet and snow in weather as cold as -15°C (5°F) with the X1D and XCD 45. Here, Ruairidh was intrigued to capture the cruel beauty of the area’s intense conditions, seeing the Highlands from a fresh, snowy perspective.

Read more

Terry O'Neill

Capturing The Beatles, Bowie, and More Iconic Faces of the Sixties

As the celebrity photographer of the 1960s and 70s, Terry O'Neill photographed them all, from Audrey Hepburn to Brigitte Bardot to Frank Sinatra – and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Capturing these figures with his Hasselblad 500CM, his images have stood the test of time as iconic snapshots of some of history's biggest pop culture icons.

Read more

AORTA

Waiting Room

Swedish photo duo AORTA wanted to create a set of images that said something about the complexity of shaping an identity in the contemporary world and the paradox of choice. To illustrate this, the duo collaborated with sustainable Swedish fashion designer Helena Lundström, showing different phases of the subject trying to cut, measure and sow their way through the journey of figuring out who they are.

Read more

Chris Gunn

Documenting NASA’s Work on Planet Earth

Blending science and tech with an abstract touch, NASA contract photographer Chris Gunn has been the lead photographer on documenting the construction of the James Webb Space Telescope since 2009.

Read more

Douglas Kirkland

My Evening with Marilyn and the Day Victor Hasselblad Stopped Me in the Street

Douglas Kirkland shot some of the most sensual and unforgettable images of Marilyn Monroe ever taken with his Hasselblad 500C. It’s the stuff that legends are made of, but even before that, Douglas had a chance encounter with Victor Hasselblad himself.

Read more