Hasselblad SWC903

I had seen pictures taken with an SWC here and there – notably Robert Adams’ pictures from shopping malls in the Midwest. Then I got a book of self-portraits by Lee Friedlander, many of which were taken using an SWC.

So I idly perused these cameras on eBay, thinking I’d quite like one to play around with. The 903 seemed like the sweet spot – not too old, not too expensive (Relatively speaking).

Then one came along in mint condition and I bought it. It was in Italy and had been part of a collection.


It’s quite a light camera and fairly compact for a medium format one. The shutter is pretty quiet (Adams used to cough as he pressed the shutter release when taking his candid shots). There’s no mirror. The viewfinder is external – it fits on the hotshoe.


So anyway, I now had this nice camera to play with. I soon discovered that I liked to take “Selfies” with it. I put three rolls of Tri-X though it and was quite happy with the results. Then I went back to look at my Friedlander self-portraits book and realised that he had been there before me, done it all, packed up and gone home.

And so, a couple of months after taking ownership of it, I somewhat reluctantly put the SWC back on eBay. I got my money back, more or less, and I have about 30 self-portraits from it I suppose.

I’m not sure what the moral of this tale is – maybe that you shouldn’t be impressed by your heroes into buying expensive camera gear. But I never seem to learn that particular lesson and I do like buying stuff…


Author: stephen

Software Test Analyst / Technical Author in Scotland.