Hasselblad H1 vs Mamiya 645 vs Contax 645

Ultimately what your medium of choice in what you choose to photograph your subject is entirely up to you.

However i will point out a few benefits as i’ve had this same discussion with one of my attendees at a workshop before. Let’s begin with,


  • PRO: It has numerous advantages, bright viewfinder, newer frame work, rapid and accurate auto focus, rechargeable hand grip batteries and last but not least the leaf shutter lens that allows you to shoot at low shutter speeds. awesome right?
  • CON: Being that the Hasselblad is a newer system compared to the other models, you will be looking at a higher cost to purchase the lens and upgrades. Compared to the other two systems listed above, the lowest aperture lens you will find on a Hasselblad will be a F2.2, which will be a 110mm F2.2 Lens. (50mm Equivalent 70mm) which will be considered a portrait lens. If cost is not a issue for you than by all means jump into a Hasselblad, but with the ranging cost of each lens you can easily purchase a Contax 645 plus more.
  • OPINION: This is such a solid system, from the build down to the photos. I’ve successfully used these photos in moving ceremony shots & many indoor photos with great success. I believe that is one of the main benefits i would use this camera for, would be indoor photos and moving shots. This actually makes me wonder why i sold mines in the first place. 


  • PRO: The Mamiya system has quite a few advantages, and one of the main benefits of the Mamiya comes simply from the cost. It’s a great entry priced medium format camera with a solidly beautiful lens that many can say rival the Contax 645. The parts you will be able to find in abundance online, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
  • CON: The Camiya viewfinder can be just as bad as the Contax 645, thats minus the upgrade. If you can get a maxwell screen upgrade from bill, this camera will perform very solidly.
  • OPINION: I’ve used this camera, and personally I love it. It’s affordable in anyway but without that viewfinder upgrade it does not justify  me using it over my contax which has a brightened viewfinder. This camera will personally prepare you for the manual focusing you will have to do when you decide to purchase a contax one day.


  • PRO: The Contax pretty much is the flagship of medium format film. The most distinctive reason it is chosen over others is the shallow depth of field look you can achieve at f2 with a almost real lifelike perspective at 50mm.  It has numerous advantages from the lens (80, F2) snappy inserts/back interchangeable affordable lens, a great feel to the hold and touch. Last but not least the most important factor for the Contax 645 is the adaptability with medium format digital back capabilities.(The Hasselblad H1 has it also, but the Lens is a 110 F2.2 not a 80 f2. Theres a perspective difference and you will pretty much pay the price of a contax 645 anyways.)
  • CON: Lord have mercy this camera is the most finicky of the bunch. Besides the fact that sometimes it will just turn off on you or flip switches, if you can overlook that everything else is pretty a benefit.
  • OPINION: I use this camera, i love it. I saw many people before me use it with great success and i feel that if i mentally challenge myself manual focussing i will be a better photographer myself.


Find out what defines you as a photographer.

What challenges you as a photographer and a creative is your ability to think and create.

Your medium of choice in what you decide to document ideas are trivial.

I wish you the best in your creative journey.