Today, I made a big decision, one that is the reverse of the culmination of my goals from 15 years ago.
15 years ago, when all I had was 35mm equipment, I began accruing my medium format equipment. But, it wasn't just any equipment, it was the best -- Hasselblad. No Pentax, no Mamiya for me. I wanted to deliver the best images possible, and the optics that Victor made were the best for that. So, instead of spending 10k for an entire Mamiya kit, I bought, piecemeal, my Hasselblad. A body here, a lens there. As I evolved, I found myself with a full kit, able to serve whatever clients needs were, from fisheye to 300mm, and most everywhere inbetween.
I learned the 'VHPICTURES' decoding scheme (123...0) to determine the age of backs, bodies, and so on. I scoured the camera shows looking for unique items, pre-ebay. I learned about element arrangements, why FLE was better than it's predecessors, why early lenses were silver, and other Hasselblad users thought that using anything other than a WL viewfinder was cheating. I remember loving that I never had to "go vertical", I was a square guy, and proud of it.
Many of my favorite images were made with this equipment, and there is nothing like seeing 120mm transparencies on a lightbox in a dim lab. Sadly, that lab closed 18 months ago, yet I have been unable to bring myself to dispense with my blood-sweat-and-tears earned equipment. They are more than tools to me, they are a representation of achiving "professional" status many many years ago. It was my Hasselblad equipment that allowed me to say "absolutely, we shoot with Hasselblad" when an art director called, and asked "do you have medium format?" It was an immediate differentiator. That always made them happy.
Now, it's no longer necessary. I haven't used the equipment in atleast five years, nor had a request for it. Editors have stopped asking for medium format, and I miss saying "yes" to that question.
Yes yes, I know, many of those lenses can be used on Hasselblad digital bodies/backs. Oh well. I haven't had a client ask for that either - the file sizes we are delivering are frequently too large for clients, and we have to down-rez them so they don't crash their computers.
Motivated by what was essentially a free-listing day on e-bay, I posted up my body with a rare winder, a Customized 500C/M, my Modified 500 EL/M, my body for interiors/architecture, the SWC/M, my "solves a tight space issue" lens, the 30mm fisheye, my favorite portrait lens, the 150mm, my second favorite portrait lens, the 120mm, and my wide angle 50mm, along with a few accessories.
If it all sells at the "Buy It Now" price, I'll generate $10,105, and with free shipping/insurance probably costing me around $100 for all items, I'm left back at $10k, which, in the end, is about 1/3 of what the lot cost me when I first bought it all new. I suppose, that's not bad, a two-thirds depreciation for 15 years or so.
I know they're supposed to be just tools, but to me, they were like family.
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