Introducing the Zenzablad: Apologies to Victor Hasselblad

Over the past 50 years, we have all had to accept the Hasselblad Super Wide C’s shortcomings, flaws, and its function. As most people, I had the same feelings and thoughts about this camera.
This camera was so close to being truly revolutionary that it almost gave up. It was like a confused stray, pulling its tail between its legs and limping to home in the hope that everyone will forget about it.

Its razor-sharp lens ensures sharp corners and distortion-free images, even when you shoot it wide open. Adobe has a team of engineers whose sole job it is to fix bad lenses in Lightroom. You are literally eating the food these programmers nerds eat. What’s the fun in shooting a lens sharp and beautiful at almost everything you point it at.

And 38mm. Really? It couldn’t have been 35mm or 40mm. They decided to go with 38mm. Only one other company thought that a 38mm F/4.5 lens would work well is the same company that spends literally thousands of dollars to ensure their products are sloppy. Really! It’s amazing! It was amazing! I purchased an LC-A 120. Victor, that’s a great idea!

Is it possible for superwides to be so certain that a matching center filter doesn’t exist? Name one! (Ok, so the Mamiya 7’s 43mm doesn’t have one, but it does have a Biogon smarty pants… I’m on a roll!

What’s the deal with the split stop? No one told anyone that it was time for a split stop. We can’t be more lazy. Hasselblad, thanks! My meter reads 1/3 stop and I am American. What can I do now? Bracket?

The finder is sharp and contrasty, just like the lens. It’s also distortion-free! The bubble level of the finder is independent from that on the body. Two bubble levels? Talk about obsessive. Isn’t green water on an endangered list? Or worse, both?

Is it possible that they are thinking of the same framing in the film? Seems a bit controlling if you ask me! You might want to make sure they have a little ground glass back that you can attach to the thing so you know exactly what you will get.

These opinions are shared by many photographers, both seasoned and newcomers. I decided it was time for me to take action. Hasselblad had been pulling at us for so many years, and I finally was able to correct some of those wrongs. This pig needs some lipstick to try and regain the glory it was once so close to winning.

I present the Bronablad…or the SWC2 (or SWC TOO, SW See Two, or SW C2) from a basement workshop in suburban Chicago. (because Bronica is an SQ…get it? My personal favorite is the Zenzablad. But it’s not because you can get into a Zen state by using it.

You can replace the medium format wide-angle lens that was the best ever made with a 40mm ETRS lens (yes, the 645 lens… but not the SQ 40mm), and you get the extra 2mm that was lost somewhere along the line. A nice even 40mm — even sounds better!

corners won’t be lit, and they won’t be as soft as baby’s bottoms. You’ll be able to get baby bottom “after trying zucchini for first time”, but that’s only if you’re lucky.

It’s a Holga, but completely different. It’s just bizarre. The lens can only be used between f/8-ish and f/16, if that wasn’t enough. This feature is a positive, rare and welcome addition for anyone who has difficulty making decisions.

This “camera” will experience the same film flatness as Hasselblad and other SWC shooters around the world. There is nothing we can do here. We will have to accept the cards that are dealt.

The Zenzablad is here in all its glorious glory. You would not expect anything and you can only hope that it will emerge from a basement during a cold spell. Thank you for reading!

Shot on the Zenzablad.
Shot on the Zenzablad.

Author’s Note: Victor (Hasselblad) is my sincere and open apology. Although I don’t know if he was cremated, I hope so. Being mildly claustrophobic, I can only imagine how he was able to perform the below-grade acrobatics that this camera and my satirical description about one of the greatest cameras ever created may have caused. I simply had an SWC body without lens that had been many different things over the years. It was first a “Pinblad,” then a ‘Holgablad’, and although my “Nimslo/Bronica” 40mm knockoff XPan shot craps, it now looks closer to its original glory. It is not, however, in the same universe as it was before. Both have flat film!