Hasselblad 500 EL/M is medium format film SLR system camera with motor drive, manufactured by Victor Hasselblad Aktiebolag, Göteborg, Sweden, and produced between 1971-84.

EL/M is a modified version of the EL, "M" means modified, "EL" electric.

Hasselblad 500 EL is a system camera this means that almost everything is interchangeable: lens, prism/finder, and film back.

In 1964 Hasselblad started production of a motorized camera, the 500 EL. Apart from the housing that incorporates the motor drive and the NiCd-batteries this camera is similar in appearance and operation to the Hasselblad 500 C and uses the same magazines, lenses and viewfinders.

The body is in V-system 500 series, uses only leaf-shutter lenses. There are various Carl Zeiss made C, CB, CFi/CFE series as Distagon, Planar, Biogon, Sonnar type lenses, with various focal lenghts, with Compur shutter for 500 series.

Hasselblad was the company that first developed the professional medium format modular SLR. Perhaps the most famous use of the Hasselblad camera was during the Apollo program missions when man first landed on the Moon. Almost all of the still photographs taken during these missions used modified Hasselblad cameras. Hasselblad's traditional V-System cameras remain widely used by professional and serious amateur photographers. One reason is a reputation for long service life and quality of available lenses.

There are too many accessories for the EL cameras.

EL models[]

  • 500 EL 1964–69
  • 500 EL/M1971–84, introduced user-interchangeable screen,
  • 500 EL/M "20 years in space" 1982, featuring a special large shutter release plate designed to make it easier for astronauts using the camera with space suit gloves,[1]
  • 500 ELX 1984–88, introduced TTL-flash sensor and larger non-vignetting mirror,
  • 553 ELX introduced new internal light-absorbing coating and use of AA-batteries,
  • 555 ELD 1998–2006, introduced new mirror mechanics and electronic contacts for communication with digital backs.


  • Film: 120 roll, picture size: 6x6cm, or 6x4.5 format with special magazine
  • Plate on top of the camera: Hasselblad
  • Plate on the left side of the camera: 500EL/M
  • Lens: The standard lens of this camera was Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm f/2.8
    • Mount: special bayonet
    • The lens in the photos: Carl Zeiss Sonnar 250mm f/5.6, chrome finish, auto-diaphragm, filter thread: 50mm producing date: 1968
      • Aperture: f/5.6 - f/45
      • Focus range: for this lens: 2.5-60m +inf
      • Engraving on the lens: Lens Made in West-Germany
      • Two movable DOF indicatorson the lens
    • Diaphragm knob: on the lens for checking DOF on the ground-glass screen
    • Lens release: by a knob on front of the camera, beside the lower right side of the lens;
    • The lens can be remowed only when the motor drive selector on "O" or "A".
    • Important when mounting the lens its shutter must be cocked, the simple way to cock shutter is to insert a coin into the slot on the cocking shaft of the lens and turn to clockwise. Attention that the two red dots must be opposite.
  • Focusing: via Fresnel matte screen
  • Shutter: Synchro-Compur, central leaf shutter in the lens
    • Speeds: 1-1/500 +B
    • Setting: ring and scale on the lens
  • Exposure value system: aperture and speedsrings move together with the lock catch on the lens; 2-18 EV index, red scale numbers and locking catch on the lens; un-lock the catch for manuel settings
  • Shutter release: a silver button on the front right side of the camera
  • Remote release socket: for radio control or a special cable release, above the shutter release button
  • Winding and cocking: by built-in motor-drive only, the shutter in the lens is cocked by means of the cocking shaft on the body
  • Motor drive settings: dial on the right side of the camera
    • O = Single shot normal mode
    • S = mirror pre-release
    • A = continual motor-drive mode as long as shutter button is held down
    • AS = continual motor drive + mirror held up between frames
    • SR = mirror pre-release and mirror is held up after shutter release (for the 60mm Biogon and some other lenses with deep lens rear projection)
  • Mirror: instant return type by motor drive
  • L O T selector lever: T: time exposure, O: speeds, L: shutter release lock,on the right lover side of the camera
  • Frame counter: a window on the right side of the magazine w/ a smal signal window, white: the camera is ready, red: the film is not advanced
  • Viewfinder: Waist level finder, Fresnell lens and grainless ground-glass screen, w/central cross , w/ black lines for 6x4.5 format
    • Hood opens by a catch on top of the hood, w/ fine focusing magnifier
    • Focusing hood and screen are interchangeable
  • Flash PC socket: fully synch, on the lens, select M X V by the lever after moving the catch on the lens forward just beside it
  • Self-timer: by M X V selector lever on the lens, set to V
  • Fitting for accessory items: on the left side of the camera, w/ a stamping "500 EL/M, Made in Sveden by Victor Hasselblad"
  • Back cover: as an interchangeable film magazine, removes by a latch on top of the magazine, w/ a memory dial
  • Film loading: Pull-out the film loading part from the camera via turning the un-lock lever on left side of the magazine; load the film to take-up spool; film advance pop-up lever on the right side of the magazine, turn it until zero appears in the frame counter window
    • Caution: before the replacement of the standard film magazine the dark slide must be mounted in its slot; when taking the picture pull-out away the dark slide. Shutter release do not work when the dark slide is in its slot. The slot is on the left side of the camera.
  • Others: Tripod socket 1/4 inch; Strap buttons
  • Batteries: two 3V Ni-Cad rechargeable battery (not manufacturing anymore), serial connection
    • If necessary only one battery can drive the motor.
    • Motor drive can work with 9V.
    • There are many adapters in the market for 9V alkaline or L1424 Lithium CR-P2 batteries.
    • 9V battery in an adapter takes approx. 800 shots or more .
    • Battery compartment: on the lover left side of the camera , opens by the latch on it, there is a 1.6 amp fuse in it also
  • DIN type connector: on the right lover side of the camera, for mains power, with an adaptor 500mA at 6VDC, and the internal batteries must be removed
    • Note: This DIN socket also can be used as a remote control socket by a special device.
    • On/off switch: none
  • Body: metal; Weight: body: 1424g wo/ batteries; lens: 922g

Body dating[]

  • First two letters of the seial number show the manufacturing year,
  • as to this chart: V=1 H=2 P=3 I=4 C=5 T=6 U=7 R=8 E=9 S=0 [2]

Lens dating[]

  • For C and C T* lenses: there should be a 3-digit or 4-digit number in red lettering in the lens mount.
  • This is the manufacturing date code.
  • The last two digits are the month.
  • The first one or two digits are the year.
  • Add this to 1957