Hasselblad Meter Knob

Nr. 54011 for 500 series (1957~1991)

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Hasselblad Meter Knob

Hasselblad Meter Knob (self-powered selenium; reads LV 4~17, fits Hasselblad 500 series cameras, 1.9 oz./54 g (2.9 oz./82 g with carry case), about $75 used if you know How to Win at eBay.) bigger. I got this one at this link directly to them at eBay, and it cost me only $51. Never buy at a retail store; you'll pay way too much and have very limited options if you don't like it.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to my personally-approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Use only the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.


January 2016    Hasselblad reviews   All reviews

How to Shoot Film



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This is a selenium (self-powered) incident and reflected light meter built into a Hasselblad 500-series winding knob.

It pops on and off with a locking bayonet mount and replaces your usual winding knob or crank.

This tiny meter is always on and needs no battery. It reads reflected or incident light (just press the latch and slide the diffuser over the meter cell), and it's always where you need it: your winding knob.

Even better, it pops off with a button, so you can take it off your camera to meter closer or for incident readings. It is completely self-contained.

The Hasselblad Meter Knob has a mirrored scale for precise reading.

It comes in a plastic carrying case, which will of course hold your regular knob if you're using the meter. It's not waterproof for SCUBA, but it certainly is dirt, dust and splashproof for using your meter in nasty environments.


Hasselblad Meter Knob in case

Hasselblad Meter Knob in Case. bigger.



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It works with any Hasselblad with an interchangeable winding knob, which are the 500 C, 500 C/M and 503 CX from 1957~1994. As of 1994 and newer the 503 CXi used a different crank and the cheaper 501 C no longer had a removable crank at all.

It even works with digital backs, and it also works with any other camera that uses the EV system. If your camera lacks the EV system, the calculator dial of most other meters can be used to translate EV into shutter speeds and apertures.



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Hasselblad calls this the Film Winding Knob with Exposure Meter.

It's made by Gossen for Hasselblad. Gossen has been the world leader in exposure meters for as long as there have been exposure meters.

It's Hasselblad part number 54011.


Meter Range

Light Value (LV) 4 ~ 17 (EV 4 ~ 17 at ASA 100).

LV 4 is f/2.8 at 1/2 second.

LV 17 is f/16 at 1/500.

The EV range of course varies with film speed; EV = LV at ASA 100.


Film Speed Range

ASA 6 ~ 1,600.

DIN 9º ~ 33º


Angle of View

Reflected: 50º, about the same as an 80mm lens on a 2¼" camera.

Incident: about 180º



1.8945" (48.12 mm) diameter by 0.861" (21.89 mm) tall, measured.



1.905  oz./54.1g, measured.

2.885 oz./81.7g, measured with plastic carry case.



Made in Germany.



1957, with the first 500 C of the V system.





Prices, USA

November 2015: about $75 used if you know How to Win at eBay.



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Overall    Accuracy   Ergonomics



It's small, handy and accurate — and it's always with you.



It's as accurate as my other fancy meters.

No two perfectly accurate meters ever agree, since they all see different angles, integrate varying areas of light and dark differently, and respond to different colors differently.

This said, it's within a ½ stop or better of my other meters at every light level.

My meter seems most accurate set to ISO 71 for ISO 100. You will need to set yours based on your own taste.

WARNING: All because this meter is accurate doesn't mean that an unskilled user will get good exposures. Exposure determination is a fine art, especially with a traditional light meter like this.

If I gave you a Steinway piano, you won't be able to get music out of it unless you're a skilled pianist.

Likewise, determining the correct exposure with a light meter requires skill, practice and experience. You should be fluent with the Zone System and have all the rest of your camera gear tuned and calibrated.



It's an easy meter to use and handle; that's the whole point.

The half-stop red lines are bolder than the full-stop numbers, which is confusing. I'd prefer it if full stops were lines and the half stops were the little dots.

It's much clearer and easier to use then most meters.

It doesn't lock the needle to hold readings; you do need to read it as you hold it in position.

Like most selenium meters, the readings are very close together from LV 4 ~ 6 and above LV 15. Meters with cammed pointers make up for this, but these zebra-striped meters make it tough to read precisely at the ends of the scale.



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Versus Other Handheld Meters

This is smaller than most other meters.

Accuracy is about the same. No two meters ever agree all the time.

Newer battery-powered meters may work better in dim light or be easier to read at high and at low levels.

For use with cameras lacking EV scales, other meters may have added shutter speed and aperture scales.


Versus TTL Meters

TTL meters obviously have the advantage of reading through your filters, as well as seeing the angle of view of your lens.



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See also Hasselblad's instruction manual.



Hasselblad Meter Knob latch

Hasselblad Meter Knob. bigger.

Wind your camera.

Press your existing knob's lock button away from the camera and turn your current knob counterclockwise and take it off. Put it in the meter's case for safe keeping.

Line-up the meter's red circle with the dot on your camera, and turn this knob clockwise to lock.

Hasselblad also made a part number 40266 that clips this meter to the front of your lens shade. This frees the camera's wind connection so you can use a crank there if you prefer.


Film Speed Setting

Use a coin to turn the center knob.

Only the outer scale moves; you do not turn the central scale with the three tits.


Exposure Measurement

The needle is counterbalanced, but it can vary if held at different angles. I try to keep the dial facing up.

Look at the needle, being sure that you're looking straight at it. The reflection of the needle in the mirrored scale should be hidden behind the needle.

Follow the black or white bar up to the red scale and read the EV number. Set this on your lens, and you're done.

Hasselblad Meter Knob scale

Hasselblad Meter Knob. bigger.

In this photo, it reads EV 9 at ASA/ISO 100/21º


Reflected Light

Press the catch and slide the white diffuser away from the honeycomb sensor.

Point the meter at the subject, and read the needle.

Bring the meter closer to the subject for spot readings.


Incident Light

Press the catch and slide the white diffuser over the honeycomb sensor.

Hod the meter in front of the subject, pointed at the camera, as you take your reading.



Hold them over the meter cell


Subtract the exposure factor (usually between 0.5 and 2.0) from the indicated EV.

Do only one of these; don't apply an exposure factor if you hold a filter over the lens.



It doesn't read flash.


Digital Backs

You use it the same with digital or conventional backs.



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Love them or hate them, there's no reason not to use one of these to replace your existing knob. You never know when you'll need it, and even if you have a metered prism or automated camera, few of those measure incident light.

Luckily Hasselblad demanded only the very best from Gossen, and most of these meters still work perfectly and are accurate today — but only if you know what you're doing with a meter. Unlike digital cameras with their usually infallible multi-zone meters, you need talent to use one of these well.

I got mine at this link directly to them at eBay. Never buy at a retail store or other dealers; you'll pay way too much and have very limited options if you don't like it.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to my personally-approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Use only the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.


More Information

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This Meter Knob was mentioned in the 1982 500 C/M instruction manual on page 14, but not in the 1985 500 C/M instruction manual. It was seen in catalogs from the dawn of the V system in 1957 until about 1991.


Hasselblad's instruction manual.


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29 November 2015