Hasselblad (Prism) Finders

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Hasselblad (Prism) Finders

The various angle finders for the Hasselblad are useful compared to the standard waist-level viewer. With a prism finder, your camera perspective rises and you stop taking belly-button angle shots (which are often interesting in their own way). This page reviews the various accessory finder options for the Hasselblad 200 and 500 series cameras.

Reviewed here are the:

45 degree non-meter finders

  • Kiev NC-2
  • PM-5 Prism Finder


90 degree non-meter finders

  • PM-90 Prism Finder

45 degree meter finders

  • Metered Prism
  • PME Metered Prism

90 degree meter finders:

  • PME-90 Metered Prism Finder



Metered vs. Non-Metered Finders

Somehow, I ended up with several angle finders for my Hasselblad 500C/M. While the optics of all of them are almost identically good, the quality (or lack of) metering distinguishes them. Newer Hassie finders have become better, but also have become more expensive. The Kiev NC-2 clone (non-metered) can be found for about $75-100; the original Hasselblad metered-prism about $200; and the Hasselblad PME for about $350-400. I bought my PM-5 new-in-box for $330. The latest-greatest PME-90 retails for about $1500 and used about $900.


Hasselblad 200 Series: For the most part, prisms for the 500 series and Kiev clones are not interchangeable with the 200 series. With the 203FE and other metered 200 series 'blads, the metering LCD is raised slightly on a lip on the front of the camera next to the ground glass. This means that older finders cannot be mounted on a 203FE/205FCC without damaging the display. The only finders which are compatible are the PME-5, PME-51, PM-45, PM-90, PME-45, PME-90, RM-2, HM-2, third-version solid magnifiying hood, and of course the waist-level finders that came with the camera.* This is unfortunate as one of the nice things about the Hassie 500 series is that you can use Russian metered finders with it.

* If you have trouble remembering this list, turn the finder over so that you are looking at the square prism element. There should be a chrome retaining bracket surrounding the glass, this slides into the camera mount. If the chrome bracket is a solid square shape, then it is designed for the older non-metered cameras. If the bracket has the front part cut-out so that it is U shaped, then it can slide into a 203/205 camera without damaging the LCD display. See the picture of the PME-90 to the right.


Kiev NC-2 Finder Clone
My Hassie 500C came with the 45 degree angle prism for a Kiev 88 camera mounted on it. The Kiev prism is a nearly exact clone of the NC-2 prism. This makes the 'blad much easier to use, more like a standard SLR camera. The image is right side and and left-to-right is left-to-right, unlike the waist level finder where left-to-right is inverted. However, the waist-level is lighter, so I use that for travel photography. The Kiev is, however, the lightest of all of the prism finders as it is non-metered.

You can decode the manufacturing date of Kiev cameras by using the first two digits of the serial number. Using that, my prism (serial #8269xx) was made in 1982. It's pictured to the right here and the photos above. I ended up selling this along with my 500C.





Hasselblad 45° Metering Prism
I then bought a used Hasselblad 45° metering prism. It's handy as it is TTL so you can use it for macro photography or with filters. It's about 110 grams heavier than the Kiev and a bit bulkier. There's no date code or serial number on it. While mine was in fully working condition with fantastic optics, it's an analog needle meter and when I got the PME-90, I sold it.




Hasselblad PME Metered Finder
I bought the Hasselblad PME metered finder to use with my 500C/M (pictured). The serial number of the PME indicates it was made in 1983. Unlike the earlier metered prism, it's a digital meter with an LED EV readout. It also uses the more available PX-28 battery. It's lighter than the original by 55 grams.

There were several revisions. The PME-3 released in 1989 was a recalibrated version for the Acute-Matte screen of the Hasselblad 503. The PME-5 in 1991 added a notched cut-out on the finder mount for the 205TCC cameras. The PME-51 added improved meter electronics (reduced power consumption and higher precision) in 1994, but the series was ended in 1995. Hasselblad now wants you to buy the PME-45 or PME-90 electronic prism finders, or the PM-45/PM-90 non-metered finders.

The PME has an accessory flash shoe (cold). It's designed for small fill-flashes. Don't put a large flash unit like a Vivitar 283 on it, you might risk tearing the shoe/finder if the camera is dropped. Instead, use the accessory grip with flash shoe.

How to use the PME Meter
This is a very easy meter to use although you do have to configure it properly. Thanks to Doug Holton who prompted me to write this short instruction guide.

Before metering:

  1. Set the ASA/ISO dial on the left side to the ASA/ISO of the film in the back you currently have attached. The dial to change the ISO is on the left hand of the meter (see here =>)
  2. Set the MAX dial on the left side to the maximum aperture of the lens you have attached. For example, if you have the 80mm f/2.8 Planar attached, set it to 2.8.

To meter:

  1. Point the camera at a neutral-grey shaded object in the scene. The meter is center-weighted so it isn't that important to be critically close
  2. Push the metering/battery check button at the front of the finder body (with your eye looking through the finder)
  3. Read the EV value on the scale on the bottom of the finder. If two numbers are lit at the same time, it is in between: 17 18 = 17.5

Set exposure

  1. The number is in EV. Transfer the EV number to your lens. On the right side of the lens should be a scale from 4-19 or so. As you change aperture/shutter speed, the EV number changes. Set it to the same number as your finder
  2. Once you are locked into the EV, you can change the shutter-speed/aperture (on pre-CF lenses) and the EV will remain interlocked. Choose a shutter-speed/aperture that you like

Have fun!



Hasselblad PME-90

The PME-90 is the current metered prism from Hasselblad. It's a great finder and fantastic light meter, very advanced. The only annoying thing is that you'd expect a $4,000 medium format system (Hass 501CM + lens + back + PME-90) to be coupled so that the lens + back automatically transmit their aperture/ISO data to the finder. No such luck. You have to dial in lens max aperture and film ISO each time you change them. That in itself was the main reason I traded in my 500C/M for the aperture priority TTL metering Hass 203FE (which amazingly still does not communicate the ISO/aperture to the meter-prism; only to the built-in meter).

The PME-90 has great ambient and reflected metering modes. It's very programmable and quite a nice meter. Along with the PME-45 (the same meter but in a 45° prism), these are the best metering options for the Hasselblad 500 series. If I had kept my 500CM, then I would keep my PME-90.

But the fact that it's not coupled with my 203FE and that it's really redundant, is why I'm selling my PME-90. It doesn't make much sense to use it along with my 203FE, although it's pictured here with it. If you're interested, please contact me.




Hasselblad PM-90

The PM-90 is pretty much the same as the PME-90 but without the meter, i.e. it's purely a prism finder. For the 200 series with their built-in meters, this is the best option. The design is very sleek and it is obvious the the two were meant for each other.

However, people have different preferences and I've decided that I really don't like 90° prism finders. I like 45° ones. It's more natural to the way that I shoot with my 'blad. I like the lower angles. But many people, especially those who shoot a lot with 35mm SLRs prefer the eye-level. Horses for courses.





Hasselblad PM-5

After going through..... six?. ... different prisms, I've decided that the PM-5 is really the prism I should have started with all along. Of course, I didn't get a self-metering 203FE until later on, so I can't be blamed....

The PM-5 is a non-metered 45° prism finder. I could have used the earlier Kiev NC-2 or other variation, but the problem is that with the 203FE and other metered 200 series 'blads, the LCD meter display intrudes into the finder area. Finders have to have a special cut-out in them to be compatible.

The PM-5 is the earliest non-meter prism finder that has these cut-outs. Finders that are compatible with the 200 series have two parallel blue lines on their left side (see below). Look for that or look for the cut-out (see the picture of the PME-90 above). Of course, if you have a 500 series 'blad, you can use any meter you want.

Because it's non-metered, the PM-5 is lighter and won't break as easily as the PME-45 or other metered prisms. It has everything I want (including a 'cold' flash shoe) and nothing I don't. My only complaint is that the finder fogs easily in cold weather. I'll have to experiment with various anti-fog wipes.


Technical Details

Hasselblad 500-series compatible prism finders

Kiev 45° Prism
(NC-2 Clone)
Hasselblad 45° Meter Prism Finder
Hasselblad PME
PME-3, PME-5, PME-51


  1971-1982 PME: 1981-1988
PME-3: 1989-1990
PME-5: 1991-1993
PME-51: 1994-1995
45° 45° 45° 90°
2.0 x magnification
Non-metering Center-weighted Metering (TTL) Center-weighted Metering (TTL)
ISO 25-6400
Spot (12mm) and Center-weighted (40mm) Metering (TTL) and Incident Metering
Incident: -3 - 17EV
Reflective: -1 - 19EV
ISO: 12-6400
6.2V Silver-Oxide
3V Lithium
380g / 13.4 oz. 490g / 17.3 oz. 435g / 15.4 oz. 580g / 20.5 oz.
Note: Using the text or images on this site in an ebay auction without permission is a violation of your ebay Terms of Service. I will report you to ebay if I discover such a violation taking place. This may result in your account being cancelled. I also reserve the right to file claim for civil penalties.


Hasselblad 200-series compatible finders

Model #

Waist Level Finder







-1 standard -2 to +1 standard
-4.5 to +3.5 interchangeable

-1 standard
-4 to +3 interchangeable

Metering Type
Spot (12mm) and Center-weighted (35/45mm) Metering (TTL) and Incident Metering
Incident: -3 - 17EV
Reflective: -1 - 19EV
ISO: 12-6400
Spot (12mm) and Center-weighted (40mm) Metering (TTL) and Incident Metering
Incident: -3 - 17EV
Reflective: -1 - 19EV
ISO: 12-6400
3V Lithium
3V Lithium
80g. 360g. 430g. 485g. 580g / 20.5 oz.
Note: Using the text or images on this site in an ebay auction without permission is a violation of your ebay Terms of Service. I will report you to ebay if I discover such a violation taking place. This may result in your account being cancelled. I also reserve the right to file claim for civil penalties.





Metering Knob
Another option for metering is the Hasselblad Metering Knob. Made by Gossen (West Germany) for Hasselblad in the 1970s, it's a replacement for the standard 500 series winding knob. It uses a selenium cell so some of them are no longer working, but if you can find a good condition one, they're great. They have both reflective and incident metering. Just slide the white incident metering hood back. It meters from EV 4-17 (ISO100) with ISO ranging from 9-1600. 50g (1.8oz)


About the Hasselblad Corporation

Blah blah blah... from a press-release:

2003-01-30 Shriro acquires Hasselblad, the Swedish camera manufacturer. The Shriro Group acquires the majority shareholding in Victor Hasselblad AB. The purchase agreement was announced today at a press conference at the Hasselblad premises in the centre of Gothenburg.
- Shriro is well-known to Hasselblad, and has succeeded very well in selling our products into the key markets in Asia, says G?eY?Lan Bernhoff, President and CEO of Victor Hasselblad AB. Shriro is our distributor in several key Asian markets and has, amongst other things shown its capability together with Hasselblad in developing the Japanese and Chinese markets as major outlets for Hasselblad.

Shriro is a 90 year old family business with production and distribution of several well-known and worldwide brands. The company has its major operation in the Asian Pacific region. The head-office is situated in Hong Kong and Shriro employs around 3,800 people in 13 countries and has a turnover of more than 2.5 billion Swedish Kronor, equal to 300 million US dollars.

The Hasselblad family started its company in 1841. Since mid 1870 Hasselblad has had its centre of operations in the same building downtown Gothenburg. In May this year the company will move to new office and production premises in a newly established high-tech industrial and university area, named Norra a^?vstranden, Gothenburg.

The company has recently carried through a successful, worldwide launch of a new unique camera system, built for traditional film as well as digital photography. The H1camera, which took nearly 6 years to develop from "idea" to a "finished product", opens up new markets for Hasselblad. Deliveries of the new system started in December 2002.

Hasselblad today has the most wide spread camera system in the world within the medium format, the so-called V system. This system originates from 1948 and will also in the future be an important part of the sales.

During the latter part of the 90:s Hasselblad has gone through extensive structural changes and when the company moves into the new premises the efficiency gain will be substantial. This move marks the completion of this period of manufacturing and product renewal, and the company is now ready to embark into a new era.

On August 12, 2004, Hasselblad surprised everyone by merging with digital image sensor developer Imacon. The new company will be called Hasselblad Imacon. This is very good news as Imacon is one of the leading vendors of digital backs for medium format systems. This means that we can expect even better incorporation of digital technology into Hasselblad's cameras (most probably only their H1 line since the V system seems to be a dead end).


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