HASSELBLAD V-SYSTEM  Colors & Materials   Online purchase page

The more common components of the Hasselblad V-System series are supported, including the 500 and 501 Series, 503cx/cxi, the ELX and 903SWC. The 203 and 2000 Series are partly supported. There are early and late versions of the 500 Series, so a photo of your equipment is helpful!

Both the old and new style waist level finders are supported, as well as the NC-2, PM5, PME-51, PME-45 prisms. The C12, A12 and A24 backs are supported. Very late style film backs use a different cut of leatherette on some parts, for the "6X6" badge at the top, and a slightly different side cut with no film plane index mark.

"VH Black" is a finely pebbled black covering that replaces the factory covering on your camera. The photo above on the left shows the original covering, and VH Black is shown on the right.  The detail is a little crisper on the new material. It's also thinner, but not nearly as subject to shrinkage as the factory leatherette.

This 500C is shown in the Claret composite leather.

Both of the bezels below the lens mount have to be navigated carefully when you apply the new covering parts. The best approach is to dampen the outer edges of both, with some "Advanced Purell" or other alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which will help keep the adhesive from hanging up on the edges.


When cleaning off the old covering, you'll have to remove the layer of rubber adhesive under the leatherette. You can get most of it off with your finger, rolling it into a ball, as if it were chewing gum. This makes much less mess than using solvent. There's more help on recovering your 'Blad further down . . .

The original C12 back uses a main piece a little different from the piece for the A12 back. The C12/A12/A24 back alone uses nearly twice the leather required by a typical 35mm camera.

The late version of the back may have the little "6X6" badge on the top, and it will not have the "scallop" cut to accommodate the black plate with the film plane indicator. Be sure and tell us if you have this version.

Material shown: Deep Jade composite leather
The Kiev 88 prism finders are also supported.

Replacing your original Hasselblad covering

Nothing comes off easier than the original Hasselblad vinyl covering. The real work is removing every bit of the adhesive underneath it. After all this residue is off, give all the leatherette zones a firm, final wipe-down with a small, clean cloth dampened with some alcohol. The chrome surface should be very clean and shiny before you place the leatherette!

On many chrome body Hasselblads, you will notice that a small, thin margin of black paint has been applied at the factory, on the camera at the outer edges of each leatherette zone. This was to allow for some shrinkage of the leatherette. During the clean-up of the camera, it is normal for this paint to get wiped away in places, or altogether. Where the paint is gone, or very thin, it’s a good idea to re-create this black margin with a permanent marker, such as a “Sharpie” Magnum, just before applying the new leatherette. Otherwise, at those edges where the paint has been partly worn away, you may notice that the remaining paint creates an uneven appearance next to the chrome. This is a cosmetic issue only and does not affect the adhesion or performance of your new leatherette.

If you are recovering the FILM BACK with the “VH Black” material, you should consider leaving the original thin outer arc of leatherette alone, if it’s in good condition and properly adhered. It takes a lot of time to clean off every bit of residue along the narrow channel where this piece sits, and it’s also tricky to get the new piece placed just right. You can keep the new piece in reserve if you ever need it.

Material shown: Teal Crinkle Specialty Leatherette

Special procedures for the ELX

The ELX cameras require some basic dis-assembly of the outer shell, something we always prefer to leave to professional camera technicians. But if you use care, you aren't going to do your camera any harm.

But before you take anything apart, the bottom can be placed normally, as long as you begin as you see here, around the feet on the bottom, and then work your way out to the front and back.

Material shown: "faux" Red Lizard Leatherette

Here you can see what's OK to take apart, and what is not OK. You will have to remove the plate on the side that covers the gear coupling between the 2 main components. (Take precautions not to let anything drop into the camera interior!)

You do NOT want to try and separate the 2 main components.

This means that on the bottom unit, you need some way to get the new cover pressed down where it makes the turn into a crevice that you can't reach with your fingers. The Plastic-Straw-Folded-Over trick is a perfect way to apply pressure into the crevice, with no chance of any cosmetic damage.

Material shown: VH Black leatherette

More Hasselblad content coming soon!