Once the war ended, Victor turned his team’s full focus onto the job of producing this new style of consumer camera. And on October 6, 1948 Victor introduced the world to the first Hasselblad produced consumer camera, the Hasselblad 1600F.
This model, a single-lens, mirror reflex, 6x6 camera with interchangeable Kodak lenses, film magazines, and viewfinders, was unveiled to great acclaim at a press conference in New York City. The 1600F camera met with great critical acclaim and was a truly groundbreaking feat of engineering.
There were flaws, however. The first Hasselblads were technological marvels in many ways, and were indeed beautiful to look at, but their technologically advanced interiors were very delicate. Producing an entirely new type of product is never without its pitfalls, and Victor’s camera was no exception. The watchmakers at Victor’s plant were experts at making precision parts, but not used to producing mechanics that could stand up to the mechanical strain a handheld camera must endure. Improvement led to further improvement, and design element after design element of the 1600F was refined and honed.
Some of the “defective” cameras survived despite Victor’s efforts, much to the delight of collectors and historians alike. These early 1600Fs, while not up to Victor’s uncompromising standards, have still survived for more than half a century. Eventually, the design improvements led to a new camera, something Victor himself was proud of, the new 1000F.
The new 1000F had featured many refined and improved features and a new lens series that now comprised six lenses. And then in 1952, the camera truly came into its own. The American magazine Modern Photography field-tested the new Hasselblad 1000F and reported spectacular results. The magazine’s testers ran 500 rolls of film through the camera – and even deliberately dropped it. Twice.
The Hasselblad never broke or even went out of alignment. To say that the durability issues had been resolved would be putting it mildly. A legend was born.