Hasselblad 500C/M Shutter Issue

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by vssoutlet, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. Hi All!

    I just received a beautiful 500 C/M, but I'm having a problem with it. It takes two shutter button presses to complete one cycle. The first press appears to open the shutter but it doesn't raise the mirror. The second press raises the mirror and then the shutter blinds are completely open. When I release the button the 2nd time, everything returns to the normal "mirror down" position with the shutter blinds closed.

    Does anyone have a clue what is happening and how to fix it?

  2. If you're already well-versed in most Hasselblad repairs, but haven't encountered this specific glitch before, perhaps a tech will reply and steer you in the right direction for DIY. Otherwise, forget it: unless you've previously performed invasive Hasselblad repairs successfully, this "beautiful" 500cm story isn't going to end well. That symptom indicates a timing issue, dried gunky lube in a critical place, or both. At minimum, you'll need to remove the inner chassis from the outer shell and take apart some of the mechanism. Unless you know exactly how to proceed, a couple of highly compressed hair-thin springs can shoot out and disappear somewhere in your floorboards. Assuming you find them, re-installing is difficult.

    Is this 500cm so pretty that you want to keep it for yourself? Then the best plan is to have it professionally overhauled by Haselblad NJ or a good independent tech. In my experience, most "beautiful" Hasselblads look that way because they haven't seen use in 20 years (and Hasselblads react very badly to not being used). They need a complete servicing after such dormancy, not just a targeted repair to fix one problem.

    OTOH, if you were planning to sell this 500cm in your eBay store, you might be better off just listing it as-is "for parts or not working". Tinkering with it yourself prior to resale could lead to it bouncing back to you if shipping jolts cause other problems, while paying to have it repaired professionally would cost more than any buyer would likely want to reimburse you.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
    Ed_Ingold likes this.
  3. Thank you for such a complete answer
  4. Paying for a CLA (~$300) for a 30+ year-old camera is not an unreasonable expense. Once done, it will give you years of reliable service.
    ken_kuzenski and andyfalsetta like this.
  5. I recently had Dave Oddess overhaul one of my lenses. He takes forever, and it costs an arm and a leg, but it came back like new. He has a stash of parts that no longer are available, which can be an issue with things like mainsprings. Well worth the money and the wait!
  6. On a smaller scale, getting a classic camera professionally restored involves the same subjective considerations as vintage auto restoration or certain home renovations: any amount of money can be justified, so long as you personally plan to enjoy the results over a length of time that makes the investment worthwhile in your own eyes. For anything less than long-term personal use, things get more complicated: significant amounts of money can be spent with zero chance of recouping on short-term resale. Hasselblad isn't a system you can expect to try briefly then resell at no loss, or 'flip' quickly for crass monetary gain. Unless you find a 500cm for free hidden in an old suitcase at an estate sale, or inherit one from a relative, you will lose money on it if you don't use it yourself for at least one election cycle.

    Hasselblad service costs a bloody fortune proportionate to the typical current resale value of any given piece of the system (on average, service fees for a body, lens or back will equal or exceed the purchase price). This is tolerable if you plan to use the system for at least five years, but not so hot if you buy at whim and quickly decide it isn't your cup of tea. Each item has an intrinsic value ceiling that 99% of potential buyers will not go beyond. A very clean good-working 500cm body only (no lens, back or finder) typically fetches $400 at most: even with a $300 repair certification from David Odess you aren't going to find many takers at $700. The buyers market is what it is: Hasselblad veterans may know that $700 for a verified-overhauled 500cm is a good value, but few are willing to actually pay that much up front (and virtually no newbies would even consider it). The system is too 'common', not considered feverishly collectible, so most people in search of Hasselblad gear feel confident they can snag a "bargain" (of course, many will regret that approach later on).

    Rolleiflex TLR and vintage Leica have a little more leeway, mostly because those brands (and their mystical legendary repair wizards) have ever-inflating $ values and hardcore dedicated cult followings. Hasselblad is still very respected, but its crazed cult following died off years ago, and prices have remained stable (or even dropped) in recent years for everything but the A12 film backs. If you buy a malfunctioning Rolleiflex 2.8c and send it to Harry Fleenor, or a a funky Leica M3 and send it to Sherry Krauter, chances are good another cultist will happily pay your full outlay should you change your mind and want to get rid of it within a year. People will literally kill for a camera blessed by those two techs, while poor David Odess barely merits a yawn from most Hasselblad shoppers. Sex appeal makes all the difference: more people get orgasmic thrills thinking about Rollei and Leica than your average Hasselblad or Nikon user. That can be turned to your advantage or disadvantage, depending on your individual purchase and usage approach.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
  7. These guys ^ know what they are talking about. They have lots more knowledge than me. I can comment though from the perspective of my 500C (forgive me if you already know the following). When you depress the shutter release I believe the mirror is released, the shutter closes, and the auxiliary shutter flaps open while the shutter opens and counts down to close. When you release the shutter button, the auxiliary shutter flaps close but the mirror stays up. When you wind on to the next frame, the film advances and towards the middle of the full stroke, the mirror starts its travel back down to its cocked and ready position. If your mirror is finding its way down after all the other steps have taken place,(upon release of the shutter release button) this IS NOT the way a 500C operates. If in fact a C/M acts the same as a 500C as far as the basic exposure steps are concerned, then as mentioned you have a significant timing issue at play.

    Just out of curiosity, is the "pre-release" button depressed or stuck?
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018

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