Hasselblad 503CX Lens Issue

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by Mike Dale, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. I’ve been lurking for a while reading this Forum in particular as I’ve just got back into film photography with a Hasselblad 503CX and this seems to be a great place to glean information.

    I’ve put 5 films through it so far with pretty nice results. Today however I discovered an issue with the 50mm Distagon lens. I can’t get the full range of shutter speeds. It only goes between 1/4th - 1/8th at the slow end and 1/125th -1/250th at the fast end. I can select between f/22 and f/4 OK.

    Any suggestions as to what it might be and if I have to send it to be fixed where can I send it in the US?


  2. Is this a C or CF lens? At a minimum, the lens needs a p rofessional cleaning, lubrication and adjustment. The C shutter is more fragile, and parts are getting hard to find. The shutter setting ring should operate smoothly from one end to the other, with only a light click stop at each speed. If you continue to use it in this state, something will break, turning a $150 job into a $500 one.
  3. It’s a CF lens. I’ll send it to Hasselblad in NJ.

  4. Just a thought - is the shutter speed/aperture interlock button on the aperture ring depressed or stuck as you try to change the shutter speed? The f/4 - f/22 range on the aperture ring matches the shutter speed range you mention if the lens is set to, say, 1/60th at the half-stop detent between f/5.6 and f/8.
  5. The interlock button seems to be OK.

    The lens is all boxed up and ready to ship to Hasselblad in NJ.

    Thanks for the advice guys.
  6. Follow up.

    I sent it back to Hasselblad in NJ and they fixed it. $300 poorer for it. I took a few test shots and the camera went belly up. Couldn't reset the shutter, couldn't remove the lens. So this time camera and lens went to Hasselblad NJ. The good news is that it's working again and I'm $450 poorer. This shooting with film is an expensive game. I suspect it's what you get when using an elderly camera.
  7. Hopefully, this is the price of admission, and your luck will improve. I had a similar problem, camera and lens jammed together, $500 from New Jersey and good as new. That was in 2004 and haven't had another problem since.

    You have CF lenses and the 502cx has a "gliding mirror," which doesn't cut off the top of the viewfinder with long lenses. Good luck and enjoy.
    Mike Dale likes this.
  8. The price of admission for film photography is generally quite reasonable today: the majority of once-premium film systems are selling for nickels or dimes on the dollar compared to what they cost 20 years ago. The only exceptions to this are the "handmade by magical elves in Europe" systems like Hasselblad, Rolleiflex and Leica (which have an unfortunate tendency to be highly collectible and/or require repairs that can only be properly done by 4 or 5 technicians in the entire world). Hasselblad at least still services some older items themselves at their NJ headquarters: $300 to overhaul a CF lens shutter with such odd behavior is a relative bargain (most of the celebrated independent Hasselblad techs typically charge $100 more than that, once parts are factored into the total).

    Hasselblad is a great system, I love mine, but one needs to be aware the bodies, lenses and film backs were intentionally designed to be serviced on a regular basis (and that servicing typically costs as much or more than the item itself is now worth). In the late 1990s, most Hasselblad lenses sold new for $2000+, the bodies not much less, and the film backs hit close to $500 near the end of production. At those prices, the pros who bought the system didn't blink at writing off a $300 service every couple years. But for today's unprepared amateur, it can be a bit of a shock: without knowing the exact maintenance history of any random second-hand Hasselblad item, assume it will need an expensive service when you least expect. Put aside some pennies for a rainy day, and it won't hurt as much if/when the time comes.

    Once repaired by Hasselblad, a body or CF lens should go a good number of years without further problems. The two most important things to remember: ALWAYS make sure everything is fully cocked before mounting or removing lenses, and exercise your lens shutters at all speeds at least once a month. The leaf shutters like to be used, they don't like sitting on a shelf for weeks or months inactive. So if you find yourself in more of a digital mood for awhile, make sure to dry fire your Hassy lenses at all speeds every few weeks until you resume interest in film shooting.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
    Mike Dale likes this.
  9. Thanks Guys I'll remember that.

Share This Page