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Hasselblad CF Lens - Shutter Speed Ring Rattle Noise ?


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I have a 250mm Superachromat lens in my hands that has a fairly loud rattle when moving the shutter speed ring. It sounds like loose ball bearings. The sound exists only when moving/setting the shutter speed. Shaking the lens does not reproduce the sound. The ring itself is mechanically moving properly, clicks into position, no wobble or play. After it's set there's no more rattle noise. Is this normal? I had a different 250mm Superachromat in the past and that one was silent - only clicking noise, no rattle sound. I also have 180mm CFE and that one has very slight rattle. My other lenses are FE without shutter so can't compare, but I did use some other CF lenses in the past and never noticed the rattle much. Should I be concerned about the ball bearing rattle? What's your experience?

Also, the front retention ring (snap ring) rattles slightly when touched or when the lens is shaken. The engraved ring seems to be firmly screwed in, so not sure why the snap ring underneath it rattles slightly. Is this normal? Should I be concerned?

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No part of a once-$5000 lens should 'rattle loudly", but then we're talking about Zeiss' less-than-steller CF lens barrel design, so anything is possible after a couple decades. The front ring being slightly rattly would not bother me much: this is not uncommon with CF lenses (even when the name ring seems very tightly screwed down, as in your example). 

But a rattle loud enough to alarm you while adjusting the shutter ring could indicate something internal is in dire need of service. Given the optical quality and monetary value of the 250mm SA, getting it overhauled by a good Hasselblad tech would be a worthwhile investment in peace of mind. You could probably continue using it as-is for quite awhile, but Hasselblad lenses of unknown maintenance history have a tendency to random sudden failure. Since you are getting operational noise as a forewarning, perhaps you should heed the warning and have the lens serviced sooner rather than later.

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So I ended up taking the lens to two repair shops and both said not to worry about it. Took it to KEH in Atlanta who had two Hasselblad techs look at it and then also to Camera Service Pro in Atlanta who also have a Hasselblad tech.

Reading lens service manuals and watching some lens repair videos, I believe the rattling noise is coming from a single steel ball in the shutter speed ring assembly. I believe it should be encased in grease, maybe the grease dried out and now it's banging against surrounding walls when the shutter speed ring is moving.

The lens is otherwise a keeper, visually like new, image output perfect as expected, shutter speeds are accurate. Testing shutter speeds on 203FE is very convenient as one can shoot the same speed with leaf shutter and another frame with focal shutter and then compare exposure.

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Alls well that ends well, then!

Glad to hear the lens checked out OK with several good techs: should be fine to use normally until it eventually needs the inevitable 'blad shutter rebuild (at which point any of those techs should be able to locate and fix the source of spurious rattling).

My dealings over the years with late lamented Hasselblad guru David Odess made me hyper vigilant to get any unusual lens symptom checked out ASAP: the CF lenses can go quite awhile between overhauls, but from the moment they start acting up in the slightest way the odds of mechanical failure increase exponentially.

"If any doubt, have it checked out" should be engraved next to the T* logo (under Leica's red dot, under the Rolleiflex script plate, etc, etc). 😊

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