Blank developed negatives from my Hasselblad 500C recent purchase

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Katie, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    So I found a Hasselblad 500C on CL for $300 ... with the Planar 80, 12 back (not A), 24 back, WLF, assorted filters, and some random film (some Tri-X, color slide film/chrome, and something else....) and I bought it. I am NOT familiar with the Hasselblad system, let alone the 12 back - so the first roll I ran through it I wasn't surprised when it came out blank. I watched several you tube videos on how to properly load the tricky 12 back; and the second roll I made sure that I loaded correctly - watched for the 1 through the peephole and then set the counter at 1. When I took the first shot on the roll, I noticed that I had forgotten to take the dark slide out. But the shutter fired anyway! So - I ran the roll - developed it - and nothing AGAIN. Totally blank. No exposures at all. So I tested the camera AGAIN. Watched the shutter fire - checked the rear curtains/flap - everything that I found to do on this forum to check the camera. I even tested the dark slide and it DIDNT fire with it in while testing. It seems to work fine as far as that goes.

    So my question is - would an improperly loading back cause blank negatives?

    When I completed the roll - the film was advanced to the takeup spool. So it DID advance. But why would it fire with the dark slide in while loaded with film but not when dry firing to test? What can I do?

    Keep in mind that I have contacted the seller and am asking him what I should do as well; so there is a possibility of returning it (he said he had lots of inquiries from his listing, so I'm sure he could sell it to someone else...).

    Thanks for any and all info!
     
  2. vedmak

    vedmak Subscriber

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    "So my question is - would an improperly loading back cause blank negatives? "

    unless you put the paper upside down, although that is highly unlikely, also when you say film is totally blank do you see a frame numbers on the developed film? If not you used fixer before the developer
     
  3. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    That's a possibility. Another possibility is that the back isn't working right. The shutter release should be locked when the dark slide is installed, even if there's film loaded. If that's the case, I'd pick up a good A12 and not bother with the old school #12 back. The rest of the gear sounds about right, price-wise... The only other thing I can think of is that the mirror's going up, then dropping down before the shutter releases. Easy way to tell is to set the shutter to 1 second, then fire the camera while looking at the front element of the lens. It should be synched. Mirror goes up, shutter closes, then opens for a second, and closes, before the light trap flaps @ the back close. A couple times, my 500c/m (actually a late 500c, but it's essentially a c/m) would do that, but only while dry firing. Ever since that, it's been working perfectly.

    -J
     
  4. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    If you have watched the camera operate like John suggested and it seems to work properly, I would next suspect the film. I assume you used the film the previous owner threw in, and I don't know what would make film come out blank (except mixing up developer and fixer in the darkroom; there is another thread going on about this right now.) So go buy some fresh film and try that. Maybe a roll of color film and send it to a good lab to rule out darkroom errors on your part. If you get pictures back from the lab, you know the camera is working. Then shoot another roll of fresh film and develop yourself. In other words, rule out one thing at a time until you find the problem.
     
  5. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    It's not the film - or the processing. I used new film - the same used in my Bronica - and it developed perfectly last night. It for sure wasn't backwards - I've done that once, and not likely to do it again.

    So, in testing the camera - I cocked the shutter, which brought down the mirror so that I can view through the WLF (which I don't like, btw ... hard to focus). When I press the shutter (looking through the back of the camera without the back attached) the rear flaps open, and the shutter closes, then when I take my finger off the shutter, the rear flaps close. I don't see the mirror at all. When I cock the shutter again, and peek through the rear flaps, I can see the mirror down - so it is obviously going up upon the shutter firing.

    When I took the lens off ... I can see the mirror down. It is really pretty scratched up.

    Also - the lens. When I have it set at 2.8, I cannot see the shutter blades at all through the front of the lens. When stopping down to anything larger than 2.8, I see the edge of the shutter blades slightly (making the hole narrower). It doesn't change, though, from 4- 22). Is this normal?
     
  6. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Katie: It sounds from your description like the camera is operating normally. I just put an old 80 on my 500 CM and went through the process you described. By the way, be careful "peeking through the rear flaps" that you don't damage them. Also remember to have both the lens and camera cocked before removing or installing a lens. So maybe it is your back, although I can't understand what it could be. When the darkslide is removed there is nothing between the film and lens but the camera shutter, mirror, and rear curtains. When you release the shutter with the back on does it sound exactly the same as it does with the back off? My suggestion would be to find a back that you can borrow (maybe from the person who sold you the camera?) and test to see if there is something wrong with the back.

    RE the lens: I can never see the aperture blades when on f/4 or smaller unless I press the DOF preview button on the side of the lens.

    And RE the WLF: I have never had good luck with that either. I do better with a 45 degree prism finder. They are pretty cheap at KEH.

    Dan
     
  7. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    Thanks Dan for your input. So the lens is normal. From my amateur testing, the body is functioning properly. I do have another back - the 24, however I don't have any NEW 220 film. I do have a roll of Tri-X pan that he gave me that expired about 8 years ago. I don't think I can develop that film, though. Can I use HP5+ 120 film in the 24 back?

    Also, I have already loaded another HP5+ roll onto the stupid 12 back. Should I go ahead and do ANOTHER test roll with it or is there a way I can take it off (like in the dark) and respool the leader to use again later? I will probably just go ahead and shoot it as another test roll and make sure that I have exhausted all possibilities before I take her to the camera doctor. It is a haul to get to town and I'm sure not cheap for a checkup. :sad:
     
  8. maarten m

    maarten m Member

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    hey katie,

    you can use the 120 film in the 24 back, but you might lose your last frame, which can't be a problem for testing
    (i load the film about 1/4 to 1/8 turn shorter when i use 120 film in the 24 back and till now never lost a frame).
    if the darkslide isn't inserted fully, the camera might fire with it inserted, so that might be explained.

    my very first attempt to load a film on my older 12-back, i had gone winding through the whole film before it appeared to me it doesn't stop (like the A-backs)
    at the first exposure. i did not have a darkroom nor changing bag, so i opened the back and manually respooled and reloaded the film under the blankets in my bedroom :D
    worked just fine ...

    try taking off the back, setting the lens to 1 sec (or B) and f11 and look at/through the barndoors as you fire without a back installed.
    the doors will open upon firing and you should be able to see clearly through the lens (shutter opened, diafragma at f11 opening) for about 1 sec (or till you let go of the shutter).
    if you can see this, the light will have hit your film and neither camera nor lens is defect.

    maarten.
     
  9. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    I've used HP5 (non plus) from the 80's, came out fine, you can overexpose and underdevelop to compensate, though perhaps just overexpose 1 stop (at 200) and leave it at that, its only 8 years... in any case, you'd still get pictures regardless of using old film.. they may be foggy and dense with the actual picture ifo thin itself. But it wont simply be 'nothing'.

    Not taking the dark slide out will cause blank negatives every time.

    It has to be taken out or no light will reach the film.
     
  10. ChrisJarisch

    ChrisJarisch Member

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    I hate to admit it, but when I first got my Hasselblad, I did the same thing for 3 or 4 rolls of film... My problem was not loading the film right. I have an A12 back, and there is an excellent video on youtube that explains it step by step. I finally got it working, and now, it's second nature to load the film. I'm guessing you might be having the same problem. Hasselblad back are tricky to load at first, if you're used to a different camera. Everything seems backwards/upside down/weird. But, keep trying... you'll love your camera!
    Good luck :smile:
     
  11. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    I'm honestly hoping that it's me - and not the camera. I will happily admit that this film back is REALLY hard to load. My Bronica is soooo easy compared the 12 back on the Hasselblad. Hoping this next roll comes out.
     
  12. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    I know you said you didn't load it backwards, but wasn't sure if that meant correct side or upside down. Make sure you don't load the film upside down on the correct side. For reference the black side of the backing paper or side with no writing should face towards the camera.
     
  13. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    With the 12 back (non A) you have to look through a peephole on the rear of the back to line up the film correctly. You have to read the paper side of the film and line up the 1 in the hole to align the film start. If I had loaded it backwards, I would have been looking at the black side of the film, and wouldn't have seen any numbers on the paper. That's the only reason I'm thinking I loaded it properly. Also, the take up spool has the mechanism that tightens it, and the fresh side has nothing.

    I am giving it another go, though. Will let everyone know if it works or not! HOPE SO!
     
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  15. maarten m

    maarten m Member

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    i have the same old 12-back, so indeed, if you see "1" appear, you know the film's loaded correctly.

    did you try firing the camera as i described here?

    maarten.
     
  16. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I'd use some of the old TX to test. Unless it's been kept on top of the potbelly stove you will get an image.
     
  17. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    You are correct about seeing the numbers as and indication the film is loaded correctly.
    On the lens, unless you have the depth of field preview lever triggered you won't see the aperture change, untill the shutter is tripped.
    It sounds like the shutter may not be opening. What happens when you follow Maarten's test procedure.
    The manual for the camera, and lots of other information is available here; http://www.hasselbladhistorical.eu/
     
  18. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    Yes, Maarten, I did that as you described and as far as I could tell - it's working properly. The only thing I can think of is user error in loading the film (or that's what I'm hoping). I shot another roll tonight and will develop tomorrow. It did something different today, though. It ACTUALLY stopped winding after the 12th shot. It had not done that before. SO, I am hoping that this third time was the charm, and that I in fact, actually finally loaded the film correctly. I seriously cannot think of another reason for blank negatives. It HAD to be not advancing properly or something. If this roll doesn't come out - I am taking the camera in for service.
     
  19. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    How about that dark slide? Are you sure you took it out?

    "A" backs require the slide to be drawn at least half way out before they unblock the shutter release, but the old(est) backs only require a few mm.
    (Which is probably why you noticed that the camera would both release and not release with the slide in: when it did, the slide will not have been pushed in completely.)
    So assuming that the slide is out, because the camera will release is not enough. The camera releasing once with the thing in was not a one-of glitch. Check and double check.

    The thing with the back stopping after frame 12 is something else. It should always do so, even without film in it. Totally unconnected. So that it does is not a sign that you did something different loading the film.
    It is a sign, though, that the thing needs to be serviced. (And when you have it serviced, have the other bits looked at too.)
     
  20. polka

    polka Member

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    To my opinion, the test suggested by Marteen might not definitely prove that the body+lens is working properly, because a lot of things have to happen in correct sequence with the body and the lens, and maybe they happen OK with 1sec or B and not at the higher speeds.

    So, you should do the tests at higher speeds (the actual speeds you used for shooting) : while looking through the body+lens from the back (film magazine removed) camera directed toward light, and when firing, you should observe a "flash" of the lens opened at the preselected f/stop. This would really prove that the light goes through the camera to the film at all speeds.

    Paul
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2010
  21. maarten m

    maarten m Member

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    of course, paul, that would be the next step: doing the same at ALL time-settings.

    of course, it should!
    once you reached the 12th frame, you can't fire the cam anymore. it blocks!
    even without film in the back, you can't fire after the counter hits "12"

    when you loaded the 12-back, you checked wether the "1" appeared in the peephole.
    did you check if it advances after each exposure? e.g. number 2, 3, ...
    it might not align perfectly in the peephole, but you should see the paperback move as you wind.
    you do take the whole darkslide out? i hope you do :wink:

    maarten.
     
  22. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    Yes - darkslide is out. I have stopped putting it in after loading film, so I won't forget ... only use it to take the back off.

    I am pretty sure that the camera never quit winding or firing before when I have hit 12 - again, I KNOW I loaded it wrong the first time (as I loaded it like I would an auto back - and am pretty sure that I just wound through the whole film). The second time - I swear I did it right - but then again, I just don't know. I honestly didn't pay attention to numbers. The first time I used it - I think it started at 2? The second time, just a test roll, I just shot and shot and never looked down. this LAST time I seriously hope it worked because I had some very interesting subjects that didn't speak English and seemed rather weirded out that I was taking their picture. I am thinking it worked this time, as it stopped firing after twelve ... it hadn't done that before, which means I am sure I loaded it wrong. Will be developing tonight and will post as soon as I know if it worked!

    I don't have a light tight bathroom and to prevent light leaks under the door, only transfer film in the black of night. :smile:

    I will test the camera at normal speeds and see if it works, too.
     
  23. maarten m

    maarten m Member

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    "in the black of night" won't do, katie, i hope you know that.
    use at least like a black garbage-bag that you seal around the wrists,
    and then again only in a pitch black room if you do.
     
  24. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    It has worked so far. I do it in a dark bathroom, where I literally cannot see a thing in front of my face (and have been in there for up to a half hour before). It's a light tight room, other than the edges of the door; so I turn every light off in the house. There is NO light at all coming in.
     
  25. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    Okay - so the test at "normal" speeds was the trick. I seems that the camera isn't working at apertures of 4 - 2.8. Well, it does only at 1/8 of a second and slower. At 1/15 I see HALF (the lower part) of light through the hole. At 1/30 and faster I see NOTHING at all.

    I am holding the camera back to my eye in a dark room and pointing it at the light with no back on. :sad:

    I guess I have to take it in, right? does this mean it's the lens, since the shutter is in there? Is it worth it, seeing how I paid $300 for a non-working camera? Would you take it in, or simply ask the gentleman to refund my money. I'm not dead-set on a Hasselblad right now, and am quite pleased with the Bronica. I will continue to buy other cameras, though ... just to test the waters. I would really like a square format - should I return the Hasselblad and go for an SQ series Bronica from KEH where I know that it will work (or can return if not). I'm torn. It's an older Hasselblad (C, not CM) with a back that doesn't match the insert. BUT it is a really cool camera. What would you do?
     
  26. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    So at all apertures I cannot see any light at all with shutter speeds faster than 1/15. Should I be able to detect light from an open back through the lens at 1/30 and faster? I don't know what the human eye can see as far as speed... But this would explain my blank negatives, because I was shooting faster than 1/30 on the whole roll(s).