Hasselblad Infinity Desparity Question.

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by henry finley, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    I would thing the smartest way is just to detail my question, then follow with my qualification level afterward. I hope some Hasselblad-qualified people dive in, just for my edification, as I have no intention to take their knowledge and then compete with them by hanging a camera-repair shingle.
    So on with the question: why is there seemingly no point of perfect infinity when I switch lenses across the old 500CM's and ELM-era cameras? I've worked on maybe 20-30 different Hasselblad items. Heck, maybe 50 times by now... I clean and re-lube the lenses or foam the bodies--stuff like that. And you know something truthful?--there's never any meaningful infinity adjustment. Take the 80mm off one and put it on another, and it's never dead-on. Sometimes a downright disappointment. Or maybe I'm just too sensitive. Now that my question is stated, please give due credit to my 45 years of working on cameras as an extremely advanced hobbiest. I know that the Hasselblad repair people have gazillions of dollars of equipment and tolerances to the electron. I know full well what I have no business taking apart or fouling up, without the right test fixtures. Thank you. ​





    May I add to my line of questioning about these Hasselblads by speaking out with my honest opinion about them? There WEREN'T made by God, or anywhere close, as popular legend would have one believe. I've worked on countless cameras in my day and do impecabbly perfectionist work. I refuse to bear the shame of being a knucklehead-boob on my projects. These Hasselblads just aren't the cats pajamas compared to everything else. I don't think anything in this life or on this earth are THAT flawless.They ARE remarkable, and I do respect their reputation and their instruments, but they DO go off like a bomb in your hand, the DO blur pictures because of it, their infinity leaves a lot to be desired, and the are extremely simplistic in the mechanism. Ingeniously simplistic actually. But what's with this lousy infinity story? Thank you. ​
     
  2. vysk

    vysk Member

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    So, you are saying, that between bodies, no two bodies that you have worked on have ever registered the same infinity focus?

    That's hard to imagine, as they have to meet a tight tolerance to allow for lens / body / magazine interchangeability.
     
  3. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    That's correct. From 1 body to another it is usually off by as little as maybe 35 thousanths of the infinity stop, too far or too close. On one ELM I built, I was just playing around with turning the guts of an EL into an ELM I had to switch out the top panel from an EL with the top panel of a junk-box ELM, and I came up with the infinity surprisingly close with this playtime experiment. On a 60 dollar 1971 C, which really was a CM without the marking that year, My 80mm lens was way off--between 50 feet and infinity. Heck what's that--1/8 inch? And on umpteen other Hasselblads from that era, the infinity is never the same. I'm tired of loosening up the lens focus ring and resetting it. to fit one body or another. It's never dead-on. At least not what I would have expected out of a Hasselblad. A Graflex, maybe. Disappointing.
     
  4. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    35 thousandths? As in .035 inch? That's over a 32nd of an inch!

    I have heard that when adjusting the Hasselblad body, a fixture must be used to get it precise. It certainly is to be expected that a high degree of precision would be obtained from the use of a fixture to which the flange-to-image-plane distance would be set. With a fixture and proper technique, you should be able to straightforwardly adjust to within microns.
    I have no direct experience with Hasselblads, but some things holds true regardless.
     
  5. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    Well, the funny thing is that these mentioned cameras bear no evidence of previous tampering. The playtime hybrid I made was from one camera with a broken gear arm doohickie, with another one where the internal screws had been chewed up by some boob. I'm having a hard time accepting that EVERY piece I have worked on has been fouled up before I got them, like bent mirror stops, or that sort of thing. Something is screwey. Of course I could select a lens and a body and have a factory expert set them up, and then use them as my standard for other stuff I work on. But then, do you have any idea how many pieces of camera gear I worked on to repair some "factory certified tech" foul-up? Let me mention a Minolta SRT101 I had to re-string the meter linkage because the "factory technician" before me made a complete mess of it. Seems like half of my projects end up being to undo some qualified technician's deed.
     
  6. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    I took my 500CM to a very fine tech in Edmonton Alberta Canada ( Steve Streusse) in 1980 for a clean lube and adjustment.

    I went to visit him to see how my camera was doing and he told be that he was working on it just then and I could watch
    as he performed, what I think he referred to as, the infinity adjustment.

    The (empty) camera body, was placed on a jig of some sort, a gauge was placed over the lens mount. Steve told me the
    body was just a tiny bit out and he would adjust it properly. He took placed a mandrel of some sort over the lens mount and gave
    the thing a terrible wallop with a wooden mallet.

    I left at that point.

    Yes, he did a fine job. The camera had never worked so well.
     
  7. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    Yeah, I can imagine. But I've worked on enough things automotive, electronic, photographic, and just about every other device there is, and giving things a good whack REALLY IS the correct way to square-up stuff. It's even mentioned as prescribed technique in the Hasselblad 503 service manual. You just gotta have "the touch" when you whack on something. I've got it--done it countless times.
     
  8. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    I have a big rubber mallet in my office...when students ask what it is for, I tell them I use it to adjust the enlargers! LOL!

    Vaughn

    PS -- though I have been tempted to use it to adjust some student attitudes, too. Haven't yet...I like my job.
     
  9. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    I've only been fooling with Hasselblads a couple of years. I'm determined to lick this infinity quandary. I'm a guy who can take a Hammarlund radio and using nothing but the built-in crystal oscillator, can calibrate the dial for all bands to where you never have to use the crystal oscillator from that point on. It CAN be done. I can get a Kalart rangefinder DEAD-ON the money. Certainly a Hasselblad can come out better than what I've been seeing. This is turning out to be a disappointment. I know about all the fancy jigs, but these things have the screw-holes drilled in them so precise, you can strip the interior box into pieces, put it back together with nothing but a screwdriver, and be within 1/10 of a germ of the 50, 000-dollar test jig.
     
  10. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Subscriber

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    Mine is perfect with all me lenses at infinity.
     
  11. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    To add to my disappointment in the divinity of the Hasselblad reputation, I have a microprism screen, a split-image screen, and a regular plain one, and they don't particularly agree all that well either. But that is not a factor in my original intent in this thread. I'm just not finding an encouraging amount of agreement amongst any of ALL the Hasselblad goodies I've been playing with. But for an ordinary 80mm to be so far off one way or another of all the bodies I've put it on. The wide-angles are another story. They're perfect even at a mile away from the infinity stop. And NOBODY expects a telephoto to be the same on the screen as the film-plane. But an 80? This isn't right.
     
  12. agfarapid

    agfarapid Member

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    An interesting thread. I purchased a 500c about a year ago and, based on the photographs taken, appears to function well. The lens, an early crhome 80 Planar, will focus correctly at infinity but if I was forced to use the focus scale for intermediate distances, said scale placed at 50 feet brings into focus an item which measures 25 feet away. I've not had any out of focus issues or any other focus issues. Is this discrepancy between measured distance and the distance scale on the lens what you are referring to? Does this issue appear in the actual photographs taken with said lenses or are we discussing an anomaly which is usefull for discussion only but has no practical value when focusing on a particular subject?
     
  13. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    Thanks agfarapid. You're telling me I'm banging my head against the wall looking for the kind of accuracy I can get re-aligning a radio. If other guys as yourself are having to play those kinds of chores chasing down a focus rat, then I'm just too darn picky. To answer your question, finding an actual infinity point from the film itself would involve a huge expenditure in film and paper. All anyone CAN do is get the bench mechanics right and let the film end as it may. Even an 8 x 10 view is going to be different on the ground-glass and the actual film holder. A Hasselblad is SUPPOSED to be perfect--straight from heaven. So they say. But it's not happening.
     
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  15. agfarapid

    agfarapid Member

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    Well, toss it up to the fallibilities of Victor Hasselblad.
     
  16. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    Thanks friend. I'm not ready to do that. Alexander M. Poniatoff came up with the Ampex brand of tape equipment. That stuff REALLY IS flawless. If one man can create a legend, then another should be just as remarkable. Hasselblads are NOT junk. My work is obviously inadequate. That's the obvious answer. If I keep on with this thread, a better man than me is going to jump in and slam my head against the wall and wake up my thinking on this tough hickory nut.
     
  17. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.
    Albert Einstein
     
  18. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Subscriber

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    Look at the film back. I have an A12 back that gives me that kind of extreme front focusing because something in it is out of whack. I have another that is perfect so I haven't bothered fixing it, but the back can definitely by the problem.
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Is this thread talking about an inability to focus accurately, or a disparity between actual distances and the distance shown on the focus scale on the lens?

    If the latter, why worry about it.
     
  20. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    Well, a dirty secret about my 80mm that I'm using as my body tester is that the previous owner of the lens had one of those focus-knob handle dooflotchies on this lens. Mabe he 1/2 just plain wore out the helicals with it. I remember having to use wheel bearing grease when took it apart for a good solvent-scrub with the toothbrush and re-lube. First time was with white lithium grease and it was STILL as sloppy in its action as the previous hill-and-valley places in the action of the movement. And I KNOW no oil will be wicked to the shutter. When I put this thing up on EBAY, I'll be darned if it's going out of here not right. I've about had my fun out of this junk. I'm NOT going to send it out of here to some guy as a bunch of problem cases. I never did abide that kind of work out of myself.
     
  21. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Henry, do the problems only occur with older bodies and lenses or have you experienced these observations with newer bodies (501cm, 503cw, 200 Series ect.) as well?
     
  22. Douglas Fairbank

    Douglas Fairbank Member

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    This is the way to set up any Hasselblad V body. Get the body length right and be sure the body is square with no distortions. Next get the mirror right at exactly 45 degrees. Finally set the screen true and flat. Hasselblad service stations have the jig to do just this and sometimes have an even more precise jig to set the camera to even closer tolerances for the digital backs. They will also have the jig to set the film gate square and at the exact right distance so that the focus does not shift between magazines.
    The Hasselblad is a modular camera and each component has to be set for the complete camera to be right on the money. Lens focus is not likely to shift in normal use but it can be checked of course and unless your photography is always at infinity or you set the focus aganst the distance scale the most important thing is that the point of focus at the screen is an exact match to the image plane (film or digital).
    Just so there is no confusion there is NO DIFFERENCE in the focus position between film and digital for Hasselblad.
     
  23. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    I've occasionally done camera repair myself, with some measure of success and I've enjoyed the process.

    There is however nothing like sending the thing off to someone who has serviced perhaps thousands of cameras, just like yours, and
    completely understands all the nuances of applying lubrication, adjusting focus, adjusting shutter speed then putting it all back together looking like
    it had never been apart. I'm thinking of David Odess, Harry Fleenor, Sherry Krauter, and Canada's Gerry Smith. There surely are many more......

    No genius can compare with experience.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2012
  24. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Steve Choi immediately comes to mine too, even faster than some of the ones you mentioned. :smile:.

    BTW, Henry... I have a Hallicrafters SX-28 and an equally cool Hammarlund all-band available. Do you have a (working) Hassy 250 CF to trade?
     
  25. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    I'm somebody who works to make a repair look like factory also. I REFUSE to cause a chewed-up screw slot. And I know Odess and those guys are a million miles over my head. But this is a simple enough nut I should be able to crack. I maintain that infinity ends up different on all the older Hasselblads I've worked on--beyond what should be expected just because I do not have the perfection jigs these guys have. As for the fellow asking about my experience on the later models--I've never had my hands on one. I'm too poor.
     
  26. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    Thanks. I've got an HQ110 Hammarlund I've had for 30 years--that's all I need. I've already bought, fixed up, and sent out 2 HQ 180's out of here. Terrific radios, but for the ham bands, it's kinda tedious to have to do the crystal oscillator every time you switch bands.