Hasselblad jamming - how bad of a problem is this?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by tkamiya, Dec 28, 2010.

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  1. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I'm totally new to the world of Hasselblad and in fact, I don't own one. I'm curious about the infamous jam issue since I may be interested in getting one.

    I hear, one of the down side of Hasselblad 500 series is it's tendency to occasionally jam. According to what I read so far, this is due to lens and body needing to be in cocked state when removing and attaching. Should one trip and the other one not, it constitutes a "jammed" state. (am I understanding this correctly?)

    I read, if the lens "fires" while detached, all one needs to do is to use a coin and turn a screw to cock it then all is fine. (is this right?)

    If body fires when lens isn't attached, what do you do?? Just wind?

    If one is sloooooooooooooow in attaching the lens, there is a possibility that lens might fire a split second before it is properly attached to the body. Since now the lens is "fired" and the body is "cocked", there is a problem. One cannot remove the lens in this state. (is this right?)

    I read, then one has to remove the back, slide/push the curtain, and carefully turn a screw inside the body (near the lens?) to cock the body, then remove it, then reattach. (is this right?)

    Now, the big question - it is so hard for non-owner to gauge how bad/frequent these issues actually occur. I can't possibly buy a second body and lens just in case - but these are professional cameras. It can't be that bad and still be useful in professional setting is it?

    With internet tendency to magnify problem far more than benefit (because ones with problems proclaim it louder and ones without problems just don't say anything), I'm pretty much clueless at this point.

    Can someone in APUG land help me out?
     
  2. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    I've only jammed our Hasselblad twice since we got it two years ago, and both were my own fault. I was able to recover both in the field, using simple tools and instructions I keep in my camera bag.

    It's a great camera system - I would highly recommend it. Have the camera CLAed by a professional and take decent care of it and the Hasselblad will treat you well.
     
  3. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I've had Hasselblads for many years and they do sometimes jam. invest in an unjamming tool. It has two protected ends. One for the camera body and one for the lens. Don't go out without one and a dark-slide. You can't fight Murphy's Law.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  4. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Good idea - I use the tool as well, though it is a bit heavy, so it stays in the car along with a small jeweler's screwdriver.

    Make sure to print out the unjamming instructions to keep along with the tool.
     
  5. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    What Jeff said.

    I have yet to jam a Hasselblad, and i have been using those for many decades.
    Reports of jammed Hasselblads are, without fail, reports of either run down fifth-hand equipment that has never been serviced, or of operator error.
    So never buy a camera (that applies to all brands) from someone who is too cheap to have it serviced but rather sells it on when it stops working properly. Have equipment serviced when needed (when that is depends on how nuch t is used). And read the (extremely thin) user manual and remember the little there is too remember.
    Then you will never have a problem.


    Now your other questions:

    - Yes. If a lens fires while off camera, all you need is a coin to cock it again.

    - When the body fires without lens attached, you simple recock the boddy. If there was a loaded film magazine on the camera, the frame in the gate will probably be lost, so leave the magazine on when you recock the thing so you wind that exposed frame on and get a 'fresh' one in the gate.

    - No. You cannot be too slow in attaching a lens. There is no such possibility of things happening as in your description.

    - Yes, you can turn the axle coupling camera to lens from behind, through the rear of the camera. Should you ever need to (which you will not).
    But if things happen as in your description, that will not help. Another screw must then be used to disengage the camera's key from the lens. After which it has to be reset and adjusted again: a job for a qualified technician trained to do so.


    - The BIG QUESTION:
    I have said so above already, but though the internet is full of this nonsense, the chance of running into a problem is about as big as winning the Multi Million Mega Jackpot in a lottery. Though many like to think there is a chance they will wn that jackpot, i wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it. So do not worry!


    P.S.

    The "unjamming tool" is a Big Waste of Money.
    Not only because you will never need it (peope who do should really stop and think, and find out what they are doing wrong). But mostly because you do not need to spend Big Money on a thing that does what any cheapo small screwdriver does even better.
    I.e.: don't fall prey to those who sow fear to reap protection money.
     
  6. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Mine were purchased new and when serviced it was by Hasselblad. The jamming occurred with extension tubes. It's best to use the unjamming tool if necessary since it is made for that purpose and securely fits the parts.

    Yes I did correctly attach the tubes and lens in the correct order.
     
  7. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    So where did you get those tubes?
    With properly maintained gear, you will not run into problems, unless you create them yourself.

    The unjamming tool is made to part you with more of your money. It preys on unfounded fears.
    You will not find such a part in Hasselblad's catalogues nor service manuals.

    P.S.

    Here's a thing to think about for a while: reports about jammed Hasselblads abound on the net.
    Yet they all are about 500 C(...) cameras.

    All other Hasselblad V-System reflex cameras use the very same lens to camera interface, use the same extension tubes, and bellows, so should suffer the same jams.
    Yet no (that is: no) reports at all about jams and unjamming of 200/2000-series or EL-series cameras.

    Why?
    Because you can't use that 'trick' on any of those cameras. So you will not need, because cannot use an Unjamming Tool.
    So no market for such an Extremely Silly Thing for all those cameras, and magically, no jams occuring either...? What a coincidence...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2010
  8. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    The first time I jammed the camera, I was fooling around with it (it was new to me). I fixed it with a screwdriver.

    The second time, my wife started to remove the lens, then handed it to me to finish. This is a bad idea. I accidentally fired the shutter with my hand. We had to disengage the gearing to remove the lens - not fun, but we were able to fix it in the middle of the desert with a jewelers screwdriver.

    So, don't be stupid like me and all will be fine!
     
  9. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Well... I am not going to buy it brand new so the moral of the story is, be prepared but don't be scared....

    Thanks all.
     
  10. mikebarger

    mikebarger Member

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    Have a 500C, two 500C transitions, a 500CM, and a ELM. Not once a jam. (Wish I could pass up bodies that sell for $125 or less). :smile:

    Mike
     
  11. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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    Never been in a jam with any of my Hasselblads.

    Even when I was 100% film based and used them at fast paced events like a wedding, never had a problem.

    However, I rarely change lenses as I have enough bodies to move from one to another, each with a different lens. It takes me less time to set one body down & pick up another rather than changing lenses. Maybe that's why I've never had an oops!

    Smiles & Fun with Hasselblad cameras!
     
  12. dfoo

    dfoo Member

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    I jammed mine in the middle of a once in a life-time multi-day trip. I jammed it by firing the camera with the dark slide inserted. If I had a screw driver it would have been easy to fix, but I didn't so it wasn't. That sucked. I guess I'll to go back! :D
     
  13. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Just so the prospective Hasselblad owner does not get wrongfooted by yet another potentially misleading report: it's impossible to jam a Hasselblad by firing it with the dark slide in. It will simply not fire, reminding you of the fact that you might have left the slide in.
    So if it jammed when you fired it with the slide in, trust me, it had a problem already.

    There's a lesson though: before going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, check your gear...
    :wink:

    (Other lessons too: carry a screwdriver. If you don't, borrow one (no place in the world where you can't find screwdrivers nowadays), or improvise. For instance, a knife would have done.)
     
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  15. dfoo

    dfoo Member

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    Trust me I'm not a liar. MY hasselblad jammed because I had the dark slide in in the middle of a hike around huang shan. Furthermore, MY hasselblad seemed to have no other issues. It made very nice images.
     
  16. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    .
    I guess I'm a Nervous Nellie, so I always travel with at least two tool kits.
    And a changing bag, and assorted rolls of tape, after thirty three years of photography,
    I had two rolls of Kodachrome detach from the cartridge this weekend. I guess that's
    another hazard of shooting 15 year old film ? But I just had to take the chance !

    I removed the film from the camera, sealed the canister with black electrical tape,
    sealed the canisters in separate envelopes, with a note, and sent them to Kansas.

    If I didn't miss two days of work because of ' The Blizzard ' I would have driven to
    Kansas to drop off the nine rolls of Kodachrome ...

    .
     
  17. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I have used Hasselblads on and off for 10 or so years total, several bodies/lenses, and a few hundred rolls of film. No jams so far.
     
  18. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    I do.
    But trust me too, i'm not a liar either: pushing the release button with the slide in will not, because can not, cause a jam.
    Something else must have been not right.
     
  19. mikebarger

    mikebarger Member

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    I've pushed the release button untold times with the camera on a tripod and dark slide in, only issue is calling myself a dummy.
     
  20. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Yup. That's why I change lenses with the darkslide in now.
     
  21. dfoo

    dfoo Member

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    It didn't always occur, and I had to press pretty hard on the shutter button to get it jam :wink:
     
  22. picker77

    picker77 Subscriber

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    I've always wanted to try a Hasselblad, veered away several times to Bronica/Mamiya MF's because I was afraid of the cost of lenses, backs and accessories. So if a casual shooter with a home darkroom and quite a bit of experience using Bronica SQ's and Mamiya RB's wanted to add a decent used Hasselblad, which of the 500 series would you gentlemen recommend as the most sensible and reliable model to look for that wouldn't totally bust the post-Santa wallet?
     
  23. mikebarger

    mikebarger Member

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    I think the best entry, for low cost, would be a 500C transitional body. They are the same as a CM, removable viewfinder screen, but still carry the C marking...not the CM marking. If you watch the 500C on ebay a lot of times the seller doesn't know enough about the camera to know it has the later screen feature.

    I've got all C series lens and couldn't be happier. You'll hear a lot of talk that parts aren't available for this series, but I've never seen anyone on here talk about having to throw away a lens because parts aren't available. Hasselblad may not have them, but there are a lot of parts in the field and some of the later springs can be replaced with slightly modified newer Hasselblad springs.

    This strategy has worked for me, YMMV

    Mike

    I try to buy low and send pieces to David Odess for a CLA to get me off on the right foot.
     
  24. mikebarger

    mikebarger Member

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    If you go with a C body, watch out for the very earliest bodies. I think 1957 and 1958? The guts of these bodies are different from later C's, and parts for these is an issue.

    Besides the year code they have a hole in the front plate, top left as you look at the front of the camera, that allows for access to a screw for service. Reason may not be right, but there is a hole there.

    You don't see many old C's around.

    Mike
     
  25. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    From what I read many moons ago, the extra hole was for a removable winder, kinda like what's used on the 2000FCW and 503CW bodies. The winder was never made, though.

    The transitional bodies, also called 500C-C/M usually have serial numbers starting with the code UV or UH and, IIRC, came out in 1971, right before the official launch of the C/M body. For all intensive purposes, the transitional bodies are C/M bodies with the wrong model plate on them, so they wind up going for much less than the bodies marked C/M. The rear baffle doors sound the same as the ones on the C/M when the body is fired and the body has the same tabs that hold the screen in.

    With respect to jamming the camera, it's very rare. I think I've done it once when I was checking out a 150mm Sonnar on my first 500. Mainly just someone being an idjit and doing things wrong. I did once have to unjam my old 500EL to get the 80mm off it, since the camera was functionally dead.

    -J
     
  26. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    The reason is indeed not correct. The holes were part of the mount for a planned add-on winder that never materialized (they made the EL series instead).

    P.S.
    See that John already gave that info. My apologies for the redundancy.

    That's the way it goes with old things. They are lost, put in boxes, stuffed away in cupborads, attics, etc.
    Does not mean that they have all died, nor that they will not be any good anymore. I have a bunch of old C lenses that still work perfectly good.
     
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