Lucking out on a Hasselblad 500C

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by henry finley, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    This week I really lucked out on a 1971 500C body, which incidentally; was really a CM that year. Anyway, I won this body-only for 50 dollars on EBAY. It needed a crank knob of some kind, so I won that for 10 bucks a day later. Sixty clams total for a 500CM body (in actuality). Not bad, eh? The problem with the body is that the rear top curtain only went 1/2 way up. No big deal--happens a lot. You know what causes that? Simple: the foam at the top of the mirror box was all gone. Deteriorated years ago I'm sure. So what does that have to do with it? I'll tell you. With the foam gone, the mirror is allowed to over-travel its prescribed distance. When that happens, the gears, levers and dooflotchies in the works get out-of-whack. Apparently everything jumps out-of-time. But as out-of-time as it gets, if you just cycle it, a lot of times everything just gets itself right again by magic. EXCEPT that the mirror has been pulled down, but the trap doors are still up. That moves the upper door on its axle, which is a simple friction-fit. So the answer is to hold the end of the axle with a pair of pliers and "bend" it back up. It FEELS like you're bending it, you WOULD THINK that you're ruining it, but it doesn't. It simply just moves around on its axle. It is a very tight fit--you have to bend up so hard it scares you.
    So you do that, then you lube the works. Half the reasons these things jam is that the whole thing is dry as a bone. Then here's what you do. Go to a hobby store and get a few of those foam strips that the model railroad guys put under the tracks. And a bottle of contact cement, some acetone to thin it a little, and a tiny paint brush. Spend some time with the camera and study the way the mirror closes upward, Then slit well-crafted slits of the foam. You're not trying to make a dadburn big foam pillow--you're just trying to make something softer than metal for the mirror to slam into. By the time you've made all 5 pieces, you'll know you cut it too thick. But don't keep cycling it like that. If you don't let your mirror come up enough, you're asking to tear up your camera. You're just trying to give the edges of the mirror a little something to "kiss", just to keep it from hitting naked metal.
    Of course this means removing the top panel of the camera chassis. But every time I've ever miked a body and put it back together, it miked out exactly the same. Result: Beautiful Hasselblad 500C (CM) body for 60 simoleons. I'm happy. Works perfect.
     
  2. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    ....this is quite possibly the best description of camera repair I've ever read. Please post more. Even if I don't have the same problems or own the same camera, I'd still read it.
     
  3. revdocjim

    revdocjim Member

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    Knowledge is of great value. In your case, your extensive knowledge of how to fix a malfunctioning blad allows you to get a working one for $60 instead of a $60 door stop! Congratulations! I take particular note because the price you paid is the type of price I've paid for so many of my MF cameras but I've never imagined I would find a blad for that kind of money. Perhaps my fortunes will change!!!:smile:
     
  4. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    Thanks friend. But you want a REALLY GREAT Hasselblad for a low price? Get a EL or ELM. They appear to be just a C with a motor bolted on. In actuality, the 2 cameras are totally different inside. The cycle is a thousand times smoother and vibration-free. The downside is that it's big and heavy. Bulky enough to make you question why you don't just go on and use a Crown Graphic, and at least get a big negative for all the hardware you're carrying. But an ELM is actually a perfect hand-held 120 camera. For vibration, it's it's own tripod, just on account of the damping effect of its weight tonnage.
    A lot of guys think that if they get an EL, that batteries will cost them another pile. Or they buy the 9-volt adapters and just run their 6 volt motors on 9v. That's stupid and unnecessary. Just go to a family dollar store and get 6 AAA rechargeables. Solder up 5 of them in series and craft a tube out of chipboard paper, fashion some end-contacts and drop it it. So, you just use your EL charger the same way. Totally sharp negative because the weight of the camera IS your tripod.
     
  5. agphotography

    agphotography Member

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    Amazing information! Thank you! I've got a few hasselblad kits that need the very same attention. Including a 500 EL.
     
  6. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    Friend, when I read your comment as to my Hasselblad abilities, was humbled. Thank you, but I wouldn't stack myself up anywhere near to the likes of Odess, et al. These guys are THE guys on that kind of work. I'm just a compulsive restorer of many pieces of machinery. In each pursuit, I keep in mind I'm just somebody else in the restoration chain. The whole point is: if you're going to open up something and work on it; First, do no harm. And secondly, don't do something that will make a mess of it for the next guy who works on it. If you think you're going to get in over your head, concerning the necessary fixtures and jigs needed to put it back together, then CLOSE IT UP, and pass it along the restoration chain. But don't chew up the screws. Chewed up screws render everything as junk. If you can work on something and make it look like it was never touched, then THAT is a good job. There's no excuse for knucklehead work.