I just bought a hasselblad 501cm with 80cb lens in mint condition and want to expand the system, but came across some forum where a guy was complaining about hasselblad, saying that it is not very reliable. Well it sounded like hasselblad is good only for a display...very fragile, repair needed after every 300 rolls or so, if not CLA every year it will brake....and so on. I should mention that the guy was a professional photographer and he was dealing with a brand new equipment.
Is there some truth in it? I'd like to hear some experience from other amateur users of the system.
I bought a 500cm and 80 t* off of a pro photographer that did not get it cleaned in 10 years. I just got it CLA’d and dave said the body was a little dry and a little dirty but worked fine (I had him go ahead and clean it). The lens was dirty and sloppy but worked before the cleaning, now it is beautiful.
Generally, they are touted as paragons of reliability. Maybe the complainer had other "issues." Maybe his was in tough shape to start with.
The complainer was giving other people advice on buying hasselblad on that forum, since he's been using the system for several years. His experience was mostly with new equipment.
I have one that jams everytime I use mirror lock up. I can unjam it.
I don't know if it's because it's a Hasselblad or because it's never been serviced. Probably the latter.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
I've had my 500c/m with 3-5 lenses for about 6 years now. I took the body in for one repair/CLA and a couple backs that had spacing issues. Everything has been going smooth for the last 5 years. People have bad luck with equipment, mistreat and sometimes don't even know how to use it properly and force parts to move in times of desperation and break them (I'll admit to doing this once and learned by lesson). So, really it's based on experience. I've had 5 or 6 MF systems in my time and have settled on the Hasselblad. Any MF system you get will require maintenance, but I know putting the money into my Hasselblad is an investment 'cause it will last another 10 years. If your Bronica SQ-A body goes, you might as well use it as a paperweight, 'cause you can replace it for the same cost as a CLA.
I personally wouldn't hesitate to expand on your system just because of one guys bad experience/opinion. If you like what you're getting out of the system, expand away! Or just learn to use that one lens in as many different ways as you can.
Hasselblads are precision instruments. They are designed to be used.
They are not, however, impervious to damage.
If they are used in something like a busy wedding studio, they will be exposed to moisture, vibration, dust, banging, scrapes, drops (sometimes) and maybe even wedding cake!
So they do need maintenance if they are heavily used, or abused.
When manufactured or properly maintained, their tolerances are precise. In order to keep them that way, they need to be serviced.
Personally, I find that they don't suit me. It is a matter of ergonomics, most likely due to me, not their design. It may be that the "complainer" and Hasselblads aren't suited to each other, and the "complainer" isn't willing to admit it might be at least partly his fault.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I've been using a Hasselblad 501C on and off for about 7 years. When it works, it's fine. But I've repeatedly had issues with the backs; mostly inter-frame spacing problems. More recently, the mirror gets stuck sometimes after an exposure. It releases itself after a while, but then gets stuck again after another exposure.
What my repair guy tells me is that Hasselbads are cameras which need constant use (and probably regular service).
I've decided to stick with my Rolleiflex TLR's which have been totally reliable.
Everything mechanical needs some maintenance. And can breake too. Without exception.
But - from experience - such stories are hugely exagerated.
I have one 500 C/M body, in regular use, that hasn't been serviced since i got it new 30 years ago, i.e. never. Never a problem either. That is rather silly, but not surprising either.
Other cameras i have have been serviced since i got them. Not because there was something wrong with them.
These thingies really are "paragons of reliability", as Geo put it.
The backs do need some regular maintenance: the foam pad, part of the light seal will go bad, and will need changing every 2-3 years (you can do that yourself. Not difficult, and takes a few minutes).
And a nylon stop may get dented and then will need changing once every 20 years or so (very much depending on use; you may never have a problem at all).
If there are problems, most are fixed by cleaning and retightening of screws. Just about all problems with backs are solved by that. Cameras with problems too hardly ever need anything else but readjusting the mechanism.
The only problems i have had since i began using Hasselblad were with lenses: the fast shutterless lenses have a rather finicky diaphragm mechanism, and on two of mine (110 and 150 mm) failed and needed parts.
And i once got a used automatic bellows unit, that came with problems. Was fixed.
There are a few sources for problems with Hasselblads.
The first is non-use. Leave a camera or lens unused for a longer time (think years) and the lubricants will go stiff.
The second is over-use. Things do wear. Springs may need replacing once every decade or two. Screws will work loose a bit. Things will slip. That sort of stuff.
The third is abuse. Don't need to explain that, i think.
The fourth is people seling their cameras and lenses they have 'exposed' to the first three. Especially nowadays, with prices low, repair costs still high, it's tempting to sell a camera with a problem to an unsuspecting buyer and get a cheap replacement rather than spring for the repair costs.
The fifth is user error. And that is responsible for 99.9% of all reported problems not due to the first four. If you know what you are doing (and it's not hard: on the 'simplicity level' of being smart enough not to hold a lighter to you shoe laces if you do not want them to go up in flames), you never have a problem.
The sixth is perception and envy, and 'partisanism'. Psychology.
Many reports of problems are bogus, put into the world by people who - for instance - would have wanted a Hasselblad but can't afford one, and then start kicking. Out of spite. And to set their own minds at piece with the fact that they have to do without, trying to convince themselves that it would have been a bad thing anyway, that thing they would have wanted but have to do without.
And you know how it goes: drop the word Nikon in a Canon forum, or vice versa, and all hell breaks loose.
(And see how Rolleiflexes are "totally reliable" just one post above? )
And finally, things will break. Hardly ever happens. But it can, and will.
I've been using a 503CW for about 8 years now. I've never had a significant mechanical problem.