File 2017-02-13, 9 26 42 PM.jpeg


film photography

Roll No. 402 - Return of the 'Blad

The whole situation was a little weird for me. It was my first serious camera, the Hasselblad 500CM. One particularly frigid day in December I was out exploring the barren wasteland of rural Saskatchewan and the scene I was shooting called for a wider composition than the 80mm Zeiss Planar. When I reached for the 50mm Distagon, it somehow managed to disassemble itself in my hands. Gore and blood seem to have little effect on me but something about seeing the innards of fine german craftsmanship makes me weak in the knees. 

Well, that decided it. I needed someone that knew what they were doing and that meant getting my lens serviced my a professional. I was referred a Hasselblad specialist by means of twitter (@donkittle) and was advised that he comes highly recommended. For no reason other than desperation and blind faith, I figured I would give "Joe" a shot. 

In the time I've had my 500CM (December 2015), I've only experienced a few hiccups with it. I've noticed light leaks from the light trap seals disintegrating over time (rubber band fix), I've had lenses accidentally actuate (reset with screwdriver), the film back has been known to have spacing issues between frames (usually in cold weather) and most recently, it wouldn't stop winding at Frame No. 1 automatically (it randomly just started happening). Some of these symptoms I just got used to, while some of them I just assumed were small quarks with my little Swedish friend; either way, I decided it might be a good idea to have Joe give the 'Blad a once over to see what may need to be done. 

Turns out, quite a bit. 

I feel the term CLA doesn't quite cover everything that was needed to get my medium format friend back to where it was when it was new. Timing, alignment, calibration and replacing of some parts - I'm certainly no expert when it comes to camera service and repair but the itemized list of work performed is a good indicator of what shape the camera system was in. No matter how long or short the list, the results need to speak for themselves - and they really do. 

As soon as I loaded my first roll of film I could already tell the difference in performance. I had a small bend in the film magazine that was straightened out. That is a small victory compared to the pristine clear view through the waist-level finder and 80/2.8. The next revelation was the buttery smooth focus throw on the lens and how it was incredibly smooth yet snug at the same time. By now, I've composed my first frame, metered the scene (correctly) and depress the shutter release. Pure bliss is the sound and feeling of your prized camera running in 100% mechanical shape. 

What I've found is that it is hard to know the signs of deterioration if that's all you've ever known. I have yet to see another Hasselblad in use out in the wild. I just thought that's what all Hasselblads were like. Comparatively, the sound and feel of the shutter actuation is easily distinguishable now and I know what a healthy Hassy should sound like. 

Now that it's back, it's giving me a much-needed boost in the motivation and inspiration quadrant. The dull February-April depression has my creative spirit struggling so reconnecting with the outside world with one 6cm square at a time is welcomed encouragement. 

This is my first roll through my recently serviced Hasselblad 500CM and 80/2.8 - Ilford Delta 100.