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Intermittent shutter release problem


I recently picked up a new 503CW, and have run into an intermittent problem that results in two to three shots being lost per 120 roll.

What is happening is that when I press the shutter release, the lens shutter seems to release (going by the sound—a click) but the mirror doesn’t pop up, and I suspect that the auxiliary shutter doesn’t release either. To complete the cycle I need to activate the pre-release (thereby tripping the auxiliary shutter and mirror release(s)) and only then can I crank and re-cock the camera. The result on film is an image of whatever the camera was pointing at when I activated the pre-release.

Please note that this problem cropped-up after I used an A12 back in which I loaded the film backwards (a common newbie error?). I didn’t discover that error until I struggled with a camera that seemed to have an intermittent shutter release-sticking problem that could only be rectified by activating the pre-release and/or removing the back. The cocking crank at that time also seemed to bind. I didn’t figure out what problem was until after I tried to rewind the film and found I loaded it backwards – silly me :-(

Anyway, that problem persisted even after I tried using a second A12 back with correctly loaded film. I described the problem to the dealer from whom I purchased the camera, and followed his suggestion that I dry run the camera both with, and without, a back attached. This seemed to rectify the shutter release-binding problem, but have now run into the problem noted in the second paragraph.

Is there a chance I put the camera out of skew via my attempts to use an incorrectly loaded magazine? Or is it possible that the camera body and/or back (both new) were faulty to begin with? Or is this just a common teething problem with some bodies that can be worked out through use—in other words, does the occasional new ‘blad just need to be limbered up a bit before it settles in to a relatively trouble-free career?
My guess is that there is a problem in the release mechanism in the camera body that is completely unrelated to the fact that the film was loaded backwards in the film magazine.

New equipment need not be "limbered up a bit before it settles into a relatively trouble-free career".

Dave Odess

Factory trained Hasselblad technician

Thank you very much for your response; you basically confirmed what I suspected.

Of note is that I ran two rolls of film through the camera this weekend with no problems. However, I used the pre-release intermittently for approx. 60% of the shots; conversely, at the time I ran into the mirror/auxiliary shutter release problem I wasn't using the pre-release at all. As mentioned before, I cleared the initial shutter release sticking issue by either tripping the pre-release or, if that didn't work, removed the back which then allowed me to trip the shutter release.

As it stands, using the pre-release 'seems' to have some effect in temporarily ameliorating the problem. So it appears I need to run another couple rolls of film through the camera without using the pre-release to see if this hypothesis holds true. If I do run into the problem again, what do you think are the probable cause(s) for this type of malfunction?

And if it turns out that I need to send the body back for warranty work, would you recommend that I send the new back in with it also? (The problem seems to be more pronounced when I use the new A12 back, and far less common when my older back is used.)

And once again, David, thank you very much for your feedback.

Wayne Haas

My feeling is that the problem is in the release arm in the camera body, and it probably needs to be adjusted. When you press the release button, it caused the release arm to move. Although the release arm still moves when you use the pre release, the release sequence is slightly different. Again, from what you have written, I think an adjustment to the release arm will take care of the problem, and that the film magazine (either the older one or the newer one) does not figure into the process.

My guess is that the body would still exhibit the same problem, even without a film magazine attached to it. But if you send the body in to have it checked, you may as well send the film magazine along with it.

Dave Odess

Factory trained Hasselblad technician

Thank-you for the feedback: you are correct that the problem did on occasion occur when I tested the body without a back attached. The fact that it occurs more frequently with the new back attached does, however, suggest that it wouldn’t hurt to send it back in with the body.

At least now I have a fairly good description of the problem, and a very authoritative assessment of the probable cause. This will help convince the dealer to allow the body to be returned for service, and provide information that will assist the actual troubleshooting of the body.

I am well aware that you had no obligation to freely provide your expert opinion, and greatly appreciate your assistance. Now I am certain as to what outfit I’ll be sending my gear in for eventual CLA ;-)

Wayne Haas

You shouldn't have to "convince" the dealer to send in the camera for warranty service, and he shouldn't give you any problems doing this for you.

You also have the option of sending the camera directly to Hasselblad for warranty service, without having to go through the dealer. If you decide to do this, here is the address to send the camera to:

Hasselblad USA Inc.
Service department
10 Madison Road
Fairfield, NJ 07004

Their telephone number is (973) 227-7320.

Dave Odess

Factory trained Hasselbld technician