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Waist level finder too dim


New Member

I tried to use my Hassy 500C/M to take some street scenes at night. But when I looked at the waist level finder, it was so dark that I couldn't see anything. What should I do?

You can replace the focusing screen on any Hasselblad body easily (except the 500C and 500EL which equire a tech) with an Acute Matte or third party screen like a Beattie IntenScreen or a Maxwell screen. I like the Beattie with the architectural grid myself, but there are quite a few options for types of screen. You can get them with or without a split image finder and some have microprisms...

i've noticed my screen is pretty dark at times too. how do i know what kind of screen i have? i have a new 503cw. are any of the beattie or maxwell screens brighter than what i have?
why do the 500c bodies need a tech. I was able to take my camera apart and clean the screen on both sides, then screwed it back in. But my 500c/m was a lot easier. just flip the little tabs...
> Hi Jason with a500c you can not replace the screen (unless using a screw driver) the 500 "c" stands for the shortest shutter speed (central shutter) the 500c/m is a newer version and the "m" stands for modified , thus allowing you to replace the screen easily by pressing the little levers on left and right side of the screen apart and then turning the body upside down . the screen will then fall out easily . This was the modification (might also be some others inside the body , which the user was not told) Regards Jürgen

The reason the 500C bodies need a "tech" to replace screens is that the screen needs to sit at the right place to guarantee correct focus.

You can of course see the viewfinder image, turn the lens and see the image go in and out of focus, even when the screen is not properly placed. So you won't notice when it isn't.

When the distance lens-screen isn't exactly the same as the distance lens-film, your pictures will turn out not quite as sharp as they should be.
And if you do notice something's not quite right, not seeing anything wrong in the viewfinder, it's easy to blame anything else (even soft lenses) for this, and not think about the screen position.

So yes, you can easily take the screens out of a 500 C or 500 EL, and put them back in yourself. But simply putting the screws back in, turning them until they're tight doesn't do the trick.

So what have you done to recalibrate the focussing distance/screen position?
Q.G. gave a very good and accurate response to your question, as usual.

As he wrote, the screen needs to be at exactly the correct height to guarantee correct focus. And, while most Hasselblad technicians have the proper tools to insure that the screen is at the correct height, it is possible for you to adjust the screen properly by using the following method:

Mount the camera body on a sturdy tripod. Then, attach a lens to the camera, and set the lens to the infinity setting. A lens with a longer focal length works best ... either a 150 or 250mm lens.

Point the lens to a distant object, at least 100 yards away. (Like the edge of a building or an antenna).

Turn the four screws that hold the frame for the screen clockwise, until they bottom out.

CAUTION: Don't force the screws. They are very small in diameter, and forcing the screws can break them.

Look at the image on the screen. It will probably be out of focus.

Now, turn each of the screws 1/2 turn counter-clockwise and look at the image on the screen.

Repeat this proceedure until the image on the screen is in sharp focus. Once the image is in sharp focus, the screen is as the correct height.

NOTE: For those of you who want to install an after-market screen (Brightscreen or Beattie), you would use the same proceedure as above to adjust the height of the screen.

David S. Odess

Factory trained Hasselblad technician
interesting. I just tightened it down. I took out a cracked fresnel screen below the focusing screen and just put it back in and tightened it, Guess I need to test it. It's my backup camera so i haven't tested it yet...