So I’ve owned a Hasselblad 501CM for about 5 years now. It’s a great camera. I love it. But….I have been frustrated for some time with “near miss” focus problems and I recently read a fantastic article at Matthew Osborne Photography (MrLeica.com) that may be the answer to my problems.
So my camera has the Waist Level Finder and I also have a 45 degree prism, the latter being bought as a result of me asking questions to the community and people suggesting I try that instead of the WLF. It made no difference. I still took photos that looked perfectly clear through it but when they came out the key part I thought was sharp would be fractionally soft, and something an inch further behind would be sharp instead.
I wrestled with this issue for a few years. Sometimes the shot was OK, sometimes not. The OK ones were usually distance shots where the precision was not as necessary. But any close ups I was more often than not met with disappointment.
I wrote several posts at the very helpful APUG.org site, and many people kindly offered suggestions, which were most notably to get my eye sight checked or to get corrective lenses, which obviously seemed fair.
However, just last night I stumbled across this fine article another potential answers revealed itself which I did not know. The Hasselblad screens have 4 metal corners to them. On one side of the screen, they are equal to the screen itself. On the other side they are slightly raised by about 2mm or 3mm. Mr Leica discovered, due to a chance observation by the Camera Museum in London, that his was the wrong way up. Read his article for full details.
As soon as I got home I went to check mine, and sure enough, the screen was upside down. It probably didn’t arrive to me like that but I remember taking it out once to clean it not long after buying the camera, and I am guessing I put it back that way not realising it made a difference.
So I have now corrected it, and I hope and pray that my focus frustrations will now be gone or much reduced.