Trying to get some use out of the Escura Hasselback

When the Escura Haselback was proposed on Kickstarter in 2020 it sounded like a good thing:
A film magazine that allows you shoot both Instax mini and Instax square on a Haselblad 500 series camera at a moderate price.

The Kickstarter was an instant success with over 500000 $ in backer money.
The Covid pandemy delayed the project and production had to be moved from Japan to Hong Kong.
We got regular updates about further delays, technical difficulties and quality issues with the prototypes.
There were also announcements of improvements such as infinity focus without a viewfinder spacer and dual format mini/square.

After a delay of more than 3 years the first backs were shipped and the feedback was utterly devastating.
Overall quality was very bad.
Focus was shifted so much that the viewfinder was only usable at F/11 or smaller.
The back would jam the camera when mounted and could not be removed without damaging the camera.
There were light leaks
The light sealing foam would fall off during mounting

Several backers warned against mounting the back as it would permanantly damage the camera.

There is a good youtube video about the problems with the Hasselback from John-Michael here:

Also take a look at his website about the Hasselback

Mounting the Hasselback

After unpacking it I slid the Hasselback on my 500C/M with the shutter tripped the gear and the firing pin were flush.
when I wound the camera the winding knob jammed and I could not remove the Hasselback from the camera anymore.
To remove it I had to unscrew the baseplate from the Hasselback, which was difficult as some screws are half hidden under the camera and adhesive tape.
I tried the backplate alone and it slid on the camera with the openings for the gear and the firing pin aligning perfectly.
The problem is that the back does not lock in place and the big black foam lightseal keeps it from aligning well.
In order to keep it in its place I secured the back with black electric tape which also provides some light sealing.
Now i could wind and traip the shutter reliably.

The darkslide is a thick crudely punched piece of sheet iron with sharp burrs from the stamping still present on one side.
I removed the burrs with a file and some sand paper (a nail file would do) and put some black tape over the slot.

After loaded a pack of Instax square I found that the latch that keeps the film door closed just barely latches in place and threatens to jump open anytime so there goes more black tape.

Focus issues

The film plane of the Instax film is a few millimeters behind the film plane of the Hassy magazines and therefore the viewfinder focus is not accurate.
After seeing John-Michaels video I laser cut a spacer from 3mm acrylic and a few from paper to use as shims.

A first test with the 3mm spacer yieldes a promising result.

Here are some more focus tests:

F/2.8, 1/500s, no spacer , focus on brush tips
nothing is in focus

F/22, 1/8s No spacer , focus on brush tips
everything is more or less in focus, some motion blur from handheld camera

F/2.8, 1/500s 3mm spacer under ground glass , focus on brush tips
Focus is better, on light dome of the liight meter instead of the brush tips

F/2.8, 1/500s 3mm spacer and 2 paper shims, total distance 3,9mm under ground glass , focus on brush tips
Focus is now the same on the film plane as on the focusing screen.

Here is some animal testing:

F/4, 1/250s 3mm spacer and 2 paper shims, total distance 3,9mm under ground glass
Focus is now the same on the film plane as on the focusing screen.


The Hasselback does not live up to the promises of Escura.
Engineering- and build quality is not satisfactory.
It cannot focus to infinity with a wide open aperture.
It cannot be quickly changed to replace a film magazine.
You have to first remove the viewfinder hood.
Then you have to slide it in place and fix it with black insulating tape.
Remember to fire the shutter before you install or remove the back / remove the viewfinder and slide the Back in all the way to avoid jams.

Remove the focusing screen and insert the spacer.
Lay the focusing screen on top of the spacer.
There is nothing to hold the focusing screen so be careful to hold the camera upright so it doesn't fall off.
Also you can't put the viewfinder hood back in place because the focusing screen is too high up.
You can make an improvised hood with paper and tape it on your camera.

What is next ?:

I have mounted a piece of ground glass in an Instax square cartridge so I can compare the film plane focus with the focusing screen and determine the correct spacer width.

I'll cut a spacer from 4mm acrylic and grind it down to the correct height for proper focusing.

Maybe there is a way to attach the focusing hood using a sheet metal spacer that goes between the spacer/screen and the camera body.
Once those problems are solved it can actually shoot awesome photos on Instax film.

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