250mm Lens for Hasselblad: which one is sharper?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by kaugu_ciems, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. Hello forum.

    I've heard that 250mm Lens for Hasselblad V-series is mediocre: never achieves impressive image.

    I wonder if anyone tested below and if there any 'lesser of all evils' ?

    Shooting landscapes with it - mid-range and infinity focus is of interest...

    Which one gives best image quality in terms of sharpness / contrast / and with nice bokeh if viewed with 100% enlargement?

    Sonnar C 250mm f/5.6 (non-T*)
    Sonnar CF 250mm f/5.6 (non-T*)
    Sonnar CF 250mm f/4 T*

  2. The 250/5.6 Superachromat is considered an extremely sharp lens, and priced beyond my pay grade. All of the C/CF lenses are f/5.6. Only the F250 Tele-Tessar is f/4, used only with a focal plane shutter. I don't find any particulars on the F250/4, but Sonnar lenses are generally superior to Tessar lenses.

    "Mediocre" by Hasselblad standards would be a complement to any other brand. While the CF250 is not as sharp as the CF180, it is respectable enough for most purposes, if you mount it on a tripod and focus carefully. Such are the vicissitudes of long, slow lenses on an Hasselblad. The last Superachromat I saw at KEH.com was nearly $4000 in rough condition. A good standard model will set you back $1000 or so. Used Hasselblad lenses seem to have largely dried up at KEH. Good luck bidding for one at auction. Somebody in "Australia" wants it a LOT more than you do, and will pay handsomely for it.

    I would not recommend a non-T* version of any Hasselblad lens, unless you have papers blowing around on your desk.
  3. Thank you, Ed. You've just shared very valuable information with me.

    by the way, why you would not recommend non-T* versions.
    I remember seeing people swear these are as good, unless shooting against the Sun which is rare situation.
    by the way I never seen this idiomatic expression about papers blown away : what does it mean, sorry? :)
  4. I've just found an ebay sold item: 182438269788
    on 29 Jan, 2017 from Boca Raton, Florida, United States
    Sold for US $349.95 BuyItNow
    Barrel reads 'Sonnar 5.6/250 Superachromat'

    So, I guess someone got very lucky.
  5. Kaugu,

    I looked over that lems when it was LIVE auction. I opt out only because it was the older C T* lens. I would had prefer it to be either the CF or CFE version.

    Definitely a GOOD buy to the purchaser.

    I eventually purchased the 250mm F4.0 Tel-Tessar F to use on my 2000FCM & 201F.

  6. Why non-T*?

    First of all, the T* coating is very effective at reducing flare from any source, not just shooting into the light. In modern Zeiss lenses, this property has been greatly enhanced by lens design, to the extent I can shot directly into the sun without noticeable flare or sunspots. Hasselblad lenses haven't changed much in nearly 40 years, snd need all the help they can get.

    Secondly non-T* lenses were probably made in 1980 or easier, and probably with a Compur shutter. Parts for repair are in increasingly short supply, and the mainsprings seem prone to failure in this design.

    Finally, the operation of C lenses tends to be stiff, especially the focusing, and doesn't seem to improve much with a CLA. The operating rings are narrow with sharp cusps, making them uncomfortable to use. I replaced my C lenses with newer versions, and have no regrets. You can find CF lenses without T* coating, but they are relatively rare.
  7. The 250mm regular is a fine lens, Ansel Adams used it (C, non-T*) for many of his shots, The Superachromat is just better. The main problems you will get with the 250mm are due to camera shake and atmospheric issues - common to all lenses of this focal length.

    Edward is right about the repairability of C shutters, however, I think a lot would depend on the price. The older design is actually very beautiful and a mechanical delight and one does get used to the EV-interconnected-aperture/shutter speed combination approach. Once you are taking a slower approach, it does not matter than much. Likewise, I don't think I would really pay a great premium for the T* component. I have used non-T and T* lenses and the difference in normal photography is small. If you spend your whole life in high flare environments (contre-jour, spotlights etc) then it may be significant, but most of us probably don't.
  8. I have/had the 250mm f/5.6 C (non T*) and the CF T*.

    Optically, they have the same construction, and resolution. However, I find the C (non T*) to be less contrasty than the CF T*. For B&W, I prefer the non T* as it gives a more malleable negative - I find a lower contrast negative (wider tone range) is nicer for certain things, like people.

    The CF is a bit lighter, and easier to use. The C is mechanically retro, in that indestructible way. I don't believe they ever made a CF non-T*. I wouldn't worry about the compur/prontor - older/newer shutter, they are both reliable (if clean and working) and both easily serviced. It was never updated because it really did not need to be. That being said, it does not hold up to teleconverter use well, and the slow aperture (which was limited by the prontor shutter opening) means you should use a sturdy tripod.

    The F/FE f/4 is sharper on paper, but you must use a 2000/200 series camera. The Apo was beyond my price range.
  9. I heard pretty much the same as what was mentioned by Edward and Tom. The 250mm has been around since the 1600/1000F series camera was introduced.
    I have one of these lens and it is very fine.

    Now, all I need to do is find someone to repair one of my hasselblad 1000F body snd doa CLA on the other.

    The 250mm F4.0 for the later 2000/200 series i acquired late last year, I hope to get out there with warmer weather..

    The older C non-T & T* lnese re a work of marvel. I'm currently having an older 120mm 5.6 S-Planar T* being overhaul for me.
    Complete teardown with reflocking of the internal barrel . I hope to get it back soon..

  10. When Ansel Adams used an Hasselblad, a C lens was not much older than post-season reruns on TV. He died 33 years ago. The last straw for me was a C shutter that shed pieces into my hand during a shoot. Indestructable? Ptui!

    That "[nice] low contrast is usually called "veiling flare," which you can expect if there is any light source, striking the front element. Even a bright sky will suffice. In the old days, I dropped from 2-1/2 contrast to 2 or lower when the occasion demanded. With a scanned image, anything is possible. You can always degrade an image. The other direction is more challenging.
  11. If you have an opportunity to test various lenses, make sure that you will use 2-3 different film backs. Simply because lenses are good or excellent but film backs may vary or film pressure plates need adjustment.
  12. One of the oldest photographic adage is to keep the sun behind you for the best shots...Still applies.
  13. I've used both the SA 250mm Sonnar and the standard 250mm T* version, and I honestly couldn't see any difference in sharpness between the two lenses. However, the SA version did flare easily when used against the light due to its uncoated optics.
  14. I compared a friend's CF 250 to my then CF 180 ( have a CFi now ) with a 1.4EX converter on it and the latter combo came out ahead. I'm sure the 250 is a nice lens by Hassy standards but the 180 + 1.4 combo is a lot more versatile to me since I can use the same converter on my 100 and 350.
  15. That depends on your idea of what makes a good image. Rarely does having the sun 'over your shoulder' make for the best landscape image. Quite often, back or side lighting produces the most pleasing effect, but both can cause flare even with a lens hood.
  16. You need to use a tripod with a 250 lens (or 180 + TC). Even the maximum speed of 1/500 will not reduce the effect of camera shake below the capability of the lens. Sans tripod, all lenses are pretty much the same. I could count on one hand the times I've hand-held an Hasselblad in the last 15 years. Why bother with a 6 pound brick unless you squeeze every ounce of performance from it?
  17. Ed, I have to disagree with this. While I use my Hasselblads on a tripod a fair bit, I can indeed hand hold them with the 180 @ 1/500th and get top quality results. You had also replied in the other thread about the 40mm lenses about them falling short of high res digital backs. In my direct experience, not test kind on luminous landscape but the real world use the gear to earn a living kind, several Hasselblad lenses are 100+ MP lenses, the 180 CF / CFi included.

    For example, look at the center of this 100% crop of skiers hiking up a high ridge. To the right of center you can see the shadow of the rope line, on the ridge you can see the skis they are carrying. That means you are seeing details that are 2"-4" inches from some 3 miles away!!

    This is part of a mural that I stitched from several frames with my 501CM and 180mm CFi lens handheld at 1/500th of a second on my CFV50c back, a photograph that is over 40,000 pixels wide. Try finding those skiers on the full shot below:

    I hand hold from 180mm and lower all the time, it is not impossible to get maximum image quality, you just have to use good technique.
  18. Nice photo. Thanks for sharing.

    1/500 second is roughly 1/3f for a 180 lens, which reduces camera shake to a tolerable level, equivalent to about 16 MP when viewed in 8x10" print. (Typical camera shake when hand-held is about 2 deg/sec.) In order to get pixel-level sharpness with a Sony A7Rii (42 MP), I have to use a heavy tripod, electronic shutter, IS turned off and a cable release. With an Hasselblad and CFV16 back, I have to shoot mirror up using the lens shutter. Even with low resolution by today's standards, the focal plane shutter induces too much shake for consistently sharp results at the pixel level.

    Camera shake is random, and sometimes we get lucky. I prefer to not take that chance. You not find me on a ski slope, nor anything taller than a step ladder (unless I have a camera in hand, then anything goes.) If it's more than 200 yards from the car, it probably isn't photogenic :)
  19. 250mm FE.jpg I have a 250mm FE lens, even with the camera on a gitzo carbon tri-pod, mirror up, cable release, it shakes at 1/500. Never been able to get pixel sharpness. Best I ever did when I am lucky is about 2 pixels.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  20. With the FE lens, the FP shutter is probably at fault. The 200 (and worst on the 2000) series bodies have quite a shutter shock with long lenses at many speeds. The only way I could reduce it is with a double tripod (obviously none of my existing tripods were massive enough).

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