hasselblad 40mm vs 50mm vs 60mm

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by adam_patterson|1, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. Can someone give me some feedback on their experiences with wide-angle lenses on a hassy 500 system? For example how bad is the distortion with a 40mm etc? I have a body with standard 80mm but, as a handheld documentary shooter I am seeking something wider for interiors and such,
  2. Have you searched the archives? There is a lot that's already been written about these lenses. But I have all three, so here's my experience. They're all very good. Specifically:
    Sharpness: In my experience the 50 is typically the sharpest (wide open or stopped down), closely followed by the 60 (lens data may say that the 60 is sharper, but that hasn't been my experience; maybe that's just my 60), then the 40. I'm using these on a digital back, but I'd say the same applies to film. Stopped down, all become even sharper. The 40 and 60 improve noticeably when stopped down. The SWC is sharper than any of them, especially wide open.
    Distortion: If the lens is level, the 50 and 60 show VERY little distortion. You have to look hard to notice it at all. The 40 shows a tad more, where you can notice it if you're looking, but, really, it's very minor. The newer 40 IF has more distortion. The SWC has no noticeable distortion at all, but, of course it's a bit more pricey, and it's a fixed lens, no TTL focusing, etc.
    Using: The 60 gives you an extra 1/2-stop, and is the smallest of the bunch. The 50 is bigger and heavier, and the 40 even more so. But none is that bad to carry around, especially with a nice OpTech strap on the camera. All three together make for a very heavy bag. If the camera isn't level, converging parallel lines are very evident with the 40; less so with the 50, and even less so with the 60. The 40 will, of course, give you the most depth of field, and its angle of view is markedly wider than the 50. If you want to shoot interiors and need a real wide lens, the 50 might not cut it. Rent them and see for yourself, if you can.
    I'm attaching a couple of my shots. The first is with the 40, the second with the 50.
    ethan pines
    40mm. ©2009 Ethan Pines.
    50mm. ©2009 Ethan Pines.
  3. If you are not looking for SLR workflow there is a groundglass that you can get to mount on the film plane where the film back attaches. It is great for focusing through the lens as well as lining up the horizontoal and vericals. However you have to remove it and reattach the back for exposure.
  4. The Historic Datasheets on the Zeiss website show distortion as well as MTF figures for all past and current lenses.
  5. Adam, also there are different generations of these lenses. The 40 and 50 fle are improved over the older non fle ones. I think the 40 is too big and heavy , I have used the fle5o for some time and it is really fine. The 60 is the same as it's been for some time and has stood the test. Really you need to pick these based on the field of view you want, they are all very high optically.
  6. What a relief! I picked up a 50mm Cfi Fle yesterday. I havent had a chance to use it properly yet but the weight and handling seem fine. Personaly I went for the 50mm because a) the 40 is sooo expensive b) the 50 is about the same as 32mm in 135 format and the 40 is about 25mm in 135 format when comparing horizontaly. Given the choice of one or the other the 50mm suits my style better. At the end of the day I guess it comes down to what suits you but optically I would assume either one will be very good. It may well be worth either hiring one of each for a day or trying to find someone local to you that would let you attach theirs to your body. At the least, if you can find a shop with s/h ones, have a look through them in the shop; I think you will notice quite a difference from one to the other. Re having a look through someone elses, where are you?
  7. I went through this decision a few years ago. I already had the 80mm and 250mm lenses.
    The 40mm was not chosen because it was pricey enough to be competitive with the earlier SWCs at that time. At those prices the SWC was preferred for the lower distortion.
    The 60mm lens was too close to the 80mm lens; it was like having a normal 35mm lens of 50mm and a not so wide angle of 35mm. I always preferred the 28mm lens to the 35mm lens for 35mm cameras.
    I bought the 50mm lens and I have been very happy with it.
    Warning: you are treading into dangerous territory!
    My progression was:
    80mm, 250mm
    50mm, 80mm, 250mm
    50mm, 80mm, 150mm, 250mm
    38mm, 50mm, 80mm, 150mm, 250mm
    Handling a Hasselblad can be injurious to you financial well-being!
  8. I wanted the widest coverage I could get, so I wanted the 40. But bulk and cost pushed me back to a 50. Also on the long end, I wanted the 180, but again cost pushed me back to the 150. So I ended up with the classic kit 50+80+150
  9. On paper, the CF40 FLE has about 2% distortion, which is hardly noticeable in practice. I would have no reservations shooting architecture with this lens. In this respect, the CF50 FLE and CF60 are a little better, which means they are very good indeed. All are sharp from corner to corner. You can find the MTF data sheets on line at www.hasselbladusa.com.
    Neither the 40 nor the 50 are especially wide in comparison to small-format lenses, and you won't come close to their potential for detail without using a tripod. I love this camera, but my Nikon D2x is much better suited for documentary use, hand-held or otherwise.
    CORRECTION: The panel on the right was taken with a CF60 lens, nor a 50mm. The medium is digital, for which my standard "carry" kit is 40/60/120, unless I have something specific in mind.
  10. My gear: 50mm, 100mm, 150mm and 250mm. All of them are CF type.
    I like them all.
  11. Not in your list .....but the super wides are small light and quiet and about the same price as a 40mm used.
  12. Hi Adam!
    I have all three of these lenses, the CT* series. As for optics, all of them are superb (of course). I use the 40mm for "special" purposes, when I am aiming at a distinct wide angle feeling in the picture. As for the 60mm, it is almost like a compact camera standard lens and very handy at that. The 50mm lens is the one I use the most in the wide angle spectrum. And I agree completely with Stever! Good luck in your choise!
  13. I haven't used the 40 enough to be an authority, except to say that the SW/C is better. I have used the 50mm and 60mm extensively. My preference for performance is the 60mm, but I very much like Ethan's review. The images are great, Ethan. Nice lighting.
  14. This is fantastic feedback guys, thanks so much. on a final note, I am noticing a 2.8 and 4 version of the 50mm - any comparative notes between the two?
    thanks again
  15. The 50/2.8 does not have an internal shutter. It can only be used on a body with a focal plane shutter (e.g., 200 series). Lenses of this sort have a prefix of "F" or "FE", rather than "C", "CF", etc. The "C" designates an internal shutter, originally made by Compur.
  16. interesting !..
    some of us have almost the same lens combo...
    mine is 50mm, 80mm, 120mm, 250mm, 1.4C PC-Mutar. I am very happy with the 50mm (I wish I have the 50mm CFE-FLE, mine is CFi FLE)
    I agree with Stever..."Handling a Hasselblad can be injurious to you financial well-being!
  17. Yes Dan and Steve, you have a good financial point. Especially when I bought most of my stuff new when it was actually worth something. Later on though I did pick up some mint lenses at excellent prices. I got my son a 60 and 180 that look like they were on a camera about twice. They were traded into a local camera shop by a physician who used them as hobby stuff, he wanted digital gear. I'm not kidding when I tell you he probably just bought them to talk about at the local camera club during "show and tell".
  18. Dave and Steve...
    first... there is a typo in my previous post... it should be 50mm, 80mm, 150mm (NOT 120mm), 250mm, 1.4C PC-Mutar.. duhhh
    Dave I wish I have the same luck as yours.
    Steve, I have the exactly same progression as yours, except the 38mm
    Now... some of them call it obsession, addiction.. and some other call it passion...
    I don't know but I am looking for a SWC/M and that thingy with bellow for close-up (I already have the close-up rings)..
    the French have this saying "Je t'aime à la follie.." which is "I love you to madness.."
    does it apply here?
    hahahaha :)
  19. I'd re-phrase that to "J'aime à la folie" if you're ever going to use it again...otherwise you might start getting strange looks from people...:)
  20. If you are looking for low distortion wide angle for the Hasselblad, do consider the 38mm Biogon lens of the SWC range of cameras (SWC, SWC/M, 903, or 905).
  21. d_g


    If you want to see the mtf of a lens with no distortion ...
    the 100 cf is perfect in this regard !

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