Hasselblad Biogon 38mm or Distagon 40mm IF?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by martin_wouterlood, Mar 11, 2006.

  1. I've had a good dive into the Hass archives of this very helpful site
    (jeez it's a long page! I hope the makers free it up a little for us
    non broadband navvies), but have yet to see things clear. I'm looking
    for comments from those who have used both the 38mm SWC in later
    variants and the current 40mm Distagon IF, for top quality results in
    this MF width. Either is an impressive but expensive choice. Judging
    by the threads, if Biogon were a man it would have women weak at the
    knees. I have no experience with these lenses, and living remotely
    from any town excludes the rent before I buy option.
    I would be grateful if suggestions on other brands, formats etc, were
    witheld, as I don't want to start on LF, and like many here I have
    already teetered enough between brands and formats:- Contax and
    Leica, Mam6, 'Blad, MamRZ, Mam7 and finally Hassie again. After 3 MF
    rangefinders I realised they just don't do it for me (tele and close
    up limits, no TTL setup). I think my M7/ 50 /150 was probably about
    AGAIG in MF, to my eyes. After a considered purchase every year or
    two I now tote reasonably late 'Blad and Zeissware in 60, 100 and
    250SA vision. Who can say better, worse or otherwise, but I prefer
    the more subtle overall blend of colour, tone and fine details with
    the Zeiss lenses I now use. I love the square, and for me it's
    natural, our vision having no horizontal, vertical or even diagonal
    bias. I also have one less choice in a world spoilt for such.
    My beginnings in earnest were with just a 25mm Distagon on RTSII. I
    love this width but have put off till now its revisit in MF. Mine is
    a tripod, 'catch moments in nature as God made it' style, so the
    portability and street shooter ease of the SWC is not a decisive
    issue, nor is carrying their similar weights. Do you think it would
    be more prudent to get a somewhat 'cheaper' SWC first, to see if it
    suits me, and hopefully not lose too much on resale if it doesn't?
    How say ye? Thanks for helpful replies.
  2. This is really a guess, but ceteris paribus, the Biogon should be a better lens oowing to th lack of design compromises in accomodating the morror. I have heard similarly positive comments about the M6/M& 43 mm, for the same reason.
  3. i used the 40mm-IF before and it was a great lens.

    imagine that the 40mm-IF is a biogon with a little distortion that may be noticeable if you shoot a brick wall.

    for this picture, the biogon SWC would have been a pain to use since i would have needed the ground glass to focus accurately at the minimal focusing distance and at the widest aperature. do you see distortion? even though i didn't frame head on, the window framing is only slightly distorted, but not enough to be bothersome.


    for this picture, notice that there is the sun in the frame, but the telephone pole's contrast is normal... i thought the lens would flare allot more, but it didn't.

    so instead of comparing what lens is better, ask yourself what are you going to do with such a high performance wide angle lens?

    if you take lots of pictures like my second one... then accurate focusing isn't such an important deal and the SWC is an obvious choice since it so much easier to carry around.

    but if you like to take many pictures like my first one, in which you are at the minimal focusing distance at the widest aperature... then the 40mm-IF is the only choice. (unless you like torturing yourself and using the ground glass back for the SWC)

    another important consideration is that when you purchase a used SWC on ebay for a fair price... if you don't like it, you can sell it again for around that same price. (so you essentially get your money back). so maybe go for the SWC first if you can't predict how you will use the wide angles.

  4. Last year I got myself a 1969 vintage SWC with a magazine, hood and viewfinder for 650 euro's. So far I have no complaints about the quality of it's lens. If you can find one for a good price, give it a try, you can indeed sell it for about the same price if it does not suit your needs.

    Here's a link to a picture I took in the Picos de Europa in Spain last October on Velvia:

    Last week I took some slides in the snow with sunlight and those pictures looked very good. No blown out highlights, good contrast and sharpness.

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