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250 F4 Tele Tessar


New Member
I just joined in and have a question regarding the 4/250mm Tele-Tessar which I plan to buy and use mostly for mountain landscapes. I have a 201F and do exclusively black and white. I plan to use the lens with a yellow or orange filter. Any reason to go with the 5.6/250mm Sonnar or even the Superachromat? Why I chose this focal length is because I fell that even though longer telephoto lenses work great in color photography, black and white really needs the feeling of the actual presence of the depicted scene and it also looses contrast and plasticity with remote objects. Am I mistaken and should look into 350mm range? Thank you, Luka
I have the 350/5.6CFE Superachromat plus the 1.4apo CFE multiplier and like the combination for wildlife and scenic shots. I also have the 180/4.0CFE that use for a variety of photography, scenic, portraiture, nature and close-up with extension tubes. I don't have experience with the 250 but, for my photo interests, the 180 and 350 combination work just fine for me. Any of these combinations, particularly the superachromat versions, will be very pricy but produce excellent sharpness and color rendition. If I want to travel lighter, I use the 2XE mulitplier with the 180mm, but it probably isn't as sharp as the 350/5.6. I use the 203FE body.
Have a good focus! Bob

I have and use both f/5.6 250 mm Sonnar and f/4 250 mm Tele-Tessar. I have been allowed to try the 250 mm Sonnar-Superachromat once.
Looking at the results (slides or negs directly, with loupe) there is absolutely no telling the "normal" Sonnar and Tele-Tessar apart. Both perform equally well.

I can think of only two reasons why you should want the Sonnar instead of the Tele-Tessar:
1) you do need the leaf shutter in the f/5.6 lens, either because you need the all-speed flash synch, or because you need to be able to use this lens not just on 2000/200-series bodies.
2) you have a strong aversion against fast lenses ;-)

The 250 mm Sonnar-Superachromat is a different thingy. It is capable of delivering quite stunning results.
But only if you take great care. To have it perform better than the other two lenses, you need to take be very careful focussing, and renounce that evil, yet common, practice called "hand-held photography".
If you don't, it's just more expensive than the other two.
Hi! Thank you both for your kind answers! When I read what you wrote, Mr. De Bakker, one other question came to my mind. Could it be more favorable to use the Sonnar instead of the Tele-Tessar when shooting with MLU since one can use the lens shutter which I presume causes less vibrations? Remember, I do use a 200 series model. Greetings, Luka

I do not believe you will gain much with the leaf shutter as far as d&ing vibrations with MLU, as it just locks the mirror, and doesn't open the focal plane shutter. If I understand the operation of the 2000/200 series correctly, the 'C' mode still opens the focal plane shutter during the exposure, but in such a way that it is open fully before the leaf shutter opens/closes. The MLU on the 500 series actually opens the focal plane auxiliary shutter, so that the leaf shutter is the only shutter firing during exposure.

In "C" mode, you do indeed gain by prereleasing the camera and using the leaf shutter.

(Taras, i deeply dislike this use of the term "MLU", since in the thing you describe using the term the mirror is not (!) "locked up" at all.
The 2000 series model's "programmable" mirror had that choice: the mirror would go up and stay (!!!) up. Now that's MLU! It is not the same as prerelease! ;-)
No other Hasselblad series, not even the 200-series, has MLU as an option.)

The leaf shutter will then be the only thing moving in a 2000/200 camera too, Taras. ;-)

Using the Tele-Tessar, you do still get the vibrations cased by the first curtain accelerating from stand still to 15,000 rpm and than braking again to come to a stand still in no more than 12 ms.
The mass of the thing is tiny, but that sort of acceleration and decelaration is quite something.

The leaf shutter blades in the Sonnar do accelerate and decelerate at no mean pace too. But they move more or less symetrical, in "opposing" directions, creating far less of a problem.

However, all that being said... ;-)
The differences are small. Very small. I never noticed any (not that i would want to suggest that me noticing or not noticing things would be in any way normative ;-)).

So i think a decision between the two should be based upon whether or not you need the leaf shutter or are willing to/need to give it up in favour of the one extra stop the shutterless lens provides.

I agree with you about not liking the terminology "mirror lock up", but it has unfortunately become common usage for pre-releasing the mirror.

I was wrong with the description of the operation of the 2000 series cameras in "C" mode. Looking at what my 2000FCW does without a back in place, the focal plane shutter does open when the prerelease control is activated. (I should not answer questions on a Sunday morning...) Thanks for straightening me out.

Thank you for clearing things up for me regarding the cycle of exposure on focal plane shutter bodies when shooting in C mode with leaf shutter lenses and using prerelease mechanism. The fact that in this case the only thing that is moving at the time of the exposure are the blades of the leaf shutter may be a marginal advantage but it is there. In my experience the focal plane shutter in my 201f camera causes more vibrations than the mirror itself since it strikes sideways. There may be another more important advantage of using the Sonnnar instead of the Tele- Tessar with a 200 series model that has not yet been mentioned though. I thought of it since my battery just ran out and the camera wouldn`t fire. Is it not so that a leaf shutter lens in combination with a 200 series camera gives one a completely battery free operating system? Now that could indeed be of great value in cold mountainous environments. Best regards, Luka
The 2000FCW can operate a C lens at the 'C' setting without battery power. The 2000FC/M can not. I am not sure about other models.


Hasselblad some time ago "invented" a rather simple and quite nice device that would supply power to battery dependent 2000 series cameras that never runs out. It was a hand power driven generator, charging a capacitor, supplying enough power for a few exposures. They envisaged it being put into a pistol grip, with a cord connecting into the battery compartment, and a trigger both setting the generator in motion and triggering the camera.
I like that idea a lot!

Alas, it never made it to the production stage. We still have to carry spare batteries.

Battery consumption in the old 2000 series was extremely low. In theory, discounting aging and leak currents, a battery would last longer (!) than the camera itself would (one full battery could, in theory, supply power for some 300,000 exposures...).
And as Taras mentioned, 2000 FCW and 2003 FCW models of the 2000-series would work in C-mode without battery too.

Alas, no such luck with 200-series cameras. They do need batteries to power the meter, shutter and display. Which measn they go through batteries at a somewhat faster pace. Roughly 4000 meter cycles. That normally means quite a few less exposures; perhaps even less than half. A far cry from 300,000. ;-)

However, Taras, they too have the C-mode, in which no battery is needed. So yes, a lens shutter lens and a 200-series camera in C-mode would indeed produce a completely battery free system.
And that's indeed another advantage of the Sonnar over the Tele-Tessar.
There is a 250mm C Sonnar Achromat for sale on the famous auction site. What do you think of it comparing to the newer versions, especially the CF, but also the CFi and CFE? How does a C lens work on a 201f? Can it be used only in a C position of the camera? Thank you, Luka

The Superachromat, in any version, beats any of the other 250 mm lenses hands down.

But you will need to take care when using it (alwas use a solid tripod, extreme care when focussing, don't rely on depth of field) to be able to see the difference. If you don't, the superachromat is just a more expensive version of the other 250 mm lenses.

C lenses work fine on the 201 F. No problem.
It can be used like other C lenses: either using the focal plane shutter in the camera, with the lens set to "B", or using the shutter in the lens with the camera set to "C".

But Hasselblad has changed its advice about the use of C lenses on 200-series cameras. Now they say the can only be used withthe camera set to "C", using the shutter in the lens to make the exposure.
While that's perfectly fine (all you miss then is the top 1/1000 speed of the 201F), it may well be that the other way works too. It appears that the change in advise was inspired by synchronization problems between camera and lens, produced by the now quite old Synchro Compure shutters becoming sluggish.
The thing to do is not to rely too heavily on that possibility, but assume that C lenses work with the camera in C-mode only. Then, if a C lens turns out to work using the focal plane shutter too, this will be an added bonus.
I have both the 250 and 350 Fe lenses for use on A 203 and 205 hasselbald. The 350 FE is a Superachromat. The 250 is a standard FE. both are heavy and cumbersome to carry, both require steady heavy duty tripods, use of both results in high quality work products. Mine are used less than 2% of the time, when considering uses of other lenses. Purchasing these kinds of lenses on line is chancy, because one must inspect any used lens prior to puchasing. I was able to purchase an entire lot of stuff, which included both the 250 FE and 350FE superachromat from a Medical Doctor at about 30% of its resale value, which was a good bargan for me. The Doctor wanted a Lieca as it was something he could not live without, thus the deal he accepted my offer. Would I purchase these lenses again at retail? I would purchase these again, only if there was an extensive series of photos to be taken uses these lenses. One of the most important decisions when purchasing photograph equipment is how much will you use it? Is it practical to have such equipment for your use? Only you can answer these questions.

Richard Loarie