Medium Format Forum

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

40 or 50


New Member
Hi all, I've a doubt. Do you think it is better Distagon 40 or Distagon 50 for Hasselblad? Of course keeping equal all characteristics: both two C T* for ex&le.

Thanks a lot

Depending on your style of photography, the 50 will get more use practically speaking. If you have a cropped frame digital back, the 40 then becomes more important.
Both are exellent, of course. 40 mm is rather near focal length of Biogon, if you are going to buy that highly useful camera some day. On the other hand 40 mm makes a good pair with PC converter, but focal length grows already almost to 60 mm. 40 mm could be usable with these new 4 cm x 4 cm digibacks, I have no experience. If used with Flexbody, 50 mm CFi is very usable allowing 12 mm shift or even full 15 mm.

Kerkko K.
I have a C 50mm and a CF 40. I found I used the 50mm for 85% of my photos when travelling Utah. I only regret I did not have the 40mm at that time, I am sure it would have seen use in round 'bout 30% of all photos. I probably used the C 150 in 1% of the cases and the 80mm for the rest ;)

YMMV.. (a lot)

I forgot to mention: I don't think I would recommend buying a C 40mm.

For the 40mm the difference between a (in my humble view..) unwieldy C and the much easier to handle CF tipped the scale and made me go for the CF. Presumably image quality should also be a lot better with the CF, but I cannot speak from experience as I never owned a C.

Price obviously is higher for the CF. :-(

i will advise: if you want a 40 then go better to a biogon 38( 903swc), near in the scale but..... so much better than the 40, if you have financialy the second hand there is a lot of such items.

now between the 40 and the 50, i will advise you the 50, you will use it more and better in picture quality restitution. choose a good CF and if you're lucky a CF FLE, if you find a good deal for a CFI 50 FLE tell me......;))
I beg to differ here. I recently had the opportunity to play around with a SWC. And I own a FLE 40mm for my 500CM. I would call the SWC tripod-bound, as I doubt I would ever be able to get a level horizon using one. I simply hated the finder on this SWC (it had the older one, not the later models with the 'embedded' spirit level)

The Biogon might be superior optically (would that hurt in 99 of 100 cases? I strongly doubt it) but the ease of use for everyday operation of the 40mm outclasses the SWC by light years for me.

YMMV. A lot it seems :)

I "test drove" an FLE 40, and then a FLE 50, and settled for the 50 because of size, weight, cost and (for me anyway, perhaps most importantly, FILTER SIZE of the 50 which matched my 80 and 150 etc).

There is no doubt that the 40 is nice and wide (I think it's roughly thought of as a 26 in 35mm format (from memory), and the 50 is maybe a 33 on 35mm format equivalent)

I agree that the SWC is tough to use without a tripod (unless you are in the avant garde movement - no pun intended)- although I must say that the performance was excellent - albeit I only shot two rolls on a test drive.

Overall, though, I am a BIG fan of the 50 FLE.

And when I think about that, I realise that I use my 35mm lens most on my M3 Leica. I guess I like the AOV.

The 50 FLE gives a really nice resolution and contrast. That's my recommendation. :)
Yes , i agree , light years . But the other way round .
Never ever compare a BIOGON 38mm with a DISTAGON 40mm .
Yes , there are light years between them . But the winner will always be the BIOGON .
Hi Juergen,

Don't get me wrong: I also liked things of the SWC compared to the FLE 40.

Mainly I like the SWC for its compactness and low weight. The FLE 40 is a beast that makes you 'lugging it around'. Filter size (93mm) on the FLE is awkward too.

Maybe a new-style finder on an SWC makes it easier to handle, especially handheld?

gruss, Wilko
> I ended up getting the 903SWC because it gave me an "extra" body, > and it was a store 'display model' left over about 2 yrs after > the 905's were already out, so he sold it real cheap. If the main > camera ever develops problems, at least the SWC will be there. I > think the 903 is better optically, but that is only if you tied > both of them down to an optical bench on top of a 10 ton granite > slab with shock d&eners. Put them in the "real world" with camera > shake, subject movement, etc and it comes down to ( or at least 70% > of the motivation did in my case) which one you can get for the > better price.
Oh, yes, that is a digital back on the SWC. The Super Wide is useful in making up for the crop factor of the Imacon 96C.

It's still pretty wide. I'm only standing a few feet away from the set shown here ... which I shot with the SWC.

Piterengel, for much the same reasons as Marc has set out, I far prefer the 50mm over the 40mm - more versatile and does not have anything like the distortion - but that's how I see it and there are many thousands who don't share my view.

If I were to want wider than the 50mm I would not hesitate to buy an SWC - the "fixed" lens design eliminates the 40mm's distortion. I've used one a few times and the images were sensational.

By the way I'm an amateur but a very very active shooter in 135, MF and LF formats.
Re. the right angle finder (Voigtlander) that Marc pointed out: I use the same model also and find it very handy, not only for ground- to waist-level angles but also hand-held separately to scope out possible shots/compositions. Its optics are far brighter and sharper than the stock viewfinder that came with my SWC/M; whether those advantages are worth the $400 U.S. price tag is of course an individual judgement call.

I actually knew of the Voigtlander finder before buying my SWC, and chose a late-model SWC/M over a 903 ('89 issue) partially because the former has a bubble level built into the top of the body. Actual usage supported my surmisation that all it take would be slight eye/head movement to use both when setting-up a shot -- definitely easier than trying to use the stock finder similarly. The right angle finder doesn't completely replace the stock finder though, as the latter is generally necessary when shooting at eye level.

And in the matter of the topic of this thread: the 38 and 50 complement each other beautifully as a wide-angle field set. In general I use the 50 for roughly 85% of my contemplative wide-angle landscape shots; but use the SWC almost exclusively as a bare-bones outfit when scoping out new locations. It often turns out that the SWC is all that is needed; but in some instances the 38 is a bit too wide and/or the use of a polarizer or graduated filter would have been appropriate. If I were shooting with a digital back -- particularly with a Flex Body -- I would seriously consider the 40 (when so combined, my impression is that the Flex Body would really shine).

That VOIGTLANDER angle finder is also available in germany , but i can only find three lenses for it : these are 15mm , 21mm and 25mm , and these values are obviously for 35mm cameras .
What length has yours for MF . I can see 6x6 printed on the back of your viewer , so that must be a different lens for 6x6 than the above mentioned ones .

I saw that angle finder once in E-BAY , but can't find it any more .
Where did you buy it ? ? ?
I got mine last June from Stephen Gandy:

It was pretty expensive but it's well built and very useful with the SWC. It may be a limited run item like some of the Rangefinder clip on finders.

I had no choice. My eye sight is so poor I couldn't use the stock one because it doesn't have a Diopter adjustment, and the Voigtlander one does.