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Hasselblad lenses on Nikon digital

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I have the possibility to buy an adapter to mount my Hasselblad 6x6 lenses on a Nikon (in my case Fuji S5) digital camera. I have a CF 50FLE, a 100mm Ct*, a CF 150 and a 250mm c lens. On film they are of course wonderful lenses. Does anybody have experience mounting these lenses on a Nikon digital camera? Of course no autofocus and stopdown lens openings.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Not on a Nikon, but on a Canon, and it was like using any uber-manual lens, but you will have to stop it down on the lens! then set the speed manually of course :)

good luck and have fun

In general, when one mounts the medium format lenses to 24X36 format cameras, the images it produce are not impressive. In fact, you might find the lens you use on 24X36 format are better than medium format lenses.
interesting comment! you would think that because the MF lenses have a higher resolving power you would get a much sharper image.
Frank, in past I had a Nikon digital camera and used an adapter to mount various V lenses. I also had one to mount V lenses on a Contax 35mm camera, and one to mount V lenses on a Canon 1DsMKII.

Generally, because you are using the center area of the V lenses due to the larger image circle it was believed you would be using the "sweet spot" and get superior results.

In actual practice there was no visible improvement over standard lenses at all except retaining the great Zeiss color and some flair resistance due to the T* coatings. The inconvience of stop down metering and shooting was not worth it.

However, I always kept the adapters and 35mm DSLR or 35mm Film camera in my Hasselblad bag in the event that I had a Hasselblad camera or digital back failure. It was a small, inexpensive back-up that used the same set of V lenses, rather than having to lug around 2 complete lens systems.

If you are really interested in Zeiss quality optics on a Nikon mount digital camera, look at the 35mm type ZF lenses that Zeiss now produces. Manual focusing but fully meter coupled. Stunning performance, including legendary focal lengths that are now even better than the legends were ... if you can believe that.

I have placed my order for the new full frame Nikon D3, and a set of these lenses. Can't wait.
The resolving power of medium format lenses are inferior to that of the 24X36 format lenses. This is true although most people would think the other way round. This is why many would get frustrated after they fit the big lenses to the small cameras.

For medium format, a lens with less resolving power and a bigger light sensing area than 24X36, the net results are the images with much higher quaility than the small format.
Rather than solely disagreeing, evidence welcomed.

My evidence that medium format lenses in general have less resolving power than 24X36 format lenses comes from 4 sources. One could start by mounting MF lenses to 24X36 format cameras, the results are just not as good as using 24X36 lenses.

One could also examine the negatives/positives. Imagine one crop the MF neg/pos to 24X36 and compare it to 24X36 neg/pos. You could either use a loupe or microscope to do the examination. One could also use an enlarger and make prints. You will find the crops from MF neg/pos are not as good as the 24X36 pos/neg. You could try this with a scanner, if you scan a 24x36 crop from MF neg/pos, the result is just not as good as the ones from 24X36 cameras with 24x36 lenses.

The third source comes from looking at the MTF graphs provided by Zeiss. The line pairs are not as high in the MF lenses when you compare to 24X36 lenses with comparable focal lengths and f-numbers. The fourth source comes from the photodo old site, you will find the overall MTF reading of each lenses, the MF lenses are just not as good as the 24X36 lenses.
Hi Joseph,

You are correct that 35mm lenses have more resolving power per the same unit area than typical MF lenses...but...if you factor in the larger negative size, then you will find the MF lenses combined with the larger area covered, resolve much more than 35mm lenses on 35mm film. I think this is the source of "confusion" with this issue.


Hi Austin,

Thanks for putting this matter in the right perspective.
There is only one good reason to use MF lenses with a 35 mm body.
That is if you want to get the same colour you get from using these lenses with MF.


No, Joseph is not correct that 35 mm format lenses have higher resolving power.
Some do. Some don't. And some MF lenses have higher resolution than 35 mm lenses.

You can indeed examine the results with a loupe, and discover that many 35 mm lenses are even far worse than most MF lenses.

MTF curves, by the way, show contrast at pre-chosen resolutions. They do not give an indication of how many lp/mm a lens can resolve.

And another by the way: Photodo is the worst site to cite as evidence.

This "35 mm format lenses are better" myth is just that: a myth.
It is an old, very persistent one, yes. But a myth nevertheless.
It's origin lies in the Leica days.
The advantage of the then tiny format was not its image quality, but the portability and 'stealth', making an entirely new type of photography possible.
The often cited considerations of Oscar Barnack, calculating how 'good' 35 mm format would be, in fact were calculations trying to show that the tiny format would just 'go'.

A 'spin off' of those considerations was the (correct) observation that the lenses used on this tiny format would have to be better than the ones used on larger formats to be able to compete.
That observation became the primary marketing point: tell customers that the lenses indeed are, even if they perhaps are not.
That strategy, quite evidently, worked very, very well. People still (some 80 years later) believe this inversion of the "have to", and think they indeed "are".
But they are not.

Yes, Leitz and other manufacturers produce quite excellent 35 mm format lenses, and some of them indeed resolve more than some larger format lenses. But conversely, many do not.
I agree that if you choose the worse 24X36 lenses, they might not be as good as the best MF lenses.

TO ME, MOST 24X36 lenses resolve BETTER than MF lenses.

I get this idea in particular after scanning. If you scan cropped MF negatives in 24X36 format, they are rarely as good as the true 24x36 negatives. This is MY experience.

If you like to define resolving power in your way, I have nothing to say. To me, MTF performance is something and at least it correlates well with resolving power. MF lenses DO perform less well than 24X36 lenses and this is a fact.

Although you said Photodo is the worst site to cite, citing his site is better than no evidences at all.

Most Zeiss 24X36 lenses performs better than Zeiss MF lenses. Zeiss is happy to disclose this in the MTF graphs.

Zeiss is now making some truly outstanding lenses for the Nikon F mount, that put just about all (regardless of image format) other lenses to shame (as far as resolving power is concerned).

MTF-measurements do not (!) indicate how many lines a lens will resolve. It is a measurement of the contrast-ratio at selected spatial frequencies.
And that's not (!) a matter of defining it "my way".

Just look at any Zeiss MTF-graph, and pay attention to the "Spatial frequencies R=10, 20 und 40 cycles/mm" bit. They do not measure anything above 40 lp/mm. Their best photolens resolves some 300 lp/mm.

And no: citing something that is not evidence is not better than citing no evidence at all.
I put a Zeiss 180mm/4.0 on my 350D and reach the top of sharpness.

If you compare the FTM graphs between 24x36 and 6x6 Zeiss lenses you will discover that somme Blad-zeiss are realy on top. Not all lens.

(See the 40mm IF; 100mm 180mm and 300mm/2.8)

I have the Leica M8 too and I cann see that after F: 1/8 the quality of lenses fall down (diffraction !)

To get quality at F1/8 with 16Mpix you need to use bigger than 24x36mm sensor.

As a photographer, MTF do correlates well with resolving power. Afterall, the most important criteria we care about is how the photo look. MTF performance do correlate well with our photographic experience.

So far, you have not provide us with any evidence to support what you mention in your posting with post number 1102. You keep on mentioning your way of measuring the resolving power but Zeiss does not provide any data on this for each lenses. Do you measure this yourself ? Do you measure this yourself in order to come to the conclusion in your posting with no 1102 ? If you don't measure this yourself how do you come to the conclusion ?

Again, photodo has received lots of criticism. I trust their data because again it correlates well with my experience. I am very impressed by Photodo on one occasion. I made a big enlargement after using my Contax G2 with Zeiss 45mm lens. I was very impressed by the details produced by this lens. Photodo gave the highest score 4.7 for the lens. This site does provide us with valuable insight for our lenses.


I have a Canon 350D but I sold my Zeiss 180mm f4 so I can't confirm what you find. Try other lenses on the 350D you might get surprises. Other lenses like Contax Zeiss C-Y 100mm f2.8 MP or Contax Zeiss N 100 f2.8 MS could be sharper than 180mm. I have full confidence that the new Zeiss 100mm f2 Nikon F is sharper than the 180mm.

I would believe Zeiss 21mm f 2.8 C-Y is sharper than 40mm IF.

There are advantages in designing 24X36 format lenses compared to MF ones. The small format lenses are much nearer the light sensing plane than medium format ones. There is also a better pinhole effect for the small format lenses. These two factors do explain why it is easier to design a good lens compared to medium format ones.
Excuse me Joseph for intervening,
but on the one hand you are asking others for evidence for their claims, on the other hand your statements are "..could be sharper...I have full confidence...I would believe..."

Of course it is easier to construct 35 mm lenses that outresolve MF lenses than the other way round. So there are quite a few reasons to use MF lenses on smaller cameras. Like having the same reproduction characteristics as with your MF gear, to have access to focal length you do not have for the small format or to use the larger image circle in combination with a shift adapter.

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