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.

Hasselblad very wide angle options


Active Member
The widest angle Hasselblad lens I have is 50mm FLE CF f4. A beautiful lens. But at a 35mm equivalent of about 30mm, it's a little tight for some interiors, landscape and architecture. So I'd like to get something closer to a 35mm equivalent of 21-24mm BUT, with an undistorted flat (flat as possible, understanding that how it's used has a big effect on distortion) image.

So 40mm may be enough and with retro focus not as flat as possible, so It made me think about the Super Wide / Biogon 38mm options.

However I get a bit confused with the nomenclature - SWC, 903, 905, SWC/M. I doubt I can afford the stretch to the current version used, so ask about the earlier version/s.

Are there just the 2 versions, or more? How good are they, what weaknesses or features missing that are really desirable?

Of course what ever version I go for I would want at least the C T* generation of glass for obvious reasons.

Thanks for the tips.
if you go for the SWC/M with the CF lens it will be the same as The 903 except for the finder and the spirit level - on the 903 the level is moved up into the finder from the camera body. I have the SWCM with the newer CF lens ( a late SWCM model) and with the 903 Finder so I have two spirit levels one on the camera body and one on in the finder - and guess what - they do not show the same thing - Any way I do not think that you can see any dif. on slides with these 3 models - but if you go for an older lens just C with T* you will find it harder and harder to get it serviced - If you are going to need frontal movements to fit you motif into you film with out converging lines drop the Hasselbald and buy a Silvestri Camera - they are rather cool. if you can manage without frontal movements the SWC- lines is for you - I for one will be burried with mine - it is my favourite camera and it is great for point and shoot street photography you were get it all on film with a great big negative
There are the following SWC-versions: SWC with chrome C-lens SWC with black C-lens SWC with black CT*-lens (improved coating, always useful on wide angle) SWC/M with black CT*-lens (slighly raised viewfinder and distance block between body and quick release plate allow use of Polaroid backs at the price of making the camera less compact) SWC/M with CF-lens (CF-lenses have more ergonomic handling, later SWC/M CF-lenses have the new style viewfinder) 903 SWC (improved coating of camera body inside) 905 SWC (new CFi-style lens barrel, slightly different optcal construction)

My firm belief is that all these cameras will give you the same picture quality, at least since introduction of T*-coating. Let the price and condition be your main criteria. I have a compact SWC CT* and could not be happier.

Many thanks Ruben and Ulrik for your clear and very helpful information. Now the picture is clearer for me - much to consider.

See I have 35mm format equivalents of about 28-30mm angle of view in my Hassey kit and also in my Linhof 4x5 kit. But, I am keen to have much wider like 21-24mm angle of view (not much wider than that) in MF/LF larger negatives. So I am considering the options.

The SWC variants seem sensational: easy to use; superb optics; convenient to take around.

I had not considered a Silvestri so will look into it too. An ability to have shift movements would be nice, but the Biogon optics may be nicer.
the Biogon combined with 20 extensions tubes on the Gizo an a very tall ladder will do for some "rise" :) good luck

Prepare to be surprised: the Biogon isn't as "wide" as even a 24 mm lens on 35 mm format. Nowhere near a 21 mm lens.

The Biogon's diagonal angle of view is 90 degrees, but the horizontal and vertical angles of view are considerably less.
A 35 mm equivalent of the Biogon, comparing the horizontal angles of view, would be something only a tiny bit shorter than a 28 mm lens.

Barring the fisheye lens, the 38 mm Biogon is as wide as it gets using Hasselblad. So maybe you should explore alternatives?
Thanks Qnu. I'd overestimated the angle of view based on the so called "rule of thumb" for comparison with the 35mm format equivalent. I agree, it would not go near to what I'm wanting to achieve. But, the good news I'l save money. Back to LF for that I think.
Thanks Gilbert. I did catch up with that info which is shared by the Hasselblad site. Helpful. But, I think LF wide is for me due to the Biogon's limited horizontal field of view as noted by Qnu earlier.
> Hi You can also find a very good history and facts about the SWC in the HASSELBLAD FORUM BOOKLET 03/2004. this booklet is also available in english. The SWC is a tremendous camera . Perhaps you have a chance to get one for a weekend test. You should do that before you make an other decision. i have done so and am glad i did. SWC=phantastic regards jürgen
For what it is worth, I have the SWC/M with the CT* lens, it is a fabulous piece of kit; everything in focus from 12" to Infinity. Best move I ever made- velvia 50 + this camera is the answer to digital !
Nice to hear that you are delighted with your SWC .
Do you have a lens shade for your SWC .? ? ?
If so , how long is the lens shade . ? ? ?
Sure, I use a Imacon 96C back with my SWC all the time. Not quite as wide of angle but still pretty nice field of view.

Please tell me more - I was told that because of the steep angle (no mirror, lens closer to filmplane) it would give some kind of unwanted effects - have you posted any pictures from the swc and the imacon back - would love to se - thanks Ruben