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I am new here what lens use for portrait photography

Hi all I am totally new with MF.

I expect per mail my first HB 501 CM body. Why MF? DSLR is great, but MF photos are spectacular and amazing for me!
I am looking forward to my first shots of MF.

I try to find another view over on my photographic world with HB lens.

I photograph about 7 years as an amateur. At present time I use Nikon D80.

I would like to shoot portrait at interior and outside also.

Please can You recommend me some good lens for me?
1/ I would like to know as well which magazine can I use with 501 CM.
2/ I will also appreciate help with my first lens. My focus is now portraiture, family photos, I would like to try fashion and glamour photography.
3/ Exposure meter will be also need, can you recommend me some one?

Have you some fave eshop where you buy HB accessories?

Thank You very much.

Welcome to group therepy, Jan!
As a very general rule, lenses for portrait shooting tend to be a little longer than normal lenses, for ex&le, 135mm. 150mm, or 180mm. I use a 150mm because it came with the camera when I bought it used, and I've been happy with it. Alot of folks say that you need a small extention tube with the 150mm for portraits, but I haven't found it to be a problem without one. A good basic set would be a 50mm, an 80mm or 100mm, and a 150mm.

Stick with A12 backs...they're alot easier to load correctly! Actulally,, any of the "A" series of backs are OK, but you'll probably find 120 film easier to find than 220 and, at first, a square format is iasier to work with on a 'blad than the rectangular format of the 16 exposure backs.

Most of the folks here use hand-held meters, including me. Like most folks who have been doing this for awhile, I have an assortment, a couple of old Westons, a Norwood, and my newest addition, a Minolta Autometer IIIF which combines an incident meter and a flash meter...I think its going to be good, but it is slower to use than the others for might get faster once I get used to it.

Good luck...have fun!
Jan, strictly speaking portraits can be shot with any focal length - it all depends upon the style of portrait you intend to shoot and some other aspects involved like the working distance.

But to help start your thinking here are some thoughts:
1. environmental portraits are often shot with a standard lens - say 80mm. Some shooters use 60mm or even 100mm as a standard lens and for their environmental portraits
2. traditional portraits - less than full body - many shoot with 120mm, 150mm or 180mm - depending upon how tight they want the shots as well as their working distance.
3. most commonly IMHO portraits are shot with 150mm and 180mm - the 180mm is more ideal to my eyes, but it is heavier and bigger than the 150mm. These also give a reasonably natural compression of facial features.

So, "different horses for different courses" applies. Hire or borrow gear and give the lenses a try to see what works for you.

Yes, always go for the latest / youngest back you can afford - they are a complex bit of gear that should be serviced regularly based on their use.

I use a Sekonic L558 - spot, incident, flash - great and easy to use without the need to add accessories - a meter for life!

Their usefulness to you is driven by what and how you shoot - as time goes by and you shoot more, their need will become obvious.

BUT MOST OF ALL buy Ernst Wildi's book the Hasselblad Manual - the bible for all Hasselblad gear.

It is good advice to plan a lens kit before you begin to buy any. That way each purchase will progressively fit your planned kit and greatly reduce the risk of regretted buys and wasted money.

I suggest you begin by selecting your most used / "standard" lens first - 80mm is the convention; but many prefer slightly wider so get the 60mm; others prefer tighter images so begin with a 100mm lens. From there evenly space you longer and wide lenses based on their purpose. Or if in doubt buy them all!!

Good luck and welcome.
Get the 5th edition of Wildi's book. The sixth edition cover the digital cameras at the expense of the V series cameras such as your 501C/M.

Thank you very much for answers guys.

About the portrait lens:
I have read here that not bad should be lens 100 or 150mm.

Would You recommend me some model?
And what about flash with HB? I don't think I will now search one for buying, but I would like to know what types of flash is possible to connect to HB and how it works theoretically.

Thank you.
Flash is rather simple: you get a sync contact on the lens thats all.

Unless you have one of the newer bodies that include off-the-film TTL flash. Given that you posted this question in the 501C/501CM forum you probably do not have this TTL function available to you. The TTL function integrates nicely with the Metz-built flash units using the SCA300 (or the older SCA500) modular system.

So, essentially all flash units work on the camera you have.

For what it is worth, most people seem to use 150 or 180mm lenses for portraits, sometimes with a short extension tube (10, 21mm).


The 150 mm Sonnar is a very good and versatile (not just for portraits) lens.
It's easy to find in good condition too.

The 100 mm Planar is often too short for portraits, though it is good enough to back away to get a better perspective and then crop to the desired framing later.

The 120 mm Makro-Planar also is a popular portrait lens. But i find it too often is just that bit too short.

As Simon already mentioned what lens to use depends a lot on the type of portrait you're after.
For tight 'head shots' i find nothing beats a 250 mm lens. For 'environmentals' the 60 mm Distagon or 80 mm Planar is great.

But for the classic 'head and shoulders', and a bit tighter too even, the 150 mm is great.
It is in the top three of most sold Hasselblad lenses*, and there will be a reason for that.

* Together with the 80 mm Planar and the 50 mm Distagon.
Wilko Bulte (Wbulte) wrote on October 01:

' 2007 - 3:12 pm,For what it is worth, most people seem to use 150 or 180mm lenses for portraits, sometimes with a short extension tube (10, 21mm). '

Sorry Wilko for my stupid question, what is the extension tube (10, 21mm) and for what is good this thing?

Regards Jan
Q.G. de Bakker (Qnu) wrote on October 01:

' 2007 - 5:12 pm,But for the classic 'head and shoulders', and a bit tighter too even, the 150 mm is great. '

Thank you for your comment Q.G.
Please have you any useful link with photo gallery of 150mm and e.g. 80mm lens?

Is it the 150mm suitable also for normal using let say as universal lens? I think it will be not a problem to shoot a portrait of whole body.

I am not going to shoot macro. I shoot friends,, family, daily life at home, nature and sometimes architecture as well. As far I know from my DF experience for architecture and landscapes I should use a more wide lens rather is not it? And wide lens produce more perspective on photography.

Thank You Jan.
An extension tube is a piece of tube that sits between the lens and the camera body. They are typically used for macro photography, but in general they allow closer focusing distances. For portraits rather short tubes are used (they come in different sizes).

The use of an extension tube allows you to take frame-filling portraits more conveniently.


The 150 mm lens, and all other Hasselblad/Zeiss lenses too, of course are suited for many different types of photograhy.

The thing with portraits is that the desired framing may make you want to get close to your subject. And if you get too close, perspective will be terrible (large noses).
A longer focal length will allow tighter framing from greater distances, so thing to decide when selecting a portrait lens is how long its focal length should be.

But even with longer focal lenghts you will need to get close to your subject, and many lenses quite simply will not focus close enough.
That's when you need an extension tube. (Not just for macro, but to get closer than the lens alone allows.)

Here is an online Hasselblad close-up calculator, that will allow you to see that a C, CF, or CFi 150 mm lens will not focus closer than 1.4 meters. The field of view will then be about 40 cm.
If you want to get closer, you need to add extra extension.

The available extension tubes are 8, 16, 32 and 56 mm in length. There also are older rings you could use, with lengths of 10, 21 and 55 mm.

Now if you would want to reduce the 150 mm's 'unaided' minimum field of view from 40 cm to, say, 30 cm, you type 300 (mm) in the "Field of view" box, and click "Calculate".
The Calculator then shows you need about 6.5 mm extra extension, with the lens fully extended, or about 28.5 mm in total. Adding an 8 mm or 16 mm tube between camera and lens will get you there (the rest of the 28.5 will be provided by the lens's focussing mount).

Note the "-EV" box too: getting this close to your subject, you need to add about 0.7 stops to compensate for the light lossed by doing so.
(An explanation of why you need to compensate, and how to calculate the compensation can be found here.
Jan, I am a portrait and wedding photographer. I use a variety of cameras and lenses including the Hasselblad V system.

Here is an option to consider in terms of lens selection. I frequently use the Planar 100/3.5 which is an exceptional lens in it's own right ... and add a 1.4X teleconverter to create the equivalent field of view of a 140/4.9 lens.

The teleconverter is different than an extension tube in that it has lens elements in it and allows focusing at all distances from minimum to infinity. So in effect, you have a 100/3.5 and a 140/4.9 to use in portrait work for close ups, and full length or mid thigh up studies. The 100/3.5 plus the 1.4X is no longer/bigger than the 150/4

The advantage is that the 100/3.5 Planar focuses down closer than the 150/4 ... and retains that same close focusing ability when the Teleconverter is used to "magnify" the image. So you get a 140mm lens that focuses down to under 3 feet allowing you to fill the frame with just a face if you want.

Just a thought in terms of versatile use of less gear. Later, if you get other Hasselblad lenses in the range from 100mm to 500mm, the 1.4X teleconverter will work on all of them.

There are some opinions that a teleconverter will degrade the image quality a bit, but the 100/3.5 is stellar, and one of the sharpest of the V lenses so it is quite difficult to actually see any difference between it + the 1.4X and the 150/4 ... besides, with portrait work the tiny degree of image degradation is basically irrelevant.

Just an alternative thought to consider.
Wilko thank you for explanation about extension tubes.
Q.G. thank you also for very useful informations and links.
Marc also thank you for information about your lens you use.
I looked your site, really nice shots. 100/3.5 lens looks very interesting. I can not afford me too expensive equipment now. Photography is my big hobby. I think about this 100/3.5 of set lens 80/2.8.

I looked the site, there are some 100/3.5
Overview of this this lens seems very attractive.
I think 100/3.5 is not bad choice. lse&ID=&BC=HH&BCC=5&CC=6&CCC=2&BCL=&GBC=&GCC=&KW=100

One more question.
Which Backs can I use with 501 C/M. My friend has HB 500 and he knows only 6x6. Exist other format also? What would you recommend as a Back for my first HB 501 C/M body?

And last q. for now
Is on the internet an user manual of using HB 501 C/M?
I would like to see somewhere a site which shows me all HB models.

I am interested in model differences between my HB 501 C/M and 501 C on 503 CW.

Thank you very much.
Regards Jan
Hi Jan,

You can also use an A16 film cassette, which gives you 16 exposures on a 120 rollfilm, each 6x4.5cm in size. There is also an A32 which is 32 exposures on 220 film. Given that 120 film is more easily found I would not go for the A32 myself.


Apart form the 6 x 4.5 cm format Wilko mentioned (A16 backs), there also was a A16S back, which produced 16 4x4 cm images ("superslides", that should fit in 35 mm format projectors) on 120 film.

For a brief time, there also was an A12V magazine, that produced 12 4,5 x 6 cm images (portrait orientation, as opposed to the landscape orientation the other 6 x 4.5 cm backs produce) on 120 film.

And there was a magazine that took 35 mm film, producing vertical 24 x 56 mm strips, the A2035.

Hasselblad also sold format masks, that would go between the camera and a regular film magazine, masking the larger 6x6 cm to 6 x 4.5 cm or 27 x 55 mm panaroma format.
These masks only fit the 503 CXi, the 501 cameras and the 503 CW.

You can find a manual for the 501 CM here.

The manual discusses both 501 CM and 503 CW cameras, so it will tell you about the differences too.
You could browse the other manuals you can find there too.

A short tabulated history of Hasselblad models can be found here.

The difference between the 501 C and 501 CM is in the mirror: the 501 CM has a larger mirror, whereas the 501 C still has the original short mirror.
The short mirror vignets when using long lenses, or when using extension tubes or bellows.
Only effects the viewfinder image, of course.

The difference between the 501 CM and the 503 CW is that the 503 CW additionaly offers a TTL-flash sensor, and will accept a motor winder.
Hi Jan,

I would at least buy the A12, not the previous 'non-automatic' backs. The newer production runs have improved film spool holders making it easier to load them, a dark slide holder so that you don't loose the darkslide, improved pressure plate which should give better film-flatness etc. Make sure that the film-insert has a serial number that matches the shell. The last 3 digits of the shell's serial number are on the film insert. During manufacturing the shell and insert are 'matched'. A competent repair person can also match them of course. Non-matching sets are cheaper (well, should be cheaper) / of lower value.

It would be a good idea if you got yourself a copy of Rick Nordin's "Hasselblad Compendium". I myself have found a huge amount of information on the complete Hasselblad (well, not the latest H series, but who cares..) in that book. Well recommended!

Thank you for explanation and useful link for manual.
I often use remote shutter with my DSLR for auto portraits, etc.
Which remote Cord For Hasselblad 501 CM can I use?

Wilko thank you, greetings to Netherland

Where can I find some useful gallery of HB photos with different lenses.
I would like to explore photos made with 501 C/M and different lenses e.g. 100/F3.5
Hi Jan,

You will find some s&le pictures in the 'Lens' section of this forum. As for remote 'cords', any standard remote release should fit in the hole of the release button. Better take the camera with you when you go and shop for one. I have an odd assortment of remote releases that I picked up a camera fairs for a couple of EUROs. They work fine with my Hasselblads. (Well, except for the 500ELX, I built an electrical release cable for that one. Easy enough by the way).

Be warned though that there are no 'remote' releases, except a long air tube, actuated by pressing a rubber bulb. Relatively cheap, but not very good.
For a mechanical 501 C, 501 CM or 503 CW, there are no convenient, long electrical cords you just have to plug in, like the ones available for your DSLR (there is one for the 503 CW, but only if you add the optional motor winder).

Mechanical cable releases are rather short. Good, reliable ones longer than about 30 cm are few and far between, and will cost a lot.
Good shorter ones however are cheap. But short, designed to allow releasing the camera without touching it, not to release it from a distance.