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If you could only take one and then two


Active Member
Going out with some of my 503CW kit on the weekend made me think about the following question; so, I'd be really interested to know what others would do.

If you set off on travels or a day's personal amusement with a Hasselblad V series body, and you were limited to just one lens, what would you take?

And, if you could add a secon lens, which would you select?

These questions apply to the kit you actually own. But, if there is a lens you're planning to add for such a purpose, I'd also be interested to know. It would also be interesting to know specifically why you make the selections you make - for ex&le: "when travelling I am most interested in street-scapes that I prefer to shoot wide...". Or, something like: "when I shoot square I much prefer to shoot long..."

My answer (and indeed it is what I did) to the first situation of taking just one lens is I'd take my 80mm CFE. The extra stop makes it a little more versatile; I'm happy with the focal length in general use and feel I'd "get caught out" with my next wide (50mm) and less so with my next long (120mm).

If I took 2 (and I did the second time out on the weekend) I'd take the 120mm as I do prefer much of my 6x6 images with a bit tighter AOV and my 180mm would be a bit limiting especially hand held.

So for that purpose of a useful hand held travelling second lens I am considering a 150mm as a versatile second lens.

On a third outing I took the 180mm as a third lens and found it too long and a bit heavy for that use and the 120mm a little short for what I did not want to shoot with the 80mm.

I'll be interested in your experiences.
I would take my 4/50. No question about it.

When visiting the Moab, UT area in April I used the 50 for 95% of the shots, the 80 for 4 % and the remaining 1% was the 150.

I did not have the 4/40 yet at that time ( lots of :-( here..) but I would take the 50 and 40 combo on landscape trips like this. And lave the 150 at home first, the 80 second.

But then again, it is purely a matter of taste, I happen to be a wide-angle weenie :) YMMV etc etc.

Wilko Bulte (Wbulte)

I heartily agree with you on the 50. I traveled USA & Europe with my 50/FE 2.8 Distagon with my 203 FE leaving the other stuff in the vault at home.

I don’t like to pack camera gear in a case then allow baggage handlers to toss the case around. Now you can’t lock cases, so the risk of loss is ever greater.

Thus one must carry on cameras & lenses in a case. I am now using a low pro mini-treker backpack which fits under my aircraft seat.

I have two other Low Pro back packs in larger sizes but they wont fit under aircraft seating.

A two week trip, with film for 10 days of shooting means about 100 rolls of film. Shooting 10 rolls a day is a lot, but I have done it. Pack your film in gallon sized zip lock bags, and before entering the airport security check point, pull the plastic bags out and request a private screening. I dont trust electronics and film, too mush risk of fogging.

I use a tripod and have that tucked in with the clothes and checked as baggage.

Traveling is a hassle with heavy equipment, and you never can leave it in a room, or out of your sight, especially in former Russian satellites. Other European countries, such as France, Germany, England, Italy, and Switzerland are less likely to have cameras stolen, with the exception of Italy.

One tip is to an international press patch on your backpack which clearly identifies you as associated with news coverage. Since most news organizations will accept your photos if you have a news event, you can make such a claim as a news stringer.

Pack light, pack smart; keep your eye on your stuff, when you get back it will still be in your hands.

I travel with my 503CW everywhere and take three lenses - 40mm, 120mm and 180mm. Sometimes I'll sub in an 80mm for the 120mm. My LowePro trekker backpack is just the right size too for carry on and can also hold other thibgs like the light meter, film and flash.

My preferred companion is definitely the 40mm. Its DOF makes it ideal for handheld applications. So I usually don't use a bag, I just carry the camera on a long strap. For better handling I fitted a flashholder-handgrip.
The old 40mm is somehow huge, with its almost toilet-sized sunshade. So if you want to shoot people you have to be quite fast before they start with the usual horrified expressions in their faces. But I love this lens for both, city and landscapes.
The second lens which I hope to carry soon with me is the 100 3.5.

The PLANAR 3,5/100 mm is an outstanding lens . I use this one as my "standard" lens . Unfortunately it is (and will never be ? ? ) not available as CFE for easier use with my 203FE .
Fortunately Jurgen for that focal length there IS the 110/2FE, which is beyond compare. A lens so incredible it deservers a classification of it's own even with-in the Hasselblad system.
Now, now...

The 110 mm is soft wide open, and nothing special stopped down.

The only thing it has that sets it apart is very shallow depth of field, wide open.
That makes focussing anything but static objects a pain, with the slightest movement throwing focus off again, so you often end up not using it wide open.
And then it's nothing special again.

It is still (the 100 mm is that too) too short for portraits, too long to be a general purpose lens.

I have one, and use it, yes. Despite what i say. Sometimes the soft, shallow-depth-of-field image can be quite welcome.
I have both , the 3,5/100 and the 2/110 and i use them for different purposes .
But when going for details , contrast and sharpness , i take that super 3,5/100 planar . was that lens once developed for the NASA ??? i never really understood , if thats true or not .
There is no NASA connection.
The lens was made by Zeiss, simply because they wanted to produce an excellent lens.

The 80 mm Planar was designed within the limits set by the demands and wishes of camera manufacturer (80 mm focal length, because it was the "standard" for the format, f/2.8, because it was fast, and equal to the earlier Ektar and Tessar standard lenses) and the camera it had to be used on (lens flange to film distance, shutter size).
The result is good, but not the best possible.

Designing the 100 mm, they let the focal length and speed be (more or less) the result, not a preset requirement.
The result of that decision was that no demands were limiting what they could do to produce a very well corrected lens.

"More or less" because they still wanted it to be a fast near-standard lens.

The result is a lens that wide open has better corner performance than the 80 mm, but above all has extremely low distortion.

But this improved performance is only there when the lens is used at infinity, or near-infinity, focus. Used at middle to close distance, it is not better than the 80 mm (the 80 mm's performance is far less 'distance-senstitive', hardly changes at all).

Being very good, wide open, at long distance, and with extremely low distortion, the 100 mm Planar is the perfect lens for aerial photogrammetry. Map making.
But in general photography, though still good, its extra qualities do not really show itself. If you like to do close-ups, use a tube perhaps, the 80 mm will be the better choice.

Back to NASA; equipment lists show the 100 mm Planar was indeed among the lenses used in flight.
The 100mm Planar and 120mm Makro Planar complement each other perfectly. The 100mm is good for infinity and near-infinity work, while the 120mm handles the close-up work. I also carry a 1.4XE converter to add a little extra reach to both of these lenses.
As Larry talks about the 1.4XE , so has anyone experience using that converter with the 3,5/100 PLANAR ? ? ?
I have that converter but never really used it with any of my lenses .
(100 upwards) . But i have good experience using the PLANAR CF3,5/100 also in distances down to about 5m and i believe that the results are better than with the CF2,8/80 . But that might also be subjective . Opposite to that , enlargements made with a 2,8/80 RODAGON (RODENSTOCK) and a APO-RODAGON 2,8/80 show visible differences . Even people , who do not do any photography could see differences , when asked .
If I set off on a day's travel for personal amusement with a Hasselblad V-series body and one lens only, it would be my CFi 3.5/30

Despite I bought it not very long time ago it has become my favourite lens. This is a very special lens and many would probably consider it as a bit crazy. But behind the strange characterization of this rare member of the Hasselblad lenses it hides a formidable weapon indeed.

I have always loved alpine climbing, and have brought my Hasselblad into high altitude many times. Always with the standard Planar 80mm. I must mention it, because it has given me the most memorable pictures. Until now.

But still. The Hasselblad Distagon CFi 3.5/30.
The fisheye that covers the entire medium format.
Bring it into a cockpit. Put it under a mushroom in the wood. And enjoy :)

One more lens? Hmmm... Yes. It must be the Distagon 40mm. If! Yes, if I am allowed to also bring my Mutar 1.4x Shift-Converter with it.
I would bring my 120 5,6 S planar as first choice if I had to take something that fitted on a 500 v body - but i would try to fit my SWC/m with 38 mm into my coat pocket hoping you would not notice it, and while you looked in the other direction I would probably fit my Rollei GX 2,8 TLR into the other pocket! With a minox B in my shirt pocket and a Leica M in the iner sleeve pocket I might not be able to go thru metal detectors so I would have to avoid airports
Yes Ruben, like Jurgen said: lovely comment. Many will identify with that!

Interesting and very different choice from Christian. Good for you. What I have seen from the 30mm fisheye has often been superb!
I've used my 50 f4 the most on all my trips, so that would be the lens for me. Now if I owned the 40mm, things might be different...