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My new SWC


The last couple of weeks I was looking for something extra for my Hasselblad. The tele-reach is pretty well covered with CF 150, C 250 en CF 350mm lenses. I am considering selling the silver 250 (without t* coating). Earlier this week I managed to get my hands on a nice C 100mm t* lens for very little money.

I have a CF50 FLE but wanted another wide angle lens. 60 is to close to the 50. A C 40 has a huge front element, is very heavy and the optical quality is not the best from what I have heard.

Yesterday however I got hold of a 1967 SWC, with a black lens, in very nice condition. Just a little bit of paintwear on the underside of the lens. No dents at all. It came complete with the finder (of course) and an M12 magazine. It seems to work fine. Price was only 650 euro's. Not a bad deal I think.

This weekend I am going to try it out.
"Not a bad deal" he says...

If you're trying to turn people green with envy, you're certainly succeeding with me!
thanks. I thought 235 euro's last week for a C 100t* was a good deal. Then came the deal of the world with this SWC. Wanted one for years, always to expensive. Until this one came by.

P.s.: the original black lenshood was also included in the price.
Stop it! Please...!!!

Sorry, but I am just so extremely happy with it. A dream come true. It's just the excitement.

Took a day off tomorow from the office to try my new gear out. Hopefully the weather turns out good in our not really nice Dutch summer.
Perhaps you should have waited a few days longer. Or so they promise.

When you're done buying nice things for no money, let me know the address where such bargains can be found. I'm having some spare time coming up soon too.
the 100 I got from "". The SWC came indirectly through "". The shop were I bought it advertised a Fuji 690 model 2 camera with a couple of hunderd shots on it for 450 euro. I was just a few days late however because it was sold to someone in the USA. The shopkeeper told me though that in about 1 or 2 weeks he would get an SWC but he did not yet know it's price. He wrote down my phonenumber and promised to call as soon as he knew more.

The rest you can fill in for yourself I am sure.
Frank, I think your SWC deal was at the very worst a "good" deal. I've watched their prices over the past 2 years only to see them grow quite significantly. What I like most about the pre-CF lens barrel version is the moving DOF markers, which I think were a sad omission from the more modern version.

Like you, I really enjoy my CF 50mm FLE and IMHO is a far higher quality lens than the 40mm. If I were to go wider than the 50mm I would grab an SWC.

My question for those "in-the-know" is: is the Biogon lense element design of later versions a different one to the original?

I read recently that the original was a 10 element design and the later version has become an 8 element design.

I also read that Mamiya's well regarded 43mm (7 series rangefinder lens) is of a 10 element Biogon design, hence its high quality performance.

If the 38mm Biogon design changed, what is optically the better performer?
I doubt that you could se a differnce with your eye on a picture made with a CF biogon or the later from the 903 and 905 even thought changes in glass have been made. The older C on the SWC was less coated if I got it right and will in som situations have a harder time dealing with backlit scenes. Using the older SWC cameras with care will produce shots that are compareable with the newest and I dont think the human eye will notice a diference - mesurable or not
Certainly the very early versions and then leading up to CF version saw developments in coatings that enhanced imaging performance. At some point (maybe the CF introduction) Zeiss' move to lead free glass (green-glss) was a challenge for it to maintain the same level of optical performance as it was for all other lens manufacturers.

But, my question was about the lens design / number of elements - did that change? When? What was the benefit meant to be? Do users see a difference, good or bad?
Simon, are you sure about the 10 element design?In Forum 3 2004 there is a picture of a cut-through of the original Supreme Wide Angle lens. To me it looks as if it contains 8 elements. According to the catalogue, the 905 SWC Biogon contains 8 elements indeed.
The design has indeed not changed since the early 1950s, until the 905 came along (the C to CF transition did only concern the barrel and shutter. Not the lens itself).
It (905) is the one with the new, "environmental friendly" glass.

The 'basic design' stayed the same in the 903 to 905 transition too.

But substituting glasses and the change in optical properties it brought along made a recalculation necessary.
So it was recalculated, and small changes were made: curvatures, thickness, spacing. Fine tuning.
Nothing 'major'.

So it would be accurate to say that the lens in the 905 is a new lens, though perhaps not a new design.

The 905 lens differs in performance too. Unavoidable in a slightly different lens.
But perhaps the difference is not enough to notice. Certainly not enough to worry about?

Weather wasn't too bad today after all, was it?
Did you manage to put some film through the SWC?

Thanks for the tip.
I stopped watching a while ago.
Not for any particular reason. Just let it slip.
But from now on you'll have to get past me to get to a bargain like that again. (And i'll begin watching Marktplaats too.)
Frank, NO, I was not sure and had no view myself. I had heard this and like most I don't "believe everything I hear". I wondered if there is any truth in it.

But, Qnu seems to have set the record straight - no design change, but some glass and treatment changes.

It seems lens makers face a similar situation to car makers - move to environmentally friendly materials caused a potential set back so designers needed to recalculate etc.. (car companies had to adopt lead free fuel potentially setting back engine performance, so they had to recalculate...).

Thanks Qnu, this explains why the earlier versions especially T* coated ones remain so valuable today.
Oops, made a mistake. I thought the serial number began with TUW but it's TEW, which makes it a 1969 model. That explains the black lens.

Congratulations on your new acquisitions. Interesting enough, we seem to be travelling on the same acquisitions wavelength: this Friday I received a 1983 SWC/M and a 100 CFi -- at 'only' 2.7X what you paid for yours. Not complaining, both are in near immaculate condition (despite the 100 being rated as 'bargain' quality); only problem is that I was planning to test them out (and the 1.4X teleconverter I also acquired) this weekend, and it's been raining cats and dogs here off and on since Thursday :-(

I have a related question addressed to everyone: which would be the better viewfinder to use on the SWC's focusing adapter: a HC-4 right angle viewer, or a PM90 prism finder?

I haven't received the focusing adapter yet, but did try out a HC-1 prism on my 503 and found it unsuitable for someone who wears glasses (this one didn't have an eyecup). The build quality of the HC-1 is far more solid than the current finders, but my impression is that it is too heavy to use regularly on a SWC focusing adapter. I am choosing not to go with the RMfX reflex finder or a 'chimney' since whatever finder I decide on, it will be doing double duty as a 90 degree finder on my 503 whenever necessary (I use a PM45 as my standard finder).

-- Wayne H.

The HC-4 is equally unsuited for people wearing glasses (very 'low eyepoint').

It has a variable diopter eyepiece, so glasses need not be on, but still i do not like it at all.
In fact, i have it, and i hate it. In comparison, the HC-1 is a real pleasure to use (in comparison, any other finder is a pleasure to use).

Your eye needs to be centered very carefully (extremely small exit pupil) or the thing will 'black out' (the exit pupil and your eye's pupil do not line up, and you will be seeing the edge, and beyond, of the eyepiece's exit pupil).
It's hard to see the entire image, the square screen only just (if that) fitting inside the eyepiece's field of view. Move your eye a bit to see a corner, and it blacks out again.
And it shows a good amount of barrel distortion too.

Now i can't compare it to a PM90, since i have peeped through one of those only once, and that was a long time ago.
But there's no way it can be worse.

Your PM45, by the way, is a great finder to use on the ground glass back too. It's a good finder, and you will retain the comfortable 45 degree viewing angle.

Thanks for the quick reply. Due to your response, I also searched for and found a definition of high eyepoint (and thus low eyepoint) and more or less confirmed what I figured the term(s) mean.

Your opinion of the HC-4 matches most of the others I have found, and is out of the question for me since I find the 'low eyepoint' characteristics of the HC-1 difficult enough. I prefer shooting with my glasses on -- particularly since my correction is -7.75 diopters -- and my short experience trying out the HC-1 more than matched your summary of its working characteristics. I didn't notice the barrel distortion though; but then, I was too busy peering around trying to see each of the corners. The HC-1 also seems to suffer from fall-off towards the edges; but this too could be due to the viewing distance caused by my glasses.

It wasn't until after I sent off my original query that I asked myself whether my PM45 would do the trick. I will certainly try it out as you suggested -- it certainly has the advantage of being, comparing each in hand, roughly half the weight of the HC-1.

I was really describing the HC-4, not the HC-1. Sorry that i caused this confusion.

The HC-1 actually is a good finder, compared to the HC-4. Any finder is a good finder compared to the HC-4...
So if you think the bad critique i gave was accurately describing the HC-1, imagine how bad the HC-4 is.