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Planar FE 1102 Bokeh

Hallo Everybody,

Is there anyone who could kindly post (or point me to) some ex&les of the FE 110/2 bokeh?

Shots taken at 1-1.5mt *wide open*, with meaningful out of focus areas (no sky or uniform backgrounds...; possibly lights; you know what I'm talking about...).

That would be most appreciated.

And of course if anyone keeps on a cupboard a 2000-2002 version (squared rear baffles), I would be ready to buy it (...if the ex&les mentoned above match what I'm looking for...;-)

Thank you all !

Hi Austin,

Thank you so much. That's helpful indeed and speaks well about the 110 foreground behaviour.
May I ask you if you have other ex&les more background-oriented (here there's just the eyeglasses reflection on the right)?

Thank you again for your help!

Hi Max,

> May I ask you if you have other ex&les more background-oriented > (here there's just the eyeglasses reflection on the right)?

Not already scanned and on the web, no, sorry.


Hi Austin,

Just let me know if/when you can.

The OOF areas seem indeed very smooth in the forground (see you pix) but less so in the background (see the reflection)... as I'm definitely more interested in the backgound, I'm trying to find out once for ever...

Thank you again,

Here's one s&le i believe i posted earlier.
Look at the folds in the sweatshirt, and how they have 'developed' double contours, thanks to the 110 mm lens.

This little guy's portrait appears less affected, though it's not completely free of it either.

But this one has my eyes watering again.


By the way: please don't mind the poor quality of these images. They are just grab shots (all three of them), and digital post-processing was pretty rough, or quite simply even not done at all.

You are right in pointing out a hint of double-line. Though I honestly have to say that in these images do not (to my eye) produce any bad (read 'distracting') bokeh.

I mean that those are nice shots where the observer's eye is captured by the subject's eyes without feeling the hint-of-double-line in the background. On the other hand, the slight-hint-of-double-line in the eyeglasses reflection posted by Austin cought my attention immediately...

Anything similar in your archives...?


That's a most delicious portfolio ! Really really nice !

As for the issue, I can indeed see some double lines but they're so smoothly rendered that I don't find them objectionable (my own taste, of course). That's not a lens, it's a smooth operator... ;-) Again, bokeh does not seem textbook perfect, but surely the OOF rendition is to my eyes delicious. A portfolio that definitely puts you in love with the lens...

Any thoughts from others?

Anybody with a really harsh backgound (something that would make the lens fail...)?!?

Btw, Manu, which version of the 110 is this one? F, FE, post-2000-FE ?

Thanks again.

Gnu - thanks for the comment.

Max - this is the pre-2000 FE version.

I started this dog project precisely to get a better handle of the lens. I love it, but it is tricky to focus wide open. It was fun to do, and I ended up breaking my goal of 110 dogs. This will have to stop some day though!

After having posted a few ex&les of how this lens can make my eyes water (per request - the posting, that is. Not the watering), i would also like to say that bokeh isn't the begin all - end all of a lens's performance.

The 110 mm was by many talked about as if a very sharp lens.
And unless you stop it down a bit, it isn't. Stopping down the lens is, of course, not why you want to have a fast lens (if you need a sharp lens, try the f/2.8 150 mm Sonnar. Close in focal length, and very, very good!). So you don't. And then it's soft. Mediocre.

So what's up with this lens?
I bought one originally just to find out exactly that. To see why it received so much praise. Out of curiosity.
And though i do indeed hate the bokeh sometimes, and though it is nothing special as far as sharpness/resolution is concerned, i still have it, and even use it quite a bit. (Wide open, of course.)

The 110 mm (or rather what it produces, wide open) has a peculiar character, not found in the rest of the Zeiss/Hasselblad line. And whether it 'technically' is good or bad, it indeed is special.
Fully agree !

Indeed bokeh is far from being the begin/end of a lens performance. To me is just an acoustic matter. Hunting for bokeh it's like seeking for a place with a neutral/bad/pleasing acoustic for the music you have to play in it. The place alone cannot make music. But, if does not harmonize with whay you're playing, can definitely spoil it... if you pass me the metaphor...

Never used the 150 Sonnar, but have in front of me the 120 Makro-Planar and 180 Sonnar: they both make you understand after the first shot why Hasselblad has the Softars in the catalogue...;-)


I agree that the 110/2 is a special lens. Nothing quite like it anywhere.

I also love the 150/2.8, and find it more, shall we say, "consistent" in it's OOF areas compared to the 110/2 that can produce surprising effects both good or bad depending on what's in the background and how the light is hitting that background.

My new found love is the 250/4FE. Much different lens draw, but also a remakable lens for isolating the subject from the background.

All of these lenses will be finding vastly extended use in my work now. I have adapted them to a (horrors!) Mamiya 645 AFDII body :) I've done so to provide access to a 33 meg Leaf Aptus 75 digital back. Plus the Mamaya boosts the max shutter speed to 1/4000th with a sync speed of 1/125th. The camera also provides in viewfinder focus confirmation. Prior to that, I also used them on a Contax 645 with a Kodak 16 meg digital back. It did most everything the Mamiya does, except the focus confirmation is better on the Mamiya. Of course I still use a 203FE for film work ... which will also be seeing more duty since securing a high end scanner.

The moral of the above story is: NEVER sell any Hasselbld/Zeiss glass ... because you never know : -)
> It is good to hear your praise of the 2,8/150 mm FE lens. Especially as I am awaiting the first rolls of film from my recently aquired ex&le. These lenses are quite rare and so are the potential buyers so that prices vary wildly. Got my excellent condition late version for 350 Euros...
I used the 150 mm F2.8 a few years ago and I was not impressed with the image quality particularly the micro-contrast. I do wish to see a better outcome from other folks and hope that my copy was a bad one. I would like to see some images from this lens as well.