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.

What should be my next lens


Just bought a 503 CWD with the 80mm lens.
In the near future I need to get another lens. I wish to use it for landscapes and interiors/group portaits. So I'm either going for the 50mm, 60 or 40. Only question is which one I should get. I am most interested in the 40mm, however this is based on my experience with Canon lenses - the angle of view is probably a lot different when using MF. I want to get an equivalent to my 35mm Canon. I suppose the 50mm is the best all round and perhaps a good starting point?

What are your experiences with these lenses?

Marcus, From what you are saying the closest focal length to your Canon 35mm would be a 60mm Distagon of some flavor. It's a semi wide.

Best all around is as you said, and would likely be the 50mm. Not sure what you are looking for specifically? It depends on your style of shooting. Are you shooting interiors, landscapes, or otherwise? 40mm is also a fine lens, but can be a bit too wide for some applications.
Mostly landscapes and some architectural. But I enjoy a wide angle and have always worked with a lot of fisheye shots. I think the 50mm or 40mm would probably be best for me.

I definitely need to get the 30mm fisheye once I have enough money.
If you haven't looked at prices yet, be prepared for sticker shock on used 40mm's. A used 50mm is about 1/3rd the cost. I would like to have a 40mm but can't justify the cost. I use my 50mm CFE the most, followed by the 180mm.

The DISTAGON CF 3,5/60 is a very versatile lens , and since I use the CFV back , that is my favorite lens . I bought it used , but it was still quite expensive , but therefore in mint condition . Its weight is decent and its angle of view makes it a very good allround lens for all kinds of photography .


The 40mm is about 24mm in 35 format. I like 21 in 35 format so it follows that I really like the 40mm. Since I don't like 28mm in 35 I don't own a 50mm. I do like 35mm so a 60mm would suit me just fine.

Good Luck

These tables are a bit 'optimistic', giving wider 35 mm equivalents than they should.
Probably because they compare diagonal angles of view.

Square 6x6 is higher and has a larger diagonal tha 35 mm format, given the same horizontal angle of view.
A 38 mm or 40 mm lens certainly isn't nearly as wide as a 22 mm lens on 35 mm format. More like 25 mm. The 50 mm 6x6 lens is rather like a 30 mm lens on 35 mm format, and a 60 mm like a shortish 40 mm lens.
Unless, of course, you tend to compose diagonally.
I have always worked on a multiplier of 0.6 to convert 6x6 to 35mm. That accords with QG's numbers, so it must be about right!

Unless you turn the camera on its side to shoot a vertical, of course. That changes everything...
It is certainly true that the 50mm FLE is much less than the 40mm. Check out ebay on the current prices for both. It seems that the 40mm keeps coming down. (Wow - I finally made it to the "very active member" designation.)

Here is an unusual 40mm IF lens for sale on ebay and if you "buy now" the seller will toss in a Hasselblad UV filter-the Hasselblad polarizer is $649.95 if you wanted to know, far more expensive than the UV. Item number is 260151516347

If you have not used ebay before be careful.



the 50mm in particular is more useful for architectural work than you might think, if you are coming from 35mm cameras. This is because with the square format, you can effectively have the same facility as a shift lens if you compose a rectangular picture in the top part of the viewfinder. I do this a great deal, ignoring the foreground completely and simply cropping it out when I print. This makes it a great deal easier to avoid the dreaded converging verticals. So the 50mm is my favourite for architecture, but my 'C' version is a heavy brute. For landscapes with a wide perspective I prefer the 60mm.

Best wishes


Maybe decide by a process of elimination - they are all good, just different.

If you like images as wide as 40mm, I would just buy an SWC. Personally I do not like the 40mm. I personally (this is all very subjective territory) MUCH prefer the 50mm to the 40mm. And I totally agree with Jurgen about the 60mm - one wonderful lens (probably one of Hasselblad / Zeiss "very special lenses").

Then you have the crop factor to consider anyway - and a big crop factor at that. So my preferences are somewhat irrelevant as I shoot 6x6 film.

So, you are best to borrow / hire each and see how they suit you, your eyes, the way you work and see.

Also keep in mind that if you buy from KEH you get 30 days to exchange it - maybe you can use that to allow you to try each - give them a call.

Finally, whichever you choose none will be bad.
I think I will go for the 50 mm. There are a couple on KEH for 1500, is this a good price?
Condition is "like new -"
You will have to go with the experts opinions, but KEH is very conservative in categorizing their equipment. A condition
Ex or Ex- 50 mm CF FLE is usually less than $1,000 USD. I have tried to buy EX- grade as the best value. I have purchased four lenses from KEH with EX- grade and they basically looked close to new to my eye. Better prices can be had on E-bay, but I am a chicken and play it safe with KEH.