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What to buy a 30mm or 40mm to use on a 503cw with a v96 digital back


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Hi, i am looking to buy a good wide angle lens that will still be "wide angle" after attaching a v96 or a phase one.

Can anyone please tell me what would be the best solution, taking into consideration, the digital sensor crop in relationship to e.g. the distortion using a 30 or 40mm lens?
On a Hasselblad, the 30 mm lens has a lot of "distortion", since it is a fish-eye lens.

The 40 mm lenses should be good. And frankly, they're the only option to have a bit of 'wide angle'.
Though of course the back will also fit behind the SWC(...) and its 38 mm Biogon.
But 38 mm or 40 mm... Not a lot between them.
hi and thanks for your reply.
ok iam aware of the options but was hoping that if using the 30mm lens and a digital back then most of the disortion (the corners) would be cropped off and the resulting image would appear kind of like a 40mm with a filmback. am i totaly wrong in this?
Not taotally, but yes.
With the exception of straight lines going through the center of the image, or circles concentric with the image, all lines curve in a fish-eye image not just near the edges/corners of the frame, but all the way through.
But the curvature is indeed less near the image center.

There is software available that can straighten fish-eye formed lines, creating rectilinear images from fish-eye originals. And it works quite well, once you have found the right settings. But it does involve res&ling, mostly up-s&ling, i.e. image info is invented to make this possible. So not the same quality as in a 'true' rectilinear image.

Now, it is true that the 40 mm Distagons are not completely free from distortion, so their lines curve a bit too. But much less.

i stil dont know what to go for. orjust wait utnil they make full sensor digital backs or to invest in a Canon Mark2.

but then that sucks. so i guess there is no answer.
or is there?
To be frank, to have about 16 MP digital capture, i think there are other options than a V96, well worth looking at.
If you are shooting landscapes, then stitching software and shooting mosaics (panoramas) may be an option. With 12 film exposures on transparencies using a 50mm lens, I was able to get the scanned images mosaiced into a 360 deg. panorama. The workflow with a digital back would probably be easier than what I had to do.

The likelihood of a full-frame digital back for the V-series is not very good. At least not an affordable one. And the CEO of Hasselblad/Imacon doesn't see the need for one, or maybe, more accurately, how to profit from one. They want to sell their new system to recoup the money invested in it.

What other suggestions would you have Q.G. ? Just curious.

I have the 16 meg V96, which I use on a SWC, and a 503CW using everything ... including W/A 30mm, 40mm and 50mm.

With the crop factor, the 30mm still shows visible "fisheye" distortion. Conversely, the sight edge distortion of the 40mm is almost eliminated due to the crop factor.

The resolution of these 16 meg, 16 bit backs allow plenty of enlargement room, so landscapes are quite easy to produce.

The 35mm digital cameras aren't in the same league as these MF backs. I also use a Canon 1DsMKII and 5D, both of which are full frame... so I do know what I'm talking about.
hey you guys, thanks for all your good advice, as always... it always makes me more confused of what I want and need but MR. williams , i really liked your opinion and wonder what you would choose if you could, thinking landscape /architecture digital pro considering value for money,

cheers tt
Marc, I'm not all that surprised the 30mm fisheye still shows the curvature/distortion when cropped by the digital back because the images I have seen from this lens have indicated to my eyes that the curvature appears to begin near the axis.

It must be a fun lens to use conventionally or with a digital back and cropped to some degree.

Re digital backs and full frame: I doubt we will ever see a full frame back from Hasselblad - in a recent interview I read that the CEO said they are focusing on higher res (45MP) backs now but not on full frame and that there is no compelling reason for full frame.

I suppose from an image quality perspective that might be so; but from a lens kit point of view, I would have thought it would be compelling.

But then sadly we probably will see no new V series products again - except maybe some "digital" lenses being very wide angle ones with the correspondingly smaller image circle. I wonder if Hasselblad plans on such optics for V series shooters moving to digital backs?

But, the company has a reputation for never "previewing" their planned products.
45 meg is a challenging sized file. Phase One has announced such a back, but I hear there is some issue with wide angle lenses on it. Imacon won't come out with a similar back unless that issue is resolved. Couldn't imagine working 300 wedding shots like that. I'm worried about the 22 meg 645 back I just ordered, and how much it'll add to the work flow time. Time for more RAM I guess.

If you think about it, a near 645 sensor is using the V lens image circle, just cropping off the top and bottom like a 645 back on a 500 series camera. So, I don't think they'll develop special digital lenses because all the backs will eventually be 645 sensors featuring different meg counts.

I'm still into film in big way, so the lens factor isn't a pressing issue. Just completed my 203FE set-up with the inclusion of a 250/4. Merry Christmas to me ; -)
Interesting point about the cropping factor Marc. I'd not thought of it like that.

With regard to the file size that interview included a comment about "workable" file sizes - I recall the CEO made a comment like 45MB would be about the "workable" limit and may have added a comment about the focus being more on the per pixel quality of imaging, rather than the quantity of pixels, which makes sense.

Funnily enough when I read magazine reviews of various digital 35mm cameras, most of the s&le images look to my eyes as having very poor definition.... but that could be the printing quality I suppose.

Love the 250mm focal length on 6x6! My "merry christmas" was to be a nice CF 60mm to complete my 503/501 kit, but alas have not found one yet!

The other options are indeed the 35 mm format based digital machines.
You (and even i
) may say that they are no match for 16 MP MF digital capture, but in this age where not 'how good', but 'good enough' rules, they are truly worth considering.

And many people do more than just consider: these machines are the very things that are 'killing' MF (film and digital).

By the way,
You'll love the f/4 250 mm. Well bought!

The focus on per-pixel quality rather than pixel count is for a very large part a matter of covering up embarrassement, caused by the continued inability to produce chips that make use of the larger sensor areas that would be available in MF and LF photography to indeed increase the pixel count.
So one MF-advantage cannot be used, and attention is shifted away from it completely.

And file sizes?
Except maybe for storage, and transfer to storage, file sizes are not really a problem. Working with 250 MB image files is a little bit slower than working with 45 MB files, but with plenty of hard disk, memory and the processors we have today, but quite manageable.
But in this 'good enough' age, such large files are hardly ever required for anything. 45 MB is already quite large.
So perhaps the smell of another red herring?
Q.G. other than fashion shooters, most pro shooters know the 35mm full frame cameras can't cut it for reproduction quality product work.

I had high hopes to use my 1DsMKII for commercial work and not have to spring for a new very expensive MF back. Not going to happen. First jewelry catalog I went to shoot showed that the 35mm digital camera couldn't handle the spectral highlights. Even my old 12 bit Kodak ProBack could. So there went that idea out the window. The Canon is relegated to portraits and wedding work ... or any action stuff. At least it's fast.

The issue with file size comes when opening a 22 meg file which is 132 meg tiff @ 16 bit (I think). Commercial work usually requires multiple layering for retouching thus producing huge work files. Most pros I've discussed this with said 22 meg is more than enough for single shot work since a one step RAW interpolation hardly degrades quality and substantially increases file size for larger applications . The only use for really detailed work is almost always static work ... which the multishot Imacons are far more suited to than a pixel packed sensor. One of the reasons I selected Imacon over Phase One was the ability to upgrade a single shot back to a multishot version should I ever get into that area of shooting.

Yes, I am very excited about finding the 250/4. I've been watching for one for over 6 months. Guess anyone who has one is reluctant to part with it. I can see why. Even the Polaroids I've pulled shows the promise of this lens used at f/4. Beautiful. Easy to focus also. f/4 does make a difference.
U guys are brilliant, iam loving it.

ok, just to enquire, since you obviously are alot sharper than me in this department.

The Mamiya ZD, its not on the market yet, but is it worth holding out for, and again, do i have to add 1.5 to all the lens width for this camera as well?
I heard the ZD was 'released' yesterday. US$11,000. It uses Dalsa's 22mp chip, 36x48, so there will be a 1.1 crop factor. The same for other 22mp chips. I think Mamiya offers(will offer?) a 35mm lens for the ZD. Contax also has a Zeiss 35 and again when combined with a 22mp back will have only a 1.1 crop.

Hope this works, I think this is my first post here, though have been lurking about for awhile.
So if having to choose between a contax645 and a Mamiya ZD then the contax is alot more affordable (especially second hand), can be used with both digital and film backs and is generaly a better camera/buy, right?

That's not what i'm seeing around here.
Not just "most fashion shooters" but all 'shooters' 'shooting' for magazines and books use 35 mm format based digital, without encountering problems.
Mind you, that's not to say that there are no problems. Just that what they can deliver meets acceptance standards almost all the time.
Now, what, or whom is to blame for that is another matter.

It appears, by the way, that your 45 'meg' are MP, not MB. I took it to mean MB. Not that it matters much.
I do know how fast file sizes grow when tinkering with images.
One 'work around' is to flatten layers once youre happy with what they do, and save the intermediate result as an intermediate-result file. That keeps the file size from growing, though your hard disk will fill up a bit faster.

Another thing is to first do the adjustments that make use of the 16 bit original, and then reduce the bit depth to the usual 8 bit p/c.

Unless you're in a big hurry, i think it works.
Certainly when you reduce not just the pixel count, but also the image size to what the end use needs as soon as possible.

Anyway, this is not offering a solution to Tobias' problem.


I don't know about that choice: the Contax is a 'dead' product (no longer made, so 'system support' only available in the form of repair service), the Mamiya has been promised to appear before. The first too late to consider, the latter still very much wait-and-see.
Q.G., you're probably right when you take into account the mag shooters you referenced, and add all the wedding shooters that have opted out of MF because the 35 DSLRs have gotten to the point of usability even for formals (1Ds series and the D5, plus Fuji S3 and Nikon DX2). Plus, due to the photojournalistic trend in wedding photography, new shooters entering the wedding business aren't even considering MF (film or digital) ... and tend to start out with D Rebels and D70s plus kit lenses.

In commercial work, the files have to be saved and stored in layered form. So that rules out flattening files, and adds up to massive files approaching a gig a times. I save all my wedding files in 16 bit form because I never know what print size might be ordered ... plus I predict that output resources will be 12 or 16 bit in the not too distant future.

Tobias, I've recently opted out of the Contax system altogether. It is a wonderful camera and the lenses are quite excellent. But it is a dead-end system and none of the promised things like leaf-shutter lenses will ever come to market. Going digital with it is an expensive proposition unless a Kodak ProBack 645C digital back can be located ... which is also a dead product and discontinued by Kodak who no longer markets MF Digital backs.

The Mamiya ZD has been vapor-ware to date. If it indeed was recently launched that is great for Mamiya users with an existing compliment of lenses. However, it is my understanding that the digital output from this camera isn't stellar being the first attempt at this sort of thing from them. Perhaps the delay in launching it was to address those issues(?).

My advice to anyone seeking MF digital solutions is to go Hasselblad and Imacon. Phase One is also an option, but quite an expensive one. Currently, Hasselblad offers a V96 back with Image Bank ... plus a Free 503CW body for under $10,000. new.
Lenses are very easy to find for the 500 series Hasselblads at relatively reasonable prices these days, and all together represent a real value for the results you get.