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.

Your favourite lens


Active Member
While going though some images today I was reminded of which Hasselblad lens is my favourite.

So, I wondered which Hasselblad lens is others' stand-out favourite? Not the one you'd choose if you could only have one; but, simply your very favourite Hasselblad lens - whichever Hasselblad system is no matter.

For me it is definitiely my Makro-Planar CF 120mm lens. Everytime I use it that AOV delights me; every image I see made by it highlights a much enjoyed attribute.

He is the image that got me thinking (please excuse the artefacts but this copy is heavilly compressed):

It is a simple answer Simon ... all of them. Every single V lens is my favorite when it is on the camera.

It is like asking me which of my children is my favorite.

However, I CAN say that no other lens system is favored like these are ... not even my Leica M or R glass.

Ever since I began photography I have had some of these lenses, and they are the only lenses I've always had in my gear closet ... it's been an unbroken relationship for 30+ years.

The only stepchild of the lot is the Japanese FE zoom I recently got. I can take or leave that lens. I also never used the 40/4 a lot, but now with the CFV back, it has come into it's own.

Let's post some photos and liven up this forum. It's been a bit slow huh?

I'm off to make a few Holiday shots with the CFV and my favorite lens ... starting with the 38 Superwide : -)
Good point Marc about how they all fill you with joy at the time. Yes, it has beeen quiet and some images would be in order - images speak louder than words!
Our Christmas tree, shot with the SWC and CFV back, then "played with" in Photoshop. Haven't a clue what this will look like compressed down to miniscule web size, but here ya go:

Merry Christmas to all ...

We have to talk Dirk into allowing larger sized posts for the Medium Format forum. 130K limit doesn't cut it. It IS the MF forum, not one of those tiny neg forums : -)

Here's another: 503CW, 150/4CFi, CFV @ ISO 400 available light 1 sec. exposure. This one had to be really crushed down to make the 130K limit : -(

One more:

A shot I'm working on to make a Christmas present for my Executive Assistant (i.e. My work Mom) ... who is a huge fan of the 1950's when she was a pre-teenager.

203FE, 50/2.8FE, Fuji 400, cropped and retouched to eliminate telephone poles and wires (still working on that part). Original scan was over 600 meg. Will make a 12X17 print when done and frame it for her : -)

Nice shots guys.

The detail from the CFV back is lovely Marc - even over the web. Happy Christmas.

They're clear.

Thanks for sharing those Marc.

If I may ask, is there a window behind the tree.

Happy Holidays:

Yes, there was a window behind the tree. But I eliminated it in Photoshop and used a filter to halo the tree's edges. Sort of a Christmas card to all my friends on the forum : -)

BTW, I printed the "Don's Drive-in" poster and it's a firm reminder that film and a good scanner is still a super way to combine analog and digital. (this WASN"T scanned on the Imacon 949 but instead my old a Minolta MF scanner which I've since sold).

Simon, you have been such a good boy this year that Santa will scan a couple of your best negs/transpariencies on his Imacon 949 : Ho,ho,ho !

Just drop me an e-mail if interested, and I'll give you my mailing address. Hurry, I have between Christmas and New Years' off and can do it then.
For the record, Santa was busy with his Imacon 949. The s&le taste I have been treated to (small files emailed to me) have FILLED ME WITH EXCITEMENT. The depth, shadow and highlight details and even colour details truly impressed me. My trannies have "come to life". Of course Santa's helper has obviously spent a great deal of time and skill getting the best out of his 949.

Maybe every MF film shooter should have a 949!

While I have read much about these Imacon scanners, I think I will soon see the amazing reality of their huge files rich in detail and depth. Within the day they arrive they will be taken into my favourite lab to have large framed prints made.

So, I am very very grateful to Marc for his generosity and technical skills.

I'm not really Santa.

They say" The Devil is in the details", and I am a Devil with an Imacon 949. Like a drug pusher, I offer the first taste for free ... then you are hooked! Your soul is now mine Simon ... Whaaaahahaha.

Soon you will be selling your living room furniture, and stealing old ladies pension checks for just one more medium format scan : -)

Seriously, Simon's Hasselblad transparencies were beautiful, and quite challenging. I am not an expert with this scanner yet, but practice makes perfect, and this was a chance to practice. I have much to learn yet before mastering this beast, and the ultimate challenge is working with transparencies ... IMO, nothing will ever equal viewing a well shot transparency on a good light box. The best you can do is interpret what you see ... which is where the mastering comes in. It really isn't all that different from mastering the wet darkroom. You learn as you go, and get better with time spent ... and I am far from being a master scanner ... yet : -)

Technical details for those interested: full frame MF tyrannies scanned @ 3200 dpi, 4.9 D-Max on the 949 yielded 24"X24" tiff files @ 360 dpi ( each about 430 meg in size ).

The final output of 360 dpi was chosen because it is the optimal resolution for the Epson Archival printers that many master exhibition printers use. This would be for prints up to about 30"X30". However, master printers also use 180 dpi on the Epson's for larger exhibition prints based on normal viewing distance for such large prints. Which in theory means one could make a 5 foot square print from these scans with very little interpolation.

Simon's films, scans and 8X10 proofs from my Epson 2400 go in the mail today. IMO, the job is not yet done. Simon will have to now evaluate the scans and adjust them in PS to his eye and creative interpretation. He was there when the images were shot, not me, and I went by what I saw on the Imacon's light box staging platform, which may differ from Simon's viewing source.

While I am reluctant to post tiny Jpgs @ less than 130K from such huge scans, I'd like forum members to see the challenge of these transparencies. I also scanned a few shots beyond Simon's requested two, and this is one of those ... I show it here because it is of Australia's Blue Mountains in particulary interesting lighting. As many of us know, vivid blue/purples are often the most challenging colors in nature to capture faithfully.

Remember, this is a highly crushed jpg, the actual full resolution scan is quite striking.

Well, the highly crushed jpg is also pretty striking. I have been to the Blue Mountains and our daughter lives in Sydney. This picture brings the beauty of it back to me. Super picture and super scan. It is so clear and bright and colourful. The full version must be amazing.

I have had one or two professional scans done recently and I must say that they are tons better than my amateur ones in clarity even though they are quite low resolution.

I think that I may go down the route of having scans made from the best pictures.

Thanks for the picture Simon and thanks for showing it to us Marc and for brightening up a so far dismal January.

Happy New Year everyone.
So true Gilbert. What Marc did for me is very special; not just because he offered a wonderful gift of top quality scans, but because the result is HUGE learning for me. He took the time to "understand" the images; he applied masterful technical skills and he added his expertise and experience in digital MF imaging - a rather uncommon mix made more valuable because he is an outstanding professional photographer.

That is not to piss in his pocket - as we say in Oz! Once I saw the mini files and read his long notes, it became obvious that his kind gesture was far more than that.

SO, HAVING SET THE SCENE LET ME EXPLAIN THE IMAGES (I have posted the other 2 small files - the second is a cropped image because the lower shadows are near black all the way to the bottom of the frame. It was shot knowing it would be a cropped image).

The Blue Mountains like Marc said have a strong blue haze on clear air days - hence their name. It is the eucalypt oil from the leaves of the billions of trees in the area. To my eyes is is a key element of the beauty of these striking formations.

1. The image above.
The light was late afternoon; not the ideal very late but late enough to have some gold hue and early enough to poke over the top of the range as you can see by the light tips on some of the trees. I had seconds to get the image.

The rock at the bottom of the image looked to my eyes like the open hand of God as if to say: look at what I created! It was to me an ideal opportunity for the 50mm FLE (CF Version). I shot it with no filter knowing the haze and its colour was intrinsic to the image and my message. I used Provia 100 preferring to Velvia for its more natural colour and lack of casts that can appear in Velvia images.

The risk of flare was high because of the oblique location of our very harsh light. A standard hood was used (now I have a pro shade which I would use for serious shooting from now on). It was shot at about f8 or maybe 11 on my 501CM with a WLF (I now have a chimney finder which I would use from now on) with mirror pre-release on a good Manfrotto with a geared 410 head.

Exposure - it was a challenge due to the obvious range. BUT UNLIKE MANY, I do not like these even exposure landscapes because there is little natural in them. I like the scene to appear as I saw it - the OZ landscape of all types has its unique features and light is one element of that. I mentally guessed the exposure and later found the final hand metered exposure was the same as I guessed! (I do get a kick out of that!). I took an incident reading of the rock below me and a number of spot readings of the various key elements. The range and average ultimately told me that the exposure should be for the distant rock faces - all the other key elements hinged off that - I think it worked.

A key visual element of the scene is to me the range of exposures - dark shadowed areas; bright sunlit areas etc. so to have used something like a ND grad filter would be to miss the point.

The standard scan my lab did for me (I get every film scanned at time of processing for an agreed low cost but if I was to do nice prints, I would normally have a drum scan done - until Marc came along!!!) was fine enough. BUT Marc's scan shows just what is possible. Like Marc says NOTHING beats looking at a 6x6 trannie on a light box, but his scan comes very close.

Finally I cannot see what changes I would make in PS - Marc just has all the elements like I saw them. Clearly quality scanning of MF film is no automatic process but requires great care and knowledge as well as TIME, which I am grateful for. This will be printed nice a large and framed to a very high standard.
At the risk of boring you here are the other images as scanned by Marc on the Imacon. These are the "crushed" files as Marc puts it.

1. The Trees - to my eyes this scene was an iconic 19th Century Oz painter's scene. When I stood on this Hunter Valley farmers huge hill I felt like I was in heaven. I marked the spot and went off to get my gear and take the shot when the sun improved. Again, I wanted to capture the light variations; capture the natural Oz country colour especially the bark of the gum trees.

The film was Provia; the lens was 80mm CFE, shot at about f8 or maybe 11. I exposed for the bark of the trees after taking other spot readings.

I have always wanted to have a big print of this and never got around to getting a drum scan done. That has now changed!

What struck me even form Marc's small "crushed file" was how the Imacon seems to have captured the 3D effect of a 6x6 Hasselblad trannie. The original Frontier scan was quite good; but it has nothing like the depth of detail.

2. The Blue mountains - my comments on this are the same as for the other Blue Mountains shot - the process was the same.

BUT, what blew me away with Marc's scan that was blindingly obvious even in the "crushed file" is the seemingly wider range of colour. You will see elements of distinctive yellow on the rock face which is subdued in the Frontier scan (and adjusting saturation does not bring up what is not there). The depth of the overall image is so much better - like trannies, it seems alive.

3. The lone man on the rock face - This was a fun image because I was taken with how the rock face dwarfed this one walker. I mentioned earlier that the bottom of the image is cropped out (the lowering sun was throwing an increasing shadow). While it is hard to make out any detail in the shadow from the trannie, the Imacon scan Marc did has captured what detail there is - AMAZING. The Frontier scan only captured black. Even the "crushed" file shows a depth of detail in all areas of the rock - superb. This was also shot with Provia and using the CF 250mm lens at f8.

Well there we have it - a great learning experience for me; a new BURNING desire to beg, borrow and steal for an Imacon MF scanner; and great excitement to see the full files and have top quality prints made from them. I got lucky!

Oops, I will have to resize the images and post separately.