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.

Zeiss wide Angle Lenses


New Member
I am consideribg the purchase of either a Zeiss 50mm or 60mm lens for my 501CM, and using it for black and white landscape photography. Does anyone have any particularly good or bad things to say about these two lenses? has anyon bought one and wished they'd bought the other? Many thanks...
I have the 60mm lens and very pleased with it because it has the same view angle as the 35 mm lens of my Leica and Konica Hexar.
For a wider angle I use the SWC with the distortion free Biogon.
The 60mm lens is outstanding, sharp and compact. B&W prints look great!
Hi Willbur
It realy is partly a matter of what other lenses you are planning. If you already have the 80mm, then a 50mm might be more useful.

I have the 50CF which I use for landscapes and have absolutely no complaints. Its not too bulky, has excellent colour rendition, high contrast and good sharpness. The CF actually has the same filter diameter as my 80mm and 120CFE macro and I use the same Lee filter set up on all three lenses.
Personally I dont think the 50mm is quite wide enough for all my landscape requirements and if you get the 60mm, I suspect you will be after something wider.


Richard Marks
>I own a 500 CM and use 50, 80 and 150. I find the 50 mm is definitely the best lens for my landscape photo. It gives you the deepest depth of field which you want most of the time for that kind of photo. In fact, for outdoor people (not portrait) picture, it does an execellent job too. It will give you a good people grouping with background. In short, I definitely look into the focal length lens. I would image 60 mm would be about the same.
Since we´re talking about wide angle lenses here I just wanted to ask about the Distagon C 40 mm. I´m planning on buying one and I might be able to get one for about €500. And I would also like to know about the distortion of the lens.
What do you have to say about it?

I have a 500 C/M with Planar 80 mm.


Mattias Almén
Hi Matthias,

search the forum for comments and look in the manual section on this site for MTF datas. There have been different version of the 40mm produced. Each generation was a siginificant step forward for better image quality. This is also reflected in the prices second hand. So be cautious what to buy.

The newest design (3rd generation) is from 2003 and might be still too expensive second hand. But the second generation with FLE (floating elements)is very good and significant better than the first generation without FLE.
Hi, if you consider the 4.0/40mm C, it MUST have T* coating otherwise it's a collectors item. I agree with Dirk otherwise.
I have the 4/50mm Distagon for Landscape due to budget restriction.
Last but not least, Zeiss uses the 60mm for their "reference" film benchmarks in CLN (together with the superachromats). General purpose allround lens!

to make up your mind see also:
Hope that helps, Rainer
I recently bought a black 50mm T* C lens for landscape work. It was in total mint condition, and it is a pleasure to use.

I also considered a 40mm but did not find one in good condition and for a reasonable price. 40mm is a heavy beast too.

In my view a 60mm is too close to the 80mm which I also have.

Save a little money & buy a nice old Super Wide. You'll never look back. While the world rushes to buy the current model you can out-smart them by getting "traditional" Victor Hasselblad quality throughout the entire camera with an earlier model. Be aware that Zeiss has never been able to improve the original Biogon optics (with the exception of multicoating) since it's introduction in 1954 !! As a matter of fact the current model has had to take a small step "back" in performance because of stricter production / safety procedures !! Have you noticed that "older" Super Wides are also holding their value better than the 40mm ? There's a lesson there !
Hi Rh,

I only recently started using Hassis, older kit bought used. I really love it, no discussion here. When I want more plastic I know where to go ;)

I did look at a SWC, the reason for not going down that route is that I rather have a lens for the 500cm than another complete camera.

The Biogon in principle should be the better of the two, the Distagon given its optical design has more distortion etc than the Biogon. How much that counts for landscape work I do not know.

For now I am a really happy c&er with the Distagon 50.

I'm not planning on selling any of my kit any time soon (if ever ;-) so.. Given that I still have and use my Pentax MX 35mm kit from ages ago is a sign the Hassi is not going to leave.

'good light'..