Hassy 80mm CFE: disappointment

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by kristopher_lawrence, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. kristopher_lawrence

    kristopher_lawrence Member

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    Hi,

    I bought a bran new Hassy outfit in november to replace my old and tired Rolleiflex Tessar. Now, I am very happy and disapointed at the same time, the current generation planar is outstanding in sharpness, flare control and contrast, really amazing but the distorsion is just bad.

    I usually never go to check the MTF graphs and all but seeing this curved straight lines on my slides got me to wonder and it seems that the 80mm Planar has 2% distorsion where my old tessar seems to have close to none of it. How can Zeiss produce a lens which is, in this particular aspect, inferior to a 60 years old single coated Tessar? Maybe I am picky, but I am really sensitive to distorsion and more than 0.75-1% is a lot for me.

    I usually use a lot of straight lines in my compositions, environmental portraits and all and it seems that I will have either to get a really expensive 100mm planar (which acording to the datasheet has no distorsion) or to get another rolleiflex for this particular purpose and relegate my new hassy to studio and non geometricaly critical use.

    I rule out all the 2.8 Rolleiflex versions because they would probably have the same problem (looking at the current version 2.8 FX datasheet, the lens has the same distorsion as the hassy version).

    Do anyone know if the 3.5 Planar/Xenotar is bettter corrected or if I will have to go for another Tessar (maybe a recent Rolleiflex T)

    Thanks,

    Kris
     
  2. david b

    david b Member

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    How about posting an example of why this is such a bad lens?

    How big do you print?
     
  3. kristopher_lawrence

    kristopher_lawrence Member

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    Hi David,

    It is not that it is totally bad, but only bad in this respect.

    As usuall it is more obvious in the side of the pictures, on the rail and uper tablet on this one. This might not be the best example for now, but not many are scanned yet.

    I print up to 20x20

    Again maybee I am picky but my eye react a lot to this, I always notice distorsion when I see pictures, will other notice it on my own pics? Don'T know but I certainly do.

    Kris
     

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  4. david b

    david b Member

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    Sorry Kris, I just don't see it and think you are worrying about nothing.

    No way would Hasselblad and Zeiss release a crappy lens.
     
  5. kristopher_lawrence

    kristopher_lawrence Member

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    Actually, when I look on flickr for exemple, I see the same thing: slight barrel distorsion. I repeat, it is not a crappy lens at all it simply has more distorsion then I would like it to. I reiterate my original question:

    Is the 3.5 planar found on Rolleiflexes generally showing less distorsion than the 2.8 CFE even if the latter shows just a little of it?

    Thanks again,

    Kris
     
  6. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I see very little distortion here, as well. When the axis of the lens is not closely perpendicular to the "lines" in the composition, there will be *some* so-called wide-angle "falling away" of the extremities of the image. This is the nature of the beast - and,truthfully if my attention had not been drawn to critical examination of parallel edges here, I would never have noticed anything like that.

    From what I read here, I would question the "fairness" of your evaluation. Try a few more exposures with both lenses, keeping both in the same position - perpendicular to vertical lines and deviating from perpendicularity equally, and compare the results.

    I can't guarantee a damned thing. If I've learned anything over the many moons, it is that anything is possible. I would, however, be very surprised to find excessive distortion or other errors in Hasselblad lenses.
     
  7. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    I too don't see where you detected that distortion.
    Perspective, yes. But distortion? Not in that picture.


    But before you decide to do anything, put your camera perpendicular (use a mirror to align the thing) to a flat surface bearing absolutely straight lines, and take pictures. Examine and measure those.

    Do the same with your Tessar, if you still have it.
    And compare.

    (Tessars, by the way, are not better lenses than these Planars. Their distortion is opposite, but about the same degree.)
     
  8. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    It looks like the camera is slightly tilted to the left. If you look at the vertical at the right edge, it's not equal at the top & bottom of the frame. When you look at the left edge it may give the appearance of distortion because the vertical nearest the L edge seems to tilt inward.
    If you're going to test a lens for distortion I would suggest with less confusing elements.
     
  9. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I'm not seeing it either. I used to use that lens for doing critical copy work of art. If you're deeply concerned about absolute freedom from distortion, try the 120 Makro-Planar. I used it for doing copy work of scientific test results that went into an FDA submission. It has really harsh bokeh, but for absolute critical sharpness and correction, it's the next best thing to the Superwide.
     
  10. fdisilvestro

    fdisilvestro Member

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    The zeiss planar 80mm 2.8 does have a slight amount of barrell distortion. It can be easily seen if you superimpose a grid to the picture (At least in Photoshop you can do that).
    The distortion is very low and almost imperceptible unles you photograph architecture or do reproduction work (that's how I found out)
    As you mentioned, a lens with almost no distortion is the planar 100 (I whish I had it).
    You can check the technical datasheet in the Carl Zeiss web page: http://www.zeiss.com/C12567A8003B8B6F/EmbedTitelIntern/Planar2.8_80mm_CFE_102211_e/$File/Planar2.8_80mm_CFE_102211_e.pdf

    Francisco
     
  11. JRJacobs

    JRJacobs Member

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    Tthe example in this photo appears to show convergence, not lens distortion. Be more careful of having the film plane parallel to the center of your photo. The reality is that if you want perfect perspective control, you need to use a shift lens or go to a view camera with movements.
     
  12. fdisilvestro

    fdisilvestro Member

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    I hope the OP does not mind I used a crop of his picture to show the distortion. I superimposed a grid (I had to rotate the image 0.2 deg counterclocwise to align the grid) and you can see that in points A & A' the upper line touches the grid and there is a white space in point B. In the second picture I intentionally resized the crop changing the aspect ratio, to exagerate the vertical dimension, and the distortion becomes more visible.
    As I said before it is very small but not unexistant. Check the technical data sheet in the Zeiss web page. The distortion (barrel) is more than 1.5% at the edges. It is not zero, The Planar 100 has almost nothing, the biogon 38 also has much less (but complex).

    Francisco
     

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  13. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    I see that you bought this outfit new, but you can get a Planar 100mm used. There are always some for sale, and depending upon your budget you can find a really nice one with some patience.

    //Björn
     
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  15. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    I agree with fdisilvestro, there is some barrel distortion causing curvature of field there. That said, the CF lens is no slouch, the CB lens is even worse, and the 100mm planar is where there is virtually no distortion. I think we all know that the 80mm CT and CF lenses are not the best in the zeiss line up, but unless doing architectural or scientific shots, it's really of no consequence. It would also be an idea to list the aperture at which these images were taken. I find that the 80mm planar does it's best around f8 through f16 and falls off either side of that.
     
  16. david b

    david b Member

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    I would immediately sell the lens.
     
  17. noumin

    noumin Guest

    To me, there appears indeed to be some distortion on that line on top of the picture. But ... that frame, or whatever that is on the left, seems to be pretty straight ... strange. Are you sure that the shelfboard is not bent ?
     
  18. Philippe-Georges

    Philippe-Georges Member

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    Do not forget that the 80 mm Planar is not made for this kind of work, that's why Zeiss made the 100 mm (and the S-Planar 120 mm).
    But, of course, at this price, and bearing this name, the lens should be 'almost perfect'...
    And, just wondering, are you sure that the upper book shelf, in the first picture, is not bented by the weight of the books on it, who are unevenly displayed? Perhaps, the wood is bented due to climatological influence, out of you control and knowledge of course...
    What I want to say is, that this kind of 'tests' should be performed with a controlled target and be repeatable, just to be certain.

    And, yes this is a personal point of view, I am working with a 80 mm Planar for over 20 years to my full delight, and never wanted use it for this kind of work, the other Planar is much better.

    Philippe
     
  19. JRJacobs

    JRJacobs Member

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    This could also be caused by the film not being perfectly flat in the negative carrier - unless you are using a glass carrier most films will bend slightly causing this same effect.
     
  20. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    "Are you sure that the shelfboard is not bent ?"
    Indeed, this was also my first intention when I saw the example picture.
    I think it will need a more serious method to determine lens distortion.
    Anyhow, if you aren´t satisfied, why don´t you buy a 100mm Planar or 120 Macro Planar.
    I highly recommend the old S-Planar 120/5,6, which I own by myself.
    By the way, the Zeiss datasheet says that the 80/2,8 Planar (does not matter
    whether it is the latest CFE or a version from the 60s) reaches 1% Distortion
    at a distance of about 33mm from the center of the picture, the edge of a typical
    56mmx56mm Hasselblad frame has a distance of 3,13mm from the center.
    So your distortion should be below 1%.
    Sorry for the maths, but I was curious about it and numbers don´t lie ;-)
    Greetz, Benjamin
     
  21. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I don't "know" that.

    What parameters are you using to determine "best"?

    The "Blad 80mm f/2.8 Planar has been designed - and is intended to be, a "general" use lens. To attempt to apply it to a more critical application, and express outrage to the tune of, "I can't understand why Zeiss or Hasselblad would ever allow this lens to be produced" ... is ... I hate to say "stupid", but nothing else seems to fit.

    I could question a great deal of the conclusion that there is X amount of "distortion", for example:

    "Three points (white) are not aligned in an image overlayed by a grid in PhotoShop....:

    1. How accurate IS the PhotoShop grid? Are we assuming 1%, 0.5%, 0.001% - or what? Does PhotoShop specify the limits of accuracy?

    2. Where did the "white points" originate? Were they artifacts applied to the background with great accuracy
    (... how?) and recorded on the negative?

    3. There must have been a scan involved. I know for a fact that the scans from my HP 1310(?) exhibit distortion, comparing file images to the original. I can't remeber ever seeing a tolerance applicable to this distortion, yet I would never, absolutey never, rely on a scan from this thing to "test" a lens - for any parameter.


    Now, Hasselblad/ Zeiss claim "No more than 1.5% distortion" ... and that is what it seems to be. They have met their claim, done what they were supposed to do. Why is that cause for complaint?
    .
     
  22. kristopher_lawrence

    kristopher_lawrence Member

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    Actually everything is leveled and perfectly flat, it is not the negative carrier because I can see the distorsion on a negative even without a loupe.
    Also, I can see this on many negatives. Thanks for the grid, it shows what I wanted to show.

    I also think that some persons are more sensitive to distorsion, that some people might notice it easly and other don't, it is really personnal.

    About perspective shift, yes there might be a little, but perspective shift does not induce barrel distorsion at all, the lines might converge but they should remain straight. Aperture should not have influence on this either.

    I think that Hassy and Zeiss lenses are awesome, but I also feel like people loose their objectivity... It is not because it is expensive that it is perfect. (By the way the same effect hold for Leica glass... and yes I have a couple of them so I am not bashing because I don't own.)

    I am no way going to sell it, but the question remains: is the Rollei version better in this regard( especially the 3.5)?
     
  23. kristopher_lawrence

    kristopher_lawrence Member

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    reaches 1% Distortion
    at a distance of about 33mm from the center of the picture, the edge of a typical
    56mmx56mm Hasselblad frame has a distance of 3,13mm from the center.
    So your distortion should be below 1%.

    I think you are making a small mistake.... 3.13 mm from the center is far from being at the corners.....

    Kris
     
  24. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    On the contrary: they are indeed among the best in the Zeiss line-up.

    Almost everything shorter and longer does less good, in every respect.
    There are a few lenses that do better, in single features (some have higher resolving power, in certain conditions; some have lower distortion). But that does indeed not mean that the 80 mm is not excellent.
    And looking at every possible performance parameter combined, it's hard to beat these 'humble' lenses.

    The 100 mm and 120 mm Planars were mentioned a few times here. They are great lenses. Love them.
    But they really do not outperform the humble 80 mm in a significant way. Mostly, they do not outperform the 80 mm at all!
     
  25. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Yes.
    Have you considered the possibility that you are one of those, thinking, as you are, that people don't see the distortion because they are not as sensitive to distortion as you are?
    :wink: (But seriously!)
     
  26. kristopher_lawrence

    kristopher_lawrence Member

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    Nice answer... :smile:

    But seriously I think there is some and I see it. If some think I am nitpicking ok for them.
    But be aware that I don't shoot testcharts ( the picture provided was just a stupid shot to try stand dev. in Rodinal...) and all and all this is because I value the image not necessarly the technical aspect and distorsion in one of the aspects that have a great deal of influence on the final product. Contrast and sharpness, you can always use them in a creative way but distorsion.... exept if you want a fisheye effect but it is obviously not the case when you buy a normal lens...

    Well I feel like it was a mistakte to start this tread since I get flamed down. I guess it is normal when you are critical of Zeiss and Hassy and their god made cameras and lenses...