PDA

View Full Version : Opinions on the Hasselblad 120mm Makro (Macro!) Lens



brent8927
10-21-2005, 06:35 PM
I'm curious to hear about Hasselblad's 120mm Makro lens. I've read the other posts that discuss the lens, including the ones on photo.net and others, but I've yet to hear anything convincing, so I'm hoping someone here can give me the advice I need.

Here's my situation: I only have one lens, the normal 80mm, and have been using a 2X converter and an extension tube (16mm) to get close up shots (the converter for things that are too far away to get close to, I always prefer the tube if I have a choice).

I'm considering saving up for the macro lens but I'd like to hear some opinions. It is important to note that I'm really not doing macro photography, but more of close-ups (which I consider different but others might look at as being the same!) An example is the sunflower in my gallery- that's the closest I want to get. I'm really not interested in photographing the super tiny things, like individual petals, I'm more interested in relatively simple photographs; the swan photograph in my gallery is another good example of the sort of style I'm interested in right now. However, that photograph was taken without a tube or converter.

Here are my concerns/questions; the maximum size I print is about 7x7 inches; will I really see better picture quality by using a dedicated macro lens? Does the macro lens have better depth of field, or is it just the same as an 80mm lens with 40mm of extension? How about the depth of the photograph? The lens is supposed to be optimized for photographing flat objects right? So is there going to be a loss of depth in the photograph?

I realize the lens is expensive; but I've settled on this sort of "simple" style and will probably be sticking with it for a few years or so; however, I do also like to take snapshots and larger scale photographs (like landscapes) just for memories; my contact sheets are my photo albums.

So, does anyone think I would be better off with the 120mm lens? Would the only benefit be that I don't have to take the lens off to take off the extension tube when I want to switch from focusing close to focusing at infinity?

Honestly I'm happy with my current set-up, and really like only having one lens; I find the actual act of photography to be much more enjoyable and "meditative" when I'm not worrying about switching equipment. I don't mind the extension tube because I can store that in a pocket, but I'll be honest and say I don't like using the converter too much because I actually have to set my bag down to get to it; however, sometimes I find it to be worth it, and if the makro lens is the same then it might be something to consider. Most likely though, if I did get the Makro I would be selling the converter to help finance the lens (the converter a Vivitar converter, not the Mutar!)

Thank you for any advice,
Brent

André E.C.
10-21-2005, 06:58 PM
It is important to note that I'm really not doing macro photography
Brent

If you don`t do macro photography, for what a macro optic then?


but more of close-ups...
Brent

Maybe a Sonnar 150 or 180 will do?
CF optics aren`t that expensive used nowadays, think about it!

Good luck!

Cheers

André

brent8927
10-21-2005, 07:31 PM
I was interested in the macro lens because it's optimzed for close-focusing, and I do a lot of close-focusing, though with the macro I probably wouldn't be using close-up tubes, which was part of the advantage; but maybe you're right, would I be better off buying the 180 or 150 (or the 160 CB) and just using close-up tubes with them? Would I really see any difference between them and the macro?

Dan Fromm
10-21-2005, 07:33 PM
If you never print larger than 7"x7", why are you shooting 6x6? How can you tolerate the weight and cost when 35 mm will do just fine for that size print?

eric
10-21-2005, 07:34 PM
I use a much cheaper 150mm CF lens and a 55mm tube. Will cost you half of what the 120 is.

rbarker
10-22-2005, 03:21 AM
The 120mm Makro Planar is really a superb lens. But, if you aren't doing macro, but work that is more like tight portraits and such, I think you'll be better off with the 150 or 180 with a tube that gives you the magnification you want. Personally, I like the 180 with a 21mm extension tube.

Charles Webb
10-22-2005, 04:31 PM
I don't actually own the 120mm Macro Planar, but I have had the pleasure of using one for many different subjects. It indeed is a wonderful hunk of glass a bit over priced perhaps, but it responds very well in all categories. I personally like to have a lens that can handle more than one task. The 120mm does exactly that. I used the 120mm as a normal lens, and was very satisfied, when photographing steam trains and historical items. I could also home in on a tiny detail without having to change lenses, add tubes or other close up lense/devices. I also believe that a macro lens designed for macro work does a better all round job than a lens with extension tubes
or Proxars. I also think that the 120mm lens is what I call "tweener"
between 80mm and my 150 mm. If I owned one I am quite sure the 80mm would sit in the bag and the 120mm would be my "normal" lens.

That simply is my opinion. If I could afford one and could force myself to use the square format, I would save my coins to buy one!
Charlie......

brent8927
10-22-2005, 04:58 PM
If you never print larger than 7"x7", why are you shooting 6x6? How can you tolerate the weight and cost when 35 mm will do just fine for that size print?

Well... two reasons. The first is that I like the square format (and I don't like cropping so I wouldn't want to crop from a rectangle to a square), but the main reason is just that I like medium format. I love shooting with a waist level finder and I also love having the controls on the lens (my Bronica S2A didn't have that). That's it really.... I just like it more, and I was willing to spend the money on it (which made me broke of course... but what college student isn't?)

Other big reason is the detail; you still see an improvement even at such a small size. Well... at least I do.

brent8927
10-22-2005, 05:01 PM
I don't actually own the 120mm Macro Planar, but I have had the pleasure of using one for many different subjects. It indeed is a wonderful hunk of glass a bit over priced perhaps, but it responds very well in all categories. I personally like to have a lens that can handle more than one task. The 120mm does exactly that. I used the 120mm as a normal lens, and was very satisfied, when photographing steam trains and historical items. I could also home in on a tiny detail without having to change lenses, add tubes or other close up lense/devices. I also believe that a macro lens designed for macro work does a better all round job than a lens with extension tubes
or Proxars. I also think that the 120mm lens is what I call "tweener"
between 80mm and my 150 mm. If I owned one I am quite sure the 80mm would sit in the bag and the 120mm would be my "normal" lens.

That simply is my opinion. If I could afford one and could force myself to use the square format, I would save my coins to buy one!
Charlie......

Thanks for your opinion Charlie; you brought up a good point that I had forgotten, which was the versatility of the lens; I would much prefer to have just one lens that did almost everything I needed, without having to stop and put on or take of converters or extension tubes. I'll have to see if maybe I can rent a 120mm lens and see what I think about it. Hopefully the professional store nearby has one available.

df cardwell
10-22-2005, 05:19 PM
A reasonable alternative is the 150 Sonnar with Proxar lenses. The results are superb. The 150 is abundant, and wonderful. You lose NOTHING with the Proxars, and are far more convenient than extension tubes.

You gain convenience: being a little further from the subject, you can get out of your own shadow.

The 120 is a wonderful lens, but was intended for high contrast reproduction of fine detail up close. In the field, I've always felt it was a little short.

For a couple years, the 135 makro Planar was available with a focussing extension tube, and was the COOLEST lens you could imagine for portraiture, fashion, and so on. But it was slow. Still, you might find one laying around.

good luck

brent8927
10-22-2005, 05:25 PM
What makes the 135 macro better than the 120? Does it work well for nature and landscape photography?

df cardwell
10-22-2005, 08:06 PM
Well, for me it was the right length, the right look. It wasn't a quantitative thing. At the right distance, it made the right picture... for me. Like everything else, it's more a question of 'feel' than technical performance.

The 135 was designed without a focus mount, to be used on a bellows. But with the focusing mount, it was a neat lens. Under normal circumstances, expensive though.

For all around use, the 150 is probably better for most folks most of the time. No bad choice here, though.

brent8927
10-23-2005, 07:35 PM
I'm going to listen to advice and get a portrait lens instead; I'm going to test out a 160mm CB in the next few days and I'll see how I like it. (I went with the 160 instead of the 150 because it's supposed to be nicer to use hand-held and was a bit cheaper, as well as newer; I also doubt I'll notice a difference between then two, at least not at the size I print at.)

Thanks everyone for your help. By the way, if anyone is interested in a near-mint Vivitar 2X converter, I'm probably going to be selling that off; I wont need, or want it, if the 160 suits my needs. Most likely my selling price would be around $110 or so.

gr82bart
10-24-2005, 08:27 AM
I missed this thread entirely. I own the 120mm f4 CFE.


Here are my concerns/questions; the maximum size I print is about 7x7 inches; will I really see better picture quality by using a dedicated macro lens?I think if you mean in comparison to a lens with tubes. Now, I'm a hobbyist, so I don't see a difference. A couple of the commercial photogs I know that do macro use a macro bellows, tubes and all sorts of lenses. So, I am going to assume there is no difference in perceived quality for them Now a fine art photographer might have a different opinion.


Does the macro lens have better depth of field, or is it just the same as an 80mm lens with 40mm of extension?That a good question. I don't know the answer to that one. I have a book called the Hasselblad Manual that has all these answers, I think. I would highly recommend it.


How about the depth of the photograph? The lens is supposed to be optimized for photographing flat objects right? So is there going to be a loss of depth in the photograph?I shoot models all the time with this lens - great for beauty shots. Most of the models I shoot are, ...ahem..., not flat. ;)


I realize the lens is expensive; but I've settled on this sort of "simple" style and will probably be sticking with it for a few years or so; however, I do also like to take snapshots and larger scale photographs (like landscapes) just for memories; my contact sheets are my photo albums.Had I known more about the Hassey system back then, I would have bought the 120mm as my 'normal' lens just for the versatility. It's about normal plus it has the 'close up' features. In fact whenever I travel, I always take three lenses - my 40mm, my 180mm and my 120mm as my normal.


So, does anyone think I would be better off with the 120mm lens? Would the only benefit be that I don't have to take the lens off to take off the extension tube when I want to switch from focusing close to focusing at infinity?I have heard of people subing in a 100mm with tubes. This seems very reasonable, as the 100mm is amuch better lens than the 80mm.


I find the actual act of photography to be much more enjoyable and "meditative" when I'm not worrying about switching equipment.I'm the same way. I actually wish for a really nice Zeiss Zoom lens witha macro option. I know this thing will cost $10k and probably weight a couple kilos, but I still wish for it!

Regards, Art.