Which Hasselblad lens has "character"
so I have recently bought a 501C body (and prism finder) from a local camera store. It was a bit of a whim purchase. I have been looking to get into MF photography for a while. I now need to get a lens(es) (and backs) to actually try this format out.
The style of photography that I intend to do with this out-fit is environmental portraits and landscapes. Looking back through my various cameras the pictures that I like best are typically taken with a Rollei 35SE (40mm Sonnar) and the 45mm Tessar on my C/Y outfit.
Catching up on what lenses are available for my camera everyone seems to tout sharpness. Me I am interested in something that has some character. I know this is hard to define; but for me it isn't all about pin-sharp pictures.
Is there such a thing as a characterful lens for the 500 series Hasselblads?
My experience has been that "sharp and contrasty" is the character of Hasselblad lenses. If you don't want that then maybe you have the wrong tool.
p.s. One of the things I've done with to get "character" is the use of low contrast film like Portra 160NC and softar filters.
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I use the Zeiss lenses with my SL66 and find them to have quite different "characters", depending on the lens type. The 80/2,8 and 120/5,6 Planars deliver a very sharp and three-dimensional look. The 150/4 and 250/5,6 Sonnars have a quite "dreamy" bokeh that reminds me of older LF lenses, but they are very sharp in the plane of focus. The 50/4 Distagon (old one) has a surprisingly nice bokeh but is quite soft when used wide open. It becomes pretty sharp when used around f11 nonetheless. Considering your demands, I think you should give this lens a try. The old silver ones are real bargains. Mine is the old one without HFT (or T*, in Hasselblad language), but the colours are rich nonetheless. I think the "character" of the 250/5,6 might suit you too, but this lens is best used on a tripod.
Here is a picture taken with the 50/4 on Velvia 100:
Last edited by Slixtiesix; 01-23-2011 at 12:46 PM. Click to view previous post history.
T* is Zeiss language, Slixtiesix, and not called T* on lenses made by Rollei, because of just that.
To show that it may be a matter of personal perception (and whatever makes up the mix that results in that) i can chime in to say i find no difference in character among the Zeiss bunch, except for a very few.
The old 350 mm and 500 mm Tele-Tessars (for not quite being on par with the other lenses), the Superachromats (yet they are what Brian said: "sharp and contrasty", but to an even higher degree). And the 110 mm Planar.
That 110 mm Planar is a lens in world of is own. It doesn't stand out for being sharp and contrasty (though not a bad lens, compared to its Zeiss brethren, not quite as good, wide open), but for the soft and smooth way it renders transitions in tone.
But only when used wide open, at f/2. Stop it down to f/4 or 5.6, and it's 'just another Zeiss lens'.
It does tend to show some double contour 'bokeh' though.
So if you really want a Zeiss lens with a special character, you must get one of those 110 mm Planars.
You then must also get a focal plane shutter Hasselblad body.
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I find the 150 Sonnar to have real character. Beautiful bokeh, smooth tonality and a quite different look to the 80 IMO (and the other Zeiss lenses I have tried). Agree with the comment re: Portra 160NC... a lovely partner to the sonnars.
I agree. The 150 is a beautiful lens.
Originally Posted by mesh
When the chips are down,
The buffalo is empty!!!
It's funny, but I think the lens is less important with my Hasselblad than with my 35mm cameras. With my Nikon or Leica cameras, the character of the lens can be very obvious; some of those lenses seem so much better than others. In contrast, with the Hasselblad, I've used the 60mm, the 80mm and the 150mm, and really find very little difference other than focal length. I agree that the film and developer can make a big difference, however.
Hello everyone! What a great bunch of answers. I appreciate all of the responses. To the person that suggested that I use a different film to achieve "character" - that was not obvious to me. Thanks for the suggestion.
My favourite focal length in 35mm is 35mm. From what I have read above this points to me getting the 60mm first. So I think this will be my first lens. After that it sounds like the 150mm Sonnar has similar characteristics to the 40mm Sonnar on the Rollei 35SE. That is good to hear.
Put a crummy, poorly-coated filter on your lenses, shoot without a lens hood, and you may like what you get. I have bought a few "bad" filters just for this purpose. I usually use them with my 4x5's when I want to use movements, but find the image quality of the big film to be overkill. I think Hassy lenses are technically stunning, but I prefer the more "mild" signature of my Mamiya C series and Press lenses over all. It's hard to describe. The Mamiya lenses are perfectly sharp; they just seem to have a lighter touch, whatever that means. Pentax lenses remind me a lot of Hassy lenses. Technically stunning, but a bit heavy handed for what I like sometimes.
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