I'm in the process of purchasing a 250mm lens for my Hasselblad system. I will soon have a 50mm, 80mm, 120mm and the 250mm. The 120 is my favorite lens for the kit, but it just doesn't have enough "reach" for some of the landscape scenes I want to make. I often want to isolate parts of a landscape or better incorporate distant details into the image.
Since the 250 is roughly twice the focal length of the 120, I figure it will best fit my needs. A 180 would not be that different. (I have borrowed a friend's 180 for a couple of portrait shoots. It is a really great lens!) When you get into medium and large formats, you start to realize that increasing focal lengths require a whole lot more lens than 35mm to create similar telephoto effects. A 250mm is roughly 3X normal for 6x6 cameras. In 35mm terms, that's only about a 150mm lens. My point is, that even thought the numbers seem big, the actual increase in effect is not that great. The 250mm is relatively compact, and isn't that heavy. It's mostly empty space surrounded by metal. The 350mm starts to get ridiculous in terms of size and weight.
If you can borrow or rent either or both lenses, I'd do that before spending the cash. I've happened to fall into a reasonably good deal, so I'm pulling the trigger.
Yeah, I figured as much with the focal lengths re: "numbers". I was looking as well towards the 350mm or 500mm, but perhaps 500mm is a bit to extreme, but I work on a ship south bound to the Antarctic and I really like shooting icebergs and sometimes we just don't get that close to really big ones and 150mm just doesn't cut it in this case. a 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 L USM lens on a Canon 5D is great, but I no longer have a digital camera and want to get the same reach out of film. is 500mm too extreme in this case? It's a lot of lens and not exactly cheap.. I don't know anywhere even interstate where I could borrow a 500mm or even 350mm lens from.
Gosh... you might change your opinion after handling the lens; I know I did. I can only use a 250 if on tripod. I find it big and heavy, but quite useful for the reason you describe - greater reach when a greater reach is advantageous.
Originally Posted by pgomena
I use long lenses more often than not, but once things get too long, you get plane of focus issues with anything even remotely toward the
foreground, and the only way to handle that is with tilt control on a view camera, so that's my normal equipment. But the other day I was out with my 300mm Pentax 6x7 telephoto, since the day started out a bit too windy for view camera use. We still have a bit of haze in the air, so dealing with distant subjects required some strong filters to cut thru that. It's a nice lens for wildlife or quick bad weather shots from the highway. Another reason I took along the 6x7 is that I was also shooting inside a hillside train tunnels the same day, which is still in use,
so I wanted to ability to get out fast once the rails get a bit of buzz to them. There is actually spare room to stand against a wall, but
prefer a bit more distance between me and a hundred stacked cargo containers whizzing by.
I almost never hand-hold my Hasselblad, so the size and weight of the 250mm for such is irrelevant to me. I will on occasion hand-hold the 80mm or 50mm, but it's the odd grab shot. Now that the OP mentions that he's shooting Antarctic icebergs from a ship, the 350mm doesn't seem unreasonable. It's a big, heavy lens, and I've handled but never used one. I've never seen a Hasselblad 500mm, but I'd imagine they're not common. The 350mm shows up on KEH's site once in a while.
just looking over the prices on the bay... the price is pretty much the same for 350 or 500mm... seeing as there is a considerable difference in the focal length, would it be a safer option just to jump straight on the 500mm? It is a pretty big lens though!
also, I'm assuming that with a 350mm and longer you're going to need to have the tripod mounted on the lens rather than the body, how does the camera/lens hold up with that weight where they join? has it been known to damage the locking mechanism at all?