Hasselblad 503cw

The lenses I have for this camera include the following:

The Zeiss 80mm CFE is of course the standard lens with any current Hasselbad "V" series camera such as the 503cw. With a "normal" perspective equal to about 40mm on a 35mm camera (some would say 50mm if you consider the 6x6cm format to only have a 6x4.5cm "useable" area if cropping to a rectangular format) this is the lens that will be used most often. I've shot landscapes, small group portraits and single, full-length portraits with this lens. Like with many other Zeiss lenses, the optical and mechanical quality are superb. Color rendition is uncannily accurate, and distortion is not visible (at least to my eyes!) The pictures are extremely sharp but I have noticed that it is very difficult to focus accurately at semi-close distances with living subjects when using apertures at f/5.6 or larger. This is due to the fact that medium format requires a smaller apterture to achieve the same depth-of field with the same perspective, because of the longer focal length. This lens takes Bay 60 filters, however I use a Bay 60 to 67mm threaded filter adapter.

Although I would not consider the Zeiss 120mm CFi to be a true "macro" lens, it does indeed focus closer than the 150mm, and renders details in a sublime way when used at near distances. I also use a 55mm extension tube when I am working really close, but even still I opt for the OM 4 with 50mm f/3.5 macro lens and extension tubes for super-closeup work. This 120mm lens is also useable for portrait work, although to get the really "tight" headshots, I would reccommend the 180mm Zeiss instead. However, the combination of close focusing, superb image detail and lack of distortion make this lens a "must have" for those doing some portrait and some table-top macro work. I even find it to be remarkably detailed when focused at "normal" distances, and even out to infinity. This lens takes Bay 60 filters, however I use a Bay 60 to 67mm threaded filter adapter.

I would have to say that the Zeiss 50mm CF FLE is my favorite lens for the Hasselblad. It is from the previous generation of lenses (CFi or CFE versions are current) but the construction quality is second to none. Also, it has the advantage (for me) that it takes the Bay 60 filter size (instead of the Bay 70 used by the current version), so I can have one set of filters for all three lenses. And frankly it is difficult to imagine better image quality. This lens produces super sharp photographs with just the right contrast and next to no distortion. It is equivalent to 28mm in 35mm cameras (some would say 35mm if you consider the 6x6cm format to only have a 6x4.5cm "useable" area when cropping to rectangular format) and thus produces a moderately wide angle of view. The FLE (floating lens element) feature is something that helps produce super-sharp pictures when focusing closer, i.e. at less than four meters from the focal plane. However, using this feature becomes one extra step to remember.

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2002, 2003 Karl Winkler