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Are any of the hasselblad H lenses “bad”? Or hc 35mm review?

I’m looking for a bit wider lens for the H3d. I found a good deal on the 35mm but there are pretty much no reviews on it. I’m assuming it is a good lens. I have the 80 and a macro tube, which is scratching most itches for me, but am looking for something wider.

SO, are there any bad ‘blad lenses? Like something they just sold but was a dud?

Am I overthinking?

How is the hc 35mm?

Thanks. Ad
 

P. Chong

Member
I had the HC 35, which I sold to Joe Colson in this forum here. I also have the HC 28, and decided that they were too close in focal length to make sense, and I preferred the wider 28mm.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I doubt that any Hasselblad lens ever sold is actually "bad" ... Some perform better than others, some you might like the rendering better than others, but all are pretty darn good performers overall.

I've only used V and X system lenses, maybe about a dozen of them now over all the years I've had 'Blad equipment, and all are/have been excellent performers. I'm sure the H system lenses live up to the same expectations.

G
 

fotophil

Member
All of the Hasselblad HC Lenses are produced by Fuji so how could they be bad? More seriously, I recall that the 50mm -II and the 150mm - n are among the second version lenses they are supposed to be stellar optically according to Ming. For X1D Users those later HC Lenses produced around 2015(?) or later will provide AF. I believe that includes all of the orange square lenses with 1/2000 max shutters as well as some transition lenses with the older 1/800 shutters.
 

Miller

New member
I started with the HC 35 on a H3DII 39. When the HCD 28 came out, I switched. Still regret not keeping the 35 as well. It is often said that the 35 is not the best lens in the line up, but I had no issues or complaints.
 

citizin

Member
I had the 35mm. It was a great lens, but compared to rest of the line-up it was the softest wide-open out of all of them. I ended up selling my copy after getting the 35-90mm and found that I was using it over the 35mm for that focal length, and I really only use it at that focal length. I would like it to be just a bit wider. When I eventually pick up the 28mm the zoom might loose any use for me.
 

dougpeterson

Workshop Member
I’m looking for a bit wider lens for the H3d. I found a good deal on the 35mm but there are pretty much no reviews on it. I’m assuming it is a good lens. I have the 80 and a macro tube, which is scratching most itches for me, but am looking for something wider.

SO, are there any bad ‘blad lenses? Like something they just sold but was a dud?

Am I overthinking?

How is the hc 35mm?

Thanks. Ad
Whether the optical quality of a lens is "bad" is subjective (depends on your level of scrutiny) and specific (depends on what sensor you'll use it with and at what apertures). From that point of view only testing such a lens can tell you this.

If your question is rephrased to "how does the optical quality of the HC35 compare to the other HC lenses?" then this is much less subjective. To answer that question I would point to our Lenses for 150mp article which classifies the HC35 at the bottom of the range of HC lenses. It was released in 2002, when a 22mp 1.1 crop sensor was cutting edge, and does not compare favorably to the newer HC50 II released in 2010 or the HC28 released in 2006

As I discuss in the article, newer lenses are not always optically better than older ones, but within the scope of a given high-end company's lineup it is true much more often than not. Your 80mm is also an older design, but normal-length lenses are easier to design than wide-length lenses (especially on an SLR), and is, in my testing and experience, a full notch better than the HC35m.

I've been careful here only to make a relative comparison within the HC lineup both because I think that's the most fair/useful way and because my company chooses not to sell Hasselblad cameras, so I must be considered biased.

And again, "not as good within the line up" does not mean "you will not enjoy it or find it useful" – especially with an older sensor like an H3D that will not push these lenses nearly as hard as more recent larger and higher-resolution sensors.

My advice, as always, is try to test one before you commit.
 

hcubell

Active member
Whether the optical quality of a lens is "bad" is subjective (depends on your level of scrutiny) and specific (depends on what sensor you'll use it with and at what apertures). From that point of view only testing such a lens can tell you this.

If your question is rephrased to "how does the optical quality of the HC35 compare to the other HC lenses?" then this is much less subjective. To answer that question I would point to our Lenses for 150mp article which classifies the HC35 at the bottom of the range of HC lenses. It was released in 2002, when a 22mp 1.1 crop sensor was cutting edge, and does not compare favorably to the newer HC50 II released in 2010 or the HC28 released in 2006

As I discuss in the article, newer lenses are not always optically better than older ones, but within the scope of a given high-end company's lineup it is true much more often than not. Your 80mm is also an older design, but normal-length lenses are easier to design than wide-length lenses (especially on an SLR), and is, in my testing and experience, a full notch better than the HC35m.

I've been careful here only to make a relative comparison within the HC lineup both because I think that's the most fair/useful way and because my company chooses not to sell Hasselblad cameras, so I must be considered biased.

And again, "not as good within the line up" does not mean "you will not enjoy it or find it useful" – especially with an older sensor like an H3D that will not push these lenses nearly as hard as more recent larger and higher-resolution sensors.

My advice, as always, is try to test one before you commit.
I owned the 35mm HC lens for a number of years, and I would agree with Doug’s assessment. It is not among the stronger HC and HCD lenses. It is relatively weak in the corners until you stop down to f/8 or f/11. However, at least with older digital sensors, it is still capable of producing beautiful images.
 

jerome_m

Member
I like the HC 35mm. The reviews are poor, because it lacks a bit of contrast full open, which is of little consequence in practice (just close the aperture and contrast improves). OTOH, it has nice bokeh and for me that is more important.

The HCD28 has higher contrast, but will not cover a film back.
 

robmac

Active member
None are 'bad', some just don't reach the high bar of the majority.


The 24 & 28 are considered stellar, choice really comes down to desired FL. Own the 28 - stunning.
The 35 is widely regarded as 'weakest' of the line, but that all depends on personal perspective. Never owned.
The 50 VI is completely outshone by the harder to find 50 VII, considered by some as the 'Otus' of the line. Own the 50 II - bloody fantastic.
The 80 is very, very good. Sharper than the 100 WO and much less CA.

The 100 is loved by many, but is softer WO & has more CA until app. 5.6 or so than the 80. Very sharp stepped-down. The AF can be imprecise on many copies and (at least) older models have issues with a focusing gear(s) stripping rendering AF in-op. This is likely related to the AF complaints. It is a very easy lens to manually focus. You'll see a number of 100s on ebay with non-op AF. Owned both the 80 and 100 and sold the 100 - too much CA for my shooting subjects.

The 120VII is a big step up from the film-era 120VI. Sharper with no CA & great bokeh. Own it (disclosure: selling), wish I had more opps. to use it.
The 150N is much improved over the 150 VI. Owned the 150N and quite liked it.
The 300 is well liked as fast AF, sharp with nice bokeh. Contemplating buying.
The 210 is a very, very strong lens, at a great price used that does not get enough respect. Very sharp WO, great bokeh and FAST AF. Owned it and the GF 250 and while the GF250 is stronger, the 210 is closer than the price would suggest.

The 35-90 is considered the better of the two strong zooms, but more costly. Never owned - prefer primes.
the 50-110 is well regarded, plentiful online for little. BUT must be stored with the camera-side down, not front-element down as the front element mechanics can loosen over time if store incorrectly. Something to consider if buying used. Like the 35-90 never owned.

if you hit-up Hassy site, there are lens data sheets and booklets you can download.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Whether the optical quality of a lens is "bad" is subjective (depends on your level of scrutiny) and specific (depends on what sensor you'll use it with and at what apertures). From that point of view only testing such a lens can tell you this.
...
As I discuss in the article, newer lenses are not always optically better than older ones, but within the scope of a given high-end company's lineup it is true much more often than not. ...

And again, "not as good within the line up" does not mean "you will not enjoy it or find it useful" – especially with an older sensor like an H3D that will not push these lenses nearly as hard as more recent larger and higher-resolution sensors.

My advice, as always, is try to test one before you commit.
While I agree completely with your opening sentence and your concluding sentence, other bits in your discussion imply comparison across focal lengths (always a dicey comparison in my opinion) and would emphasize the bolded bit.

For example, in the Leica M line up, nearly all the Summilux 35mm lenses since the first outperform the first on resolution and contrast. If those are the primary criteria upon which you judge a lens's "goodness", you'd be well advised to simply buy the latest one you can afford. However, there's more to photography, to a lens's performance, than resolution and contrast, and many people seek out examples of the original and second series Summilux 35mm lenses specifically because they prefer its rendering qualities and nuance wide open, even through these are technically nowhere near as good on contrast, resolution, and flare resistance as the later models are.

Yes: Buy any expensive piece of gear after renting or buy from a vendor with a 100% return policy with enough time for testing a new purchase. It's the only way to be sure.

G
 
I have also wondered about the complaints for the HC 35.

In my experience, it has never taken my breath way. I have comparatively tested it against the Schneider 35mm Blue Ring (on 100mp sensor), and it does not match the performance of that lens.

However, with that said, I've never considered it a bad lens. But then, I always have shot it in the f/8 - f/11 - f/16 range, not wide open. For my use, it's a little short to use wide open (equivalent 22mm).

It's a good, not great lens. From a performance standpoint, it kind of reminds me of the Mamiya 45/2.8 AF, which is another good, not great lens.


Steve Hendrix/CI
 
None are 'bad', some just don't reach the high bar of the majority.

The 100 is loved by many, but is softer WO & has more CA until app. 5.6 or so than the 80. Very sharp stepped-down. The AF can be imprecise on many copies and (at least) older models have issues with a focusing gear(s) stripping rendering AF in-op. This is likely related to the AF complaints. It is a very easy lens to manually focus. You'll see a number of 100s on ebay with non-op AF. Owned both the 80 and 100 and sold the 100 - too much CA for my shooting subjects.
Actually, the 100's AF problem wasn't a gear stripping. But rather that the drive gear on the AF motor cracks at the weakest point. Even before fully cracking and losing the AF, the gear will start to slip as it is simply tension held onto the motor spindle. That loss of tension is what causes inaccurate AF and eventually leads to complete loss. The problem was that the gears are made of a cheap nylon polymer and tiny. Here's a broken gear:

GearCrack.jpg

The gear removed, and on the tip of a toothpick to stretch the crack. A UV flourescent adhesion agent was applied, but shows the ragged tear very clearly. The toothpick gives an idea of the size...

GearUV.jpg

Superglue and other cyanoacrylate adhesives won't stick and just ruin (melt) the plastic, so a UV cured adhesive is placed. I actually overfilled the whole gear to give it more strength as well as coating the inside of the shaft and other surfaces. Here it is curing:

GearFilled.jpg

Once cured, I trimmed, shaved, and polished the adhesive, then shoved the gear back onto the shaft. Clean off the old grease on the other gears and lubed them with some Nye synthetic.

GearFixed.jpg

Lens is working great and nails the AF dead on every time. Well, that was after adjusting the focusing screen, which is a whole 'nother story.
 
Actually, the 100's AF problem wasn't a gear stripping. But rather that the drive gear on the AF motor cracks at the weakest point. Even before fully cracking and losing the AF, the gear will start to slip as it is simply tension held onto the motor spindle. That loss of tension is what causes inaccurate AF and eventually leads to complete loss. The problem was that the gears are made of a cheap nylon polymer and tiny. Here's a broken gear:

View attachment 150303

The gear removed, and on the tip of a toothpick to stretch the crack. A UV flourescent adhesion agent was applied, but shows the ragged tear very clearly. The toothpick gives an idea of the size...

View attachment 150302

Superglue and other cyanoacrylate adhesives won't stick and just ruin (melt) the plastic, so a UV cured adhesive is placed. I actually overfilled the whole gear to give it more strength as well as coating the inside of the shaft and other surfaces. Here it is curing:

View attachment 150304

Once cured, I trimmed, shaved, and polished the adhesive, then shoved the gear back onto the shaft. Clean off the old grease on the other gears and lubed them with some Nye synthetic.

View attachment 150301

Lens is working great and nails the AF dead on every time. Well, that was after adjusting the focusing screen, which is a whole 'nother story.

Doc - wow. Respect!


Steve Hendrix/CI
 
As a side note, it seems that all of the HC lenses use a gear box that is mostly nylon with the occasional brass gear. Nothing wrong with nylon, as it can be extremely strong properly done. I have a feeling that the HC100's box with one of the smallest gears in the whole series, was at a disadvantage from the start. Most of the lenses have 11 tooth gears, but the 100 had a 9 tooth.

It also seems that the AF/MF ability of the lens to "slip" when manual focusing can rack against the gear and cause excessive stress to the end-of-chain, which is the motor gear. So, trying to manual focus while accidentally keeping a finger on the AF button can exasperate the problem.

Here's another one that I fixed. Look at the multiple stress fractures on this one. I had to re-adhere a whole tooth back into the gear, as the pieces were floating around inside the gearbox when I opened it:

Gear-MultiCracks_Lens4.jpg

So sending a lens in for a ~$450 repair to replace the gearbox will eventually result in the same problem down the road unless the gearbox was redesigned or updated to a more robust drive gear.
 

bab

Member
As a side note, it seems that all of the HC lenses use a gear box that is mostly nylon with the occasional brass gear. Nothing wrong with nylon, as it can be extremely strong properly done. I have a feeling that the HC100's box with one of the smallest gears in the whole series, was at a disadvantage from the start. Most of the lenses have 11 tooth gears, but the 100 had a 9 tooth.

It also seems that the AF/MF ability of the lens to "slip" when manual focusing can rack against the gear and cause excessive stress to the end-of-chain, which is the motor gear. So, trying to manual focus while accidentally keeping a finger on the AF button can exasperate the problem.

Here's another one that I fixed. Look at the multiple stress fractures on this one. I had to re-adhere a whole tooth back into the gear, as the pieces were floating around inside the gearbox when I opened it:


View attachment 150305

So sending a lens in for a ~$450 repair to replace the gearbox will eventually result in the same problem down the road unless the gearbox was redesigned or updated to a more robust drive gear.

Hmm ajust the focusing screen can you elaborate on how that fixed the Auto focus? I’m curios thanks...
 
Hmm ajust the focusing screen can you elaborate on how that fixed the Auto focus? I’m curios thanks...
There are two trim pots inside the camera that adjust the system's electronic AF. I had taken the shell off the camera to clean and adjust the AF. There is also a set of screen adjustment screws around the focusing screen. Adjusting these makes it match so that when the camera itself is at best focus, the screen will be too. In the case of this camera, the electronic AF was close. A slight adjustment to the pots made it sharper and what I see as "perfect". But, the screen image wasn't sharpest at the same point. So, if one was to tweak the focus in the finder for max sharpness, it actually wasn't. This camera was way off in the finder, as indicated that max visual sharpness wasn't matching perfectly to the double arrows for the AF confirmation.

Aiming the camera at an LCD screen with a focusing target on white background (open target jpg in a browser, then go Full Screen to get rid of the bars) shows the focus issue easily. Simply move the camera to around 10x or more the lens focal length, in this case, I used the 100mm and was around 6' away. Make sure the camera and focus plane is parallel to the screen. I used a mirror taped to the LCD screen and a laser pointer through the center of the lens (basically, a bore sight). Once parallel, adjust focus until maximum moire appears. Take note of what it looks like. Knock the camera out of focus and then hit the AF button. It should go back to the same max moire. I'd adjust the pots until the max was obtained in the captured images.

Then, do the same thing, but looking through the finder. I had to adjust the 3 screws around the focus screen to level the screen and get max moire in the finder. Now, I can visually focus to what I see as sharpest, then take a shot. Then, defocus and use the AF to focus on the same point and take a shot. Open the two files side-by-side and compare the focus points to be sure they are razor sharp.

It takes a bit of time, a lot of patience, and a ton of magnifiers and tiny screwdrivers. But, it's worth it when all said and done!
 
Ming Thein’s comments about the 35:

Hasselblad HC 3.5/35 (7.5/10) – Personally, I didn’t find this one as strong as the 28 or 50 wide open – especially towards the edges until being stopped down a little. As with everything 35, I found myself wanting something longer or wider anyway, so this one didn’t get much use.
I have used it for a project before and found it fine, and it performed well stopped down (as all glass does).
 

tcdeveau

Active member
As a side note, it seems that all of the HC lenses use a gear box that is mostly nylon with the occasional brass gear. Nothing wrong with nylon, as it can be extremely strong properly done. I have a feeling that the HC100's box with one of the smallest gears in the whole series, was at a disadvantage from the start. Most of the lenses have 11 tooth gears, but the 100 had a 9 tooth.

It also seems that the AF/MF ability of the lens to "slip" when manual focusing can rack against the gear and cause excessive stress to the end-of-chain, which is the motor gear. So, trying to manual focus while accidentally keeping a finger on the AF button can exasperate the problem.

Here's another one that I fixed. Look at the multiple stress fractures on this one. I had to re-adhere a whole tooth back into the gear, as the pieces were floating around inside the gearbox when I opened it:

View attachment 150305

So sending a lens in for a ~$450 repair to replace the gearbox will eventually result in the same problem down the road unless the gearbox was redesigned or updated to a more robust drive gear.
Interesting, thanks for sharing!

I have moved on from the H-system but my 35-90mm got sent back to HB for such a $450 repair.

OP - enjoy the lens!
 
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