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Behind the scenes


Well-known member
Congratulations on the purchase! It is a fine back and a lot of fun to use. You're off to a great start with a very nice image!

I've used a number of different wide lenses with the Cambo Actus / CFVii 50c combo. Pentax, Rodenstock, and Canon.

My favorite in terms of quality and usable image circle is the 32HR, but like @Greg Haag said it is a big/heavy lens. Currently, I'm not using the Actus, but I am using the WRS1600 with the Hasselblad. I've also sold my copy of the 32HR and picked up a Schneider 35XL to replace it. The 35XL comes up on the used market fairly frequently and you can find it for about 1/2 to 1/3 the price of the 32HR.

Here is my experience comparing the 35XL to the 32HR. With the 35XL a Center Filter is very important, especially with the CFVii 50c because of the sensor it uses. The 32HR doesn't require one, but the files are noticeable cleaner if you use one. At f/11 without any movements, the 35XL will give you very similar results on the Hasselblad back compared to the 32HR. If you go past 10mm of movement with the Hasselblad 44x33mm sensor then the 32HR starts to leave the 35XL behind in terms of sharpness in the corners. On a Phase One 53.4x40mm sensor then you'll see noticeable difference in the corners with anything greater than 5mm of shift.

I've also used the Pentax A and the HD 645 35mm. Nice lenses that offer a good amount of movement, probably more than the Schneider 35XL, but not as good as the 32HR or the Schneider 35XL in terms of sharpness and clarity.
Thanks so much for the detailed reply! I will definitely read up on the 35XL and 32HR. In the mean time I will put the Pentax A 645 35mm to use. I do have a lensplate for that mount so best to see if that focal length is what I am after.

Edit: Checks price of 32HR... Yep that Pentax A 35mm 645 is going to work out just fine 😄
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Subscriber & Workshop Member
Hi Warren,
I do use focus peaking. If the whole scene is well lit so the back sees enough contrast it works fine. It would be nice if the whole scene lit up like a green Christmas Tree, but it usually doesn't. In this case, the rocks were just too dark. Usually it appears in small parts of the scene. When it appears in spots all over I know I am close. Maybe a blade of grass up front, one of the rocks and then trees in the distance. I then zoom into 100% at various places to see how everything looks. Zoomed in I will move focus a little. If the distant areas get sharper as I rotate focus farther out, I know I need more tilt. If they get sharper as I rotate focus closer in, I have too much tilt. Same with things up close but reversed. So in detail it goes like this:
  1. Open to f/5.6
  2. Dial in 1 degree of tilt.
  3. Zoom in to middle distance and focus.
  4. Zoom back out. If everything has peaking, then I'm done.
  5. If not, zoom in to a far distance and rotate the helical to a farther distance and rotate back. If things got sharper when doing that helical rotation test, add a little more tilt and try again. If things got more out of focus, use a little less tilt and try again.
  6. Then zoom in up front to see if everything is sharp. Usually at this point everything is really good. If not, I try again using the close focus point. For a close point, I dial focus closer and back out. If it got sharper, I add more tilt. If not, less tilt.
  7. I don't expect everything to be tack sharp because I'm still at f/5.6. But it should be uniform throughout the image.
  8. Close down to f/11 or f/12, adjust shutter speed and shoot.
Sometimes I do the helical rotation up front first, it just depends on where things are in the frame. The tricky thing with tilt is that as you dial in more tilt, the DoF wedge gets narrower. In this case, I had the whole camera tilted forward. So even though the camera was pretty close to the ground I didn't need too much tilt. The less tilt you need the easier it is. @Greg Haag started a post a while back about tilt and there is a lot of info there. Can't seem to find it right now [edit - here it is]. On an Alpa, 1 degree is about 1.5 rotations of the dial. I have a white mark on the dial so I can keep track of where it is. The adapter has degree marks, but they are hard to see in the dark.

My workflow for forwarding axis tilt was always focused on the foreground element, tilt for the distant point. review foreground and refocus if required. Repeat tilt to the distant focal point, and if required repeat again. The tilts are always very small.


Well-known member
I posted these two shots in the 2022 image thread and thought I would share a couple of the BTS from those images.

As I mentioned in the other thread, I am building out an XCD kit for my new to me 907x/CFV II 50C. I have the 45P and will add either the 30mm or 21mm for wider and probably the 80mm and eventually 135mm. While I am working on that, I figure I can shoot what I already have adapted. For the majority of my work the limitation of the electronic shutter does not bother me that much.

Below is an example of the set up with the Nikkor-DC 40/4 for Bronica medium format lens. Definitely does not fall under the category as lightweight everyday carry ;)

One of the features I like most about this old lens is the close focus capability of approx 10 inches.