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Hasselblad Macro - XCD 120mm vs V 120mm

jjosephlatshaw

New member
I’m interested in doing some general macro photography utilizing my Hasselblad equipment. For starters, here’s what I have:

Hasselblad X:
907X
45P
CFV II 50C

Hasselblad V:
500C/M (actually a late 500C with user-replaceable focusing screens. I have the Acute Matte screen designed for the first CFV with the split prism and 44x33 and 33x34 frame lines)
50mm C T*
100mm C T*
180mm CF

What would be the best course of action? Should I consider the XCD 120mm? My concern there is the focus-by-wire, and autofocus being of limited utility for macro work. That said, is it optically much better than one of the V 120mms? I know the manual focus will be helpful, and these are much cheaper. I believe I also would be well served with some extension tubes, but can I use a V lens I have with extension tubes? Obviously for the V setup, I’d use Live View with mirror lockup and the electronic shutter.

I appreciate any guidance you can provide!
 

tcdeveau

Well-known member
I could be wrong, but my impression is that you can't get 1:1 with the 120mm XCD (and there are no extension tubes), so it might not be the best choice for serious macro work depending on your needs.

You could also consider the HC 120mm (V1 or II) and the XH adapter.

Hopefully someone with some real-world experience will chime in.
 

mikejmcfarlane

New member
For the price of the XCD 120 you can pick up a Cambo Actus DB technical camera which works beautifully with the CFV back. Plenty stunning large format lenses on eBay. You would also need a macro bellows and rail, but I think you would be in the same ballpark price wise, particularly if you shopped wisely on eBay. Eg here is an Actus DB2 https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Cambo-Ac...2349624.m46890.l49286&mkrid=707-127634-2357-0

I bought my Actus DB from that seller and all good. Reach out to them with any questions.

Moving to a technical camera transformed all my photography, it’s so much more creative due to the extra control. Plus you get better control of depth of field and plane of focus control. Image placement is also so much easier. And the large format lenses are super sharp, usually with their own beautiful characteristics. I love the XCD lenses, but the schneider kreuznach 90mm apo digitar is incredible, I will be buried with that lens. Beautiful colours and bokeh, and it’s ability to “draw” an image matches that of Leica glass imho
 

jjosephlatshaw

New member
Mike,

Thank you for the detailed response, it’s actually made me think that I might also have another possible solution partially in hand. Last year, I had an opportunity to pick up a mint Tachihara Field Stand 4x5 (mislabeled Fiel Stand IIRC) camera. Due to the pandemic, I’ve not got around to using it, and the cost of 4x5 sheet film made me wonder whether to sell it. Do you think I could use a camera like this for similar work? I believe I could get an adapter to use the CFV II with it, and an appropriate lens, but I’m not sure its movements would be sufficient, but using what I have would certainly save me some cash, not to mention the fact that the camera is quite lovely!
 

jng

Well-known member
I’m interested in doing some general macro photography utilizing my Hasselblad equipment. For starters, here’s what I have:

Hasselblad X:
907X
45P
CFV II 50C

Hasselblad V:
500C/M (actually a late 500C with user-replaceable focusing screens. I have the Acute Matte screen designed for the first CFV with the split prism and 44x33 and 33x34 frame lines)
50mm C T*
100mm C T*
180mm CF

What would be the best course of action? Should I consider the XCD 120mm? My concern there is the focus-by-wire, and autofocus being of limited utility for macro work. That said, is it optically much better than one of the V 120mms? I know the manual focus will be helpful, and these are much cheaper. I believe I also would be well served with some extension tubes, but can I use a V lens I have with extension tubes? Obviously for the V setup, I’d use Live View with mirror lockup and the electronic shutter.

I appreciate any guidance you can provide!
Considering the gear you already own, including some very nice V system lenses, you might consider picking up the XV adapter for flexibility. It's only $250 USD and you might find using these manual focus lenses on the 907/CFVII much easier w/live view than on the 500 body (assuming, of course, that you're OK with using the electronic shutter). You can then pick up and test out either the 120 or 135 CF Makro-Planar for a lot less $$ than the XCD 120 Macro. The 120 Makro-Planar is pretty easy to find on the used market and goes down to 1:5, the 135 with its nifty bellows to 1:1. You can increase magnification with the V system 120 using extension tubes - I do this all the time on both my X1D and Cambo/IQ4 150.

How the older Makro-Planars stack up against the XCD 120, I don't know, as I don't own the latter and haven't compared them. However I've used the CF 4/120 and 5.6/135 Makro-Planars as well as the older 5.6/120 S-Planar extensively for macro work, and love the way they render. Again, a pretty inexpensive experiment assuming you can just sell the lens if you're not satisfied with the results.

Hope this helps.

John
 

jjosephlatshaw

New member
jng,

Thank you for the details and advice, and the compliments on the V lenses; I've been lucky to find them at reasonable prices early in the pandemic. One question I do have - what is the benefit of the XV adapter over using the 500C body with the mirror locked up? Is it just the weight and size reduction? Or is there a functional benefit? $250 isn't much to spend compared to Hasselblad equipment, but it is one additional thing to carry, unless I'm committed to 100% digital on a given trip.

For the sort of macro work I see myself doing, I don't think the electronic shutter is too much of a disadvantage; I'm not sure I'd do enough to invest in the sort of strobes that would work well with flash on the 500C, and I've got some Luxli LED panels to make it easy to get the exposure right without the complication of metering with flash. Plus, the electronic shutter means no vibration while making an exposure.
 

mikejmcfarlane

New member
Mike,

Thank you for the detailed response, it’s actually made me think that I might also have another possible solution partially in hand. Last year, I had an opportunity to pick up a mint Tachihara Field Stand 4x5 (mislabeled Fiel Stand IIRC) camera. Due to the pandemic, I’ve not got around to using it, and the cost of 4x5 sheet film made me wonder whether to sell it. Do you think I could use a camera like this for similar work? I believe I could get an adapter to use the CFV II with it, and an appropriate lens, but I’m not sure its movements would be sufficient, but using what I have would certainly save me some cash, not to mention the fact that the camera is quite lovely!
Looks like you have some good options, the 135mm lens with bellows that jng mentions looks interesting.

So technically you could probably put the CFV II on the field camera, but it has some issues! I'm not an expert on this, but think it works like this:
1. you need a suitable roll film adapter e.g. https://www.photo.net/discuss/threa...l-film-back-adaptor-for-tachihara-4x5.134782/
2. large format (4x5) lenses project a much larger image circle as they have to cover 4x5 (or 8x10 or bigger) than is required for our "tiny" medium format sensor 44x33mm sensor. So firstly on the sensor you will get a less sharp image as you are only using a small part of the overall image. Worse, if I understand correctly, the light hitting the sensor is not necessarily hitting the sensor at right angles (when the sensor is shifted as the large format lens is projecting the image out to the edge of 4x5 film) so you get odd colour casts and other issues.
3. For macro I think you would also still need some extra focus length e.g. a longer bellows and rail, or extension tubes.

It might be fun to try, but I suspect the best you would get would be some Instagram filter or Lomo style images. Perhaps you can dig into this further, or someone with experience can add to or correct what I have said, but the 135mm with bellows seems like a good option for macro.
 

jng

Well-known member
One question I do have - what is the benefit of the XV adapter over using the 500C body with the mirror locked up? Is it just the weight and size reduction? Or is there a functional benefit? $250 isn't much to spend compared to Hasselblad equipment, but it is one additional thing to carry, unless I'm committed to 100% digital on a given trip.
My thinking is that if using live view then the 907 would indeed be more compact and arguably more ergonomic than the 500 (not that I don't enjoy handling my 500C and 501CM). Also depending on the condition of your 500C, alignment may be an issue that reveals itself with the high resolution digital back - those old boxes sometimes need to be squared up. But if you're also shooting film alongside digital and don't want to carry the extra gear, the 500 offers a nice solution.

John
 

PSS

Active member
I have the XCD 120 and it is great, wonderful lens. I also have the 2 third party tubes available. the set up works fine, the tubes are cheap and work perfectly but the lens is obviously made to be used by itself, I can tell that IQ takes a slight hit when I use them. but they work.
 

KC_2020

Member
How high a magnification do you want to shoot ?

The 100mm C T* with an extension tube or 2 is an outstanding combination. As sharp if not sharper than the V macro lenses. It's of course not flat field so you have to allow for that.

Having said that the XCD 120 is another class of lens.

You haven't said what your end medium will be. Are you going to print, display on a web site or ?

The differences between the your options will be less significant if you're going to print.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Fotodiox Pro makes Hasselblad X system automatic extension tubes in 20mm and 48mm lengths, available from B&H Photo.

So ... while the XCD 120 Macro may only go to 1:2 magnification in its native mount, you can indeed fit extension tubes for greater magnification. It achieves 1:2 magnification with no change in the length of the lens, being an internal focusing lens, so I suspect that with the appropriate stack of extension tubes behind it, it would remain relatively compact. IF you really use greater than 1:2 magnification much, that is. I don't find that I do. This lens is on my very very short list as the likely final XCD lens I'd like to purchase, and mostly because I already have the V system Macro-Planar 120/4 T* lens. The upside of having the XCD 120 is that you can use flash and as well as a mechanical shutter without the 300ms readout requirement.

The Makro-Planar 120mm f/4 T* in V system achieves approximately 1:4.5 magnification unaided. To achieve approximate 1:1.37 magnification (a 60x45mm image field) requires 64mm worth of additional extension, with the lens set to its minimum focus. I have another 64mm worth of V system extension tubes in the other room; I haven't used 1:1 magnification is a long time. As it is, with 64mm of extension plus the HV Adapter tube, it's a lens assembly that is 242 or so millimeters in length ... quite a hefty thing. The 300ms readout means it is really only useful for completely static subjects and that any camera/subject motion will not only blur the image but can introduce jello-wave artifacts in the imaging. This is the same for using any adapted macro lens.

I often use my Leitz Focusing Bellows-R + Macro-Elmar-R 100mm f/4, fitted with a Fotodiox Pro Leica R to Hasselblad X mount adapter for doing macro work with the 907x as well. This works remarkably well: at any magnification greater than 1:4, there is no vignetting and I can achieve 1:1 magnification with a relatively compact bellows and lens. The Focusing Bellows-R includes a rack and pinion micro-focusing rail built into it as well as a quick-shift control to flip the lens between wide open and stopped down to taking aperture, and it allows 90° rotation of the camera on the bellows without having to fuss with the tripod mount at all. Of course, it's subject to all the same limitations with respect to the eshutter as the Makro-Planar 120mm, and I'd say the Makro-Planar 120 is both better corrected and a tiny bit sharper. But it's very convenient and handy, and when I bought the Leica setup I got the whole setup in the box with the instruction manual for less than $400.

G
 

FloatingLens

Well-known member
In my experience the S-Planar 5,6/120 is fine close up with extension tubes and the CFV II. Practically no chromatic aberrations, which is rather impressive. FWIW, such an old lens is probably lacking the extreme micro-contrast of a modern XCD, but we have all the necessary digital tools today.
 

mikejmcfarlane

New member
better corrected and a tiny bit sharper. But it's very convenient and handy, and when I bought the Leica setup I got the whole setup in the box with the instruction manual for less than $400.

G
since buying a view camera I’m buying more used kit. I used to be quite nervous about it, but I’m now a convert given the beautiful used SK lenses I have bought that are great value compared to modern quality glass, have a softer better drawn rendering that is preferable to my tastes (new glass also can have nice loom, I much prefer XCD to Nikon glass that I used as a professional) and it’s better for the environment (no new production).
 

Gravastar

New member
I have the XCD 120 and it is great, wonderful lens. I also have the 2 third party tubes available. the set up works fine, the tubes are cheap and work perfectly but the lens is obviously made to be used by itself, I can tell that IQ takes a slight hit when I use them. but they work.
There is an apo Elpro close up lens part #16545 intended to be used with the Leica 100mm apo macro which enables the 1:2 reproduction ratio to be converted to 1:1. They can be used together on the X1D. Also the Elpro lens can be adapted with stepping rings to be used on the XCD 120 macro to achieve a 1:1 ratio. To do this make sure you have the short 12528 E60 threaded ring which is usually included with the Elpro and can be used as protection for the protruding rear element or as a front lens shade. You need the ring to act as a rear spacer to enable the Elpro to be mounted on the XCD lens with stepping ring/s. The stepping ring you need is a 77mm male to 60mm female. You may need a combination of 2 rings to do this since the 60mm female stepping options are limited. As an alternative in the UK, SRB Photographic will make such a ring to order for £40.
Here is the Elpro and 12528 ring: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/30080-REG/Leica_16545_Elpro_1_2_1_1_Life_Size.html
 

jng

Well-known member
How high a magnification do you want to shoot ?

The 100mm C T* with an extension tube or 2 is an outstanding combination. As sharp if not sharper than the V macro lenses. It's of course not flat field so you have to allow for that.
I hadn't considered using the 3.5/100 Planar for macros. It's certainly stellar (and flat field) at long focus distances, but I never tried using it for macro work. I will need to give it a try!

The 3.5/100 Planar might be worth the OP's time to try out as well since he already has this lens in hand. Extension tubes are pretty common and inexpensive on the used market. A 56mm tube brings one down to 1:2; 56+32mm approaching 1:1. See attached table for reference.

John

extension_tube_table.gif
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
The V system Planar 80/2.8 T* also works well for macro with a couple of extension tubes.
There are many options ... It depends on how obsessive you want to be to have the "right bona fide stuff"... :D

G
 

P. Chong

Well-known member
Not sure if HC 120 is being considered. I highly recommend it. It’s my workhorse, earning its place in more than 85% of my photographs. It goes to 1:1 natively. And stacked w H26 + H52, it gets near to 2:1. Works well with the H adapter on 907x. Full aperture and shutter control. No AF.
 
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ErikKaffehr

Well-known member
I hadn't considered using the 3.5/100 Planar for macros. It's certainly stellar (and flat field) at long focus distances, but I never tried using it for macro work. I will need to give it a try!

The 3.5/100 Planar might be worth the OP's time to try out as well since he already has this lens in hand. Extension tubes are pretty common and inexpensive on the used market. A 56mm tube brings one down to 1:2; 56+32mm approaching 1:1. See attached table for reference.

John

View attachment 188607
Hi,

The 100/3.5 is not suitable for close up work, but your mileage may vary. The story is that focusing near on the 100/3.5 CF will cause a lot of aberrations, but you photography may not be affected by those aberrations.

I have the 120/4 CFi and have used it with extension tubes on my 555/ELD, but cannot say anything about the optical quality. With macro, DoF is extremely short and diffraction also plays a role. So optical quality is difficult to judge.

Using a Pentax 645120 macro may be a good alternative. It goes to 1:1 and is quite OK.

Using modern macro lenses with extension tubes has problems, but again it depends on applications. Central area will be sharp, edges and corners may suffer a lot.

Best regards
Erik
 

PabloR

Member
if you have a 907x go for the xcd. I am jewelry photographer and have use mostly HC and XCD and for that sensor XCD is the best option, a truly good design. Also has a really fine bokeh, modern and creamy, beautiful for portraiture and all kind of use you can try.

It is not 1:1, I miss it.

I also miss the possibility of close diaphragm to high numbers on X system. On HC I could go for f29 for beauty shots on H4D 60 and get amazing close portraits full of detail for magazine work. Today with the XCD 22 is maximum I can get good results on 120. About it on other lenses as 65 or 90 22 is really bad diffraction issues.

go for the latest generation if you can pay it.
regards
 

jjosephlatshaw

New member
Thank you all for the feedback on this! Unfortunately, answering this question for me will have to wait until I get my 500C adjusted; no matter what I do, my pictures seem to be out of focus on the sensor even when they look right in the viewfinder.
 
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