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Thread: Best medium format lenses ...

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    Best medium format lenses ...

    I'm investigating on which are the best medium format lenses (mam, blad, pentax, contax, rollei, etc...) not considering techcam lenses, only mf
    1) around 45-55mm range
    2) around 80-100mm range
    I'd like sharp lens edge to edge @F8/11, less CA as possible, and as less as possible field of curvature ...

    Your experiences are welcome

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Hi daf

    From my point of view (Mamiya 645, Hasselblad only) there a two ways to solve this question. If you are searching for a good cost/performance solution you may have a look at the Mamiya N lenses for 645. All around 200$, all solid performers.
    From my personal tests, the Macro C 80mm f/4N and the C 45mm f/2.8N are good cheap choices.

    But the best lenses in this range i own, are made by Zeiss for Hasselblad. The 50 & 100 mm Cfi. While the 50 mm is a very good wideangle, and the 100 mm is a legend.

    Hasselblad 100 Cfi @P45+
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/kabrax...385668/sizes/l

    Mamiya 80 N F4 (stiched and cropped) @P45+
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/kabrax...096014/sizes/l

    If you are searching for a universal one you may have a look at the Mamiya C 55-110mm
    f/4.5N. Got mine for 105$, a very solid performer stop down to f8.

    Mamiya 55-110 N @P45 + Tilt/Shift Adapter
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/kabrax...817755/sizes/l

    Regards
    Pascal

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kabraxis View Post
    Hi daf

    From my point of view (Mamiya 645, Hasselblad only) there a two ways to solve this question. If you are searching for a good cost/performance solution you may have a look at the Mamiya N lenses for 645. All around 200$, all solid performers.
    From my personal tests, the Macro C 80mm f/4N and the C 45mm f/2.8N are good cheap choices.

    But the best lenses in this range i own, are made by Zeiss for Hasselblad. The 50 & 100 mm Cfi. While the 50 mm is a very good wideangle, and the 100 mm is a legend.

    Hasselblad 100 Cfi @P45+
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/kabrax...385668/sizes/l

    Mamiya 80 N F4 (stiched and cropped) @P45+
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/kabrax...096014/sizes/l

    If you are searching for a universal one you may have a look at the Mamiya C 55-110mm
    f/4.5N. Got mine for 105$, a very solid performer stop down to f8.

    Mamiya 55-110 N @P45 + Tilt/Shift Adapter
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/kabrax...817755/sizes/l

    Regards
    Pascal
    Hi Kabraxis,
    Thanks for your reply.
    Did you made direct comparaison of Mamyia or Hasseblad vs contax and pentax ?
    I've tryed years ago the 100cfi with my Aptus 33 and i was not impress at all, but myabe i had a bad copy...
    Do you have any cityscape or landscape with details with the 100cfi?


    I'm not after low price but more about quality/performance...

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Obviously any of the Leica S lenses are the best lenses at their respective focal lengths.

    As far as the Pentax system goes, most people put their fingers on the A/FA 120mm Macro as the de-facto "sharp" lens, and stopped down it gets very good.

    The Pentax 150mm gets as sharp by f/8 as the Macro in my opinion, but the general consensus is that the Mamiya/Phase 150mm is superior, which I believe means at wider apertures.

    Two of the new lenses, the 90mm Macro and 28-45mm 4.5 are considered to be incredibly sharp as well, with the 28-45 being a pleasant surprise in general since being a zoom it's sharper than any of the primes in it's focal range from what I read.

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kolor-Pikker View Post
    Obviously any of the Leica S lenses are the best lenses at their respective focal lengths.
    +1

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kabraxis View Post
    Mamiya 55-110 N @P45 + Tilt/Shift Adapter
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/kabrax...817755/sizes/l

    Regards
    Pascal
    Hi Pascal,
    Do you have a link to the actual Tilt/Shift Adaptor for the Mamiya 55-110?
    I have this lens and like it (although its close focus distance is about 5ft so I typically put a close-up +1 on it for studio work) I would love to see a tilt/shift adaptor for it that can do some swings for simple focus plane adjustments (ala Scheimpflug) I found the SK TS lens a bit too complicated

    I like my PhaseOne (SK) 120mm Macro AF as our "go to" lens for sharpest in our studio. A bit pricey, but if you only can have one...

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Any 120mm f/4 macro lens--Hasselblad, Pentax, Mamiya, Leica, they are all excellent.
    Will

    http://www.hakusancreation.com
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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Any 120mm f/4 macro lens--Hasselblad, Pentax, Mamiya, Leica, they are all excellent.
    There is mostly a difference in the amount of CA exhibited by the macros and out-of-focus rendering, otherwise they all have equally SLOW autofocus as in Canon 85L slow. If the Leica 120mm didn't make so much noise while focusing, I would have fallen asleep while it went from infinity to close focus.

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kolor-Pikker View Post
    Obviously any of the Leica S lenses are the best lenses at their respective focal lengths.
    WOAH there pony.

    Leica makes very good lenses. But any time you make a statement that broad borders on ideology not information.

    I'll put a Schneider 40-80LS, Schneider 110LS, Schneider 240LS, or Phase One 150mm D up against any Leica lens. I won't even cheat and use one of Phase/Leaf's full frame MF sensors.

    Seriously. A Schneider 110LS wide open is so sharp in the plane of focus it will cut your eyes, and buttery smooth in the out of focus areas it feels.

    We maintain a catalog of raw files for our clients to evaluate lens quality, as well as a fleet of rental lenses for their own evaluation. This is what I would recommend for you. Your own tests are the only way you'll have an answer relevant to your own unique needs and priorities.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Phase One 150mm D

    Top of the tree out of all the lenses I used. I rate the Pentax 645 120mm Macro too. Possibly more than the Phase. But it's F2.8 vs F4 so different lenses really.

    The 35mm Pentax 645 lens is gorgeous too so I know the others are outside of your 45-100mm ask, I thought they were worth a mention.

    120 F4 Macro

    Chris Giles Photography
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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    hasselblad V lenses:
    110/f2 FE (no shutter in lens)
    40/f4 CFE IF (leaf shutter in lens)

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Egor View Post
    Hi Pascal,
    Do you have a link to the actual Tilt/Shift Adaptor for the Mamiya 55-110?
    I have this lens and like it (although its close focus distance is about 5ft so I typically put a close-up +1 on it for studio work) I would love to see a tilt/shift adaptor for it that can do some swings for simple focus plane adjustments (ala Scheimpflug) I found the SK TS lens a bit too complicated
    It use this one:
    MIREX-Adapter fr die besondere Fotografie

    With an EOS-Mount HCam B1
    Hartblei Cam

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    WOAH there pony.

    Leica makes very good lenses. But any time you make a statement that broad borders on ideology not information.
    But Leica is an ideology Sorry if my use of "obviously" didn't give it away.
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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    I find the SK 55 mm and the Mamiya 150 mm (both f2.8) to be about as sharp as the IQ180 can handle, followed by the SK 240.

    The 35 and 45 Mamiyas are not the very best, though eminently usable. The 28 mm is very good for such a wide-angle but not stellar in the corners.

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kolor-Pikker View Post
    But Leica is an ideology Sorry if my use of "obviously" didn't give it away.
    And very few of the Leica S users would look twice at the Schneider Phase offerings...

    now the Schneider Rodenstock Alpa formulations are a horse of a different color....

    Problem is the recent AF failures in the Leica S series....

    Truth is the BEST lens may not be the lens that has the character or drawing that one would prefer... but that is another topic.

    When one selects a platform...Phase, Pentax, Leica, Hasselblad ... they are relegated to the platforms lenses and ideology for better or rarely worse. Learning the limitations of the platform and how to maximize the output is incumbent upon the photographer ... it behooves him or her to maximize all of the aspects of light composition and staging to acquire the image they wish to represent themselves...rarely is the final output contingent solely on the glass used. It helps but is not definitive.

    So yes some lenses are better or best but some image in a way that defies quantification and present an image that is above reproach.

    JMHO.....

    Bob
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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    here is a sample of 3 lenses from a recent battery of tests:
    Mamiya 75-150
    SK80
    SK120

    All shot same credo80/DF+ everything at F11
    I like them all, but the 120Macro is my favorite, except for the shallower DoF for this type of shot. Hard to argue with the SK80, however. The M75-150 isn't far behind and is a production "machine"

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    thanks all...maybe i should have clarify a bit more:
    i'm in search of the best medium format 45-55 and 80-100mm lenses, i already own some and have already tested a few, but i'm intersted to see what other would consider as the best in this range.
    i'm doing architecture and urban landscape, so not much interested in a "caracter/portrait lens" i need sharp image corner to corner @f8/11, as small as possible field curvature (i'm not after macro lens as they usually have too much field curvature at infinity) and of course as small CA as possible.
    i'm not attached to any brands as i'm going to use them as TS lenses on 24x36, but as we are in the mediumformat section,so let's imagine that it's for alpa fps+q180

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    since i own it, i pretty much use my C645 120mm makro like 50% next to my 35mm 3.5, the 140mm is retired ok not 100%

    the makro is amazingly sharp even wide open!

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Quote Originally Posted by daf View Post
    I'm investigating on which are the best medium format lenses (mam, blad, pentax, contax, rollei, etc...) not considering techcam lenses, only mf

    1) around 45-55mm range:

    Leica S/CS 45/2.8 is the best I've experienced bar none ... followed by the stunning newer version Hasselblad HC 50/3.5-II which has an optically matching C/U adapter made for it ... followed by the lesser known but very interesting Contax 55/3.5 that has a uniquely beautiful front bokeh that's as nice as the back bokeh. At 40mm the CFE40IF was quite good in all regards except it demonstrated a bit too much distortion for me

    2) around 80-100mm range

    I'm still searching for the best in this focal length range for MF use. The Hasselblad HC 100/2.2 exhibits too much CA for me. The Leica S/CS 120/2.5 Macro is fine but only does 1:2 (BTW, the AF on this lens was improved with the last FW update). The Contax 120/4 Makro does do 1:1 and while old, is quite capable of standing up to HR. The 70/80mm lenses in most MF systems seem fine, just somewhat boring. I have the new Leica S 100/2 on order, and suspect it will fill the bill.

    I'd like sharp lens edge to edge @F8/11, less CA as possible, and as less as possible field of curvature ...

    Your experiences are welcome
    See above in BF

    - Marc

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Hi,

    Thanks for the test, but I have a couple of issues:

    1) It is a central part of the image most lenses are very good at center of image.

    2) A very good lens will perform best at f/5.6 or f/8. Stopping down to f/11 causes diffraction, so most decent lenses will perform similar.

    I have no doubt that the tests you do reflect your shooting conditions and are fully relevant for what you do.

    Personally, I am shooting a Hasselblad V-series with a P45+ back. I have a bunch of lenses 40/4 CF/FLE, 50/4 CF/FLE, 80/2.8CFE, 100/3.5CF, 120/4CFi and 180/4 CFi.

    I mostly shoot at f/11, because of limitations in my focusing ability, but also because I am pretty sure that most of my lenses have some field curvature, with 100/3.5 CF and the 180/4 CFi being the exception.

    Here is an aperture (f/4, f/8 and f/16) series shot with the 40, 50, 80 and 120 lenses (didn't have the 100/3.5 at that time and did not have space enough for the 180/4): http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar...s/CastleShoot/

    And here are some samples with all lenses:
    http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar...ernardSamples/

    I would guess these lenses are typical of their generation. More modern lenses may use more elements, floating groups, and low/anomal dispersion glass or even aspherical lenses.

    Best regards
    Erik
    Quote Originally Posted by Egor View Post
    here is a sample of 3 lenses from a recent battery of tests:
    Mamiya 75-150
    SK80
    SK120

    All shot same credo80/DF+ everything at F11
    I like them all, but the 120Macro is my favorite, except for the shallower DoF for this type of shot. Hard to argue with the SK80, however. The M75-150 isn't far behind and is a production "machine"

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    My vote goes for one of the Schneider for Rollei lenses, the 50 and 80mm AFD lenses are fantastic, the 150 and 180mm also. I haven´t used the 90 and 150mm Macros yet but i am sure these are as sharp as it gets.
    Philipp Derganz Photography
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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    OK Erik,
    Sounds like you know what you want!
    If I had known you wanted wides that shoot wide open and were concerned about edge to edge I would have posted different tests. (I don't do that type of shooting by My friend's Rodenstock wides we tested were exceptional)
    I tested 8 different lenses from wide open to F22
    That was just a very small sample.
    All the SK lenses were superb, but the 120Macro exhibited 0 curvature, 0 CA, and
    none had diffraction issues all the way out to F11 even photographing the AirForce lens resolution chart!

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kolor-Pikker View Post
    Obviously any of the Leica S lenses are the best lenses at their respective focal lengths.
    +1
    Leica S

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Quote Originally Posted by daf View Post
    i'm not attached to any brands as i'm going to use them as TS lenses on 24x36
    Then check that the aperture can still be adjusted. For example, the Hasselblad HC50-II was noted as a very good lens (I can confirm), but its aperture can only be changed electrically by the camera. You will no be able to use it unless the adapter has electronics and I am not aware of any such adapters. I believe that this is also true for Leica-S lenses.

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    almost all the newer medium format glasses are excellent. If you are not talking about a technical camera lens, then Hassey, Pentax, Leica, etc are all excellent.

    I particularly like the rendering of the newer rollei glasses. or, Contax, for older glasses

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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    In the past I have shot with a nearly full kit of Hasselblad FE lenses, a Rollei 6008/Hy6 system with mostly Schneider lenses, a Mamiya 7II, Plaubel Makina, and Contax 645. In 35mm I have gone with Leica M and R, Zeiss ZF and ZM, Contax G and many more. In large format I have used Schneider Apo Symmar L's and Super Symmar XL's...
    As a whole, the Leica S lenses are not just better, they are in a different league entirely. There are specific lenses in other systems that are spectacular, but they always seem to be a step behind in some measure than the S lenses. Either they are slower, or they are not as good wide open, or they have more fringing or distortion etc. For example, I shot with the 250mm Zeiss Superachromat on the S2 with an adapter. It is a spectacular lens. But the performance at f/5.6 was similar to that of the S 120mm at f/2.8, only it had a lot more vignetting. The S lenses are a tour de force, but of course they are extremely expensive and only work on the S bodies so a lot of people have not had a chance to really get a handle on how good they are. As I have said, I have shot with a lot of the world's best lenses, and the S lenses are so clearly better than pretty much anything else that it is not really worth arguing about. For example, I would be happy to make a 1x1.5 meter print from the 120mm shot wide open at 2.5...or the 35mm shot at 2.5. or the 45mm at 2.8 etc etc. Of course I would not go out and intend to shoot wide open for every shot, but that is the feeling with the S lenses...you don't have to worry about the lens at all...every aperture, every focal length, every distance...they just give you clean, sharp, low-distortion, fringe free, high contrast images with consistent color and look throughout the whole range. And no, I am not being paid by Leica, and sure you can say this is confirmation bias because I own an S system, but I also own a hell of a lot of other systems that I still love using, (Mamiya 7II and Konica Hexar for example), but when it comes to technical prowess, I would put the S lenses up against anything available on the consumer market.

    Besides the S lenses, the best lenses I have used are the Mamiya 7 lenses and the Schneider lenses for the Hy6, so I have no doubt that the Schneider lenses for Phase are also very very good. I am also very very skeptical that they are better than the Leicas. I would be happy to see a comparison though.
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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Just a note though, if you are going to use them as tilt shift lenses on 35mm, why wouldn't you consider techcam lenses? Surely they are better suited than big retrofocal SLR lenses?
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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    All of the Hasselblad H lenses are quite nice. The 120 f4 macro is the king of sharpness. The 100 f2.2 is superb as well, even wide open, which gives a really magical bokeh.

    The 50-110 is versatile and sharp around f8-11.
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    Re: Best medium format lenses ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Felipe View Post
    My vote goes for one of the Schneider for Rollei lenses, the 50 and 80mm AFD lenses are fantastic, the 150 and 180mm also. I haven´t used the 90 and 150mm Macros yet but i am sure these are as sharp as it gets.
    Another vote for this family - the 60mm Curtagon remains top, with two others noteworthy: the 90 macro (just edges out the previous version 90HRW Rodie), and the 300. The 60 and 150 telexenar make a great travel kit, throw in the 80AF and a 1.4 tele-extender for a bit more flexibility.

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