Review: Hasselblad Zeiss Planar 80mm f/2,8

Hasselblad Zeiss Planar 80mm f/2,8

The Planar is often overlooked because is the standard lens that almost everyone buys with an Hasselblad.

But this does not mean that it is not a great performer.

Quite the opposite, indeed!

Designing a normal lens is easy, even without resorting to rare earths or others magic ingredients.

And this Zeiss does not make an exception.

It is sharp all the way, at all the apertures, and with the great and well known Zeiss contrast and colors.

The only thing that someone may find unappealing (but I think only on the old models) is the lock that tie together apertures and shutter speeds (the lens has a leaf shutter) linking them to a specific EV value.

For me, instead, this is a plus, because once the exposure has been decided one can fiddle around with aperture and speeds values without the constant necessity of recalibrate things.

Performance-wise if it is not a legend like some of its siblings of the Hasselblad lineup surely it is a great great lens.

Speaking of Hasselblad legends a valid alternative, but costly, is the Planar 100mm f/3,5.

Anyway with any of them you will be plenty happy.

Rating: ★★★★½ on film

Review: Contax 60mm f/2,8 Makro S-Planar

Contax 60mm f/2,8 Makro S-Planar

I’ve been thinking for a while to glue it on the Canon 5d mark II…and that should tell you something!

It’s really the lens that you will reach in your bag more often that not, unless you shoot Nascar or Formula 1…

Scary sharp, contrasty, doesn’t know what the flare is even if you are shooting directly into the sun, easy to focus, not so bulky for beeing a macro lens.

All of this for 300 / 500 € street, depends in wich conditions you will find one and if from a private seller or from a shop.

There is also a cheaper version called C-Planar that goes only to 1:2 but with the same optic; if you are not interested in macro, or if you can appreciate the cut in weight and bulkiness, it may worth a look.

Rating: ★★★★★

Review: Fuji GS 645

Today I wish to talk about one of the best, if not THE best, cameras I ever used.

I’m speaking about the Fuji GS 645, a 4,5×6 medium format rangefinder camera that will fit in your pocket.

And without having to sacrify anything. This camera has one of the sharpest lenses ever and a classic center weighted exposure meter with LEDs into the finder.

And I swear, I’m not throwing away superlatives just for fun, it is really that amazing!

fuji gs645

With one toy like this one in your pocket and some films in the other you may go shooting for a day, from reportage to landscape photography.

One of my favourite setups for landscape is this camera screwed on top of the tripod – closed to protect the lens and the really delicate bellows -,  and the tripod itself on my shoulder, carried like a shotgun.

This way I’m always ready to shoot; without the lazyness of picking the camera or the lens into the bag I just put down the tripod, frame and shoot, move on.

If you find one of this cameras take a look at the bellows: the original Fuji ones are really prone to develop little holes that you may see blasting a flashlight or a lamp inside the bellows, obviously with the back open, in a dark room.

I have changed mine with an home made variant, much stronger even if a little too thick; and, by the way, the plexiglass in front of the finder is not the original aspect of the camera, but the black plastic mask that cover this zone broke and I have had replaced it this way.

If you don’t need the extreme compactness of this model you may avoid the bellows problems and you may choose one of the other models of the same line, if you want up to 6×9; whatever you choose they are all excellent.

Rating: ★★★★★ optics

Rating: ★★★½☆ mechanics

Review: Minolta 55mm f/1,7 Rokkor-PF MC

It focuses smooth as butter after over 30 years of use.

And it is one of the sharpest lens I ever used. Period.

Unfortunately it will mount, because of the short focal plane/flange distance, only on the Minolta manual cameras, or, with an adapter, on the Olympus and Sony Nex mirrorless.

I’ve adapted it on a M42/Sony Nex ring on the Nex 3; now it works like a charm even if, given the weight of the lens compared to the tiny camera, the combo is a bit front heavy.

To mount this no-rare jewel on a Nikon or Canon camera you will need an adapter ring with an optic element inside, that almost certainly will degrade the unbelievable superb sharpness exhibited by the lens alone.

Rating: ★★★★½

Review: Canon 50mm f/1,8 Mark II

A very cheap, all plastic, toy lens, that neverthless performs marvellously.

The only problem, but this will change from sample to sample, is a big lack of consistency when focusing at full aperture, that one cannot even correct in camera because it varies randomly from front focus to backfocus and in intensity.

It will blows away most pro zooms, and a bunch of primes. Yes, L types too.

100% crops. Left center, right borders (on Canon 5D Mark II):

No excuses to not have one in your bag if you shoot Canon, especially for DX owners that may use this like a fast portrait lens.

canon 50mm mark II

And did I mention that NEW it costs merely 100 euro?

Rating: ★★★★★