Hasselblad lens question


New Member
Hello! I am in need of some advice/tips and I hope someone can help me.

I am shooting inside the new JP Morgan library in New York. The shoot is for a steel contracting company, so I will be shooting both large spaces and tight architectural details. The space is huge, with impossibly high sky-light ceilings that drench the place with amazing sunlight. Of course, the lower levels are a bit darker, and combine artificial light (mostly spots, not flourescents).

I am using my hasselblad 503 CW with a Metz 54 MZ-4i (with SCA 390 adaptor for TTL) and I have the PME45 and a sekonic incident meter. I am shooting Fujifilm Provia 100.

Here come the questions:

- I currently have only an 80mm lens, and plan on renting two lenses from Adorama (NY). It looks like I will definitely need a wide angle, and a zoom. Any suggestions for specific lenses?

- There is a ton of glass that I have to shoot (elevators, stair wells) and I'm not quite sure the best way to go about it. I'm not very flash-savvy, but I know enough to realize it's going to be a nightmare.

Any help, advice, links, and points in the right direction would be VERY VERY appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your time and help!!!


New Member
Dear Catherine,

We would have to be onsight to give any reasonable advice on this.

As a shot in the dark then, if it is down to lenses and not an arc body + lens, which allows for tilts, then the 38mm Ziess Biogon may be the first option followed by the 40mm CFE Distagon. A 150mm or 180mm may be of use but without seeing the interior or discussing with the client it is difficult to know exactly what is wanted.

2. Tons of glass need not be a nightmare, how about renting a polarizing filter?

Sounds like you should also be using a polariod back to check all of the shots if you are that unsure of the outcome. Or even rent a digital back for instant results.

If flash was to be used there should be about upto 6 flash heads e.g. (Elinchrom EL 500's) strategically placed and linked together, not just one. They would also need colour compensation gels to compensate for the spots. The client may be happy with the spots colour which may look more natural if they give off a warm glow.

Other than that, natural light exposures will cover most of the assignment. All the best


New Member
Catherine the only comments I'd make in addition to Carl's are about choice of lens. It seems you need minimal distortion due to the architecture involved. So personally I'd agree that for wide angle You'd be best advised to use the 38mm Biogon. I'd avoid the 40mm simply because I personally don't like its comparative distortion; I'd prefer to use the 50mm if you want to shoot a bit tighter than the 38mm.

And like Carl says, for any longer focal lengths it is hard to comment but maybe trust your eyes and simply select what looks to suit your purpose.

Since you seem to need to borrow/rent the longer lenses, you could take a 35mm SLR with some lenses and see what seems to be right and then make the math converion back to 6x6 to decide what you rent/borrow.

Carl's lighting suggestion seems to be the optimal way to go.

Good luck.


Active Member
Hi Catherine.

Coincidentally, I am about to embark on a similar shoot except in place of windows I will be facing vast expanses of highly reflective black and white marble. The shoot is part of a year long assignment to create a library of images for a major Cemetery. The immediate task is to shoot the interior of a mammoth and magnificent Mausoleum built in the Deco 1920's.

I am considering the use of a Rollie Xact view camera with Rodenstock digital view camera lenses, on which I can either mount a digital back, or use a film back (or both). If that doesn't materialize due to the cost verses the over-all budget, I will use my Hasselblad along with a Muter Shift Adapter, no tilts but the shift can help in some cases.

The disadvantage of the Mutar is that it has a 1.4X multiplication factor that lessens the field of view of a 40mm. So, in addition I will take along a SWC sporting the 38mm mentioned above. While the 38mm does control distortion better than any other Hasselblad Wide Angle it does not alter keystone perspective when shooting from floor level in very high ceiling areas ... which is actually less of a concern these days with digital images (or scanned film), because of the sophisticated perspective and distortion controls now available in post processing programs like PhotoShop CS2. To use these post controls you have to allow even more field of view because you will lose some of it in the correction process... so you have to move back even more.

In my opinion, while a low contrast film may offer some relief of the contrast issues you may be facing, that can be mitigated IF you are going to scan the images after the shoot.
The reason for this is that you can lock down the camera on a tripod and shoot multiple images in sequence each at different exposures and merge them in a post program. (Vary the shutter speed not the f stop to achieve this so as to not alter the depth of field). The work-flow sequence is to merge the exposures first using PS layers, then link the layers before applying the perspective and distortion corrections so they're applied to all layers.

Other thoughts:

For detail shots: consider renting the Zeiss 120/4 Macro and a couple of extension tubes: I recommend at least the 10mm based on experience. The flatness of field and optimization of this lens at close ranges makes it perfect for those detail shots. If a 120 isn't in the budget, at least get tubes for your 80 which will get you in closer if needed.

A Polarizer is an excellent idea to control reflections, however, one for the 40mm with it's 95mm mount is hard to find for rent, and one for the 38mm may vignette the corners unless it's the super thin type.

Lighting: IMO, except maybe for the detail work, the Metz will be useless. Even for the detail work, you most likely will want an off-camera cord SCA3008 (I think, but double check). This will allow for some directional lighting to bring out relief detail. I suggest also bringing a piece of foam-core for a fill bounce.

If a set of strobes is feasible it's good way to go, however in my case the client doesn't want such contraptions disturbing his cliental ... so I will be using the "merging" technique
I described above.


New Member
I wonder when Catherine's shoot is/was. Her post was dated July of 2006.

Hope these responses are not too late.