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How to go digital with old C lenses?

ecopix

New Member
I still have my beloved 500cm bought when an apprentice in 1978, and a less loved 553ELX, which I bought for a digital back that never came from my employer.

And I still have lovely 50mm, 80mm, 120mm and 250mm C lenses sitting in the dark (I sold the 500mm when sanity temporarily prevailed).

I'd love to use these lenses digitally in my retirement (sad to say, I'm over film - been shooting digitally professionally since 2004 and don't intend to go back to film).

Trouble is, I can't justify it in practical terms. The latest full frame cameras are so good that I don't NEED to shoot medium format. I have a stepping rig for them and also a stepping back for the Blad lenses, if I want to step the smaller cameras behind the larger image circles.

So the budget is tight to use the old gear again, just for old time sake.

Question is, given the technicalities and costs, I'm torn between a used digital back of modest resolution, and risk the old lenses not synchronising, or buying a used Pentax 645D with lens adapter, and laying my old camera bodies finally to rest.

Which way would forum members go? Many thanks for your thoughts.
 

dirk

MFF-Founder
Administrator
Question is, given the technicalities and costs, I'm torn between a used digital back of modest resolution, and risk the old lenses not synchronising, or buying a used Pentax 645D with lens adapter, and laying my old camera bodies finally to rest.

Which way would forum members go? Many thanks for your thoughts.

Hi ecopix,

What would be the price of a Pentax 654D system in your area compared to i.e. a Hasselblad X1D with adapter for the old lenses?
 

camerafocus

New Member
If you can find a used Hasselblad CFV back you will not need to worry about syncing the back to the camera. The digital back is fired by the same pin that used to release the A12 Mag position lock. I used to work for Hasselblad UK in technical support when these were first launched and the results of the CFV 16 were better at the time than higher resolution DSLR's. Obviously if you can find the later CFV-39 or CFV-50 they are better but the sharpness of the images in not only governed by the pixel count but also the size of the pixels. If you use a DSLR fully stopped down, the refraction of light with small pixel cells means that the image will be soft. I also spent time working for a UK PhaseOne dealer and I know that the sync to body was a big issue.
David
 

jotloob

MFF-Patron
Using the CFV-16 , CFV-39 and CFV-50 with a 500 series camera is no problem at all .
As described by CAMERAFOCUS in the previous post .
I use the CFV-39 and CVF-50 with ARCA SWISS , HASSELBLAD 500 series and with ALPA cameras from a tripod only . In flash sync mode I use the HASSELBLAD electronic release cable 3043370 to wake up the back . Additional , when using a 500 series camera , I always use "mirror prerelease" . No further cabling required .
 

astan

New Member
I still have my beloved 500cm bought when an apprentice in 1978, and a less loved 553ELX, which I bought for a digital back that never came from my employer.

And I still have lovely 50mm, 80mm, 120mm and 250mm C lenses sitting in the dark (I sold the 500mm when sanity temporarily prevailed).

I'd love to use these lenses digitally in my retirement (sad to say, I'm over film - been shooting digitally professionally since 2004 and don't intend to go back to film).

Trouble is, I can't justify it in practical terms. The latest full frame cameras are so good that I don't NEED to shoot medium format. I have a stepping rig for them and also a stepping back for the Blad lenses, if I want to step the smaller cameras behind the larger image circles.

So the budget is tight to use the old gear again, just for old time sake.

Question is, given the technicalities and costs, I'm torn between a used digital back of modest resolution, and risk the old lenses not synchronising, or buying a used Pentax 645D with lens adapter, and laying my old camera bodies finally to rest.

Which way would forum members go? Many thanks for your thoughts.

I don't have any C lenses, but I have many Hasselblad CFE and CFI and some FE lenses and have used them with a Pentax 645D camera with a Photodiox Pro HB - PT645 adapter. Works very well. I would recommend that solution.
 

ecopix

New Member
Thanks to everyone for their info. Very helpful, and it's impressive to see such knowledge and experience. I didn't know that the CFV's used a different system altogether to the usual suspects from Phase etc.
Dirk, my research in Aussie dollars: X1D roughly A$10 000, CFV-50 $11 000, CFV-16 (UK) A$5 000, Pentax 645D under A$3 000 with modern bells and whistles. You can see the attraction of the adapted Pentax, although I agree a nice CFV would be the preferable solution.
No rush, will keep on the lookout. I'm still a working dog with a new Z6 to acquaint myself with for now...

PS Congrats on the way MFF now looks and runs. Very well done.
 

wengolee

New Member
I am the owner of CFV 50, 500 and 2000 series cameras. The combo is very unreliable. I would not recommend them to anyone.
 

jotloob

MFF-Patron
Wengolee
Your contribution is not very helpful : You do not describe , why you say , "the combo" is not reliable . What do you exactly mean by "the combo"
And what is not reliable ? ? ?
I have a CFV39 , a CFV50 and cameras of the 500 and 2000 series , including the 905SWC + lenses from 40mm to 250mm focal length .
The only thing , which is a bit tricky , is focusing , unless you use a split screen matte .

So please go ahead and describe , what you find unreliable . That would be very helpful , also for other users .
 

wengolee

New Member
I have, since 2012, been using CFV50 together with SWC/M, 500C/M and (modified) 203FE. One can never be sure what one will get after pressing the shutter. You have to squeeze the shutter with a particular force - not too hard and not too slow. The results have been consistently disappointing. I'll post up some of my failed photos fr your comment.
 

wengolee

New Member
CFV II 50C with Leica Super-Elmar 21mm f3.4 Asph
 

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wengolee

New Member
CFV II 50C with Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f2.8
 

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wengolee

New Member
CFV II 50C with Hasselblad 150mm FC f/2.8 Sonnar
 

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wengolee

New Member
CFV II 50C with SWC/M
 

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ecopix

New Member
Thanks Wengolee for taking all this trouble.
Apart from coverage problems with the 35mm lenses, they look okay to me from a camera/lens point of view. A little distortion on the 150mm that presumably modern firmware would correct with modern lenses. What issues are you having?
The magenta of the 21mm is typical of non-digital ultrawide lenses on digital sensors. Apparently to do with the extreme angle that the light rays are hitting the photosites. I tried a very wide Voigtlander lens years ago on a Kodak professional camera with similar bizarre results. The solution was to buy even a humble wide angle made for digital (in my case a Sigma zoom!).
Interested in what you and others have to comment here.
 

jotloob

MFF-Patron
I have, since 2012, been using CFV50 together with SWC/M, 500C/M and (modified) 203FE. One can never be sure what one will get after pressing the shutter. You have to squeeze the shutter with a particular force - not too hard and not too slow. The results have been consistently disappointing. I'll post up some of my failed photos fr your comment.
I can not comprehend what you report . I never ever got any trouble , but I always work from a tripod with mirror prerelease . That might be the answer .
 

wengolee

New Member
The CFV II 50C and 907X have been in my possession for about 2 weeks. I have not yet been able to thoroughly test them. When I first received the unit I was shocked to find that the behaviour of the on/off button was very erratic. I have to push the button more than 4 or 5 times before the camera could be turned on. I was thinking of returning the camera to the dealer. Fortunately the problem was solved after the Firmware 1.4.0 update.
It appears that 907X cannot be used with 3rd party lenses unless the '907X contact' between 907X and CFV II is disconnected. I use a narrow strip of paper as an insulator for that purpose.
The use 135 format wide-angle lenses of 35mm and less cannnot be recommended because of the vignetting and the magenta tinge. 50mm lenses and above is OK with the added advantage of portability.
 

ecopix

New Member
I think the magenta can be avoided with retrofocus wide angles, say a Leica R lens rather than M?? I used a cheap and nasty 20mm f3.5 Ai Nikkor on the Kodak full-frame (24x36mm) sensor, which didn't give any magenta cast, but the peripheral sharpness was dismal and the corners quite dark. A 24mm Nikkor was just acceptable stopped down. These are retrofocus wides designed for the deeper reflex register distance.
 
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