Singular Images

March 11, 2019

32-E extension tube for Hasselblad

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography — Tags: , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 2:02 am


Hasselblad 503cx with 32-E Extension tube and 120mm Planar Makro 2019 copyright by Douglas Stockdale

I just noticed that my Memory Pods subjects are just starting to bud and as I stated at the end of last year for this seasonal year I needed to augment my 120mm Makro lens with an extension tube. Primarily to increase the magnification by focusing closer and to be able to fill the frame with my subject.

From past experience I had found out that a 21mm extension tube did not provide the closer focus, but that was with the 150mm lens and not a 120mm Makro lens, which is designed for closer focusing and increasing magnification. Thus I had stacked two 21mm extension tubes which did provide the closer focusing with the 150mm lens. BUT being a rookie using the Hasselblad extension tubes, I was unaware of the rules for lens and camera engagement using an extension tube. I had really locked up my lens, extension tubes and camera by trying to taking the lens with the extension tube off in the wrong order and spent a lot of money with the camera repair shop. Bad, bad, bad!

A year ago I had a very old 500 C/M body and after the body, lens and extension tubes went into the repair shop twice to disengage the camera body from the lens and extension tubes I subseqently sold the two 21mm extension tubes and traded the 500 C/M body for a newer used 503cx.  I had thought that the lens locking issue was due the older 500 C/M body, not knowing that I was taking these a part in the wrong order. I also purchased a used 120mm Makro but regretfully found that the Makro does focus closer, just not close enough for what I wanted to photograph. Thus I found myself back to reconsidering another extension tube. But which? I wanted to avoid stacking extension tubes due to what happen last time.

While investigating the extension tubes I came across the Hasselblad notice regarding the need to very carefully follow a very strict order to mount and dismount extension tubes. Yikes! I guess it is better to find out about this later than never at all. So here is what Hasselblad states to do OR you will lock up your camera and lens (which I can attest to!);

First; mount the extension tube to the camera body. Make sure it is in sync with the lens mount (cocked).

Then mount the lens to the extension tube. (or a second extension tube followed by the lens).

To remove, repeat in the opposite order (Don’t remove the extension tube while it is still mounted to the lens!); first remove the lens from the extension tube.

Then remove the extension tube from the camera body. Don’t try to remove the extension tube from the body with the lens still attached!!

I wish somebody would have told me this a year ago as I might still be using that same 500 C/M and the two 21mm extension tubes now in conjunction with the 120mm Makro.

Okay, now that I realized that I needed to carefully follow the rules for mounting and unmounting an extension tube and lens; now which extension tube to purchase?

I still wanted to purchase a single extension tube and I had two options; a 32-E (which is a 32mm extension tube) or a 56-E (56mm tube). The two previous 21mm had provided a combined 42mm of extension which seemed okay with my 150mm lens, but that lens did not focus as close compared to the 120mm Makro. Regretfully the Hasselblad lens charts did not make much sense to me, but my gut said that the 32mm would probably work really well with the 120mm Makro while the 56m might provide too much magnification for what I intended to photograph. Thus I bought a used 32-E extension tube that was stated to be in great shape.

My 32-E extension tube arrived on Saturday and today was the film test. First, the extension tube was indeed in great shape (eBay seller will get a nice review). Second I took careful note to make sure the the extension tube was in alignment with the 120mm Makro lens. I then diligently followed the mounting sequence recommended by Hasselblad (above), which worked fine as well. I also practice unmounting as recommended and NO issues (praise the Lord!).

What I had also noted from the on-line comments about extension tubes and per Hasselblad that when using this extension tube that I was going to loose about one stop in exposure. So I did a test bracket with a roll of film to ensure that this was true, but in retrospect, with the 120mm Makro in the close focusing mode, you also loose about a half stop in exposure. Which I forgot to take into consideration. Bummer. My Fujichrome 100 has an ISO 100, so the very first exposure was not adjusted for the light loss, then the second exposure was calculated using an ISO 50 (essentially my EI, Exposure Index to use the zone terminology) with my spot meter to give an extra stop (more light) in exposure. When I evaluate the processed film (I had also included a gray card in some of my test photographs) in about one week, I should be able to calculate how much I need to adjust the EI (Exposure Index or my ISO) for the film with this lens and extension tube combination.

This is getting pretty exciting for me. I really, really like what I was seeing in the view finder with this 32-E extension tube and the 120mm Makro lens while photographing my subjects. It appears that I had chosen well with the 32-E purchase as the framing of my subject is just about perfect as to what I was pre-visualizing. Btw, anyone wanting to donate a 56-E for me to evaluate would be very much appreciated!

I also did an exposure bracket with a shallow depth of field (f/4.0) and with more depth of field (f/11) for the same composition with this extension tube and lens combination.

So now I am waiting on the results. Yes, I do not process color or black and white film any longer so I am at the mercy of the pro film processing lab. Otherwise this roll of moderately expired film would have been in the soup this afternoon and I would be able to provide more feedback. So you, like me, get to work on our patience together.



Btw, I had purchased an expensive (cheap!) lens hood for the 120mm Makro which after a year, fell apart. sigh. So I purchased a used Hasselblad lens hood for this lens and after removing years of tape residuals, is working and looking pretty good.

January 23, 2018

Hasselblad jamnation – Again!

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Douglas Stockdale @ 9:24 pm


Hasselblad 500 C/M January 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This is not the post that I had intended for today, as I was hit again with the Hasselblad Jamnation blues.

Yesterday afternoon I picked up my 500 C/M after it was “repaired” and after some back and forth last night, loaded the A12 back with some 120 color print film for today’s camera and lens check (did I mention my 120mm CF Makro lens acquisition?). My goal was to start photographing where my Gardening for Ordnance project was crossing the new Path to Somewhere project.

After a short hike out to the trail and to my destination with a quick set-up for my composition, I made the first exposure. The distinctive “flap” of the Hasselblad shutter in conjunction with the almost silent “ticking” of the lens shutter was music to my ears. That was it for a joyful moment. When I wound the camera for the next exposure, the mirror and lens reset, but the film counter did not advance for the A12 back. Huh? So then I did the same sequence a couple of more times; wound the shutter/mirror, fire and advance again and still the A12 film counter was still not advancing. Hmmmm.

Since I did phone reception; Google A12 film issues. All of the discussions were about the either the film not being loaded correctly or a problem with the gears in the A12 back. So I figured the film was a gonner, so I opened the A12 and pulled out the film insert; the film had not moved past the first exposure and everything looked fine. This A12 was working mighty fine before the body went into repair, so I was suspecting the camera body. After hiking back to the studio, I took the A12 back off the body, then back on again and tried the whole exposure thing again. Uh Oh, now things had gotten worse; I was back to the body/lens being locked up and another jamnation.

So the Hasselblad with the locked on lens is heading back to the repair shop, again. So two strikes for this body (and one strike for this camera repair shop). What next?

In retrospect, I should have completed a proper camera and film test with the gray card in my back yard, will I ever learn? First, I will bring a roll of film with me to pick up the body after this round of repairs and ensure everything is working fine before I leave. Then I will do the camera/lens film check in the back yard.

So I needed to post this to vent and get this frustration out of my system. Feeling only a little bit better, but some.  sigh.

Regards from a not so happy camper.

January 6, 2018

Hasselblad Jamnation Blues

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Douglas Stockdale @ 8:35 pm


150mm C with two extension tubes, Hasselblad 500 C/M, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I got the blues

Yeah, I got them blues

I got them Hasselblad jamnation blues

Ohhhh yeah, I do, I got them jamnation blues

Yesterday I received the bad news on the cost of fixing my 500 C/M body that was all jammed up as I earlier reported. After California taxes this will probably cost me about $200 bucks. About 1/3 the cost of a used but slightly newer 501 or 503 body. sigh.

Of course in the process of trying to do the initial fix of the camera myself I end up finding all of the on-line articles about how tricky it is to use the Hasselblad extension tubes, especially with the older lens, like mine. And the older 150mm C f/4 Sonnar (again, mine) are especially tricky and there even appears to be a secret handshake on how to mount and unmount this lens with the extension tubes. So I am not going back to this lens set up again and I will probably sell the two extension tubes I have. Snake-oil.

So now I am thinking that if I want to have macro images for at least one of my on-going project, Memory Pods, I am going to need to consider purchasing a used 120mm CF f/4 Makro-Planar. I have read enough to understand that the older 120mm C lens are not very good in comparison to the CF model and the newer CFi is not that much of an improvement for what I want to photograph over the CF model (and save a few bucks in the process over the cost of a 120mm CFi). Also thinking that I might be able to use this lens for two other projects as well, so potentially not a one-off project purchase.

Always something, eh?


PS did I mention I still have two to three weeks to get the body back from the repair shop? sigh. So I am still using the Canon 5DMk3 with the 50mm f/1.4 in the mean time. Not a bad digital back-up option.


December 23, 2017

Hasselblad jamnation

Filed under: Photography, Uncategorized — Tags: , — Douglas Stockdale @ 9:40 pm


Hasselblad, prism, 150mm lens with extension tubes copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

In my recent post about my walks off the grid and the potential start of a new photographic project, I had stated that I need to start carrying my Hasselblad film rig with me to continue this exploration. Which meant that I needed to remove the 150mm lens with the two extension tubes (above) that I am using for my Memory Pods project and then mount my 80mm lens.

Uh oh, the lens did not want to come off this morning and as I quickly feared, I was hit with the dreaded & infamous Hasselblad lens jam. Oh jamnation.

Fear not, I have been down this path before, so I quickly removed the film back and using a small tool, manually cocked the shutter and presto, the lens came off. Very nice.

Uh oh, the 80mm lens will not mount on the 500 C/M body. First check to make sure the 80mm lens shutter was cocked; check. Then make sure the body was also in the same phase; check. Then what the heck was going on?  Cotton picking Hasselbad jamnation!!

So over to my favorite local camera shop who specialize in used camera gear and where I have purchase all of my used Hasselblad equipment. They fiddled and fiddled and came to the same conclusion; the body was jammed and it needs to see a specialist. All of this just before the holidays. Normally a one to two weeks to get a quote from the repair shop but now I am looking at mid-January before I find out the prognoses as well as the cost of the fix. sigh. My oars for the 6×6 and film are temporarily out of the water.

All the while a used Hasselblad 503cx was available at the shop (8+ quality). Nice feature about the newer Hasselblad body’s is the gliding mirror to reduce the mirror slap and it has the TTL for a specialized strobe (thinking it might work with my Norman studio strobes as well). Although tempting, I first need to figure out what’s happening with old 500 C/M body first, then consider replacement options if I need to go down that path. I would rather spend that same amount on a used Hasselblad 60mm CF lens.

So in the meantime I will carry the 5DMk3 with me instead on my walks.


December 29, 2016

Hasselblad 50mm Distagon lens in my future for 2017?

Filed under: Middle Ground, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 6:09 am


untitled (Middle Ground), copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

While working on my current project, Middle Ground, I have thinking that I might want to consider using my Hasselblad and start shooting this with color film in 2017. The biggest issue is that I do not have an equivalent Hasselblad lens for the digital gear I am currently using. I have decided to work with a wide field of view for this project, selecting a 28mm focal length and field of view using my Canon 5DMk3 and the 24-105mm lens (a little scotch tape does a pretty good job of locking down the lens at the focal length that I want). Yes I could also purchase a 28mm prime lens for the Canon, but I am also a bit cheap and this works pretty well.

The closest thing for the Hasselblad is the 50mm f/4 Distagon lens and using a 1.6 factor, this lens can provide about a 31mm equivalent field of view to my 5DMk3/24-105mm. So I taped the 24-105mm lens at what is about 31mm tested it on a drive to San Diego. Part of the drive I also locked (taped) the the lens at 35mm to compare (the 60mm Distagon is about 38mm field of view equivalent). The 31mm was not too bad, but the 35mm started to tighten the pictorial framing of what I want to capture a little too much, thus confirming that an investment in a Hasselblad 50mm Distagon should work. It would be nice to borrow a 50mm Distagon to try out, but my buddies near-by do not have this lens to lend. darn.

Since I will be acquiring a used lens, which of the four different 50mm Distagon models to look for? I think that the CF will do the trick for me, a bit newer and better (lens coating) than the original C model and as I am not focusing close-up the later FLE (Floating lens element) model is probably not necessary (and save me some extra bucks as well).

So the lens hunt is now on!


October 18, 2016

On the scanner: 09-04-16 negative 12

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 12:55 am


Untitled (Memory Pods project) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

Cooking on the Nikon film scanner is negative #12 from my September 4th studio session working on my Memory Pods project. Hasselblad & 150 mm f/4 lens with two 21mm extension tubes, Kodak Portra 160 with an E.I. of 80, normal film processing.

Scan is taking a little longer as I did remember to scan at a 14 bit size (think I forgot for the last scan). Scan is at super fine: 16 times sampling for each scan pass.

The dried and slumping Memory pods are out of focus while the jumble and tangled elements are just in focus. This image kept coming to me while on vacation last week, thus the first of the new batch on the scanner now that we are back.

Next is the extensive spotting of the scan file, then all of the usual magic.


August 30, 2016

Memory Pods – Film alternative


08-05-16 Memory Pods Porta160 neg2

Empty (Memory Pods project)  2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

The photograph in this post is the results from my previous two posts; Hasselblad Ready for its Closeup and, part 2. Essentially I want to see if my Memory Pod subjects look like when captured on color negative film, in this case the Kodak Portra 160.

For the first step of comparing  8-1/2 x 11″ prints,  there are some subtle differences compared to the high resolution of the full frame Canon 5DMkIII and a lot of differences with the Samsung 5S digital images. The new film series is not meant to be comparable to the Samsung 5S with the SnapSeed post processing images. I think that I still need to tweak the dark values of this image a little and then make a 16×20″ for a print comparison.

Interesting that for the native RAW Canon 5DMkIII file of 22.3 mp, a 16×20″ print max’s out at 200 dpi with the file without having to up-resolution the file, while a 4,000 dpi scan of the 6x6cm color negative (Nikon film scanner) provides a file that can provide a 29×29″ print at 300 dpi. I need to double check how large the size print is if I use 260 dpi for print setting  for the film file (note: this turns out to be 33×33″ print). Thus to print both the Canon5DMkIII and the film scan at 30×30″, even with up-res of the digital file, I would expect to see some differences in the image quality.

The second part of the equation is the 24-105 L f/4 lens, which has macro focusing capability, on the Canon 5DMkIII versus the 150 mm f/4 Sonar lens with the two extension tubes for the Hasselblad. It would seem that these are pretty close to equivalent relative to full frame digital vs medium format film focal length (about 2x normal) & aperture. So far, inclusive, but the film image seems to have more depth of field than the digital image, which does not make sense to me.

I see that I need to create some more color negatives to be sure ;- )


August 24, 2016

Hasselblad Ready for its close-up: part 2

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 4:33 am


Pentax Spotmeter V, copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

In my earlier post about determining the exposure index (EI) for the two 21mm extension tubes on my 150mm Sonnar Hasselblad lens, I was pinged with some questions about the +1 exposure compensation conclusion. I am realizing that with the advent of digital photography which really gained traction in the early to mid 2000’s, there is an entire generation of digital photographers who are not familiar with film and manual light meters, which should not be much of a surprise, but sometimes the extent and breath of the non-analog experience is interesting.

In the zone system exposure parlance you start with your basic EI, in this case the ASA of the film is the basic or neutral starting point. My Fiju Reala 100 color film has a ASA of 100, which I dial into my Pentax Spotmatic V, a manual 1 degree light meter. I acquired this current meter many moons ago with my earlier Minolta 1 degree spot has a “traumatic” moment (yep, while hiking I dropped in on the rocks, pretty traumatic for both me and the only light meter I had with me).

To complete my exposure compensation test, I varied the f/stop by a half stop stop per exposure. A plus one (+1) stop essential doubles the amount of available light during the film exposure over the neutral setting As example, I had set neural at 1/30 at f/4, thus the +1 was 1/15 at f/4 to double the amount of light during the exposure. I extended the test exposures to a +2-1/2 stops, which began to really over expose the film. The gray card I was photographing and film density was visually best to me with only the +1 stop. Now I could meter the scene with my light meter at set for the film ASA (e.g. 100) then take that meter reading and open one stop or alternatively I could set my meter ASA to 50 (half of the 100) and use the resulting setting.

The later option of altering the film ASA takes a bit less thinking ;- )

Btw, the nice thing about this 1 degree spot meter is that it has a number of settings; f stop for the lens aperture, T (time) for the exposure duration, ASA for the film speed and then something called the Linear Scale, which so happens is also a setting available with the older Hasselblad lens like my 150mm Sonar. Inside the meter, the linear scale is the value shown during the metering function. Once the Linear scale value is selected on the lens, the appropriate f stop and shutter speed T are coupled on the lens and when you change either the f/stop or the exposure duration, the other automatically changes due to the coupling function.



August 20, 2016

Hasselblad ready for its closeup

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography — Tags: , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 9:34 pm


Hasselblad 500 C/M copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

The next phase of my Memory Pods photographic project is a switch-up to color film in conjunction with my Hasselblad. To obtain the close up framing I needed I added two 21mm extension tubes to my 150 mm f/4 Sonar lens. I had read about the exposure compensation required for a 21 mm extension tube with this lens and had guessed that since I had two of these, it would be a 2x exposure factor (my calculations indicated a +1 stop was needed).

As an engineer, I am prone to testing, thus figured the best thing to do is in conjunction with my gray card, complete an exposure compensation test to verify the anticipated compensation required for the two 21mm tubes. This is similar to the process I used when first learning the black & white zone system to determine my EI (exposure Index) for my Tri-X roll film in conjunction with my HC-110 film developer. In this case with the Kodak color film (EI 160), the exposure compensation determination is in conjunction with my pro-finishing lab in Irvine. Also a process needed when you buy the less expensive camera prism without the thru the lens light meter. (Hey, my 1 degree spot meter has not let me down yet!)

Then a slight hiccup in my giddy-up; after assembling the two extension tubes to the 150 mm lens and mounting the assembly on the camera, the shutter did not function. At all. After a hour (or more) of tweaking the camera, lens and extension tubes, I finally found my problem: one of the extension tubes was not cocked and primed. I had purchased both of the extension tubes used, but I had only previously used one of these tubes. If you are not familiar with Hasselblad camera gear, you have to cock the lens shutter to remove the lens from the camera body. So in my case, one of the 21mm extension tubes was out of sync with the rest of the lens assembly and maybe why this used extension tube was so in-expensive; it did not function properly and was probably assumed to be broken.

Thus I used a little trick with a very small screw-driver to carefully cock the 21mm extension tube and get the entire lens assembly back in sync. Presto! I was now back in business to finish my exposure testing and then high-tail the film off to the film lab.

And so now the processed film results are back and yes (drum roll, please) I am able to confirm a +1 exposure compensation is needed for this lens set up. So I will now be working on this project during the Fall with color film. I am so excited ;- )


FYI, one of my photographs from the Memory Pods project will be in the Irvine Fine Arts Center “All Media 2016” exhibition, with the opening September 3rd, 4-6pm.

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