Hartblei Superrotator Macro 120mm F4 TS review
Hartblei is a not a manufacturer well-known to the average photographer - the company occupies a small and specialised niche in the high-end lens market, making perspective control (tilt and shift) lenses using its unique 'Superrotator' barrel design. The optics are adapted from lenses which were originally designed for 6x6cm medium format cameras, and Hartblei exploits the resultant large image circle (85mm in diameter, essentially twice that required by the 35mm full-frame format) to provide a range of movements. The lenses can be shifted by up to 10mm off-centre, and tilted by up to 8 degrees; most impressively the directions of tilt and shift can be set completely freely with respect to each other and the camera (a capability recently imitated by Canon with its TS-E 17mm F4 L and TS-E 24mm F3.5 L II lenses). Almost all DSLR systems are supported, with Hartblei making versions in Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Pentax mounts, and even offering models for the now-defunct Leica R and Contax systems.
One consequence of the medium format heritage of Hartblei's lenses is the range of focal lengths available - the company offers 40mm F4, 80mm F2.8 and 120mm F4 Macro optics. As originally designed for 6x6, these gave wideangle, normal and telephoto angles of view, but on the 35mm-format DSLRs they are now most likely to be used with, they behave as normal, short telephoto and medium telephoto lenses, with a marked lack of wideangle capability. On the plus side, the image quality of these designs promises to be extremely high - Hartblei has been working in partnership with Carl Zeiss in the development and production of its lenses, which now proudly sport an 'Optics by Carl Zeiss' legend as a result.
Perhaps the most interesting lens in Hartblei's lineup is the Superrotator 120mm F4 Macro TS, which is the longest perspective control lens currently available for 35mm-format cameras. The focal length of this lens makes it ideally suited to close-up and studio work, for which the use of tilt movements to control depth of field should allow the user to extract the maximum image quality from the latest high resolution full frame DSLRs (such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Nikon D3X and Sony Alpha 900). The use of 'Macro' in the lens name indicates that it is designed to retain high image quality at close focus distances (although it does not achieve 1:1 magnification), and the design uniquely uses two-stage focusing for extra precision at close range. The optical formula consists of 6 elements in 4 groups, and is based on the classic double-Gauss design which promises low distortion and minimal chromatic aberration.
In this review we'll take a close look at the design and operation of the tilt and shift mechanism, which is shared with Hartblei's other 'Superrotator' lenses. We'll also test the lens's optics, looking at how it performs both when it is conventionally centered, and also when it is fully shifted. Finally we'll look at how the perspective control movements can be used in practical applications.
- 120mm focal length; F4 maximum aperture
- Up to 8° Tilt and 10mm Shift
- Independent free rotation of tilt and shift movements through full 360º
- Optimised for close range work
Hartblei Superrotator Macro 120mm F4 TS specifications
|Maximum format size||35mm full frame|
|Diagonal Angle of view (FF)||20º|
|Lens Construction||6 elements / 4groups|
|Number of diaphragm blades||12|
|Minimum focus||0.21m (8.3")|
|AF motor type||Manual focus only|
|Filter thread||• 72mm
• Does not rotate on focus
|Supplied accessories||• Front and rear caps
• 72mm screw-in hood
• Hard case (Peli Case 1300)
• Zeiss cleaning kit
• Colour and sharpness test targets
|Weight||965g (43 oz)|
|Dimensions||89mm diameter x 106mm length
(3.5 x 4.2 in)
|Lens Mount||Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Leica R, Contax|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
May 27, 2009
May 23, 2012
May 23, 2012
May 21, 2012
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
Calumet UK and Wex Photographic, two of the biggest photography retailers in the United Kingdom, are going to officially merge tomorrow.
macOS High Sierra came out today, but if you use a Wacom tablet you need to wait a few weeks before you upgrade. According to Wacom, they won't have a compatible driver ready for you until "late October."
Do you think a $3,000 Canon 80D video rig can compete with an $80,000+ Arri Alexa setup? Well it can't, but check out this video anyway to see how the rigs compare.
Seven simple rules to make sure you get the most out of your next photography outing.
Vitec, the company that owns popular accessory maker Manfrotto, has just acquired JOBY and Lowepro for a cool $10.3 million in cash. The acquisition adds JOBY and Lowepro to Vitec's already sizable collection of camera gear brands.
A master drone pilot has captured one of the most incredible (and highly illegal) drone videos we've ever seen by flying around, inside, onto, and under a moving train.
Intel just debuted their 8th generation desktop CPUs, and the lineup packs a performance boost for 'content creators' that photo and video editors might be intrigued by.
Canon is developing a 'Free Viewpoint Video System' that will turn real life sports games and events into immersive 3D interactive experiences. It's video game-like camera control IRL.
A veteran photojournalist, Rick Wilking secured a spot in the path of totality for the August solar eclipse. While things didn't quite pan out as predicted, an unexpected subject in the sky and a quick reaction made for a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.