Saturday, June 22, 2024

SL66 HFT 500/5.6 Tele-Tessar

HFT 500/5.6 Tele-Tessar

Old Lens for the New Age

Rolleiflex SL66 HFT 500/5.6 Tele-Tessar  500mm f5.6







This lens I have owned for quite many years. It was not used much until now with Sony Alpha 7R it finally gets out of the dry cabinet  : )


With high ISO quality of digital sensors I have worked more on the Contax 300/4 Tele-Tessar. Then I bought a fairly cheap very old Nikkor 600/5.6. With higher success rate on the 600/5.6 I start to use this 500/5.6 Tele-Tessar again, originally designed for SL66 medium format cameras. The main issue with the 500/5.6 Tele-Tessar is the lens itself does not come with focusing helicoil and thus need to get a lens adaptor with helicoil, which is normally very expensive. Througout the years I have worked with several adaptors. But not very sure the reasons the adaptors do not put the camera body in the same orientation. The one i use now as shown in the photo above is a SL66-Mamiya 645 adaptor followed by a Mamiya 645-Nikon adaptor. Of course finally I will need a Nikon to Sony E mount adaptor.



There are a few issues using the 500/5.6 on SLR/DSLR. The lens does not use internal focusing technology so the length of the lens changes when focus at different subject distance. Also the lens does not come with a rotation collar as SL66 is a square format camera so there is no different in landscape or portrait composition. When I did lens comparison by using static objects I found the resolution of the Nikkor 600/5.6 is slightly better than the 500/5.6. Colour fringing at f5.6 for both lenses are comparable. However in actual photo taking the Rollei 500/5.6 performs quite well and I prefer the colour rendering of the 500/5.6 more, probably i am used to Zeiss lenses. Surprisingly the 500/5.6 Tele-Tessar works well with the Nikon TC14B and TC301 tele-convertors, and seems better than the Contax Mutar II and III. 




 A Grey Heron patiently posed for me in Singapore Japanese Garden.

Alpha 7R2, f8 1/500, ISO 160, Manfrotto 190XPROB/054Mg.




 Two Juvenile Grey Heron with their nests.

Alpha 7R2, f8 1/500 with Mutar III, ISO 640, Manfrotto 190XPROB/054Mg.





 Having some fun at the Singapore Zoo.

Alpha 7R2, f5.6 1/500, ISO 2000, Manfrotto 190XPROB/054Mg.






The same patient Grey Heron with its reflection.

Alpha 7R2, f8 1/500, ISO 500, Manfrotto 190XPROB/054Mg.

It's a bit awkward using this lens in portrait mode.





Another view of the same Grey Heron.

Alpha 7R2, f8 1/500, ISO 160, Manfrotto 190XPROB/054Mg.








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