August 19, 2012

Using filters on Distagon 40mm

When I bought my second-hand Distagon 40mm C for my Hasselblad, I actually overlooked two things: its weight and the difficulty to find filters.

Let's start with the the weight.  As you can see in the picture below, the 40mm is huge. After putting it on my kitchen scale, I found it weighted 1.5Kg (i.e. 3.3 pounds, or 53 oz). I immediately realized that carrying around this extra weight was not going to be fun.



Then I tackled the filters issue. The Distagon C 40mm mounts dedicated bayonet filters with a diameter of 104mm. They are very difficult to find and there are no adapters around for screw-mount filters, for the simple reason that screw-mount filters of that size do not exist.


Since I mostly shoot black and white landscapes, the possibility to use filters (typically orange or red) is essential for me.
So, I decided to use 10x10cm resin filters, building a DIY adapter with some rubber foam.


On a 12x12x3cm piece of rubber foam, I cut a circular hole with a diameter of 10cm. Then, I cut 3 small wooden bars (about 4x10x80mm each), which I glued to the foam on three sides, leaving the top side free.
I covered everything with strong black tape, making two small pockets in the bottom corners which prevented the filter from falling off. I also taped a small angular piece of metal to the foam (visible in the top-left corner in the figure below) to keep the filter in place. Finally, I built a small floating curtain on the top, to prevent light to leak between the filter and the lens, causing undesired reflections.


As you can see, the result is ugly, but it works!


I've got two 10x10cm resin filters, manufactured by Lee: orange and 1.2ND.
I also tried polyester filters, but are definitely more delicate and difficult to handle. However, they really help when I need to superimpose two or more filters (e.g. orange + ND).

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