Photography Best Practice, Tech Talk

The Blue Ring Lens Family: The right lens for the right job


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See the Blue Ring lens range here.

Drew Altdoerffer
Drew Altdoerffer

Drew is a Product Manager and Marketing Specialist for Phase One as well as a previous member of the Technical Supporter team. He works directly with customers in addition to assisting partners and sales associates alike to better understand the features of all of Phase One’s products. His role in the company extends to the PODAS photographic workshops, training seminars and sales events.

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Comments (22)

Always in spring. To tede this emails.
Tanks. Wilhelm

Camilla Kristensen

Dear Wilhelm,

Thank you for your comment. I’m afraid I’m not sure what you mean. Can you please elaborate?

Best regards,
Camilla, Phase One

I like your article, but it would be helpful if you could illuminate the differences between Blue Ring and Nikon/Canon lenses. We all have the same technical XXmm’s and f/X.X’s, so what make Blue Ring lens special and how does a curved focal plane work? Is it a virtual, or real, geometric plane?

Hi Reis,
A direct comparison with 35mm optics is a very different article, requiring significant technical analyzation. This article is meant to point out the excellent quality and features of the Schneider Kreuznach Blue Ring lenses for the XF Camera System.
Medium format vs 35mm is a different subject all together and the comparisons become quite technical carrying more analytics comparing the two formats than the two lenses.
With regard to the curved focal plane of the 35mm, it is a real focal plane specific to wide-angle characteristics of the lens and provides much deeper depth of field for properly captured images.

That makes sense. Thank you for your response.

I would like to see a few sample pictures with the tilt shift lens option. Great article and insight.

Hi After,
The T/S 120mm is a good subject for another day. Although it looks the part, it’s not actually a Blue Ring lens as this designation is for the Leaf Shutter lenses while the T/S is a Focal Plane lens.
Great suggestion and I hope we can accommodate the request in the future.

As I know there is no TS ‘Blue’ lenses. If you need them, go for technical camera coupled with PhaseOne backs

Although it is not a “Blue Ring” lens, the 120mm T/S is a great lens for XF when an entirely different system isn’t practical.

Drew, when do you plan to publish on YouTube channel technical Webinar you had with David at the end of last December? Curios to know and re-watch. Tanks!

Very soon Pavel. I think it will be up on our youtube channel tomorrow!

I recently purchased S K 35mm Blue ring (NEW) and used it with my XF camera and was DISAPPOINTED. Returned the lens and looking for a better system for my Landscape and Architectural photography. This lens does not have a good depth of field. Please look at your own Penguins picture- It appears that only the few in front are sharp. ?? Stacking will not work hear.

Hi Hassan,
I’m sorry to hear you were disappointed. Your criticism is a bit curious as Depth of Field is not truly dependent on Focal Length but instead the aperture used and the focusing distance of the subject. The shot that you reference uses a large aperture and close focus, two factors that would invariably create a shallow depth of field. This was chosen as a deliberate aesthetic for the subject.
The circle of confusion for the 35mm is quite small with this lens and a properly captured image (small aperture and 1/3 subject focus) will produce a 1:1 scale print (using any back with a viewing distance measured in centimeters) with perfectly sharp depth of field throughout the entire capture.
Focus Stacking, should I have chosen to use it, would certainly work if the subject stood still.
If you have further concerns or questions regarding the performance of the lens please speak to a Phase One Partner as again, the Depth of Field for this lens is nothing short of excellent.

Hi Drew,
Thank you for your reply.
I am aware of aperture effect on depth of field. I had chosen this lens (SK 35 mm Blue Ring) as a wide angle lens for my Landscape photography hoping when I use f 32, I will have a deep depth of field from about 15 feet to INFINITY. However, the lens failed to produce this. While objects within 15 feet are in perfect focus in my test shots, the objects in far distance are out of focus. I used a sturdy tripod and high ISO and fast shutter speed.
Could this new lens be defective?
Also, could you please explain the circle of confusion and the 1/3 subject focus? (Refer to second paragraph of your response)

Hi Hassan,
From your description nothing seems “defective”. At f/32 you do get maximum depth of field but you also get diffraction, which can easily be confused for a loss of depth of field as it is a loss of sharpness. The optimal aperture will depend on the resolution and pixel size of back you’re using.
The reference to focus was simply a description of how the depth of field falls on this lens, roughly 1/3 of the depth of field is in front of the focal plane while 2/3 is behind. The circle of confusion references the transition from sharp and in focus to out of focus due to depth of field roll off.

Hi Drew,

Well said. Appreciate your reply and patient.
I am using my IQ1 100 with this lens and have shot with all apertures, almost all with same failing results… Do you know what aperture will result in the best depth of field with this lens?
I have to mention, I love my XF camera and Capture One software. I am just looking to get the best

Chris Ogden

Great article, thanks. A few follow up questions please:
1. what’s the CoC for the P1 IQ3 100mpxl (to plug into an iPhone DOF/hyperfocal calculator)?

2. what have you found as the Max DOF sweet spots (bt DOF and Diffraction) for Blue Ring lenses? (eg, f11? other?)

3. Since the 28mm LS f/4.5 is NOT a blue ring, is the optical quality so significantly less than the 35mm that it’s worth trying to stitch 35mm to avoid using the 28mm at all?

4. Other articles say how crucial it is to use Focus Trim, but they don’t indicate HOW (and When) to calibrate each lens. Can you direct us to a resource on how/when to do so in the field?

5. You mention weather conditions on PODAS trips. We shoot in similar challenges (rain/salt from zodiaks in Antarctica to Greenland; mist from Icelandic waterfalls, rain/humidty from Guatemala rain forests; dust/sand from Death Valley to Nambia) and to date have ameliorated them via Canon 5DSR’s weather sealings and using 2 bodies to avoid changing lenses. I’ve searched high and low and can’t find details about P1 XF IQ3 + lenses weather sealing? What do you recommend?

6. can you point us to more detail on “curved focal plane” advantages to DOF, and presumably corner-to-corner sharpness?

Could you please point me in the direction for more informaiton on “preset Hyperfocal point ” as mentioned in the article above under the heading “Focused Stacked Image”

Hi Ben,
Page 47 of the manual speaks about the feature on the XF Camera.

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