Hartblei Superrotator Macro 120mm F4 TS Specifications Review

Hartblei is a not a producer well-known to the common photographer – the organization consumes a small and specialized market in the high-end lens market, creating viewpoint management (tilt and shift) contacts using its unique ‘Superrotator’ gun barrel style. The optics are tailored from contacts which were initially made for 6x6cm method structure cameras, and Hartblei uses the resulting large picture group (85mm in size, basically twice that required by the Negatives full-frame format) to provide a variety of motions. The contacts can be moved by up to 10mm off-centre, and angled by up to 8 degrees; most remarkably the guidelines of point and move can be set completely easily based to each other and the camera (a ability lately replicated by Canon with its TS-E 17mm F4 L and TS-E 24mm F3.5 L II lenses). Almost all DSLR techniques are reinforced, with Hartblei creating editions in Cannon, Nikon, Sony designs, and Pentax installs, and even providing designs for the now-defunct Leica R and Contax techniques.

Hartblei Superrotator Macro 120mm
Hartblei Superrotator Macro 120mm

One impact of the method structure culture of Hartblei’s contacts is the variety of central measures available – the organization offers 40mm F4, 80mm F2.8 and 120mm F4 Macro optics. As initially made for 6×6, these provided wideangle, regular and telephoto perspectives of view, but on the 35mm-format DSLRs they are now most likely to be used with, they act normally, short telephoto and method telephoto contacts, with a noticeable lack of wideangle ability. On the plus side, the picture high high quality of these styles guarantees to be extremely great – Hartblei has been working in collaboration with Carl Zeiss in the growth and manufacturing of its contacts, which now happily game an ‘Optics by Carl Zeiss’ tale as a result.

Perhaps the most exciting lens in Hartblei’s collection is the Superrotator 120mm F4 Macro TS, which is a long viewpoint management lens currently available for 35mm-format cameras. The central duration of this lens makes it preferably designed for close-up and studio room perform, for which the use of point motions to management detail of area should allow the user to draw out the utmost picture high quality from the newest great high quality complete structure DSLRs (such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Nikon D3X and Sony designs Leader 900). The use of ‘Macro’ in the lens name indicates that it is made to maintain great picture high quality at near focus ranges (although it does not accomplish 1:1 magnification), and the style exclusively uses two-stage concentrating for extra perfection at near variety. The visual system comprises of 6 components in 4 categories, and is based on the traditional double-Gauss style which guarantees low distortions and little chromatic aberration.

In this evaluation we’ll take a near look at the style and function of the point and move procedure, which is distributed with Hartblei’s other ‘Superrotator’ contacts. We’ll also test the lens’s optics, looking at how it works both when it is traditionally based, and also when it is fully moved. Lastly we’ll look at how the viewpoint management motions can be used in realistic programs.

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Hartblei Superrotator Macro 120mm Features

  • 120mm central length; F4 highest possible aperture
  • Up to 8° Tilt and 10mm Shift
  • Independent free spinning of point and move motions through complete 360º
  • Optimised for near variety work

Hartblei Superrotator Macro 120mm F4 TS Body And Design

The Hartblei is a magnificently created lens which gives a sense of perfection technological innovation in all aspects of its function. As is appropriate for such a professional (and expensive) product, construction is fantastic, with all exterior parts metallic – there’s no sign of plastic materials anywhere. All of the motions and manages operate with a level of smoothness and perfection that is frequently missing from contemporary auto-focus contacts, and the main concentrate jewelry are completely damped.

Hartblei Superrotator Macro 120mm Body Lens
Hartblei Superrotator Macro 120mm Body Lens

For anyone who’s previously only experienced the computerized comfort of recent SLR systems, though, function may come as a something of surprise. Concentrating is, of course, guide only, and exclusively functions in two levels with individual concentrate rings; the first includes ranges from infinity to 1.2m, the second carries on down to 0.75m. Aperture management is also guide only, with no automated stop-down; the diaphragm simply ends down as you turn the switch. For the kind of user this lens targets, though, this should come as no real difficulty. We’ll cover the viewpoint management motions a bit further down the page.

Body Elements

  • The point and move motions are managed by two turning calls placed one in front of the other around the lens barrel; this design offers extremely accurate improvements. Both calls function two diametrically-opposed screw-in buttons for easier operation; these can be taken off in the event that they restrict the preferred activity.
  • The wider switch nearer to the camera body manages the point activity. Highest possible point is 8°, with marks at 1° durations. The turning design means point can be managed very perfectly, to within a portion of a degree.
  • The smaller but bigger size switch is used to move the lens. The highest possible move is 10mm off-centre, and there are click prevents every 0.5mm. Again even better modification is easily obtained, if required.
  • Our analyze example came in Nikon F install, but the lens is also available in a variety of other suits such as Canon, Sony models and Pentax. The install is completely ‘dumb’ and doesn’t get in touch with the camera at all. This isn’t a problem in regards to performance, but does mean that no central duration or aperture data will be documented in EXIF.
  • The narrow line is 72mm, and as you’d anticipate on a lens at this level, does not move on concentrating.
  • Hartblei provides a simple 72mm screw-in round bonnet, made by Heliopan. The lens comes with a remarkable range of components as conventional, such as a Peli Situation 1300 hard case, sharpness and color analyze objectives, and a Zeiss cleaning kit.
  • The unique concentrate system are operating in two levels. The first concentrate band towards the back of the gun barrel is noticeable for the the product variety of infinity to 1.2m; the second smaller one towards the top side then takes over for ranges down to 0.75m. Both motions are buttery sleek, enabling perfection concentrate with convenience.
  • There’s a extensive detail of area range noticeable for all full aperture prevents, protecting that initial concentrate variety down to 1.2m.
  • The lens features an ordinary aperture band right at the front side. This prevents down the aperture straight, there’s no automated at all (unlike Canon and Nikon viewpoint control lenses) The band has positive detents at the noticeable apertures (F4, F4.8, F5.6, F6.7, F8, F11, F16 and F32), plus another unblemished stop at F22.
  • Here’s the point activity set to its excessive position of 8°. In the conventional structure, the route of point is downwards (but of course you can set this however you like).

Hartblei Superrotator Macro 120mm F4 TS Images Quality

Macro Focus

The ‘Makro’ brand on the lens designates that it’s optimized for near range capturing, not that it provides 1:1 zoom. Highest possible zoom is still a very decent 0.24x, at a calculated nearest concentrate range of 76cm which gives a working range of 55.5cm from the top side of the lens to the topic.

Image quality is very good indeed; best results are acquired around F8-F11, at which point the lens is distinct across the framework, and with basically no geometrical distortions or chromatic aberration noticeable at all. Efficiency also stands up well when the lens is moved – just click here for a test graph taken with the lens moved completely to the right.

Bokeh Quality

One truly suitable, but difficult to evaluate part of a lens’s performance is the capability to provide efficiently blurry out-of-focus areas when trying to separate a topic from the qualifications, usually when using a long central duration and large aperture. This is a particularly important feature of a lens such as this, when it’s used successfully for superficial detail of area. The Hartblei 120mm usually gives eye-catching bokeh, which while not the quite simplest we’ve ever seen, never discounts the topic.

Bokeh Quality F4, Nikon D3X
Bokeh Quality F4, Nikon D3X

In the two illustrations below we’re looking at bokeh from a remote qualifications with a relatively near topic, and how a little bit out-of-focus background moments are delivered. On account of the D3X’s picture size, we’re using 25% plants to imagine this. The remote qualifications is delivered with recognisable framework, but without the tough line-edges sometimes seen in these circumstances. The close-up is also magnificently imaged – transtions from distinct to out-of-focus are sleek, and while there’s a minor shiny advantage to features, it’s not really annoying.

Bokeh Chromatic Aberration

About the only minor gap we could choose in the Hartblei’s amazing picture performance was a minor level of longitudinal chromatic aberration providing some color fringing around high-contrast sides in out-of-focus areas. It’s not an important defect by any means (we’ve had to take 100% plants from 24Mp D3X information to demonstrate it) and it’s only really noticeable at F4, but it’s there and may well appear when taking advantage of this lens’s particular concentrate abilities. The fringing finishes to be natural at high-contrast sides right before the aircraft of concentrate, and natural behind the aircraft of focus; even at its most severe it’s not particularly wide or extreme.


Tilt motions may also be used to give real-life moments the overall look of small designs. This impact is a result of the tilted concentrate aircraft providing surprising changes between in-focus and out-of-focus areas which look like the superficial detail of area negative results of close-up digital cameras. The most acquainted viewpoint for such photos tends to be looking down on a field from a size, but normally other techniques also work. In the example below, the miniaturisation impact comes mainly from the uncommon concentrate changes on the blossoms in the clinging container.

Images Quality Nikon D3X, F4, 8 degrees tilt right
Images Quality Nikon D3X, F4, 8 degrees tilt right

Hartblei Superrotator Macro 120mm F4 TS Specifications

Price €3249
Maximum format size 35mm full frame
Focal length 120.9mm
Diagonal Angle of view (FF) 20º
Maximum aperture F4
Minimum aperture F32
Lens Construction 6 elements / 4groups
Number of diaphragm blades 12
Minimum focus 0.21m (8.3″)
Maximum magnification 0.25x
AF motor type Manual focus only
Focus method Unit
Image stabilization None
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