Not so long ago I purchased another lens (this quest never stops!) for my Pentax MZ-S film camera. This time it is not the Pentax production but Russian tank Hartblei Super Rotator 80/2,8. This is not an ordinary lens, it is tilt and shift lens with 0-10mm shift in any direction and 0-8°tilt also in any direction. And the best thing is that the tilt and shift are completely independent of each other, so you can rotate the rings on the lens the way you want – that’s why SUPER ROTATOR.

The build quality is robust and resistant like a tank, no plastic used, just metal. I guess you could just brake a skull with it and there would be no sign of damage on the lens. The six-lens optical system is multicoated and has anti-reflection surfaces to improve image quality and contrast. It boast 12-blade aperture for more uniform distribution of light when tilted/shifted and of course nicer round highlight reflections in out of focus areas of the image.


Frame format ― 24×36 mm (35mm SLR / DSLR)
Focal length ― 80 mm
Focusing ― manual
Maximum aperture ― 1:2.8
Aperture range ― 2.8 – 22 (manual, 12-blade)
Construction ― 6 elements in 5 groups
Angle of view ― 42° (45° with optical unit shifted)
Minimum focus ― 0.65 m
Filter size ― Ø62 mm
Lens movement ― TS-PC Super Rotator, both tilt and shift in any direction
Shift movement range ― 0 to 10 mm in any direction
Tilt movement range ― 0 to 8° in any direction
Rotation movement range ― 360°, with click stops every 15°
Dimensions ― Ø88×80 mm
Weight ― 660 grams

First impression:

very robust, well built, a little bit alien-looking with all the knobs for tilt/shift and rotations:))

It took me a while to figure out how it works as this is my first tilt/shift lens, even though I own a large format camera, this is something different. It takes time to get a handle of it, especially to pay attention when you want to rotate shift part – not to mix it with aperture ring. All the knobs are well positioned but the rotation one of the tilt part (on the picture is the closest one the lens mount, the only chrome knob). This one is too close to the camera body and goes right under the built-in-flash, so even though I have small fingers, it is kinda difficult to get in there to push it and rotate the lens.

The lens is a light-eater – means when tilted/shifted it confuses the built-in-meter in the camera and pictures are too overexposed. That’s why the bracketing is your friend more then ever when shooting with this lens. What I found that works is to underexpose by at least 3 stops from what your built-in-meter shows you as the correct exposure. And even then I am not sure that what I am getting is correct. For those shooting digital it is easy to check your screen and adjust accordingly but I am an analogue photographer and this is a bit hit-and-miss and a lot of wasted film. For this would be nice to have a DSLR, but what the heck.. :)) one has to work with what he’s got.. :))

Image quality coming out of this glass is great and the effect you can achieve with tilt/shift is mind-blowing. I think it is worth to have it and expand your photography skills and knowledge, especially considering the price :)). Stay tune in for more info and photos.

Katarina Souto Mera

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