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Last updated 2010-09-10 - Send Feedback
Related: Aesculus californica, bokeh, Hartblei

All images from the Nikon D3x. Nearly all were handheld.

Large versions of the examples are shown for the first image only; subscribe to DAP to access the review with all large image examples.


Except as noted, these images are “as processed” with default processing, and were not processed in order to “pop” (except as noted). Rather, they are shown in their natural state as default processing would produce.

Color rendition

Color rendition for some of these images is best seen on a wide gamut monitor; colors lose some of their life and go “dead” on an average monitor (like the Apple 30" Cinema Display).

Bird of Paradise

The bokeh is velvety smooth with no harshness whatsoever. No particular attention was paid to color balance here, but the clarity comes through.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/5.6


At full shift. Results are excellent at f/11. Note the moderately strong barrel distortion.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/11
Hartblei 40/4 @ f/11


Click the image to read about this two-frame 36 megapixel stitched image.

36-megapixel stitched image (2 frames)


The bokeh is gorgeous here, as it is with every image. Colors are clean and natural.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/5.6


Contrast was raised to make this image pop the dark greens. Observe the way in which the background renders without harshness; some lenses start looking nasty when stopped down; the Hartblei 40/4 does not.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/8

Gardening stuff

Moderately harsh mid-day light still works here. Viewing the larger size, notice the way in which foreground and background offer a very 3-dimensional separation.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/8


Somewhat challenging lighting, but all highlights and bright areas hold excellent detail.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/8


Highlights are slightly “blown” here but the image makes a good impression nonetheless.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/8


The way in which crisp detail separates from the background is very important to the feel of this image. Photoshop Auto Levels was used here to bump up the contrast.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/8


I used Photoshop Auto Levels here because I liked the color contrast it produced, even though it’s not an accurate rendition.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/5.6
Color balance is more neutral in this example.
Hartblei 40/4 @ f/8


Results are really appealing and natural looking here, with sharpness and blur characteristics working together very effectively.

Note: this image is in the AdobeRGB color space, and won’t display properly on “stupid” browsers. Use Apple’s Safari or Firefox with color management.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/8


Perhaps a hint of slightly less smooth than usual bokeh at upper left, probably due to field curvature sharpening things up a bit.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/8

Under the fig tree

Beautifully rendered. Field curvature might be in play with some background elements near the edges sharper then more central areas.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/8


A tricky scene for a lens to render convincingly; the falloff in sharpness must be consistent and the Hartblei 40/4 does an excellent job.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/8


Blur is really lovely here; be sure to view the larger image.

Hartblei 40/4 @ f/5.6


Image quality is outstanding with the Hartblei 40. Color rendition, color uniformity and bokeh are all very appealing, indeed bokeh is exquisite, with a painterly quality rarely seen in the 40mm range; by comparison the Voigtlander 40/2 Ultron is not nearly so smooth, especially off-center.

The medium format “look” is fully represented by the Hartblei 40 (and 80, 120). Combined with a D3x, the results are lovely indeed.

Sharpness is excellent over most of the imaging area (including the shifted area), but f/11 should be used to provide the highest quality edges and corners when shifted the full 10mm.

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