It’s taken almost a year to write this review. I received a review copy of the Hasselblad XCD 90 mm f/2.5 V lens in January. I performed most of my evaluations in the spring of last year. And then I waited for the lens to ship so that I could publish my thoughts.
And waited some more.
Yesterday, customer shipments began. So now I can talk about the lens. But there’s an issue.
The Hasselblad folks tell me that there have been design changes to the lens so that the copy that I’ve been testing is not representative of what’s currently shipping. So take what I have to say with a grain of salt. Also, because of the possibility of differences between what you, gentle readers, can buy and what I’m testing, I won’t publish quantitative results until I get my hands on a production version.
Usually when I test a new piece of photo gear, I publish the results as I perform the testing, and towards the end I produce a summary. Because the testing took place so long ago, I will reverse that, and start out with the summary.
I quite like the lens.
- It’s small and light
- It’s got the same haptics as the 38/2.5 V I already own, and I like the way the lens handles.
- I especially like the switching between manual and autofocus, and the distance indicator and DOF markings when the lens is in manual focus mode.
- Because size and weight was apparently prioritized in the design of the lens, there is quite a bit of light falloff towards the periphery of the image, especially at the widest f-stops. This can be corrected with a lens profile, at the expense of loss of dynamic range at the edges and corners of the image.
- Field curvature is impressively well controlled at landscape distances.
- The lens is quite sharp in the center.
- There is some softness in the edges and corners from wide open until f/4. Again, I think this is the result of keeping the lens small and light. But great things happen when you stop down a bit. At f/4 and narrower, it’s very sharp at the periphery.
- Bokeh is quite good.
- The new high-speed shutter is quite loud for a leaf shutter. This morning I got lens firmware that is supposed to reduce the intensity of the sound at slower shutter speeds. I will test that and let you all know the results.
I think this would make an excellent walk-about lens. Mounted on the relatively svelte X2D body, it provides good balance and handling. It would also excel in landscape use, especially if hiking any distance is involved. If and when we get continuous autofocus, it should make a good lens for events, although my first choice for events would probably be a full frame camera.