First Look: The Hasselblad 80mm f/1.9 XCD Lens. Their fastest lens EVER.

First Look: The Hasselblad 80mm f/1.9 XCD Lens. Their fastest lens EVER!

By Steve Huff

Hey hey! It’s Photokina time and we will have some new announcements in the camera world coming all week! Today (Tuesday) Hasselblad announced a new lens for the X1D camera and lucky me, I had one for a couple of days here a week or two ago and was able to check it out ahead of the launch! WooHoo! I love when that happens.

See my video look at the X1D and 80mm f1.9

CORRECTION! Hasselblad informed me today that this lens will NOT be made in China and my copy was stamped incorrectly. 

The Hasselblad 80mm f/1.9  is the fastest lens from Hasselblad, EVER!

This lens is a 2.3 lb beast, and I say “beast” in a good way. Large, solid, feels like it was carved out of a block of granite (not really but it’s amazingly well made and feeling) and offers X1D users a fast f/1.9 80mm lens. A lens like this is what has been missing from the X1D system. A FAST prime. Until now most lenses for this system were f/3.5 so having a fast f/1.9 aperture is a big deal for those who own an X1D. You guys know I love the X1D and have written around 6 articles on it and even made around 5-6 videos for it. The X1D is a very interesting camera as it combines design (it is a work of art), size, build, function and image quality in a way never seen before. With its 50 MP Sony sensor inside, the X1D is a take anywhere medium format rig that is NOT just for studio work! With the growing lens lineup X1D users and owners are starting to have quite a few options, which is pretty nice.

SHOT AT F/2, click it to see Larger and a full 100% crop embedded. 

If you want shallow DOF, this is it. If you want creamy Bokeh, this is a lens that will give it to you on the X1D, ore so than any other lens.

Shot at ISO 25k and f/1.9 on night around 11PM, click it for larger. 

This lens is indeed an 80mm lens but in 35mm full frame terms it will give a 63mm equivalent focal length. Just like smaller sensors give you a crop this sensor in the X1D gives a reverse crop!

Even so, this lens was designed as a portrait type of lens even though it is not a typical portrait focal length when looked at in 35mm terms. It will give a beautiful rendering no matter how you shoot it and I wish I was able to have this lens for longer than I did so I could have had more time with it! Auto focus was not blazing fast but think something along the lines of a Canon 5DIV and 85 f1.2. This has some glass to move so it is not a speed demon but I did find it focused quick and was very accurate as long as I use it correctly. I also tested it with manual focus and it was a nice experience.

THE DETAILS: 

Focal Length: 80mm

Equivalent focal length (24×36): 63mm

Aperture Range: 1.9-32

Angle of view (diag/hor/vert) 38/31/23

Weight: 1044g / 2.3 lbs

Dimensions (w/o hood, length x diameter): 4.5 in x 3.3 inches

Filter Diameter: 77mm

Minimum Focus Distance: 0.7m / 2.3 ft

Lens design: 14 elements in nine group

MSRP: $4795

Here are a few more points:

– Twin-motor design to balance AF speed with optical design and focusing accuracy

– One of the fastest production medium format lenses

– Offers slightly ‘wider than normal portrait’ but with DOF falloff like long portrait lenses

Click images for larger versions!

As stated, I only had a couple of days with the lens and did not shoot a ton with it but wanted to get a feel for it, and it felt good. Really good. At $4795 it is not cheap but hey, did you expect it to be? For pros who use this system, I think you will LOVE this lens as it is probably the most drool worthy lens in the X1D lineup so far. Built like a tank, decent auto focus, amazing performance wide open or stopped down. Yea, it’s beautiful. This is only a first look hands on report, but I found nothing negative about the lens in my time with it. I could not imagine anyone being disappointed in this lens, and I look forward to seeing work done by the talented souls out there who will buy and use this lens. If you buy one, send me an email and let me know where I can see your work!

If you want to read my full four part review on the X1D itself, start HERE. 

Be sure to see the video I made for this lens above. You can see it in hand on and off the camera. I talk about it and go over a few things about it. I made the video a couple of weeks ago before the details were announced or told to me. 

Some photos samples below…click them for larger! 

Starting out with an image to show detail. Shot at f/6.8. Click it to see the larger size and full 100% embedded crop for detail.

The rest of the image samples can be clicked on for larger and better versions!


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15 Comments

  1. Looks quite sharp on pictures where iso isn’t too high, though i am surprised about the cateye/lemon bokehballs. I wonder if the sigma way of sometime ridiculously large front elements wouldn’t solve that?

  2. Not sure what it is but i just don’t like the colors out the Hassy, the body design I always like, reminds me of the pentax K-01(mirrorless), that of course didn’t sell and was discontinued shortly after. It’s nice the continue pushing new glass for those with the $$

  3. Beautiful lens, very exciting! That shot of Debbie with the sunglasses on is a stunning show of transition and Bokeh. I really want it!

  4. Quite an impressive set of images for the 80mm f1.9. However, a camera and lens that costs over $10,000 is way out of the ball park for the average photographer. With the recent, and in my opinion, unjustified increase in price of the Leica M10 to over $7,000 minus lens, these 2 cameras are more for the wealthy aficionado’s than for the likes of me.

    Also, with the announcement of the longer range telephoto plus telextender that Hasselblad is also releasing, the issue of IBIS enters the picture. It’s going to be really hard to shoot at an equivalent of 210mm hand held and not have some form of stabilization. All Hasselblad’s image quality becomes lost if there is arm shake at these focal lengths.

    I’m just an average retired photographer who will not go near the new Hasselblad despite its great images.

    • I hear ya! But I have always written about Leica and these kinds of cameras, that is what started this website long ago, the Leica M8 review ; ) But cameras are expensive all the way around. I feel the best value lies with Sony, namely the A7III. Cant beat it for the money or over it. You have affordable lenses or more exotic lenses to choose from. With a camera like the X1D. you need cash, and I know of only a few who own one but they all use it, and enjoy it. But yes, it is too expensive without questions as are the Leica’s these days. A Leica M10-P and 50 APO will set you back $15000. Will it give better output than a Sony A7III and 50 Loxia? YES, 100% but will it be noticeable to anyone but us? Probably not. For some out there it is about the usability as much as the output. I adore my Leica SL even though it is a $6000 camera that I really can not afford to own (which is why I own no native glass for it) but it gives me the most enjoyment of any camera out there so for me it is worth it. But at the end of the day, all of this gear is too expensive and copies always want us to upgrade, when we really do not need to.

  5. Nothing about the shutter noise volume? – is it quiet like XCD30 or loud like XCD90?

    Considering using it for live music, as that’s what I use the XCD90mm for – but would be nice to know the AF compares.

  6. Kudos to Hasselblad for launching such a fast, attractive new lens for MF digital like this. Good job.

    I really, really hope they have an X2D coming soon however. Today Fuji announced their new smaller GFX-R and that camera seems to fix the size and bulk issues of the GFX-S. The GFX-S was always better than the X1D in operation and AF, even if the size and handling was not as attractive. Now that Fuji appears to have fixed this with the GFX-R, Hassy really need to step up. The X1D is not selling well either I suspect – they are already discounting it.

    X1D needs ( in my humble opinion ) a serious upgrade in processor power to make it less clunky. For me, it is so slow and clunky as to be unacceptable. Unless the Hassy range is to be ” all style and no substance” they need the XD2 to have a lot more firepower to realise the systems potential.

    • The fuji GFX has been discounted for a little while as well, and can’t compete with the X1D in low light (same sensor but not same results). The Fuji GFX is also pretty ugly IMO (and others), large and basically a studio camera. The X1D is not, it’s a take anywhere camera, and has been since launch. The new Fuji did fix the size problem Fuji had which his awesome. Fuji knew it was a problem as the GFX also did not sell very well in the grand scheme of things. So now they have a body that is about equal in size to the X1D (but it still will lose out in low light and also build feel to the X1D, but it’s cheaper of course). Af will be a little faster, and even better the price is nice at $4499 so $2k less than the X1D. But one should look at it in a way one looks at say a Sony vs Leica. The Leica will always be more expensive. Just is what it is. The Hasselblad will be the same, they have never been cheap. Finally If you have used the X1D with the latest firmware updates it is not slow or clunky in any way. It’s not like a 35mm Sony but neither is the Fuji. Neither is the Pentax 645Z. In any case the X1D is a gorgeous capable camera. Now that Fuji has fixed the size issue they had, I feel the new camera from them will do well in medium format terms (MF cameras will never sell in numbers like full frame 35). Looks like a winner! As for an X1D 2 or an X2D, no idea if that will happen anytime soon. Probably not is my guess.

      • I own the hassy, and even on the new firmware, there are still bugs and strange behaviors with the selector wheels and little hickups now and then. It is not as solid as I’d like it to be.

        • I believe the selector wheel glitch was an actual glitch with the dials that they fixed a while ago now. You may have an early model that still has that issue. They will fix that under warranty.

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