Hasselblad X1D II & 907X : Legacy vs. New Generation Lenses. Does Newer Really Mean Better?

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Hasselblad 907X & X1D

New Generation vs. Legacy Lenses

The Comparison Lineup

Recently, we decided to put some of Hasselblad’s legacy HC/HCD lenses to the test against the newer XCD lenses for the X1D and 907X systems. Below are the result

The Quick Summary

LEFT : Hasselblad 21mm XCD @f/11. RIGHT : Hasselblad 24mm HCD @f/11.

These 2 lenses, the Hasselblad 21mm XCD & the Hasselblad 24mm HCD, the were relatively close. But there’s a slight edge to the 21mm XCD lens. It also produces a bit warmer image. The corners and edges also appeared comparatively similar.

LEFT : Hasselblad 80mm XCD @f2.8. RIGHT : Hasselblad 80mm HC @f2.8.

This result surprised me a bit with the degree of improvement with the 80mm/1.9 XCD lens over the 80mm/2.8 HC lens at f/2.8. That slightly warmer tone seems to come though again with the XCD lens, or perhaps there’s a hair more saturation – something, but the XCD lens seems to produce a bit more green color from this leaf, which almost appears neutral with the HC lens, on this very overcast day.

LEFT : Hasselblad 80mm XCD @f1.9. RIGHT : Hasselblad 80mm HC @f2.8.

But really, when it comes to the 80mm/1.9 XCD lens, what we really want to see is how does that compare to the 80mm/2.8 HC lens at f/2.8? And I believe even at f/1.9, the XCD lens out-resolves the 80mm/2.8 HC lens. So you really have a faster lens, and even sharper results with more bokeh.

LEFT : Hasselblad 80mm XCD @f1.9. RIGHT : Hasselblad 80mm HC @f2.8.

While the day outside was ultra still, photographing leaves or branches for a lens test has potential for error. I did take multilpe captures to reduce that possibility, but also photographed a test chart inside for some additional evidence. And the results again show the 80mm/1.9 XCD lens outresolving the 80mm/2.8 HC lens.

The CI Take

In some instances, the legacy HC/HCD lenses hold up quite well to the newer XCD lenses without any significant advantage seen from the XCD lenses, but in other cases, the XCD lenses hold a clear advantage in terms of maximum sharpness.

There are many more lenses that could be compared between the lineups of the XCD and HC/HCD lenses. In this case, I feel that the 24mm/4.8 HCD lens acquitted itself reasonably well against the 21mm/4 XCD lens. It’s noteworthy that the 24mm/4.8 HCD lens was the most recent lens produced for the Hasselblad H system, while the 80mm/2.8 HC lens is the oldest. But in comparison to the 80mm/1.9 XCD lens, there is a clear winner, and it is the 80mm/1.9 XCD. Sharper and faster. The 80mm/1.9 XCD is one of the more expensive XCD lenses, and the 80mm/2.8 HC lens is the least expensive lens in the HC/HCD lineup, so these results are not too surprising. But the 80mm/1.9 XCD lens is impressive and is completely viable shot wide open @f1.9.

Some of the HC/HCD lenses may be worth adapting to an X1D or 907X/50C kit if you already own them. But there has clearly been an advancement with the XCD lenses that may be very apparent. Let’s keep in mind also, that 100mp versions of the X1D and 907X models will likely arrive in the future. I would bet most Hasselblad H owners have thought that their HC/HCD lenses were good and sharp. And they were … er, are. But the XCD lenses are sharper. At some point in the future, years from now, a new generation of lenses may emerge which make the XCD lenses seem not as impressive as they are today. But when it comes to lenses, carpe diem.

If you would like raw files from this test, please contact info@captureintegration.com.

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