Hasselblad XCD 21mm F4 Review

August 10, 2020 | Tim Coleman | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


For those looking at the Hasselblad X-system, the XCD 21mm f/4 lens is a key part of the range, catering perfectly well for landscape and architecture photography. There's no other like-for-like lens to offer such a wide angle of view.

It's relatively compact and lightweight, it's solid and it's simple. While attractive on the outside, simplicity brings about some compromises handling-wise, mainly down to the pairing with the X1D II 50C camera.

That said, the leaf shutter is quiet, has minimal vibrations and can be used at any shutter speed up to 68 minutes without fiddling around with bulb modes or an optional shutter release. If you are into long exposure landscape images, the 21mm lens is a dream.

Image quality is dreamy, too. Paired with the substantial 51.2-million-pixel 44x33mm medium format Hasselblad sensor and 'natural colour solution', you get exceptionally sharp and ultra-high detail images that can be printed to a huge scale - we're talking 34.5x25.8in at 240ppi without interpolation.

If we're being picky, image sharpness could be a fraction better from f/16 to f/32 - for landscapes there is a small trade off between critical sharpness and great depth of field.

Lens distortions in almost every area are controlled exceptionally well, especially chromatic aberrations and flare. Vignetting and barrel distortion is there, but both can be corrected easily.

So while we are not total fans of how the lens handles in a few scenarios, arguably those issues are less relevant in this ultra-wide angle lens, a lens that performs better than others in Hasselblad's XCD range.

All things considered, the Hasselblad XCD 21mm F4 is a great lens. When paired with an X1D camera and in the right hands, it will deliver stunning landscape and architecture images.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 5
Value for money 3.5