Hasselblad XCD 65mm F2.8 Review

August 25, 2020 | Tim Coleman | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


Paired with the X1D II camera, the Hasselblad XCD 65mm F2.8 lens looks the part. It's attractive minimalist all black design is built to a high standard, too.

Optically, there is much to appreciate about the Hasselblad XCD 65mm F2.8 lens. From sharp detail through to its control over various lens distortions and pleasant bokeh, it ticks all of the boxes.

It's very sharp from centre to edges as we fully expect from Hasselblad's digital medium format X series, has excellent and noteworthy control over lens flare, exhibits very little chromatic aberrations and light fall off.

This is also a versatile shooter, with the ability to focus at close distances and provide great depth of field control. Bokeh is very pleasant when shooting at the f/2.8 aperture - you'll get smooth and rounded out-of-focus light spots with next to no longitudinal chromatic aberrations. That rounded shape drops a little quicker than we hoped as the lens aperture is stopped down.

Handling is hit and miss and depends on what the lens is used for. Hasselblad is rightly renowned for studio work, with special mention of the leaf shutter and all of the benefits it brings. The leaf shutter is quiet, enjoys a largely vibration-free action and it can flash sync at any shutter speed.

Take the camera and lens out in the world and there are some handling issues, namely focusing. Autofocus in the X1D II is quicker than before - though still no match for the Fujifilm GFX system, plus it is held back further by this lens.

It seems as though the heavier and earlier XCD lenses such as the 65mm F2.8 do not focus as quickly or as quietly as the more recent lightweight additions such as the 45mm F4 P. This is not a lens and camera pairing to choose for capturing the moment in everyday action. You'll need a more considered approach and minimal subject movement.

Like-for-like, digital medium format costs more than small format alternatives. Also, within this format, Hasselblad's system is a further notch up from the standard prime lenses from Fujfilm and Pentax. At £2,500, the 65mm F2.8 (equivalent 50mm f/2.2) is twice the price of Fujiflm's and Pentax's options. This is no cheap lens.

To summarise, this is an attractive and well built lens with superb image quality, provided a sharp focus is acquired. Detail is sharp, bokeh is pleasant at f/2.8. The lens suffers from being paired with a comparatively slow system and further holds it back with slow autofocus. It's also expensive.

Those doing a lot of studio and flash photography are likely to love this attractive lens and camera combination, but there are more versatile alternatives.

4 stars

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