I was pleasantly surprised to see Hasselblad’s email in my inbox. After long radio silence, I feared they were no longer invested in professional photography. As much as mirrorless full-frame systems dominate the world of photography, there is still a market for medium format photography. One of the drawbacks has been a lack of fast aperture prime lenses. So, the announcement of the X2D 100c and Hasselblad 55mm f2.5 XCD lens brought a rush of excitement.
The 55mm f2.5 XCD is an ideal focal length for a variety of applications. It is lightweight, compact, and you can attach it to your camera and leave it there most of the time. It being a Hasselblad, you know you will get vibrant, true-to-life tones, and the images will be beautiful. Is it worth $3,699? We think so. Keep reading to find out more.
Table of Contents
The Big Picture
The Hasselblad 55mm f2.5 XCD lens is a lightweight, compact, fast aperture medium format lens. It is an excellent choice for portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, photojournalism, weddings, product, architectural details, and street photography. Indeed, it is an ideal choice to remain attached to your camera most of the time.
The lens boasts a premium all-metal design. It isn’t fully weather resistant, but it handles succinctly in moderate rain, dusty wind, and hot temperatures. I wouldn’t suggest pushing the limit and photographing in adverse weather conditions. The Hasselblad 55mm f2.5 XCD quickly focuses in most lighting conditions, except for stark backlit conditions. You may experience a bit of hunting, but it does get there.
The best thing about this lens is its stellar image quality. It produces sharp images with bountiful details. Colors are true to life with an editorial flare. Photographers can skip editing altogether if they want.
- Beautiful colors and nearly perfect contrast
- Ideal focal length
- Plenty of character and minimal imperfections
- You can skip editing altogether if you want.
- Premium all-metal design
- Simple to use
- Not fully weather-sealed
- It can be slow in drastically backlit environments.
The design of the Hasselblad 55mm f2.5 XCD isn’t groundbreaking or innovative. However, what it does do, it does very well. Hasselblad has excelled in creating a lens and camera that feel like a natural extension of oneself.
We received a 55mm f2.5 lens and X2D 100c loan unit from Hasselblad to review. Other gear included a Nanlite Fixture Forza 150B and my Broncolor Siros L.
The Hasselblad 55mm f2.5 lens weighs less than a pound and sits comfortably in your hands. It is comfortable to photograph with all day long. The lens resembles a tried and true classic design.
A control ring is positioned closest to the lens mount. It can be customized to accommodate your preferences.
Moving down the lens, you will find the focus ring. It enables autofocus when positioned closest to the lens mount. Slide it forward and reveal the depth of field scale for manual focus.
This is what the 55mm f2.5 lens looks like from the side.
It accommodates a 72mm filter. So of course, this is kind of a large lens.
The Hasselblad XCD 55V lens boasts an all-metal design with a detachable metal lens hood. Every component glides effortlessly. A rubber gasket is located at the lens mount. While the lens is not fully weatherproof, it withstands moderate moisture just fine. It survived a typical Montana autumn day of all four seasons in a 12-hour period. The lens performed wonderfully, and sensor dust was not an issue, but I would not suggest exposing it to severe weather conditions.
The Hasselblad 55mm f2.5 lens features a linear stepping motor and a more compact focusing lens group. These allow it to achieve focus swiftly in most lighting situations. It kept up with my cat as he explored lackadaisically. The lens was slower to focus in drastically backlit environments, but it got there eventually. I did not run into issues where it focused on the background instead of my intended subject, as I did with the 38mm lens. Manual focus was also relatively simple to acquire. I enjoyed watching my subject slide into focus with the viewfinder. It would be even better if Hasselblad adds focus peaking to the X2D 100c.
Ease Of Use
The Hasselblad XCD 55V embodies a classic design that is straightforward to use. I assigned the control ring to control the aperture, allowing simple adjustments without taking my eye away from the viewfinder. For longer exposures focusing on movement, slide the focus ring forward. Operation feels very intuitive.
The 55mm f2.5 lens has an approximate 44mm f1.98 full-frame equivalence according to MMCalc. It is one of my favorite focal lengths for its versatility and realistic viewpoint. Hasselblad’s 55mm lens is also compact and lightweight in the world of medium format. It is comfortable enough to photograph with all day, and light enough to carry around in a messenger bag without shoulder and neck strain.
It is excellent for street photography, landscapes, commercial, photojournalism, fashion, and architectural details. I enjoyed using this lens for portraits. It is an ideal focal length to be your primary workhorse.
The Hasselblad 55mm f2.5 lens produces sharp images with beautiful hues and minimal imperfections. Most images require minimal editing. The few encounters with distortions are easily corrected in post-production.
Hasselblad’s 55mm lens produces stellar bokeh when there is vast background separation. It is lovely for portraits. The lens also has beautiful bokeh when stopped down. The bokeh is not always perfectly round and does not have an onion effect. It can sometimes be a bit geometric, but it works well with the images.
I am a big fan of Hasselblad’s color science. The blues and greens produced with this lens are vibrant without being overly saturated. It has an editorial vibe. Skin tones are true to life and very easy to work with. The 55mm lens does an excellent job of capturing real-life tones, regardless of the light source.
The Hasselblad 55mm f2.5 lens has minimal barrel distortion and rarely needs to be corrected. A natural vignetting is easily corrected in post if you don’t care for it. It produces vibrant colors with excellent contrast. The shadows are punchy without being overbearing, which is ideal for portraits in hard light. It makes beautiful sun stars and light stars. Want lens flare? Go for it. There is a slight amount of highlight fringing which is easily corrected with five seconds of editing if it bothers you.
Images are sharp throughout most of the frame at its widest aperture. Only the corners and outermost edges are soft when focused at infinity. Simply stop down to extend the sharpness throughout the image.
The Hasselblad XCD 55V f2.5 lens produces extraordinarily sharp images with an abundance of detail. This is an example of the entire image.
Here is the detail from the crop. As you can see, it is excellent.
Extra Image Samples
From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They’re not showing what the product can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.
Who Should Buy The Hasselblad 55mm f2.5 Lens?
The Hasselblad 55mm f2.5 lens produces detail-rich images with gorgeous colors. Any imperfections are easily corrected in post-processing. You could even skip editing altogether if you want; most pictures look great without it.
But, it isn’t perfect. The lens isn’t fully weatherproof. While it handles well in moderate moisture and temperatures, I wouldn’t want to take it in adverse conditions. It’s also slower to focus in strongly backlit scenarios. Granted, the final production of the lens may have a firmware update that addresses this.
The Hasselblad 55mm f2.5 lens would be my primary workhorse if I owned an X2D 100c. It would be the first lens I would buy. The 55mm is an ideal focal length for portraits, photojournalism, street photography, weddings, cityscapes, landscapes, architectural details, and food photography. It’s easy to use and feels good in the hand.
It is $3,699 well spent if you are ready to buy a new lens for your Hasselblad system. Or, you can rent one from Lensrentals if you want to try it out first.
Tech specs are from Hasselblad.
- Focal length: Focal length
- Equivalent Focal length (24×36): 43mm
- Aperture range: 2,5 – 32
- Angle of view diag/hor/vert: 53°/43°/32°
- Length/diameter: 72/76 mm
- Length (from camera lens mount flange): 67mm
- Weight (excl. covers and lens shade): 372g
- Filter diameter: 72 mm
- Product number: CP.HB.00000718.01
- Minimum distance object to image plane: 0,45 m
- Maximum image scale: 1:6,4
- Corresponding area coverage: 28 x 21 cm
- Corresponding exposure reduction: 0 f-stops
- Compatibility: Hasselblad X System & 907x cameras
- Elements/groups: 9 elements in 8 groups
- Aspherical elements: 3 aspherical elements
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