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Battle of the Medium Format 80mm lens: Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 vs Hasselblad XCD 80mm f1.9

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

The Hasselblad X1D II and the Fujifilm GFX100S are very different cameras in terms of design and what’s inside of them. However, what they do have in common is that they both have 80mm medium format lenses.

The Hasselblad XCD 80mm f1.9 is one of the fastest lenses among medium format modern lenses until Fujifilm came out with their 80mm f1.7 lens. So which of the two is the better medium format camera lens?

Although we can’t switch the cameras’ lenses with each other to test, we can take pictures of the same subject using both cameras, see the optimal quality of each lens to compare and see which is better, whether there is a big difference between the two and if the difference is a deciding factor for you.

After taking pictures of several subjects, we’ve found that both lenses are good and you’re only going to find minute differences. However, with the overall performance of both cameras, it felt like a close fight between the two.

One of the few things we’ve noticed about the Hasselblad when we took the first picture is that the colours are really nice coming out of it. This has to do with the lens, sensor and processor working side-by-side to get you this result. Having a 50MP sensor makes everything sharp, and the 3D pop in the background is something we definitely love. When compared to the Fujifilm lens, we noticed that Fujifilm’s 3D pop was not as good as the one from Hasselblad.

As for skin tones, we found that the Hasselblad camera captures them well. It feels more natural, almost as if you’re looking at the subject with your own eyes instead of using the camera’s lens. Pictures taken with the Hasselblad lens tend to have the greens and reds slightly accentuated, while yellows are much more prevalent. Skin tones, meanwhile, tend to come out as fantastic, just like the level of detail the Hasselblad gives. When it came to the Fujifilm camera, however, you can tell right away that the colours are different. The Fujifilm has a reddish tone which you might need to edit to get it to the level of Hasselblad’s.

Subtle corrections are better with the Hasselblad lens than with the Fujifilm lens. Case in point, there was some purple fringing on a few areas with the Fujifilm picture, but while the same could be said about the one from the Hasselblad camera, the fringing was more controlled compared to the Fujifilm. We’re thinking this has something to do with the camera’s lens more so than the camera’s profile. The Fujifilm lens is slightly faster than Hasselblad’s and it’s very hard to keep chromatic aberrations like purple fringing from happening when you have a very fast lens.

The next picture we took with the Hasselblad came out with a more yellow tone, but it still matches the subject’s colours that we normally see with our eyes. It has great bokeh in the background, and the point of focus is so sharp that when you zoom in, you can’t tell what’s 100MP and what’s not. As for Fujifilm’s picture, there were more circular blurring going in than with Hasselblad’s. In terms of this, the Hasselblad is the better one as it was able to be more controlled than the Fujifilm. However, both lenses are doing very well resolution-wise.

Using the Hasselblad to take a picture of some stairways provided us with a picture that has less of a red tone than with Fujifilm’s picture. However, in terms of resolution and sharpness, they’re both neck-and-neck; you won’t be able to tell the difference at all.

Here’s the thing about the debate on whether 100MP is better than 50MP: Yes, there’s going to be a difference when it comes to cropping into a picture, but if you’re only going to post images online, it’s going to be hard to see the difference.

The separation going on with the Hasselblad’s lens when you nail the focus is really beautiful. You’re going to get some green hues with your pictures if you’re using a Hasselblad picture, but that can be edited out. The Fujifilm lens, on the other hand, will net you good sharpness on your point of focus. However, the picture does feel busier than Hasselblad’s.

Both of these lenses, at this point, are really, really good in our opinion and it will all come down to your preference in terms of colour and rendering. However, in terms of sharpness, the Hasselblad does have a slight edge over the Fujifilm.

But there is something that the Hasselblad was more of a miss: we’ve noticed that our hit rate with the Hasselblad was lower compared to Fujifilm. We took a picture of some turtles, and we thought we had a great photo but the focus wasn’t quite there. The same cannot be said about the Fujifilm picture – we got such an astounding level of sharpness and detail that we could zoom into the picture for days. This was due to the power of the 100MP sensor the Fujifilm camera has.

In terms of colour tonality, however, the Hasselblad came out on top because the pictures were closer to what we were seeing.

Overall, the Hasselblad lens is a little more corrected than Fujifilm’s, but there is a catch: the price difference. The Hasselblad lens costs US$4,845, while the Fujifilm lens retails at around US$2,299. The Hasselblad lens is also slower when it comes to autofocus, but in terms of optical quality, we think the Hasselblad is better due to that bit of correction we noticed with the lens. Mind you, these are very minute differences: both lenses are fantastic, and we highly recommend them. If you have the Fujifilm GFX100S, the 50R, the 50S or the GFX100 and you’re considering the 80mm f1.9, then go for it: the lens is fantastic for that mount.


Content by Bobby Tonelli

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