Adapted full-frame lenses on the Hasselblad X have often left me disappointed due to vignetting. Although mainly a problem with wide-angles, some telephoto lenses also suffer from that. See e.g. the test of the Nikkor 200mm f4. So, I decided to try out a few lenses with larger image-circles. Mamiya developed and produced an impressive range of optics for their 645-system. These were all made for the 645 film-format and should have more than adequate image-circles to cover the sensor in the Hasselblad X. After todays standards, the Mamiya 645 lenses are also relatively small and lightweight, so they could fit the mirrorless X-system nicely.
I do a lot of woodland photography, and a short-to-medium telephoto lens has been my primary workhorse for that. When I worked with full-frame cameras, I always carried a 70-200 mm in the forests, and really enjoyed the flexibility of a zoom. Unfortunately, Hasselblad does not make telezooms for their H og X system, so If you want that flexibility, you are left with adapted lenses. Researching my options for a medium format mid-range tele-zoom, adaptable to Hasselblad X, the Mamiya 645 105-210 f4.5 was one of the very few I found. Now, vintage zoom-lenses don’t always have the best of reputation, neither optically or build-wise. To put it mildly, I was a bit sceptical when I ordered this one.
The Mamiya 645 lenses are quite easy to find in good condition in the used market. A quick search on ebay will give you lots of samples of this model, currently ranging from around 80 to about 300 USD. I recommend putting a little money into it and find one with no haze or fungus, low level of dust and generally in mint condition. I got mine a few years back from a well-reputed Japanese dealer for 150 USD + shipping, and it arrived in as-new condition.
To keep things simple, I have tested this lens on 105, 150 and 210 mm. These focal lengths should be quite representable for evaluating the properties I consider important, and were studied under the same conditions using the standard technique described under “tests shot” below.
|Full frame equivalent focal length||ca. 85-165 mm|
|Length (lens only)||158 mm|
|Length (with adapter and caps)||209 mm|
|Weight (lens only)||875 g|
|Weight (with adapter and caps)||1070 g|
|Filter Ø||58 mm|
|Close focus||1.8 m|
|Built in hood?||Yes|
|Adapter used||Kipon Mamiya 645-X1D|
Size and build
I have used several full-frame 70-200 mm lenses throughout the years. I definitely see the use for it in landscapephotography. The Nikkor AF-S 70-200 f2.8 accompanied me and my D800’s for several years and it served me well. But it is a seriously big chunk of gear. I currently have the AF-S 70-200 f4 and find it much easier to handle and just as good optically. For my work, I never use an aperture smaller than 5.6 – 8 anyway. When I received the Mamiya 645 105-210 f 4.5 ULD, I was positively surprised by the size and weight of it. It weighs in at exactly the same as the Nikkor 70-200 f4 and it is actually two cm shorter. Of course, the adapter adds some length and weight, but handling the Mamiya zoom feels very much like the small Nikkor 70-200 f4. A real plus in my book.
I was also positively surprised by the build-quality. This zoom is nothing like the older, cheaper zooms from the days of film. I look back with horror on some of the push-pull zooms I owned in the 80’s. I would rather compare this with the old Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 AF-D. It definitely feels more sturdy and of higher build quality than many of the modern Nikkor AF-S lenses. All-metal body, nice built-in retractable hood, and lovely focus and zoom rings with just the right throw and resistance. It does not extend when zooming, but a little when focusing close. Max aperture is also constant f4.5 throughout the zoom range.
Importantly, the weight is very well distributed on this lens. It is not front-heavy like the Leica 180mm or the Hasselblad HC 150. It balances nicely in hand. So far I have used it without support on the lens or the adapter when mounted on a tripod, only with the L-bracket on the camera. This might make it a bit prone to vibrations in e.g. strong wind, so I may invest in the Fotodiox adapter, that has a built in tripod-foot, in the future.
Unimportantly, I also think it looks quite good mounted on either the X1D or X2D. Almost as if it was made for it. So far, so good. But will it deliver optically?
For why I chose this subject and how it was done, se details in my previous posts, e.g. the test of Nikon Series E 135mm f2.8. In short, I wanted to do a real-life test of this lens in a setting close to how I usually use my telephoto-lenses.
Capturing details: Hasselblad X2D-100c, tripod, 2 sec timer, iso 64, auto white balance, aperture priority, some depth to the scene, focus close to infinity, manual focus on the tower in 100% live view with fully open lens, f11 for exposure, e-shutter.
Raw-file imported to Lightroom where it has undergone initial sharpening (deconvolution): Amount 30, radius 0.5, details 100. No other adjustments for initial evaluation.
There are of course markings for the 105 and 210mm focal lengths. There are also markings for 140 and 170mm, but for the 150mm shot, I just had to guess where it approximately would be. Comparing with the other 150mm lenses in this test, I think I hit it pretty ok.
Distortion and vignetting
As you may appreciate from the unedited test-images above, there is no trace of vignette at any of the focal lengths @f11. I played around with the slider in Lightroom for all of them, but found the best results with amount around 0-2. This lens was of course designed with a large image circle in mind, so not really surprising. Also, there is no distortion to speak of at any focal lengths.
Sharpness and chromatic aberrations were evaluated on 300% enlargements in centre, left edge and extreme lower left corner, corresponding approximately to the red squares in the frame below. The crops are shown below for each of the three focal-lengths tested. To the left in the crop you will see the unedited file (only deconvolution sharpening) and on the right you can see an edited version after removal of chromatic aberrations in Lightroom and sharpening in Topaz Sharpen AI. Drag the slider to alternate between the two versions.
I find the sharpness with this lens to be utterly impressive. On all focal lengths, all over the frame. It’s “weakest” part is probably the wide end. It has a touch of softness all over the frame at 105mm, but still very acceptable. It sharpens up from around 110-120 mm. The little touch of improvement seen on all focal lengths after sharpening with Topaz Sharpen AI is most likely due to removal of the slight diffraction at f11. But I really see no point in using extra sharpening with this lens. It is perfectly fine with only regular raw-sharpening.
I have looked closely at the crops on all focal lengths, but show only the 150mm here. It is the same for 105 and 210mm. There is an extremely low level of chromatic aberration, on level with the Hasselblad HC 150mm f3.2. It is easily and totally cleaned up with the tick of a box in Lightroom. The “ULD” in the lens-name refers to ultra low dispersion, a glass made for reducing chromatic aberration. Nice to see it works so well. The reduction in chromatic aberration by the ULD-glass of course reduce color-fringing, but it may also very well contribute to the overall sharpness with this lens.
I am very much impressed with all aspects of this lens. First, the physical characteristics are very good. Not too big and heavy, and it handles very nicely on the X2D body. I can use the L-bracket on a tripod as I usually do, and don’t see the need for further support. The build quality is also extremely good. The focus, zoom and aperture rings are all lovely to use, with just the right resistance, and the built-in hood is a nice touch. As most professional zooms in this range, the physical length of the lens remains constant when zooming.
The flexibility of a zoom is of course very welcome. While most full-frame high-end zooms are 3x, this one is, in line with most other medium format zooms, only 2x. But it still brings tons of flexibility compared to a fixed focal-length. The full-frame equivalent of 85-165mm should cover most of my needs. With the sharpness of this lens, I would have no problem cropping in a bit on the X2D, effectively making it equivalent to a 200mm lens on full-frame. It is also very good in the wide end, so if I found myself very pressed for weight and room in my bag, I would even consider not bringing the XCD 90.
Pair this up with the technical image-quality shown in the samples above, and the low price in the used-market, and we have a winner. This one comes highly recommended for the Hasselblad X-cameras.