I have learned a lot from the adapted telephoto tests I have done the last weeks. From the Hasselblad H6D-100c, I have slowly merged over to the Hasselblad X as my primary system. My camera of choice in the field is now the Hasselblad X2D, with X1D as backup. I have a few of Hasselblad’s own XCD lenses for these cameras, and I am very happy with them. I mostly photograph with focal lengths from about 24 to 70mm (full-frame equivalents) and the Hasselblad XCD 35-75 is for the time being my mostly used lens. I also own a few primes, from 21 to 90mm. From time to time I need a somewhat longer focal length than the 90mm (70mm FF equivalent). Of course I could invest in the XCD 135 with the 1.7x teleconverter, but for various reasons mentioned in previous posts, I haven’t. Yet. It would see little use, it’s quite big and heavy, and as the other xcd-lenses, very expensive. So I have looked a bit into adapted tele lenses. My previous posts go into details. In short, I have found the Hasselblad HC 150n f3.2 to be a very good performer, but I have been blown away by the quality of the Mamiya 105-210mm f4.5 ULD telezoom. These two are probably the best lenses I have tested so far, optically. Therefore, it is time to put them head-to-head and decide which is the best performer at the focal length most interesting to me, 150mm. They both have their issues for practical use, I will come back to that later in the post.
Size, build and use
These are two quite different lenses. Obviously, the HC 150 is a fixed focal length and the Mamiya is a 2x telephoto zoom. Moreover, the HC is fitted to the X with Hasselblad’s own XH smart adapter. Therefore, you get full functionality with the HC-lens, including autofocus if you have a newer version that allows newer firmware. Aperture is controlled with the wheels on the camera, and you don’t have to adjust the aperture between focusing and exposure. The lens-shutter can be used, so you don’t need to worry about the potential downsides of using the electronic shutter. With the Mamiya zoom you need to use a dumb adapter, without any transfer of data between lens and camera. That means full manual aperture and focus, and no exif data stored with the files, as well as use of electronic shutter. To me, these things doesn’t matter very much, as I work only from a tripod in full manual mode, including manual focus, anyway. And I have no problems with the electronic shutter.
|Hasselblad HC 150n||Mamiya 105-210 ULD|
|Full frame equivalent focal length||119 mm||85-165 mm|
|Length (lens only)||124 mm||158 mm|
|Length (with adapter and caps)||174 mm||209 mm|
|Weight (lens only)||970 g||875 g|
|Weight (with adapter and caps)||1290 g||1070 g|
|Filter Ø||77 mm||58 mm|
|Close focus||1.3 m||1.8 m|
|Built in hood?||No||Yes|
|Adapter used||Hasselblad XH||Kipon Mamiya 645X1D|
To me, the most important things are how the lens handles on the camera and how good it is optically. Your milage may vary, but in these tests, I have laid most emphasis on resolution/sharpness, size and weight.
I have used images of my regular test-subject to put these two lenses head-to-head. For why I chose this subject and how it was done, see one of my previous posts, eg. the test of the Leica 180mm. In short, this reflects how I mostly use my telephoto lenses, and I wanted to do a real-life practical test for myself.
Capturing details: Hasselblad X2D-100c, tripod (Gitzo systematic series 3 with geared head), 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, raw-sharpening): Amount 30, radius 0.5, details 100. No other adjustments for initial evaluation.
There is no vignetting or distortion to speak of with either lens. The Mamiya zoom may draw a tad warmer than the Hasselblad, but it’s hard to say. The photos were taken approximately 3 minutes apart, so it could even be a slight change in light. Both images look nice and sharp when viewed in full size like this. Next, we’ll look at some 400% enlargements.
Sharpness and chromatic aberration
Sharpness and chromatic aberrations were evaluated on 400% enlargements in centre, left edge and extreme lower right corner, corresponding approximately to the red squares shown above. The crops are shown below. On the left you will see the crop from the Hasselblad HC 150n, and on the right is the crop from the Mamiya 105-210 mm zoomed to 150 mm. Drag the slider to alternate between the two.
Image center is a very close call, but if I was pressed, I would have to give the edge to the Mamiya zoom. They are both very sharp though. Differences are starting to show as we move towards the edge, where the Mamiya zoom is significantly sharper. This is confirmed at the extreme lower right corner, where the Hasselblad HC 150 really falls behind. It may be hard to see these subtle differences on this blogpost, especially if you study it on a small screen. That underlines the fact that they are both very good lenses. But when viewed on a large screen, side-by-side in 100-400% magnification, there is no doubt. Even in the center.
When it comes to chromatic aberrations, they are both very good. As can probably be seen best from the edge comparison, the Mamiya zoom actually has a little less fringing. Fringing is easily removed in Lightroom on both lenses.
The Hasselblad HC 150n f 3.2 has been a favorite lens of mine on the Hasselblad H-system for many years. Some of my very best images has been captured with this lens. On the H6D-100c it handles very well, and actually feels like quite a compact and light lens. Add a XH-adapter and put it on a Hasselblad X, and you got a different story. Unfortunately. The lens feels unbalanced and somewhat front heavy. It is ok-ish to use, but not excellent. It is saved by the tripod foot on the adapter. The focus ring is not excellent to use for manual focus, but it is ok. Build quality is, like all other Hasselblad lenses, just terrific. If you really need a mechanical shutter, this is a valid option. And getting all exif-data and the ability to adjust the aperture from the camera is also an advantage.
The Mamiya zoom, on the other hand, feels much lighter and more balanced. It is actually longer than the adapted HC 150, and only a little lighter, but it is slimmer and just feels more natural on the camera. Almost as if it was made for the X-system. Aperture and zoom rings are made for manual work and is a joy to use. Build quality is excellent and the built in hood is a nice touch.
Optically, both are great, but the zoom at 150mm is just a bit sharper all over the frame. In addition, my impression is that it is even sharper at longer focal lengths. I tested it at 210mm and it was marvellous there. Add the versatility you get from a zoom lens, and we have a winner. It is game, set and match to the terrific Mamiya telezoom.
The Mamiya zoom will be my go-to telephoto lens in most situations. For the long and steep hikes, I may exchange it with the Mamiya 150mm if I’m pressed on weight and space. This concludes my adapted telephoto tests for the time being.
Now, I’m just a little bit curious about the Pentax 645 telephoto lenses too…..