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Hasselblad X1D and the Zeiss 85mm Otus: The Ultimate Combination?

You may have read my review of the H6D 100c where I demonstrate how several of Hasselblads high-end lenses are being outperformed by regular full frame lenses. You may have also seen some reviews on YouTube where reviewers weren't too happy with the lens line-up or performance of said lenses for the Hasselblad X1D. I still maintain that there isn't a single lens from Hasselblad currently available, that can outperform the top full frame lenses. Well, what happens when you couple one of the best full frame lenses currently available on the market with the X1D?

Popular YouTuber and educator Matt Granger did exactly that, and in his latest video, he demonstrates the results you can achieve when you combine the X1D with the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4.

In short, the results are stunning, just take a look at the image below. 

The depth of field is incredibly shallow due to having a wider angle of view and being able to shoot closer to the subject. The lens itself is quite possibly the best 85mm lens ever made in terms of sheer optics and the detail it can render is amazing. When you couple the X1D with a lens of this caliber, it's then that medium format starts to make more sense. Full frame has the best lenses, medium format has the best sensors, and combinations such as these are the best of both.  

You can download the raw files from Granger's website. 

Images used with permission of Matt Granger.

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Christos Dikos's picture

Interesting that the Otus covers the medium format sensor.

Carlton Canary's picture

That's because it's not really medium format. Its 35 and some extra. I'll be really excited when phase one finally puts out a 6x7 sensor.

Anonymous's picture

Amen. They’re getting there: the IQ3 is a 54x40 sensor, close to full medium format on at least one side (most film mf I’ve used is closer to 56mm than 60mm in actual use).

Nathan Dana's picture

Yup, the X1d has a 44x33mm sensor size. Medium format film STARTS at 60x45 (minus some in reality), so its right in between. APS-C is to "Full Frame", like the X1d is to Medium Format.

Mike Leland's picture

Medium format is anything in between 135 format and 4x5...'s still medium format. I have 5 medium format cameras and they all have different sizes.

Usman Dawood's picture

I think it comes down to the cost. Producing a sensor of that size just isn't feasible. I'm sure that other challenges will appear too so just the actual size of the sensor won't automatically mean a better sensor. What do you think?

Usman Dawood's picture

Unless it's a Canon :P

Paolo Bugnone's picture

@bob brady it's because of how sensor are etched in round silicon wafers.
First, take a look at those images:

Now, imagine you are "drawing" those sensors into the silicon by hand, sometimes you will make a mistake. The bigger the sensor is the higer the chance you will eventually make a mistake while drawing it causing you to scrap the sensor.

Second, the bigger the sensor the bigger the part of the extremely expansive wafer you will throw out: if you fail a FF sensor you will trash a bigger chunk of wafter compared to an APS-C sensor, if you fail a REAL medium format sensor (like Phase One) you will throw out a HUGE portion of wafer. In a Phase one sensor you can fit almost APS-C: if you fail an APS-C you just lose one of the 6, if you fail the PO you just lost the entire chunk.

Third thing, even if you had a 0% fail rate the sheer amount of high quality silicon required to produce a MF sensor will make it extremely expansive compared to smaller sizes.

Back of the envelope calculation, comparing a PO to an APS-C, you have a 6 times higer chance of mistake per sensor with a 6 times higer loss if a mistake happens, it starts to sound reasonable to ask a price 36 times higer for the sensor alone!

Paolo Bugnone's picture

They are already doing it in scientific research, especially for telescope that have huge aperture so using em with a small sensor would mean f ratio literally too small to achieve because of physics.

Downside of that is that until they find out how to make (if it's possible) sensors with gapless edges you will end up with the mosaic lines in the final image, and while that isn't a problem for scientific imaging where you care only about the amount of photons captured it definitely isn't that pretty for artistic images ;)

Anonymous's picture

Oh boy could you imagine a digital Fuji GW690?! One day, of course, but that will be a marvelous day.

Blake Griffin's picture

The Otus also has VERY good coverage of the Phase One IQ3-100 digital back with very slight loss in the corners of the image.

**Self Edit** In looking at the test files again there perhaps was more loss than I initially remembered, but I'd still be mostly happy with a center crop of on the IQ3.

Usman Dawood's picture

Really? That's very interesting. Could be a super awesome 50mm (ish) equivalent lens on that sensor then.

Blake Griffin's picture

It's not the best example, but here was the very rough test.

Usman Dawood's picture

That's actually not bad at all. A little cropping and you're fine. I know that the Canon TS-E lenses can very comfortably cover the full sensor and do allow for a very slight shift. The fact that the 85mm can cover a big chunk of that sensor is impressive.

Blake Griffin's picture

In that same test I was playing around with some of the Old TS-E Lineup as well using one of these:

Tamas Nemeth's picture

The Sigma 85/1.4 A almost covers the whole sensor...
(sorry for the link is to a Hungarian site, where I shared those snapshots, and about the rolling shutter artifact on the image :)

Usman Dawood's picture

Is that for the 50mp or the 100mp please?

Tamas Nemeth's picture


thomas Palmer's picture

Too shallow