As part of our hands-on Hasselblad X1D II 50C review, we had the opportunity to put the newly announced Hasselblad XCD 35-75mm (or XCD 3,5-4,5/35-75mm Zoom Lens, to give its official designation) through its paces.
The first zoom lens in the X system, the 35-75mm takes the lens line-up to nine – resulting in a pretty complete offering for the system, from 21mm through to 230mm (17.2mm to 188.6mm in equivalent 35mm terms).
Despite the labelling, the new zoom actually has focal range of 35.9-73.1mm. Thanks to the X system's crop factor, that produces an equivalent range of 28-58mm – which also turns the f/3.5-4.5 aperture into an f/2.87-3.69 equivalent, making it brighter than the specs would suggest.
While a tad shy at both ends, its moderate wide-angle to light telephoto range is in the same ballpark as the all-purpose 24-70mm zooms on other systems. This makes it an ideal optic to take on location and cover most needs, rather than packing a bag full of primes.
That said, Hasselblad claims that the optical performance of the zoom stands it shoulder-to-shoulder with the XCD primes in terms of image quality. We'll reserve judgement until we've had the chance to fully lab test the lens, but from our quick test drive ahead of the full review we certainly weren't disappointed.
Though manufactured in either China or Japan, depending on the supplier (with likely candidates including Konica and Sigma, according to lens experts), the optical design comes from Hasselblad's Swedish designers.
The 35-75 features 15 elements in 13 groups, with 2 aspherical elements. The focusing mechanism is internal, meaning that it maintains its 145mm length (with 85mm diameter) regardless of zoom. It's fairly beefy, at 1,115g, though it balances well with the X1D II body.
It feels great in the hand, with a satisfyingly smooth zoom ring and a focus ring that's very well damped. The latter becomes quite important, given the X1D II's occasionally obstinate AF, meaning that pinpoint precision for focus peaking is incredibly useful.
Aperture aside, from our admittedly unscientific testing, the 35-75 really doesn't feel like a compromise from using primes. The focus is fluid and there appears to be no nasty distortion or vignetting.
We're very eager to get this lens in the lab, and we'll bring you our results closer to its October launch when it will be available for £4,860 / $5,175.
Hasselblad XCD 35-75: Early verdict
We'll need to give it a thorough test in the lab before we come to a final conclusion, but our initial impressions of the Hasselblad XCD 35-75 are very positive. Images were sharp and satisfying across the range, which is broadly similar to the familiar 24-70mm optic found on other systems. This makes the 35-75 a great all-purpose lens that should cover the bases for most occasions.
While it's disappointing that the lens doesn't feature a constant aperture, thanks to the 0.82x crop factor it's a brighter performer than its billing suggests. Otherwise there are no obvious shortcomings compared to the XCD primes, making this look like a home run for Hasselblad's first ever X system zoom.