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Hasselblad X1D
Hasselblad XCD 90mm f/3.2

Bokeh: Out-of-Focus Lights at Night

This series shows some highly unusual behavior for out-of-focus specular highlights, using night-time conditions.

Update: while I have not personally confirmed it, my information is that a firmware update delivers circular bokeh at full aperture.

Out of focus lights

With most lenses, wide open bokeh produces perfectly rounded blurs, albeit with the cat’s eye effect at wider apertures due to optical vignetting.

The Hasselblad XCD 90mm f/3.2 is quite unusual in one of its behaviors: wide open at f/3.2 (or f/3.5 for the XCD 45/3.5), the lens diaphragm is already stopped down (this can be seen and heard using the depth of field preview button). This behavior makes it impossible to obtain smooth rounded-out of focus blurs for specular highlights, unlike nearly all other lenses. It is a meaningful consideration for anyone used to shooting wide open for blur effects. See the blurs below from f/3.2 through f/6.3 with the unattractively asymmetric combination of spherical on one side and straight-blade lens diaphragm on the other. Even at f/9 the blurs in the extreme corners are not symmetric.

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Diglloyd Medium Format covers medium format camera systems, including the Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX.

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  • In-depth lens evaluations covering behaviors not likely to be found anywhere else, based on real-world field shooting.
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  • Aperture series from wide open through stopped down, showing the full range of lens performance and bokeh.
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Aperture series 3.2,3.5,4,4.5,5,5.6,6.3,9 available in full article

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