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XCD lenses... wow.

P. Chong

Member
I have only used the Leica S35, S70 and S120 (on S2 and S007), and XCD21, XCD45 and XCD90 (on X1D). I would be in general agreement with both posters. Perhaps the only thing to add is the S is not only much bulkier and much heavier, and also much more expensive.

I have also used the Summicron 50SL, and Summicron 90SL on both the SL601 and SL2. Both are technically spectacular lenses, but I am more drawn to the larger, S lenses. If I may make an analogy, the SL Summicrons are like solid state amplifiers - technically accurate, transparent, superior clarity, fast, perhaps a bit critical. The S lenses are like tube amps, more warm, more beauty, more nuanced. Much better draw. I think this is in line with what I interpret from Peter Karbe - that the SL Summicrons are the most perfect lenses they have designed. And the S is more like the M lenses, though technically superior, but gives the same feeling.


Very interesting. My impression after getting the 907x and a bunch of XCD lenses is very different. I have got the 21, 30, 45p, and the 90. I am a long term Leica S user and I still feel that the XCD lenses are not on par with the S lenses. The 90 was sharp and clear, but its drawing is not particularly elegant, especially for portraits. I strongly prefer the 120 APO on the S. The 30 is good, with some visible distortion, but not amazing. I think the 35mm Summarit-S again wins easily. The 21mm, omg, has so much distortion that make me doubt all the reviews that I read online---yes, you can correct the distortion with the lens profile, but the level of barrel distortion is astonishing. Given the slow speed in auto focus, I very much wish that the 21 and the 30 has the focus distance scale on them, but they do not. It limits their operation significantly. The only lens among the four that make me feel amazed is the 45p, which has the acuity level that is hard to imagine at this price and for this size.

I have also got the SL2 system with the 35mm SL and 50mm SL. These lenses are true technical marvels. The clarity level and the beauty of the bokeh are integrated so well that it is difficult to believe. I would say that the SL primes are superior to the S lenses by modern standard, and superior to the XCD lenses by a large margin.

I quickly sold the 90 and the 30, only keeping the 45p for size and performance (despite awful focusing) and the 21mm for the extreme wide angle.

Over all, I think these XCD lenses are compromises that prioritize clarity and acuity (they are very transparent in terms of color and drawing), but sacrifices distortion and bokeh. I would take S lenses over the XCD lenses all day long. In fact, I prefer using the CFVii with the 501, 203, and SWC, which have been with me for a long time. I love the drawing of the 80mm f2.8 C lens, the 110, the 50 FLE CF, and the 60 F3.5. These older lenses draws in a much more elegant way.The wide angle on the SWC is simply unparalled with almost no distortion.

That being said, I love the CFVii and the overall 907 experience, especially the color science, but XCD lenses are mostly not part of my appreciation.


I also use both, Leica S and xcd lenses, feel somewhat the same. The lenses are quite good, but I also generally prefer the rendering of the S lenses. On the other side - the S lenses are also much bigger and heavier.
At the moment I have started to use the xcd 35-75, and so far I like it. With the x1dII it is a relativly compact/portable and flexible combination.
 

spb

Active member
yes, and in the end I have not used the xcd lenses enough to make my final conclusions.
Well subjectively I came from the GFX 50R and Fujifilm lenses, I am sure in my mind I upgraded to Hasselblad lenses. I do think some of that also is the processing of images in Phocus. I was using Capture 1 20 before but I prefer Phocus for mostly all processing now. I am very happy with images produced by my 30/65/135 lenses.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I've shot 1000+ images with each of the Leica S, Hassy X, and Fuji G systems. My biggest complaint about the XCD lenses is the difficulty of unmounting them! Other than the focusing ring, the barrels are completely smooth! I suppose I could have put a wide rubber band around the base of the lenses...

As far as perfection goes, all three systems meet or exceed any criterion I can think of. Final image differences are probably more software than optics related (I have no problem with software correction of distortion). I'll sell the SL body and lenses (three zooms) as soon as they're back from extended loan, but I just can't sell the S lenses. I *like* them.

BTW, I've just done a deep statistical dive. Of all the captures with the three systems, about 1% were keepers and 0.1% are in the "I'm really proud of that" categories. Huh.
 
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yudafu2

Member
I have also used the Summicron 50SL, and Summicron 90SL on both the SL601 and SL2. Both are technically spectacular lenses, but I am more drawn to the larger, S lenses. If I may make an analogy, the SL Summicrons are like solid state amplifiers - technically accurate, transparent, superior clarity, fast, perhaps a bit critical. The S lenses are like tube amps, more warm, more beauty, more nuanced. Much better draw. I think this is in line with what I interpret from Peter Karbe - that the SL Summicrons are the most perfect lenses they have designed. And the S is more like the M lenses, though technically superior, but gives the same feeling.

I totally agree. I am also drawn to the S lenses more than the SL lenses. And I enjoy using the S lenses on the SL cameras too. The 50 summicron SL though, is very similar to the 50 APO M, and draws very nicely.

Back to the XCD lenses, they are not bad. I have had a few Fuji GF lenses as well, which are technically quite good but not spectacular. The 110 is nice, but too big and the minimum focus distance is too far. My wife prefers the photos from S+120 over the Fuji with 110 every single time, although she knows nothing about photography. The GF 23mm is a brilliant lens though--- I think it performs better than the 21mm XCD lens. But the caveat is that Fuji corrects the lenses automatically in LR, and I have never seen its performance uncorrected.

Comparing XCD with GF lenses, I would say, the XCD has higher acuity levels and more transparent, but not by a large margin. The Fuji GF lenses are very sharp too. What distinguishes the 907x from the Fuji is the color. Despite the same sensor, the Hasselblad color is more pleasing to the eye. The separation between color channels are more pronounced. The Fuji color can start off as a big mushy, and too much on the pink side.

The Hasselblad has the best starting color in its raw file out of all the CMOS cameras that I have used.

G
 

Photon42

Active member
I still have my S with some S and Contax lenses. Don't use them at the moment, but won't sell them. I just enjoy the look too much. The XCD lenses seem a little bit sharper even, maybe more contrasty, but in some way also a little bit more boring. If I could use the 120/2.5 on the XCD, I would immediate do that. In the end, these are all nuances, sometimes greatly amplified through forums ... I enjoy both systems, at the moment the X1D gets all the attention. I do use a HC 100 on the X1D2 as a telephoto lens for a bit more "character". It also mounts onto the S ...
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Oh yes they need great care to remove! They are really a pain to remove unlike any other system I have ever used.
Interesting ... I have no difficulty at all mounting or unmounting XCD lenses. In fact, I find Hasselblad V system lenses to be more difficult. Even the 45P has a nice band of smooth lens barrel to grasp below the focusing ring and use for mounting/unmounting.

Perhaps it has to do with the size of one's hands. I have relatively large hands, usually take gloves in L to XL sizing. My hand wraps around three quarters of the XCD 21mm lens when I grip it for mounting purposes.

G
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Ah, if only I'd tried that! I always used thumb and side of index finger to try to grab the lenses. Full wrap around didn't occur to me.
 

tcdeveau

Active member
Ah, if only I'd tried that! I always used thumb and side of index finger to try to grab the lenses. Full wrap around didn't occur to me.
I do the wrap around approach too, thumb and index finger doesn't give good enough grip with my hands and makes me nervous
 

spb

Active member
Interesting ... I have no difficulty at all mounting or unmounting XCD lenses. In fact, I find Hasselblad V system lenses to be more difficult. Even the 45P has a nice band of smooth lens barrel to grasp below the focusing ring and use for mounting/unmounting.

Perhaps it has to do with the size of one's hands. I have relatively large hands, usually take gloves in L to XL sizing. My hand wraps around three quarters of the XCD 21mm lens when I grip it for mounting purposes.

G
Small hands I was 'given'......
 

da_eltsch

Member
Wow, I guess it was exceptional fun, to test all the lenses. X-System - in my case with X1D - is really fun and I enjoy also the resulting image quality.
Without direct comparison actually I didn't have anything to complain about those Fuji GF lenses: gems as well.
Still I have the feeling: the Leica S lenses draw even more excellent for my eyes.

All choices really excellent: enjoy :)
 

spb

Active member
Well yes I guess we all have good lenses and you get what you pay for in this world. As long as we are all happy with our choices what else matters?
 

cgastelum

Member
I also wanted to add my Thanks to Steve Hendrix at Capture Integration, He helped me get my 907x also last week. Right now I only have the 45p but looking forward to adding a couple more lenses in the near future. maybe the 90 or 80
 

P. Chong

Member
this is my experience as well with the very tight mounting and unmounting.

Also agree that all 3 systems are truly superb, and we are nit picking.

I've shot 1000+ images with each of the Leica S, Hassy X, and Fuji G systems. My biggest complaint about the XCD lenses is the difficulty of unmounting them! Other than the focusing ring, the barrels are completely smooth! I suppose I could have put a wide rubber band around the base of the lenses...

As far as perfection goes, all three systems meet or exceed any criterion I can think of. Final image differences are probably more software than optics related (I have no problem with software correction of distortion). I'll sell the SL body and lenses (three zooms) as soon as they're back from extended loan, but I just can't sell the S lenses. I *like* them.

BTW, I've just done a deep statistical dive. Of all the captures with the three systems, about 1% were keepers and 0.1% are in the "I'm really proud of that" categories. Huh.
 

Paratom

Active member
this is my experience as well with the very tight mounting and unmounting.

Also agree that all 3 systems are truly superb, and we are nit picking.
Funny, I find the mountaing/unmounting of xcd excellent, I specially like, that the red point on the lens is in the 12o-clock position, compared to Leica and other brands.
 

P. Chong

Member
What I mean is that it is very very tight. The first time I mounted the XCD90, I thought something was wrong. The H lenses mount smoothly, with light pressure, with a very reassuring and positive click when it is home.
 
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Reactions: spb

onasj

Active member
Any feelings about those two lenses in comparison?
The 45/4P is surprisingly small, light, and sharp. The shutter within is even quieter than the other XCD leaf shutters. It's also much less expensive than the 45/3.5. And it has a semi-mechanically coupled (clutched) manual focus mechanism. While a bit slower (aperture-wise) than the 45/3.5, I've read reports that the 45/4P is sharper than the 45/3.5. I don't have the latter but the 45/4P is indeed quite sharp, and Hasselblad's MTF curves of both lenses suggests that the 45/4P is in fact sharper and less astigmatic than the 45/3.5 at wider apertures. By f/8 the MTF curves suggest they are equally sharp.

But given that the 45/4P is smaller, lighter, cheaper, quieter, better at manual focus, as sharp or sharper, and about $1600 less expensive than the 45/3.5, it was an easy decision for me to go for the 45/4P.

Screen Shot 2020-09-10 at 11.45.13 AM.png88c7572e2058450fa591e69384eefc28.png
 
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