Hasselblad FE 110mm F2 Planar Medium Format Film Lens Review

Hasselblad FE 110mm F2 Planar Medium Format Film Lens Review

Planar FE 110mm F2 - A Review of one of the Best Medium Format Film Camera Lenses Ever Made The Hasselblad Planar FE 110mm F2 is one of the greatest portrait lenses ever made, for any system. When you consider that it is the shallowest depth of fielf lens for any medium format film camera system, you start to realize just why it is so fabled and why it commands such a price tag - I paid $1675 for mine. 
Sept. 6, 2020, 6:45 p.m.

Planar FE 110mm F2 - A Review of one of the Best Medium Format Film Camera Lenses Ever Made

The Hasselblad Planar FE 110mm F2 is one of the greatest portrait lenses ever made, for any system. When you consider that it is the shallowest depth of fielf lens for any medium format film camera system, you start to realize just why it is so fabled and why it commands such a price tag - I paid $1675 for mine. 

shallow depth of field portrait of girl under tree in outdoor studio taken with hasselblad 110mm F2 lens

Reasons the Hasselblad 110mm F2 is My Favorite Portrait Lens

I'll keep this review a lot shorter than my usual review and mostly let the images to the talking, because that is why I love the lens. To get into a few important details, I'll say that the lens just renders beautifully. 

bride and groom kissing on black and white film shot on hasselblad with 110mm f2 lens

Planar FE 110mm F2 Bokeh

The bokeh on the hasselblad 110mm f2 lens is fantastic. It's not distracting which is usually the most important thing. Bokeh is pleasantly circular, with a bit of hexagonal shaping, and even across the background. There is no distracting swirly bokeh or line artifacts created by this lens. Honestly, I've never been anything but blown away by the beautiful character and rendering of the bokeh on this medium format film lens. Here are two extreme examples where there was a complex layering of foliage behind my subjects. You can see that the bokeh is pretty wild, but the shapes are still pleasing and the way the subject pops is just beautiful. 

bokeh of hasselblad 110mm f2 lens and a black and white film portrait of a bride in charleston sc

male film portrait with shallow depth of field on hasselblad 100mm f2 lens with 202fa

And here is a more realistic example of the bokeh when the background is less distracting and variable. 

portrait of a girl in vintage dress close up on film with shallow dof bokeh from hasselblad 110mm f2

Depth of Field, Background Separation and Rendering of the Lens

The background separation is the main reason people buy this lens. The ability to shoot at F2 on medium format film is unheard of and highly desirable, but doing so with such little distortion and excellent sharpness is what really make this lens special. I can shoot at F2 all day long and not worry about sharpness problems, curvy planes of focus or strange spherical aberations and highlight bleed that is common to planar lenses. A lot of this is attributable to the excellent Zeiss T coatings. 

close up ultra shallow depth of field portrait on black and white kodak t-max 40 film

film bridal portrait with lace dress and bouquet in front of savage muslin backdrop outdoors

Handling of the Zeiss Hasselblad FE 110mm F2 Film Lens for Portraits

One of the amazing characteristics of this lens is how light it is. It weighs little more than the 80mm F2.8 lens for the Hasselblad systems, and given that combination of focul length and max aperture, it is pretty remarkable. This lens remains fixed to my camera for all day weddings and hours long portrait sessions and I never feel taxed by its weight. Focusing is smooth, another huge plus of the FE lenses over the CF lenses for the 500 cameras, if not a bit long on the focus throw. You have to expect that from a medium format telephoto lens, however. 

studio portrait of girl in white top against savage seamless tan backdrop on kodak portra 800 film in studio

Thank you for reading my review of the Hasselblad Planar FE 110mm F2 lens for the Hasselblad 200 series medium format film cameras. It is by far my favorite portrait lens on my favorite portrait camera and, honestly, I think it is one of the best film camera lenses ever made. You just can't get this quality of a lens with that combination of low max aperture F stop number and telephoto focal length with all of the adjustability, aperture controls, and modern lens coatings any other way. 

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If you are inspired by what you read, I'd love to invite you to reach out about the photography services I offer. My guarantee is that you won't find a photographer that cares more about you and your story than I. I'm endlessly passionate about telling stories on film and pushing the boundaries of art in editorial, lifestyle and portrait photography. I operate a photography studio in Charleston SC and Traverse City Michigan. I'd be thrilled to work for you and document your story, wedding or business in Charleston South Carolina, Northern Michigan, or any destination abroad. LGBTQ supporter and firm believer in the cause for all races to fight for equal rights. 

If you'd like more info about this post, would just like to chat, or are ready to book, reach out to me by visiting my contact page here!

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