XT RODENSTOCK 90MM F/5.6 IN-DEPTH REVIEW

PhaseOne XT & Rodenstock HR 90mm

THE LONG NORMAL FOR THE XT SYSTEM: PHASE ONE XT RODENSTOCK 90MM F/5.6 IN-DEPTH REVIEW!

With a FOV equivalent to 56mm, this lens is the Phase One XT’s version of a “long normal”. Equivalent to a 56mm in so-called FF terms (or 135 terms, to be precise), this is a classic lens for photographers and a longer alternative to the Phase One XT Rodenstock 70mm, which in turn would act as a “short normal” for the XT. See in this Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 in-depth review my thoughts about this spectacular lens!

While every photographer has their own idea about what a “normal” lens is, everything covering close to 50mm FOV equivalent in 135 terms is a good approximation. The Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 covers an angle of view of about 41 degrees on a full-frame medium format sensor (67 degrees when fully shifted, which is way more than the amount of shift the Phase One XT’s movements allow for).

Before we start, let me remind you that, as always, this review is based on real use of the lens in the field, and while you’ll find controlled tests, you won’t find any charts or studio shots in it. As well, please keep in mind that all my reviews are made under the point of view of a Fine Art Landscape Photographer: if your genre of photography is different, my findings might not apply to you and your work.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, I am a Phase One Ambassador. That said, I am a professional photographer looking for the best equipment for my work, I buy all my gear with my hard-earned cash, and I don’t get paid by anyone to write articles for my blog.

As mentioned in previous Phase One XT Rodenstock reviews, when building my Phase One XT kit I debated with myself about which lenses to get.

In the case of this lens, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 70mm f/5.6 was the obvious alternative. Smaller and lighter, it had some advantages in portability compared against the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 but, in the end, I went for the 90mm instead. Better spacing with the 50mm, and a better reputation for image quality, made me choose the 90mm.

This article is the fourth and last of a series of articles dedicated to Rodenstock lenses on the Phase One XT. Below, a list of the other articles in this series:

PHASE ONE XT RODENSTOCK 23MM F/5.6 IN-DEPTH REVIEW
PHASE ONE XT RODENSTOCK 32MM F/4 IN-DEPTH REVIEW
PHASE ONE XT RODENSTOCK 50MM F/4 IN-DEPTH REVIEW

Let’s get started now and see in this Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 in-depth review if it delivers!

The Faroe Islands Photography Workshop

BUILD, SIZE AND WEIGHT
The Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 is large and heavy compared to any other lens in the Phase One XT current lineup, there is no denying it. Even the famously large Phase One XT Rodenstock 32mm f/4 is smaller and ever so slightly lighter. However, we need to keep in mind that this is a full-frame medium format lens covering a huge 120mm image circle and doing so in optical style; and that doesn’t come in pocketable size.

There are a couple physical differences between getting this lens in Phase One XT mount against getting it in Rodenstock Aperture Mount (or, if you can find it, in Copal 0 shutter), e.g. for Alpa or Arca-Swiss: the most obvious is, of course, is in the protruding X-Shutter; a less obvious one, but one that might be important for you, is the way the lens is mounted on your camera.

Starting with the latter, if you get this lens in Phase One XT (Cambo) mount, due to the XT’s limited shift to just 12mm you won’t need any back spacers. If you get it in Arca-Swiss or Alpa, you likely will. Personally, I much prefer to just mount and unmount lenses without having to fiddle with back spacers; but there are reasons for these to exist, i.e. to maximize shifting capabilities of your lenses, so your mileage might vary on this one.

Coming to the X-Shutter, this is a quantum leap forward from the Copal 0 shutters of old, giving you full control of aperture and shutter speed directly from the IQ4 digital back. This comes in exchange for a weight penalty of about 200/250 gr (0,4/0,5 pound) against choosing the same lens in Copal 0 or Rodenstock Aperture Mount. It’s up to you to know if such full integration is worth a little extra weight and bulk, or if you prefer to use electronic shutter and save room and weight, but it’s amazing to have such automation’s option for tech cameras as well.

Consistent with all other Phase One XT lenses, in X-Shutter version the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6’s barrel features just a focus ring, which Phase One calls “Ultra Fine Manual Focus”. The action of the ring itself is extremely smooth, and the focus throw is extra-long to ensure very precise focusing. The focus ring, sitting right on top of the Cambo-compatible lens mount, is very large and easy to locate without looking. More, as with all Phase One XT lenses, two very useful finger tabs are available to help you rotate it.

Minimum focusing distance for the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 is unmarked but taking the last marking at 1.3m as reference I estimate it to be around 1.1m.

Like all tech camera lenses, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 is not weather-sealed. Since I often use my gear in bad weather conditions, I always carry a Think Tank Photo Emergency Camera Cover which works great in protecting both camera and lens from the elements, while allowing me to operate them normally under it.

In the case of the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6, precise focal length for the lens is a perfect 90mm. With its 160 x 107 x 90mm (6.3 x 4.21 x 3.54 in) size and 1200 gr (2.65 lbs) weight, and with a filter thread of 72mm, as mentioned before the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 is large. It’s obviously larger and heavier than most lenses covering an equivalent FOV in the small medium format camp, but to be fair we need to remember that these lenses don’t cover a 120mm image circle.

For reference, in the full-frame medium format arena the Phase One 80mm LS f/2.8 Mark II is 80.4 x 85.6mm, has a 72mm filter thread and weighs 765 gr; the Phase One 110mm LS f/2.8 is 83.3 x 86.5mm, has a 72mm filter thread and weighs 700 gr; the Hasselblad 80mm f/2.8 is 70 x 84mm, has a 67mm filter thread and weighs 475 gr; the Hasselblad 100mm f/2.2 is 80.5 x 87.5mm, has a 77mm filter thread and weighs 780 gr. In the small medium format camp, the Hasselblad XCD 65mm f/2.8 is 93 x 81mm, has a 67mm filter thread and weighs 727 gr; the Hasselblad XCD 80mm f/1.9 is 112 x 84mm, has a 77mm filter thread and weighs 1044 gr; the FujiFilm GF 63mm f/2.8 is 84 x 71mm, has a 62mm filter thread and weighs 405 gr; the FujiFilm GF 80mm f/1.7 is 94.7 x 99.2mm, has a 77mm filter thread and weighs 795 gr; the Leica 70mm Summarit-S f/2.5 is 93 x 90mm, has a 72mm filter thread and weighs 740 gr.

The Dolomites Photography Workshop

USE OF FILTERS
Thanks to the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6’s 72mm filter thread, I can use 100mm filters with it with no vignetting whatsoever even using the lens fully shifted on the Phase One XT.

Starting October 2021, I am a proud Ambassador for H&Y Filters, in my opinion simply the best filters out there with the most innovative, easy to use, practical filter holder (see my BEST FILTERS FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY and BEST 100MM FILTER HOLDER FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY articles for more info).

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IN USE: FOCUSING AND DIAPHRAGM
Like all tech camera lenses, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 is manual focus only. This is of no concern to me, since for my Fine Art landscape work what counts the most is focusing precision, more than having the convenience of autofocus. A long focus throw, together with the Phase One IQ4’s powerful magnifying features, makes achieving precise focus extremely easy.

As mentioned above, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 comes equipped with Phase One’s revolutionary X-Shutter. The X-Shutter electronically controls both diaphragm and shutter; crucially, it allows for full integration with the Phase One IQ4 either directly – when using the lens with the Phase One XT – or via a cable if you use it via any other tech camera mount supporting X-Shutter.

What this means, in particular, is that your aperture and shutter speed can both be controlled via the IQ4’s touchscreen in all shooting modes supporting such controls. More, EXIF will automatically be populated with your shooting data. Not only that, but crucially using the lens with a Phase One XT your shift data will also automatically be recorded on EXIF, if that’s important for you.

SHARPNESS AT INFINITY
Methodology: using my usual “real world” test scene, I manually focused the lens on the trees on the far ridge in the center of the frame, using the maximum focus area magnification for precise focus, with the lens wide open. I then prepared 900 x 600px, 100% crops of the center, the top left corner and the mid-right side of the frame at full-stop apertures ranging from wide open to f/16. My Phase One XT had Firmware 8.01.0 installed. Capture One Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 lens profile has been applied, and a LCC profile has been created and applied to eliminate vignetting and colour cast.

Let’s start looking at the full scene first, to see how much coverage a 41 degrees angle of view will give you in the real world. The red rectangles mark the locations of the crops (click on the image to enlarge):

Let’s now examine the crops in detail, starting with the center of the frame (click on the images to enlarge):

The Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 starts slightly softer wide open at f/5.6, sharpness dramatically increases stopping down one stop at f/8, where the lens is razor sharp; at f/11 despite a minor softening the lens is still more than sharp enough for practical use, but at f/16, diffraction visibly takes its toll. For work where center sharpness is critical, I’d definitely recommend using the lens at f/8; but, if you need the extra depth of field, f/11 would be acceptable as well.

Let’s now examine the mid-right side of the frame (click on the images to enlarge):

Behavior in the mid-right of the frame is very similar to what we saw in the center. Starting off slightly softer wide-open at f/5.6, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 dramatically improves at f/8, where it’s razor sharp; sharpness degrades ever so slightly at f/11, and at f/16 diffraction’s effects starts to be clearly visible. Again, for critical work I’d definitely stick with f/11 for best results.

Finally, let’s check the top left corner (click on the images to enlarge):

In the top left corner, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 again behaves quite similarly to what we have seen so far, with one difference. The lens is slightly softer wide-open, stopping down to f/8 improves things visibly but the best aperture in the far corner is f/11, a sign of a small field curvature at infinity. At f/16, as expected, diffraction starts to take its toll.

Cinque Terre & Tuscany Photography Workshop

SHARPNESS AT CLOSE FOCUSING DISTANCE AND BOKEH
To examine sharpness at very close focusing distance, as well as to see how the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 draws out-of-focus areas, I focused on the Phillips screw right under the mailbox’s red flag in the lower right corner of the frame. Together with the full frame image I included 900 x 600px, 100% crops taken at the point of focus, to check out sharpness, and center crops to see how the lens behaves in out-of-focus areas near infinity. Again, Capture One Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 lens profile has been applied, and a LCC profile has been created and applied to eliminate vignetting and colour cast.

Let’s see the full image first, again to see how wide a 41 degrees angle of view is in the real world, as well as to show you the locations of the crops (click on the image to enlarge):

Let’s now examine sharpness at the point of focus (click on the images to enlarge):

Checking sharpness in the far corner of a lens focused at minimum focusing distance is optically extremely demanding for any lens. The Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 showed an amazing performance focused up close in the far lower corner of the frame. The lens started extremely sharp wide-open, with a performance that would already have made me happy; stopping it down to f/8, however, revealed a dramatic improvement in sharpness and illumination. Sharpness held through f/11, almost unchanged, and after f/16 diffraction started softening the image again. Truly impressive.

Let’s see now how the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 renders out-of-focus areas at far distances in the center of the frame (click on the images to enlarge):

While the lens has a FOV equivalent in so-called 35mm full-frame terms to that of a 56mm lens, when looking for OOF areas rendition we need to remember that this is a 90mm lens on a large full-frame medium format sensor. If you need everything to be perfectly in focus all over the frame in near-far compositions with the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6, you’ll need to either use a camera with tilt, and even that might not suffice. As much as I don’t like to use it, that would be a case for focus staking.

Coming to bokeh, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 draws out-of-focus areas beautifully wide open, with a soft and pleasing rendition. Stopping down, the lens delicately and progressively gains sharpness with each stop. As expected, depth of field is never enough to bring far away objects in focus; however, if bokeh is what you are looking for, the lens retains what I consider to be a beautiful rendition of OOF areas along the whole aperture range.

Iceland Photography Workshop

SHIFT AND FULL SHIFT STITCH
As mentioned in previous Rodenstock lens reviews, one of the main reasons to choose a tech camera for your landscape and architectural work is the ability to shift your lenses. Among the uses of shift, there’s straightening converging lines when pointing the camera off level and creating images via stitching that would cover a wider angle of view than what using the lens unshifted would provide.

The Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 features a huge image circle of 120mm, allowing for 33/29mm shift in either direction – per Rodenstock’s specs – when used on a full-frame medium format sensor such as the IQ4’s. This is currently the largest image circle among HR Rodenstock lenses.

To visually show you what you can expect when fully stitching the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 on the Phase One XT, I created two composite images for you. One has been made at infinity and one at close focusing distance, and both have been created stitching four single images taken with the back fully shifted in all directions (12/12mm, -12/12mm, 12/-12mm, and -12/-12mm). I’ll use these images here both to show you the most common image ratio crops together with their resulting resolutions in Mp, and to check on the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6’s sharpness when shifted.

Let’s have a look first at the full image at infinity with crop overlays (click on the image to enlarge):

Below you’ll find a list of the resolution resulting from stitching & cropping against the resolution you’d get cropping just a single shot, for each image ratio, in descending order of “gain”. Stitched images on the left side, cropped single files on the right side:

5:4 | 20500 x 16400px = 336 Mp versus 13318 x 10652px = 141 Mp (+195 Mp)
1:1 | 17000 x 17000px = 289 Mp versus 10652 x 10652px = 113 Mp (+176 Mp)
4:3 | 20500 x 15375px = 315 Mp versus 14204 x 10652px = 151 Mp (+164 Mp)
3:2 | 20500 x 13666px = 280 Mp versus 14204 x 9470px = 134 Mp (+146 Mp)
16:9 | 20500 x 11531px = 236 Mp versus 14204 x 7990px = 113 Mp (+123 Mp)

The Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6, similarly to the Phase One XT Rodenstock 50mm f/4 and contrarily to the HR 32mm and HR 23mm, allows for the ability to use the full stitched area without the need for cropping. The increase in resolution and in coverage gained by stitching four fully shifted images vs cropping a single shot is dramatically evident regardless of the image ratio you plan on using: you’ll get over double the pixel count at all image ratios.

In particular, the gain in FOV coverage obtained when stitching the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 is such that the resulting 4:3 image crop covers more than the same FOV covered by a HR 70mm’s single shot native 4:3 image, and almost as much as a HR 50mm’s single shot native 4:3 image. If stitching is possible with the kind of work you do, carrying the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 and using it fully stitched makes for a very interesting alternative to carrying the 70mm AND the 50mm too, with a little reframing.

Here’s a couple of instances where stitching isn’t advisable:

1. Moving objects. If you have moving objects in your frame, such as cars, and you do even moderately short exposures, their position might not match when you’ll try and stitch images taken even a few seconds apart.

2. Very long exposures of, e.g., moving clouds. If you do long exposures in the order of minutes, as I often do, stitching clouds might become problematic if not overall impossible. The clouds will have moved enough between the two shots that their shapes won’t match when you try and stitch them.

While I don’t have a 70mm available at present, I can show you how close a full stitched image created with the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 will take you to an image created with the Phase One XT Rodenstock 50mm f/4. Below you’ll find a 4:3 maximum useable crop of the fully stitched 90mm image, presented here side-by-side with a full image created with the 50mm. Of course, both photos have been shot with the tripod in the exact same place, on the same day and at minutes difference between one other (click on the images to enlarge):

As mentioned above, there is a slight difference in coverage between using the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 fully stitched and the Phase One XT Rodenstock 50mm f/4 unstitched. Sometimes that can be fixed by repositioning ourselves, sometimes it can’t, so that’s something to keep in mind. On the other hand, stitching the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 will give you much more resolution, offering over twice the pixel count against a single 50mm image (315 Mp versus 151).

Normandy & Brittany Photography Workshop

SHIFTED SHARPNESS
More than doubling the pixel count of our images and gaining extra FOV coverage is great, of course. However, it wouldn’t make sense to do so if the resulting images weren’t up to standard, quality-wise. Creating samples to check sharpness for every shifted position at every aperture would make the review impracticably huge, and it would be a bit redundant as well. To give you an idea about how the lens behaves when stitched, I decided to add samples taken at three different positions at infinity and one at close distance, with the lens fully shifted which should be the worst-case scenario. These samples have been shot at f/11, Capture One’s Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 lens profile has been applied, and a LCC profile has been created and applied to eliminate vignetting and colour cast from each of the single images before stitching them.

Let’s see the full images first, both at infinity and close focused, to show you the locations of the crops (click on the images to enlarge):

Let’s now examine the crops, starting with the three infinity ones followed by the close focused one (click on the images to enlarge):

Starting with the infinity crops, as you can see, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 is extremely sharp in the center at f/11, and while fractionally less sharp in both far corners – with the lens fully shifted in opposite directions – the samples are definitely useable for critical work.

Coming to the close focus crop, even when fully shifted the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 repeated the impressive performance we saw with the lens unshifted: the two crops at f/11 are virtually indistinguishable and shifting the lens didn’t seem to have any effect on sharpness.

Cornwall Photography Workshop

SHARPNESS CONCLUSIONS
Before getting to our sharpness conclusions, let’s remind ourselves once more that the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 features an enormous image circle of 120mm. In turn, this means that the lens must resolve a pixel size of 3,76 micron all over that image circle. For comparison, it’s worth remembering that currently the only other sensors featuring a pixel size of 3,76 micron are 100 Mp small medium format and 61 Mp 35mm full-frame sensors, but their sizes are respectively just 44 x 33mm and 24 x 36mm. Except for some specialized tilt & shift lenses, this means that their lenses only need to cover an image circle of 55mm and 43mm respectively. While seemingly a minor point, having to cover a 120mm image circle while providing such a high level of resolving power over the whole frame makes the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 an optical masterpiece.

The Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 does an impressive job, as far as sharpness all over the frame goes. The lens’ image plane looks almost perfectly flat, save for a hint of field curvature at infinity. Focused at infinity, the lens is sharp wide open, razor sharp all over the frame at f/8 and f/11, with slightly better results at f/8 for absolutely critical work; at f/16 and stopping further down, diffraction starts affecting the results.

At close focusing distances and focused in the far corners, the lens is very sharp wide-open, becoming razor sharp at f/8 and f/11. After f/16, diffraction takes its toll.

If interested, you’ll find Rodenstock own lens data and MFT charts here: LENSES FOR DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY.

I have been lucky enough to work for some months in the real world with this lens, and as a result I found the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6’s performance to match what I have seen in my controlled test. The lens is just incredibly sharp.

LCC OR NOT LCC: VIGNETTE, COLOUR CAST AND COLOUR RENDITION
Granted, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 shows a hint of soft vignette wide-open; perhaps close to a stop in the far corner. But, that clears pretty much fully just by stopping down to f/8. More, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 is completely free of color cast when used with the Phase One IQ4.

Therefore, for critical work with this lens, I don’t think that creating an LCC profile is necessary with the Phase One XT, neither single shot, nor fully shifted. With different cameras allowing for more stitch, however, things might be different. Given the huge variety of lens/camera/back combinations possible in the tech camera world, always keep in mind that my conclusions apply only to the camera/lens/back combination examined here.

As expected by combining such a high-quality lens with a state-of-the-art digital back, the colors outputted by the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 paired with the IQ4’s 16bit files are truly beautiful, with smooth and rich tonal transition. Most importantly for me personally, the lens renders colors in a pleasing and “neutral” way; that is, they don’t “push” you in any direction when post-processing my files, which is the way I like it for my work. Incidentally, color science and the approach to colors is one of the main reasons for preferring medium format to smaller formats, for me.

DISTORTION
As always, to check for distortion I photographed my uninspiring garage door, which with its straight metal lines provides me with a perfect test scene for such a test. For your convenience, to help you check distortion easier I slightly increased contrast, added straight red lines in PP, turned the image horizontal and cut the frame in two, showing you just the top half of the frame. Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6’s profile has been applied in Capture One. Let’s see the results (click on the image to enlarge):

As you can see, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 with its lens profile applied is extremely well controlled for distortion: straight lines stay perfectly straight all over the frame.

FLARE AND CHROMATIC ABERRATIONS
Personally, for my work I have a filter holder on the lens 99% of the time; so, for years I haven’t used – or even carried – a lens hood. Since I want my reviews to mimic my working conditions as closely as possible, during my tests I never use a lens hood as well. To make this as much of a torture test as possible, in the image below I included the sun in the frame, keeping it close to the image’s corner. As well, I included a crop of the area surrounding the sun to check both for contrast loss and for chromatic aberrations (click on the images to enlarge):

While not as dramatically as the wider Rodenstock HR lenses, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 is prone to flaring. In the images above you can clearly see a slight loss of contrast in the leaves around the sun; more, you can see colored curve lines and ghost images appearing in the lower right side of the frame. While the ghost images are blue/magenta, I am happy to report that the lens shows no CA of any kind, even in high-contrast areas. Contrast loss is visible around the sun, progressively disappearing as you move farther away. Luckily, that is something easily fixed in post-processing if one wishes to do so.

A trick that might help with flare is as follows. When on the field, I always carry with me a foldable, reflector-like grey card; it’s small, light, works perfectly as a “sun blocker” in eliminating flare and doesn’t prevent me from using filters when I need to do so.

CONCLUSIONS
With a FOV equivalent to 56mm, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 is the full-frame medium format version of a “long normal” lens in 35mm full-frame terms. This is a classic focal length, one we all know and are familiar with, and while I personally don’t find it as exciting to work with as wider options, it’s a very useful one for landscape and architectural photography when working from a distance. The Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6’s 120mm image circle allows for a huge 33/29mm shift; this translates in the possibility create fully stitched images on the Phase One XT without any vignetting whatsoever and having shift to spare, which is interesting if you are looking to use this lens on a different tech camera with bigger shifting capabilities.

Featuring the revolutionary X-Shutter, the lens is fully integrated with the Phase One XT. Such integration allows for full control of the lens from the IQ4 and fully automatic EXIF support, including shift data. Even without the need for LCC corrections, which makes it less paramount to have shift information recorded in EXIF, this makes the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 – and all other Rodenstock XT lenses – a joy to use, both in the field and out of the field.

Optically, the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 is a masterpiece of a lens. Razor sharp all over the frame at f/8-f/11, used at either of these apertures, with a preference for f/8, and paired with the Phase One IQ4, the lens outputs images with astonishing detail. With no distortion, no chromatic aberration, effectively no vignette and no color cast at my favorite working apertures of f/8-f/11, this lens on the IQ4 is pretty close to being perfect in use. Flare is clearly visible when shooting into the sun; while annoying, this is something easily avoidable by shielding the lens’ front element (see above for a little trick to do so without using a lens hood).

Everyone’s idea of the way a lens draws, artistically, is of course different. While this is a personal matter, I personally find the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 to be a beautifully drawing lens: its colors are beautiful, its tonal range is smooth and rich, the lens outputs an astounding level of detail and its rendition of out-of-focus areas is soft and pleasing to my eyes.

Asturias & Northern Spain Photography Workshop

A MUST-HAVE LENS? THOUGHTS ON THE FOCAL LENGTH
When it comes down to lens selection, everyone has different requirements, ideas and preferences. Since we all choose or kit according to both our aesthetics and to the subject matter we photograph (or at least we should), there aren’t universally right or wrong choices, just different tools working for different photographers.

Personally, I am a keen wide-angle user. Most of my work with the XT so far has been created with the 23mm, followed by the 32mm, the 50mm and last by the 90mm. However, for those times when I needed a longer lens, I have been really grateful and happy to be able to use the 90mm. In fact, in a way I could say that I have been sorry not to like longer lenses more, if that makes any sense: the 90mm is a truly inspiring lens to use.

So, should you get the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6? Well, as always it depends on your preferences in terms of focal lengths; another concern, as with the Rodenstock 32mm, is whether you’re ready to carry a large and heavy lens in exchange for the absolute best optical performance. If the answer to these questions is yes, you won’t find a better lens.

In conclusion, I was truly impressed by the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6, one of the best lenses I have ever tested. Highly recommended.

As always, the photographs are what counts the most. I am slowly going through my usual backlog of images to process, and I will post samples taken with the Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 as I’ll develop them.

Comacchio & Venice Photography Workshop

Thanks for reading this Phase One XT Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 in-depth review, I hope you enjoyed it! Why don’t you share it with your friends, or drop me a comment to let me know how you feel about this?

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JOIN THE DISCUSSION

2 thoughts on “XT RODENSTOCK 90MM F/5.6 IN-DEPTH REVIEW”

  1. Decisions, decisions. Another great review. Thanks Vieri. I’m still on the fence about the 50/70/90. I’ve been shooting with a combo of Hasselblad 80 and 150, along with a couple of Mamiya zooms to try and assess which prime might be the next best addition to the 23 and 32. So far, these other, “stopgap” lenses have yet to reveal any particular compelling focal length from a compositional perspective. Ah well, first world problems.

    Reply
    • Hello Greg,

      thank you very much, glad you enjoyed the read! For me personally, given how little I use the 70 to 100 focal lenses, with the Arca-Swiss I went with: 23 / 40 / 180 Rodenstock (I need the 180 more than the 90, for compressing landscapes e.g. in Tuscany, or mountains, etc). To fill the gap between 40 and 180, I got a Schneider 100mm, which I could find new, for a tenth of what the Rodenstock 90mm costs; for the amount of use I have for it, and given its quality, that’s perfect for me.

      Best regards,

      Vieri

      Reply

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