Hasselblad X1D Review

 
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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Hasselblad X1D-50c
Resolution: 51.30 Megapixels
Sensor size: Medium format
(43.8mm x 32.9mm)
Kit Lens: n/a
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 25,600
Extended ISO: 100 - 25,600
Shutter: 1/2000 - 3600 seconds
Dimensions: 5.9 x 3.9 x 2.8 in.
(150 x 98 x 71 mm)
Weight: 25.6 oz (725 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 08/2016
Manufacturer: Hasselblad
Full specs: Hasselblad X1D specifications
51.30
Megapixels
Hasselblad XCD Medium format
size sensor
image of Hasselblad X1D-50c
Front side of Hasselblad X1D digital camera Front side of Hasselblad X1D digital camera Front side of Hasselblad X1D digital camera Front side of Hasselblad X1D digital camera Front side of Hasselblad X1D digital camera

Hasselblad X1D Review -- First Impressions

Preview posted: 06/22/2016

Updates:
: Hands-On First Impressions posted

After the announcement, reviewer Eamon Hickey had an opportunity to get some hands-on time with a prototype of the new Hasselblad X1D medium format mirrorless camera during their press event in New York City. And while some of the finer details, such as image quality, AF performance and a number of software features are still rough around the edges, he was able to get a sense for how the camera feels in the hand and provide a quick video tour of the camera's touchscreen-based menu system. He also briefly chats with Michael Hejtmanek, President of Hasselblad Bron, Inc. for his thoughts on the X1D's sales forecast.

For those looking for our full Hasselblad X1D overview, please click here.

Hands-on with the Hasselblad X1D

Already backordered through the end of the year

by Eamon Hickey | Posted

Hasselblad X1D Review -- Hands-On Preview
A pre-production Hasselblad X1D with XCD 45mm f/3.5 lens.

Yesterday, Hasselblad hosted a launch event for the new X1D camera in New York City, and I got a chance to get this new mirrorless medium format camera in my hands. The seven X1D cameras that Hasselblad brought to the event were all pre-production, with pre-production firmware, so many things about the features and performance of the X1D will remain uncertain until we can test out a full production model. But here's what I can say with confidence based on handling a pre-production model for an hour or two. I also gleaned a couple of interesting tidbits about Hasselblad's sense of the market for the X1D, and they told me that it is already backordered for the rest of this year after only one day on the market.

Hasselblad X1D Review -- Hands-On Preview
Hasselblad Bron Technical Support Representative Anthony McCall shows off the portability of the company's new baby.

First, the size and weight of the X1D. It's one thing to see it in pictures or on spec sheets, but it really hits home in the hand. This is a remarkably portable and manageable medium format digital camera — quite a bit smaller and handier than any other medium format digital model. Its weight and "wieldiness" are a lot like a mid-level DSLR such as a Nikon D7200 or a Canon 7D Mark II. The grip is extremely comfortable and secure, and the controls don't feel cramped at all.

As you'd expect from this legendary manufacturer, the X1D feels extremely well built, with a completely solid body and crisp, smoothly operating controls. Physically, the X1D is fully worthy of Hasselblad's historic reputation for quality. We don't yet have definitive specs on the EVF (magnification, refresh rate, eye relief etc.), and I'm not sure its performance has been finalized on the camera I was using, so I'll comment on only a couple of things I noticed. Subjectively, the EVF image seemed quite large and eye relief was about what I'm used to with a good DSLR — I could see nearly all of the viewfinder with my glasses on.

Hasselblad X1D Review -- Hands-On Preview

Certain aspects of the autofocus system on these pre-production models were also clearly not finalized, so I'll only say that, even on these units, the AF was fast and decisive enough to make me confident that the X1D will focus well for typical everyday shooting. I was only able to test the magnified manual focus assist, and it worked well, making it easy to judge focus even in fairly low indoor light.

I'd like to say more about the touch-screen menu system, since it's at the heart of the somewhat unusual camera control system on the X1D. (It's the same basic system as that of Hasselblad's recently introduced H6D cameras). Unfortunately, very few of the menus were complete or finalized on these pre-production cameras. From the small number of active menus that I could use, this looks like a highly efficient and well-designed system that works much more like smartphone menus than most camera menu setups. (And that's largely a good thing.) I'm cautiously optimistic, but it'll take some real-world use to really know how well it works.

Quick Video: Hasselblad X1D demo of menu & touchscreen

After playing with the X1D, I took the opportunity to speak with Michael Hejtmanek, President of Hasselblad Bron, Inc., the U.S. distributor of Hasselblad products (and Broncolor lighting). He would not divulge any sales projections or monthly production figures for the X1D, but he did say that the entire U.S. allocation for the remainder of this year was sold out by the end of the first day of dealer availability. (In other words, yesterday U.S. Hasselblad dealers placed orders for every X1D that Hasselblad Bron will import to the U.S. this year.)

Hasselblad X1D Review -- Hands-On Preview

Hejtmanek also made it clear that Hasselblad thinks the X1D will attract a much different mix of buyers (and by implication, a larger market) than other medium format digital cameras. The market for digital medium format up until now has been about 75% professional photographers and 25% advanced enthusiasts, Hetjmanek told me.  "I think this camera will flip that curve. It will be 75% enthusiasts and 25% professionals."

 

Hasselblad X1D Review -- Overview

by
Posted:

Hasselblad X1D-50c Review -- Product Image

After producing their first camera for the military in 1941, the HK7, Swedish company Hasselblad then focused their attention on providing artists with exceptionally-crafted tools, releasing the 1600F to consumers in 1948. Their latest camera, the X1D-50c, hopes to change the game and put the power of medium format into the hands of more photographers.

The Hasselblad X1D is the world's first "compact mirrorless digital medium format camera" and it packs a 50-megapixel sensor into a body that tips the scales at less than half the weight of a conventional digital medium format camera. The importance of this announcement is not lost on Hasselblad's CEO Perry Oosting, "The X1D marks a pivotal point in Hasselblad's rich 75-year history. This camera makes medium format photography available to a new generation of Hasselblad users, while pushing the existing limits of photography to new heights." That's a big claim, so let's get down to the details of what this camera hopes to offer.

A medium format body that weighs less than 26 ounces

Weighing in at 1.6 pounds (725 grams) with the Li-ion battery included, the relatively compact Hasselblad X1D is designed for portability. At nearly six inches wide, just under four inches tall and under three inches in depth, the X1D is not vastly different in size compared to a Nikon D810.

Hasselblad X1D-50c Review -- Product Image

To understand the motivation behind the X1D, it is worth taking a look back to the 1600F that Victor Hasselblad created in 1948. The 1600F body was designed to be portable, iconic, durable and intuitive. These same principles are evident in the X1D as Hasselblad hopes to provide an easy-to-use medium format camera that you can comfortably fit in the palm of your hand.

Hasselblad X1D-50c Review -- Product Image
The X1D-50c retains much of Hasselblad's iconic styling but does not retain the large form factor of its medium format siblings.

The Hasselblad X1D is handmade in Sweden using durable, lightweight materials and focuses on an ergonomically-friendly design. The dust- and weather-sealed milled aluminum body features a relatively simple assortment of controls. There are two control dials, one on the front of the camera and a second on the rear. The top of the camera includes a power button, a pop-up mode dial (with three custom modes), the shutter release and two buttons (one for ISO/WB and the other for AF/MF). The front of the X1D is home to the lens release button, a programmable button which defaults to DOF preview, and the aforementioned front control dial. The window next to the dial is for the AF illuminator. The rear of the camera has 'AE-L' and 'AF-D' buttons in addition to five buttons alongside the 3.0-inch high-resolution multi-touch display. The TFT type rear LCD has 920K dots and 24-bit color.

Hasselblad X1D-50c Review -- Product Image
You'll notice the large grip that follows from the front to much of the back of the camera. The smartphone-inspired user interface is navigated via a 3.0-inch touchscreen display. The Hasselblad X1D is designed to be intuitive and easy to use.

The user interface features "smart phone style" icons and looks to be designed exclusively with touch in mind as there are no navigation buttons on the Hasselblad X1D. Being a mirrorless camera, the X1D utilizes an electronic viewfinder. The EVF has a 2.36M-dot (XGA) display and is equipped with an eye sensor; no word yet on type, magnification, eyepoint, diopter, etc.

Hasselblad X1D offers 50 megapixels of medium format resolving power

We need to test the X1D out for ourselves to see what sort of image quality it offers, but its specifications and features are impressive. The 50-megapixel AA-filterless CMOS sensor is 43.8 x 32.9 millimeters in size with a pixel pitch of about 5.3 µm, and the camera captures lossless compressed 3FR RAW files to dual SD cards (TIFF and JPEG files are also supported). Hasselblad states that the sensor can capture up to fourteen stops of dynamic range and that it has "16-bit color definition", though we're not sure what that means as we've since been told the sensor's ADCs are 14-bit. ISO ranges from 100 to 25,600.

Hasselblad X1D-50c Review -- Product Image

As portable but not as agile as 35mm cameras

While the Hasselblad X1D is similar in size to many full-frame DSLR cameras despite its much larger sensor, the X1D is much slower. Hasselblad states that its new camera will be able to capture images at up to 2.3 frames per second. These are the same specs as the recent H6D-50c medium format DSLR despite the H6D-50c utilizing CFast media. When using XCD lenses, shutter speeds range from 60 minutes to 1/2000s. Capable of using flash across its entire range of shutter speeds, the X1D has a Nikon compatible hot shoe and offers +/-3 EV flash compensation.

It is unclear exactly what the specifications of the autofocus system in the X1D are, but it is stated to utilize contrast detection and offers instant manual focus override. Autofocus is available for both stills and video.

As you can see in the top view of the camera below, the Hasselblad X1D offers your standard assortment of P, S, A and M shooting modes in addition to a manual quiet mode, a full auto setting, video mode and three user-customized shooting modes. (The manual quiet mode closes the shutter and stops the aperture down to the selected value. The camera can then be triggered from the shutter button or remotely with minimal vibration/lens shutter noise.) Across all of the still image shooting modes you can record images in a variety of image aspect ratios, including square and X-Pan panoramic.

Hasselblad X1D-50c Review -- Product Image

Regarding video mode, the video features aren't as revolutionary as the concept of the camera itself with the Hasselblad X1D offering only Full HD (1080p) video capture. In addition to the somewhat low video resolution compared to some of its mirrorless competitors, the X1D's video recording is capped at 30 frames per second and uses H.264 compression.

The X1D has built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, which Hasselblad hopes will make it an ideal travel camera. The camera also includes a USB 3.0 Type-C connector, a Mini Type-C HDMI port with clean 1920 x 1080 output during video capture, and Audio In/Out ports (3.5mm stereo mic and headphone jacks). Via the USB 3.0 Type-C port, the camera can be tethered to a Mac or PC and transfer data at up to five gigabits per second. One note about the built-in GPS: Hasselblad reports that GPS functionality will be added after launch, via a firmware update.

New XCD lenses designed specifically for the Hasselblad X1D

Along with the new camera system, Hasselblad is launching a new line of autofocus lenses which feature an integral central shutter and are designed to bring out the resolving power of the X1D's 50-megapixel sensor.

Initially, there will be two XCD lenses available: A 45mm f/3.5 XCD and a 90mm f/4.5 XCD. Additional lenses will "follow shortly" including a 30mm f/3.5 which should be available sometime around the Photokina time frame, but a native lens roadmap has not been disclosed.

Hasselblad X1D-50c Review -- Product Image
You can see here the new 45mm f/3.5 and 90mm f/4.5 XCD lenses. The new XCD line of lenses will be expanded following the launch of the X1D.

Fear not, however, as the entire twelve lens range of Hasselblad H lenses will be compatible with the Hasselblad X1D through the use of an optional XH Lens Adapter, which will be available around the same time as the camera for about US$350. You can view the dozen H lenses available now here.

Pricing and Availability of the Hasselblad X1D

Speaking of pricing, what will the Hasselblad X1D-50c and its lenses cost you? The camera body itself will cost just under US$9,000. The 45mm XCD lens comes in at just under US$2,300 and the 90mm lens around US$2,700. Availability of the system is planned for late August or early September, with demos starting in late July.

All X1D cameras come with a one-year warranty, but if you buy and register your new mirrorless medium format camera before the end of the year, you can get an additional year of coverage free of charge. The XCD lenses are covered for one year or a million exposures.

Hasselblad X1D-50c Review -- Product Image

What does the Hasselblad X1D-50c mean for photographers?

Considering its unique position in the marketplace as the only mirrorless medium-format camera, the Hasselblad X1D is in some ways without any competitors. It provides its larger sensor and medium format image quality in a body that is actually smaller and lighter than some high-end full-frame DSLRs. Two things are clear: digital medium format photography just became a lot more portable and Hasselblad is keen to be the company that changes the game.

 

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