Hasselblad X1D II Review

Camera Reviews / Hasselblad Cameras i Hands-On Preview
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Hasselblad X1D II 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 - 4080 sec
Dimensions: 5.8 x 3.8 x 2.8 in.
(148 x 97 x 70 mm)
Weight: 27.0 oz (766 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 07/2019
Manufacturer: Hasselblad
Full specs: Hasselblad X1D II specifications
51.30
Megapixels
Hasselblad XCD Medium format
size sensor
image of Hasselblad X1D II 50C
Front side of Hasselblad X1D II digital camera Front side of Hasselblad X1D II digital camera Front side of Hasselblad X1D II digital camera Front side of Hasselblad X1D II digital camera Front side of Hasselblad X1D II digital camera

Hasselblad X1D II Hands-on Preview

by Eamon Hickey and Jaron Schneider
Preview posted 06/19/2019

Updates:
06/20/2019: Hands-on added

Click here to skip to our Hasselblad X1D II Overview.

 

Brief hands-on with the X-1D II 50C

by Eamon Hickey | 06/20/2019

To introduce the company's new X1D II 50C, Hasselblad held an announcement event at their New York Experience Studio. I took the opportunity to get a brief hands-on with the camera and the new XCD 35-70 f/3.5-4.5 zoom lens, as well as get a peek under glass at the 907X camera and CFV II digital back, which are under development but don't have a public release date yet.

I was also at the announcement of the original X1D 50C, so I had some familiarity with how the older camera feels and operates. The shape and controls of the new X1D II seem to be just about exactly the same as the old model, and that's largely a good thing. I'm a fan of its size and weight, the way it fits in the hand, and its very high apparent build quality. It's quite comfortable to carry and shoot, similar to a larger full-frame DSLR, though it doesn't feel as big as the top pro DSLRs. Hasselblad has made a number of changes to the user interface for this updated model, but my brief hands-on didn't give me time to develop any opinions on how big an improvement that might be.

Of the major updates to the X1D II, I was most interested in the new EVF. It is indeed very crisp, and quite large -- it's a top-notch viewing experience as EVFs go, especially when used in decent to good light. In the dim corners of the event space, its refresh rate did seem to slow down a bit, and I noticed just a smidgen of smearing when panning, but nothing out-of-the-ordinary and nothing that would bother me. It really is a joy to look through.

X1D II 50C + XCD 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5: 75mm, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 400

The X1D II also has a new, larger LCD screen, and it's a nice improvement. You notice its larger-than-average size right away, and the higher resolution has allowed Hasselblad to adjust the size and arrangement of some of the menu icons, plus add a couple of new functions to the main control screen. These are small but certainly worthwhile enhancements.

Hasselblad's third point of emphasis for the X1D II is improved overall performance. I don't have enough experience with the original X1D to compare them directly; I'm sure the new model is faster, as Hasselblad says. It still felt a little slow to me, however, compared to most high-end cameras. Wake from sleep, shutter lag, time to next shot -- all were a notch slower than I'm used to with nearly all the cameras I've used in the past few years. It wasn't terrible, but I did notice it. I'd need more time with the camera to reach any firm conclusions about it.

Hasselblad X1D II 50C with the new XCD 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 lens.

The new XCD 35-70 f/3.5-4.5 lens is a really nice addition for Hasselblad. I'd say that it feels roughly similar to a full-frame 24-70mm f/2.8 lens in terms of size, weight, and general handiness. It's clearly very well made, with extremely smooth zoom and focus actions and a completely solid feel. Focusing speed felt about the same as the rest of the XCD lineup, but thar's a quick impression based on limited use.

I also spent a few minutes chatting with Hasselblad V.P. of Sales & Marketing, Jon Diele. Although he wouldn't give specific figures, he said that sales of the original X1D were "a lot higher" than sales of the company's H-series digital cameras (not surprising, considering the prices). With the X1D II, the company believes it can continue to open up a larger market for medium format digital cameras, Diele said. At its price of $5,750, Hasselblad thinks the X1D II will even be attractive to some people who might formerly have considered only full-frame cameras.

X1D II 50C + XCD 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5: 75mm, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 400

 

• • •

 

Hasselblad X1D II Overview

by Jaron Schneider | 06/19/2019

Even though Hasselblad's first attempt at a compact medium format camera got a lot right, it took several months to get the camera's firmware to a point where it felt like it was the product originally promised. Though image and lens quality were both excellent and the menu system was very innovative and easy to use, the camera itself was slow. Looking to move forward from the original, Hasselblad has announced its successor in the X1D II 50C.

Still marketing it as the smallest medium format camera with a form factor that is smaller than even some DSLRs, Hasselblad has maintained the same 50-megapixel CMOS sensor found in the original, instead focusing their upgrades for the X1D II on user experience.

New Rear Display

The X1D II features a 43% larger display area, growing from the original 3-inch screen to a 3.6 inch screen. The screen has significantly more resolution as well, at 1024x768 pixels up from the original's 640x480 screen. Hasselblad says that the new LCD should be brighter and more vivid, resulting in better color reproduction.

New Electronic Viewfinder

The original EVF on the X1D wasn't particularly high resolution, only displaying at 1024x768. Hasselblad seems to agree that it wasn't enough, and the X1D II will have a 1280x960-resolution EVF, which is 55% more pixels than the previous version.

Updated Performance

We mentioned that the original X1D was "slow," and that didn't just mean it was slow to capture images. It was also pretty slow to start up, and Hasselblad claims to have addressed that problem and reduced the start up time by 46% in the X1D II. They also state that the shutter lag and blackout time have also been reduced, though they have not stated by how much. The overall system response speed has also been improved, and Hasselblad states that browsing images and menus should be a better experience on the X1D II.

Hasselblad also updated the live view to refresh 62% faster, up to 60fps from 37fps. The continuous shooting mode has also received a modest speed boost, up from 2 frames per second to 2.7 frames per second. Additionally, Hasselblad claims that the autofocus accuracy has been improved, though they do not detail what specifically has been changed.

Below is a list of other firmware updates that have been made on the X1D II:

  • Self-Timer/ Interval / Bracketing options are now available in the Drive Modes on Control Screen for quick access
  • Menu system can be accessed when using the EVF
  • Balance Scale indicates exposure adjustment on the Control Screen
  • The menu structure has been reorganized for more logical control and easier access
  • Improved visual language of icons and text
  • New touch-to-select focus point selection on the rear screen
  • Minor improvements throughout for a better user experience

Finally, the battery can be charged in the camera via USB directly, the GPS module is now located internally (the original X1D had an external GPS unit that occupied the hot-shoe), UHS-II support has been added, and full resolution JPEGs (50MP) are now available. Video capture will be enabled at a later date, but we don't have any details yet on resolutions, frame rates, etc.

It's clear from these updates that Hasselblad wanted to focus on user experience with the X1D II. Little has changed physically about the camera, with the design of the body and the sensor itself carried over from the first iteration.

New Phocus Mobile 2

Though not a camera feature, Hasselblad has also announced an update to Phocus Mobile that will allow for tethered capture to an iPad. Specific to this update, Phocus Mobile 2 adds the ability to support full quality image export, tethered shooting and direct camera control. Compatible with the X1D II 50C via either USB-C or Wi-Fi, this app is currently supported on the iPad Pro and iPad Air (2019) models. The app will allow you to have quicker access to images in a lighter package. The app supports import, edit and rating of RAW images, as well as import and rating of full quality JPEG images directly to the iPad.

The Price is the Standout Feature: Only $5,750

Looking above, there are incremental improvements to the X1D II that make it very obviously improved over the previous version, albeit iterative. It may be easy to disregard Hasselblad's camera in the face of Fujifilm's trio of medium format options, especially the GFX 100 that offers more megapixels, image stabilization and phase detection autofocus among a host of other features not found on the Hasselblad.

That is, that would be the case except for the X1D II's price point: US$5,750. Though it's not chump change, it's Hasselblad’s most affordable digital medium format camera. By comparison, its predecessor launched at almost $9,000 three years ago. At $5,750, it's still a little pricier than the aging Pentax 645Z which has fallen to about $5,000 on sale, and only slightly more expensive than the Fuji GFX 50S which is currently priced at $5,500, but it does hit well above the mark against the Fuji GFX 50R which currently retails for around $4,000.

The Hasselblad X1D II is slated to begin shipping from July 2019, brand new at that price point, giving medium format fans a competitively priced option to consider.

 

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