Hasselblad X1D-50c Review | Mirrorless Medium-Format Digital camera

Hasselblad X1D-50c

MSRP $8,995.00

“The compact Hasselblad X1D is a recreation changer on this planet of medium-format pictures.”


  • Very effectively made
  • Glorious 50MP medium-format pictures
  • Comparatively compact and transportable
  • Leaf shutter + digital shutter
  • Good contact interface


  • Sluggish autofocus
  • Poor battery life
  • Extra bodily controls can be good

When Hasselblad unveiled the X1D-50c mirrorless camera, it wasn’t only a radical new path for the storied camera firm. For the complete medium-format sector, it represented a departure away from massive and complicated cameras, in favor of streamlined, transportable gadgets. It could be essentially the most vital transfer towards modernization that the format has taken because the first medium-format digital backs, however it stays true to Hasselblad’s coronary heart and soul of superb craftsmanship and wonderful picture high quality. This isn’t to indicate that customary digital medium-format cameras are going away — removed from it, for causes we’ll talk about under — however customers of such cameras now have an choice that’s simpler to take with them on location, and each portrait and panorama photographers have cause to be enthusiastic about it.

The X1D has understandably generated a variety of hype (it was the primary of its type, in any case, adopted shortly by the Fujifilm GFX 50S), constructing curiosity that goes far past the comparatively slim viewers of established medium-format shooters. Nevertheless, whereas it does seem to democratize the format to some extent, it stays a far cry from a medium-format camera for the lots. Nonetheless, we’re happy to see that Hasselblad has dedicated itself to this new system, including quite a few options since launch by way of firmware updates and releasing a number of new lenses which have drastically improved the X1D’s capabilities.

Excessive tech and handmade

As a modest, however proud engraving states on the highest of the camera, the X1D is handmade in Sweden. After seeing it in photographs, we knew it regarded beautiful however weren’t certain how comfy it might be in precise use. Our earlier expertise with medium-format cameras had left us with the impression that such machines are greatest used atop sturdy tripods. Nevertheless, after spending a while with the X1D, we fully fell in love with the design. The grip feels wonderful, and despite the fact that the camera is pretty massive (in comparison with smaller-format mirrorless fashions) it’s nonetheless fairly straightforward to carry in a single hand – nothing like the large, mirror-based medium-format fashions.

Beneath the H emblem on the facet of the camera you’ll discover twin SD reminiscence card slots. There’s additionally a singular battery that locks in place with no battery door. A change on the underside of the camera partially releases the battery and also you give it a delicate push to unlock it and take away it the remainder of the best way. A rubber gasket encircling the battery itself permits the camera to be environmentally sealed regardless of the dearth of a battery door. Hasselblad informed us this was achieved to enhance total sturdiness, as there’s no plastic door that may break off. We type of assume they did it simply to be cool, however both method, we’ll take it.

The physique additionally has a wonderfully balanced weight when paired with one of many prime lenses (we examined the 45mm f/3.5 and 90mm f/3.2). That is nonetheless a reasonably heavy camera, however each ounce of weight feels intentional. Hasselblad clearly put vital care into making the X1D really feel good to make use of handheld, one thing that has not at all times been a precedence for different medium-format cameras.

The X1D is a radical new path for Hasselblad and the complete medium-format sector.

The three-inch touchscreen LCD appears good, and the person interface is obvious and easy. The camera is surprisingly straightforward to make use of because of that touchscreen, though the minimalistic management format did go away us wishing for a number of extra bodily buttons. Specifically, a spotlight level selector would have been very welcome. (After our review, Hasselblad launched a firmware replace that added contact pad AF performance, which helps you to drag your finger on the display whereas trying by means of the viewfinder to maneuver the main focus level.) There are additionally some design oddities within the interface; there isn’t a instant method, for instance, to grasp what the buttons to the facet of display do with out urgent them to search out out.

From a usability standpoint, it’s a little bit of a combined bag. The compact measurement and easy-to-use touchscreen make this one of the crucial approachable medium-format cameras on the market, however it’s hampered by a gradual startup pace and an autofocus system that depends on gradual (however correct) distinction detection. With loads of mild, the main focus pace is not less than first rate — it’s simply less than par with what we’ve come to anticipate from trendy mirrorless cameras. Happily, focusing manually is nice, with a number of focus peaking colours that will help you out, and a fast double-tap on the display will amplify the picture that will help you dial-in vital focus.

Our preliminary impressions with utilizing the AF system have been reserved, as we couldn’t resize them, making it troublesome to dial in pinpoint accuracy. Nevertheless, Hasselblad has since launched a firmware replace that enabled AF level resizing. Now you can choose level sizes of 4mm, 2.8mm, or 2mm. Every choice has a corresponding change within the complete variety of out there factors, as effectively: 35 at 4mm, 63 at 2.8mm, and 117 at 2mm. Whereas Hasselblad isn’t promoting any improve in focus pace, not less than the quantity and accuracy of focus factors is now a lot nearer to different mirrorless cameras.

We additionally actually appreciated how massive the digital viewfinder is, however it suffers from a gradual refresh fee. This most likely received’t be an enormous subject as this isn’t a camera that individuals might be utilizing to shoot high-speed motion, however it’s nonetheless an space with room for enchancment.

Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

There have been additionally some occasional bugs, such because the ISO show “over-animating” as if it have been shuffling by means of a number of stops once we solely turned the wheel one click on. Total, these points have been minor and intermittent, however have been sufficient to tug us out of the taking pictures expertise once they occurred.

Utilizing the Hasselblad Phocus Cellular app (nonetheless iOS-only as of January 2019), it’s additionally potential to manage the X1D from an iPhone or iPad. This works both by means of a pc with a tethered camera, or to the X1D immediately by way of its built-in Wi-Fi. Some elements of the interface don’t make for essentially the most refined person expertise, however it labored effectively in our testing and efficiency was snappy (no pun meant). You’ll be able to management nearly each side of the camera (even focus manually) and review, fee, and share photographs from the app.

Medium format for much less

On the within, the Hasselblad X1D-50c makes use of the identical 51-megapixel sensor because the H6D-50c. This isn’t stunning — nearly each camera firm tries to make use of the identical sensor throughout a number of fashions — however whereas the H6D begins at a staggering $25,995, the X1D was simply $8,995 (physique solely) on the time of its launch. As of our most up-to-date replace to this review in January 2019, that value has dropped to only $6,495 because of a $2,500 on the spot rebate.

Focus pace is first rate, however less than par with what we anticipate from trendy cameras.

Whereas the pixel depend alone isn’t uncontested by smaller-format cameras (the Canon EOS 5DSR additionally boasts a 50MP sensors), the X1D’s sensor is 70-percent bigger than full body (and a bit smaller than conventional medium format). That further floor space means every pixel is greater, serving to to collect extra mild and enhance decision, excessive ISO efficiency, and dynamic vary. The truth is, Hasselblad claims 14 stops of dynamic vary in complete, making this an incredible sensor for panorama work.

Except for the sensor, the remainder of the camera’s specs aren’t precisely earth-shattering. Steady taking pictures pace tops out at 2.3 frames per second (fps), most mechanical shutter pace is 1/2,000 of a second (extra on that under), and video is restricted to 1080p on the European PAL customary of 25 fps. (Yeah, we get it, no person’s shopping for this camera for video, however nonetheless.)

The mechanical shutter pace limitation might seem like dangerous information for anybody coming from the APS-C or full body world, however 1/2,000 of a second is definitely fairly good by medium-format requirements. That’s as a result of, historically, medium-format cameras have all used leaf shutters, and the X1D isn’t any completely different. A leaf shutter is constructed into the lens, versus the in-body focal airplane shutters utilized in smaller-format DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Whereas focal airplane shutters could be sooner, normally topping out at 1/4,000 or 1/8,000 of a second, leaf shutters supply one distinctive benefit: they’ll sync with a flash at any shutter pace. Focal airplane shutters, in contrast, can solely sync as much as 1/200 or 1/250 of a second, as at any pace sooner than that they don’t expose the total sensor on the similar second.

Hasselblad X1D 50c Review lens topDaven Mathies/Digital Developments

Daven Mathies/Digital Developments

The leaf shutter can also be a key differentiator between the Hasselblad X1D and its closest competitor, the Fujifilm GFX, and for some customers that alone could also be well worth the distinction in value. A leaf shutter is especially helpful for location portrait pictures, as you may steadiness the solar with a flash whereas leaving your aperture large open for a shallow depth of area. With a focal airplane shutter, you couldn’t do that with out utilizing a high-speed-sync flash or placing a impartial density (ND) filter in your lens, which then requires a extra highly effective flash and can probably decelerate your autofocus.

Because of post-launch firmware updates, the X1D can now get past the shutter pace limitation, nonetheless. In the identical firmware replace that expanded autofocus management, Hasselblad additionally launched an digital shutter with a most shutter pace of 1/10,000 of a second. It could additionally keep open a bit longer, for a complete publicity time of 68 minutes for ultra-long exposures (the mechanical shutter is restricted to 60 minutes). Digital shutters have the additional advantage of being fully silent. This brings the X1D in step with Fujifilm and Section One, each of which supply digital shutters on the GFX-50s and XF IQ3 100, respectively, the one different medium-format cameras to take action.

As with every digital shutter, Hasselblad warns that pictures might be topic to the distorting results of rolling shutter, because the sensor reads out one line of pixels at a time. This may render vertical traces as diagonals if the topic or the camera is shifting too shortly. So whereas the camera can now hit a quick shutter pace, it received’t be helpful for taking pictures fast-moving topics in most cases. In the event you plan to make use of the digital shutter, Hasselblad recommends placing the camera on a tripod and taking pictures stationary topics.

The opposite potential good thing about the digital shutter is that it might open up the X1D to all types of legacy lenses. It wouldn’t be capable to toggle the leaf shutters on such lenses, however because of the digital shutter, it wouldn’t need to. Solely older lenses with bodily aperture controls would work, and it will probably depend upon third-party adapters, however such merchandise wouldn’t be troublesome to fabricate as they might be easy “dumb” adapters with out electronics.

The compulsory comparability to full body

As a high-end mirrorless camera, individuals are naturally drawing comparisons between the Hasselblad X1D and Sony’s line of full-frame mirrorless fashions, particularly the 42MP A7R Mark II. Sony did a unbelievable job of democratizing 35mm sensors with its A7 collection, however the X1D shouldn’t be making an attempt to do fairly the identical factor. The value stays a difficulty: $9,000 is likely to be “low-cost” for medium format, however you would purchase three A7R Mark IIs for that — and the A7R Mark II isn’t any slouch. It’s a powerful nonetheless camera and a really succesful 4K video camera rolled into one, with picture high quality that more-or-less rivals that of the X1D on each metric.

The X1D, subsequently, shouldn’t be the medium-format camera for the remainder of us. It’s nonetheless a medium-format camera for, effectively, medium-format photographers, those that have labored with leaf shutters, massive RAW information, and comparable body sizes. It makes essentially the most sense to present Hasselblad H-system homeowners, who can adapt all of their present lenses to the X1D. It is usually a compelling selection for customers of older Hasselblad techniques who need to improve. On this case, they’ll probably save hundreds of {dollars} by going with the X1D over, say, an H6D.

  • 2.
    A large-angle lens takes in a big area of view.

However the X1D is unlikely to woo any full-frame shooters. It lacks the efficiency of recent mirrorless and DSLR cameras from the likes of Sony, Canon, and Nikon. Moreover, the picture high quality distinction merely received’t be appreciated by most. Typically, individuals consider three issues with regard to bigger sensors: increased decision, higher low-light efficiency, and extra depth-of-field management (that means, a bigger sensor can obtain a shallower depth of area on the similar field-of-view and aperture). Nevertheless, all of these items additionally depend upon the lens that’s in entrance of the sensor, and within the circumstances of low-light functionality and depth of area, these depend upon the utmost aperture of a lens.

Of the 4 native XCD lenses that Hasselblad had initially introduced for the X1D, none have an aperture sooner than f/3.2. That’s roughly equal to f/2.5 on a full-frame camera, however a lot sooner lenses are available for full-frame techniques, which left the X1D missing. That modified with the introduction of the XCD 80mm f/1.9 in 2018, which lastly gave X1D the large-aperture portrait lens it deserved. Nonetheless, from the light-gathering standpoint, it doesn’t beat what’s out there on full body — and for the price of an X1D and a single lens, you would construct out a whole full-frame mirrorless equipment.

That doesn’t imply the X1D is with out advantages, however these advantages might be most appreciated by present medium-format shooters. Customers of full-frame cameras in search of a dramatic leap in picture high quality or efficiency needn’t apply; pixel-peepers will spot the enhancements, however the value distinction simply isn’t value it.

Happily, Hasselblad has continued so as to add options to the X1D lengthy into its life cycle which have made it extra aggressive. Firmware model 1.22, launched in January 2019, added an choice to set a shutter launch delay when bracketing lengthy exposures, along with a number of customization choices and improved autofocus when utilizing tailored H system lenses and equipment. Earlier firmware updates has additionally added an intervalometer operate for taking pictures time-lapse sequences, publicity bracketing, and the flexibility to set a shutter pace restrict when utilizing automated ISO, program, or full auto modes. All of those refinements assist deliver the X1D as much as par, however its benefits received’t make up for its gradual pace or excessive price for a lot of photographers.

Picture high quality

Hasselblad rightly assumes that medium-format shooters are in it for picture high quality above all else, and thus all however forces customers to shoot in RAW. Whereas in-camera JPEG taking pictures is an choice, the JPEGs are usually not full decision and are meant for use merely as previews. The RAW information, nonetheless, are beastly. At 16 bits, they weigh in at 110 megabytes and are loaded with dynamic vary and element.

In our expertise, pictures have been maybe a tad too impartial for our tastes proper out of the camera, and auto white steadiness typically skewed towards the cool facet. This solely actually impacts the way you see photographs on the camera’s LCD, nonetheless. No person taking pictures with an X1D goes to place something out for public consumption till it has been processed. In each Hasselblad’s Phocus RAW processor and Adobe Lightroom, we discovered the information to be extremely malleable. The broad dynamic vary made it straightforward to recuperate element from highlights and shadows, however it’s onerous to say whether or not it was considerably higher than the very best full-frame cameras. (Sensor-testing agency DxOMark gave the X1D its highest-ever rating, for what it’s value.)

Excessive ISO noise ranges are additionally wonderful. The X1D is in league with the very best full-frame sensors on the market, regardless of having extra decision than most. Traditionally, digital medium-format cameras haven’t been nice excessive ISO performers, however the transfer to CMOS sensors appears to have modified that. We shot as excessive as ISO 6,400 with very usable outcomes, however should you don’t want the total 50 megapixels, you must be capable to push effectively past that and nonetheless come out with clear pictures at decreased sizes.

Curiously, Hasselblad limits the utmost ISO to 25,600, however Pentax was far much less modest with its specs on the 645z, proclaiming a most ISO of 204,800 for a similar sensor. The Fujifilm GFX 50s is available in a cease decrease at 102,400. In fact, noise is decided by different components than the sensor alone — such because the processor and related circuitry — however excessive ISO rankings are additionally typically little greater than a advertising and marketing stunt. Hasselblad appears to be extra reserved than Pentax and Fujifilm on this regard. (The older Hasselblad H5D-50c, additionally constructed on the identical sensor, had a high ISO of simply 6,400).

The beastly RAW information weigh in at 110MB, however are loaded with element.

In the event you’re coming from the full-frame world, don’t let the X1D’s comparatively low ISO restrict idiot you: Whereas it may not be as insanely excessive because the Nikon D5 — which maxes out at ISO three million — real-world noise efficiency is neck-and-neck at equal ISO settings, particularly when you normalize the 50MP Hasselblad information all the way down to match these from the 20MP Nikon.

Nearly as good because the sensor is, precise low-light efficiency is restricted by the comparatively gradual XCD lenses. Save for the 80mm f/1.9, there simply aren’t many lenses geared for low-light pictures. Moreover, the X1D’s contrast-detection autofocus received’t do you any favors in dimly lit scenes, as we found whereas taking pictures in a darkish dive bar with 80mm. Nonetheless, when you have persistence, the outcomes are good.

As for the lens high quality, each lens we have now examined on the X1D has carried out effectively, however some could be tougher to make use of. In the event you’re involved about vital focus and pixel-level element, taking pictures handheld with a 50MP sensor isn’t precisely a recipe for achievement; transfer just a bit bit after locking focus, and also you would possibly discover your topic now falls exterior the depth of area. It’s a good suggestion to make use of a tripod every time potential, or keep on with smaller f-stops when working handheld.

Movement blur is one other drawback. Because the X1D appears geared towards handheld taking pictures, that is probably a difficulty many photographers will encounter. As at all times, use a tripod when you may; and when you may’t, effectively, take a number of footage.

One final thing we should always point out is that the X1D doesn’t comprise a self-cleaning sensor, so mud spots are widespread. Have a bulb blower and a few sensor swabs helpful, as conserving mud off that massive sensor when altering lenses is nearly inconceivable.

Guarantee data

The Hasselblad X1D is roofed for a interval of 1 yr or 100,000 exposures, whichever comes first. XCD lenses are additionally coated for one yr.

Our Take

The Hasselblad X1D represents a brand new path for the corporate, and one to which it stays dedicated by bettering the camera continually by way of new firmware. It does a commendable job of mixing medium-format picture high quality and leaf shutter flexibility in a transportable (and comparatively inexpensive) package deal. It will make an incredible second camera for a high-end studio photographer, or an excellent first medium-format camera for somebody who has been ready for the best time to leap into the sport.

Whereas we initially felt letdown by the dearth of lenses, 2018 noticed the introduction of 4 new fashions, together with Hasselblad’s widest-ever (XCD 21mm f/4), longest-ever (XCD 135mm f/2.8), and fastest-ever (XCD 80mm f/1.9). Additionally, now that the camera has digital shutter functionality, hopefully it received’t be lengthy earlier than we see adapters for legacy lenses from varied producers.

Even with the present discounted value of $6,495 (a financial savings of $2,500), the X1D is probably going nonetheless too costly to attract full-frame shooters away from Canon, Nikon, and Sony — however it could stop some medium-format shooters from dropping all the way down to full body. This is a vital product for the high-end pictures world; medium-format photographers merely haven’t had a camera like this earlier than, and we anticipate many might be happy with it.

Is there a greater various?

This relies totally on the kind of photographer you’re. For medium-format shooters — significantly customers of Hasselblad’s H-system who can adapt their present lenses — the Hasselblad X1D represents a compelling various to cumbersome and cumbersome cameras. It’s significantly cheaper whereas nonetheless providing a well-recognized person expertise and equal picture high quality. In the event you don’t want a leaf shutter, nonetheless, the Fujifilm GFX 50s provides the identical sensor for even much less cash, though it’s each larger and heavier than the Hasselblad.

On the subject of the common fanatic or skilled photographer, it merely makes extra sense to stay with full body. One of the best full-frame sensors on the market produce picture high quality that’s however a smidgeon behind the X1D, and so they do it for a fraction of the price. What’s extra, the X1D’s operational pace merely isn’t as much as par with different trendy mirrorless cameras (or DSLRs, for that matter). The Sony A7R Mark II is a stellar performer at round $3,000, and any picture high quality distinction between it and the X1D can be negligible to all however essentially the most discerning photographers.

How lengthy will it final?

It’s handmade in Sweden; what extra would you like? Significantly, although, this camera is a shocking instance of high-end craftsmanship. We anticipate it’ll final a really very long time, though it might have been good to see an extended guarantee interval given the value.

What’s extra, in January 2019, over 2 years because the X1D’s launch, Hasselblad continues to breathe new life into the camera by way of firmware updates. Firmware model 1.22 has added quite a few options, together with the flexibility to rearrange the order of icons on the touchscreen by drag-and-drop. For extra data, see Hasselblad’s firmware replace web page.

Must you purchase it?

Most of us shouldn’t. Our $9,000 is probably going higher spent on a full-frame mirrorless system that features a few lenses. Nevertheless, should you or your enterprise is in want of the absolute best picture high quality you will get in a transportable type issue, then certain, go for it. The Hasselblad X1D is a succesful machine in the best fingers, and should you’ve made it this far in our review, then these fingers would possibly simply be yours.

This review has been up to date to cowl firmware updates by means of model 1.22, launched in January 2019, in addition to new lenses introduced in 2018.

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