I had a whole week with the Hasselblad X1D and to sum it up, it was fantastic.
Do you know the feeling when you touch a thing and you fall in love with it right away but it is way to expensive to consider buying it and then you still try to find ways to? Welcome to my week with the Hasselblad X1D.
I think I can speak for many photographers when I say: Shooting with a Hasselblad is a dream come true. And when I got the chance to test it for a whole week thanks to Foto Kücher, I was more than thrilled. Have fun with my review including a video I shot partly with the DJI Mavic Pro and my good friend, amazing photographer Mathias Lixl who went on a test run with me and some RAW Fotos for you to test — HERE.
(I will also do a review in a few weeks of the new Fuji GFX 50s medium format – and will compare it to the X1D)
Quickreview: The Hasselblad X1D is the most beautiful, well designed and portable entry into medium format photography at a quite resonable price (considering what medium format usually costs). And when you start using medium format, it opens up a whole new world. The format 4:3 opens new dimensions and less lens distortion. Be amazed by the 14 f.stops dynamic range and the 50 megapixel sensor – and it is mirrorless.
The Swedish know how to do product design. The Hasselblad X1D is definitely the most beautifully designed camera I have ever had in my hands. It amazed me how Hasselblad made it happen to put a medium format sensor and all the tech into such a tiny camera body. All dials, buttons and wheels are so solid and great to operate that you don’t want to put it out of your hands anymore. And holding the X1D is impecably great, my hands are quite average for a man and the Hasselblad fits in it like a glove.
Kit and price:
Body: Hasselblad X1D-50C – 9.480€
Lens: Hasselblad XCD f3.2 90mm (which is a 71mm equivalent on a full frame sensor – crop factor 0.8) – 2.690€
Total Kit: 12.170€
The medium format CMOS sensor with a dimension of 8.272 x 6.200 pixels delivers 50 megapixels in the format 4:3 (full frame has 3:2). The Hasselblad RAW-format “3FR” gets you an average of 106 megabyte file (so get your hard drives ready). And the sensor gets you up to 14 stops dynamic range (for all of you not too familiar with that term, here is the translation: fantastic detail depth). ISO goes up to 12.800 and shutter from 1/2000 up to 60 minutes.
I loved how the X1D feels in your hand, it seems all very natural, haptic and solid. The view you get when shooting with medium format is one to fall in love with. the aspect ratio of 4:3 is beautiful and you get so much more detail in you shots than with a full frame camera. A downsides of the camera is its very slow autofocus, a kind of weird shutter sound and a really slow start-up time (about 8 seconds). So it is not for fast shootings or even burst mode. You have to take a little time to get your picture done, which can be a nice thing, you give every shot more attention. And you should definitely get a spare battery as one only get you through roughly 150 – 200 pictures only. And yes, the electronic viewfinder – you might already know that I don’t like them too much. The size is one thing that is a true plus – it is almost as small as the Sony A7 but with a middle format. The Touch-LCD screen on the back is really nice. It works really responsive and fast. I love the UI-Design and it reacts almost better than on my Canon 5D Mark IV. The camera has 2 SD-cards slots and even a USB-C port. So except of the AF, I didn’t have any downside. Even if I wished for a lens with lower f stops than 3.2, I realized that it will take time for Hasselblad to produce those for the X1D system. Their lowest in the H6 System is a 100mm f2.2.
The 3FR RAW works great with Adobe Lightroom and also Hasselblad’s very own Phocus programm is great (and free and beautiful). I prefer Lightroom as you know and it didn’t let me down. Working on the files is a true blessing: There is so much information in the files: highlights, shadows, depth, details, color and so much more that I now miss in my Canon 5D Mark IV. The unprocessed RAW file already looks so great that you don’t want to push it far with presets. I also realized that the chromatic aberrations are far less than in other cameras I have tested. The 4:3 ration and therefore the 0.8 crop factor gave me brain goose bumps. It is only a tiny difference to the 3:2 but I fell in love with the look of the image. And in combination with Photoshop and my hidden champion Colorefex Pro from Google the RAW performs so so well. And having 50 megapixels at hand, makes cropping so much fun. When doing portraits, I realized how detailed the Hasselblad pictures are – it took me a tiny bit longer to clear the tiny marks. What I especially loved was black-and-white photos with it – the depth is so crazy.
My summary and who should get it: The Hasselblad X1D is the most beautiful way to start into the medium format business for sure. It delivers perfect image quality, a great look, amazing design and amazing travel capabilities. With the X1D you are like a medium format ninja – no one knows what you are having in your hands. The only compromise in this camera is the slow autofocus and start-up time. Who should get it – Everyone who wants to differentiate oneself with a more unique style of photography and everyone who wants to start using medium format at a (almost) ok price of 10.000€.
Thanks again to Foto Kücher for the possibility to try the Hasselblad X1D.