Hasselblad X1D: Very early shooting impressions (with full size samples)


Firstly, Selamat Hari Raya to my local readers! Secondly, and perhaps of more importance to the global audience, about 36 hours ago, the X1D arrived – plus both lenses and the system bag. I’m currently in the middle of a masterclass in Singapore and have had about four hours in total to shoot with it. Regular readers will know that normally, I wouldn’t post anything this early on in my usage of the camera for several reasons – firstly, firmware is not final, so not all functionality has been implemented and there are a lot of thing which will be improved before retail release. A large part of my responsibilities also include debugging and finding as many of those glitches as possible. Secondly, you really need to use it under a wide range of conditions to make a useful and comprehensive assessment of its capabilities. However, my inbox has been overflowing from the number of questions and requests for information, plus there’s been so much speculation over image quality, it’s more efficient for me to address this here. I also have clearance from Hasselblad to post full size images, linked in the article – I think they are also the first full size samples available anywhere. They are of sufficient technical standard but I’ll be the first to admit, it’s early days and I’ve not had as much time to shoot with it as usual – so the subject matter is somewhat limited. I have attempted to assess several things with these tests, though – quality of bokeh, edge sharpness, flare resistance, dynamic range, lateral CA etc. You may print or download them for your own use, but not commercial redistribution. For early impressions, read on. For full size files, click the images. I will attempt to answer questions left in comments HOWEVER please note that I am on the road for the next couple of days, so internet access will be limited. (Update: links to full size fixed; please let me know if they still don’t work.)

Important note: this is NOT final hardware, and subject to significant changes: and these changes will be only be improvements.

IMG_1817b bag and lenses sizecomparison

Yes, it’s a small camera. But bigger than you might think, and a lot more solid-feeling. You can see that the frontal cross-section is similar to a H5 or H6, but the depth corresponds to something that’s lost the mirror box, larger card slots, prism and grip top LCD. The comparison on the far right is a worst case scenario: 45mm vs 35-90mm is not really fair, and the strap adds visual weight. The system bag is similar to a Billingham Hadley Digital, but a bit deeper, and it has a red tab and subtle embossed H logos on the sides, plus a shoulder pad. I apologize for the standard of the product images as I don’t exactly have my studio in the hotel room.

Most of the traffic, uncertainty and questions online have been around a few things, and I’ll address them now:

  • The EVF. It’s good enough – no, not as good as the Leica SL, but I honestly don’t see that much of a difference between this and my Leica Q in terms of detail, either. Refresh rate is a little bit lower, but comparable to the M4/3 cameras in the normal speed setting, significantly faster than the H6’s live view, and another planet from the H5’s live view. It needs contrast and brightness adjustment, but that’s coming in future firmware.
  • Manual focusing: easy, and made easier by a single button to go to 100%, or double tap anywhere in the LV image to go to 100% at that point.
  • Sensor image quality: at least identical to, if not slightly better than, the H5/6 – I think it’s because of accuracy of focus more than anything or newer lens designs. High ISOs are perhaps half a stop cleaner, and there’s now both auto ISO, 12k and 25k settings. I have requested the ability to adjust the auto-parameters. Color, dynamic range, and tonal response are identical to the H5/6 – which in my opinion, is the best you can get, period. Think 14-15 stops and almost zero profiling required, with a very natural highlight rolloff. See for yourself, in any case.
  • Lens quality: nothing to worry about here. I think they may actually be slightly better than the H lenses. I am very impressed with the performance overall. Both of mine are prototypes – lenses and cameras – but I’m finding the 45mm to be better than the MTF charts suggest, and the 90mm slightly worse (though remember that the 90mm suggests Otus-grade performance). There is very little CA or any kind, and given the architecture relies on Phocus on your PC to do the correction, I’m impressed – since I’m using ACR to convert, and there are no Adobe profiles yet.
  • Autofocus: is faster than expected, but not Q-fast (I think best in class). It’s closer to GR-fast. You can’t move the point yet, but that’s coming also. However: we are talking about a camera with non-final firmware. I am told there are significant speed updates in the next FW update in a  few days.
  • Use in low light: AF doesn’t slow down that much, but can experience either hunting, failure to lock or false positives. I’ve found this is due to the same limitation as most CDAF cameras: if there are point sources in the frame that overexpose, they will form a 100/0 contrast zone that the camera cannot lock on to – by definition, highest contrast will be greatest defocus + brightness. Pick targets sensibly and it’s fine.
  • Speed in operation: does not suggest there are files that big flying around (right now, there’s no compression and we’re looking at the 110MB/file range – 16 bit).
  • UI and touch screen: you don’t actually need to use it very much; the camera is simple enough that the hard buttons do everything you need. But it’s the same UI as the H6, only smoother – it seems the X1D has a more capable video processor or something because animations, scrolling and operation are just a lot slicker overall. Think of the difference between an iPhone 4 and iPhone 6S in terms of UI speed…
  • Build quality, haptics: one solid, solid block of metal. Nothing, anywhere, feels plasticky and/or hollow. Everything that looks like metal is metal, and some other parts, too. It actually feels better built than the H cameras; you touch rubber and a metal unibody, not plastic and a detachable grip. A note on weather sealing: every port is tightly gasketed, and the lenses require some effort to mount/unmount because the gasket fits so tightly against the mount. I would be far more confident in inclement weather with this than the H (too many components, no seals other than tightness of fit between them)
  • Battery life is comparable to my H5: about 3 hours total operation time. Three batteries will get you through a heavy day, assuming you never turn the power off. Power saving is aggressive and the battery is huge (3200mAH) – which probably helps. Charging time is unfortunately also similar to the H5/6, which is slow.
  • Nikon TTL: no idea yet, don’t have a speedlight with me. Note however that the duration for maximum power for most of their flashguns is about 1/900s, so you will see some loss at 1/2000.
  • Overall impressions: at the moment, it falls on the side of a deliberate, paced shooting tool rather than a run and gun street machine – but given the expectation is the thing performs like M4/3, that’s perhaps a bit unfair. I certainly think it’s no slower or less responsive than say a Sony A7RII in use – the bits that are slow we can live with; responsiveness is good though I’m told will improve with an EFC mode (not full electronic; rear curtain remains mechanical) that doesn’t require the leaf shutter to close first to expose. Image quality is first class plus: everything we expected, and more. More features will also be implemented in due course – a firmware update is supposedly out for testers tomorrow.
    • Let me clarify this statement for forum pedants who have been taking issue with the verbiage: firstly, a mechanical shutter system has to open and close to determine the exposure. Secondly, in a mirrorless camera, the shutter has to close then open then close as it has to be open to expose the sensor for live view. Thirdly, I’m told that MQ mode will use an electronic front curtain to and the leaf shutter will only close to end the exposure, bypassing the open and shut stage. Finally, as I am not aware of a specific terminology for the closing of a leaf shutter, ‘rear curtain’ is what I used for ease of understanding – and also the terminology used to describe when the flash fires at the end of the exposure, regardless of shutter type.
  • Samples: click thumbnails below to go to the flickr page which will also have full resolution available if you click on the image itself, or one of the options on the lower right of the image container. (Update: links to full size fixed). I will add more to this album on flickr in due course. Images are processed with the same workflow I use for my H5/6 files – ACR recognizes the camera as a H6D. MT














The Hasselblad X1D camera and lenses are available to pre-order here from B&H. I do get a small referral fee from sales, which helps to pay for site bandwidth and hosting costs. More info is here on the Hasselblad site. There’ll also be a special bag made in collaboration with Billingham. Hasselblad says first deliveries begin end-August/early September.


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. Ming, beautiful and inspiring work as usual. I was wondering… do you do more handheld shots with the X1D than you used to do with the D810/D800e?

    • Thanks. It’s about the same actually – more subject/condition dependent than camera dependent…

      • Thanks Ming. I am getting so that I don’t want to use the D810 without a tripod. I was wondering if MF is more forgiving in that
        regard, but sounds like it’s not….like you say, depending on conditions.

        • The higher the resolution per degree field of view, the less forgiving. So, low resolution MF will be better, but not the 100MP beasts – nearly 12000px on one side vs 7300 🙂

  2. Hi! Ming,
    Correct me if I am wrong. Can I say the Hasselblad X1D has a similar raw file size with the Canon 5DSR of around 51mb. But cos its a larger sensor for X1D means we will still be getting a much better picture like dynamic range etc?

  3. I was actually surprised by this and was only informed by a colleague, so I would like to confirm (if this thread is still active after so many months 😉
    GPS seems to be an external device, sitting in the flash shoe, correct ?
    Is it delivered with the X1D, or would I have to acquire it separately ?
    Can it coexist with Nikon flashes (as it occupies the hot shoe) ?
    Thanks for your reply!

  4. Hello,
    I studied the manual which is really nice with many details. I still have two questions:
    How many AF-points does the X1D have ? (1, 9, or even more ?)
    The manual is for firmware 1.0 . Will the camera come out with this version or with a higher version ?
    And finally a completely different question: Is there a chance for support of V lenses ? Or even Rollei leaf-shutter lenses ? I still have a few older Zeiss lenses I would like to resurrect again.

    • I’m at firmware 1.13 now, and that’s not final. We have 63 AF points.

      Support for V: maybe; other mounts, no. There’s a lot of mechanical stuff that has to happen to trigger a V lens, and the X1D was designed as a fully electronic platform with a minimum of moving parts…

  5. Hey Ming We’re all waiting! Any news when your going to get the finished Hasselblad X1D?
    I Enjoy your site.

  6. Hi Ming,
    If one could get a Hasselblad lens adapter, would it would it be possible connect a high end Apo Digitar with copal 0 lens shutter and helical focus to the X1D? There would be no electrical contacts, so I was wondering if it could be used in a manual mode.
    Thanks for any feedback.

    • I don’t see any way to trigger the shutter and sync capture – you’d need a CFV or H back for that.

      • Hi Ming,
        Regarding my earlier question about the use of the apo-digitar used in conjunction with the X1d………
        If one used a tripod and set the shutter speed on bulb to keep the X1d shutter open, then by activating the copal shutter on the apo digitar, focused light would then hit the X1d sensor.Would there be a way to ready the sensor so this might be a way to capture an image?

  7. Not sure if you are still looking at this thread, but here is a question. I am waiting for my order of an X1D, and plan to use it while traveling, taking on-location, environment, and indoor photos, plus some studio. Mostly just landscape, portraits, and close-up photography. I usually use a RRS Series 3 tripod with an Arca-Swiss Cube C1 head. For a smaller camera like the X1D, I am thinking of getting a slightly lighter RRS tripod. (TVC-23: Versa series 2, 3 sections/leg), but wonder if I should use a lighter ball head, like one of the RRS ball heads instead of the heavier Arca Cube C1? And thoughts or suggestions?

  8. Daniel Wagner says:

    Dear Ming
    I’m impressed of your great pictures you allwasy shows in your blogs. It’s now middle of August and I wondering if you get an update of the firmware on your X1D? If yes, what has changed in the meantime? Did you took other pictures in the meantime with the x1D?
    Thanks for your comment.

    • The X1Ds went back some time ago – they were very, very early cameras. Future firmware requires hardware changes to run. I therefore have nothing to add since I don’t have cameras to use…

      • Hi Ming, I ordered my X1D a few weeks ago and hope I ‘ll get my hands on it pretty soon…
        In the meantime I was wondering if it would work wth the Hasselblad Tilt shift system, that would be a great tool for this camera…
        What do you think?

  9. tangofish says:

    You know what I would absolute love to be able to do with this camera? to be able to leave a set of images (with transparency/alpha) in a folder on the memory card, or transfer over to the camera while tethering… and then be able to superimpose these on top of the live view (but not the captured images). In this way we could make our own display grids, crop guides, and so on.

    Built in guides for Square are great, so are 4:3, 16:9, scope, flat, grids for architectural and rule or 3rds are standard these days.

    But what if we are working with a weird aspect ratio, perhaps it’s wide, for 2 pages of a book or magazine, and perhaps there are spaces that have to be left open as text will later go there. Lots of scenarios for it.

    Sometimes I get out the white board markers and draw guides on the computer screen… sometimes this even happens on the camera display…

    Thanks again for the review, really nice to read it and to see all the comments and questions.

  10. I have ordered the X1D systems, but am worried about close-up photography. I don’t care about 1:1 macro, but I do care about getting close up. If I buy the H-Lens adapter, what H lens would be very sharp, preferable wide open, for use on the XiD?

  11. Great review and great images. I used to shoot with the H system, but as I started to do more landscapes, I noticed the lens quality dropped off noticeably past F11 – 14. How do you find these new lenses hold up when stopped down?

    • Thanks. I think what you’re seeing is diffraction, which are physical limits of optics and pixel pitch, rather than lens degradation specifically. I don’t know of any lenses that perform well past f13 or so…

      The two lenses for the X1D are superb though. I’d give the edge to the 90 personally but really both are already excellent wide open, and at the top of the game by f5.6-8.

      • Gotcha. Very happy to hear that about the new lenses. I think I was most disappointed in the 120 macro for the H system. After f8.0, it went downhill very quickly. I asked a Hasselblad rep about it, and he said that the H series was more optimized for portraits. Granted, I could have gotten a bad copy.

        I’m currently shooting with the Pentax 645z, which is awesome. And those lenses are gorgeous between F11-14 (though, they definitely start to get soft / diffract after F14 pretty quickly). My only issue with it is that it is heavy, and I mostly use it for landscape photography. I’ve been going on more 10-15 mile hikes recently, and the idea of having a lighter weight system with a similar sensor is a very nice one. However, if the lenses start to get soft past F8 again, then that system isn’t so great for landscapes.

        I really appreciate the quick reply and the insight. I’ll definitely keep an eye this page for updates and thoughts. Thanks!

        • That seems odd. The 120 II I tried briefly seemed as good as anything I’d used, though it’s pretty huge and slow to focus because of the distance the helicoid has to rack through. As for Pentax, I found the opposite problem: some of the newer lenses are excellent everywhere; the older ones need to be stopped down past f8 to be acceptable. I can’t remember if the Pentax shows bellows-factor compensated aperture at close range though – Nikons for example will do this, and f16 is really more like f8 physical aperture at 1:1 (which may contribute to the impression that the lenses are still good to smaller apertures, even though the displayed aperture is what you’d use for calculating exposure, not DOF).

  12. Were you able to try to some long exposures, let’s say greater than 4m and up to 60m? I’m interested in this camera’s capability to control hot pixel noise with long exposures.

    • 5m was the longest I needed to use – it just wasn’t that dark. My experience is there are a few hot pixels with much longer exposures on the H5/H6D (note: both, and the X1D, do not require dark frames afterwards to reduce noise), but easy to clean up as they’re rather obvious. The X1D uses the same imaging pipeline as the H6D, so I wouldn’t expect it to be any different.

      • Hot pixels sounds interesting. Due to the camera running warm?
        I’ve had pretty good success with long exposures on a 645z. How would x1d compares to the long exposure noise/hot pixels on the 645z and am rather hoping the x1d is at least as good?

        • Didn’t try long exposure on the X1D as I didn’t have suitable subjects and the firmware wasn’t final. But if it’s the same as the H6, which it should be, I think it’ll do just fine – that does up to 1hr without a dark frame afterwards. Results are very clean.

  13. Hello Ming,
    Thank you for your quite useful information and impressions. When studying your sample images at full resolution, I find an overall texture present that somewhat reminds me of film grain (my primary imaging medium being 4×5″ Provia RDP III). Is this an effect you (always?) add in rendering your/these RAW files or is this the way this camera (always?) outputs its images? Or is it a jpeg artifact perhaps?
    Thanks and keep up the good work,

    • No, it’s not an effect – just zero noise reduction, some heavy recovery in places due to very wide dynamic range of the scene, and preproduction hardware/firmware.

  14. Thank you for sharing these photos! I have been reading up about this camera a lot over the past few days and I really like a lot of features it has. I love landscape and architectural photography first and foremost but I do also shoot a good amount of weddings. Could you see this being used as a wedding photographers camera or would it be too difficult to change settings on the fly or get good photos of moving subjects? What about when the autofocus is updated with the new firmware? For that price I would need to sell my Nikon gear and it would have to be my go-to camera for both weddings and landscape photography. Do you think this is feasible?

    • It won’t track like a DSLR because there is no AF-C mode – yet; and even if there is, CDAF has limitations. If you can shoot a film camera or normal MF at a wedding, you should be fine. It really depends on what kind of wedding and what style of photography. I would rent one before committing since your business depends on it.

  15. Ming, I love your elegant, thoughtful reviews. Other than the sort of indescribable feeling one gets from images taken on a larger format vs. a smaller one, what would you say it the biggest advantage of MF over 35mm? From the test shots you’ve shown here, it would appear to be dynamic range.

    • Thanks. It’s dynamic range and color fidelity/tonal transitions – the latter is somewhat resolution related, since the more steps you have to describe a transition, the smoother/more gradual the transition can be…and everything else being equal, larger pixels are always better.

  16. aseancat says:

    effectively enticing, Ming!

    will the AF points be across the whole sensor surface? will you be able to move AF points while using the EVF?

  17. I imagine the file sizes are enormous. What would somebody who wanted to be out in the field shooting all day long need to save their work?

  18. Hi Ming! Great review as usual. Do you happen to have any images of the charger? I’m curious to see how small it is… I’td be a shame if it looked something like a 1Dx charger!

    • It’s a standard Hasselblad charger size – looks like a notebook power adaptor with a cable at one end that goes into the battery.

  19. Hi Ming, thanks for the early thoughts 🙂 How is the auto focus speed and consistency compared to the Pentax 645Z?

  20. On the new X1D, the two announced lenses, how low are the focus throws on the lenses, please?

    • Typo: “How long are the focus throws”

    • Impossible to tell – fly by wire.

      • Don’t understand. You had a chance to shoot with at least one of the new lenses for your review. I am trying to find out whether the focus throw on these new lenses is long enough for my close-up work. Not sure what “fly by wire” means.

        • Fly by wire focusing rings are not mechanically connected to anything. They translate position ring movement to element displacement via a position sensor and motors. The speed at which the elements move is not linearly dependent on the speed of the ring movement, so it could be not very much displacement if you turn it fast, or a very very long throw if turned slowly. This relationship depends on how the software has been tuned. The X lenses use this kind of coupling, hence my ‘impossible to tell’ answer: it depends on the operator.

  21. Just as an aside (and at the risk of being annoyingly pedantic!), I notice that you often use the work ‘haptics’ when referring to a camera’s form factor, design, etc. Coming from a background in technology where haptic has a very specific meaning, I find this a little strange, and I’m not aware of any camera that yet has significant haptic attributes.

    Haptic examples: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haptic_technology#Mobile_devices


    • Okay, what word would you use instead?

      • Probably ‘ergonomics’ when referring to the human/machine relationship.

        When I worked in mobility, we used ‘form factor’ to refer to a phone’s size, shape, style, and layout and position of major components though there may be a different convention in the photography world.

        • Hmm…I think it’s more than ergonomics because that doesn’t really cover non-physical aspects like responsiveness, control logic etc.

          • Uh… no things like responsiveness, and control logic might fit into ergonomics, although the precise term of art would be “Human Factors” that’s what folks in aerospace/defense might use to describe the sum total of qualities affecting the man-machine interface in something like an aircraft cockpit… Ergonomics and to some extent Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) are subsets. (I work as a human computer interaction specialist, but they like to call that UX these days)

          • At the risk of being pedantic, Ergonomics concerns itself with physical compatibility or “fit” — how do the placement of buttons, the shape of a device, the eye-relief in a viewfinder, the weight distribution etc…. place strain on the body, or put it in different kinds of positions. Human Computer Interaction or UX(horrible term) is concerned cognitive compatibility: How will the choice and arrangement of buttons, screen design, feedback mechanisms (including refresh rate) etc… work together for the purpose of learning, efficiency, and dependable control of a device. You are talking about the collective gestalt of both cognitive and physical fit. That might be how I’d describe “human factors”

        • Ergonomics don’t tell you about the feel of the camera. If you find that the X1D feels so right in you hand when you held it that the controls becomessecond nature, that’s haptics.

  22. http://www.mirrorlessrumors.com/hasselblad-x-lenses-good-future-100-mp-sensors/#disqus_thread

    So Ming in your opinion how would the larger 100MP senor fit and be covered by these lenses? It doesn’t seem logical given the larger sensor from what can be seen.

  23. Hello Ming, I’m an advanced enthusiast particularly attracted by landscape/nature photography. I travel with my 5diii and 14mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses. I would like to take it to the next level and this camera seem to be excellent because of its compact size/height, MF advantages, 16 bit color, DR, etc. 2 Questions. 1. Do you think Hasselblad is planning to make any zoom and wide angle lenses. I mean something like 24-70 mm, 70-150mm and 14mm (FF equivalent) 2. How further will you go with the ISO in this camera? Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures!!

    • 1. Yes, 30mm already mentioned for Photokina, zooms further down the line. No idea what.
      2. I use 6400 on my H5/6 without reservation, and the X1D has the same sensor/imaging pipeline.

  24. Hi Ming, thanks so much for the initial review of what looks like a really interesting camera.

    Do you know if it is or will be compatible with the Hasselblad tilt shift adapter?


  25. Hi Ming, I am currently using a 645z and contemplating the X1D. Do you know, is there any option for a shutter release cable or IR remote like on the Pentax? This one is extremely important for my tripod use.
    Also, you mention better highlight range on the X1D vs the Pentax, how would the shadows hold up in comparison? Would they have less DR in them because there is more at the highlight end? Thanks

  26. How do we trigger the shutter remotely? Does it have (or will it have) a remote and what style, please?

  27. Ettore Causa says:

    Thanks so much for the wonderful images and the very informative article
    I have a few question:
    -Both the 645z and the IQ350 use the same Sony sensor as the X1D,
    Hasselblad claims 16bit Raw while Phase one and Pentax 14bit
    Do you know anything about that and have you noticed any color spectrum difference from the 645Z?

    -As you said the firmware is still at a preliminary stage but could you give us your impression in terms of the AF (speed and accuracy) and EVF quality
    If compared to the Sony A7r II ?

    -Any chance you could shoot a few portraits to see what sort of medium format look you get from the 90mm ?

    Many thanks for your time and work

    • Tonality is much better with the Hasselblad implementation, colors are slightly more accurate. I had to profile my 645Z and noticed abrupt highlight clipping; I don’t with the 50MP CMOS Hasselblads (H5/6/X1D)

      It is meaningless to make comparisons based on incomplete firmware.

    • As far as i know Sony 50mo sensor has a 14bit ADC so it can’t produce 16bit raw
      isn’t that just marketing propaganda?

      • But you can do various manipulations in the imaging pipeline that make the extra bit space useful, especially when it comes to highlight tonality. All I know is there is a visible difference in color and tonality between my 645Z and Hasselblad files despite having the same sensor.

  28. Ricardo Hooper says:

    I am a professional videomaker and I was really impressed with HB’s marketed X1D video at its site. Certainly not a pro video camera as it lacks most of the features offered by RED, ARRI and SONY, I am curious on the final viewing effect on a large screen, shot on 1920 x 1080 (25p) out of its much larger sensor than those pro cine cameras (mostly 35mm, super 35mm or less). After all we’re talking about a 8272 x 6200 resolution and a huge 44 x 33 mm sensor against e.g. Alexa’s 2880 x 1620 max resolution and 35mm sensor. In other words, shooting both X1D and Alexa, at same 1920 x 1080 (25p), which would produce a crispier image on a big screen?
    Ming, you are really a serious insighter on the art of photography and amazingly updated on the fast moving upgrading movements of the industry. I am proud of meeting you online and hopeful to keep upscaling my vertical learning vectors through your own.

  29. This is going to be sold in Australia at $13,995 (=10,500USD) and the 45mm at $3500 ($2600USD). GST on top. Rip off really as it’s 2,000USD more expensive for the body if buying in Australia. Unfortunately that knocks me out…on principle alone. Ming if discussing with anyone from Hasselblad please put a word in for us Aussies :-)….thank you.

  30. Thank you for taking the time to post this early review with those beautiful samples. Someone made a comment earlier about the H6D’s Live View being sub-par. Can you comment on the X1D Live View and the quality of the LCD, say relative to the 645Z? I’ve become addicted to the use of live view with a quality video loupe as a “jumbo finder” for tripod mounted landscape work. It’s qui liberating for those of us with glasses and great in full sun. Also, and again for landscape, I focus fully stopped down then zoom in with the LCD and waltz around the screen with the joystick, etc. to confirm actual focus making any necessary aperture and focus adjustments until foreground and infinity focus are nailed. Does the X1D have a stopped down function or DOF preview? Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Much better than the H6D and slightly better than the 645Z. You can double tap anywhere on the LCD to go straight to 100% view. I wouldn’t recommend the loupe as it would block the touch screen. There’s a DOF preview button on the lower grip side of the lens mount.

  31. Forgot to ask, when manual focusing, do you get a 5x or some sort of magnification in the EVF to help?

  32. I was drawn to the dynamic range as demonstrated by the various clouds in the second image. (B7015124) But in the seventh image the clouds seem to have lost some definition- B7015098. Although this may have been a hazy day and there weren’t that many shades of white in the high key areas, processing may have also played a role. As a user of the D810 I continue to be amazed by its dynamic range. Recovering details from the shadows is so easy and makes exposure calculation more forgiving (as compared to a micro 4/3 sensor). With the 810 though I am careful not to clip the highlights as i try to expose to the right. How does the sensor of this camera behave? Is it more forgiving at the upper end? And when you recover the shadows, how noisy are they? Only by processing the raw files can one really get a feel for the files this camera produces.

    • It was intermittently hazy, and in one direction only – that may explain the second image. Also shot in the tropics, with the various attendant heat/ convection issues at distance.

      This camera is very forgiving at the highlight end, and does so with some sacrifice to the shadows – it’s the same as the H5/6. Perceptually, I prefer this to linear shadow recoverability as it looks more natural; our eyes don’t clip highlights but we do see black. There’s more latitude in the H5/6/X1 files than the D810, in my experience (~25,000 frames with the former, ~60,000 frames with the latter).

  33. Ming,
    The natural first thought upon seeing this new concept/system camera is – can it work as an [affordable] medium format digital back? Given the lack of focal plane shutter, user seems confined to dedicated leaf shutter lenses. Range and scope of such lenses will be very limited, especially initially, and then in the long run. Is there going to be some sort of a way to acquire exposure relying just on the sensor with its electronics, bypassing all mechanical acts (i.e., “rear curtain” ending the exposure)? Should it be possible – even with a limited array of purely electronic “shutter speeds” – this compact camera could be used in an infinitely wide array of implementations, such as with legacy lenses, gimbal mounts for unlimited tilt and shift (impossible with an SLR layout), etc. Any suggestions of such implied universality?

  34. Any plans for hss? I know MF shooters don’t usually care about this, but since this is being positioned as an outdoor/portable camera, hss would help greatly with overpowering the sun for portraits. Please don’t say ND filters, just a thought

    • Actually, we do. With the leaf shutter, it’ll sync at all speeds – to 1/2000s, but you’ll only get full power if your flash’s duration is short enough.

  35. Andreas Carl says:

    It looks nice – but are the images really any better than what we can get out of an A7rii in any meaningful way? I would have been more excited, if Hasselbad had put this sensor in a camera back for their V-system. (Ideally 6×6 cm sensor size, but maybe that just dreaming).

    • Yes, significantly better. I owned an A7RII and experienced all sorts of file quality degradation firstly due to compression, then later on due to strange color profiling and non-natural highlight rolloff.

      The same sensor and imaging pipeline is already available for the V system in the CFV-50c.

      • Elderin says:

        but degration from compression should not be an issue still and strange color profiling is mainly a problem of Lightroom/Ps. I agree on the unnatural highlight rolloff but even that depends in the lens you use. It is worse with the 35 2.8 and much better looking with the 85 G Master for example.

        • I think that’s probably a DOF/contrast thing rather than the lens itself. The sensor can only record what the lens transmits to it, and yes, some lenses have different contrast rendition…

  36. Said AZIZI says:

    The UI that Hasselblad made for the H6d and the X1d looks phenomenal. How hard it is really for Sony to make a similar one to replace the crappy UI on their A7… as a matter of fact, only Hasselblad and Leica seems to be the only camera manufacturers to invest in this area.

    A question regarding the EVF, is the sensor fully read during liveview ? Because that will drain the battery significantly, in this case, i think using lineskipping will be helpfull.

    • Japanese companies are not the best at software…

      EVF: I don’t know. But I do know that line skipping isn’t going to work if you want accurate MF and 100% magnification.

  37. Hi Ming,

    Interesting reading through here and seeing how many others are potential Leica SL converts. That’s the position I find myself in. As a long time M user, I loved having a good portable run and gun manual system, and the SL, while being tank-like (my group’s nickname for the camera, the Tank), has been almost addictive with its phenomenal interface – I even found it superior to the M system for use with M lenses. Is it unreasonable to expect this ‘blad to be similarly good in quick manual operation? The idea of being able to use a medium format in the outdoor and travel environments I find myself in is quite tantalizing. Especially at an even lower weight than the SL…

    Also any word on weather sealing in the lens itself? Would the system be suitable to some light inclement weather?

    – Ian

    • It’s getting there, but I would wait for final firmware to make any conclusions about speed. As it is we have an EVF that’s good enough for critical MF, lenses that don’t focus shift (unlike the SL zoom) and one button to 100% magnification. Lenses are weather sealed and the gasketing is pretty tight – mounting and unmounting almost feels like there’s a vacuum seal on the rear.

  38. Antono Yuwono says:

    Hi Ming,

    I am the one who use 645z (for stitching panoramas of italian cityscapes) in the recent jakarta masterclass that you did, how are u..
    You take great shots as usual with tbe new X1D.
    I am really curious about it, how it compares to 645z, do you think it is worthwhile to buy it?

    Or should I wait for the 100mp?

    I know pentax lenses are the weak points in 645z, as I had made comparisons between the dfa 90mm macro f2.8 with 645z vs the otus 85 with sony a7r2, and vs phase one df/iq250 with schneider kreuznach lens.

    I found that pentax lenses have a slight yellowish fog compared to the crystal clear pictures ofthe otus or the SK lens.

    Please feel free to inform me anything that you think will be plus points of the X1D vs 645z

    Best regards


    • These lenses are much better, but one would expect that from the latest optical designs. I think this would probably be a better travel camera than the 645 on weight alone, and you can always stitch 2-3 shots to make up your 100MP. Remember the 100MP is a larger sensor and will require longer and therefore larger lenses for the same angle of view. It will also not fit into the X1D body, so the only way you’re going to get it is in the H6D-100.

      • Antono Yuwono says:

        Thanks for your information, I’ll try to arrange a demo from Hassy’s retailer in jakarta..

        Best regards

  39. Thank you for the initial impressions. But to hell with Nikon’s flashguns! I’d like to see how the Nikon TTL compatibility works with Profoto’s Air Nikon-TTL transmitter and B1 or B2! Nice write-up. Exciting times for the medium format industry!

  40. Norbert says:

    What did you mean by “rear curtain remains mechanical”? I thought that the camera no FPS.

    • Front curtain defines exposure start. Rear curtain defines finish. The camera uses a leaf shutter, but it still operates according to the same principles – it has to open and close to define the exposure. Call it second curtain, if you will; I’m not aware of any specific terms for the closing of a leaf shutter.

  41. I know they’re not traditional Hasselblad aspect ratios, but if they’re still tweaking firmware, wouldn’t it be great to have in-camera framing options for 6×7 and 4×5 (either crop lines or variable opacity shading)? Like the 5DS/R (where the “crop” is stored as metadata and read by ACR non-destructively). Then it would truly be the “digital Mamiya 7” :). Honestly, this is like the only thing holding me back at this point… Great images btw, love the shipping harbor/cityscape, reminds me of Sze Tsung Leong’s Horizons and Cities work.

  42. Martijn ten Napel says:

    How much adjustments do you need to make to the white balance and colors ? Or are the images representative of the tonal balance the camera produces? Did you set the white balance when shooting, or do you let the camera decide?
    There are two things that strike me looking at the images: the nuances in the light of the gradients on the buildings (where the clouds throw a shadow) and the tonal balance of the images.

    • None of the Hasselblads have auto WB, so you will have to set via eyedropper or grey card. Thereafter – almost no adjustment. The H5/6 are the only cameras I have that have almost no HSL adjustments in the default profile, and the X1D is the same as the H6.

  43. Gary Morris says:

    I retrieved the image of the skyline (the horizontal image below the b&w staircase image). Looking very closely at the buildings, one building stands out because it has a substantial amount of artifacts (clumps of cyan pixels in odd patterns). This building is directly in front of a tower building with interesting steel lattice work on the roof tops.

    Please don’t think I’m picking… I was wondering if you thought this would be due to pre-release firmware for the jpg engine. This is the sort of travel photo I’d snap so I am very interested in how this sort of image will ultimately turn out (I’d work with only a RAW image and not even shoot a jpg if RAW only were an option).


    • Simple answer: non-final ACR support, zero NR, and a heavy shadow push – dynamic range in that scene was pretty extreme. In short, yes, nothing is final and image quality is only expected to improve – but this was a conversion from raw.

      • Gary Morris says:

        Thanks. I was impressed with the very small details… you can just make out the protective grates over the AC unit fans on building balconies. The only other camera I’ve ever seen that with is my S006.

        One other question/opinion request… I have the Leica SL and in my mind, this is the first “camera” that really feels more like a computer with imaging properties than a camera with computer aids (digital or otherwise…my S006 feels more camera-like). Does the X1D feel camera-like or computer-like to you?

        I’ll look forward very eagerly to your continuing coverage of this new camera.

        • I’d say the H cameras are still cameras. The X1D is really on the fence – you could get very deep into the touch UI if that was your thing, or just set it once and ignore it. I’m in the latter camp.

  44. With the Otus lenses you had to focus manually. Now you have autofocus, I was curious what percentage of shots you manually focus vs autofocus?

  45. hi, thanks for your excellent write up. I was wondering if there is an adaptor for V lenses in the making? Or perhaps third party adaptors for other legacy medium format lenses would be likely? What do you think?

    • Wouldn’t make sense for third party lenses that don’t have leaf shutters, and for V lenses – you can use the existing H-V adaptor and H-X adaptor in tandem.

      • Plevyadophy says:

        Hi Ming,

        Thats too many adaptors. They should make a new V to X Adaptor so that users have just one point of possible failure.

        BTW, whilst I was initially very skeptical about this product ( loved the concept, not overly keen on implementation ), I am beginning to warm to it.


        • I agree, but given that it’s going to be rather clunky – think of the difference in flange distance – it’d better also have a rotating tripod collar to go with it…

  46. Hi Ming,
    Would you consider this camera as a backup to the H5D and/or a replacement for the Leica Q?

    • I would have thought Q a different tool really but be curious what your thoughts are as well. AF on Q is pretty good and at respective file sizes and nuances of each are different shooting experiences.

      Ming can you zone focus on these lenses? From images it appears not so IF so assume it’s electronic equivalent (which I’m not a fan of).

      • Zone focus should be in future firmware. MF is by wire but very responsive and immediate.

        Q files have colour issues in incandescent light – reds and yellows tend to go magenta – the H files show no such shifts. The Q probably has a somewhat bigger shooting envelope because of lens speed and IS, but at the expense of image quality. This is to say you could oversample/downsize an X1D file to the same 24MP and get a similar result even under low light conditions despite giving away some envelope on the lens/IS – but you claw it back from the sensor’s performance.

    • Yes. I plan to use it as my backup/second body.

  47. Matt Hyatt says:

    Ming, do your samples have a focus peaking function?

  48. Alan Stanley says:

    Dear Mr Thein,

    Thanks for your first impressions, on the X1D. They are very informative, with excellent pictures, food for thought and decimation for the wallet. Could you share some thoughts on depth of field on this camera compared to a 35mm style camera? I know you won’t get the same effect as a superfast portrait lens, though as it’s been a while since I’ve shot on medium format, I’ve lost the feeling for the medium, especially as I used film and have no experience with MF digital.

    Sincerely Alan

    • Hard to say. Whilst the sensor isn’t dramatically bigger, there’s definitely a difference in DOF rendition and falloff since longer lenses are used for the same angle of view as 35mm. There’s definitely better separation, and the quality of these lenses helps too…

  49. armiali says:

    Too early to comment on the bokeh ? since the lenses are not that fast…

    • There was deliberately one front-bokeh shot included (since this is harder to get right than back-bokeh, in my experience) – I’d say it looks pretty good.

  50. Alexander says:

    Great images !!!

  51. Alexander says:
  52. Jon Bush says:

    Thanks so much for posting this information and for sharing your images. In looking at the images, the words that keep coming to mind (and have been echoed by others to some degree) are rich and detailed. This looks like the answer to the wishes of many photographers and I can’t wait to see it mature and broaden its lens lineup (though I’d be very happy with just the two they have now). When I first saw the X1D announced, I couldn’t help but think of the Mamiya 6 and 7 series cameras in terms of ergonomics. Probably the most comfortable camera to hold (for me) that I’ve ever experienced, and this looks like it could be similar. Good times! 🙂

    • Definitely very comfortable to hold. Can’t say that the Mamiyas had many lens options, but at least we do know a few others are coming for the X1 🙂

  53. This looks like a great camera, that answers many of my concerns about medium format. I think that in different circumstances I would get one on preorder tomorrow as it looks like it would be the perfect landscape camera with great DR. Unfortunately, living in the UK, it’s rather hard to plan for the future right now thanks to the national stupidity of Brexit, so I will have to make my interest in the camera vicarious.

  54. I thought I asked you in the original X1D thread, but I was curious: What happened to Multi Shot, out of curiosity? It seemed like a great technology and I’m surprised it’s not even in the H6D…

    • There is already a 50MP multi shot, they usually follow the release of the single shot models by a few months. Multi shot is essentially a mechanical (piezo) operation and it wouldn’t have fit within the X1D.

    • Doesn’t make sense with the 100MP single capture since it requires perfectly static subject and invariant lighting. It also never sold well because of the cost of the hardware and low volumes which means it never sold well and…I think you see where this is going. 🙂

      • Got it, thanks. Yeah, I’m honestly not surprised it didn’t make its way into the X1D, but I was curious if the reason was other than financial (Your first sentence is ridiculous, Ming! You don’t think there’s a market for product shots blown up to 200″? You’re crazy! ;))

  55. Hi Ming! Thank you for posting the images right away and your impressions. Your opinion and images as always are valuable. Two particular images are of importance to me: X1D1-B7015048 (ƒ/8.0 45.0 mm 13 100)—which is a night shot of lights in trees and H51-B0008829 copy (ƒ/8.0 50.0 mm 1/20 100)—a landmark I’m not familiar with.

    Question 1 DID you shoot with a tripod in these shots? 2 IF either of them are handheld, or even if you did shoot with a tripod how was the X1D’s performance in slower shutter speed with respect to the sensitivity of the sensor to ‘shake’?

    I was not able to download the files of these pics, but from the browser there didn’t seem to be any shake or blurring. What conclusions have you drawn with the camera hand held in slow shutter?

    I’m elated to see the results but would like to know your thoughts from the images and IF they were shot with a tripod or not. Again thank you in advance. More Power.

    • X1D1-B7015048 – tripod, no way you can do 13 seconds handheld. The other one was shot with a H5, but also on a tripod. Clicking on the file gives you a full size JPEG.

      I shot mostly handled with the X1D (and also the H5/H6) and find you gain at least a stop of handholding ability without the mirror, I think.

      • Thank you so much for your reply Ming! Sorry for being pesky on this issue. But assuming you were going to use the X1D handheld with the 45mm, what would your minimum shutter be? Let’s say an interior at night, similar to the H5D reportage blog that you posted / would the focal length/shutter rule apply? would it be higher because of the sensor regardless if it had a mirror or not?You’ve already mentioned that 6400 ISO is acceptable but it would be interesting to know which shutter speed this can accommodate especially handheld. Thanks in advance.

        • 1/FL for now. That’s a stop faster than the H cameras. You could go lower if you were willing to trade some critical acuity though.

  56. Thanks for the initial impressions, certainly it appears to be a quality build and design, which is always a nice thing to hear. Given the H6D is no slouch in the build quality department, this is very encouraging.

    Are any of the AF “modes” active in this version of the firmware? Separate from the important questions, I was a bit curious about the implementation of my guilty pleasure (face/eye detection)……..

  57. Base ISO looks surprisingly noisy on pixel level, though photosite width is not that far from 24mp full frame. I guess the lack of ACR profile and maybe less “cheating” on raw files play a part here.

    • Zero NR, quite a bit of pushing of some shadows because of very large dynamic range in the scene, and I’m told by the mothership – IQ is still not final.

  58. The X1D is a mix of 2 world : MF quality and portability
    I’d like to see 2 kind of photos , portrait / fashion (let’s say wide open) and street photography with difficult lights

    thanks for that first review

  59. rjllane says:

    Improved high ISO performance – It is the same (exact) Sony 50MP sensor as before (?) so that the improvement is due to better processing of the data coming straight from the sensor by Hasselblad before being considered the “raw” data? Or is this a more refined Sony 50MP sensor in terms of firmware with the sensor so that the camera received better signal at high ISO? I don’t even know whether Hasselblad does any manipulation before writing the “raw” data, or whether this is exactly what is delivered by the sensor.

    🙂 … MomentsForZen (Richard)

  60. rjllane says:

    Thank-you Ming for posting the photographs (full resolution) and for your thoughts. I share the amazement of the others who have left comments about finding time to post this material – you are very dedicated to your readers.

    And thank-you for being in the minority who are posting about the X1D in a way that adds real value rather than conjecture. I have learnt so much more about the reality of this beautiful piece of technology (I think that it is very stylish – it appears to polarize people in this regard) from your write-up than in any other source over the past week or so. Apart from the optics, IQ etc., I was pleased to read that you thought it felt very solid.

    Take care of yourself.

    🙂 … MomentsForZen (Richard)

    • And you should also be pleased to know IQ is the same as the other 50MP CMOS Hasselblads, so if you’ve already got one, no need to feel ‘the itch’… 🙂

      • rjllane says:

        Indeed so. I am comfortable and very, very happy with my 500C/M and CFV-50c – it didn’t get any worse just because the X1D arrived. I have a full kit of lenses and am enjoying the taking and processing of the photographs. The X1D is just a bonus to consider down the track.

        🙂 … MomentsForZen (Richard)

  61. Brett Patching says:

    Thanks for taking the time to post this in the middle of your Singapore masterclass Ming. Although I’m still struggling to understand when you find time to sleep. The output already looks impressive at this early stage.

  62. Xpanded says:

    That is one beautiful bag!

    (Totally and fully ignoring the camera since I cannot afford it… But very happy on behalf of those who can. It looks like a wonderful tool. Okay, mostly ignoring it then.)

  63. Hi Ming, just a quick question I’m curious about.
    Does the 50mp sensor on the xd1 require the shooting discipline of let’s say that in a 5dr? Or the ratio between number of mp an sensor size makes it more “forgiving” in that term?

  64. jason gold says:

    A startling wonderful portfolio of simple perfect images. A new camera, not really in final phase, showing a jump in quality, that leaves me breathless. I have often dreamed of a simple great camera. It really is here. Ming you of course are a fabulous photographer that makes images that don’t simply sing a song but an opera. That said your imaging esp. seen in your horology work.
    Looking forward to more great photos. Hasselblad to be congratulated.

    • Thank you – yes, we’re getting there. It’s a great machine and the image quality is every bit as good as the H5/6, but perhaps the envelope is a bit bigger because there’s less mirror/shutter vibration, and we’ve gained a bit of high ISO quality improvement, too.

  65. The one where you overlook the city and the cranes at the docks. So much detail. Very impressive.

  66. rim.arjuna says:

    Interesting, however, despite: “You may print or download them for your own use, but not commercial redistribution. … For full size files, click the images.”, downloading (from Flickr) seem to be disabled, and none of the versions are full size?

  67. How is the IQ compared to i.e. Nion D810 with Otus lenses?

  68. Gary Morris says:

    This looks to be a significant winner. Curious… size and weight of this body in relation to the Leica SL… about the same weight and feel in the hand? The lenses look a bit smaller than similar lenses for the Leica S system… do you feel the lenses are as well built as Leica S lenses?

  69. So exciting to see first images! Thanks so much for this early report. Dynamic range looks great.

    I got to check one out at the dealer preview tour today. The rep told me that the 30mm will be shipping at Photokina. I was impressed by the build quality, just really wanted to be able to see images, your article was a great little surprise.

    Did they send you an adapter for H lenses?

  70. What I read and the samples I see are very promising. Can’t wait to read your full review. Thanks for all the great work you put in.

  71. Images look great! In particular I’m salivating about the dynamic range and tonal response comments. Thanks for taking time to leave initial impressions. The thing that I love about the big Nikon and hate about the Oly is shutter lag, though — I am somewhat addicted to capturing things in the moment rather than poking the button frantically and then waiting to see what sort of facial expression or moving object capture I actually got — so your “overall impressions” para is a bit disheartening if I understand it correctly. Thanks again for the early feedback — will eagerly await more! All best, Gary

  72. Your sample pics look more impressive than some other’s portfolios. Nice!


  1. […] series was shot with a preproduction Hasselblad X1D, 45 and 90mm lenses, and post processed with Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow III. Roam […]

  2. […] series was shot with a Hasselblad X1D and 90mm lens, and post processed with Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow III. Roam vicariously with […]

  3. […] III: Brennweite lang, alles gut? (Photoscala). Hasselblad X1D: Very early shooting impressions (Ming Thein). Review: Is the Sony RX10 III the best 4K superzoom so far? (Newsshooter). Sony A68 – Prueba de […]

  4. […] X1D coverage can be found here: announcement, first shooting impressions, […]

  5. […] samples are part of a larger first-impressions review Ming posted on his blog earlier this week. In that post he answers questions about everything from […]

  6. […] you get with a Sony 50MP medium format sensor check out the full size image samples posted by Ming Thein (Click here). And a reader sent me that real size comaprison between the X1D and the Sony […]

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