Hasselblad X1D on location – ‘Modern Heritage’ mini-movie, and status update

 

Back in July, I had a chance to use a couple of very early production X1D cameras both to further firmware development, and to produce the travel video and images you see here. Most of my professional work is documentary and with available light, so it made sense to test the camera under this kind of situation; a little trip to the island of Penang was in order. The types of situations I encounter vary from stealthy reportage to long-exposure tripod setups; travel photography offers the same kind of opportunities – a little landscape, a little street, a little blend of both. This video was commissioned by Hasselblad as a sort of behind the scenes look into how a the X1D fits into the mould of versatility. There’s a bit more to today, though: after the jump, downloadable 100% samples, plus a production status update…

I’ve been promised a camera to retest as soon as final production hardware and firmware are shipping. I of course intend for this to be a much more detailed evaluation than was possible with the early test, and should also have a H-X adaptor to put the full system through its paces. At this point, I’ve been told that a decision has been made to reorganise the production facility to cope with much higher volumes than were initially anticipated (even so, the back order list is expected to extend into early next year). This reorganisation is currently in progress and means delivery of the first cameras is now expected late November. Just passing along what I know.

To tide you over in the meantime, there are full size samples to download here on the Hasselblad site… MT

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100D_MG_0968 copy
My ultimate photographers’ daybag in collaboration wth Frankie Falcon is available here until the end of October, in a strictly limited production run.

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Comments

  1. stanis riccadonna zolczynski says:

    Why without an unflipable LCD! Without it it`s not in line with hassys groundglas heritage. I know compactness, but half an inch more wouldn`t hurt anybody.

  2. Hi Ming…. You might have covered this, in which case sorry that I am asking this. How are the OOC jpegs from this? I am also excited with the news about the new Fuji medium format camera. That is slightly bulkier but OOC might be very good with that. Would you be reviewing that at any point? Thanks

    • Actually, I have no idea – it seems a bit pointless to push the envelope and buy one of these things but shoot jpeg… 🙂

      Fuji: I’m interested simply because of its ability to mount third party lenses since it has its own shutter, but I can’t justify buying one just to test.

  3. May I ask, Ming, if you where able to try the adapter for H lenses on the X!D, and if so, could you say anything about the experience?

  4. I noticed that the X1D lenses do not have a DOF scale on them. Is this info available in the viewfinder when manually focusing?

  5. Hi Ming,

    For long exposures, is there an automatic black frame (noise reduction) generated? TIA.

  6. Is there built-in GPS, and, if so, can it be turned on and off? TIA

  7. Ming, this is a really nice video. The camera is a temptation. The lack of articulated rear screen is a real pity though. I would add in-camera stabilisation to the wish list. But the list of plusses is long…

  8. Just a practical question: how good is the viewfinder wearing glasses ?
    My 645z is ok “four-eyed” with the large eyecup removed, but the X1D seems to have a fixed, deep-seated viewfinder.
    (you work without glasses in the video but I saw you wearing spectacles in the Monochrome masterclass…)

    • I work without glasses whenever my primary activity is going to be photography. X1D: I can see the whole EVF with my spectacles on, but prefer without as you obviously don’t have as much stray light shading.

  9. Hi Ming,
    You once said the X1D is a mini version of H6D, is it still hold true after your extensive use?

    • Yes. Image quality is identical and it has the same controls and UI, too. They share the same firmware and underlying hardware.

      • Thanks Ming,

        In bloomberg’s review article, the photographer said, “The colors were extremely accurate, even though I left the white balance at auto for most of the day. (Just one less thing to worry about.) They were perhaps a bit softer than what I remembered from real life, but there was plenty of latitude to be able to amp them up in post.”

        Do you think the picture is a bit soft from your experience? I don’t see that from your photos (of course, they are not 100%). May be he is referring to the color is soft. Glad to hear your views.

        • No, I don’t think it’s soft at all. If anything, pixel level acuity is about the best I’ve seen from a Bayer camera. That said, it does require more shot discipline than most people are used to (unless you already shoot MF) – shake is proportional to pixel density per degree FOV…

          • Thanks so much Ming,

            I double check your first set of full size X1D photos. They are sharp. I don’t need to cancel my order. Yes.

            One interesting thing I observed from the dpreview full size sample is that the pictures are very sharp at focus, while the overall tonal and contrast are relatively mild. It reminds me of the old film days (I was a rolleiflex shooter). These kind of pattern seldom see in the digital photos (FF or below), most of them are relative high contrast. It is because of MF and the 14 stops, right? Or just my biased impression?

            link here:
            https://www.dpreview.com/sample-galleries/7172015721/hasselblad-x1d-real-world-samples-pre-production

            • Impossible to say without knowing what lighting conditions they were shot under. Frankly, looking at DPR samples I’m not entirely sure they know what they’re doing half the time – a lot of their images exhibit downright sloppy technique like missed focus and motion blur, making them not very useful for assessing absolute camera performance (but perhaps more useful in assessing ease of use for the average hobbyist). In general, if you’re comparing different cameras under the same conditions: more dynamic range will always look flatter before processing because you’re trying to represent more information in the same output space (i.e. on the same screen).

              • Haha. True, smart and funny comments on DPR. Thanks.

                I just desperate to see more full size sample of X1D.

              • Hi Ming, just wonder if you will keep your Leica Q when your X1D+30 is arrived?

                • I sold the Q some time ago; I like how you assume I’m getting the X1D though 🙂

                  • haha, pretty true. If I were you and got CFV and H5D on hand, I will not need another camera.

                    I decide to go for X1D, probably I am just a bit sick of Leica’s (not-even-try-to-innovate) digital body. I really don’t mind their price tag, it’s just their latest attitude. The M10’s rumor just tell me the new M10 finally catch up a A7II configuration. Well, I suppose those high-demanding users are out of the commercial radar now.

        • First off, thank you Ming for all that you contribute to the photography community. Your work is very motivating and your articles are consistently superb – always appreciated. I had the opportunity to do an in store test of the X1D a couple of weeks ago. Used the 90mm lens and 45mm (although 90 primarily) and found the camera and lenses to have extremely good sharpness at focus along with the usual color and contrast Hasselblad is known for (in a positive way). Although the test wasn’t very ‘calculated’ or ‘scientific’, I did have the opportunity to set up several Broncolor monolights and a friend sat in so I could shoot a handful of headshots. The unit was an early version so some further OS improvements are forthcoming but all of that is underway. For me, I was generally very impressed and I’m really anxious to get my hands on one to purchase/test further. Here is the link to my post regarding my initial X1D experience if anyone is interested: http://stillsandvideo.squarespace.com/blog/x1d

          • The camera is pretty insane with really good lighting; lenses as good as anything I’ve seen. I ran a quick and dirty portrait test with an early production version and one Broncolor Picolite:

            Screen Shot 2016-11-24 at 18.38.20 (2)

            Click for actual size (2560px wide, 200%)

            • Wow, Ming! Not just insane but mind boggling to boot. What lens did you use and did you MF or rely on AF?

              • AF, 90mm.

                • Ming, your B&W set you just posted on Flickr is amazing!!!!!!
                  it speaks and it really tells so much
                  I also love the bokeh rendering of the X1D with the 90mm 🙂

                  I just have a few question
                  i have seen an interview with Hasselblad CEO in late October saying that the camera will ship end of November beginning of December,
                  with the current firmware you are trying, is it a realistic statment?
                  Are you still running firmware 1.13b?
                  I just can’t wait any longer to get this camera and i really hope to receive it before i flight to Europe in the middle of December

                  Thanks so much
                  E

  10. 07:36 – Nice paper weights :-)… I shall be getting one too.

  11. I had the chance to handle this camera at the Paris Camera Show. Ergonomics are excellent; size and weight are not a problem compared to full size DSLR; great camera worth a test before buying a high grade camera.
    Thanks for your excellent articles about photography and the wonderful pics and the philosophy around it

    • No problem. I just received a new firmware which has significantly increased speed and added movable AF points, so the finished version will likely be even better still 🙂

      • Can you tell us what firmware version you received?
        Thanks

        • At the time we made the movie – 1.4.something. I’m now on 1.13b and it’s a completely different animal, in a good way. Much more responsive and yes, you can move the focus point (amongst other things). I believe there are still further things which will be fixed before shipping.

          • Thanks, Ming. Has the performance of the EVF been improved? Can it be set up so that the EVF is WYSIWYG on exposure? My baseline for EVFs is the Sony A7RII, which I would describe as OK but not great.

          • Fred Girard says:

            Beautiful video you shot there (well your collaborator, I guess)! The photos speak for themselves and you’re not a Hasselblad ambassador for nothing, but the video is just as striking to me as the photos. So kudos to both of you.And to Hasselblad…
            Today I had the X1D in my hands (5minutes before, I had just bought a lottery ticket and I knew there and then what I would like to spend it on if only…) and I loved the machinery. It feels like a sculpture more than like a camera. The weight and shape remind me of my Nikon F6, heavy but good for taking pictures kind of heavy. Although I was a bit shocked by the viewfinder colors in artificial light at night. Quite washed out actually, which is really quite outrageous, considering the price tag).
            You say there are several autofocus points with the new firmware upgrade, which the exhibition model in the shop didn’t have (I guess they haven’t made the upgrade yet), but how wide are they. Pentax 645n like width (3 narrow central points only which cry out “marketing trick”) or do they cover a little bit more of the sensor?
            Thanks again for the incredible energy and talent you put in your blog, which i consult regularly to get inspiration and which pushes me to go out and shoot!

            • Fred Girard says:

              Sorry, I realize the video was shot on an olympus. So my additional question would be did you shoot video with the X1D?

              • No, because the preproduction versions we used didn’t support it yet – that, and there’s no stabiliser, which would mean full gimbal rigging and zero stealth.

            • Thanks – I actually shot quite a lot of the pickups and non-me parts, too – for consistency between the images shot and the visual feel of the video.

              EVF: depending on the firmware you’ve got, it’s a work in progress. However, I’d rather see a view more closely reflecting what the sensor actually captures (which is going to be flat and low saturation because you’ve got enormous dynamic range) than one that’s pop-color saturated and makes you expose too conservatively (and thus not make full use of that sensor).

              Focus points cover pretty much the entire sensor. You hold down the AF/MF button to bring up the selection grid.

      • Would you explain how one moves about the 63 AF points, as there is no joystick.
        Thanks.

  12. Albert Cheah says:

    Your great pics from X1D made me feel homesick. I left Penang in 1975 to study engineering in New Zealand and have remained in NZ since. I am a photography enthusiast, looking forward to work as a part time photographer when I retire from my engineering career. I have used Nikon D810 but now switched to Fuji XT2 and Sigma DP2 Quattro. I mainly shoot food product (I am a process engineer specialized in food and beverages process/manufacturing industries such as meat, brewery, dairy products, baby food such as infant formula/milk powder for the export sector). I also shoot portrait and scenery.
    High end camera gears are relatively expensive in NZ and have limited range. What system would you recommend for my application and is there a better photographic supply source overseas you can recommend? I am keen on a MF system (a 2nd hand system is fine for me) that is below $NZ10k with say one or two lenses. What would you recommended? Thanks for your advise and I always enjoy reading your articles on your web site.

    • Given the current state of the country, I’m not sure I’d be – I know there are a lot of people (myself included) who’d much rather be in New Zealand.

      As for cheap MF: it doesn’t exist, though realistically your only options at that price point are a Pentax 645D or older CCD back, but to do better than the D810 you need to go to the new CMOS stuff – and I doubt you’ll be able to get a second hand Pentax 645Z or CFV-50c back for that budget.

  13. Hi Ming,
    I would like to Place an order (now it is 9 pm in europe, 31/10/) but it does not work…any possibility to place the order?

    Thanks, regards Gerry

  14. Hi Ming Thein – We just got promised over at DPReview that they put up a Medium format forum (finally) hope to see you share your knowledge over there as well from time to time : ) https://www.dpreview.com/forums/1014

    • Thanks for the invitation, but I honestly avoid DPR like the plague – all I get are bricks thrown at me by trolls, and a few years ago, told by their staff that I wasn’t good enough to write for them. I guess it must be the lack of a beard.

      • If truth be told, Ming, they were more likely to feel afraid that you’d show them up. Their editorial style has certainly, IMO, gone down over the past few years ever since they got into bed with Amazon. As with SH, it is a site that attracts trolls and quite rude people.

        • I thought they did a reasonable job trying to diversify into other photography related content away from reviews, but the standard of that wasn’t really good – probably to do with the people making the content, experience (or lack thereof). The last article about the game boy camera just reminds us how young the editorial team is if they haven’t even seen a game boy period…

  15. Excellent video. Impressive that it is shot on the EM-1 (the camera I currently use). Your narration is superb – very reflective. Makes me want to head over and explore Penang. The Hasselblad looks great and the modern day Mamiya 7 I used to love to shoot with, which I no longer own. Thank you.

  16. Ming, thank you for sharing this wonderful video and some of your initial thoughts on the X1D. I’m curious as to the bokeh for the 90mm lens, is it similar to a 1.8 or 1.4 lens in the 35mm full frame world? Also curious about the flash. I noticed Hasselblad claims that it is Nikon comparable and although I shoot manual flash most of the time, I was curious if you tried a Nikon flash in TTL mode on the X1D and if so, what you experienced? I’m torn between the H6D and the X1D so any comments or notes would be most appreciated. Again, thank you for sharing all of your brilliant images and knowledge with the photographic community on a regular basis.

    • The lens still has the same DOF properties as a 90/3.2 – the actual aperture and focal length don’t change.
      Flash is Nikon TTL. Not everything was finished or final in firmware when I shot with it.

  17. I haven.t visited your site for a while and a link from the ‘FM’ forum on the H1D led me here.
    I realise that I should visit more often. I really like your work and the video is very impressive, so much better than the more strident reviews – you probably know the type!
    I doubt I’ll ever buy an X1D, as I’m a hobbyist with P645D and M9 tastes/budgets, but it’s a fantastic breakthrough in the MF world with its revolutionary form-factor.

  18. Hi Ming Thein,
    Excellent video on the X1D.
    Is Hasselblad planning to make the X-V adaptor that allowing the using of the V series lenses on the X1D ?

    Thanks

    Kiah

  19. Francis Sponge says:

    Beautiful video.
    What was the printing system at the end?

  20. Hello Ming,
    Great video, beautiful work. Thanks.
    I am an architectural photographer, working with Canon and an Arca technical camera.
    If only Hasselblad were to produce a TS lens, I’d jump ship in a second. Any chance of that?
    Btw: my wife is from Penang, and friend of a friend of yours.
    All the best,
    Andrea

    • Thanks. Who’s the intermediate friend? 🙂

      Almost all of the H lenses gain movements with the HTS adaptor, which you can use with the X-H adaptor on the X.

  21. Great Video and sublime narration. Makes the viewer think..reflect..you have a talent for this kinda stuff..Thanks for sharing..

  22. L. Ron Hubbard says:

    A very enjoyable video. I’m glad to have seen it and I *almost* want to get a X1D camera. I shoot medium format almost exclusively, but on film and I’d miss doing all the developing and working in the dark room. Digital just doesnt appeal to me after the shot has been taken.

  23. Great video, very inspiring as usual. Now I have a medium format lust. Thanks!

  24. Thanks Ming, very interesting and beautifully done. I have an X1D on order so I’m sad to see the delay announced. The prints you were making looked vast – what size were they?

    • Thanks Tim. That last one was 42×75″, from a 16:9 crop of the original frame (so even then, we were leaving about 25% of the file behind)…

      • Tim Ashley says:

        110 DPI… You’ll be making Apple’s iphone billboards soon! I suppose that the fat pixels make it easier to print at lower resolutions but even so, that’s hardly an Ultraprint…

        • It’s not, and was never intended to be. At that size, I need 1.6GP for a 720PPI Ultraprint – and the only way to do that is stitch, since there is no camera with a single capture that large.

  25. amazing stuff here. Thx Ming! Ordered 1 because of you. My friend ordered one because I said you liked it.

  26. Ming, you seem to have found a match in the new Hasselblad camera! The artist and the tool complementing each other in a holistic way! Do you foresee sticking to this tool for a long time like the great photojournalists of 20th century living by their Leica? Or all digital gear is transient and replaced by another in a year or two?

  27. Hi,Ming
    i really want to have the 1DX soon and it is my first time to try medium format. I am not sure which lens to choose if I want to shoot architectures and space? and which one is better for portrait in general. Thanks

  28. Stephen Lee says:

    Your photos are gorgeous. I tend to like people photos but your street and landscape images are really something. I’ve read your blog for a while now but this video was really inspiring, enough for me to comment. I think the thought process you describe and the points you emphasize are insightful and refreshing considering a lot of the drivel that’s out there. Great work.

  29. Hi Ming. Did you notice whether the X1D allowed for the use of the 1:1 crop? This was initially advertised but I don’t see it in the manual that is now published online. Maybe (hopefully) coming in a firmware update?

  30. Video quality was superb with exception of low-light stuff: it’s much less detailed/mushy than the rest of the footage. Did you shoot the Olympuses wide-open then or was it really so dark that very high ISO was unavoidable?

    The framing of the shots was consistently top-notch, are you planning on doing any more video work in the future? 🙂

    • The low light stuff: we had to crank the ISO, and several things were happening simultaneously deploying the other cameras, so the cloud-lapse was actually on an iPhone. :p

      More video? Perhaps. We’ll see 🙂

  31. Thanks Ming for the excellent video to go with your images. Even if I was not a photographer, I think I would like your philosophy and descriptions.

    It seems as if you have not had a chance to use adapted H lenses. Your review of the X lenses seems as if you are quite impressed. I am wondering about adapting the 100mm f2.2 versus the 90mm. I might like something longer like the 150mm instead. Any thoughts for someone who does a good deal of portrait photography?

    • Thanks Craig – no adaptor was ready when we made the video (in August). I like the 100mm very much, but I think the 90 is just a cleaner rendering (if slightly less characterful) optic. On my H5/6, I use the 100 in tighter quarters or the 150 for portraits if I’ve got the space to back up a bit.

  32. Hi Ming,
    Is there any news on the electronic shutter?
    I really want to place my order to buy X1D now….

  33. Great video! Thank you for all your efforts.
    Have you had a chance to try X1D in studio with a flash system? If so how does it compare with H5D-50c?

    • Thanks – yes, that was the last portion of the video. It’s faster than the H5 series because live view is a lot more fluid and quicker to use with the touch screen…image quality is identical.

  34. Just excellent all the way around. A convincing low-key selling tool, and a fine piece of production. Also very encouraging to see video of this quality from the Olympus EM-1.

  35. I was surprised to see you not using a hood and leaving the lens exposed while walking around. It that your usual practice?

  36. richard majchrzak says:

    phew …!!just watching leaves me exhausted…great video…next time in Penang I’ll be at the sea more…dream:if they could bring back the trams in town

  37. A little of topic but i’d love to see more about your work in the studio. There was this little sequence about your commercial work for product presentation. If u ever find the time please make a blog post or video about it.

  38. Thanks so much for the video!! Just beautiful!!
    I was wondering if you can tell us anything about the AF
    I read somewhere that there would multiple AF POINTS but I couldn’t see any reference in the recently published user manual

    Thanks
    Ettore

  39. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I love Penang – I used to have friends living in Georgetown, back in the 80s, and went there a number of times over the years. It’s great to see your photos of it, Ming.

  40. Great location video, Ming. And nice to be able to put a voice to you.

    In your hands the Hasselblad looks smaller than I would have anticipated simply by looking at the promo images I’ve seen. Some new images for me, and how wonderful they look, too.

  41. Ray Evans says:

    Superb.

  42. Was the video shot with the 1DX ?

Trackbacks

  1. […] series was shot with a Canon 100D, 24STM and 55-250STM lenses, an X1D-50c and 90mm, and a H6D-100c and 100mm. Post processing was completed using the techniques in the […]

  2. […] series was shot with a Canon 100D, 24STM and an X1D-50c and 90mm. Post processing was completed using the techniques in the weekly workflow and PS Workflow […]

  3. […] series was shot with a Canon 100D, 24STM and 55-250STM lenses, and an X1D-50c and 90mm, and post processed with Photoshop Workflow III. Travel to Tokyo vicariously with How To […]

  4. […] series was shot with a Canon 100D, 24STM and 55-250STM lenses, and an X1D-50c and 90mm, and post processed with The Monochrome Masterclass workflow. Travel to Tokyo vicariously […]

  5. […] permission of Chun Wo Construction Holdings Limited, Hong Kong. Shot with a Hasselblad H5D-50c, X1D-50c, H24, H35-90, H150II and X90mm lenses, and post processed with Photoshop Workflow […]

  6. […] primary interest in this camera is for video work. We currently use a pair of E-M1s (the Hasselblad X1D video was filmed with this setup, almost entirely handheld except for the timelapses) largely because of […]

  7. […] After the last delay, it seems that the Hasselblad X1D medium format mirrorless camera is getting close to being released – the first reviews already started appearing online: check out Bloomberg and Ming Thein: […]

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