Video: Dispatches from land’s end, and FW 1.19


I recently got a chance to shoot for a week in Iceland with the Hasselblad X1D Field Kit. I was a bit torn in not bringing the H6D-100c, but the uncertain weather, walking distances etc. landed up tipping things in favour over the small weather-sealed box, and I’m quite glad they did – conditions weren’t exactly pleasant, but the gear survived just fine. If you look closely you may also spot one of my favourite lenses, adapted…Interestingly, the e-shutter behaviour (0.3s rolling sensor readout time) is such that you get a free motion blur effect even at high shutter speeds, negating the need for neutral density filters on things like waterfalls; you’ll see this as I post the stills in due course. There will also be a full set of stills with raw files (probably the first time ever for me) available as image samples via the Hasselblad website.

In the meantime, enjoy the video – and be sure to watch it full screen at full resolution; we shot it in 4K… MT

Lastly: there’s also new firmware (v1.19) available for the H6D and X1D today; you can download that here. For the H6D, it adds CF adaptor support, folder management, more custom button options and a few other tweaks. For the X1D, it’s a pretty major update including using the rear screen as an AF point selection touchpad while using the EVF; extensive button customisation options; EVF-only LV, and a ‘bokeh fix’. The latter allows the lens aperture to open beyond the physical stop of the lens, which means that circular opening is the only limit allowing smooth circles at maximum aperture. This works on all lenses and also gains a (tiny) bit of speed. 🙂


More info on Hasselblad cameras and lenses can be found here.


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved


  1. WOW, this show is beautiful and after following many of your personal reviews it was surprising and impressive to see your serious side. I appreciate your contribution to the world of photography both in reviews and in your work. Thank you. Gordon Lonsdale Highland UT

  2. I have a question of practical kind. Any problems with exposed sensor while changing lenses, say in misty windy weather or near waterfall. You cannot blow away the droplets. I always wondered why there`s no option of covering the sensor with mechanical shutter while removing lenses. The only mirrorless allowed the was old Ricoh GXR m-module.

  3. Hi Ming,

    Will (a) medium format camera teach/help me to become a better photographer? I know its a bit of a philosophical one…but maybe inspires you to write an essay/article about? Who knows? 😉



    • Good question. I think if *any* camera makes you shoot more, experiment more, increase your shot discipline, curate tighter, and make you consider the output – then it’ll teach you. But you must have the discipline to begin with and not be looking for justifications for GAS…

  4. I recently bought the X1D 4116 along with the 3 lenses and immediately upgraded to FW v1.19.0. So far so good, I had one corrupted JPG and have already reported to Hasselblad.

    The recent lens roadmap announcement is also promising. I wonder if it is possible for a firmware roadmap! At this point, the firmware seems to me as the weakest point. It would be great to know what Hasselblad envisions the X1D will eventually be in terms of firmware. It’s functional now, but function such as bracketing is still missing. How about tweaking the firmware so that the EVF will wake up faster? If the camera is ‘sleeping’, it takes a press/half press of a button, then raising the camera to your eyes, and wait for the EVF to turn off. There are so many features that I sincerely hope to see.

    The X1D is a very promising platform. The hw design is simply brilliant. Now the software really need to catch up.

    • Feedback noted, thanks (and most of it already given). As for waking up – assuming the camera is asleep and not off, hitting the shutter quickly while raising it to your eye solves that problem.

      • When the X1D is asleep, this is what I observe. I would press the shutter to wake up the camera, but by default, the LCD screen turns on and goes into the Info Display mode. As I raise the camera to my eye, it takes a second or so for the EVF to come on, and then it takes another half a second or so for the focus point, grid etc, to display before you can finally photograph. Is there a more efficient way?

      • Hi Ming,

        i am interested in the x1d but have two concerns…

        1. Does it have an 3d-axis electronic spirit level bar built in as i love to shoot landscapes and esp. architecture it is a nice feature to have on board (all is straight, critical for symmetric) so i do not have to look/ use mechanical one of the tripod?

        2. I often shoot at beaches or in dusty areas and it seems it doesnt have any sensor cleaning system
        (sonic vibration) function? Why wasn’t it implemented? Is an annual checkup and sensor clean up free??

        I prefer the Hassy (nicer design, flashsync leaf shutter, upcoming xcd 21mm 4 wider than fujis 23 4…) but the fuji gfx has them on board…

        Hope the next model will have those helpful features…

        Thanks for responding in advance!


  5. Hello, always an impressive landscape. I love Iceland. In the video, a coastal landscape is shown (1min 36sec) and would not care where this is?
    Very nice still and video images.
    Best regards

  6. Kevin Sutton says:

    Hi Ming
    I may have missed it but when were you in Iceland? It seems devoid of tourists in the background to your shots, so I assume it wasn’t peak season.
    Cheers Kevin

    • It was definitely peak season – we went at quieter times of day, places off the beaten path that required some hiking etc. Some places were just too busy to film at with bus after bus of tourists…

      • Kevin Sutton says:

        Hi Ming
        Thanks for your reply. I don’t suppose you would consider publishing a “where to go guide” for Iceland? It is on my bucket list and I would love some guidance on where to go etc.
        Cheers Kevin

        • I would, but to be honest – we didn’t even cover 10% of the country, so it would be massively incompletely (and probably quite misleading 🙂 )

  7. Ahmed Gencal says:

    Hi Ming
    What is the silver shiny lens you are using at the video?Is it Voigtlander 125mm Apo? How does it compare to native ones?

    • It’s a Voigtlander 180/4 APO. No comparison as there isn’t anything native in the 180mm range 🙂

      • What about the HC 210 (although not “native”)? I think I will buy a used HC 210 until there will be a native tele available. The Leica R 180 Apo should be also an interesting candidate, as soon as Kipon or Novoflex start selling an R Adapter ….

        • Not sure if the Leica covers 44×33 (I don’t have one to test). I don’t consider the 210 native as you still need an adaptor and it wasn’t designed for the X1D – it’s also a lot larger…

          • Moderate corner fall-off but fine, according to Jim Kasson who tested the Leica Apo-Elmarit on the Fuji GFX (but the beast is not cheap to get …)

            • Sorry, I have to correct myself, Kasso tested the 180 Elmarit and the 180 Apo-Telyt, but not the 180 Apo-Elmarit. But considering the good results with the former two lenses I would be quite optimistic that the Apo-Elmarit will do very fine. I was stupid enough to sell mine some time ago …. never sell good lenses …

    • Ahmed Gencal says:

      Forget about comperrision then 🙂 Did you like it?Did it survive on that giant sensor? Most old days lenses are good at near distance but on landscape distance they begin to loose contrast.

      • It was always a fairly low contrast lens, but with decent micro contrast – good for effectively extending dynamic range. No problems whatsoever with coverage, vignetting or resolution…

  8. Hiroshi S says:

    I am quite impressed how quickly Hasselblad is pushing firmware updates for the X1D. But this seems to negatively affect updates on the H6D system. For example, I am eagerly awaiting the implementation of an electronic shutter for the 100c (PhaseOne has implemented this a year ago for their IQ3!). The ideal imo would be an ‘affordable’ CFV-100c with e-shutter that could be used on the V system and on technical cameras with all the good lenses from Hasselblad, Contax etc. Based on the success of the 50c I think quite a few people could be interested in such a back and some of the old lenses are definitely up to snuff.

    • I’ve been pushing for that e-shutter on the -100, but apparently there aren’t that many people asking for it at the moment. As for putting the 100MP sensor into a CFV: the board won’t physically fit. There are issues around the contacts, activation switch (film advance lever previously) and necessary ancillary processors mounted on that board that preclude it going in. This was one of the first things I asked on joining Hasselblad…

      • Hiroshi S says:

        That is too bad about the CFV. This is a back that I would have bought immediately…
        I guess this leaves the Alpa Silex/FPS for technical cameras and older lenses, but the grey/black 100c back just looks ugly on an Alpa. Any chance that there will be a black 100c back (like in the A6D aerial camera)? This may sound silly but if I spend this amount of money for a camera system, the aesthetics and the pleasure of working with a beautiful system do matter to me…

        Keep on pushing for the e-shutter. A colleague of mine just switched to PhaseOne and one main reason was of the lack of this feature on the Hasselblad.

        • You might be able to buy the A6D back buy itself actually. Want me to find out?

          • Hiroshi S says:

            If it has the same functionality as the regular -100c and could be used on a technical camera that would be interesting! Thanks!

          • Hiroshi S says:

            Dear Ming, Did you get any feedback regarding the A6D? Also, I discovered another limit of the 100C back for technical camera use: why is the external power requirement for the 100C back 12-24V (this is bizarre since the internal battery in the H6 body only provides 7.2V!)? This means that in the field one has to carry a large power pack and the typical smaller 7-8 V batteries (like Sony NP) won’t work anymore on the new back.
            Another very different question: I assume the integration of the H6D system with DJI drones works via the USB connector in the back? Does this mean that a Hasselblad camera body with a different back (e.g. PhaseOne) wouldn’t work?
            Thanks so much!!

            • No plans for black at present as far as I know. External power: because the body has a transformer. We had to maintain compatibility with old batteries/ accessories, but the new sensors have higher power requirements (and there’s no room for a transformer in the back).

              As for the drone/connector question – yes, it connects over USB-C.

  9. Beautiful images. I’m contemplating a year-end purchase and was wondering whether the field kit going to be available in black by then? If so, is there an uncharge for getting black?

  10. Tuco Ramirez says:

    While reality and dreams seldom match, being a fan of yours and Hasselblad gear I have great hope that your combination will define the direction for fine-photography gear. For starters, that field kit is extremely desirable. Good luck to you!


    Impressive video! Thanks. I have just one annotation: Text pronunciation (audio) is too fast especially for non-English regions. It is just too fast for understanding without strain.

  12. albundize says:

    Fantastic work Ming 🙂
    I might be tented to buy the pelicase alone as I already had the X1D + 1 lenses.
    Is there any possibility to carry it like a bag pack? any straps available yet?


  13. What drone/drone camera was used? (if you’re allowed to say on here.)

  14. As impressive as the stills are, the most striking aspect of this production for me is the quailty of the video. Could you share details of the cameras used on the drone(s) and the on-the-ground sequences? Even going so far as to detail the frame rate, shutter speed, etc. if they are more or less consistent?

  15. I did enjoy the video! But thinking about it, I wonder how you would compare / contrast the arts of photography and videography as shown in this short film?

    Even on a (retina) laptop screen, the drone footage has a visceral, “wow” impact. You get a sense of presence, of scale, of the sea and water in motion, of looking around and gaping at the landscape. Is is the sense of flight, perhaps? Anyway, I wonder how any landscape still photograph could ever generate this effect. I think “it” goes away if you pause the video and look at a still frame. Is there a genre of landscape photography whose artistic intent is nowadays better communicated by 4k video, as photography partly “replaced” painting? After all, you could have shot aerial photos and recorded a commentary. You chose video…

    Or have I just become jaded, having seen too many landscape photographs on a small screen? I can’t put a short video on the wall, it would get annoying, but could certainly contemplate a large print in a way impossible with video.

    For the photos, you can see even on a small screen the colours, tonality and compositions in the moss, the light through the clouds and the aurora. But it would require a much bigger (ultra)print to get a sense of presence, I think, or the sense you can touch the objects presented. The aurora is amazing at any size, though; and the long exposure enhances its clarity.

    • Good question. Video is more immersive because the motion/ change of visuals means that you don’t linger on a single frame and it’s much harder to get saturated; stills require something else to create the same sense of immersion and depth of information – size and resolution do it. Video on the other hand doesn’t really hold up beyond a certain size at current max resolutions because the illusion of continuity breaks down.

  16. Awesome visuals!!!!

  17. Kenneth Voigt says:

    Very Nice !

  18. michael gannon says:

    great video and great photographs, the video really brings out the need and use of a drone in story telling

  19. I was there in August for the first time and it really is a special place. I really enjoyed your Iceland video! Thanks.

  20. Ming, this video came at the right time as I have been in the process of deciding between the X1D and GFX. I had an opportunity to use the X1D for a weekend and it was a beautiful piece of equipment and the large prints get a Wow from anyone that sees them. I was looking for a kit to replace my Leica M equipment because of eyesight issues, began to struggle too much. The price point of the GFX can not be overlooked but 2 close friends said, “if you get the Fuji, you will always want the Hasselblad.”
    I have see your video “Modern Heritage, in Penang” many times and now this latest Iceland one.
    And the new firmware again confirms Hasselblad commitment to this camera.
    I will order the X1D and XC45mm today and get the XC 90mm for Christmas. This is a great way to move into retirement.
    Hasselblad did a smart thing in bring you on board and the people I have spoken with here in the US have been great.


  21. Steve Jones says:

    Oh my! This makes me want to be there and puts terrible thoughts into my head about getting an X1D. That Field kit is neat!
    Where do I get to handle a demo one in Japan?

  22. A most outstanding X1D super kit viddy with superlative drone-age. Shown here on the same day the A7R III is announced…well played 😉

  23. Nice drone work Ming! What production crew did you have with you?

  24. Brilliant video! Fantastic work and lovely images. Loved it!!


  1. […] with the Hasselblad X1D Field Kit and processed with PS Workflow […]

  2. […] with the Hasselblad X1D Field Kit and processed with PS Workflow […]

  3. […] with the Hasselblad X1D Field Kit and processed with PS Workflow […]

  4. […] with the Hasselblad X1D Field Kit and processed with PS Workflow […]

  5. […] Additional X1D coverage is here: long term review; assessment with Nikon F mount lenses; field use in Iceland. […]

  6. […] this review are illustrative of that – the X1D now has a very versatile envelope indeed. On my trip to Iceland last year, I carried a record low amount of equipment for a shoot of this type – but felt like I wasn’t […]

  7. […] this review are illustrative of that – the X1D now has a very versatile envelope indeed. On my trip to Iceland last year, I carried a record low amount of equipment for a shoot of this type – but felt like I […]

  8. […] with the Hasselblad X1D Field Kit and processed with PS Workflow […]

  9. […] with the Hasselblad X1D Field Kit and processed with PS Workflow […]

  10. […] with the Hasselblad X1D Field Kit and processed with PS Workflow […]

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