Long term review: the Hasselblad X1D

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It’s been a long time coming – over a year since I first used the camera – and I will apologize for two things in advance: both the length of time it’s taken to complete, and the absence of any kind of objectivity since somebody will point out I work for Hasselblad. But I’ll remain a photographer first and foremost, and I have the luxury of a little distance as the X1D as a product predates my tenure, but the harder task to assess what the real impact of the X1D as a new product category has been some time after release. The two main reasons for the delay are because I also have a H6D-100c in the stable, which serves as my primary camera (and whose files are understandably seductive to both photographers and clients – and yes, I probably need to do a mid term on that one, too) – and, at the risk of getting fired – until recently, I haven’t felt like the X1D is fully complete. Let me explain…

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It’s normal in the consumer electronics industry to launch products with incomplete firmware – think of how many updates your iphone will receive in the course of its lifetime before you eventually upgrade. Whilst some of those limitations are functional, others remain a work in progress and affect stability or basic operation. The X1D was developed on a shoestring at a time when there was very little going for Hasselblad, and the team did a remarkable job to put out not just the X1D but also the H6D at the same time (they use the same platform). Some of the design and engineering choices made back then were a consequence of those constraints, but have lead to some complications to implement things later on – one of the reasons why a ‘final’ firmware has been so delayed. That, and trying to reorganize production to be efficient enough to fill the very large number of back orders. I myself have not had a chance to use final production hardware for an extended period until a few months ago simply because there were no spare cameras – everything went to filling customer back orders. But enough of the internal logistics.

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The X1D uses the same Sony 44x33mm 50MP CMOS we know and love from previous cameras since 2014 including the H5D-50c, CFV-50c, H6D-50c, Pentax 645Z, Fuji GFX and Phase One IQ250/350 series. It’s a tried, tested and proven sensor with a good 14-15 stops of dynamic range, very low noise properties and fairly large pixels for forgiving diffraction characteristics. It is a native 14 bit sensor, but we do the data handling in a 16 bit space (as with previous cameras, and the H6D-100c, which has a true 16 bit sensor). Unfortunately, the sensor design lacks phase detection photosites, and is severely limited in two areas: live view readout (at reasonable resolution) is only 37fps, and a full sensor flush takes 300ms*. Important takeaway number one: this was not designed from the beginning as a mirrorless camera’s sensor. The fact that both Hasselblad and Fuji managed is quite a feat, and required several engineering workarounds.

*The ‘rolling shutter’ duration. Whilst individual lines can be read out at up to 1/10,000s, it takes 300ms to read the entire sensor. This results in exposure shifts and bending of verticals if the camera or subject moves during the readout period. So, whilst electronic shutter is possible and is now offered from FW 1.19, it must be used with caution especially with moving subjects.

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All in all, this means that image quality is a known quantity: it matches that of the H5D-50c and H6D-50c, which is to say – short of the 54x40mm 100MP sensor, is about the best you can get today. Like all Hasselblad cameras, sensors used in the X1D are individually profiled to a fixed reference color standard at all ISOs – I shoot the X1D comfortably to ISO 12,800. In fact, each camera has nearly half a gigabyte of calibration data in it. I believe Hasselblad is the only company to do this – it’s one of the reasons output is so spectrally neutral and tonally natural across the sensitivity range, and no dark frame subtraction is required even on exposures up to one hour. Color accuracy is one of the main reasons I switched; those of you who have Workflow III will see that the Hasselblad profiles have almost no adjustments, and by far the least HSL adjustments of any camera included. Individual sensor calibration also means consistency is excellent – my H5D-50c, H6D-100c, CFV-50c and X1D all produce identical tonal response (with the exception of course of the H6D-100c, which has a bit more dynamic range extension at either end).

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In my time with the initial prototypes back in June 2016, and whilst producing the video – I took away the impression that the X1D was really a distillation of the critical bits of digital photography. Not in the sense of adding digital functions to a fundamentally film-era design, in the way a CFV/V camera or Leica M is – but in a way that leaves the digital controls like ISO and WB etc. easy to access. The body has refreshingly few buttons and even then, you can pretty much ignore most of them if you choose – which I do. The screen is touch sensitive, which is great for double tapping and checking focus or changing deeper level settings, but most of the time – it’s just set exposure and shoot. On top of that, build quality is very much old school solid as well: not surprising as the camera has two main shells and a top plate, all of which are machined from solid aluminium billet. External surfaces are all metal or rubber, with only the hotshoe area (wifi antenna) as the exception. It feels solid, and carved of a single piece, in a way that few modern cameras manage. Ergonomics are sound and comfortable for a long day of shooting (though personally, I’d prefer a more inclined shutter angle).

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Which brings me to one of the biggest bugbears I have with the new platform. The H5D-50c and CFV platforms took about 2.5sec to boot, which was on the slow side of acceptable if you were going to switch the camera on and off regularly between shots or groups to conserve power during the day. I could usually get through a day with two batteries on the H5D; three would be a heavy day of commercial reportage and probably 10 hours of nonstop shooting. Whilst this didn’t change much with the H6D because the camera does not run the sensor or live view most of the time, it did with the X1D: it is of course a live view only camera with no optical finder. This means not only do you have one of the two screens always on, you’ve also got the sensor always on – something that uses considerable power and generates significant heat. Until recently, this meant four or more batteries for a full day.

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However: there’s good news. Whilst the startup time is long as the camera is booting effectively a complete operating system (no ASICs, they were too expensive at the time of development) – there’s a quick standby mode that puts the camera to sleep, locks out the buttons and switches off sensor and screens – all that’s required is a quick press of the power button. In this mode, the back status LED stays red and it can be woken up (or put back to standby) instantly with another quick press of the power or shutter buttons – much like putting your laptop to sleep by closing the lid, or turning the screen off on your phone. The result? Similar shooting patterns result in 1-1.5 batteries per day instead of 4-5, and the camera is always ready to go. Just do a full startup/shutdown when you start or end for the session.

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Another popular complaint has been one of overall operational speed: whilst I feel this is partially expectation management since there are now more users moving up from smaller sensor options (i.e.: faster) than down from legacy MF (i.e.: much slower), it’s also due to setting choices and shooting style. I leave my camera in MF (AF-D on the back becomes AF-ON by default), image review off, RAW only. Aperture priority with auto WB, auto ISO and quick exposure adjust on. Shot to shot time is fast, and it returns to live view immediately after flushing the sensor – that 300ms hardware-limited time mentioned earlier. Total release lag is of the order of 80ms or slightly less, including the EVF refresh. Could it be faster? Always; but is it too slow? Definitely not.

The one thing area where some major room for improvement remains is focusing speed – there are limitations stemming from the sensor not having PDAF (CDAF requires back and forth scanning to determine optimum contrast); from the sensor’s refresh rate; and from the physical size of the lens elements that have to move around. We could easily improve the latter for better outrigh speed, but accuracy is still limited by the quantity of data inbound. To fix all parameters will require a new generation of sensor, and hopefully one that includes PDAF to make continuous tracking usable, too – it’s not so much about sport as being able to compensate for slight subject motion and the reduced depth of field from longer real focal lengths.

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At least operationally things have become much easier following the repeated firmware updates – the latest FW 1.20 included use of the LCD as an AF trackpad and resizable focusing boxes; FW 1.20 brought movable magnification areas and full operation of all camera functions – most importantly focusing related – in the EVF only. Additionally, we’ve seen addition of support for the HTS tilt shift adaptor (via the X-H system adaptor) for camera movements and fully profiled optical corrections via Phocus; electronic shutter capability; multiple focus points and focus point size adjustment; exposure warnings; focus peaking; GPS support and a lot of stability improvements and bug fixes. The apertures have also been recalibrated slightly to avoid octagon bokeh wide open (they now open beyond the physical lens element diameter so the limiting stop is circular), which also gains a little speed (about 1/4 stop or so). We’ve also had additional lenses (albeit somewhat delayed due to demand) – 30mm, 120mm macro, with a 21, 65 and 35-70 on the way. I know there are quite a few more lenses in the pipeline, some of which will address specific frequently noted limitations of medium format systems in general. Designs are all-new and take advantage of both the latest optical advances as well as sensible compromises: if we can correct something easily in software (e.g. vignetting) there’s no point in making the lens significantly larger, heavier and more expensive to avoid doing so – it simply doesn’t make sense given the size and positioning of the system, and the physical limitations of large image circle lenses to begin with. Having a very short flange distance to work with also opens up significant options, and not just through the possibility of adapted lenses but also at the wide end: the 30mm is arguably the best wide angle medium format lens I’ve used (and one of the best wide angles, period) – but is two thirds the size and weight of the H system equivalent, as well as being a third of a stop faster.

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I think one of the least talked about strengths of the system lies in the lenses, too: specifically, the use of leaf shutters. A focal plane shutter at that size will only sync to 1/125s, severely limiting your daylight lighting options or requiring serious amounts of power. However, the leaf shutter syncs at all speeds – in the case of the X1D, to 1/2000s – which gives you a lot of control over the amount of ambient light admitted to the scene. This is something unfortunately appreciated only by those who work frequently with flash. Actually, the high sync speeds coupled with Nikon TTL support and operation geared towards permanent live view make for a very good studio/static camera: in such situations, you need precision and the camera sits on a tripod anyway. Live view is the preferred mode of working for this kind of shoot, regardless of camera type. On top of that, you can tether wirelessly to an iPad via Phocus Mobile for both control and review; I give the iPad to my client to follow images and don’t have to worry about tripping over cables (though the possibility to tether over USB-C is under the lower port cover, should you wish). I do agree with another frequent piece of feedback I get, though: my back would really appreciate a tilting LCD.

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This raises an important question: who is the target audience for the X1D? I’m not sure this was fully defined at the camera’s conception, but then again this tends to apply to most new product categories. On one hand, it’s asking for the outdoors: full weather sealing, including lenses, small size (for MF, and at an absolute level, the body is similar to an E-M1.2’s body), robust construction, high (i.e. daylight-friendly) sync speeds, GPS module. On the other hand, it seems built for studio work – wifi tethering, high sync speeds, Nikon TTL support. An EVF has a long way to go to replace the really excellent optical finder of the H6D-100c, but it does instead offer peaking and exposure preview. I’ll be the first to admit that for most people and purposes, it makes the other options in our lineup difficult to justify – unless you absolutely need the optical finder, or AF on a lens that exists only in the H system. Even CF lenses can be adapted with the CF-H and H-X adaptors, and used with the electronic shutter at much wider speed ranges than the original 1/500s mechanical shutters.

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We probably did ourselves no favours by offering the same image quality as the H6D-50c in a much smaller and cheaper package; but I also think if we didn’t, then we run the risk of falling out of sync with the predominant trends in photography today: less money for most jobs at the pro end, which means cheaper equipment to deliver acceptable return on investment; but more wealthy enthusiasts that are over the ‘more of the same’ type upgrades and looking for a meaningfully different experience. The X1D offers this, and a significant boot to image quality at the same time. Whilst it uses the same sensor as the GFX, and is ostensibly the same category of camera – the usage experience is very different simply because the approach to camera control is completely different: the X1D is about as simple as you can make something with a full feature set; the GFX is like a scaled up X-series -read into that what you will.

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In the long run, I’m actually less concerned about the image quality part than ever before – not only have we past the point of sufficiency, but every subsequent sensor generation improves – albeit by smaller and smaller increments. The rest of the hardware, UI, user experience etc. will be the differentiating factor. For a few, photography is purely work – and you probably wouldn’t bother spending this kind of money on your tools if something cheaper will be deemed acceptable by the client. For the majority, photography is something we do because we enjoy it or because we are compelled to it, and GAS is an unavoidable consequence: we must enjoy our tools too, in order to be creative. Notice this second category doesn’t really separate between pros and amateurs: to be a good creative, you have to have the mental latitude to want to experiment and not worry about your tools. Better yet, you have to feel good about your tools and enjoy using them. Beyond that – we want the flexibility to make better pictures under a wider range of conditions with more output options. The images accompanying 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 missing anything (and better yet, had no hassles with carry on). What’s not to like? MT

The X1D in various configurations and with various lenses can be ordered online from B&H and Amazon, or direct from Hasselblad.

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Ultraprints from this series are available on request here

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

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

Comments

  1. Phil Lindsay says:

    Hi Ming:

    I am very interested in the X1D. I like stitching multiple shots for creation of panoramic images. I have read that the 45mm f.3.5 XCD Lens sometimes has a vignette issue. How does the Ver 2 of the 50nn f/3.5 HC lens compare to the 45mm f/3.5 XCD lens when used on X1D? I understand that the Ver 2 of the 50mm lens is superior to the Ver 1 so I would it not be it would be more appropriate for the X1D than the Ver 1? It would seem that the simple (and cheaper) solution would be to use the 45mm lens and hope that post processing would handle the vignette (if any?). What is your suggestion?

    • Soft vignetting is normal on pretty much every modern lens when used at maximum aperture – it’s to keep the front element smaller and he overall lens size more manageable. This is very easily corrected in post, and there are profiles in Phocus which correct both vignetting and geometric distortion perfectly.

      • Phil Lindsay says:

        Thanks for the quick reply. Would you expect comparable performance at F 8-11 between the the 45mand 50mm Ver 2 for both single frame and stitching applications? How about the 50mm Ver 1 lens?

        • Haven’t used 50 v1, but 45 and 50 v2 are both excellent. Yes, comparable resolving power at all apertures, but you may prefer the rendering style of one over the other.

          • Phil Lindsay says:

            Does the 45mm XCD lens require more software optical and color corrections than the 50mm HC II lens? I don’t use Lightroom but I would like to learn how to establish a workflow that would allow me to use both the Hasselblad and Adobe ACR programs. SInce the 50mm HC Ver II lens is much older than the 45mm XCD has Adobe been able to better characterize the 50mm than the 45mm?

            • Not that I’m aware of. I use ACR for my workflow as I have multiple cameras and systems. On the software end we send the full corrections to Adobe; they don’t do the calibration themselves. What they choose to implement is something else, of course.

              • Can you provide some enlightenment into the Phocus software? Would it be a good replacement for LR? In my opinion, LR doesn’t have a real DAM but is a collection of folders. Aperture, which is dead and gone, had a real DAM as it was SQL based an able to be networked. LR simply isn’t. I am trying to determine which is the best way to go regarding a workflow. Thanks.

                • I’d still go photoshop for now – especially if you use multiple cameras, simply because Phocus doesn’t support them. We are working on an overhaul of Phocus but it’s a big task…

              • Phil Lindsay says:

                I see from Adob e’s website that the current version of ACR provides lens profiles for all four of the current XCD lenses and since you use ACR yourself do you find them acceptable? How about ACR X1D camera profilea? Does ACR offer something like an “Adobe Standard Profile?Are you aware of any of any third party camera profiles? I notice that use have a #3 Photoshop Program for $80. Please describe the features. Is it still available for purchase?,Would this help me use my X1D files in ACR and Photoshop?. I am very glad that I can use my existing the Adobe Software – I was not anxious to learn Phocus.

                • The lens profiles are acceptable, and the camera itself only requires a minor profile change to get to neutral via ACR. I assume by “#3 photoshop program” you mean workflow III – and yes, it’s very much still applicable (and what I use now). There should be a Hasselblad 50MP CMOS profile in there – it’s the same for the H5-50, H6-50 and X1D as we calibrate all cameras to the same absolute standard at the factory. Workflow III covers end to end sorting and processing to output with the intention of balancing speed, flexibility, local adjustments (ie beyond Lightroom) and consistency across multiple cameras. There is also a variant for Lightroom included though t is limited by the software itself. There’s a much more detailed description and trailer here: http://mingtheinstore.outthink.us/photoshop-videos/26-a3-photoshop-acr-lightroom-workflow-3.html

                  • Phil Lindsay says:

                    I followed your link to the description of Workflow 3 but I could not find the trailer video for Workshop 3. Does Workflow 3 consist of custom X1D profiles to be plugged into ACR? Does Workflow 3 also cover making custom profiles. If not what software do you recommend for custom profiles? Will Workflow 2 help produce custom camera profiles?If so is there a combo price for both Workflow 2 and 3? Can ACR use embedded profiles?

          • Ming, would you describe rendering style of 45mm & 50mm II, please?

            • This is not a trivial or simple question to answer.

              45 is more clinical with higher overall contrast and micro contrast.
              50 II is smoother with similar overall contrast but slightly lower micro contrast, with smoother transitions.

              Until you stop down a bit (f5.6-8 or so), the 50 II has slightly better corners than the 45 – it was designed to cover full 645, so you’re not seeing the extreme edges of the image circle. The 45 was only designed for 44×33.

              • Phil Lindsay says:

                With my interest in stitched panoramic images, would you expect the 50mm Ver 2 at F/8-11 to perform better than the 45mm XCD at f/8-11? In my landscape work I always avoid wide open aperture so does the 50mm Ver 2 offer an advantage? Would all of the 50mm Ver 2 lenses have the firmware 18 and be upgradable to the firmwre 19 for AF on the XCD?

                • Performance is pretty much identical by that point. Some very early 50 IIs may have earlier FW, but all 1/2000s orange dot versions will be fine.

                  • Phil Lindsay says:

                    Since wide open performance isn’t nearly as important to me as f/5.6-8 or F/8-11, I think the 45mm XCD lens’s advantages of lighter weight, smaller dimensions and lower cost make it a better choice than the 50mm HC Ver. 2 for my application..
                    Thanks you for all of your guidance – you are a tremendous resource for us Hasselblad Users!

  2. Richard Boaden says:

    Thanks Ming, extremely interesting article, as always.
    I don’t suppose you can indicate if the promised 35-70, which you describe as “on the way”, is likely to be available any time soon?

  3. Rene Sterental says:

    Hi Ming,

    Is the weather proofing on the X1D safe to shoot under rain as long as I don’t change lenses until I’ve dried the camera/lens? I’m taking a trip next week to Kyoto and want to be safe if it rains.

    René

  4. Thanks for this and other honest and informative articles. I am very close to acquiring X1D, held back by investment in Leica S system.I have two questions. I own and use the HCD 28/4 lens with adaptor on the S (006). It is superb. Will that lens with the new adaptor work with full function on the X1D? And will the Profoto B1 controller for Nikon, with full TTL and HSS, work with full functionality on the X1D as it does on the Nikon cameras? Thanks for the assistance as I head back to Hasselblad.
    John

    • The 28 will work fine if the firmware version is 18.0.0 or later – it needs an update to be compatible with the X1D’s AF system, but will then AF on the adaptor. Can’t comment on Profoto as I’ve never tried that combination personally, sorry! I can say there is no such thing as HSS though – that’s a multiflash or long duration flash method used on FP shutter cameras to get sync speeds over the max full gate speed at the cost of power; all speeds on the X1D sync fully with flash as the lenses have leaf shutters.

  5. HI! Thanks for all of the work that you do! I’m am currently choosing a new camera– researching the X1d vs H6D-50c (humongous price drop!) I have been reading some reviews of the X1D that complain about a shutter lag. Is this real, or are the misunderstanding the leaf shutter? I feel a noticeable shutter lag would be a deal breaker for me….thanks for any info you have.

  6. Hi Ming, great review and, more importantly, stunning pictures.
    What are the chances of bringing current X1D AF speed to GFX level via firmware update? Moreover, will the X1D eill ever get AF face/eye detection functionality? Given that the X1D and GFX shares the same sensor, my understanding is that current X1D limitations in the AF arena boils down to firmware limitations, not hardware.

    • AF speed on both cameras varies hugely depending on lens and specific situation – in our testing sometimes we’re faster, sometimes they are.

      As for eye detection/ face detection – it isn’t something that’s easy to do reliably; we don’t have the ability to simply port over the AF algorithm from one of our consumer cameras (which we don’t have) so it must be developed from scratch…

  7. Hello Ming, great, balanced review as always. Two feature requests if you could pass them along:

    1) 3/5/7 shot exposure bracketing.
    2) ability to electronically trigger shutter. I’m trying to get this set up with a GigaPan, and the lack of any way to electronically trigger the shutter is making doing pano work quite inefficient.

    Thanks!
    Alex

  8. After nearly one year using the X1D with 3 lenses, I am mostly a happy camper. The X1D was a bold move from Hasselblad and I hope this will translate in business success. For me and my personal use, there are still 4 major shortcomings of the camera (3 of them could be implemented with firmware, I assume):

    1) lack of automated focus stacking: with MFD, focus stacking has become a regular exercise (still life, landscape, macro). Problem is that with focus-by-wire lenses it is a PITA. With my previous Leica S and also older manual lenses, this was fun (although slow), as the lenses give you the mechanical feed-back. I am optimistic that Hasselblad implements something similar what Nikon D850 or P1 already can do.

    2) not so-good depth of field control: yes, there is the DoF button, but Leica S has this implemented in a perfect way, as you see the estimated DoF distances in the top-LCD. So it is quite easy to plan the hyperfocal distance for landscape shots. Any distance information would be also welcome as the focus-by-wire lenses have no markings, making it complicated to use an external app.

    3) no way to control shutter speed algorithm in AE-mode: the shortest shutter speed seems to be 1/focal length. I would like to have more flexibility to program this (fixed shutter speeds or at least 1/2 x or 1/3 x focal length), as most other cameras do.

    4) no tiltable LCD

    • Thanks for the feedback, Norbert. Specific answers –
      1) We’re aware of this and it’s on the FW list
      2) Trickier, as focus by wire lenses also have no hard stops, it’s very difficult to estimate position accurately or usefully. Leica S uses a PDAF system that can be calibrated for absolute distances…
      3) I assume you mean auto-ISO? We are aware of this too, it’s also on the list
      4) This…cannot be updated in firmware. But it’s also on the list of hardware changes we want to implement in the next generation.

      • Thanks for the answers.

        As regards 2). I understand. But on the other hand, does the Fuji GFX not have a distance scale in the EVF? Not sure about this though as I handled this camera only for a short time in the past. Also the Zeiss Batis lenses (focus-by wire?) have a build-in display which provide the DoF information.

        As regards point 3) yes it is the “tipping point” in Auto-ISO in A-mode. Currently at a shutter speed of 1/focal length.

        • 2) I don’t recall, though I know some of the X Trans APS-C cameras have a distance scale – however, that’s taken from the PDAF information as they have hybrid sensors. (There are no MF sensors with PDAF). As for the Batis – there is a patent on that which really limits our options…

          • Interesting.

            One last idea as regards my point 4): tiltable LCD. I see in other forums that the group seems to be divided on this one. Some as me, work a lot near the ground and would appreciate it – getting older every year :), also for street it is nice to have, others fear that the slim form factor could suffer.

            Would it be possible to develop an external tiltable EVF that could be used on the hot shoe (maybe the next generation X2D could support something like this)?

            • If I had to back a camp, it’d be for the tiltable LCD. Both for tripod work and because it’s the least obtrusive solution. A tilting EVF is…messy, at best, requires a lot of additional connectors, introduces a new point of weakness in the structure for sealing etc.

      • NO digital distance scale for focus stacking this readout can easily be implemented by Phocus even if the readout is not 110% accurate it wouldn’t matter neither is the wedge of focus. And of course the bracketing issue remains still no ability to bracket 0, +1, +2, +3 which is paramount.

        • Noted on bracketing, which I believe should be coming in future FW. Distance scale for focus is actually critical at closer distances where you’d want to stack…we would prefer to implement something correctly rather than makeshift.

  9. I’m sure Hasselblad’s decision to bring you on board King, had less to do with your technological contribution, and much more to do with your work. Your photos are very diverse and provocative. They make me want to go out and create something of my own. So inersplicing your articles with your photos is the equivalent of being intimidated by the degrees on a doctor’s office walls it gives credibility to what he says. And for that you get my attention, and respect.

    But what’s paramount in these kinds of reports is integrity, and I feel you are having to walk a fine line here. I like to think it’s not necessary to recluse yourself, and that there’s no pressure to say favorable things about Hasselblad. But that’s a hard thing to expect of anyone who needs to feed themselves and their family. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. But the X1D spooked me in the first week and subsequently went back. What I didn’t like could be corrected in time, but the brokeh from the XCD 45 was horrible. I can’t imagine that ever changing. Borrow a GFX and let us know what you think. I love it. Image quality is not a rare thing these days, but a camera that makes capturing that possible is not so common. Software glitches, EVF and focus tools are all so important in making the camera pleasure to operate. X1D has the look and feel of a supermodel, but it drops of rapidly after that, for me. Too bad the concept was so revolutionary. I wish Hasselblad the best.I wonder if DJI could help sales by incorporating one in a future drone… Hmm

    • Well, I look at it two ways – if the tool doesn’t do the job or I feel uncomfortable with it, I won’t use it and there aren’t any images at all. Most of the time there are no second chances, and there are clients putting money on that – so I have to deliver. There’s a reason why I didn’t write this review until now, which I made clear: I didn’t think the firmware was mature until the last version. And that includes the impact it has on operation and usability. Before that…form your own conclusions.

      I have actually used a GFX. The sensor in it (and the 645Z, and the P1 IQ250/XF50 etc) are the same – all of those cameras using the Sony 50MP CMOS have the same overall technical image parameters (noise, DR etc) and differ only in color and tonal response. That’s much down to personal preference as anything. The GFX is a very competent camera and better for some things like adapted lenses since it has a built in shutter; worse for others like high speed flash (where ironically they rely on H series lenses).

      Performance isn’t the issue. What I really don’t like about it is the ergonomics, feel and menus – it’s like a scaled up X-T2 and isn’t the better for it. The material and tactile quality is the same as on their $1000 cameras. I understand and appreciate putting the money into the sensor, but what most camera companies don’t understand is that the camera has to *feel* right to make you want to shoot with it. Photography is a subjective, aesthetic, artistic, intangible pursuit: you’re not going to do it unless you have to if the process isn’t enjoyable, too. I also think it’s not too much to ask for a non-ugly camera at that kind of price…just as it isn’t too much to ask for reliability and something that just gets the job done.

  10. Great review .
    I have now a question for you.
    What about long exposure shots and elettronic shutter? My goal is to couple x1d and canon tse lens basically for long exposure shots.

  11. Great review,
    I have just a question for you.
    What about long exposure using elettronic shutter ? I would like to use X1d with canon tse lenses and adapter basically for long exposure shots.

    • No problem – effectively it operates the same as the normal shutter since the readout time is much less than the exposure time, and you’re going to be using a tripod anyway. You’ll need an adaptor that can set the aperture, though – since the TSE lenses are all-electronic.

    • Thanks for your fast answer.
      Besides Kipon there is also Cambo adapter for canon lenses that seems very well made.
      Thanks again

  12. Hi Ming,

    I was wondering if there are any solutions that will allow me to use adapted tilt-shift lens on the X1D along with long exposure (for night photography)? Or will I get rolling shutter issues because I’ll have to use the electronic shutter? Are there any plans for native tilt-shift XCD lens?

    Secondly, are there any plans to implement eye detection autofocus on the X1D?

    Btw, I purchased your Nikon F2 Titan. A 58 mm Noct now lives on this camera; the Noct I have is one of those that say, “Nocf”.

    Thanks,
    Hien

    • No rolling shutter on long exposures – the exposure time is far, far longer than the readout time. I think there’s a Kipon adaptor that gives electronic aperture control on Canon lenses (including their TS options).

      Native tilt shift – not ruling it out, though if we did do it would make more sense for a maximum versatility solution like the HTS.

      Eye detection – not possible with current hardware.

      NOCF! Congratulations. 🙂

  13. One day, after I graduate and get a job, I’ll get a X3D…

    • I seriously hope we will make them more accessible by then…pricing is a rather eccentric equation between volume (or lack of) and high cost and vice versa…

  14. Nice compositions. X1D vivid greens look too vivid to me. There is also something about reds, like they’ve been forced too. I’ve seen with detail many X1D pics by diverse photogs, and they always seem to me like that, forced towards the vivid side.

    • Could be your browser – if not color aware, it’ll default to SRGB and result in the vividness you describe (I see it when switching browsers here). The originals are definitely not like that…

  15. I really liked your article. I received my X1D for Christmas and really enjoyed it for the week I had it before it went back to Hasselblad for the cracked door hinge issue. Hasselblad did respond quickly and returned the X1D but it had cracks in the new hinge part so back it went. I hope they will forger out what the issue is here. I know it is not critical but if the doors fail and com off, there is no weather sealing on the sd cards or the cable inputs.

    • I believe the part has now been redesigned, but will check…

      • I had read somewhere that it had been redesigned but so far my first replacement was the same par was the cracked one. I will receive the camera back this week on the 7th. I was told it is the same part. A lot of folks do not seem to have had this issue. I hope mine will be cured.

  16. I took the X1D for a spin last November and was really impressed. Unfortunately, there weren’t any profiles for the XCD lenses in Lightroom at that time. Any progress?

  17. Just envy you that you can actually use your X1D. Not my case. I am one of the guinea pigs who spent almost $15K for X1D set up – but never really had the pleasure to enjoy it. Camera is full of flaws. Purchased one last year, but my new camera spends most of the time in service. Presently, it is back in Sweden since mid-December 2017. It is February 2018, and I dream of having my camera back. There is zero communication from Hasselblad about progress of the service. Very unprofessional, just to say the least. Certainly not something I would expect from Hasselblad. Advice to those who want to buy X1D: hold off until X2D, if not until X3D – and even then, wait few months before you mortgage your house and proceed with the purchase. In the meantime, join Hasselblad forums where you get unbiased reviews and feedback from actual users, who are not associated with Hasselblad, and who actually had to pay for the camera. PS: Victor must be turning in his grave.

    • Sorry to hear this, Jose. I make no excuses for my colleagues and agree that it wasn’t ready on release – which is why I haven’t written anything until now, and has been working behind the scenes to get the camera complete. If you would like to email me with the details of your serial number, date and method it was sent in, etc – I will do what I can to expedite.

    • That’s sad. I feel for you. That’s why I sent mine back to B&H early on and got the glorious GSX50S. It butt ugly, but cooks like Martha Stuart ornJulia Childs.

  18. Jim Suojanen says:

    I have always preferred to manually focus. I primarily do landscapes so autofocus is less necessary. However, as I’ve aged my ability to manually focus from a ground glass or through a rangefinder has declined. Eventually I found trying to focus my Hasselblad Arcbody or Leica M9 an exercise in frustration. I traded these for an X1d that provides comparable image quality (to me, according to my prints) with Live View for manual focus and adequate autofocus. The X now stands as my primary camera, though I haven’t abandoned my rangefinders completely.

    Was the camera released too early? This depends on one’s perspective on digital/electronic imaging devices. Perhaps the X1d didn’t function well when first released; but now firmware updates have corrected egregious faults and provided many new functions. I expected this from a small company with a small user base. The company did marginally complete testing, released the camera, and let users complete field testing – altering firmware rapidly as flaws were uncovered. Kudos to Hasselblad for adapting to this new digital imaging device development paradigm. “Light” is following a similar pathway though pundits remain quite merciless in their assessment of this company’s device.

    So I’m happy. I have the 45mm and 90mm lenses. Hopefully the 30mm is in my future. The 80mm might provide a replacement for the 90mm at some point, though I worry about it’s size. I doubt I’ll be able to afford the other stuff once I retire. But if I can’t make decent images with what I have, the fault lies in me and not the tools.

    • We now have peaking and automatic magnification on turning the focusing ring of a native X lens, too 🙂

      I still don’t think it’s acceptable to release something that isn’t ‘ready’: but perhaps I am the minority here…as a user and owner, I don’t want to do the beta testing in situations where it is critical I get the image, especially if my career depends on it (as it often might).

      • Jim Suojanen says:

        Tolerance for a professional is lower; so time-tested gear should be primary on a critical shoot. Nonetheless, in medicine (and any technical field) even after extensive study, many devices have side effects/complications/problems only discovered after extensive use in the field. Here in the States, the FDA keeps busy issuing warnings for many electronic devices much more extensively tested than any digital camera. If only electrons would behave.

  19. Thank you. I’ll probably be talking to my Hasselblad rep about trading in my CFV-50c as it is such a hassle transporting my RM3di and all the paraphernalia to a long distance shoot. (I’ll keep the Arca for film, however!)

  20. At first the boot up time was really bothering , but reading the reason which it led to this colour accuracy , I hope Hasselblad never changes its way of booting. All I can say , Amazing camera couldn’t be any happier. Patiently waiting for the 65mm.
    Is it ok to assume the 80mm will have a f1.8 aperture ?

    p.s. Great pictures (as always)

  21. I’m glad to see there are so many readers who have an intense interest in Hasselblad’s current product line and impressed by the number of those who’ve actually bought in. My fear, initially, was that your turn to such an expensive line of gear would cause the blog to wither for lack of reader participation. Count me dead wrong on that point.

    Your choice to commit to this very narrow niche has turned out to be an extraordinary exercise in judgement. Bringing Robin aboard to continue the blog’s appeal to the rest of us has worked well too. It adds to your workload by forcing you to double as assignment editor but the end product is worth it.

    • I admit there was no magic vision involved – just figuring out my personal needs and seeing who else wanted to come along or live vicariously (from comments it seems most people fall into the latter camp anyway, regardless of gear price – it’s simply impossible to buy everything). It undoubtedly helped that the price point of MF has fallen dramatically to the point that it’s not that much more than the top of the line FF gear – and in some cases, probably on par (Leica M vs GFX or 645Z, for example). Robin’s joining was because he went freelance last year, and it was a way for both of us to maintain a presence and free up time for other stuff – we can write less often than we would individually (freeing up time) but collectively more frequently (better engagement). So, that was always going to be a win-win…

  22. david mantripp says:

    The Iceland farm photo practically sells the camera to me … those subtle, subtle colours. Wish I had a grandmother to sell.

  23. Martin Fritter says:

    Every one of these pictures in this post (except for the hard-hat guy) is splendid. I’m wondering if your ambassadorship has freed you from the commercial grind somewhat. Plus, minimalist handling seems to be very good for you.

    • Thanks. It hasn’t been an ambassadorship for the last year – I’m now chief of strategy, which is a much bigger role that brings other kinds of grind in addition to the commercial photography stuff…

  24. Great to hear your point of view knowing your position at Hasselblad. The X1D is very tempting and a very beautiful form factor and overall design; much more so than Fuji. A rear focus point selector button seems like it would be a very useful addition. X1D is the gateway drug for new customers to Hasselblad and a point of differentiation from PhaseOne.

  25. michael gannon says:

    Reading the reviews and seeing the images the X1D makes me get the hankering to want to get the camera but i still have my 501cm and lenses, I’ve been waiting to see if hasselblad is coming out with a updated CFV-50c ?. any chances this will happen.

  26. Just use the Cambo Actus for X1D for shift, it is liberating. Adapt any lens to it and have every single movement imaginable…

  27. Very nice photos Ming (as always) and a very well written review. As you know I had the pleasure to test drive the X1D …I loved it very much and hope to shoot it more soon.

  28. Forgot you add yhst I fully concur with the color output of H6D50c being the most natural and accurate of the competition. There is something odd about the phase-1 color though the trichromatic may be a step closer to visual accuracy albeit not quite at the level of the newest H series.

    To the extent possible can you speak of any differences in output you see between the x1d and H6D-50c if any exist?

  29. Aside from the possible interest in developing a s/t converter, as with the H series (which as i recall causes marked CA with most lenses and is not suited for all), do you think a T/S lens in the say 120mm range would be a consideration with the x1d? Comments from notable H users over the years have recommended avoiding the 1.5 converter unless used with teles and at that, stopped down considerably. Based upon the likes of Nikon and Canon, converters vary considerably in quality output depending on lens choice.

    I have yet to see a review if the Leica S t/s 120mm as it is not particularly popular perhaps due to it’s limited application.

    Flip

    • Actually, the HTS requires pretty careful tuning – if you have one that’s causing CA it’s probably off spec and requires recalibration at the factory. I had this problem with mine initially and was surprised how much of a difference adjustment made. But yes, there’s a lot of interest in a dedicated X HTS or even just shift converter – we are investigating but no promises.

      • Just shift would actually be perfect if it made the adapter a bit more affordable / smaller. I used one last year (rental) and fell in love.

        On another note, have any camera companies ever considered doing 2 identical versions of a camera with different MP counts and price points? The current situation with Sony sensors is very interesting and id love to get the benefits of the X2D while staying at 50MP, regardless of price. 100MP is going to kill my computer and I suspect very, very few people have a use for that many pixels. You would have to be printing gallery quality prints to a fairly large size.

        • I agree, just shift would simplify things hugely from a mechanical standpoint, and might still allow for AF since there is no displacement of the focal plane out of perpendicularity. Food for thought!

          We’ve always had several different versions of the same camera, and so have most MF camera makers – the H6D was available in 50, 100 and now 400 multishot, for instance.

  30. Any chance of a future D850 review? I know you have posted reviews of Nikon gear before. Also, any thoughts of D850 vs X1D performance?

  31. Tony Millman says:

    There is nothing worse than a manufacturer’s rep denying or ignoring obvious flaws with a camera or lens. I found in talking with my local Hasselblad rep, he is, like you, fairly blunt in his assessment of his product. The X1D I bought in June 2017 was
    So difficult to focus I almost sent it back–then the firmware updates starting coming and have resolved my issues.
    IMHO the camera was released too soon, but at least the Hasselblad people I’ve spoken to admit it–
    This blunt honesty only makes me more comfortable with the brand.
    The camera now exceeds my original expectations so please don’t apologize for bluntly assessing your company’s products–I think it reinforces confidence in Hasselblad. Thinking of buying an H6D-100 and will wait got your updated review.
    Thank you for your insights on the X1D. Finding info on Hasselblad’s products is much more difficult than finding info
    On Canon and Nikon etc. is there any Hasselblad forum you know of where people exchange ideas on Hasselblad?
    For example some H lenses can be autofocus on the X1D with the XH adapter, but the used lens must have firmware version
    18.0 on it. If I want to buy a used lens how would I be able to know the firmware version? I’d like to know the size of the image circle on the x-series lenses, does the H6D use wifi for iPads like the X1D, etc etc. Any suggestions on a Hasselblad forum that you know of?

    • There’s the Hasselblad digital forum (not official) which probably has the highest user concentration. GetDPI I think also has quite a few MF users. As for the H6-100 – it’s my go to unless I need say tracking AF, low weight or serious weather sealing – that should probably tell you enough 😉

  32. Ming,

    Really like the last construction photo in B&W.

    Best Regards,

    ACG

  33. Steve Gombosi says:

    One thing you and Hasselblad might find interesting: there are a few people over on the Hasselblad digital forum who are playing around with M lenses on X1Ds with third-party adapters. A couple of them are impressed enough with the results on the X1D (cropped for most lenses, uncropped for some) that they’ve discussed dumping their Leica bodies and just using the X1D instead. Obviously, they’re not shooting moving subjects – but it’s quite a testament to the effort Hasselblad has put into the sensor calibration for the X1D.

    See: http://www.hasselbladdigitalforum.com/index.php?topic=5313.msg24142#msg24142 for an example.

    • The X1D has a very short flange distance so you can mount just about anything; whether the edges look good (and how much you have to crop) is another thing entirely, of course. 😉

  34. Steve Gombosi says:

    After a month or so with the X1D, I still find myself amazed that I have a (quasi) medium-format body that I can easily stick in a jacket pocket. It’s an astounding technical achievement and the firmware upgrades have taken care of virtually every issue I had with the early cameras.

    Yes, the EVF is hard to use when things get really dark (say, with a Zeiss Luminar at about 15x magnification – but that’s probably not a use case the designers had in mind 😉 ).

    I look forward to a V-series adapter that lets me use the shutter in my CF lenses (hint). As well as my V-series microscope shutter for that 15x Luminar setup ;-).

    I’m eagerly awaiting the zoom.

    I really appreciate the candor of the review (as well as the beautiful images). Thanks so much for writing it!

  35. Great writing and beautiful pictures! …as usual Ming 🙂

    2 quick questions:
    Any chance that the X1D will get an intervalometer?
    This camera is great for landscape and its a shame that we can’t create time-lapse 😦

    Do you know more or less when the 65mm will ship?
    it was first announced in February 2017…..
    I miss having the standard 50mm(in 35mm terms)

    Thanks again
    E

  36. Please make the X2D at 50MP (offer two versions: 50 and 100?). A 50MP camera w/pixel shift would satisfy most anyone.

    • The piezo actuators required for multishot stacking (as used in the H6D-400c, for example) are large and will significant increase the size of the X body – not to mention always requiring a tripod…

    • Steve Gombosi says:

      From what I recall of the Sony sensor roadmap, I don’t think there will *be* a 50MP sensor in the future lineup. It looks like the “small” MF sensor will be 100MP. I guess that means we’ll all have to work on our shooting technique (I thought I was pretty steady until I started looking at X1D files at 100% 😉 ).

      • I’m pretty sure there will continue to be a Sony 50MP sensor. The Hasselblad, Fuji and Pentax customers for that sensor have given Sony an opportunity to improve yield and lower the cost of manufacture. Those two factors increase Sony’s margin and fuel the R&D necessary for advancing sensor design. The 100MP and 150MP sensors on their roadmap are the near-term (2017-2018) outcomes of that R&D, not replacements for the 50MP sensor already being produced. Regarding shooting technique, as you’ve found out, shooting with a 50MP sensor is a challenge, often requiring a tripod and higher shutter speeds than we were accustomed to when using a 24MP DSLR.

      • You can always downsample with larger sensors and have effectively the same shot discipline requirements as a lower resolution one, but with a bit more color information/ lower noise…

  37. I enjoyed your review Ming, especially since I’ve been shooting with the X1D since February 2017. I trust that your reference to ‘final’ firmware was not an implication that v1.20.1 is the final firmware release for the camera. While it would not surprise me if Hasselblad’s main R&D attentions were now turned to the mythical X2D (or X1D v2.0), there are still opportunities to improve the X1D with firmware. For example, my “wish list” includes 1) live histogram, 2) the ability to use Auto ISO in M mode, and 3) fewer hiccups requiring a reboot. I’ve gone “all in” on the X1D and enjoy the camera more than any camera I’ve used in the last decade.
    Although I’ve satisfied my near-term desire to use longer telephoto lenses by using the X-H adapter with HC lenses, it certainly would be great to see some native XCD lenses >120mm.
    Thanks for your review and your continued advocacy within Hasselblad to improve this fine photographic instrument.

    • No, ‘final’ is what I’d have considered minimum for release – though there are a lot of things we want to continue to add, it may not be possible with the present hardware. Full agree with your requests though 😉

  38. Thank you very much for your review!

    I got my hands on a very early model back on August 2016 and was very impressed. Then in May 2017 I could spend a full hour with a camera at a convention (small fair) – and decided against buying one.

    I am in the segment of customers which you call “wealthy enthuasiast”. Not being really wealthy, but willing to spend a lot of money on my hobby. So, back in May I considered upgrading from my Olympus OMD E-M1 to a Leica M or the X1D. After an hour with the X1D, I decided to stay with my E-M1. For me, the EVF of the X1D was barely useable. It was slow and stuttered and the image quality of the EVF was not what I expected. As you wrote in your review, that might have been a matter of my expectations, but I just had no fun taking pictures with the camera due to the EVF (and the auto-focus). Despite the fantasic final output. So, the lack of “joy of using” the camera was my main reason, why I decided against a X1D.

    But there was a second reason. My spouse, who is although a photographer, is very shortsighted and wears glasses. Since he hates to use live view, he relies on an eyecup for the EVF which sits tight on his glasses. The standard eyecup of the X1D does not meet that criteria. There was so much light coming through, that he was not able to see anyting through the EVF. When he asked the man at the Hasselblad stand about it, he got a plain and simple: “No, there is no such thing and it is not planned to have one. He should use the live view or it is just not a camera for him.” We are talking about a small piece of plastic here. Considering the price tag of the camera, I do not think, that this is an acceptable answer.

    • I’ve also made a lot of suggestions for the EVF eyecup on future cameras – it doesn’t work for me, either, as a spectacle wearer. The H series eyecups on the other hand are amongst the best in the business – I suggested that something between the two would probably result in a very good solution…

      • Phil Lindsay says:

        I also wear -5 diopter eyeglasses and find that the X1D Eyecup Design is very restrictive with my glasses because the X1D diopter adjustment only goes to -3 diopter.Is the X1D Rubber Eyecup removable?I am looking for a small -3 diopter lens that I could mount in front of the X1D Eyecup

        • It’s removable but not designed to be. You won’t be able to put another diopter in front as it wasn’t designed for this. I’ve given them the same feedback many times – the eyecup needs work for eyeglass wearers (myself included). The camera was designed prior to my involvement with Hasselblad.

          • Phil Lindsay says:

            I have a temporary fix for my eyeglass problem until Hasselblad solves the eyeglass issue. I purchased a Nikon -3 diopter eyepiece designed for the Nikon D800 cameras, took the glass lens from the Nikon Eyepiece by removing the small split ring and carefully inserted the Nikon lens disc under the X1D rubber eyepiece cover. No need to remove the eyepiece cover from the X1D – just pull the rubber around the opening and carefully insert the lens. The rubber cover holds every thing in place- woks like a charm and gives me -5.5 diopter so no more eyeglasses!!
            I am a happy camper.

            • Except…you can’t see anything around you when you take your eyes from the finder, which doesn’t work in a lot of situations – I’m -5 diopters too, and peripheral vision is pretty important 🙂

              My solution is to use contact lenses…

              • Phil Lindsay says:

                I wore contacts for nearly 35 years and certainly had both great axial and peripheral vision during that time. Unfortunately several years ago my eye doctor wanted me to go back to glasses. I can keep my glasses out of the way up only forehead while using the camera but the peripheral vision isn’t very good. That’s why I said temporary solution – the permanent solution is for Hasselblad to redesign the eyepiece with a flat, soft surface that will not scratch glasses. Even better would be a redesign of the EVF optics to increase eye relief but thet is something for X1D Ver 2.

  39. I have been shooting the X1D for almost a year, and the H6D-100c for a bit less. I had a major GAS event over 2016-2017, and shot quite some of the best cameras … the honest truth in retrospect is that I do not have the skills to exhaust the image quality limits of any of the modern sensors. In the past 12 months, every time I get to the dry box, the camera that I pick up to shoot most of the time has been the X1D. It is not perfect, and even today there are still convenience gaps, but the camera just feels beautiful and balanced. Making images with the X1D just feels nice.

    Truth be told, the H6D still feel better in the hand and more capable in many ways. There are few things in image making that feels as good as the well damped mirror slap of the H body. But I have gotten too old most of the time for the weight of the H system.

    • I think it’s more of a question if you need that remaining 0.1% performance: in some cases you do, and can use it, and then the H is the perfect tool; but recognising when this is not the case also leads to better images since you travel less fatigued and see more, explore more, give yourself more opportunities 🙂

      • 🙂 … on the subject of firmware requests:
        X1D: (i) Auto ISO in manual (with 1/f and 1/2f option) i.e. TAV mode, (ii) Auto Bracketing
        H6D: (i) save and retrieve custom profile, (ii) camera custom setting via Phocus

        … and both cameras for me would be complete.

  40. Hi Ming, great review! 🙂

    Finally have pulled the trigger and ordered the field kit in black. GFX is sold… X1D by all means seem to satisfy my needs better in the end. Had the change to try one out a little longer with the latest firmware update. Really great evolution compared to earlier firmware!

    One very small complain in regard to the lenses. Why do nearly all lenses have a different placement for the H, filter diameter etc.?

    On the promotion pictures the H should be on top middle. That seems a little bit odd in regards to the price of each lens.

    Cannot judge for my own camera because I expect delivery about mid February. But on my demo unit this was a little weird.

    Really looking forward trying out my new kit.

    Kind regards

    Ole

  41. Kristian Wannebo says:

    Nobody mentions your photos… 😉

    Some lovely examples of the classic old theme of Light coming in through the Dark.
    Especially the Arches!

    Plus the Chairs and the Romboids!

    • Sadly, this has always been normal: people judge a review by the number of words, the number of complaints etc. and not by the most important thing: the output generated, which tells you many things: a) if the camera could do the job; b) if the reviewer was qualified to do the review in the first place, i.e. if the opinion is meaningful, and b) if the opinion is relevant to the way you shoot. But it doesn’t stop them from asking me to implement things I have no means to do so (X1D: joystick and tilting screen with next firmware update, new functions for other brands which I have nothing to do with… 😉 )

      But thank you for noticing the images 🙂

      • Kristian Wannebo says:

        Aye, Ming,
        I guess you do get a bit squeezed between your desire to photograph, your ambition to have H’blads made even better and all of us adding our wishlists…

        I hope you find time, at least once in a while, to unsqueeze yourself!
        🙂

      • We notice the images… I just assumed you knew they were awesome.

  42. Thanks for your review. I have had an X1D since May 2017 and really appreciate HB’s frequent FW update. Your review covers most of my thoughts on X1D. IMHO futher FW updates or X2D should 1) have better ways to move focus point. Recently update was nice but still far from the convenience of Leica SL’s joystick. 2) have a tilt screen since I enjoy shooting at waist level. 3) use a sensor with global shutter. 300ms read out time make it quite hard to shoot objects with straight lines handheld. 4) have better EVF maybe. I’m quite happy with the current one but SL and GFX EVFs just rock.
    I owned both GFX and X1D for half a year. I find myself more mentally connected with X1D and finally sold my GFX. I don’t regret it but to be honest, I do miss the focal plane shutter on GFX.

  43. Risto Vainio says:

    Very welcome writing, Hasselblad has indeed found a worthy partner in you. Even these images echo a match made in heaven.

  44. Alex Carnes says:

    I have actually had my hands on one of these at the photography show in Birmingham last year. I only had a few minutes with the camera but the first thing that struck me about it – apart from it being quite a pig to focus in low light – was the crude and loud shutter thwack. It actually put me in mind of the original A7R, which I had the misfortune of owning for a time! The guy on the Hassy stand said they were trying to improve it, I presume they’ve done so since you didn’t mention it? It also got very hot very quickly.

    Also going back to my experiences with the A7R, I recall that the short flange distance is not without some unfortunate consequences, especially for fools like me who rather like having the sun in the frame and have a fetish for sunstars! Lens-sensor reflections spoilt a lot of shots in which there was a strong light source in the frame, and fixing the inevitable vignetting caused unpleasant ‘onion ring’ artifacts (possibly a consequence of Sony’s disagreeable RAW files, to be fair). My guess would be that this problem afflicts all mirrorless cameras, including the X1D?

    I’m taking more interest than I might normally, since the new mirrorless offerings mean that I could just about afford a medium format camera if I really really wanted one. From what I’ve seen thus far, I’m sticking with the my D810 and D850 for the foreseeable future. The D850 really can do it all!

    • Focus speed and heat have been drastically improved; the shutter is a consequence of a large aperture leaf shutter with big blades moving fast enough for 1/2000s times – there is no way around this; acceleration/deceleration of the blades cannot be silent (though I believe there is some research going on into sound baffling etc.)

      Short flange: I’ve actually not seen the internal reflections you mention. It may be due to the shape and coating of the back of the lens’ mount, actually. My experience with the A7RII suggests this is the case – some lenses like the Loxias do not exhibit it at all, but my 55/1.8 was bad. As for onion rings due to vignetting – that’s definitely a file compression artefact because there’s often simply not enough data left to interpolate to compensate for exposure especially in the lower tonal ranges.

      • Alex Carnes says:

        Yes, you’re certainly right about the 55/1.8! Although if you do a bit of googling you’ll find most, possibly all, mirrorless cameras have image quality problems caused by the short flange distance. I think Lloyd Chambers has reported quite a few instances.

        Back to the X1D, I can’t believe shutter shock isn’t an issue? I felt the shock waves travel up my arm!

        On a positive note, I liked the haptics and simplicity of the camera. It was beautifully made and felt great in my hand. With a sharp standard prime I could easily see myself having a happy relationship with such a camera!

        • Actually, it isn’t because the forces are symmetric since the blades close radially. I was surprised too…

          • Alex Carnes says:

            Yes, that chimes with my recollection: the shutter was trying to rotate the camera in my hands. Why doesn’t that blur the image?

            • I’m not sure – I also don’t remember it being that bad on any of the lenses I’ve used…

              • Alex Carnes says:

                Fair enough. The camera just put me in mind of the A7R, a flawed but good enough camera undone basically by shutter shock, duff RAW, and optical problems caused by the short flange distance (for me). I can see that the RAW problem doesn’t apply to the X1D…

  45. sapporobaby says:

    This was a fantastic review of a fantastic camera. I was lucky enough to see the X1D before it was released and immediately fell in love with it. I waited a year until the software was improved to the point where I would feel comfortable pulling the trigger and spring withe credit card. I have not looked back. I was a Nikon guy all the way and even was lucky enough to get one of the first D850’s to hit the country where I am living, but alas, the color reproduction and simplicity suited my style of shooting more and I parted with all of my Nikon gear and now shoot with the X1D exclusively. I picked up the 120mm, the 30mm, and may get the zoom when it arrives. I am completely happy with my decision.

    • There’s definitely something in the color – that’s because every single MF Hasselblad sensor is individually calibrated to an absolute standard, which as far as we are aware is something only we do for mainstream cameras. (Incidentally, it’s also the reason the camera can’t start faster: it’s loading a vast calibration dataset to the ram buffer specific to that camera that must be applied to every image). I too have a D850, but it only sees use for some very specific applications…

      • sapporobaby says:

        I thought that I would go through withdrawal symptoms once I sold all of my Nikon gear but in a way, the X1D has given me freedom. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the D850 and Nikon kit, but I can carry the X1D with the 45mm attached in my everyday work backpack and just hop off a bus if I see something I want to shoot. The D850 required me to be dedicated to the shoot and I had to plan, but the portability of the X1D simply begs you to take it with you everywhere.

  46. Great…. now I want one even more 😦
    Awesome article.

  47. Interesting review Ming,
    Transparency is always a balancing act and it’s interesting to read your take on the camera regardless of your ties to Hasselblad. Nothing is perfect in this world and I’d rather read a slightly biased review from an excellent source than most of the rubbish out there.

    I’m interested in the X1D, however the divide between the quality of its EVF and the OVF of my Nikons is at the moment too high. If new models narrow the margin and lessen viewfinder blackout I might put my money where my mouth is. Unfortunately the X2D will most likely use the 100MP sensor and be priced out of my range, we shall see.

    Of course if an XTS 1.5 shift converter is released for the camera I will most likely sell off most of my gear to afford one. It would be quite the landscape dream.

    • Thanks. We’re aware of the demand for the shift converter, though there are other development priorities at the moment – fully fleshing out the native lens range, for starters 🙂

    • Hi,

      Regarding T&S there may be a few interesting options, if you can live with electronic shutter. To begin with as far as I know, you can mount Canon’s T/S lenses on the X1D, using an adapter. But, they may yield little shift as the sensor is larger.

      I also think it may be possible to large format lenses with a camera like the Actus-XCD.
      https://blog.mingthein.com/2018/01/31/long-term-review-the-hasselblad-x1d/

      Best regards
      Erik

      • Yes, LF lenses will work with the e-shutter on the X1D – either leave them open but stopped down and use the e-shutter only, or you could start the e-shutter, trigger with cable release on the lens shutter, then end the e-shutter. Not sure if this will have issues because of the sequential readout though – I don’t have the setup to try it here unfortunately…

        • Nikhil mehta says:

          As long as you close the shutter on the large format lens. There is no light being let in to cause a readout problem would be my guess. You would just have to chose a longish shutter like 1-2 seconds. Then trigger the exposure via the shutter in lens 1/60th or whatever may it be. The effect should be the same.

          • There would be no rolling shutter this way since the exposure is determined by the behaviour of the LF lens’ leaf shutter.

            • Nikhil mehta says:

              Yes and the effective exposure would still remain 1/60th I doubt much noise would be visible due to 1 or 2 sec exposure.

              • Almost none – we don’t need long exposure noise reduction because each sensor is individually calibrated. I’ve got clean exposures of several minutes (not tried or needed longer yet).

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