First View: Hasselblad X1D-50c camera – A personal look

07/23/2016
Casey Henderson

It seems that whenever a new camera hits the market there is a tsunami of positive and negative reviews… the ‘web-gods’ hold a pre-release pilot version with pre-beta version firmware and declare “I like it”, and eventually some guy posts the first “actual photographs”. None of that’s going to happen here…

Every once in awhile a new camera comes along that has the potential to be very interesting; that has “danger zone” written all over it, so naturally I was a little pumped on Friday, 29th July 2016 when I took a closer look at the new Hasselblad X1D-50c.

Hasselblad Japan Team demonstrate the X1D

Hasselblad Japan Team demonstrate the X1D

The sensor is the same as in the Pentax 645z and a number of medium format digital cameras.

Hasselblad X1D-50c
Sensor type: CMOS, 50 megapixels
Sensor dimensions: 43.8 × 32.9mm
ISO range: up to 25,600
Shutter Speed: 1/2,000 sec to 60 min
Flash Sync: at all speeds… it’s a leaf shutter
Controls: shutter speed, f-stop, and ISO are menu items
White Balance: select one of the standards; there is no AWB Auto White Balance

Hasselblad X1D with the 45mm f/3.5 lens

Hasselblad X1D with the 45mm f/3.5 lens

Talking about the downside is de rigueur but unless the camera has a tendency to explode on impact, we can skip lightly over the “unsafe at any speed” comments. A good photographer knows now to leverage equipment and match the tool with the assignment.

The first thing to notice is the way the camera lays in the hands… it’s build for long hours of use, the body weighs just 140g more than the Leica MP body. The 90mm adds a little weight, but no complaints. I understand that in addition to the two XCD-mount lenses that were recently announced, there are plans for a 30mm in XCD mount to be available with the camera’s release.

Hands on... it's not that large for a medium format

Hands on… it’s not that large for a medium format

Hasselblad XCD 30mm (planned)
• 24mm at 35mm Equivalent

Hasselblad XCD 45mm f/3.5
• 35mm at 35mm Equivalent
• Aperture Range: f/3.5 to f/32
• Central Lens Shutter, 1/2000 Sec

Hasselblad XCD 90mm f/3.2
• 71mm at 35mm Equivalent
• Aperture Range: f/3.2 to f/32
• Central Lens Shutter, 1/2000 Sec

On paper, the available ISO means that a f/3.2 or f/3.5 lens are fast enough… and if your interest is bokeh, then there is a lot of opinion out there about 35mm vs. medium format… hard & swirly vs. smooth & silky so I am looking forward to examples from the actual production kit…

Flailing around online to try to get different viewpoints is generally a waste of time… the scheduled delivery of September 2016 seems to be on target and from everything I have see, a hands-on look makes the most sense. Thank-you to Hasselblad Japan; always great support… in fact I will be back to the showroom later this autumn when the production kit is officially released.

This camera has generated a lot of interest for the obvious reasons, and I am sure that the development team is working overtime to fine tune the final version. For anyone with an interest in medium format digital, landscape, portraits, whatever… I can only recommend to go and see the X1D for yourself.