The Hasselblad X1D-50c comes from the Swedish company which has a long history of making high-end cameras and their products were appreciated throughout their span. One of the high points of the company’s career has probably been when their tools were used to capture the first moon landings and ever since then they have kept bringing out new products.
The thing that stands out the most for this camera is the 50MP capability of the mirrorless medium format camera and the fact that this is the first camera which is in the X system, meaning it was built around the 44x33mm format sensor.
The 50MP 44x33mm medium format CMOS sensor is the main thing but among the features we also have to mention:
– 12.4MP preview JPEGs or 3FR 16-bit lossless compressed Raws
– 2.36M-dots electronic viewfinder
– the 920k dots VGA 3.0” touchscreen
– Tethered shooting over USB 3.0 or over Wi-Fi
The camera was designed to use leaf-shutter lenses and it has full TTL compatibility with the recent Nikon Speedlights. The 50MP chip is similar to the one we can see in the Pentax 645Z or in the Fujifilm GFX 50S but Hasselblad’s format is smaller when compared to the two due to the fact that they pushed the shutter into the lenses. This also permits the camera to sync with the strobes over the entire shutter speed range.
Hasselblad said that three lenses will be coming out for the XCD system: a 30mm F3.5 (24mm equivalent), a 45mm F3.5 (35mm equivalent) and a 80mm F3.2 (70mm equivalent). Aside from these, four additional lenses are in development: a 120mm F3.5 (95mm equivalent) macro lens, a 28-60mm equivalent 35-75mm zoom, a 65mm and a wide-angle 22mm (18mm equivalent).
The overall design evokes the Scandinavian purity which makes the X1D be good at the things that it does but which at the same time doesn’t allow a lot of complexity. You can set the exposure and the focus point but not much else, so when you compare it to similar cameras found on the market it might come as quite lacking in features. There isn’t a panorama feature, no dynamic range options and no multiple focus areas. The plus side is that it is very comfortable to hold and small so it is easy to carry with you.
The small choice of features comes with some additional drawbacks as you cannot use the touchscreen to position the AF point when the camera is to the eye and to do this you have to hold the AF/MF button down which is definitely not optimal. When you start the camera the wait periods are quite long and thus you might have to get it ready a few seconds before taking a shot which kind of defeats some of the purposes of a light camera that you have handy.
The camera has been milled from a block of metal and it looks really durable. The metal is quite dense as it was required to ensure good cooling but you still will probably notice how the X1D starts getting warm as soon as you turn it on. The grip has a good shape and the rubber coating will ensure a firm hold.
You get the feeling that every part was built to last although as you turn it on you will notice that the shutter button is a bit too sensitive and thus you will probably get at least a few accidental shots until you get used to it.
The camera was made with studio work in mind and you get focus peaking in several colors. You can also choose if the M mode should give you a live exposure preview separately from the settings that you have chosen for the P, A or S modes.
The menu is customizable, quite simple and intuitive with three subheadings having all the options: Camera Settings, Video Settings and General Settings. Aside from those a 3×3 grid of icons allows you to put the options you require so that you can access them with ease.
You can choose the lower and the upper ISO setting but you cannot relate them to the focal length. Also, the use of Auto ISO in manual mode seems impossible as there isn’t any option for it.
The Quick Manual mode of exposure is designed to save battery life and to make it quieter while also reducing the shutter lag and this is something additional to give the impression that this camera was designed as a studio camera.
When it comes to the battery, the camera comes with a 23Wh cell which seems to last a short time compared to other cameras in the same range. Hasselblad didn’t publish any figures for the battery life and thus more research will be required until we have the actual performance. The lower edge of the battery is a plate that is exposed at the base of the camera and a latch ejects the battery. There is a catch there which requires you to nudge the battery upwards to release it completely.
This is one of the highlights of this camera and 50MP isn’t something you see for every camera. There may be some artefacts present if the images are investigated at a 1:1 size but that is quite insignificant for most of the purposes of this camera. The noise performance is similar to the other cameras in this range and the color is kind of difficult to talk about as this camera won’t output JPEGs which are intended as final output so it will be quite dependent on the Raw converter that you use.
Overall the designers of the camera have made many smart decisions but we can also see some stunning lacks with their options. Fortunately most of those can be maybe fixed with the release of future firmware and that will make this camera a very good option given the sturdy design.
The drawbacks of the camera are definitely compensated by the amazing image quality and a pleasant overall shooting experience. The clean design and the minimalistic approach can be annoying for some but if you know exactly what your aim is with the camera then this is definitely a game changer for the mirrorless medium format.