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Hasselblad X1D Press Event 07/2016


I was invited to the X1D Event in Hamburg by Hasselblad. They showed pre-production models which we could use and test. We also were allowed to shoot images, but because it was a pre-production model, I do not want to post them on the internet.

All I can say is that the IQ is really very good already with that pre-production model. But let's do it in the right order.

First there was the presentation about the thinking behind this camera. Hasselbald has a new CEO and with him a new strategy. The new strategy Hasselblad has with its H6 and X1D is important. They really turned things up and down compared to the last 4 years to refocus on what is important for their target group.

No more rebadged products. No more outsourced development of H-line products. Everything has to be done in house. Only the X1D lenses are produced (but not designed) from another company, that produced also the X-Pan lenses (not Fuji, as far as I can remember)

So in lens design and body design, Fuji was not involved. It is 100% Hasselblad.


Look how small the X1D body is in the hands of the new CEO Perry Oosting...

Then we had a lot of time to try several pre-production models out. Including lenses. I made some snapshots to show how small the X1D is in the hands of various people and when lifting to the face...


It is a feeling like a slightly taller Leica M...






Then I made some compariosn shots to a D810...





... and lens-size comparisons (my Sony Xperia Z1 compact), the Nikkor 18-35 zoom (fullframe 35mm) vs. the Hasselblad 90mm lens (which is the bigger than the 45mm)...

All I can say it "wow", how tiny this is for a medium Format lens...




The focusing ring reminds me a little bit to the Zeiss Touit lenses for Fuji X/ Sony alpha system.


Again, the tiny body with the 45mm lens...


and the well known images they presented at press release. It is not only about resolution with Medium Format. It is also about colours, dynamic range etc. Black is really black in all variations...


Of course also Hasselblad wants to offer accessories, which are in line with the design of this X1D...

Billingham is certainly a good partner for this, if you want to have high quality bags...











So the X1D is in my opinion all about portability and flexibility. It shall not replace the H-system. It shall complement it, depending on the needs of the photographer.

I do think that some Hasselblad H-system users will add the X1D to their equipment. Just to be able to use the same image quality for walk-arounds or those situations, in which they have to be very quick and flexible. You do not need 100 lenses for that or a tripod. Although this is also possible. The wireless connectivity of the X1D and the flash options with flash sync of 1/2000s and Nikon hotshoe make this easily (and cheap) possible ;)

But I see a new target group for this X1D. I would call them Leica M / Fuji X-Pro / Mamiya 7 users. The X1D is so small and the philosophy of the body design and controls is clearly very attractive for those of us, who like also Leica M (or Fuji X-Pro or Mamiya 7). Keep it simple and easy to use. Keep it small. Keep it light.

I would have perferrred for this less MP. Same sensor with only i.e.24MP. This would then be then a low light "monster". A dream...

You can not only make all settings on the touchscreen like a smartphone, you can also do all basic settings with hard buttons. Fast and comfortable. So you have both of two worlds and it is up to you how you use the X1D. The new way like a smartphone or the "old" classic way with hard buttons. I do both. Depending on what is easier in that specific moment.

If you prefer big and bulky or need specific features you do not find with the X1D (äähhhhm which?), you have a huge choice in the Hasselblad H-system. Of course there will be adapters also to use any kind of Hasselblad lenses on that X1D.

There will come also more X1D lenses of course. It is said something around 30mm at Photokina. So you will have in October already 3 genuine lenses: 30mm, 45mm and 90mm. For a start you really do not need more IMHO. I am sure more lenses will follow but I am not in this "mine is bigger than yours" game. Many people have so many lenses and only use 2 or 3 of them.

For this kind of "rangefinder" medium format camera, these 3 lenses would cover 99% of all my needs.

back to my impressions on the pre-production model: AF is not slow but neither Formula 1. I had my Ricoh GR with me on the press conference and I found both equally fast in dim light. As you can ses the demo was inside with not ideal light. But who shoots sports with a Medium Format camera? If you absolutely need that speed, buy a Nikon or Canon fullframe.

The viewfinder was good. Again in low light. But I need to use it side by side with another mirrorless viewfinder to give a fair judgement. From the stomach I would say equal to my Fuji X-T1. But take it with a grain of salt.

Now the interesting question will be, what Fuji will do. There are rumors that Fuji will present a Medium Format camera too. Probably at Photokina 2016 in September. Since Fuji is known for making good and small-sized cameras, I would expect from them something similar like the X1D. Something like a X-Pro2 slightly bigger. IMHO it does not make sense to copy a Hasselblad H6 or a Pentax 645 design. Anyway...The more choice, the better for us.

So I am excited about these movements in the Medium Format area. So far the X1D would be all I need - if at all as a hobby photographer :(

If you have questions, feel free to ask here...

Best wishes