Hasselblad today dropped a huge bomb on the photography market by revealing world’s first medium format mirrorless camera, the X1D-50c. With its huge 44x33mm sensor (0.8x crop factor, 4:3 aspect ratio, ISO 100-25600 range), 16-bit color, 14-stop dynamic range, 2.36 MP electronic viewfinder (EVF), 2.3 fps continuous shooting speed, dual SD card slots, 3″ 920k-dot touchscreen LCD, built-in Wi-Fi, built-in GPS, an incredible leaf shutter capable of flash sync up to 1/2000th of a second and a super lightweight construction weighing only 725 grams with a battery. At 150 x 98 x 71mm, this is a very small camera relative to its sensor and its throat diameter – a truly innovative design. And with all these specs, one might think that the camera would be priced in the $30K+ price range like other medium format Hasselblad cameras. But that’s not the case…the Hasselblad X1D-50c will retail for $8,999, which is surprising, considering that the sensor alone costs about half of the price of the camera. With such amazing specs and a powerful 3200mAh battery (which is a lot – the Nikon D5’s EN-EL18a is only 2500mAh in comparison!), this camera is aimed at a variety of photography needs, including landscape, architecture and portrait photography. In addition to the X1D-50c, Hasselblad has also announced two brand new lenses specifically made for this compact medium format camera – a 45mm f/3.5 (~36mm full-frame equivalent) and a 90mm f/4.5 (~72mm full-frame equivalent). Older Hasselblad lenses will have to be coupled with an adapter to work, which according to Hasselblad will be released soon, retaining autofocus capabilities. Hasselblad dubbed the X1D as a “groundbreaking” camera and such words as “game changer” are used in its public announcement for a good reason – there is nothing at the moment on the market that can compete with the above specs at this price range.
Considering that Hasselblad is a luxury brand, I personally did not expect to see such a camera at this price range. It is pretty clear that Hasselblad wants to extend its customer range beyond the high-end studios that can afford its normal high-resolution medium format camera backs that cost $30K+. That’s an impressive comeback after getting its reputation tarnished by re-branded Sony mirrorless cameras that never sold at the prices the previous Hasselblad management wanted to sell those cameras at.
Given how attractive this camera looks, one big question is – will the others follow? With rumors of Fuji and Sony wanting to release their medium format mirrorless cameras soon, the camera industry could go through a pretty big transformation in the next few years. As usual, both Nikon and Canon seem to be observing what’s going on in the camera industry from the sideline, as there is no indication of either one getting serious about mirrorless cameras any time soon. We are yet to see even a full-frame mirrorless system from either one at the moment, which is pretty alarming, given that we now have a pretty serious medium format mirrorless system from Hasselblad. It is true that the X1D system is too new at the moment, given that there are only two lenses for the mount and the price range isn’t exactly affordable for the masses. However, I have no doubt that Hasselblad will be selling a lot of these cameras to serious amateurs and professionals who want to step up from their full-frame systems in terms of image quality. Just the leaf shutter by itself is something that I have personally been wanting for a while, since being able to use external flash at up to 1/2000th of a second presents a lot of opportunities for high-speed outdoor flash photography.
What’s remarkable is the compact size and light weight construction of this camera. At only 725 grams with the large capacity battery, the X1D-50c is lighter than the Nikon D750 without a battery. Wow. A smaller and lighter medium format system compared to a full-frame DSLR is not something I expected to see any time soon. Just take a look at this graphic that compares the camera to a DSLR:
And here is how small the camera would be in your hands:
Very exciting indeed!
Below is the official announcement from the company:
Hasselblad announces groundbreaking X1D
The world’s first compact mirrorless digital medium format camera
Hasselblad is proud to introduce the groundbreaking X1D – weighing less than half that of a conventional digital medium format camera, the mirrorless 50MP camera is a game changer in the world of photography.
Inspired by the brand’s iconic design heritage, the camera is ergonomic and compact, offering a handling experience unlike any other. Handmade in Sweden, the X1D combines Scandinavian sensibility with beautiful performance.
Like the iconic V System, the X1D seamlessly combines portability with excellent optical quality for which the brand is renowned. Hasselblad has ingeniously introduced mirrorless technology to digital medium format for the first time ever, creating a precision performance camera that can sit in the palm of your hand. The 50MP CMOS sensor captures the finest details with true natural colours.
Commenting on the announcement Perry Oosting, Hasselblad CEO noted: “The X1D marks a pivotal point in Hasselblad’s rich 75-year history. This camera makes medium format photography available to a new generation of Hasselblad users, while pushing the existing limits of photography to new heights.”
A completely new family of dedicated autofocus lenses has been developed to support optical quality and portability, offering a wide range of shutter speeds and full flash synchronisation up to 1/2000th second.
Weighing just 725g and including HD video, Wi-Fi and built-in GPS, the X1D is a trusted partner and ideal travel companion. The robust exterior is dust and weather proof, providing durability to take with you wherever you go.
The X1D has been created with passionate photographers in mind, opening up Hasselblad to a new generation of creatives. Ideal for those who want to create the highest quality medium format images with a straightforward and easy to use camera that can fit in the palm of your hand.