Hasselblad created quite a bit of buzz when it released the Hasselblad X1D-50c in June of 2016. With its 44x33mm image sensor, 2.36 MP electronic viewfinder (EVF), dual SD card slots, 3″ touchscreen LCD, built-in Wi-Fi, GPS, leaf shutter, a super lightweight construction weighing only 725 grams with a battery and a very compact size, the X1D-50c looked absolutely stunning both in terms of its specifications and its stylish design. Hasselblad priced the camera at $8,999 MSRP at introduction, which when compared to the traditional Hasselblad prices, looked like a bargain for the first time. Hasselblad called the X1D a “groundbreaking” camera and a game changer – pretty bold, but valid statements given “the world’s first medium format mirrorless” status. Despite the fact that the X1D-50c was delayed a number of times since its announcement due to high demand, I was able to get a hold of a sample unit back in March of 2017. So this review is based on 4 months of heavy shooting with the camera in different shooting environments.
Without a doubt, the release of medium format cameras by both Fujifilm and Hasselblad have shaken up the photography industry and have sparked interest from many enthusiast and professional photographers, who are interested in moving up to medium format. While Hasselblad delivered the smallest and the lightest medium format camera ever made in the shape of the X1D-50c, Fuji definitely surprised many of us with the low (for medium format) price of the GFX 50S. With both cameras featuring similar Sony-made sensors with the same size and resolution, one might think that the two cameras compete directly with each other. However, once we look at some details and understand the real differences between the GFX 50S and X1D-50c, it becomes more apparent that the two cameras might have been created for completely different purposes and uses. I have been fortunate to have had my hands on these two cameras for the past few weeks and although I am planning to put the two cameras to real use very soon, I have already gathered some thoughts that I would like to share with our readers. Let’s take a look at the two medium format cameras in more detail and compare them side by side.
After we interviewed Fuji on the new GFX 50S medium format mirrorless camera, we also decided to interview folks at Hasselblad on their new X1D-50c. Since both cameras feature very similar sensors and are both mirrorless, they surely do compete head-to-head with each other. However, there are surely some interesting differences worth looking at – the X1D-50c does not have a shutter mechanism (it is integrated into lenses as a leaf shutter), it is a visibly smaller camera in comparison, its ergonomics are vastly different (less buttons and knobs to use) and it looks like it will be priced higher than the Fuji GFX 50S. In our interview with Ove Bengtson, Product Manager of Hasselblad, we take a quick look at what the X1D-50c has to offer:
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.
My New Year’s resolution not to buy any new cameras or lenses this year is in serious jeopardy. Longtime friend of Photography Life Mark Fagan alerted me to this MEGADEAL. Yes – Hasselblad has sliced prices 70% on selected models, er I mean model. For those of you new to photography, Hasselblad is one of the most revered names in photography. Put it this way, people who can’t afford Hassies buy Leicas to impress their friends.
I was wrong – Hasselblad seems to be determined to continue its partnership with Sony in ways we find somewhat…questionable. They have recently announced their third rebranded Sony camera, the Hasselblad HV. This time it is not based on Sony’s mirrorless system, however, but is built around their flagship DSLR/SLT camera, the A99. As with Hasselblad Lunar, which we failed to understand, the changes are purely cosmetic – the sensor and all other internal bits are exactly the same between the two. And, as with Lunar, the new HV carries a premium price tag of, wait for it, around $11,500 for the camera body with the Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. Interested?
Hasselblad Lunar is a camera that many have heard about, many have seen images of, yet we never spoke about it here at Photography Life. We have not compared it to any other camera nor even let you know about the announcement as we usually do with high-end cameras. And the Lunar is indeed a high-end camera, a good one at that (if you choose to ignore one or two facts, more on which later). So… Why didn’t we ever mention it? I will be honest – we don’t like it all that much. No, that is kindly said. Actually, we think it is utterly, utterly pointless.