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, leaf shutter, a super lightweight construction weighing only 725 grams with a battery and a very compact size, the X1D 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 camera 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.
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:
At Photo Plus NY, we also had a brief conversation with Mr Makoto Oishi of Fujifilm Corporation, who has been involved in the design and planning of the new Fuji GFX 50S medium format mirrorless camera. As you may already know, Fuji was the second to introduce the medium format mirrorless camera, after Hasselblad made the headlines a few months ago by introducing the Hasselblad X1D-50c. Both feature similar 50 MP medium format CMOS sensors and compete directly with each other in this new market segment. Previously, Pentax was the only company to offer a medium format camera in a similar price range of under $10K (see our Pentax 645Z review), but it cannot be really considered a competitor, since it is a medium format DSLR, which differs vastly in terms of size, weight and ergonomics. The new Hasselblad and Fuji mirrorless cameras are certainly game-changers in that regard, being so compact and lightweight. While full-frame mirrorless cameras can be comparable in size and weight to smaller full-frame DSLRs, the same cannot be said about what Hasselblad and Fuji have done with their mirrorless offerings – the difference between them and something like the Pentax 645Z is just too drastic.
Today is a big day for Fuji, because the company unveiled its first digital medium format mirrorless camera with a 51.4 MP sensor, the Fuji GFX 50S. And not only that, but also a total of 6 medium format “G” mount lenses specifically designed for the new GFX 50S: GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR (18mm equiv), GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR (32mm equiv), GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR (50mm equiv), GF 110mm f/2 (87mm equiv), GF 120mm f/4 Macro (95mm equiv) and GF 32-64mm f/4R LM WR (25-51mm equiv) zoom lens. Both the camera and the lenses are in development and they are not finalized yet, but we can expect the company to start shipping the camera with a couple of lenses in early 2017. Although the pricing has not been announced yet, the company promised that the GFX 50S will be well under $10K, which will put it in competition with the Hasselblad X1D-50c. Many would consider this announcement to be groundbreaking and I believe it really is – Fuji decided to skip full-frame mirrorless altogether, focusing heavily on APS-C cameras and now medium format. With Fuji’s ability to design superb lenses with impressive sharpness, color and contrast characteristics, I have no doubt that the GFX 50S will be in demand.
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.
This review is for the Rolleiflex 2.8 FX Medium Format Twin Lens Reflex Camera. The Rolleiflex is an intriguing camera – a long list of inspiring and master photographers considered this camera one of their favorites. Some famous Rolleiflex camera users include Richard Avedon, Robert Doisneau, Diane Arbus, and Vivian Maier, among others.
Earlier this week, Ricoh Imaging introduced the Pentax 645Z, a high resolution 51.4 MP medium format DSLR camera. While Nikon has been relatively quiet on the resolution front with its now 2+ years old 36 MP D800/D800E models and Canon has not stepped up above 24 MP, Pentax is stepping in with a larger sensor that provides super high resolution 51.4 MP images. With its 43.8 x 32.8mm size sensor, the 645Z has a smaller version of the medium format (MF) sensor that is similar in size to the Leica S-System, although with a different aspect ratio of 4:3 vs 3:2. Compared to full-frame sensors, the physical size of the 645Z MF sensor is about 166% (or 1.66 times) larger, which is a huge difference. Enough of a difference to allow for relatively large pixel size of 5.3 microns – bigger than 4.8 microns on the Nikon D800/D800E. Why does this matter, you might ask? Well, that’s because the Pentax 645Z comes with a CMOS sensor, which is similar technology as we see on all modern DSLR cameras. Compared to traditional CCD sensors used on medium format cameras, a CMOS sensor is capable of yielding images with very little noise at high ISO sensitivity levels. As a result, the Pentax 645Z has an ISO sensitivity range of 100 to 204,800, which is a mind-boggling number for a medium format camera.
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.