I am in Istanbul for a short while with my family and I could not resist shooting the Blue Mosque at sunset earlier today, especially once I saw the potential for some color in the sky. I only took the Hasselblad X1D with two lenses (45mm f/3.5 and 90mm f/3.2) with me, since I have been using the Fuji GFX 50S quite a bit and this time I wanted to shift my attention to the Hassy. So far, I have been pretty frustrated with the Hasselblad for a number of reasons, mainly due to very slow startup, firmware instability and poor battery life. While I really enjoyed the Fuji GFX 50S as a travel camera, I cannot say that I would recommend the X1D as one. I have missed so many moments waiting for the camera to start up – sometimes it does not properly start up, giving me all kinds of strange errors.
While I am planning to write a complete review of both cameras after I get back home, I just wanted to share a few things about the X1D with our readers, especially for those who are considering the two cameras. While the camera is surely a joy to use, Hasselblad needs to work hard on making the camera a lot more stable than it currently is. Even if I completely dismiss the poor battery life of the X1D (the Fuji GFX 50S has a much better battery life in comparison), the slow start up time, along with some serious firmware issues are the main reasons why I would not recommend the camera at this time. While one can put the camera to sleep instead of completely turning it off by pressing the power button instead of holding it, the idle state slowly eats up the battery and it does not always wake up from the state correctly. I have encountered a number of very annoying firmware bugs such as the following:
- Random “Memory Card Slow” warnings, despite using fast Sony 95 MB/sec memory cards
- Random hangups that cause the camera go haywire, giving me a serious error that asks me to take the battery out and plug it back in
- Random “No Card” errors when two cards are present in both banks
- Random “Memory Card Full” errors when using two memory cards in overflow config – had to swap cards to make the error go away
- Random issues with the camera refusing to change aperture or shutter speed in Aperture Priority and Manual modes – only cure is to turn the camera off and on
I am not sure what Hasselblad is planning to do with firmware updates, but the engineers need to quickly jump to making the camera acceptable to use. So far, it is a very frustrating experience.
Battery life is very poor – the camera does not last for more than a few hundred shots, which is pretty bad. In comparison, I shot all day and never ran out of a single battery with the GFX 50S. In fact, the poor battery life is the reason why I almost missed the below shot of the Blue Mosque – if it was not for a power plug that was close by, I would have walked home tonight without a single image. I really wanted to make a panorama with Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, but the battery died after two shots and I took less than 100 shots after the last charge. Perhaps my battery is defective, but it is surely annoying to deal with such abysmal performance.
Nevertheless, when the X1D works, it surely does a beautiful job! The lenses produce a lot of detail and the 90mm f/3.2 is a stunner at f/5.6, with superb clarity and edge to edge performance:
Minimal processing, just a bit of global contrast and color boost in the image.
Photo Walk in Istanbul
If any of our readers are interested in joining me for a photo walk in Istanbul, please let me know in the comments section below! I will be departing on the 23rd and I can host a photo walk in between, perhaps this weekend would be the best time. Sorry for a late notice, but you know how it goes when you travel with kids. Also, please don’t forget some suggestions on where to meet – I am staying right next to the Blue Mosque / Sultan Ahmet.