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Hasselblad X1D II 50C Shooting Experience Review

The Hasselblad X1D II is a beautiful looking camera, with an elegant, industrial design, combined with a modern touch-screen, and touch-controlled interface. Find out how this 50mp medium-format mirrorless camera performs.


|  Hasselblad X1D II 50c in Mirrorless Cameras
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Hasselblad X1D II Outdoors (3)

The Hasselblad X1D II is the second version of Hasselblad's mirrorless medium format camera, we were there when Hasselblad introduced the World's first medium format mirrorless camera, the X1D, introduced in Goteburg, Sweden, where Hasselblad were founded, and continue to manufacture cameras to this day.

When introduced the X1D was presented as smaller than a full-frame DSLR, and the X1D II continues this, with the same compact body, and Hasselblad has continued to introduce a range of lenses. The most recent being an ultra-compact XCD 45mm f/4 P lens, shown above.

 

The Hasselblad X1D II remains a relatively compact camera, considering it houses a medium format sensor, weighing 766g (with battery and memory card), and when combined with a compact lens, particularly the new XCD 45P 45mm f/4 lens, which weighs 320g, it makes it a camera you can take with you wherever you go, whether that's on a country walk or a trip to the city. The 45mm lens gives an equivalent of 35mm, making it a useful wide-angle lens for a variety of shooting scenarios.

Hasselblad X1D II With Lenses
 

The camera has a 50mp medium-format CMOS sensor, measuring 43.8x32.9mm, 1.66x larger than the "full-frame" sensor in full-frame DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, with their 36x24mm measurements. The camera lets you shoot raw and JPEG images simultaneously, and raw images are saved as .3FR files.

There's a 3.6inch touch-screen on the back with a good resolution of 1024x768, as well as a high-resolution 3.69m dot OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 0.87x magnification, dioptre correction, and auto-switching between the rear-screen and EVF.

Other features of the X1D II include the ability to connect the camera to Hasseblad's Phocus Mobile 2, via USB-C and Wi-Fi, so that you can import, edit and rate raw images on an iPad Pro/Air, and work "tethered" as you would in the studio. It also supports full quality image export, tethered shooting and direct camera control. You can, of course, still tether to a desktop, PC or Mac.

Hasselblad's "Natural Colour Solution" is designed to give consistent and proper colour matching to what the human eye sees, you don't need to select a specific colour profile (such as "Portrait" or "Landscape") instead, Hasselblad say the "colours simply come out correctly".

The camera uses XCD lenses, but can also use HC/HCD, XPan, and V System lenses, with an adapter.

Hasselblad X1D II (5)

Key Features

  • 50mp medium-format CMOS sensor, 43.8x32.9mm
  • 3.6inch touch-screen, 2.36m dot, 1024x768 resolution
  • 3.69m dot OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF), 0.87x magnification
  • 14 stops of dynamic range, 16-bit raw images
  • 2.7fps continuous shooting
  • Wi-Fi, GPS built-in
  • USB Type-C
  • Dual SD card slots (UHS-II)

 

Hasselblad X1D II 50C Handling

Hasselblad X1D II (3)

The first thing you notice about the Hasselblad X1D II 50C is how the camera feels. Machined from aluminium, the X1D II feels incredible in the hand. Reassuringly solid... It's a design piece rather than a "standard" camera, with typically Swedish lines, clean and purposeful.

There is some weight to the camera, being 766g with battery and memory card.

There's a good size handgrip with rubber grip covering the camera that goes all the way from the front of the camera, round to the back of the camera. The grip is extended at the back to provide a larger area to hold on to and means you can get a really firm hold of the camera.

The X1D II is said to be quicker than the X1D, however, it isn't a particularly fast camera to use in comparison to a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

There's a several second wait for the camera to switch on, there's also a delay for the electronic viewfinder (EVF) to show up when you hold the camera up to your eye.

Hasselblad X1D II (8)

Focus isn't particularly quick, with any of the lenses we used, in comparison to a more traditional DSLR or mirrorless camera, but works well for static subjects. The shutter noise is particularly quiet, as the shutter is built-in to the lens. The fastest shutter speed available, with XCD lenses, is 1/2000s, or 1/10000s using the electronic shutter. The longest shutter speed is an impressive 68 minutes!

You can use the touch-screen to set the focus point, and change settings. In the screen shown above, you can press the screen to change various settings such as the drive mode, metering, and more. In playback, you can swipe to move between photos, and pinch-to-zoom.

The camera has a video setting on the mode dial, as well as a dedicated video menu section, however, these can't be used yet, as the camera will simply tell you that the video feature is not available yet. This is expected to be added, via a firmware update, relatively soon.

The screen and EVF have a refresh rate of 60fps, and both look good. The EVF is larger than the X1D, and using it the view looks very good with a clear display and accurate colour reproduction.

Charging and battery life

You can charge the battery in the camera, or using an optional external battery charger, called the "battery charging hub". The battery is the same design as the battery used in the X1D, however, the capacity has been increased to 3400mAh. Using the provided USB charger, you can charge the battery fully in 2 hours.

Hasselblad X1D II (7)
 

Hasselblad X1D II 50C Performance

We took a range of images, in a variety of locations, using the camera as an "everyday" camera, that we had with us at all times. We mostly used the X1D II with the XCD 45mm f/4 P lens due to the compact nature of the lens. You can view additional images in the EQDB.

 

Hasselblad X1D II 50c Sample Photos

Sample images - We primarily used the XCD 45mm f/4 P lens, due to the size, this made the camera more compact for travelling. However, this isn't a lens particularly designed for "wow" levels of bokeh. If looking at JPEG images from this lens, then vignetting (darkened corners) are clearly visible, as the camera is not correcting this in-camera. It's not until you open the raw files in Phocus that you see the corrected result (see the red box photo), correcting for vignetting and distortion.

Raw files can be opened in Adobe Photoshop and other programs, although the recommended software is Hasselblad's Phocus software, which is completely free, and gives automatic corrections for lenses (with built-in vignetting correction), without having to worry about lens profiles etc, as it's all built-in. It's like taking your Mercedes to the dealer, they have all the right software to plug into your car. Raw files are around 104MB in size, JPEG images are between 10MB and 35MB depending on the subject.

We also used the 135mm f/2.8 and 65mm f/2.8 lenses, and these lenses, particularly the 135mm f/2.8 delivered impressively smooth bokeh. You can use the 135mm lens (104mm equiv) with a 1.7x teleconverter, to give a 176mm equivalent.

The camera produces images that look natural, with very pleasing colour reproduction. Sharpness levels were very good.

 

Hasselblad X1D II 50c ISO test images

ISO range and performance - Rather than offer an excessively wide ISO range (with high ISO speeds that are mostly useless), the X1D II offers an ISO range from ISO100 to ISO25600. These provide a usable range. Noise becomes more visible at ISO3200, however, the noise appears quite "natural" like a fine grain film, with detail remaining in the image, even as you increase the ISO speed. At ISO25600 noise is quite clearly visible, however, better results can be achieved from the raw file, as noise reduction settings appear to be quite low on the camera's JPEG output. This is most likely to maintain as much detail as possible, as well as give you an image that is natural - the opposite of other cameras that overly process the image, and overly reduce noise at the expense of image detail.

 

Hasselblad X1D II 50c White-balance test images

White balance performance - The camera's auto white balance (AWB) performance is excellent under fluorescent, tungsten, and mixed light with an image produced that shows very good colour reproduction. The tungsten preset gives a slight colour cast, as does the fluorescent preset.

 

Hasselblad X1D II 50C Verdict

Hasselblad X1D II 45mm F4 (2)

For most people, the Hasselblad X1D II (and lenses) will be out of reach, but the Hasselblad X1D II isn't for most people. The X1D II is available for £5399 body only, with the 45mm f/4 lens available for £1029. Additional lenses start at around £2300. This isn't as affordable as the Fujifilm GFX cameras (from £2999), and lenses (from £500), but is very keenly priced compared to Hasselblad's H6D series, which starts at around £13K for the 50mp camera.

The Hasselblad X1D II is for those that are familiar with shooting medium format cameras in the studio, and instead offers the same medium format image quality in something that can be carried around with them. They will be familiar with the kind of camera, and how the camera's focus is best suited to static and still subjects. When we were shooting with the X1D II we wanted to get lower down, but we'd have found this much easier if the camera had a tilting screen (great for low-down shots).

If you're shooting with a full-frame camera, and thinking about switching or upgrading, then it's worth trying before you buy. The speed of the camera's focusing system can be considered as slow, and this will affect your ability to photograph moving subjects.

The Hasselblad X1D II 50C is, without doubt, a beautiful looking and feeling camera. The X1D II offers beautiful looking images, however, to get the best from the camera more effort is needed compared to other mirrorless cameras. Particularly with moving subjects, in terms of ensuring focus is correct, and it'll take you longer to get the results compared to a similar megapixel mirrorless camera. Simply because you can't rely on the camera's autofocus every shot. With 2.7fps continuous shooting, you also can't just use continuous shooting and hope that you get the shot.

Shooting with the Hasselblad X1D II is an enjoyable experience from an ergonomics point of view, with great handling, a large screen, and high-resolution viewfinder, and for anyone who uses Hasselblad in the studio, being able to take a Hasselblad out and about in such a small package will be a an exciting opportunity.

 

Hasselblad X1D II 50C Pros

  • Compact medium-format camera
  • Particularly small with the 45mm f/4 lens
  • Great 3.6inch touch-screen
  • Excellent ergonomics and feel
  • Looks great

Hasselblad X1D II 50C Cons

  • Video not yet available
  • Slow focus speeds
  • Price limits reach

Features4.5/5
Handling5/5
Performance4/5
Value3.5/5
Overall Verdict

Own this product? Let us know what you think of it in the EQDB.

 

Hasselblad X1D II 50c Specifications

ManufacturerHasselblad
Image Sensor
Pixels50Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)8272
Pixels (H)6200
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeMedium-Format
Sensor Size (width)43.8mm
Sensor Size (height)32.9mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3.6in
Screen resolution2.36m dot
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest60sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Program Variable
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
  • Centre Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 25600
White balance
    Exposure Comp+/-5
    Viewfinder
    Viewfinder Resolution3.69m dots
    Shooting Options
    Continuous shooting2.7fps
    Video
    Movie modeNo
    Video Resolution
      Video FPSNo Data
      Stereo SoundYes
      Optical Zoom with VideoYes
      Other Features
      Image StabilisationNo
      Interface
      HDMINo
      USBUSB-C
      Wi-FiYes
      Storage
      Card Type
      • SD
      • SDHC
      • SDXC
      File Type
      • RAW
      • JPG
      • RAW + JPG
      Power Source
      Battery TypeLithium-ion (7.2VDC/3400mAh)
      Battery Life (CIPA rating)No Data
      Box Contents
      Box ContentsNo Data
      Dimensions
      Weight766g
      Width148mm
      Height97mm
      Depth70mm

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      Comments


      lemmy 12 2.8k United Kingdom
      11 Mar 2020 11:27AM
      A photographer's camera. Slows you down, makes you think.

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