Hasselblad Announces the X1D

Hasselblad Announces the X1D

Since its transition to digital, medium format has been thought of as bulky and heavy systems for high-profit commercial jobs or for wealthy photographers. Despite the attempt of Leica to create a smaller camera with the S series, no real alternative to the Hasselblad H and Phase One DF/XF has found a place on the market. However, this might change today with the brand-new Hasselblad X1D.

The Hasselblad X1D is not to be confused with the Canon 1D X. Both are top of the line cameras with high price tags. However, they have nothing in common. The just-announced Swedish handmade camera is a mirrorless system with a medium format sensor. How is this something special you may ask? Well, let’s dive in.

Specifications

Medium format is known for its larger sensors. A full frame medium format sensor, such as the Phase One IQ3 100 MP, is 53.7x40.4mm versus 24x36mm for your traditional 35 mm camera — that’s about twice the surface. The X1D will carry a 44x33mm sensor. So, slightly smaller than a 645 full frame sensor, but still more than 1.5 times the size of a 35mm sensor.

The sensor is similar to what is found in the Hasselblad H5D-50c or H6D-60c, but with a few tweaks. It seems like this revamped version can produce 16-bit images and not just 14, and also, the ISO can be pushed all the way up to 25,600 or as low as 100.

But what’s really special about this camera is finding such a big sensor in such a compact body: only 1.6 pounds (725 grams) and smaller than most current 35mm DSLRs. To achieve this form factor, Hasselblad made it a mirrorless camera. So, no prism here, only an EVF with a clear display showing all the main info you need to shoot. All the other settings, such as WiFi and GPS, can be accessed and adjusted using the multi-touch 3-inch screen.

Wedding photographers looking for a way to step up their game and separate themselves from the crowd will be happy to see that Hasselblad put two SD slots on the X1D.

Lenses

Two lenses will be released with this new system: a 45mm f/3.5 and 90mm f/3.2 — respectively 36mm and 73mm equivalents to full-frame 35mm focal lengths. A wider focal length will be coming for Photokina, and it’ll be a 30 mm.

The new lens lineup will be using a leaf shutter system allowing for shutter speeds between 60 min and 1/2000 s. Flash can be used at all shutter speeds.

As those two lenses alone will probably not satisfy everyone, while new ones are developed, the H lenses can be used as well. A simple adapter will be required. This will make the investment even more interesting for people that already own a set of Hasselblad lenses.

Pricing and Availability

The camera will be available for $8,995, while the lenses will cost $2,295 for the 45mm and $2,695 for the 90mm, meaning if you decide to buy both lenses with the body, it will cost you about $14,000.

The two lenses and the X1D will be available by the end of August or beginning of September 2016.

The Future of Medium Format

This camera, or system shall we say, is clearly not for everyone. While cheaper than most digital medium format solutions out there, but also smaller, it’s still a significant investment for many.

The first reviews will also say if the AF is better than the current medium format systems on the market. The new lenses feature autofocus, but no information was given regarding the capabilities of the camera's AF. If it is as good as the image quality, this might just be the perfect tool for wedding, portrait, and street photography, or just for wealthy photographers.

It will also be interesting to see if and how Phase One and Pentax will react to this announcement. Phase One bought Mamiya a few months ago, and we might be tempted to dream of the Mamiya 7 being brought back to life with a hint of digital magic in it. This would make for a very captivating game between the two Scandinavian companies.

For gear lovers, the next few months leading to Photokina will probably be very exciting…

For more information about the new Hasselblad X1D, head over to Hasselblad's website.

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61 Comments

Previous comments
Anonymous's picture

The latest Sony CMOs medium format sensors seem on par tech-wise with the latest FF sensors.

The 50MP sensor is actually pretty contemporary with an excellent DR. The AF in this body is CDAF which has drawn quite close to PDAF in many cameras.
Overall, this camera incorporates a thoroughly modern architecture that take a huge leap in MF land.
Your information on the state of MF is outdated.

Jason Vinson's picture

wonder what flash sync speeds will be for this...

'The new lens lineup will be using a leaf shutter system allowing for shutter speeds between 60 min and 1/2000 s. Flash can be used at all shutter speeds.'

Jan Christian Zimara's picture

For me it's the best point! A camera which is relative low priced to enter the Mediumformat and you got the full range of flash sync, by housing it with less weight, compared to my Canon 1dx...

Quentin Decaillet's picture

What Jem said ;) And the Nikon flashes should work on this as well, not sure about Nikon TTL though… the specs aren't very clear.

Spy Black's picture

Hassleblad working in a format they know something about, who'd a thought?

Did Hassleblad make their own lenses back in the photo-optical era? These lenses are made by a Japanese company called Nitto.

Cameras like this and the Leica SL just gave rise to a new market: Richsumer...

Anonymous's picture

To my knowledge they always had other companies making their lenses. Zeiss for many years and then later Fuji. These may have been designed in-house though (or with direct consultation, prob used a boutique design firm) and are just being built by Nitto. In the same way that Zeiss designs their own lenses but Cosina builds most of them.

Jon Dize's picture

Carl Zeiss optics.

Leigh Miller's picture

Nice to see another manufacturer enter the mirrorless space and this will definitely be an option for those with available cash. I wouldn't invest in this though until an acceptable number of lenses are released. At least the flash situation is easy to handle right out of the gate.

I would also like to see how they have addressed the shutter shock issue that nearly every mirrorless manufacturer has experienced in the past three years.

The upside is that some Hassy products will likely come down in price over the next year or two.

Arturo Mieussens's picture

Shutter shock should´t be an issue with leaf shutters. No mirror lock-up required either ;-)

Still pissing on their heritage and avoiding the SQUARE that Ernst Wildi said came directly from God.
Am not interested in mini 645 you idiots. Get us a real Hasselblad.

Sean Molin's picture

You ready to pay $50,000 for a square 6x6 sensor? I also bet there will be a square crop option that gives you native 33x33 files.

Get an old Kodak 16MP back. It was square. Ironically it was announced on Sept 12, 2001. :/

Sean Molin's picture

Ansel Adams loved shooting square because you could frame and crop both horizontal and vertical compositions without rotating the camera.

And, sure, the human field of vision is close to 4:3, but I'm not sure how that really matters with regards to the final product. Square images look pretty great to me.

Joshua Davis's picture

...with lens designs by toys-r-us.

Sean Molin's picture

The new lenses look good to me.

Jake Reeder's picture

Oh lordy.

Rob Mynard's picture

Shots fired, let the MF wars commence.
Fuji and Sony, get in there.

At least Sony is there, althought not in a direct way. I don't know of any other MF sensor manufacturer.

Quentin Decaillet's picture

I wonder if Sony could ever make MF cameras or if they have a non-compete agreement with the other manufacturers… Only time will tell I guess :)

Rob Mynard's picture

There was a rumor going around a few months back that the non-compete agreement only effected interchangeable lens MF but they could produce a range of fixed lens MF cameras (like a big Fuji X100T), imagine walking into a wedding with one 35mm MF and one 85mm MF hanging on your shoulders. Make way for the king.

This a brilliant move on Hasselblad's part. It introduces a thoroughly modern mirrorless body for a proven and excellent sensor at a great price (for MF).
The key is the leaf shutter lenses. It is hard to overstate the importance of flash sync at all speeds for those who work with flash extensively. Not only are they reasonably priced, they promise to uphold the Hasselblad tradition of optical excellence.
Using Nikon's flash shoe implies that they may have licensed their TTL technology also. Not of interest to me but for the advanced amateurs who will be flocking to it I am sure it is welcomed.

The amateurs who will be buying it are integral to the success of this camera as it will generate the volumes need to fund development of new lenses and bodies.

For MF it really its a game changer.

Rob Mynard's picture

Yeah using Nikons flash tech saves them from having to produce a decent lighting system too (I'm looking at you Sony) and Nikons speedlight game is strong. So wedding guys could incorporate this straight into their existing set-up.

I think this camera could be a surprising performer for wedding photographers as the silence of the shutters and the high ISO performance could make it shine.
Killer formals.
The weight though. :/

Rob Mynard's picture

I'm still dubious of the ISO claims, we'll see when the hands ons start what the usable ISO is.

A larger, high res sensor made by Sony has a lot of potential. Noise generated by high ISOs gets greatly reduced by downsampling. Wedding photographs do not need super res.
I am betting that this has similar performance to the Pentax 645z sensor (same one) and that is already excellent.

Why not QFD? That boggles my mind. Still like it.

Rob Mynard's picture

What do you mean by QFD? I can't find any obvious reference to that acronym on google.

Martin Francis's picture

You mean XQD? I dunno, maybe they thought the universal availability of SD was worth the tradeoff. At 1-2 frames per second, even 16-bit 50 megapixel files shouldn't test a fast SD card unduly.

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