Move Over Nikon: Hasselblad X1D Beats the D850 on DxOMark With a Score of 102

Move Over Nikon: Hasselblad X1D Beats the D850 on DxOMark With a Score of 102

Another day and another DxOMark rating has been broken. This time, however, I don't think it comes as a massive surprise. The Nikon D850 has so far been highly commended, and most, if not all, reviewers probably consider it to be the best DSLR currently available on the market. DxOMark gave it a rating of a clean 100 making it the highest rated stills camera for a brief moment. Since then, Hasselblad has taken that crown with the X1D-50c.

In all fairness this probably isn't anything Nikon needs to worry about. I highly doubt that people are going to rush off and drop their Nikons in favor of the Hasselblad. Considering the massive difference in price and lenses available to each system, this is more of a statement in favor of the Nikon than the Hasselblad. The D850 is turning out to be an incredible camera and actually beats the X1D in one fundamental area: color.

Medium-format cameras have so far been known for excellent colors and this is one of the main arguments for the system. The X1D does produce 16-bit raw files, but based on DxOMark findings, it seems the Nikon is still a better performer. The only area in which the X1D seems to beat the Nikon is when it comes to low light or high ISO performance. Of course, a straight comparison between the two using these ratings is difficult and not something I would suggest. The X1D may or may not be a better stills camera overall, but the question is, by how much exactly, and is it worth it? The other thing to consider is the fact that the X1D does not yet have any world-class native lenses available for it. Some of the best lenses in the market are available for the Nikon making it a much better option.

There are many out there who do not agree with DxOMark's method. Even still, I think the question on many people's minds is: How does the Fuji GFX compare?

[via DxOMark]

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39 Comments

Neville Ross's picture

I'm sorry, but for all of the technological bells and whistles it has, this Hasselblad camera is damn well way, way, too expensive. I'm willing to be that the DSLR cameras sold at my local drugstore can shoot the same picture just as well, and for less money than this one.

No, they can't.

Neville Ross's picture

Fine, but I still stand by what I say.

You can't reasonably ignore the benefits of a larger image capture area, based on physics, whether previously for film or a digital camera sensor.

Michael Holst's picture

I'm pretty sure he's talking more about a "bang for your buck" type of evaluation. The Nikon this article is comparing the Hassy to, is considerably less money (IMO, while still being pretty expensive) and performing similarly.

Could just spend even less money on a 6x7 medium format film camera that arguably still have more resolution than either of these.

He wrote "...the DSLR cameras sold at my local drugstore can shoot the same picture just as well." That was the claim he made and that I addressed.

And no, a 6x7 medium format film camera wouldn't be able to deliver more resolution, even with the larger capture area of 6x7. You can find online the Nikon 800 competing well, and even beating, 6x9. Now you may ask how can that be? It can be for the same reason a comparatively tiny sensor in the SonyRX100 series of cameras can match and even beat 35mm film.

Yeah I've seen that page before. I have also seen another that shows 6x9 Fuji clearly being beaten by the D800. Unfortunately I can't find the link so far but when and if I do I will post it. And you can also dismiss their essentially irrelevant inclusion of Adox film.

Usman Dawood's picture

I don't know Bob, I've done a heck of a lot of comparisons between full frame and medium format and so far there is no clear winner. The main reason is that all of the best lenses currently available are with full frame. Medium format just doesn't have the lenses to compete or make use of the bigger sensor to its full potential. It may be down to the fact that the medium format industry as a whole doesn't have the same type of money or investment available.

It's not just about resolution though. I posted the below from the previous Hasselblad article. The Nikon 850 is the colorful one. It'll also get much worse once the "medium format" sensors actually match medium format film dimensions.

Usman Dawood's picture

I could be wrong but I don't think we're going to see MF digital match MF film anytime soon. There's just not enough money to develop new sensor types for that format.

I do agree about the point that it's not just about resolution. I think a lot of other characteristics when it comes to lenses are still better and more effective with full frame. For example, full frame will produce shallower DOF due to having lenses with much wider apertures and longer focal lengths.

Also it may seem counter-intuitive but diffraction is more of an issue for medium format in many cases. When you shoot at "equivalent" apertures and focal lengths you need to stop down much more on medium format to get more DOF, making diffraction more of an issue.

Full frame may start to beat medium format when it comes to colors now based on how the D850 performs but I haven't seen it personally.

Lastly for dynamic range in all the comparisons I've done medium format was definitely better in highlight recovery but shadows were actually better with full frame, so I'd say no clear winner in that area.

Medium format does have its advantages but when it comes to just the image quality between the two, there is no clear winner, making medium format less and less viable and/or effective.

jonas y's picture

I shoot ff most of the time. FF cameras with Sony sensors can take a -2 F stops underexpose for highlight and that is what I do when I am dealing with high contrast.

Oh I'm sure once it gets cheaper to produce those larger sensors you will see bigger sensors, even into large format.

"Full frame may start to beat medium format when it comes to colors now based on how the D850 performs but I haven't seen it personally."

Not in that comparison that I posted. Unfortunately the highest MP 35mm digital cameras show magenta/green artifacts even at ISO 100. That's the result of a sensor size being pushed beyond reason.

Usman Dawood's picture

Fair point about the magenta green cast.

About the colors I was discussing image quality when shot correctly all cameras will suffer when you push the image but still a fair point.

I'd love to see large format and bigger sensors being developed but don't you think the trend is more towards smaller sensors and form factors? More investments and money is going into improving smaller sensors and full frame sensors than the bigger formats.

Yeah but previous 35mm sensors didn't suffer so easily at ISO 100. I cringe when I see it. It reminds me of the same magenta and green I see in my Sigma DPM cameras.

Sure the trend is smaller but once the tech is easy and cheap to produce in larger sizes then I see no reason why a larger sensor market wouldn't be marketable and successful. The current problem with larger sensors is the high failure rate in production.

Imagine the image quality possible with large format digital.

jonas y's picture

Not only there are comparisons available, but I also did compositing of pictures came from two systems. I can tell you there is no gap between them in terms of look if you use quality lenses.

See the sample above.

jonas y's picture

A comparison has to be still. Again, I did compositing between iq180 and 5Dmk2(which suck), with some color tweaking I can make it work. Phase1 and Hassy have great color science and the superior color is mostly for that. 16bit raw only shows its advantage over 14 when I was doing a huge amount of clarity boost.

Stillness has no relevance in what I am showing in that comparison.

jonas y's picture

If you mean the distortion or "rolling shutter" of focal plane shutter, This is not fast enough. I like the leaf shutter because of the sync speed, but I do not notice the difference any in other ways.

The sample I posted was in regards to the higher color artifacts. that has nothing to so with how still the subject is.

jonas y's picture

Raw file of a D850 NEF is 14bit across 13.5 stops of DR. My point is, this is a jpg or even GIF, you need raw file to compare. I shoot Nikon most of the time, I don't see that on my files.

You would be correct if you get your prints at War Mart but if you do that, you probably aren't looking at a Hasselblad anyway. Otherwise, not even close!

Your local drugstore sells DSLRs? :-)

Pablo Hill's picture

I agree with you if you shoot a picture with a camera bought at cvs and a hasselblad, you will most likely get the same results. In the other hand, in hands of a skillful photographer the difference from one camera to another will be astonishing. You have to understand what this camera is made for and what arr it’s capabilities, to actually take advantage of it. Remember, it’s not the camera that takes the pictures 😏

Felix Wu's picture

Any difference would be neglectable if shot shot using high quality primes on Nikon. The usability and lens selection of DSLR is more favourable for me. The difference would be in the photographers and his/hers artistic judgements. Lighting plays a much bigger role than the sensor itself.

A larger sensor, even with lesser quality lenses, will show less noise, assuming similar levels of technology. It's not just about resolution.

Usman Dawood's picture

Not if it's a Canon :P.

My 5DSR is noisier than the Sony A6300.

Using the image quality comparison tool on a site that starts with the letter d shows at 1:1 for each a somewhat lower level of noise for the Canon but around the same size as the Sony. The Canon will of course show much more detail. And of course once you then downsize the Canon image to the Sony's dimensions you end up with a much more detailed image with less apparent noise due to its smaller size. The one on the left is your Canon and both are at ISO 6400. I think I'd take your Canon's results over the Sony's. :)

Adrian Lyons's picture

I've had discussions with other shooters about the XD1 that they were drooling over. The difference between 100 and 102 is negligible. What isn't negligible is the price difference between the two. So then the whole point of having the XD1 is the ego boost it provides. Yes, owning a Hassy brings with it the feeling of a level of accomplishment.

Like I mentioned to the other shooters drooling over the XD1 they were shooting with. Put two shots next to each other, one from the XD1 and the D850. 99.99% of people would not be able to tell you which camera shot which.