Hands-On With Hasselblad X1D-50c's New Firmware, Adds Electronic Shutter and Multiple Focus Points

The Hasselblad X1D-50c is the company's most affordable medium-format camera and represented a major shift as the world's first mirrorless medium-format camera. Hasselblad released a new firmware update that brings two new features users have long asked for: electronic shutter capture and more, multiple, user-selectable focus points. How well do these features work? I'll tell you, firsthand. While you can look out for a full review of the X1D-50c in a bit, I took the liberty of loading the new firmware update onto the camera and took it for a quick test drive.

Having additional options for multiple focus points is rather necessary when considering the extremely shallow depth of field these cameras exhibit given the large sensor size. With smaller and more plentiful focus points now available, focus can be more precise than before. At f/3.2, focusing with the center focus point and then recomposing before shooting is enough of a shift to throw off your focus for close-range subjects, such as is common when shooting portraits. Hasselblad introduced its True Focus feature in its H4D, H5D, and H6D bodies a while ago to combat this by having the body calculate the difference in distance between the in-focus point and the camera based on the small shift caused by tilting the body while re-framing, but the X1D does not have this feature.

Granted, you may not want to shoot wide-open anyway, since f/3.2 on a medium-format camera practically feels like f/0.1 on a 35mm body (not truly, of course). But regardless, having the ability to shoot at a wide aperture and maintain focus by selecting the proper, precise focus point in-frame is huge.

To bring up the autofocus point selection, simply hold the AF/MF button down for one second, and then select your point from the grid that pops up on-screen or in the viewfinder, depending on which you're using when you do this. Press the display button to cycle through 35-point and the new 63- or 117-point options. On-screen, you can touch to select your focus point while you can always use the command dials to scroll up and down or left and right. This latter method does feel clunky, and it does make me wish there would have been even just a small, discrete joystick included in this body. Perhaps for version 2.0. For now, having additional autofocus points is still a much needed feature that's finally here.

Finally, the electronic shutter capability has also been requested for some time. With a sensor readout speed of 300ms, you will notice a strong rolling shutter effect with quickly moving objects. But providing shutter speeds of up to 1/10,000s can be a very useful alternative to the in-lens 1/2,000s-max leaf shutter when shooting in brighter environments. Additionally, the electronic shutter mode lifts sets the camera in position, waits a moment for any vibrations to stop, and then fires the shot. This means it's also the best way to get incredible sharp images without any vibration from the body.

The X1D-50c's firmware update can be downloaded from Hasselblad's website today.

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4 Comments

Mehul Dave's picture

"...represents a major shift as the world's only mirrorless medium-format camera". I guess the Fuji GFX 50S doesn't count?

Adam Ottke's picture

Whoops! I meant first. Thanks ;-) Fixed.

Josh Leavitt's picture

It would be most welcome if Hasselblad released a firmware update that shaved a few thousand dollars off the price of the X1D. But in the meantime, I guess more focus points will do.

Rumen Mitchinov's picture

The multiple autofocus points isn't a new feature that comes with the latest firmware. The camera used to have 35 autofocus points before. What's new for this firmware is the resizable focus points, the electronic shutter and and the added 63 or 117 points. Also the the true focus technology of the H system is has been there since the H4, not H5 or H6. Half of the article ins't quite relevant