Here’s our in-depth review of the mirrorless medium-format Hasselblad X1D-50c…
For the past six decades, Hasselblad has been the undisputed king of medium-format. Its cameras were chosen for the moon landings in 1969, and quickly became the cameras of choice for the world’s top fashion photographers. Hasselblad’s latest offering is the seminal X1D, which combines the medium-format sensor of its H System range and the mirrorless technology of its APS-C Lunar. This makes it a very cutting-edge piece of kit and one of only two medium-format CSCs on the market. It has managed to cram all of this technology into a very compact body that actually weighs less than Canon’s full-frame 5D MkIV.
The Hasselblad X1D-50c is a beautifully designed camera
Hasselblad has designed this entire camera with an ethos of simplicity. It’s not a feature-laden camera, but the fact that everything is so streamlined just reminds you how dedicated the Swede’s are to the simple act of taking a great shot. Beyond the colossal 50MP resolution, features of note are the 3in, 920k-dot touchscreen and the 100-25,600 ISO range (which, sadly, struggles with noise from 6400).
Wi-Fi is also built-in, allowing settings control via the Phocus app, though you can’t transfer images, likely due to 110MB RAW file sizes.
The X1D is also supplied with the new XCD 45mm f/3.5 lens, which is part of a new range that’s been designed specifically for the mirrorless X System.
Handling & build
The design and build quality of the camera is truly astounding, utilising a four-piece milled aluminium construction for a sleek, ultra high-end feel. This method allows the X1D to be fully weather- and dust-sealed.
The top-plate features three function buttons, a shutter release button and the mode wheel. The rear is dominated by the touchscreen, with a bank of five buttons on the right edge, and two function buttons at the top. Exposure is controlled by the two wheels, front and rear, as well as via customisable touch menus which work exceptionally well. The handgrip is covered in a premium textured rubber and gives one of the most satisfying handling experiences I’ve ever had, offering supreme confidence to go handheld.
Most controls are within reach, though the AF selection button is a stretch when using the EVF. The XCD 45mm lens matches the camera’s premium and robust feel, and a large grip makes manual focusing easy. This glass also houses the leaf shutter (rather than there being a focal plane shutter in front of the sensor), which offers the advantage of native high speed use for flash shooters, being able to sync at any shutter speed in its 60min-1/2000sec range, and quieter operation.
The automatic metering and shooting modes worked very well in test, picking some great settings to get the perfect shot. The rear touchscreen, while not as impressive a resolution as you’d expect (920k-dot), works as well as the best on the market, although you can’t focus or shoot by touch. Images also appear quickly after taking your shot.
The 2.36MP EVF also looks great, with brilliant colour, but it does suffer from noticeable lag. Start-up takes up to 10 seconds, which will lose you a lot of shots and the capture rate won’t win any awards, averaging 2fps.
The autofocus is a 35-point contrast-detect type, which works fine in ideal conditions, but struggles in darker scenarios. The AF illumination lamp is also extremely bright, so not great for candids. Thankfully, manual focus assist peaking is fairly reliable to ensure you get pin-sharp images.
RAWs couldn’t be pushed as hard for editing as those from other manufacturers, which definitely lets it down.
The concept of a light, portable medium-format camera is great, and the beautifully designed X1D produces stunning images. Unfortunately, the lack of features, over-simplified point-and-shoot design and limited battery life means it comes up short against the also recently released, but better and cheaper, Fujifilm GFX 50S.
- Image quality
- Outstanding grip
- Focus peaking
- Beautiful design
- Slow AF
- Underperformed ISO
- Slow start-up
- Laggy EVF
- Poor battery life
- Lack of features
- Lack of AF points
- Effective resolution: 50MP
- Lens: XCD 45mm f/3.5
- Sensor: 43.8x32.9mm CMOS
- LCD: 3in 920k-dot touchscreen
- Viewfinder: 2.36MP XGA
- Shutter: 60min-1/2000sec
- Autofocus: 35-point contrast-detect
- ISO: 100-25,600
- Shooting speed: 1.7-2.3fps
- Exposure metering: Spot, centre, centre spot
- Dynamic range: 14 stops
- Video: Full HD at 25fps
- Audio port: Yes, in and out
- Pop-up flash: No
- Other features: Self-timer, Wi-Fi, GPS, USB 3.0
- Battery life: 200 shots
- Card type: Dual SD slots
- Size (WxHxD): 150x98x71mm
- Weight: 1142g
- Find out more on the Hasselblad website