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Hasselblad X1D-50C: Reader Comments

Hasselblad X1D-50C

See my Hasselblad X1D-50C wish list at B&H Photo.

Update 26 July: X1D ship date is delayed until Aug 30.

I expect to have the X1D for review in early August, on loan from B&H Photo. See the overview/announcement page for details on the X1D.

Richard J writes:

I have been waiting for this camera since there started to be rumblings of it a few years ago, yet I find myself some what disappointed. I was really looking forward to imagery that showed a more "medium format" look, a more pronounced depth of field, 3 dimensionality, but the few images they showed are quite flat, in composition as well which begs the question would you not want to show images that really hi-lite all the benefits of a larger sensor.

Perhaps the flatness of the images is more a by-product of the lenses? I feel that I can now get that MF look from a 35mm camera using the right lens combination, and with a Sony A7R II or Canon 5Ds the same resolution.

I wonder if there is really that much of an advantage with this Medium format camera, its chip is not that much bigger, can we even call it medium format, its not even 6cm, should it be a MF-C size?

I look forward to your review. However I suspect that Sony may come out with something along the same lines and because of the partnership they have allowed Hassy to go first. Time will tell, but as of yet I see nothing to convince me of spending 2x the amount.

PS a smaller lens might of helped as well. Canon can make a pretty good pancake lens for 35mm, this isn’t to much of a stretch for the slightly bigger chip, maybe its on its way.

DIGLLOYD: I would not assume anything from web images (did I miss some raw files somewhere? I was away for 9 days). The web images look mundane to me too, but I suspect the impressions are wrong: the color range and dynamic range ought to be impressive.

See The Medium Format 'Look' in Guide to Zeiss including discussion by Dr. Nasse of Zeiss. The 'look' has to do with lens design and optical corrections, and these are exceptionally well considered with Zeiss Otus lenses. In other words, the look is already there on 35mm format (and not on any smaller format since there are few to no lenses with equivalent aperture or anything remotely approaching Otus quality).

I’ll be putting the Hasselblad X1D-50C lenses through their paces with field shots using a critical eye to whether they perform commensurately with what I expect from a Hasselblad—that is, image quality that clearly impresses compared with the best of the 35mm format, including Zeiss Otus on the Nikon D810. That, and whether the camera can focus accurately and precisely, which cannot be assumed.

Then there is the Pentax K1 SuperRes format, which currently blows away all other 35mm-format cameras for image quality, albeit with severe restrictions (no motion is allowed to achieve that quality). Within those limitations, I rate the K1 as superior to most medium format cameras, albeit with problematic lens selection. Too bad the Hasselblad X1D-50C lacks similar pixel shift capabilities. As I see it, all cameras should have a SuperRes pixel shift mode; in my view it is the most significant image quality development in many years. If a Nikon D810-SR simply added pixel shift, it would be a mandatory upgrade for me.

As for “smaller lens” and “pretty good pancake lens”, I just don’t see the point of spending a huge sum for a large sensor camera recording marginal image quality from the lens—and then only at f/8 - f/11 (which would be f/9 to f/16 on the larger sensor). While I like the Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM, it can hardly be confused with anything remotely approaching an Otus or similar, particularly when asked to cover a much larger sensor area.

Jason W writes:

Do the leaf shutter lenses negate the need for EFC?

DIGLLOYD: The X1D-50C apparently has no general purpose EFC shutter, but there is a special flash mode that uses EFC shutter in combination with the leaf shutter for flash sync up to 1/2000 sec.

Leaf shutters are not vibration free (they are mechanical after all), so it depends on the shutter. Copal shutters on view camera lenses have quite an obvious thunk, but whether that impact during exposure or only after is not clear to me.

I applaud the use of leaf shutters in the Hasselblad XCD lenses, but I am less keen on the lack of a built-in flash as well as the apparent omission of a true EFC shutter option, or for that matter, any shutter other than the lens—which means that adapting other lenses or using things like the Cambo Mini View Camera is a non-starter. Along with the apparent lack of any speed higher than 1/2000 second. Ideally, the camera would offer a true EFC shutter alone, with the leaf shutter a bonus option for situations where it might be better.

I would expect the leaf shutter in the Hasselblad XCD lenses to be vibration-free for all practical purposes, but “virtually no vibration at longer exposures” is a strange phrasing, since the same could be said of any focal-plane shutter. As such, the statement is restricted to irrelevancy: what matters most in a vibration sense are speeds in the 1/4 to 1/125 range.

Properly implemented EFC offers a full range of speeds up to 1/16000 or so (Leica SL for example). Most EFC implementations require a closing shutter curtain, so EFC still makes noise from the closing of the focal-plane shutter. As well, the vibration-free operation is only through the start of the closing curtain, since most cameras require a closing shutter curtain to finish the exposure.

Leaf shutters allow high speed flash sync, but within limits, since both the shutter and lens diaphragm are mechanical in nature. The limits are implementation-dependent.

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