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Reader Comment: Hasselblad X2D Stopped-Down Focusing in 100% Magnified Live View? (possible yes with continuous button press)

re: Hasselblad X2D

Hasselblad X2D 100C

UPDATE: it took a while to sort-out all of this, and there is enough of a mess below that I’m just going to simplify it all in this how-to summary.


Can the Hasselblad X2D focus stopped-down in 100% magnified Live View?

Stefan writes in response to a comment in this post (update, since removed given new information). As I write this, I added a footnote there clarifying “100% magnified Live View”.

Stefan I writes:

I’ve been a long time subscriber and I’ve enjoyed tremendously your Zeiss material, which has proven very valuable to me, over the years.

But since I’m shooting medium format, both Fujifilm GFX 100 and Hasselblad X2D, your reviews started to have … inconsistencies, and many of your results are no longer reproducible.

Now, please, I’m not going to go into everything, but it’s painful for me to watch you making the same 100% wrong statement over and over: you see no way to compensate for focus shift on the Hasselblad X2D. Which means you haven’t yet found the focus preview button, near the lens mount - which coupled with any MF or AF action will give you stopped down focusing. No stress, no problems. I use it all the time. But yet you keep dismissing Hasselblad engineers … because you cannot find a button on one of the simplest to use cameras in the world.  That’s really unprofessional! (Oh and by the way my 38V massacred my 35-70 GF zoom, and I saw no evidence of foul play in any of the 2 lenses).

Please, we need you back as a consistent and reputable voice in the photography world, let’s get back to properly checking / using stuff, before making loud (embarassing) repeated , expert … mistakes!

Respectfully yours,  Stefan.

DIGLLOYD: I reviewed the Hasselblad X2D in October 2022, before it had things like focus bracketing and various other features. It was IMO a “beta” version shipped a bit too early. Subsequent firmware updates changed/added/fixed quite a lot of things. It’s possible that things have changed.

My recollection from back then is that attempting to focus stopped-down would pop-out of magnified Live View. I never succeed in being both magnified and stopped-down.

Amazing fact: I can miss something in spite of reading the manual thoroughly and trying everything I could on the camera and consulting other X2D users. I work hard to exhaust all avenues before concluding and publishing.

I hesitate long and hard to publish emails from readers who attack my character and intentions rather focusing on the facts (a lot more abuse than shown above), but facts possibly in error are always worth checking. Stefan is not a subscriber at present.

I have a forever policy of correcting all mistakes as quickly as I can. Acccordingly...

Can the X2D focus stopped-down in 100% magnified Live View?

The short answer appears to be “yes”. However...

When I refer to stopped-down focusing, I mean the following, as per all other cameras I have used to data, at least to my recollection:

  • 100% magnified Live View including the means to enter it without altering existing focus (eg turning the focus ring to magnify is non-viable).
  • IBIS off, since on a tripod it can damage image sharpness.
  • Toggle on/off stopped-down mode (not continuous press). Stopped-down (or not) status “holds” while focusing, magnifying.

The last point is critical: having to continuously hold down a button while focusing can be difficult under field conditions, including hand size, awkward angles to the camera due to terrain, cold or gloved hands, etc. Holding any button down means some degree of jiggling of the image at 100% Live View, a problem when fine-tuning focus. Possibly, the hand/finger will tire the over 30 seconds or so, which is not unusual for precision work. Finally, it requires progamming an ergonomically viable button, and that button cannot be used for something else. Which might or might not be an issue for your working style.

I downloaded the latest X2D manual today. After searching with many terms, I can find no mention of any ability to focus at 100% magnified Live View when stopped-down. Page 91 of the manual (“Manual Focus”) makes no mention of stopped-down operation while in magnified Live View. Maybe I missed something, but I don’t think so.

Continuous press appears to allow stopped-down AF

A friend with an X2D is checking things for me. He has firmware v1.1, which is old—see the Hasselblad X2D 100C firmware update page. But this way he can check on v1.1 behavior.

Stefan me a 568 × 320 video, from which I can garner little visually (small/blurry). But accepting the claim, continuously pressing the focus preview button while initiating AF might focus stopped-down. Manual focus not demonstrated. And I cannot tell if it is really focusing stopped-down or not—manual focus a better test.

This is my ideal operating procedure, which Fujifilm/Nikon/Sony/Canon all follow with slight variations:

  1. Press “focus preview”button eg stop-down the lens and then release it (or equivalent operational procedure that stops-down to shooting aperture as with some Sony models). Does it remain stopped-down?
  2. Enter 100% magnified Live View. Does the camera remain stopped-down as per step 1?
  3. Start manual focus: does the camera stay both stopped down and magnified?

The exact order of stop-down vs magnify is not important (eg the GFX100 series requires entering stopped down mode before entering magnified LV). What is important that I need not continuously hold down a preview button while focusing, as discussed above.

Below, from Hasselblad XCD 55mm f/2.5 Examples: Early Oil Paintings of Ann Kurz-Chambers (X2D)

Dreams of Yesterday
©2016 Ann-Kurz Chambers. Synthetic paper, 22X30
f8 @ 0.5 sec, ISO 64; 2022-10-24 16:25:06
Hasselblad X2D 100C + Hasselblad XCD 55mm f/2.5 V @ 45.3mm equiv (55mm)
RAW: distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, +10 Whites, +10 Clarity

[low-res image for bot]

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