The Hasselblad X1D Review Part 4. Less is more. Or is it? My Final Word.
By Steve Huff
Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4
More thoughts via video on the X1D from my YouTube channel. Another video will be farther down below that goes over the Menu system a bit..
- Nope, I have not had any sluggish, clunky or quirky issues or auto focus issues with the X1D for taking photos. I expected them but it never happened. Has all of the firmware updates finally fixed the teething issues? Maybe.
- The Auto Focus has performed flawlessly for me, without missing a beat once. It’s not blazing fast like a pro DSLR or A9, but it’s also not as slow as some will lead you to believe. Was never an issue for my use. Think A7RII speed.
- The menu and interface are very nice indeed. Simple, sleek, smooth and the LCD touch screen works perfectly with no slowdown or lag. Intuitive, and makes most camera menus look dated and overly bloated.
- The EVF is A7RII quality, and if that is OK with you, you will enjoy it. I have used it in low light for manual focus, and it worked great.
- It has focus peaking and automatic focus magnification to be used as manual focus helpful tools.
- ISO range up to 25,600 and is useable at all ISO ranges, even in print (I had a 25,600 16X20 printed and it is gorgeous)
- I have had no overheating issues, have never had to remove the battery to reset, and have had absolutely NO issues with the operation of the X1D. It did get warm once or twice but never caused an issue.
- The battery life is average, but better than I originally expected. I was able to shoot a whole day, into the night and still have 1/4 battery left on a single battery.
- The UI of this camera is amazing. Basic, simple, and made for the photographer. Minimal buttons.
- This is the best feeling body of any camera I have ever held in my hand. The build and design is exquisite. Solid feel, nothing cheap feeling about any of it, anywhere.
- The color is breathtaking at times, as is the rendering of skin tones. Out of camera color is truly nice.
- The 50 MP sensor is made by Sony. It is about 68% larger than a 35mm full frame sensor and is the same sensor in the Fuji GFX. It is an amazing sensor (best I have had the pleasure to experience in my lifetime so far) so Kudos to Sony here.
- The Auto White Balance is among the best I have experienced. It truly is fantastic in almost all situations. All images in my review were shot with AWB.
- The cropping power is unreal. Those 50MP really allow you to crop and the crops are still amazingly detailed and rich.
- It inspires one to USE IT and this for me, is KEY.
- The RAW files, 16 Bit Color, are very nice to work on if need be. The latitude is astonishing.
- For flash shooters, this will sync at up to 1/2000s.
- It will teach me a few things as it is better than I am!
- Hasselblad seems committed to firmware updates. They walked the walk after talking the talk. This is telling for the future of the system.
ISO 400, 45mm f/3.5 at 3.5. This was shot through a dirty window, yet you can not tell this, at all. The color, and detail is fantastic. Wide open so not as sharp as it could be but the color…
And NOW, some things about the X1D that could be better, and yes, there are a few of them…
- There is some EVF blackout. Doesn’t bother me at all, but may bother you. If you want to shoot frame after frame, this may annoy you.
- This is NOT a continuous AF machine, does not even have continuous AF. It is not a fast FPS machine. It was never meant to be. If you need that, stay far away and go to a Sony A9 or pro DSLR. 2 FPS here.
- ISO limited to 25,600, I feel they could have pushed it to over 50K for an extended value in a pinch as 25,600 is so good with this camera and 100% usable.
- The 45mm lens is not Leica quality. It’s very good, but not a stunner. A tad soft wide open and does vignette but lacks that Leica “shine”. Still an excellent lens though.
- The Video may have an issue as when I recorded a test video the audio was deeper or slower in pitch. (This may bother ME as I had hoped to shoot some interviews, so need more testing to see if it was MY mistake)
- The Charger is Odd. It feels weird to use. Never seen one like it. I feel like I am injecting my battery when I need to charge it.
- The Electronic shutter will produce rolling shutter if you are not careful.
- No joystick for easy of focus point selection. You use dials. For me, I have always and only use center point (recompose) no matter the camera I use, so OK for me. But for you? Only you can decide.
- I did have one issue when trying to use a 128GB Lexar SD card with the message “SD Card not Fast Enough”. I plopped I a Sandisk Extreme pro and it was fine, so now I use two of those. They are cheap enough these days.
Mary with the X1D and 45 f/3.5 – YOU MUST click top appreciate!
With all of that said, some of those cons are what I was expecting with a compact walk around medium format camera. The Pentax 645 has some of those cons as does the Fuji GFX. But neither offers the “super slim” small size, feel, style, simplicity, easy intuitive menu, design and take anywhere portability of the X1D. THIS IS WHAT SOLD ME above all else on this camera! If you can not take it everywhere, you will never use it! Also, the team of the X1D and my Sony A9 are just about perfect. May be my fave camera duo ever. My Sony for video and when I need speed and the X1D when I want the look that the sensor gives me or am working on photos I intent to print (which I am now doing since getting the X1D). The best of both worlds. BTW, I do own a full Olympus system that I love as well and am bonded to, so it stays as well.
1st Shot, click it to see larger. ISO 6400, 45 f/3.5 – Indoor, natural light, ISO 6400!
A Back and White Version with some work on the levels for more depth.
In part one of the review I was nervous about investing in this camera due to the cost, and the fact I am no fat cat with a huge bank account. I sold my Leica SL, was afraid I would regret it and stressed a bit over it. In part 2 I took the camera and dove right in with a low light torture test at a location that has the most challenging shooting conditions I know of, dimly lit bar bands lit by a single low output light at ISO 25,600. In part 3, I shot it in daylight and dug in more to the camera to get to know it and the files and did more low light band test shots.
Now in part 4, I plan to share more images and go over my conclusion about this lovely and unique camera that has reinvigorated my excitement for photography. Nope the camera is not perfect for all, no cameras is but it is unique for sure.
Click it ! I added a lot of color and contrast here, cropped it severely and added a color boost for this lens ball shot. Cool accessory for $15
I was Hoping for the Worst
I admit, I was sort of secretly hoping inside that I would receive the camera and it would be a buggy POS that a few have claimed it to be (the funny thing is that one person who publicly said this to his audience never even touched the camera but did say he owned the Fuji..Hmmm).
Anyway, if it ended up really being a POS, I would be able to test it, and send it back for a refund without guilt or worry if it was indeed that bad. Money back in the bank, no credit card debt and me knowing that I at least gave this camera that I have longed for since its release a solid shot. I would have told everyone here that it was buggy and not ready for prime time.
45 f/3.5, at 3.5
Well, I am happy and sad to say that this was not the case.
I am happy as I have an amazing camera that speaks to me, and a camera that I am satisfied with. On the other hand, it is sad for me as now I owe money on a credit card as selling my SL and bags and a couple of lenses was not enough to buy this outright. I haven’t had credit card debt in 7 years, and have been stress free for 7 years. Get my drift? But at the same time, I love it and have no regrets.
To those who read my review of this and dislike that I speak of the cost, well, my reviews always talk of the cost of a camera. This is a personal blog style review website, always has been, for 10 years now. I write reviews in a very personal style, not the style of a typical reviewer. I guess that is why this site is still here, 10 years later as a one man show. So I speak from the heart, and am not afraid to speak to you all as friends, and while I may not know most of you, I do know some of you and I know some of you get it. You know the excitement one can get from a new purchase, especially when that purchase surprises you with just how good it really is.
THIS is a 100% crop, yes, a 100% crop. Click it to see the image.
Below…The full frame of the above image
The X1D Video with a Menu Overview and a Visit to Pioneer Village in AZ
See the last video in my X1D series of videos below! I shoot more, talk more and go over the menu a bit and give my final thoughts.
The question is, what type of photographer are you?
If you shoot something like a Nikon D800, D810 or D850 and love that experience, and love your 100-400 zooms then the X1D, well you would probably hate it.
Same goes for a Canon 5D or 1D or Canon whatever D. If you are stuck in DSLR land with features, speed and an OVF, you will not feel at home with an X1D or any Medium Format rig.
If you shoot an Olympus EM1 MKII and love it for its speed and all that it does with its awesome features, and need those features and speed for what you shoot, you probably will not like this camera, but you might if you are OK with slowing down.
If you hate EVF’s, you will not enjoy this experience.
Also, If you have never shot any medium format before, you will find it different for sure..initially. Until you get to really know it, and delve in. Once you see the files, on your own display in their full glory, you will be sold and spoiled. But shooting MF is a different experience for sure.
Deep and Rich…click it for larger. Wide open with the 45mm
So who would love this X1D?
I would recommend this only to those who shoot and love cameras like or even the idea of the Leica M, or a larger Medium Format kit. Even a Leica Q. Those who shoot with a Phase or a Pentax 645 would love this camera. I would recommend it to those who want to slow down, and enjoy a different type of shooting experience. One that forces you to think and explore your surroundings looking for the “shot”. Envisioning it in your mind before pushing that shutter. This camera will slow you down (HINT, this is a good thing IMO).
f/3.5 ISO 400, see me take the shot in the video later down in the review.
No longer will you shoot 1000 frames in a day, more like 50-200. For me, this is a breath of fresh air as I feel with the over saturation and marketing of so many new cameras that do everything so yo do not have to, well, I feel it is kind of ruining the art and craft of photography. Why do we want a camera to do the work that as photographers we should be doing? I have always thought like this, and used to make this argument in some Leica M reviews many years ago.
Not that anyone who owns a Canon, Nikon, Sony or whatever are lazy, we have been told and sold that we need certain things to get the shot, and in some circumstances this is true, sometimes those features and speed are life savers. But not always. Sometimes it is refreshing to go back to basics. I’ve always been like that, one reason I loved the Leica MD so so much, it did not even have an LCD!
There is a reason when I shoot my A9 or EM1 MKII I use center post focus only, and shoot 1 frame at a time. I love the process of slowing down and trying my best to get a good shot, in one frame and one take. Having a camera designed for this, well, it helps you get in that mindset and honestly knowing you have that 50MP MF quality in your hand does help your confidence as well. Being a good photographer one needs that confidence, and that drive to be the best they can be. The X1D, and some other cameras out there today can help with that. Also, when you get a shot you truly love, you feel a sense of accomplishment when you put the work in. While tshie camera will probably always be better than I am, it’s one I can continue to learn on as well, and even after shooting for 20 years, I learn every day.
Delicate tones, huge dynamic range, brilliant color
A Dynamic Range Example
I shot an image of this sign, but the auto exposure was off here as it was exposing for the brightly lit white sign, and not the darker barn behind it. With the shadow slider in Phocus, it was easily brought back up…
1st one is out of camera, the 2nd version is the same photo, just with the shadow recovery slider in Phocus used to bring out what was really there…amazing dynamic range here.
A Medium Format Daily Driver
The X1D, plain and simple is for those who want a medium format camera they can take anywhere, and shoot almost anything. Nope, not for sports but some friends of mine shoot sports with a Leica M, and they are damn good at it, so it is possible to do that, but not ideal. Street, portraits, still life, concerts, art…it’s all ready for the X1D. Where the X1D will reward you is with not only the gorgeous Medium Format image quality, it will reward you with the pleasure you will get from reviewing those files. The dynamic range that will allow you to delve into the file more than ever and the color that will make you say “wow, I have been WANTING THIS LOOK all of my photographic life” (which is what I said to myself at times when reviewing the full files on my large display)!
This was some pretty harsh light here but the huge 50Mp MF sensor did very well with it. Click for larger!
It will award you with its beauty in design, tactile feel of the few buttons and one main dial, its minimalistic approach and craftsmanship as well. I have never owned a Hasselblad or a camera that was “Made in Sweden” but this thing oozes with pride.
For me, the X1D is a special camera. As I said earlier, my X1D gave me not one real issue. Instead, it performed beyond my expectations.
So if you need or want or desire a camera that will bring you medium format in a truly beautiful iconic design, amazing build quality (made in Sweden) and a portable lightweight camera not much larger in size than a Sony A9, then guess what? The X1D is the only camera in the world that can bring that to you. Period. ; )
If you are considering it, just remember what it is and what it is not and you will be A-OK. I will say it again, the Hasselblad X1D is the most beautiful camera I have ever held, used tested or owned. It’s stunning.
My excitement for photography is back, and I admit…the last couple of years I have been in a slump. I felt many cameras were being released just to be released. Refreshes and Rehashes. So I stuck with what worked for me. Sony A7 and A9, Leica SL, Olympus PEN, etc. I thought cameras were soon to be as good as dead with the smartphone taking over the world of our beloved craft.
Then this camera came into my life and renewed my passion. It inspired me to get off my chair and get out to shoot photographs. Instead of saying “Crap, I have to go test this” I found myself saying “I can not wait to go take photographs with this,”. Not an easy feat as I have been working with cameras for 10 years now, getting to test and use nearly every model that has come out. Some I never reviewed as I disliked them, others I did and enjoyed but none have excited me as much as this one. It’s crazy. It has re-invigorated the passion inside me and it’s not even a camera nearly as advanced technically as something like the Sony A9.
I may sound big, bold and crazy here but that is what the X1D did for me. As I said in parts 2 and 3, sure, the Fuji GFX is also incredible. So is the Pentax 645Z. If IQ is your thing, either of this will do the trick. But if your goal is to be excited again, to get inspired and to be able to shoot ANYWHERE with this level of quality with a camera that fits in a Cosyspeed Camslinger (with 45mm lens) or a Wotancraft Raven while being one of the most beautiful camera designs ever, then there is no substitute for the X1D. It stands alone in this regard in my opinion.
Another massive crop – click it to see it larger. Through thick glass and it still puts out a wonderful image. Auto White Balance on this camera is amazing.
If you are a true passionate photographer who loves the art of photography there is no way you could ever hate this camera. It speaks to the heart and soul of your being.
If you buy one or own one or try one, take your time with this camera. Look for your shot. Frame it. Take ONE snap and move on. Then when you review at home you can see the results. This camera can help you learn to be a better photographer just due to this slower pace. The Leica M does the same. I wrote an article years ago on this and it still rings true today.
Most today do not truly understand…we do not need 30FPS in a camera when shooting things other than fast action. For street, for portraits, even for music performance all I need is 1FPS. That’s how I have always shot and in my life, when I was a working photographer doing weddings or album covers I shot one frame at a time and it worked out quite well for me. Would I buy this as my only camera for weddings? NO WAY! But I would add it to a pro DSLR or pro Mirrorless system for special photos where the look of MF would shine. I shot a couple of tours with Seal using a Leica M, Manual focus and a Noctilux Lens. It worked out amazingly well, and even landed me an Album cover. Speed is overrated IMO.
Menus…I dread delving into 10 page deep menus on an LCD at times to just find the format command. With a camera like this, or a Leica, we go back to basics and what photography is really meant to be and what it once was. Have you ever heard the saying “LESS IS MORE”? Exactly.
The worst things I can say about the X1D are that it does have some blackout in the EVF after you fire off a shot, and some hate this. Me, I am ok with it as it doesn’t hurt my style of shooting but for you it may. If you shoot one frame after the next, it will get irritating, fast. Not sure why this camera has such blackout but it is there. So keep that in mind. It also doesn’t have continuous AF, and is only like 2FPS. So if you need more, this X1D is not really for you. I see it as an IQ monster in a small, light amazingly designed and built body that has brought passion back to my shooting. But it won’t for everyone, and I understand that. That’s about all I can say about this camera that is negative. Other than that, use Sandisk Extreme Pro memory cards for best results, and know it does not have a joystick to quickly change focus points but the Fuji GFX MF camera does.
Deep Reds, Smooth Bokeg=h
I stated in the title that “Less is more, or is it” and only YOU can answer that for your needs. Me, sure less is more in this scenario. YOU, maybe not.
Also, check out another review I really enjoyed HERE if you want to see another opinion
BUY THE X1D?
Thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed my four part review and are thinking of a purchase, and my review helped you with that decision, please consider using my link below to B&H Photo for purchase. You pay the same, but I make a little commission which will help me keep this site running full steam ahead, and do more reviews. If so, I truly thank you and appreciate it. Without you guys, this site would be dead and for 10 years you helped keep it and me going, so thank you all!
LINK – – – See all of the Hasselblad X1D options and B&H Photo HERE.
MORE PHOTOS FROM THE X1D below, CLICK THEM FOR LARGER AND BETTER VERSIONS
1s the full frame..click it for larger. A 100% crop is embedded.
Below a smaller crop of the above image. Click and you will see the detail. You can turn a crop into its own image with this sensor!
Below, horrendous horrible lighting conditions. Bright, harsh, and cold. While not perfect, the X1D handled the DR easily here.
Below, just a selfie…
Below, a full size out of camera file from RAW. No adjustments at all. With some PP, the file would look fantastic, out of camera it is also showing the great dynamic range.
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Have followed this ongoing review with great interest. I was wondering if you could comment on using it in the high-quality jpeg mode – shooting everything RAW would quickly challenge my storage capacity!
Thank you Steve for your honest and through review. Im not a high-roller by any means but I really want the XD1 but I need to make sure its the right camera for my style of work. I mostly do minimalist landscapes, architecture and some portraits. I have a 503cm right now but its too bulky to travel with. I was planning on buying a Mamiya 7ii but now – after reading all your posts on the XD1, Im wondering if I should just sell my 503cm to help pay for the XD1. WOuld you recommend it for landscape photography?
Thanks and happy holidays!
The X1D is STUNNING for landscape, portrait, fashion or low light. I even use it for street from time to time. While I only have the 45mm, I have used the 90 and I just adore the camera. It’s my best camera that I own, or have owned when it comes to build, feel design, simplicity and the output. Due to it’s small size, you can take it anywhere.
Thanks for your reply Steve.
Thanks for the wonderful review and infectious enthusiasm. I too own an X1D and have had some strange issues with it that I cannot quite understand. Perhaps you can kindly shed some light on them. First, the battery seems to die within the space of 3 hours after first turning it on and using it; and this happened for 2 separate batteries. Perhaps I did not charge it properly as it seems to take hours and hours and the charging light never goes green. How long does your battery take to charge? Also, do you allow your camera to power off/ sleep after 5 minutes?
Second, I left it on electronic shutter by some accident, and on some photos, the lines seem to be diagonal almost like I moved the camera, which I am sure that I did not. Did you experience similar issues?
Thanks for all your dedication.
I have no issues with the battery and my camera shuts off after a few minutes. If you do not have it shut off automatically, and leave it on, the battery well drain as any camera would. As for the electronic shutter, I speak of the rolling shutter effect in part 3 and show an example.
If you use the electronic shutter and move before the shutter closes you will get rolling shutter.
Really loved reading and watching your review on the X1D, and your reviews in general. Currently I’m deciding between the M10 with a 50 Summicron F2 or the X1D with the 45 (although there is a 60mm coming soon). For my style of shooting I think I’m similar to you. One or two shots, portraits and some street photography.
If you were to choose between these two, which would you recommend?
Well, I love the M and X1D but for me, I prefer the X1D. It feels nicer in my hand, has similar simplicity, does better in the lowest of light (where I often shoot) and is no heavier. It also, for me, delivers better IQ across the board with much higher DR as well. But if you want manual RF style focusing and the M style, go for that. I have never missed focus on a shot with the X1D, manual or auto. The M10, I have. Some will prefer the M, others the X1D. For me the beauty, design, IQ, usability and sensor wins out.
Thanks for the quick reply.
When I tried the M for a couple of weeks I also experienced the missed shots due to focus. While I improved daily, it did become frustrating at times especially in those rare moments.
Will see if I can try out an X1D for a few days and see how I feel shooting with it. I agree, just holding it in the shop it feels nice in the hands and well balanced.
I have been using an X1D and the three native lenses since last January. Your review is easily the most balanced, thoughtful and insightful review of what the X1D is all about. All of the other reviews have been totally wide of the mark because they have evaluated the X1D by comparing it to what it is NOT…a modern DSLR or a Sony A7RII or A9. Inevitably, the X1D is panned in those reviews because it is relatively slow operationally and it LACKS FEATURES! The reviewers are utterly incapable of understanding that, depending upon how you use a camera, operational speed is not an issue. And not only is the limited feature set of the X1D not a disadvantage to many photographers, it is actually a compelling advantage. I, for one, really dislike complex, deep menu systems in a camera. I want a clean, streamlined user interface that gives me just what I NEED to take photographs. I don’t want “features” like white balance bracketing and an infinite array of JPEG settings, which clutter up the menus. I want superb native lenses. (The 30mm and the 90mm lenses certainly are. The 45mm lens is merely excellent.) Finally, the X1D has the smallest, lightest and most portable form factor possible while still offering the image quality advantages of the Sony 50MP “cropped” medium format sensor.
Cameras are no different from everything else in life. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, and we all evaluate and prioritize things somewhat differently. The X1D is sensational for what it is. It gives me EXACTLY what I need to make the photographs that I want to make. (Oh, and BTW, it has been very stable with recent firmware updates.)
Steve, I like the mix of qualitative and quantitative comments in your review. I felt your passion. You gave me a genuine feel for the X1D. I’ve been on again off again but I think you put me back on the XID bandwagon… Nice job
Thank you Lawrence. I let my son try the X1D yesterday and he was upset…as he said I should have never let him hold it as he could never ever be able to obtain one. He loved it, so I told him he could use mine when he gets the itch. It truly is a lovely camera and while it may not make sense for everyone, you have to have that pull to it I think. Something like a A7RII, a RX1MKII can get you resolution but neither will offer the experience or the subtleties of color or DR. It’s a unique camera but man, just holding it, even just this morning…amazing in the hand. Whoever did the design should design more cameras. Thanks for reading.
That Zeiss Sonnar on the RX1R is very special though … whenever I go back and look at photos I made with the RX1R, I’m always amazed at the rendering of that lens, that Zeiss pop is extraordinary. For me, it’s always the lenses that make the difference, regardless of the sensor size. Maybe Zeiss will help Hasselblad by developing a lens or two for X1D 😉
Really enjoyed your review of the X1D, just out of curiosity is there an adaptor that would enable you to use the “Noctilux of hasselblad” the zeiss Planar 110 F2 ?
I thought you said Part 2 would be coming in about a week, but seeing how you finished all 4 parts in a week shows how passionate you are about the X1D! I’m happy for you, Steve.
I still think that while you miss the SL, what you’ll soon end up missing most are the wide open bokeh images from the Leica lens as the XCD lens are relatively slow and can’t render in that style. I would’ve kept the SL to shoot with your M lenses and for the enjoyment of the SL’s EVF and sold the A9 instead; that, to me, seems like a perfect pairing in terms of inspiring one to go out and shoot.
I have no regrets on selling the SL. I can get shallow DOF from my A9 or EM1 MKII ; ) But I can not get what the X1D gives me from the SL, Sony or Olympus ; )
Steve, your passion is infectious. One of your recent blog posts about a Voigtlander lens sent me off on a tangent that led me to very quickly acquire a very nice collection of vintage lenses. I have not auto focused since, and my photos are better and there are less to go through. I don’t know how I can possibly afford that Hassy, but it’s definitely on my radar because of your honest review.
Steve, I like the camera strap that you’re using in your menu video. Where did you get it?
It is this one: https://tieherup.eu/shop/camera-straps/asian-blue-snake-strap/
The point is you can get a car with the money of that camera and lens. Not comparing one thing with the other, just it perhaps would need to be an investment and that only works if you get some income from what it produces. I don’t need to be convinced to buying or not. Neither I need right now a car or a camera. I had it in mind for a while, but the sama it came it went away. Owning it must be a good experience though.
Great review, but did I get it right, you have sold your Leica SL? So no chance for a direct image-comparison between SL and X1D? I was so keen to see it 🙂
Different cameras, different output. The SL is fantastic but starts to suffer in low light by ISO 6400. This one doesn’t even suffer at 25k. The SL with a native lens is quite a bit larger, and quite a bit heavier. Will not have the Dynamic Range of the X1D. It will be faster, and is designed just as well with a simple menu system and control. I love both, and if I were rich I would own both. But I had to sell the SL as I said in part 1 or 2 to help fund some of this camera. The SL and a 50 Lux will set you back the same as the X1D and a 45mm. I love the SL, but am not sad I sold it as I prefer the X1D. Better DR, better color out of camera (more filmic IMO), better low light and the MF look. What I do miss about the SL is the EVF and just having it around as it is one of my top 3 fave cameras of all time. An SL with certain M lenses is fantastic and with a 50 APO almost pulls off a Medium Format vibe.
I have used the X1D since the beginning of this year. First a demo and then the production model. I also sold my Leica SL to finance the purchase and as you have no regrets. I did however encounter a few problems. My 30 mm lens is back to Hasselblad because it is decentered. The camera overheats, especially when the outside temperature is above 25C. This is apparently normal since heat dissipation works through the body. Nevertheless, it is a bit disconcerting taking photos holding a warm cup of tea. I do love the camera anyway. The operation after a while is straightforward and the quality unparalleled in my experience. The 90mm is a gem. Colours are great. I still own other Leica’s including the M10. The feeling is surprisingly similar, but the M is best in my view for street and casual photography, because of manual focus and speed. Enjoy the camera, the excitement will not fade.
Thank you for your experience info, appreciated! Enjoy, and yes, the M10 is better suited to street, I agree.
Have used the Hassy and the Fuji MF cameras. Admittedly it was an earlier Hassy and they may have fixed a number of issues in the FW (assume they did). While I found the Hassy to be a much “prettier” camera and slightly smaller (with lens), I found the functionality of the Fuji to be far superior and the images as well we just fantastic.
Now, are these new MF cameras going to compete with the likes of Nikon, Sony, and Canon – especially in the area of sports photography? Of course not. However, most users are not sports shooters and don’t need those cameras either.
If you are attracted by the looks of the camera, or need something slightly smaller, then the Hassy is a good camera for you. Due to the nature of its shutter and flange distance, it will not be an adaptable camera (other lenses). While the Hassy lenses are alright, the Fuji lenses are amongst the best in the world (Fuji has been making some of the best lenses of any manufacturer for a LONG time.)
Also, let me say that while I am a big fan of Sony from a technology stand-point, I am not a fan of FF mirrorless. It is the size of the sensor which dictates the size of the lens. Ergo, making a FF camera slightly smaller does nothing for portability when the lenses are the same size as the Canon and Nikon equivalents. Also the new A9, while a wonderful camera, falls seriously behind Nikon’s new D850 (Canon- get your head back in the game!)
In the end run, it is like I tell my students all the time. I take them to a photo exhibit and ask them to tell me the camera, lens and settings each photo was taken at. Several think I am being serious… IT DOESN’T MATTER!!! If you’re audience has know idea what gear you are using, then it doesn’t matter – to them! Get what you are most comfortable with, what allows you to relax and focus (no pun intended ;-)) on your subject and your photography, and shoot away.
I LOVE my Fuji GFX and was not comfortable with the Hassy. That may be because I also shoot the X-T2. However, at these prices, do what Steve does, get it in your hands!!! Get the alternatives in your hands!!! Take them out and shoot them!!!!! Then decide what is right for you.
We are not talking about a simple couple of hundred dollar camera here. We are not even talking about a $6,000 or $8,000 camera here. We are talking about building up a collection of glass which in the long run will cost even more, much more!
You wouldn’t buy a $40 pair of pants without trying them on first, would you?
Go try on a new Digital MF camera and see if it fits! If you find that one does, you will be opening up your photography to an entirely new set of experiences!
What a great post. Thank you Peter!
Michiel (850 since two weeks ago)
Peter, I totally agree with your comment. I, too, tried the X1D in it’s earlier, buggier version. Frankly I lost some confidence in the X1D after the repeated early delayed shipments and bugs, although I did find it to be a beautiful camera. I have been using the GFX instead for several months, and while I agree with Steve that it’s pretty ugly, the functionality is fantastic, and the new Techart AF adapter for Canon lenses is going to improve the functionality even more. I use the tilting LCD all the time and would really miss it on the X1D, as well as the joystick to change focus points. Also, I don’t know if people realize how light the GFX is – since it’s bulky people may assume it’s really heavy, but it’s not. The lenses are fantastic and I love being able to adapt so many third party lenses as well. I do wish it had a silent shutter option though… Each camera has it’s pros and cons, but for me the GFX wins out right now.
It does have a silent shutter. Called Electronic Shutter.
Loved your journey with the X1D. As others in the comments have said, THIS is the camera I am eventually going to own. No doubts. Your pros and cons all make perfect sense, and nothing you’ve pointed out bothers me. I’ve been using 95% manual focus lenses (Contax C/Y) on my A7ii since I bought it 2 years ago, and it’s been liberating to slow down and take my time. It has also renewed my excitement for photography, as the X1D has done for you.
One thing you have not mentioned, though I see it in some of your photos, is the issue of the aperture not being perfectly round wide open. From what I’ve read, it’s due to the leaf shutter closing before the exposure is completed. Apparently Hasselblad plans to fix it in a future firmware, but I was wondering why you didn’t mention it as a “con”. Those square edged OOF highlights are not very attractive! haha
Anyway, thanks for your entertaining and real-world review. Enjoy the X1D!
Thank you. I did not mention the square aperture issue as none of my bokeh was square, it’s all round. So I did not have this issue. If I do not see this issue or square highlights, why would I mention it? It’s not there, so it’s a non issue.
Camera of the year?
Great coverage, Steve. You stand alone, in my experience, in your attempts to understand the intent behind the X1D, and how this fits with your photographic style. Kudos.
BTW, the 90 and the 30MM lenses feature substantially higher image quality than the (very good) 45MM. I don’t want to overstate this, and it will be interesting to read your impressions of these two lenses. The 30 in particular is remarkable—Leica quality and then some.
I plan in checking those out soon, thank you!
The resolution is certainly impressive as is the low light performance. However neither is enough to compel me to overlook the X1D’s shortcomings which IMHO are its lack of the basic features and attributes commonly found in today’s mirrorless ILC’s especially for the price. That said, excellent review and I’m glad your enjoying your new camera.
Nice read, as a Swede I may feel a slight bit of pride, haha.
Personally I´ll never be able to afford it, though.
Last year, just after its launch, I visited a small nature photo exhibit, where also a bunch of photgarphic retailers and importers had a small exhibit space beside the image exhibits. Was able to handle this little ´blad a bit, and must agree is is absolutely wonderful to hold. VERY nice shape AND its “surface feel” is next to none!
I not that much liking the look of it, as I´m for the “feel”. Anuway, it´s good to know Hasselblad will (hopefyully/probably) sell a quite buch of these, even if it´s not going to be me who buy.
Thanks for you entusiastic and honest review, with pros and cons.
Forgive me for not reviewing my rant before pressing “post…”
Way to many misspellings etc there. Again, sorry!
Steve, i currently one a Sony RX1R 2
if i buy the Hassy, wil it be iq wise
a good upgrade?
It will be an upgrade in IQ yes. From color, to high ISO (if you need it) to the dynamic range which I can not say enough, is amazing. Probably be a little faster in use as well.
I love the rhythm of that deep and rich foliage composition.
I guess the question now is to find a better Leica-like lens? Adaptors?
You have to wonder if Sony is going to enter MF. I’d like to see a 50MP MF RX with a brand new Zeiss f2 lens that is at least as good as the existing 35 f2 Sonnar. I’ll admit this review does have me contemplating an X1D. However I am disappointed in the lenses. I expected faster Leica or Zeiss quality. If the new 65mm is fast and razor sharp wide open, I may be pushed over the edge 😉
Let me also say that based on your reviews, I purchased a NEX5n, NEX7, A7, A7R, A7S, RX1, A7II, A7RII and the A9 (and probally some others I’ve forgotten). In all cases, I did not once hesitate to pull the trigger most enthusiastically. The X1D however, has not been quite so enticing, not because of the price but because camera tech is now mature and there are SOOO many excellent image makers to choose from, I’m going to have to ponder this purchase a little longer 😉
I have thought that they would have by now but maybe they are holding back, seeing what happened with Fuji and Hasselblad. They make the sensor, they have the tech and the funds..so I hope they do!
Thank you for a wonderful review.
My current camera for photo and video is the Leica SL with M lenses. I love it.
But I still have my Hasselblad kit (H2D50II and a good set of lenses). It was my beloved landscape camera. Produced big prints for exhibitions. Some are on public display in London and Italy.
But I am getting old (78 in October) and find the Hassy rig too heavy when in the mountains, or at sea in small boats (my favourite photo-expeditions). Now the Leica SL has taken over for every subject, including mountain landscapes and seascapes.
What should with my Hasselblad kit? The H2D50II body still works fine, but its second value is now negligible. The lenses are superb, and would probably sell quite well. After reading your review I have been asking myself, should I buy the X1D and the adapter for my Hassy lenses? I’m sure that it would produce some great pictures. Goof enough for printing large for exhibitions. BUT. The lenses are heavy. So walking around with the X1D + old Hassy lenses might not offer the happy-go-lucky experience that you describe so well.
So I guess I shall stick with my Leica SLand sell the Hassy lenses.
But after reading your review, I was tempted.
Very thorough story Steve! Thanks.
Makes me wonder, I once had some Hasselblads, 500 C/M, 500 EL/M and SWC.
500-machines were made to slow, precise work (slow comparing to Nikons) but the SWC was a sweet thing, kind of a fast handholdable reportage camera
Adding to my previous comment:
and this X1D sound very much like SWC to use. Fast as in fast for a medium format machine….
What i like about Steve is his integrity, he does not cover up.
You expect from someone who just bought such an expansive camera to praise it, to justify the cost, but no, he writes about all the bad and good things at the same time.
I loved the honesty and the beautiful photos
It is no doubt a beautiful camera, at list from what i saw and read here,
It will not make me sell my M10 which i LOVE but i can understand Steve’s enthusiasm.
Very nice post Steve
Thank you Dan.
It would think it would be difficult to do a down to earth review on an expensive, sophisticated and elegant camera, but you did it. Good points and bad, they were all made clear, and done in a fair way.
It’s not my kind of camera, (yet), but I read the review anyway for the insight and enjoyment.
Thanks Harry, have a great night.
Happy you got the X1D steve. Really nice camera and it makes you feel that bound of love/like the moment you handle it. I have my LeicaQ, M240 set a side when i got the X1D 6 months ago. (i also had to deal with CC payments 🙂 ) your review is awesome, enjoy.
A great review written with infectious enthusiasm. for those who can afford it, the X1D and the EM1 MII, the Swiss army knife of cameras, make for a great combo. I am considering to sell all my Leica M gear as it did not see any use since the Hassy came into the house. It is all what Steve says and it reminds me of the M9 when it came out years ago: without a direct competitor.
Thanks for a great review Steve, except I really don’t appreciate all the sleepless nights that you have now undoubtably bestowed upon me as I mull over whether I should now sell my leica M kit for the XID 🙂
So if you are, for example, going to Iceland for vacation, are you taking your Sony A9 or the XID? Sounds like XID to me. Makes me wonder when you will ever shoot with the A9 unless it’s sports.
I use my A9 for video almost daily, so it get used. I’m sure I will sneak it in from time to time ; ) Thank you.
Very long review. only thing missing is the “Strong recommendation”. So the camera is “Good” but “not enough” to claim the price tag. Maybe the mark two can fix all the weak points.
Well, it’s not a camera for everyone, but I also do not do “strong recommendations”. I just say what I feel but thank you for reading!
Another great honest review Steve, what I find amazing is the level of detail your are getting considering you are hand holding the X1D. Using the 45mm lens what’s the slowest shutter speed you could use and still get amazing results. The true advantage of a leaf shutter..
I do love the Hasselblad color signature coming out of Phocus software.
All I can say is wow, now if I can only find a buyer of my Leica S 006 system which I still love but the weight is starting to get to me.
I shot some hand held at 1/20s, 25k ISO and they look great. I was very surprised myself. Thank you.
I read and enjoyed all four of your review for this camera. Thanks for the effort.
One question… apart from the $2800 price difference, is there any physical difference between the silver model and the black model?
It’ more like $1400 or close to that. Only difference is that it is black, which is why I went for the silver, as I refuse to pay extra for a color.
great review, thanks for sharing
Can the X1D files be processed in Lightroom?
Yes, with no issues.
Extremely high ISO may be better in Phocus, but Lightroom is seamless on Hasselblad RAWs.
I will be saving up and wait until I can afford one without worry. I would not consider the X1D as my only camera. I use the A9 for general photography and action and the E-M1.2 for birding so I’m already lucky to have such nice gear. I’m attracted to the X1D for the same reasons it appeals to you. I commend you on your repeated warnings that this camera won’t meet the needs of all or probably most photographers. However I understand your enthusiasm for the beautiful physical design, portability, and image quality. I really enjoyed your review and sample shots with such wonderful resolution and color. Thanks
That was an epic roundup of the X1D Steve. Great job! I think for a lot of photographers that are shooting 135 format now are expecting a lot of speed from new camera offerings but I think you redefined the new mirrorless MF 645 format with your excellent review. Other Blads have about the same battery life at 200-300 shots per battery so it seems like you weren’t as grueling with the battery as some other photographers out there. Did you end up with the camera off or in sleep mode while you were out and then just powered on when you wanted to take shots? The X1D is the first camera of its kind with the flange distance on such a huge sensor, are you more intimidated by that fact? Also in terms of post processing and shooting for the finished product, did you feel that you had to shoot far left or far right in order to get the right exposure in post? Mainly I’m wondering if you can also pull back 3-5 stops of light from highlights too. For shooting stuff with skies, did you see any banding at all? Again, you did a great job with the X1D review. Cheers on your awesome X1D and 45mm purchase!
Thanks again. I will try to answer your questions…
1. I have the camera display to go off after 10 seconds, and the camera after 5 minutes. If it turns off, I just tap the shutter button and wait a second and it starts up. But again, I will not use this for action or speed. It’s a mirrorless 50MP medium format camera. if I am getting ready to take a shot I tap the button to make sure it is on and away I go. No issues, as in, for me, it never was an issue.
2. Flange distance? I welcome that.
3. Processing. I can overexpose by several stops and still get a workable great looking file with nothing blown out. The highlight tool in Phocus is unreal with these files. I can underexpose and get a great looking file. All due to the massive DR here. I just let the camera shoot, using its meter and it is rarely ever off, if ever. I get semi flat neutral files out of the camera and one can post process to taste. You can go bold, and high contrast or low contrast and faded. The DR here is so much greater than my A9 or even old A7RII. Highlights blowing with this camera will not be a concern.
4. I have seen zero banding.
Unfortunately, I think you’re too much in love with the camera and can not see its shortcomings mean something in the long run, but we’re writing 2017 and soon it’s 2018 so it’s a camera with far too many shortcomings! Perhaps it’s also your big investment that makes you blind to the naked facts? Otherwise, love your reviews, but here I do not think you’ve lost sense, though I have not personally tried the camera, but the camera lacks some technology that belongs to today’s cameras!
No, I think I enjoy the camera because it is one hell of a camera, for my style. I have used the hell out of it every single day, and for me there are no shortcomings. NONE. Nada. I’m not blind to anything, but you seem to be, and if you read all four parts you would see why I enjoy this camera. I have also been in love with the Leica M for years and years, since the M6. It has WAY more shortcomings than this X1D. Simple = Good. Less is more for me. Maybe not for you, but for me yes. I can return it for a full refund right now, but why would I when it fits what I do and enjoy more than other cameras I own or have tried? Not blind to the facts but instead I have laser vision to what I see in front of me. The facts are all good here my friend. The difference between me and some who have reviewed this is that I know what it is, and was never expecting it to be like a 35mm super speed DSLR. That would be silly to ever think that, even the Fuji GFX is a slow camera (some say the AF is worse than the X1D from those who owned both). The camera is workable, usable, fun, simple, and gives you a back to basics vibe which is good, not bad. Sadly many today have lost the ability or never had the ability to shoot in this way. Too many rely on features and technology to get the shot, over their skill.
But you are mistaken in your critique of my review. Thank you for reading.
Thanks for the review; I’m going to give this camera another look. Can you confirm that the manual focus is truly manual (not by wire).
By wire but with good feel.
I started following your reviews about a year ago when I picked up my A7RII. I was obsessed with the A7 series since it was released but took a couple of years for me to finally give it a go. By then the Mark II was out and they fixed all the issues that prevented me from purchasing sooner. Anyhow, your reviews helped to keep me inspired even when I thought I purchased the wrong gear. And I think I actually did. You are absolutely right. The marketing works and they tell us we need x, y and z in the list of available features. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I think we all know by now that limited resources make one more creative, yes? I sold off all my AF lenses and now have a dedicated 50mm Mitakon Speedmaster permanently attached. That lens…. my what a lens!
As an aspiring fine art photographer currently pursuing a BA in photography (and afterwards, an MFA in the same), I am constantly battered by what is available and what is best for me and my future endeavors. I’ve never owned a Leica but have seen most of your reviews and love the art of slowing down. I plan on purchasing a Leica Q for street photography but I’m one of those love-street-photography-but-to-shy-to-take-pictures-of-people kinda guys. Can I get a “lol?” The irony is endless. I also love black and whites to a fault. My point is… The Hasselblad X1D came on my radar a few months ago and with your review you’ve not only helped to inspire this photographer yet again but also potentially saved me tens of thousands in equipment purchases because now I know exactly what I want: An X1D. No question about it. I was already planning a MF purchase but your reviews solidified this and for that I thank you.
You, kind sir, have my sincere gratitude and I appreciate everything you do.
John Skala – Las Cruces, NM
Thank you John, appreciate the kind words.
Glad they fixed the viewfinder lag. When I tried one in June it took 5 seconds for the viewfinder to turn on when you put your eye up to it. The viewfinder is nicer in highlights and shadow details than the GFX. The GFX viewfinder always looked over exposed. Thanks for the detailed review.
Really? Five seconds? That would have been a deal breaker for me, 100%. I never was able to try it before this latest FW update, if I did I probably would have sent it back to never try again. Glad I waited. But 5 seconds, that is unreal. Should have never released it like that.
Very comprehensive set of comments on the X1D. I wish I could afford one. You said that the lens was not quite as good as a Leica lens. There seems to be no information on the lens itself, except for a big H and 3.5. Who makes this f3.5 lens? Where does it come from? Hasselblad seems to be curiously mum on this point, and I can’t find find anywhere on the internet that tells me about it. Do you have any information about it. As a new owner, the manufacturer ought to be open with you about the provenance of its lenses.
I do not have any info on it. I mean, it is a lovely lens. Light, and gives off a nice vibe and rendering. But I have no details on it. I will try to find out, if so I will do an update. Thank you.
According to Ming Thein (https://blog.mingthein.com/2016/06/22/announcing-the-hasselblad-x1d-50c/), it appears “the body is made in Sweden by Hasselblad with lenses made in Japan by Nittoh.”
Hasselblad is very open about Nitto being their lens partner and it was discussed when the X1D was announced.
Not hard to find – Hasselblad has said they are made by Nittka in Japan.
Apologies – Nitto