The Hasselblad X1D Shoots New York City and More  By Joe Marquez

The Hasselblad X1D Shoots New York City and More

By Joe Marquez

Just returned from a quick visit to New York City with my Hasselblad X1D and two XCD lenses & the 30mm f/3.5 and 90mm f/3.2.  While there I managed to take in a few NYC sights, shoot the annual Halloween Parade, photograph a ballerina in the streets, drive north to Rhode Island and visit family and friends.

This brief write-up includes ten X1D observations and a few photos from my trip. For those in need of more Hasselblad X1D information I recommend Steve Huff’s awesome four-part real world review posted on this site a couple of months ago.

Here are ten X1D observations in no particular order.

1. It feels pretty awesome carrying around a powerhouse medium format camera in a small unobtrusive sling bag. My travel kit consists of the X1D, two lenses, a diminutive SB-400 Nikon flash, an SC-17 TTL flash cord, small rocket blower and a couple of extra batteries.

2. I can handhold the X1D with the 30mm lens down to 1/30 second by utilizing a taut camera strap around my neck. For longer exposures I place the camera on a solid surface and use the self-timer.

Always click on the images for larger and better versions!

3. If needed I can attach an Sb-400 lens to the X1D with a flash cord. This allows me to hold the flash in one hand and camera in the other. I used this technique to get some nice costume photos at the NYC Halloween Parade.

4. In daylight I can attach the SB-400 flash and sync at speeds up to 1/2000 of a second. This is a huge benefit of the X1D leaf shutter design and one of the primary reasons I chose the Hasselblad over the Fuji GFX.

5. The sensor is prone to collecting dust. I now try to be extra careful when changing lenses and I carry a rocket blower in my bag just in case.

6. Thankfully Hasselblad continues to add features to the X1D via firmware updates. One new feature is the ability to select fully open aperture to produce smoother round bokeh. Another is the ability to use a portion of the rear LCD screen to select the focus point. Very handy and I took advantage of these features on the trip.

7. X1D autofocus speed is more than adequate, however I often tweak focus manually for more precision.

8. The low light capability of this camera continues to impress. I’m not deterred shooting iso 6400 and beyond. The photo of Lomi the cat is a good example. However, I would love Hasselblad to produce faster glass and consequently look forward to the just announced 80mm high (as of yet unspecified) aperture lens.

9. I thoroughly enjoy the starbursts produced by the 30mm XCD lens when stopped down. Beautiful and elegant IMHO.

10. In general no one takes notice of the X1D. This allowed me to do a little NYC street photography just for fun. One photographer at the Halloween Parade did take notice and we struck up a nice friendly conversation.

Overall, I had a great time using the Hasselblad X1D in New York. My kit was relatively small, lightweight, surprisingly versatile and fairly unobtrusive. To date I have shot a wide variety of subject matter with this camera and continue to be pleased.


Thank you Steve Huff for allowing me to share my photographic experiences on your wonderful site. Readers can follow me at or Hope I can provide more worthy material in the future.


A few more shots:


  1. The best shots on internet of this camera on goggle any way 🙂 please give us more very nice indeed , really does look like film ,like them all family shots are great and the one with the proud cop many thanks .

  2. It is good to see continuing coverage of the X1D as it is it is a camera that many of us would love to own and some of us do plan to own in the future. I like the colors coming out of the X1D including skin tones. I think the portability is a killer feature.

    • A few years ago I did street shooting on a trip to Southeast Asia with a Hasselblad H4d-40. It was larger than my other cameras and I had lots of gawkers when I pulled it from my camera bag. The X1D is more portable and more unobtrusive. And yes, the colors are solid IMHO.

  3. Joe,
    I have really enjoyed your X1D stories. I use my X1D in the same manner but in downtown Los Angeles for urban photography. My XCD 90mm has become my street photography lens and using my XCD 45mm for urban shots. I developed a shutter issue with the 45mm and just returned it and I am now debating if I replace it or go for the XCD 30mm.
    Look forward to your next series.

    • Sal, glad you enjoy the images. Would love to shoot LA with the X1D. I too enjoy the 90 and debated between the 45 and 30 but decided to go wider. Instead of the 45 I shoot with my venerable Sony RX1Rm2 and its lovely Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f/2 lens. This gives me a pretty sweet kit optimized for my needs.

  4. Holy Cow, Joe….great images! Between you and Steve, you are making it very difficult for me…I really want this camera, but with the Sony A7R3 just released (which I have already pre-ordered), I am not sure, now…..but then I see your images, and it is making me think again….good job!

    • Thanks Scotty. The Sony A7R3 is no doubt a winner, however, there are a few reasons why I prefer the X1D. One is the leaf shutter and flash syncing up to 1/2000 sec. For ballerinas, dancers or any action, this is a great feature. Also, a small flash works well for fill in the middle of the day. Second is clean long exposures. The X1D can take one hour exposures with minimal hot pixels. Combined with 50MP of resolution and wonderful dynamic range this is great for my photography. Third is fun and ergonomics. I can’t remember a more enjoyable camera to pull out of my bag to take a photograph. Really nice to have so many cool camera options.

  5. Nice pictures, thanks a lot. However, colors seem oversaturated to me, not nice at all. Even if I try to, I can’t dig X1D colors, no matter who shoots with it. Just my weird thought.

  6. Fantastic photos Joe!
    I am very impressed with how the colors are rendered. Did you use Lightroom or Capture One to process these?


    Mark K

  7. Beautiful images especially the ballerina pictures. There is lots of talk about the Hasselblad on this site. Why isn’t anyone talking about the Fujifilm GFX. That seemed to be a bit easier to use and had an excellent selection of lenses. 1 do not own either of these cameras at this time, but would love either of them.

    • I own the X1D and have handled and shot with the Fuji GFX. For me it was and is no contest for my use. The images here that Joe shows, well, they would have not been as enjoyable to shoot with the GFX. The body is quite a bit thicker, lenses are larger and the low light IQ is not as good even though we have the same sensor in each. The GFX is larger and more bulky and what makes the X1D, for me, so enjoyable is the size, the feel, the build, simple and beautiful menus, only having the basics and delivering IMO, a different kind of IQ and color than the Fuji. Some will prefer the Fuji, and some the X1D but IMO, the Fuji really has nothing over the Hasselblad at all besides the Joystick, of which for me, is a non issue. A couple more lenses but those will be coming soon for the X1D. So you see my X1D review on these pages as I own it, and bought one and it has allowed me to do a long form review. I did not buy the Fuji and have yet to rent one with a lens for $700 to review it. I handled one again recently just 2 weeks ago and while it is a lovely system, it’s just not for me personally. I feel if someone wants a medium format camera to use as a street camera, a portrait camera, a low light/high ISO camera and one that can be taken anywhere, anytime…the X1D would be it. It’s slightly larger than the A9 but feels much better in the hand. The Fuji is also a great system for those who prefer it for what it offers them. As Joe says below its good we have choices as our tastes are all different. Thank you.

      • Steve,
        One significant advantage & perhaps the only one IMHO for the Fuji over the Hasselblad is the automatic anti dust sonic device on the Fuji that helps keep the sensor free of dust. As Joe alluded to in his write up – point #5 – dust is an issue when changing lenses.

        Don’t know why Hasselblad didn’t build this in or, fingers crossed, they included it as revision soon.

        Still trying to chose between the systems, heart suggests Hasselblad, but head suggests Fuji or SL because of the sensor dust protection.

        • That doesn’t bother me in the slightest. It’s super simple to use a rocket blower on the X1D, but so far I have not needed it yet. The GFX, I would never ever use it so would never buy it for my personal work. To bulky, lenses, most are large and the Hasselblad to me, feels better and I prefer the color and especially the amazing low light capabilities (which is better than the Fuji). What the X1D has that no other MF camera to date has is small size, and amazing feel and a simplicity only seen in Leica cameras. I wouldn’t take three GFX’s for my one X1D ; )

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