Experiments, available light and an Island with the Hasselblad X1D
by Jeroen Hermkens
I have been getting into Photography for 4 years now. First with a Lumix GM1, I really liked the small body size with the nice m4/3 lenses, but I thought I could get something better so I started looking. 2,5 years ago I hired a Sony A7RII based on your review but I didn’t pull the trigger since I didn’t like that much more the colors and IQ compared to the GM1.
Last Summer I got into old school photography with a Salyut-C and liked the much higher quality which was available with scanning the negatives. I had some very nice results and liked the slow pace. The amount of work and unpredictable result were kind of a pain so my search for something else than the GM1 lingered on.
In November I came along your review of the Hasselblad X1D and two remarks hit home:
- There is a lot of emotion around the camera you use and you need to be in love with it – I was/am that with the small size of the GM1 and was not with the A7RII
- This camera (X1D) is much better than I will ever be able to make use off
I decided to hire the camera for a weekend (didn’t jump ship blindly like you) and after my first round of experiments I was sold on the depth of the images and its wide color range. Photographing with the X1D is a kind of middle ground between the fast digital photography and slow analogue photography.
Yes, it boots slow. Yes, it releases slow. But.. it makes you focus and the results are predictably good.
And after reading that in those six booting seconds it loads a camera specific custom color profile so your photos are color balanced I am fine with it now.
I would love to share with you and your readers some of my first experiments and a series I made on Ameland, one of the Dutch Wadden Islands.
Experiments 1 – day light around Hoog Catherijne Utrecht
My first experiments were around one of Hollands biggest shopping mall, Hoog Catharijne in Utrecht, Holland. That’s an area with lots of new buildings and high contrasts.
The picture with the bird (so much detail) is quite a crop but it is still bigger than 20MP.
Click images for larger and better versions!
No flash has been used in this picture, all available light, you can almost the fabric of the chair.
Experiments 2 – available light
I have done a lot of available light photography with the Lumix but the X1D brings this to another level. The colors are so bright and crisp, it is a joy.
Around New Year we spend several days on Ameland one of the Dutch Wadden Islands. This gave a good opportunity to test the X1D in every different situations, day light, night, storm. I am really pleased with the images and their almost oil paint glow of the images.
The picture of the fireworks is taken in one shot. It is not a composite.
The X1D is a true pleasure to work with. Yes it is much better than I will be but it inspires me to go out and play. What the heck, it even inspired me to make a portfolio site of all my work at www.stillness.photo.
My social media accounts are instagram.com/jeroenhermkens and twitter.com/jeroenhermkens.
I really enjoyed your article. I enjoy the simplicity of the menu and it feels so good in the hand. I began using my X1D in downtown Los Angeles before sunrise to capture street lights. I have been using the X1D since summer and it has been very reliable.
Thanks Sal! I bought two batteries with the camera, one was faulty which was a pain but since I got it replaced all is perfect!
Being born in the Friesland province, your Ameland photographs resonate with me. Apart from the Germans, very few foreign tourist come to the Netherlands to see the Wadden Islands.
Okay, we had a few oil paint experts over here.
And we have a few really nice cities.
But these islands are the real Pearls of Holland.
Very well done!
tourists of course
Dank Jaap! I have been to several of the Islands, but Ameland really impressed me.
Web-downsized images diminishes visible benefits. Have you compared comparable images from equipment you do own?
Yes I did extensively, both with the A7RII (2,5 years ago) and now the X1D. When you downsize the difference gets smaller but there is so much more information and sharpness to work with that in the end even the downsized images are far better.
What platform did you use for your portfolio?
Format.com and I tweak the homepage.
Finally – someone who can SEE how to use the X1D..! Thank you.
Wow, that’s a compliment, thanks!
That lighthouse/firework picture is insane
Yup, that one is a stunner.
Fireworks shot was a good catch. The truck on the beach shows off the resolution. Quite a jump from a GM1 to the X1D. I’m saving up for an X2D when it arrives. I enjoy reading about user experience and seeing example shots with the X1D since is not a camera I can afford yet.
Yeah I think the X2D will be even more amazing. There are some things I am still missing from the GM1:
– the small size (duh!)
– focus and firing the shutter by touching the screen
– being able to measure color temperature in camera and set it as a custom balance
– brightness of the GM1 screen. I had to buy a big flash light to see anything and focus in the dark
Some of those photos are terrific. I love the sunset (#13). I tend to prefer ambient light wherever possible. Otherwise I would use hotlights. I don’t like flash at all.
The X1D is quite amazing. It has zero legacy, and the images look great.
Thank you Karim! The truth is that it isn’t a sun set but a boat on sea on the horizon in pitch dark.
yes it is a very capable camera indeed 🙂