Hasselblad X1D: medium format in a compact camera


What is it?

Medium format cameras produce excellent images that smaller format cameras just can’t match. They are also really bug and heavy, so they’re not really designed to leave the studio. But Hasselblad’s new X1D is a medium front camera is a smaller camera that you can actually carry around with you. It has an imager of 50-megapixel medium-format CMOS and it is a chip with roughly twice the surface area as the one that can be found in a full-frame DSLR. The difference in sensor is huge but the size and weight of X1D is almost the same as of professional DSRL, like the full-frame shooters Canon 5D Mark III and Nikon D4. X1D is being billed by Hasselblad as the world’s first mirrorless medium-format camera.

What is mirrorless tech?

In a camera with mirrors, the light coming in through the lens in reflected by the mirror up to a prism and then into the viewfinder for a preview of the shot.

In a mirrorless camera, the light coming through the lens passes onto the image sensor, which captures a preview of the image and displays it on the rear screen. Cameras with mirrors are obviously larger in size but the sensors in mirrorless cameras is physically larger which captures higher quality images. So for Hasselblad to make a medium format, mirrorless camera is quite a feat.


What makes it different?

The fact that it can capture pictures of the very top quality, using the mirrorless technology in a compact form is all that makes Hasselblad not only different, but also unique.

Why is it better? Is it better?

Dubbed XCD, X1D is using a new line of lenses that have an integral central shutter. The shutter range is between 60 minutes and 1/2000th of a second.

The camera also boast a hot shoe that is Nikon-compatible, a 3-inch touchscreen LCD, GPS, Wi-Fi, a USB 3.0 Type-C connector and 1080/30p HD video capability, as well as a Mini HDMI port.

Apart from all these exciting features, the camera itself is not fast however. Due to the dual SD it takes a long time to write images and the interface isn’t smooth to use. The autofocus system is also quite slow and the lenses can be heard cracking away as they try to focus and rack back and forth. For fast photography, this is not the camera for you. But for still life, landscapes, portraits and other slow photography, X1D is amazing. It produces a level of image quality you just can’t get with smaller format cameras.

Costs and availability

By itself, the X1D camera is priced at $9000 USD. In a kit is for $11,300 with the 45mm f/3.5 lens. For $13,985 you can get both the 90mm f/4.5 lens and the 45mm f/3.5. The 45mm lens will separately cost $2,300 and the 90mmlens will cost $2,700. Preorders are available at some store but availability will towards the end of August or the beginning of September.


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