Hasselblad X1D, a bit hands on…

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about this new camera, last week I got to see one.

On Thursday July 7th Fuji launched the long anticipated replacement for the X-T1 unsurprisingly named the X-T2, it was also the day I got my hands on the new X1D during a Hasselblad event at WEX in Norwich. It was a prototype, so not all the software is fully implemented as yet and there are a few tweaks the engineers still want to do.

So this is not a full review but my initial reaction to seeing, holding and shooting a few frames with the camera. I have no connection with Hasselblad and I’m not getting paid.X1D_Front34_ViewSML.jpg

It is pretty much exactly what I expected it to be, a small compact camera packed with technology and the 50MP sensor as used in the H6D. In the hand it feels right, nicely balanced and the grip is excellent. Any fears I might have had about the viewfinder not delivering a cracking image were quickly dispelled and from my limited use I get the feeling that it is very good – bright. clean, uncluttered and easy to see all the detail. However this was in a lit showroom so it will be interested to see how it performs in low light situations.

I’m not a great fan of LCD viewfinders but this may be the best I’ve seen so far.

Scrolling through settings and reviewing images on the back works really well, pinch and zoom iPad® style. Simple, nicely implemented and above all easy to use. Swipe down to reveal the settings – shutter speed, aperture etc are all touch screen controlled. Swipe horizontally to review images.

There are two SD slots so RAW and JPEG is an option. In the H6D Hasselblad has opted for a CF fast card (better for video recording), but an SD card slots straight into a MacBook so SD all the way. I didn’t have the option of shooting tethered on the day.

On the top plate is the mode dial, selection is by rotation  – aperture or shutter priority, programme or custom settings. When depressed this drops into the top plate thereby avoiding accidentally changing your setting. I want to say disappears but you can still see it.  Why has no one else done this? Alongside are two small buttons, AF/MF and ISO/WB and towards the rear of the top plate a power on/off button. It’s clean functional and the ability to drop the settings dial into the body is very clever. The shutter button continues the colour choice of the H6D and is in the top of the grip. The hot shoe is compatible with Nikon flash units but Nikon were not involved in the camera design and there was no option to test this.

At the moment there are only two lenses available a 45mm and a 90mm, I tried both and they are lightweight fast focussing and sharp. More lenses are to come, the 30mm should be released at Photokina in September.

I had the opportunity to shoot a few frames and in action the camera is very easy to use. Viewing the images on a MacBook Pro 15” in Phocus 3 they look good, I had hoped to include a couple of examples but this  has not been possible. Sample images are however available on the Hasselblad website.

As I said in the opening sentence Fuji launched the X-T2 on July 7th, it will available to buy very soon. The X1D should be available towards the end of August, far too long, it should be ready now.

This camera could do very well but it needs an articulated screen. As the first to market Hasselblad have an advantage but it wouldn’t pay them to be complacent. A lot of other manufactures will be watching closely to see how this fares. Having had the chance to try the X1D I still think this is the first of a new type of camera. I stand by my previous comments, this is a game changer.


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