Hasselblad announced the X1D – the world’s first mirrorless medium format digital camera – yesterday at the Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg, Sweden. We were lucky enough to be there at the launch. If the initial crowd reaction is any indication this will be a hugely successful camera for Hasselbad. It deserves to be: it is a truly amazing camera that only Hasselblad could have made.
So why all the excitement? Hasselblad has taken all of their best technology and put it into an incredibly small and affordable package. I asked them how the files from the X1D compare to the current 50C back. They are identical, I’m told: they are the same sensor. All of that phenomenal quality is now in a tiny, 725g (“that’s half the weight of a Macbook Air”) beauty of a camera.
If you’ve shot medium format before you know that quality: incredibly sharp images with smooth tonal gradations and files that just keep on giving as you tweak the noise, adjust the colour and play with the exposure. Want to pull more detail out of those shadows? No problem. Need to balance indoor and outdoor lighting? Can do. If you haven’t shot medium format before, stay tuned for upcoming demo opportunities with the camera. It really is something you need to see and feel for yourself.
And that feeling of the camera, I think, is Hasselblad’s most impressive feat: the way the camera feels and operates. You’re getting all of that image quality in a fantastically well built and solid little body. They’ve somehow found the balance between a heftiness that feels sturdy in your hands and a lightness that feels like you can take this camera with you wherever you go.
So who is this camera for? Hasselblad tells us it is for all serious photographers, from enthusiasts to professionals. It is for the professional that is looking for a portable complement to their H system camera (the X-H adapter makes the X1D compatible with all H series lenses – even the HTS tilt-shift system). It is for photographers that have been considering medium format but didn’t want to spend the money to get into it. I know a lot of landscape photographers, portrait shooters and artists that will fall in love with this camera.
I think it is safe to say that Hasselblad made some missteps in the past with their Lunar and Stellar cameras and one of the main themes yesterday from Hasselblad’s CEO, Perry Oosting, was “never again.” Every aspect of this camera was designed by Hasselblad: the body, the sensor, the lenses, the screen. The X1D represents the culmination of everything Hasselblad does best, and you could tell their design team was incredibly proud.
This camera is a clear next step for Hasselblad: Victor Hasselbad himself first entered the photo business because he wanted a high quality camera that was smaller than the large format cameras that were common in the 1940s. Hasselblad is continuing that tradition today, with the X1D becoming the highest-quality camera of its size to ever be developed. It’s an excellent move on their part and the camera will be loved by many photographers.
“I think it is safe to say that if Victor Hasselblad was alive today,” said CEO Oosting, “He’d be proud of the X1D.”
Interested in the X1D? Visit calphoto.co.uk to read more about the specifications of the camera and lenses plus secure your spot on the pre-order list.