• Kaisern Chen

The Hasselblad "X" cameras

Updated: Mar 31

Made for Photographer!


Hasselblad X1D II 50c mounted with XCD 80/1.9 & XCD 45/3.5

The Hasselblad X1D-II 50c is what I wished the first X series camera should be. What missed on the original X1D-50c has been mostly improved, making the shooting with the camera a much more pleasing experience; however, that is probably also true for most successive cameras each replaced.


The X1D-II retains the original design and three-part construction of the model released in 2016, precision milling from solid aluminum billet, provides the sense of assurance worthy of the Hasselblad name. The smart-looking and meticulously finished Hasselblad X camera with its new space grey finish remains to be the best representation of the modern digital camera, all formats and brands included, as far as industrial design is concerned. However, this is a person's subjective opinion. The classic and practical Leica M cameras, the simplicity of the Alpa 12, the supremacy of the Phase One XF camera, and some other great cameras are not challenged as each has stood out by the individual character of its own, well-proven by time. The Hasselblad X series camera is a camera of 2020 and one that those guests who attend The Oscars would carry!


The most significant improvement of the X1D II 50c is the smoothness it operates, which is the result of all the upgrades of components made to work in higher integration, like a well-oiled machine. The X1D II 50c is more efficient to acquire focus; 3.6" intuitive touch-screen works as toggle control of focus points and quick access to the well-layout menu, making shot to shot sequence more adapted to the preference of a photographer, as a camera should. The 3.69MP OLED EVF further erases any questions that the photographer who used to optical VF might have, as it is as close to one can see the real file display on a device or computer monitor as possible. Those who make a living from digital content creation, still or motion will appreciate its accuracy, efficiency, and convenience. Hasselblad X1D cameras probably have the best handling, size/proportion, and weight that allows a shot with high stability. However, image stabilization is still one of the features that will make the X1D camera even better with potentially multi-shot function a bonus.


Hasselblad X1D is not a perfect camera, probably none is. But if a question of "what is your dream camera" made to a photographer ten years ago, then the Hasselblad X1D II 50c today may be well beyond most of their dreams.


Photo industries have changed a lot; photography is not.


Anastasia Maslova, Bangkok, Thailand February 26, 2020 Hasselblad X1D II 50c + SCD 80/1.9 f/4 1/320 ISO 400 Center-weighted average

Hasselblad XCD 80/1.9 is not an inexpensive lens and is built, finished, and with optical performance to meet the bill. It is an exceptionally bright lens with the leaf shutter that can sync up to 1/2000s and warranty to 1,000,000 exposures. The XCD 80/1.9 feels solid, substantial, but well balanced on the X1D II 50c thanks to its well texturize over-size hand grip. I closed down the lens to f/4 so I can have enough depth of field on the lovely Anastasia while keeping the background blur for visual isolation. The new touch screen is intuitive and allows me to use my thumb to move the focusing spot to where I would like to focus while keeping my eyes on the EVF, fantastic for portraiture work.


Anastasia Maslova "Surfaced" Bangkok. February 26, 2020 Hasselblad X1D II 50c + XCD 45/3.5 f/6.3 1/160s ISO 200 Aperture Priority

I started to use the original X1D-50c since late 2016, and I found myself use the camera with XCD 45/3.5 most resembles the way I shoot with a Leica M camera with either a 35mm or 50mm lens which accounts 80% of my shots for location portraits.


Jenny García Vergara, Bangkok, Thailand March 2018 Hasselblad X1D + XCD 45/3.5

Goda Paulavičiūtė, September 2016, Hasselblad X1D-50c + XCD 45/3.5

Olga Svyryda, November 2016, Hasselblad X1D-50c + XCD 45/3.5

The X1D camera with a compact lens such as the XCD 45/3.5 or the new XCD 45/4P measures up well with my go-to Leica M10-D mounted with Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH in term of size, weight and portability as a one-lens-camera situation. Yes, it is a bit bigger in overall size, but in a few hours, you won't tell the difference, says a veteran.


Leica X10-D + Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH and Hasselblad X1D II 50c + XCD 45/3.5

The development and release of XCD 80/1.9 is an answer to Fujifilm's GF 110/2 R LM WR, an excellent lens indeed, and the XCD 80/1.9 is nothing less in any way. It is also an answer to the general public that Hasselblad and its optical manufacturer partner are capable of designing and delivering a fast lens, a benchmark lens of its class.


Hasselblad X1D II 50c + XCD 80/1.9 & Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 110/2 R LM WR

The XCD 80/1.9 has excellent fidelity quality with the minimum distortion, which makes location portraiture with great flexibility. This image of Anastasia is an example of a very natural rendering of the face and body with a high definition between the focused zone and the out-of-focus background for excellent subject separation.


Anastasia Maslova "Surfaced", Bangkok, Thailand February 26, 2020 Hasselblad X1D II 50c + SCD 80/1.9 f/3.2 1/200 ISO 200 Center-weighted average

Katarina Gartell, Bangkok February 26, 2020 Hasselblad X1D II 50c + XCD 80/1.9 f/3.2 1/250s ISO 200 Center-weighted average

The compact size and solidly built of Hasselblad X1D camera make it an ideal choice for location works. I made some images with the lovely Lithuanian girl, Goda Paulavičiūtė, at the Bangkok Railway Station for my first location shoot with X1D 50c and instantly fell in love with it.


Goda Paulavičiūtė with Hasselblad X1D 50c + Xcd 45/3.5 at the Bangkok Railway Station September 15, 2016

Ivanka with the Hasselblad X1D + XCD 45/3.5 November 26, 2016

Victoria Pacheco with Hasselblad X1DII-50c, March 7, 2020

In the studio, the original X1D 50c performed acceptably; autofocus is useful, accurate a bit slow, but gets the work done.


Ira Lyutak at SOTA 96 Bangkok September 14, 2016 X1D 50c + XCD 45/3.5 f/9 1/125s ISO 100 Profoto Lights

Goda Paulavičiūtė at SOTA 96 Bangkok, November 15, 2016 Hasselblad X1D 50c + XCD 90/3.2 f/10 1/400s ISO 100 Profoto Lights

Goda Paulavičiūtė at SOTA 96 Bangkok, November 15, 2016 Hasselblad X1D 50c + XCD 90/3.2 f/10 1/100s ISO 100 Profoto Lights

The XCD 90/3.2, as one of the first batch of lenses released along with the original X1D 50c is an excellent lens; the new XCD 80/1.9 is better in every way except heavier.


Hasselblad X1D II 50c mounted with XCD 80/1.9

Katerina Gartell & Anastasia Maslova, Bangkok, Thailand February 26, 2020 Hasselblad X1D II 50c + XCD 80/1.9 f/4 1/180s ISO 100 Aperture Priority

Anastasia Maslova, February 26, 2020 Hasselblad X1D II 50c + XCD 80/1.9 f/4 1/350s ISO 400 Aperture Priority


March 2020


Victoria Pacheco, the Bangkok Railway Station, March 7, 2020 Hasselblad X1DII 50c + XCD 45/3.5 f/4 1/400s ISO 100 Aperture Priority

Victoria Pacheco, the Bangkok Railway Station, March 7, 2020 Hasselblad X1DII-50c + XCD 90/3.2 f/3.2 1/180s ISO 3,200 Center-Weighted Average

Victoria Pacheco, the Bangkok Railway Station, March 7, 2020 Hasselblad X1DII-50c + XCD 45/3.5 f/5.6 1/320s ISO 100 Aperture Priority

The modern digital system has the lens perfectly matched optically, through the lens design, digital optimization, and advanced lens coating. The best example here that the Hasselblad XCD 45/3.5 is shot wide open against light and still able to deliver extremely sharp images and free of any flare with high contrast.


Victoria Pacheco, the Bangkok Railway Station, March 7, 2020 Hasselblad X1DII-50c + XCD 45/3.5 f/3.5 1/100s ISO 400 Aperture Priority

Victoria Costello and Virginia Costello, the twin sister from Argentina, SOTA 96 Bangkok, March 7, 2020 Hasselblad X1D II 50c + XCD 90/3.2 f/9 1/160s ISO 100 Profoto Lights

Virginia Costello with Hasselblad X1D II 50c mounted with XCD 90/3.2 at SOTA 96 Bangkok, March 7, 2020

Victoria Costello and Virginia Costello, the twin sisters from Argentina behind and in front of camera, SOTA 96 Bangkok, March 7, 2020 Hasselblad X1D II 50c + XCD 90/3.2 f/9 1/160s ISO 100 Profoto Lights

May 2020


From my series of Tomato Republic

Tomato Republic #228 May 18, 2020 Hasselblad X1DII-50c + HC Macro 4/120 II with XH Lens Adapter

The Hasselblad HC Macro 4/120 II + XH Lens Adapter mounted on X1DII delivers stunning detail. It is massive, and perhaps the XH Lens Adapter should build with a tripod collar to allow the set-up to be better balanced when used with a tripod.

Ploenchit, Bangkok May 19, 2020 Hasselblad X1DII 50C + XCD 35-75/3.5-4.5 f/10 1/5s ISO 800

The Hasselblad XCD 35-75/3.5-4.5 is a very sharp lens that sits among the top of all the great zoom lenses I have ever used. It is the lens that can easily rival the primes! Any prime! The lens weighs 1,115g, feels dense, but well balanced when mounted on the X1D camera. Focusing is quiet, but the acquisition of focus is slow; those who want to use this for the spontaneous shoot will probably need to spend time to get acquainted with the lens, then to master the lens. Those who shoot stationery portraiture, landscape, abstract, or sill objects will find this lens indispensable.


Hasselblad XCD 3.5-4.5/35-75 Zoom mounted on X1DII 50C


May 20, 2020


Zara Dragon, at week 34


Zara Dragon, at week 34, May 20, 2020 Hasselblad X1DII 50C + XCD 35-75/3.5-4.5 f/11 1/100s ISO 100 Profoto A1

Zara Dragon, at week 34, May 20, 2020 Hasselblad X1DII 50C + XCD 80/1.9 f/11 1/100s ISO 100 Profoto A1

Zara Dragon with Syama, at week 34, May 20, 2020 Hasselblad X1DII 50C + XCD 135/2.8 f/5.6 1/80s ISO 400 Profoto A1

Hasselblad X1DII 50C + XCD 135/2.8

Zara Dragon, at week 34, May 20, 2020 Hasselblad X1DII 50C + XCD 35-75/3.5-4.5 f/11 1/80s ISO 100 Profoto A1

September 2020


After a long break from the CCP Virus Pandemic!

Katarina Gartell, Bangkok, Thailand Hasselblad X1DII + XCD 80/1.9 f/4 1/200s. ISO 400 Aperture Priority


The Hasselblad 907X with CFV II 50 C


It took Hasselblad several tries before they figured out to trace back to their original 1600F from 1948 and the mirrorless SWA from 1954 for a digital reintroduction of powerful nostalgic emotional connection, the Hasselblad 907X with CFV II 50C.


Hasselblad 907X attached with CFV II 50C, lens mounted : XCD 45/4P

The development in electronics enables the integration between components reaches heights previously not possible with mechanical parts. The Hasselblad 907X & CFV II 50C is not revolutionary by any means as it carries the brand heritage in a modular system approach from the original Hasselblad 1600F with modern electronic. The Hasselblad 1600F has a boxy appearance with the modular waist-level finder and film magazine features the classic contour akin to Swedish motor SAAB URSAAB designed by Sixten Sason. The original design approach continues to influence Hasselblad cameras' successive cameras to this day, except those crazy re-branded SONY cameras from Hasselblad's Italian Design Center. I might add that the accessories for 907X are not something Sixten Sason would have designed, DJI maybe, IMHO.



The same year as the Hasselblad SWA, in 1954, also saw the birth of the Leica M3, which base design carries to the latest digital model of the M system, the M10 series cameras.

Both cameras appealed to a small segment of consumers who sought after high-quality craftsmanship, design to reflect their taste and style, good performance, and the price is not much worry. Both are an excellent example of bridging digital technology to their historical roots and brand character.


Leica M10-D is a result of tremendous efforts from Leica to have its look, way of use, and critical mechanical parts resembled as much as possible to the original M camera with the rest of being electronic components to stay as close to the state of the art technology as possible. Leica's philosophy works at its best even though the image quality-making capability is not on par with, for example, SL and SL2, or some may want to include Q2 in this conversation. The M bayonet and the charm of using the M camera are the key differentiation factors that sell the M camera.


The Hasselblad is a very different execution and one that many wish it should arrive years earlier. The Hasselblad 907X is an incarnation of the brand's original SWA with its fixed legendary Carl Zeiss 38mm Biogon, one of the most unmistakable iconic photography cameras. The 907X retains the squarish, and the thin camera body look of the original mirrorless SWA makes it an instant classic! The CFV II 50c comes with the 907X equipped with the articulated touch screen not only works as the control panel and framing device but also allows the 907X works similar to the older Hasselblad with waist-level finder. Hasselblad categorized the 907X 50C as part of the V System intends to revive the legendary V system and may hint something more to come, pending on the success of the current day Hasselblad!


Hasselblad 907X 50c uses the same 33X44mm sensor as the X1/X1 II cameras, compares to the 56X56mm square format of the past it modeled. The 907X is even smaller than an Alpa 12TC, and most users shall appreciate its new compact size.


Hasselblad 907X + CFV II 50C with XCD 45/4P sits next to Leica M10-D with Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH

907X 50C is compact, easy to get acquainted with, and handles most shooting situations wonderfully, particularly for the still, landscapes, and fine art photographers. For spontaneous portraits, however, I wish for the option of an electronic viewfinder! Hasselblad does offer a trifocal optical viewfinder (21/30/45) to mount on the 907X via a cold shoe adapter that is better than nothing, not better than an EVF, but it is what it is. Together with the 907X Control Grip, these accessories look foreign; instead, they looked like DJI accessory. However, the look is not the most important thing, and the 907X Control Grip will be indispensable if to use handheld with some heavier lenses such as the XCD 35-75 zoom and the XCD 135.


The original SWA and later SWC with a fixed legendary Carl Zeiss Bion 38mm may well be the approach that most of the 907X users would do with a preferred lens almost permanently attached, which likely to be the XCD 45/4P as pictured, my preferred choice as well. The decision to make the XCD 45/4P in the same design language as other XCD line is understandable, but a version of the compact lens reminiscent of the 38mm Biogon or classic CF lenses may not be a bad idea; I would want one, if affordable. The electronic shutter allows the CFV II 50C with an articulated rear touch screen useful on all the previous 500 and 200 Hasselblad cameras. I would use it mostly with my 905 for fun, making the 38mm Carl Zeiss Biogon slightly longer than XCD 45 after crop factor applied. However, using the XCD lenses is still a more practical approach, and better overall quality with digital correction applied.


Hasselblad 907X + CFV II 50C with XCD 45/4P

Elena Shargina at the BTS Station Ploenchit, Ploenchit, Bangkok,Thailand


Elena Shargina, BTS Ploenchit Station, Ploenchit, Bangkok, Thailand September 15, 2020 Hasselblad 907X + CFV II 50c + XCD 45/4P

Elena SHargina, the Central Embassy Bangkok, Thailand September 15, 2020 Hasselblad 907X 50C + 45/4P

Hasselblad 907X 50C with XCD 35-75/3.5-4.5 Zoom & XCD 45/4P

Elena Shargina, Central Embassy Bangkok, Thailand September 15, 2020 Hasselblad 907X 50C + XCD 35-75/3.5-4.5 Zoom

Elena Shargina, Central Embassy Bangkok, Thailand September 15, 2020 Hasselblad 907X 50C + XCD 35-75/3.5-4.5 Zoom

The small compact digital cameras started the influence of composing and capturing the image with the camera away from the eyes and later became popular with the smartphones. It is not revolutionary as the earlier photographer using ground-glass for composition and focus with large format cameras or the Hasselblad V system and Twin-lens cameras. Not that the earlier photographers have any other better option but because of limited technology.

To return to the earlier root, The Hasselblad 907X has arrived at an elegant and charming solution with inherited limitations. Hasselblad plays it nicely to turn the limitation part of its charm. It's fun to use and require a little more effort, but image quality is not the concern.

The 907X forces the photographer to have a higher level of concentration while taking a picture, which is good.


It is not an easy task for a company the size like Hasselblad to combat the giant camera makers. In a short five years, it achieved a variety of offers as of September 2020, stylish and capable cameras. The modulization of electronic components and advanced manufacturing capabilities allows smaller companies such as Hasselblad to develop cameras uniquely reflect the brand's identity with quality worth carrying the brand's heritage. Hasselblad would be a clear winner in 2020 if the camera business comparable that of a beauty contest. It is one of the cameras that those guests who attend The Oscars would carry!


Hasselblad also developed a competitive lens program to support. A fantastic choice for photographers. The XCD lenses could have a better design if I were to nitpick the design issues.

Hasselblad 907X 50C + XCD 45/4P & Hasselblad X1DII 50C + XCD 80/1.9

Hasselblad also developed a competitive lens program to support. A fantastic choice for photographers. The XCD lenses could have a better design if I were to nitpick the design issues. Optically, they are right there with the very best!


Hasselblad XCD Lenses as of September 2020

The menu system is the typical European approach, clean, intuitive, and pleasant to the eyes. It works for most photography situations and particularly suitable for still portrait or landscape as the old Hasselblad once were, and many even missed. For spontaneous portraiture or streets, it works to the benefit of an experienced photographer; the camera then becomes a horse whose performance depends on the one rides it.



It is a sentiment to many photographers who missed classic photography and as a photographer and industrial designer, hoping it also inspires the other manufacturers for their future development.


Hasselblad 907X 50C + SCD 45/4P

The short flange distance allows most digital mirrorless cameras to work with a wide range of legacy lenses, such as the Hasselblad 907X 50C mounted with one of my favorite lenses - Leica APO-TELYT-R 400mm F2.8 via Novoflex Adapter.

Hasselblad 907X 50C + Leica APO-TELYT-R 400mm F2.8 with Novoflex Adapter

The Novoflex adapter I use for mounting the Leica M lens to Hasselblad 907X is well made for the reasonable price it asks for. I then use a Leica R-Adapter-M to bridge which I have it on the Leica APO-TELYT-R 400mm F2.8 permanently to use with M or SL cameras.

Hasselblad 907X 50C + Leica APO-TELYT-R 400mm F2.8 with Novoflex Adapter

The set up is more fun than practical because the original Leica APO-TELYT-R 400mm F2.8 made for the 24X36mm Leica reflex cameras resulting heavy vignette on the 33X44mm sensor of the 907X 50C. I have them mounted together to test some portraiture more purposeful for the application because it takes about 1/35s for reading/scanning data from top to bottom, so it is not useful for sport or bird/wild-life photography unless the rolling shutter is the desired result.

Hasselblad 907X 50C + Leica APO-TELYT-R 400mm F2.8 with Novoflex Adapter

The paring with Leica M lenses focal length 50mm or above will have a somewhat acceptable result, some vignette, but manageable. It is not what I intend to do with the 907X or the X1DII except for occasional fun. The native XCD lens is the proper pairing.


Hasselblad 907X 50C with Leica Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH & Leica M10-D with Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH
Hasselblad 907X 50C + Voigtlander Heliar 50mm F3.5

Thérèse MacCallum, SOTA 96 Bangkok, Thailand Hasselblad X1D 50C + XCD 90/3.2 f/10 1/100s Profoto Lightings


November 2020



November 2, 2020 Harleen Singhnarula, 33 weeks pregnant maternity shoot


Harleen Singhnarula, 33 weeks pregnant, Bangkok, Thailand November 2, 2020 Hasselblad 907X + CFV II 50C with XCD 135/2.8 f/9 /200s ISO 100 broncolor Lightings

Harleen Singhnarula, 33 weeks pregnant, Bangkok, Thailand November 2, 2020 Hasselblad 907X + CFV II 50C with XCD 135/2.8 f/9 /200s ISO 100 broncolor Lightings

Harleen & Nick Singhnarula, 33 weeks pregnant, Bangkok, Thailand November 2, 2020 Hasselblad 907X + CFV II 50C with XCD 80/1.9 f/10 /200s ISO 100 broncolor Lightings





Hasselblad did the unexpected!


XH CONVERTER 0,8


In a clever move to unlock a whole new set of H System lenses, the XH Converter 0,8 brings new opportunities of wider and brighter lenses to X System and 907X camera, with modern digital algorithm for performance enhancement!


Hasselblad XH Converter 0.8 makes the HCD 24/4.8 becomes a 19/3.8 on X cameras (X1D + 907X)

The good surprise!





November 21, 2020

my new Leica M10 Monochrom next to Hasselblad 907X + CFV 50C II mounted with Leica Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH - two of the more distinctive cameras of 2020

Historically, Leica has distinguished itself from the competition with its unique camera development approach, craftsmanship, and the philosophy using what the brand offers. With Leica M10 Monochrom, Leica further cemented the brand's argument. As an industrial designer and photographer, together with the Hasselblad 907X, are the best examples of design, engineering, and functional art craftsmanship.


The Leica screw mount and rangefinder lenses are a big part of Leica identity, well made and long-lasting, could still deliver competitive images quality to this day, with characteristics many swear that modern lens could not touch. That is purely subjective but enough of them to continue to keep Leitz/Leica's name relevant.


The final artwork quality is not the sum of total parts, and camera and lens matter nothing if the photographer behind it lacks the necessary means of making it works. Elon Musk may disagree.





December 2020



Balen J. SOTA 96 Bangkok, Thailand December 1, 2020 Hasselblad 907X + XCD 80/1.9 f/8 1/180s ISO 100 Manual Exposure Profoto Lightings



2021


January 2021


January turned out to be a rather busy month. The last week of January saw a spree of the camera and lens announcements from SONY, Fujifilm, Leica, and a few other independent lens makers. I have been working on some personal projects with some travel and cameras without Hasselblad.


Time to give some love to the 907X.


Full Moon, Bangkok, Thailand January 29, 2021 Hasselblad 907X CFVII-50C + Leica APO-TELYT-R 400mm F2.8 f/5.6 1/125 ISO 160 Manual Exposure

The medium format camera is designed to take lenses designed for the medium format as it intended. The classic medium format camera refers to those using a 56mm film strip for 645, 6X6, 6X7, 6X8, 6X9, 6X12 & 6X24, and some customs made variants. Today, such a term gave to cameras with sensors larger than 24X36mm. However, there are debates. The debate of what defines a medium format started more than two decades ago on the digital backs designed to use on medium format cameras with sensor long end less than 56mm, and the debate is still going on today. I cannot be more careless, it is just a description; what matters is the image quality the camera can produce. It was never such a discussion that 645 was not a medium format camera compared to 6X9 or larger. Or perhaps we did not hear the talks because of a lack of social media platforms, but does it matter?


To use some legacy lenses designed for the smaller sensor on a larger camera is more fun than practical, exceptions being those tilt/shift technical lenses with larger image circle to allow lens movements. Especially in this age, the digital processor takes the sensor's information and the lens for optimized results. Some can write a poem to explain how wonderfully the legacy lenses produce the unique feeling on the pictures and so on; yes, please send it to the art curators.


The moon shot is sort of more fun than something useful. In reality, I will place my trust in NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, and many scientific institutions, where the most astonishing images are created with meaning. Enthusiasts such as Terry Lovejoy, Alan Hale, Thomas Bopp, Yuji Hyakutake did contribute to discovering something professional missed; they have their name in history. Those who spend hours if not days chasing Milkyways, galaxies, and the colorful night sky, found their time well spent; although they are fantasy and more cartoon than science, it is time well spent for fun. I know where to find real astrophotos.


My full moon picture is one of the millions, if not hundreds of millions, of full moon pictures on the internet. In reality, my Leica APO-TELYT-R 400mm F2.8 bought in the '90s for use with my Leica R 6.2 and R8 will result in a visible vignette on the 33X44mm Hasselabld 907X+CFV II-50C but disguised in the full moon shot, it is not a useful picture except for fun, like a coffee break! It is to give some exercise to camera and lens rarely in use.


Hasselblad 907X + CFV-II 50C mounted with Leica APO-TELYT-R 400mm F2.8



February 2021


Photographers often have the romance as if the technology is evolving around their desire of quality and curiosity while in reality not. Not always, anyway.


It was the human endeavor to discover the unknown, breaking the boundary of common knowledge, as the case for the invention of the MOSFET (MOS -Metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor) by the Bell Labs in 1959. The scientists worked tirelessly to enable the 1977 Voyager Program (Voyager 1 and Voyager 2) to carry digital cameras on the spacecraft to capture data and store it on a digital tape and then playback during transmission periods. The spacecraft went on sending back valuable images through its mission to the edge of the planetary system, including the first and still only family portrait of planets in our home solar system, including the famous "Pale Blue Dot" - on Valentine Day, February 14, 1990, by NASA's Voyager 1. The image of "Pale Blue Dot" - Earth seen from 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) away, romantically planned ten years ahead in 1981 by Carl Sagan, a member of the Voyager Imaging Team, envisioned to have the spacecraft turn around to take one last look at home before shut off the on-board camera to preserve power for more critical instruments.


Home - "Pale Blue Dot" - captured on February 14, 1990 by Voyager 1 from 6 billion kilometers away. Earth - a lonely outpost of life in an incomprehensibly vast cosmos. Image: NASA

Both Voyagers kept flying long after February 1990. In August 2012, the Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space, followed by Voyager 2 in December 2018, moving at the velocity of 38,026.77 mph (Voyager 1) and 34,390.98 mph (Voyager 2).

Now, digital cameras, including those on Smartphones, are used to capture anything, with no regard to the prestigious heritage. They don't have to. The camera somehow becomes something for identifying the photographer, either through the image it is producing or by the camera's look, as an accessory or fashion statement - for example, the Hasselblad 907X + CFVII 50C and Leica M Edition 60.


Now, digital cameras, including those on Smartphones, are used to capture anything, with no regard to the prestigious heritage. They don't have to. The camera somehow becomes something for identifying the photographer, either through the image it is producing or by the camera's look, as an accessory or fashion statement - for example, the Hasselblad 907X + CFVII 50C and Leica M Edition 60.


Hasselblad 907X CFV-II 50C with the Leica Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE from the Edition 60 & the Leica M Edition 60 + Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH

The Hasselblad 907X + CFVII 50C and Leica M Editon 60 share many things in common but in the opposite direction. Both camera presented in the form of their past in a modern appearance. Hasselblad 907X has only the articulated rear display but no viewfinder and Leica M Edition 60 has the viewfinder but no display. Both are awful cameras by ordinary judgments for lacking vertical grip, or grip of any kind, no ergonomic to speak about, slow to autofocus or none thereof, no IBIS, and priced wrong.


Ordinary judgments are not wrong; they are just ordinary.




March 2021


It is busy time that many new products delivered and my Hasselblad gears left untouched except use for camera shots to exhibit the scale and design comparison.


My Fujifilm GFX100S arrived on March 5! I intend to retire my GFX100 because I would like to use the 102MP GFX camera primary for location portraits and travel that size is an important factor!


Hasselblad was a good alternative but my preference over Fujifilm is base on the three Fujifilm zoom lenses that allow coverage of wide focal lengths : the GF 32-64/4 R LM WR, the GF 45-100/4 R LM OIS WR, and the GF 100-200/5.6 R LM OIS WR


Hasselblad 907X CFV-II 50C + XCD 45/4 & Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 45/2.8 R WR

I still prefer the Hasselblad X1DII design over any other digital cameras today, except Leica M cameras and Alpa 12. The 907X is a fine camera with a lot of compromise that I am curious to see if Hasselblad will introduce a successive model with electric viewfinder support.


On the camera design, the Hasselblad vs. Fujifilm = Red Carpet vs. Street


Photography has changed a lot and without a doubt has become one of the most popular activities involved by most people after drink and eat. The camera also becomes an object for the user to identify oneself, particularly among non-professional users. Such a trend also let rise to the accessorizing camera as a widespread photography discussion with absolutely nothing or very little to do with photography.


Likewise, the swarm of camera reviews goes as far as analyzing rumors, un-boxing, all the comical characters of initial camera review, serious, funny, crazy field review, all the way to finding ways to break the camera by putting it to laundry machine or blender. Where is authentic photography is not a concern; identification is what most are after.


The rise of digital media also helped diversify the use of images, still and animated; the content creation targets various audiences that quality of image often not the most critical concern, popularity probably is.


Here we have two good examples, the Hasselblad 907X and the newest Fujifilm GFX100S, one from a company trying to keep its head above water and one juggernaut that has probably more resources than the management capable of manage effectively.


On the specification sheet, the Fujifilm wins in a sweep. The GFX100S with its IBIS can potentially shoot at ISO 100 when the 907X needs to push to ISO 1,600 with all other things equal. The 100MP can allow larger and higher quality print than 907X's 50MP if the user makes prints. And the system cost - camera plus several lenses. There is a logical choice to make, and the logic shows in sales.


The reality is that camera is a tool; the best tool today will be replaced by the following tool, usually better, sooner or later. Usually sooner! The old tools do not become useless; in fact, I would comfortably assume that the best 10% of pictures from a decade ago are still better than most of the images taken by the most advanced cameras today by average users. And a decade-old camera can still service what most people do with their pictures today, except instant post. We can pick one camera over another base on logic; however, logic does not rule everyone's life.



March 31, 2021 - Fast & Faster


My new GF 80/1.7 mounted on GFX100S and my XCD 80/1.9 on X1D_II 50C

The classical use of a larger aperture to compress the depth of field to get "subject" isolation was interpreted oppositely, commonly in modern days, as the subject becomes less important than looking for a blurred or often called "dream" background. The obsession with getting a dreaming bokeh and energy for lengthy discussion is subjective, although my discretion remains with the subject.


As photography becomes popular and demand for all kinds of lenses usually amounted to sizeable business, manufacturers follow their offering. It, too, somehow became a marketing strategy for the manufacturer to get ahead over the competitors for bragging right.


Hasselblad's amazingly good XCD 3.5-4.5/35-75 zoom and exceptionally bright XCD 1.9/80 respond to Hasselblad's leaf-shutter system's earlier questions can offer fast zoom or fast lenses. Hasselblad took time to deliver the lens to silent the question, costly for Hasselblad, expensive lenses for consumers. Fujifilm is a much larger corporation with a determination to claim leadership and market share counter back with the GF 80/1.7, the fastest-ever autofocus system lens for medium format cameras. Optical performance is not a question to GF 80/1.7, not to all GFX lenses or XCD lenses. I am not particularly crazy for an f/1.7 lens, and I assume a GF 80/2 or 80/2.2 may be a better choice for overall performance, a more balanced one. Sensible decision is not ways a popular one.


GF 80/1.7 is not an "LM" lens which indicates a DC motor is installed instead of a linear motor, so it is a little noisier and less agility in autofocus performance. Fujifilm is a competent company with immense engineering capability, so the decision for the GF 80/1.7 is not wrong, but a judged and balanced one. However, it is still autofocusing faster than the XCD 80/1.9 for beginning users. The difference will be neglectable once the user gains experience with the lens and knows what to do.


The GF 80/1.7 mounted on my new GFX100S balances rather well, similar to XCD 80/1.9 on X1D-II 50C. The GFX100S is the latest camera from Fujifilm using the 33X44mm sensor is an improved design over the last three but still does not come close to Hasselblad X1D cameras. The design of a camera often has not much to do with how it works, and I have my preference as others have theirs. Fujifilm's GFX cameras try to have the users remember what the camera once was, and Hasselblad tries to tell the future of the camera with the X system. It is probably the intention of Hasselblad's marketing position as the retro-styled X907 is not a part of the X system; it is part of the V system. It is a risky plan. As a 907X + CFV-II 50C user, I understand it is a hybrid solution to bridge the new back to the old; I tried a few times and most likely won't again, the 907X + CFV-II 50c is, to me, an X system. Hybrid is always transitional; like hybrid cars, the ultimate goal is electronic. Hasselblad may not have enough time. But they still have the X1D cameras!


The super fast lens certainly excites many people, and some even swear to use the lens only at its brightest, as if it is the only way to use a fast lens. Such devotion is admirable, not an encouraging one, IMHO. It is a preference, and there are enough people who prefer such an approach. Maybe one day we can see a camera company offer a super-fast "Bokeh King" lens such as 85/1.0-2.8 - a lens with an aperture between f/1.0 to f/2.8 to service the "Bokeh" purists, a lens specifically designed for the wide opening and nothing else. And it may not end there.


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