The Hasselblad "X" cameras
Updated: 5 hours ago
October 1 Makkasan Community Bangkok, Thailand
Katarina Gartell at Sukhothai Residence Bangkok, Thailand
September 7 The X2D-100c
We know it is coming, and it is coming hot!
The camera industry develops following a certain logic, as most other tools, that later are usually better, sometimes cost less.
Better tools do not warrant more positive results, unfortunately.
However, improved tools provide better odds for more successful outcomes in competent hands. Understand that a successful outcome means faultless in technical and measurable terms such as resolution, critical sharpness, proper exposure, and identifiable visual keys. Artistic achievement is subjective, and the tool plays little or no role.
The original X1D design from 2016 is still the best camera chassis in 2022, IMHO. I would not mind it shrinking 10-15%, given a time when the miniaturization of components continues to evolve and integrate. The machined chassis bears no tooling overhead, and incremental improvement can apply whenever needed. Eventually, 3D DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) would play a role sometime later, or by an independent developer or by an individual like myself. It is the direction the industry is moving toward next.
Hasselblad made an effort to bring out the X2D 100c that has improvements across the board although nothing is new. The 102mp SONY IMX461 BSI Bayer sensor has been available since 2018 and is still among the market's highest-performing ones. The 102mp resolution will be less valuable if lacking the IBIS, and Hasselblad X2D has finally equipped one with 5-axis 7-stop effectiveness. IBIS has been a matured and affordable technology for some years, and to have it is not a question of "if" but "why not". IBIS is a valuable feature that can switch off for situations that do not benefit from the technology or with users who insist that they do not need it. Everyone can make arguments; show the picture first.
The older 3.69M dot OLED EVF was fine; the new 5.76M dot EVF is a reasonable upgrade. People will always scream for 9.44M dot EVF or even higher spec - they are usually not the users, much less the buyers, and such noises are noises.
The built-in 1T Non-Volatile Me SSD is an excellent strategic feature, not the first, but the most generous and something the other manufacturers should also follow. The beefy and fast internal SSD works alone or coupled with CFexpress Type B memory card in tandem; adding the claimed 3X AF makes the Hasselblad X2D a speedy machine - however somewhat limited to 3.3fps compared to Fujifilm GFX100s 5fps. I do not use my 33x44mm medium format digital cameras for action shoots, and 3.3fps and 5fps make little difference. How fast the camera can clear the buffer in continuous shooting is more critical for my shooting so I don't lose engagement or spontaneousness.
All the rest are the standard features that I care less about. I still remember the days of using cameras with limited features and love many images taken with them. Sometimes I miss those simple, primitive cameras as if they bond better with the photographer, or maybe they are.
I do not doubt that the X2D 100c is a great camera, and I still consider the X1D II 50c an excellent camera. I had used Hasselblad 500 and 200 series and SWC cameras in the past, the X-Pan, and the H system digital camera before my X camera. I never got disappointed with the image quality of any Hasselblad I own and use. Nevertheless, Hasselblad today was not the Hasselblad once was with no fault by itself.
The camera today is not just a camera; it is consumer electronics in the guise of a photographic instrument, with a sea of software in the mix. It is a great time for photography with many great cameras, and the Hasselblad X2D 100c is just one of them.
The rise of social media and smartphones has put tremendous pressure on the traditional cameras, more on the compact, M4/3 and 33X44mm format or larger cameras, and as a result, suffered the most from loss of market. It is not a question of the general consumers understanding larger format cameras can potentially output better or at least larger images; they do; it is common sense. However, bigger and sharper images no longer dominate the perception of so-called good photos.
Photography is no longer the game of elites but involves all walks of life, and each has a say, regardless of who cares what.
Suddenly, the famous quote comes into mind;
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Like it or not, to own it or not, the Hasselblad X2D 100c is without question a desirable camera.
The Re-Emergence of Victor
The last time the Hasselblad V system got a significant refresh was the introduction of the 907X and CFV II 50 in June 2019, albeit the 907X is more of an X-mount camera. Hasselblad moved a few inches closer with three new XCD lenses introduced along with X2D 100C, all with the classic V badge. The intention is clear, but the execution is confusing and somewhat lost.
Hasselblad now has three designs for the X mount :
The original XCD lens is a transition from the HC/HCD lenses.
The limited edition silver XCD 3.5/30 for the 907X anniversary camera, IMHO, should be a classical reincarnation of the SWC 38mm Zeiss Biogon, even though it is MF.
The newest XCD lenses with the "V" badge.
The new XCD lens is a mid-term upgrade from the earlier generation with a newer linear stepping brushless motor and a smaller leaf shutter module up to 1/4000s. The result would allow X system camera with an autofocusing speed and engagement comparable to its archrival Fujifilm, for now. However, the intention is clear: Hasselblad will slowly refresh the entire XCD lenses range to the "V" version for performance and streamline supply-chain management.
Under the Hasselblad system tree, now we have the X system lens moving towards "Victor" branding and V mirrorless digital camera sharing the X system lens.
The industrial design execution on the new XCD lenses shows signs of disintegration from the clean and smart appearance of the X1D camera and the early version of XCD lenses. I am not a fan of the design of the original XCD lens, which has strong HC/HCD lens influences and does not match up with the updated design of the X camera. But they look European.
The new XCD lenses with V Badge are undoubtedly better performance from improved internal electronics and optical arrangement optimized for the latest driving components. The exterior design is a further departure from the X camera chassis; now, they look like Chinese lens makers inspired to mimic classic Leica M lenses, if you ask me. Added a classic V Badge to confuse the design further; they look more like Chinese lenses than Japanese ones, much less European ones. This is not a Nittō Kōgaku (日東光学株式会社) problem; it is a Hasselblad management problem.
The intention is clear - rejuvenating the brand with the original Victor Hasselblad heritage.
The execution is confusing, if not horrendous.
Some consumers may not care or even like it; fine, Hasselblad does not need a large number to call for success. The important message is the brand moves forward in a positive direction from a camera lens performance point of view. Hasselblad deserves applaus.
A side note: I am not discriminating against Chinese design! I grew up in Taiwan, and I am among the most frequent visitors to the Palace Museum and appreciate and love the original Chinese fine arts. There are also some outstanding modern Chinese designs fused with Chinese heritage and some pure modern design which reflects the state of the art as the world is a village.
The X2D and 907X are Hasselblad cameras, but its accessories appear not, or dare I say, DJI.
DJI produces some good commercial drones with distinguished and recognizable industrial designs. It is a respectable company, putting politics aside.
The original X camera design is outstanding, but the new XCD lens with the V badge is lost. I am bothered by the design decision, but that alone is not enough reason not to use the X system.
Hasselblad delivered enough to be competitive, not enough to get ahead.
Hasselblad X2D 100C Beyond Skin Deep
Yes, Hasselblad delivered enough to be competitive, not enough to get ahead. That is a better scenario than an attractive camera, which costs more, and performs less. So Hasselblad is in a better position after the launch of X2D, that is without doubt; the question is how long will that last?
Judge on the pace of sensor development for the medium format sector (sensor size > 24x36mm) the current 102mp SONY IMX461 BSI Bayer sensor has been available since 2018 is still among the best in its class and could last another 3-4 years before any serious challenge.
The debate of how many megapixels is enough is not new; it started with 6MP more than a decade ago, then 12MP, and so on. Many still argue the 50PM of X1D/X1D II and 907X/CFV-50C are more than enough; well, people who make such a claim are less than those users who say their cameras on smartphones are enough; no one is wrong. It depends on how one uses the camera and the expectation from the camera.
So what can we expect from the X2D 100C? For the first time in many years and since Hasselblad lagged behind Phase One from the later H cameras, Hasselblad offers a system with a sensor that matches the best, AF speed matches, not superior, to the closest competitor, lens quality always among the best and now is a more attractive package being compact, light-weight and intuitive to use (switch between AF-MF). Image-stabilizer now available and exceed expectations. The data storage option has no close rivalry and an easy-to-use camera menu system that controls all necessary settings quickly in all situations. The Hasselblad X2D looks current and futuristic, well-made to Leica level (camera, not lens), and its size and weight are among the best of all time. Hasselblad X2D 100C checked enough marks to be a winner. Will it be a winner?
Image quality has never been an issue with any Hasselblad cameras except those rebadge SONY cameras developed by the Treviso Hasselblad Design Center. The original X1D 50C and X1D II-50C are still capable of outstanding image quality and, in competent hands, will still be competitive for many more years. However, the X2D 100C is such a monumental release in camera industries in recent years that it offers such a level of improvements over its predecessors across the board.
However, it is fair to say that the camera and lens today assert less role than they used to in the analog era and the early years of digital. Integrating the system lens and the camera reached a level never possible before the digital age. The control and optimization are at the pixel level, soon to the sub-pixel level.
The internal processors convert the reading from the sensor into a proprietary file format and either develop with in-camera software or through raw development software on a computer, for example, Hasselblad's Phocus 3.7, for almost unlimited rendering settings, output sizes, and formats. Phocus is not a poor software, but I prefer Capture One Pro, which works for all my other cameras.
We are in the age of computational photography!
What separates the camera system is no longer the attainable image quality; instead, it is the character of the system camera and the design and operation menu system.
The Hasselblad X2D 100C and Fujifilm GFX100S are the closest rivalries with the same sensor and comparable AF performance (Eye-AF is not yet available on X2D but is expected soon through a firmware update), both with an in-body image stabilizer and X2D has a slight edge on the specification sheet. The most significant difference is that X2D is not a video camera, while Fujifilm GFX100S offers some useful videography features that some may find helpful but I never used once. The omission of video is a deliberate product development decision similar to Leica M cameras after the M10 series. I do not need it, but I don't mind if it is inclusive. Hasselblad X2D holds a massive advantage, IMHO, over the Fujifilm GFX100S and all other top-tier professional cameras, with the internal 1T SSD storage and CF-Express card.
The operation menu for the X2D follows and improves from the X1D series camera and is easy to navigate and intuitive. Fujifilm GFX100S, on the other hand, is confusing. I have used the original GFX50R, the GFX100, and now the GFX100S, but I never like it. It is a menu system trying to convince the users the camera can do a lot, which it is, and combined with those many buttons and dials and custom settings; it can create disaster when in a hurry or under stressful situations. Hasselblad's menu interface is a transition from the digital capture back that works flawlessly.
Like my Leica M cameras, I prefer the Hasselblad clean cockpit design with quick access to all critical settings. The craftsmanship of the Hasselblad is at the level of Leica and probably a bit better. Fujifilm took the approach of the typical Japanese camera designs, which are busy and complicated; it is perhaps the result of a unique cultural preference that has its appeal. The ergonomics of the Fujifilm GFX100S are superior to previous Fujifilm GFX models, but not at the Hasselblad X camera level, IMHO. The anodize milled aluminum chassis of X2D is a thing of beauty to behold but also easy to get scratches and look rough after heavy use. Fujifilm's approach is traditional, more forgiving, easier to maintain, and arguably more practical while looking less. Hasselblad costs more and looks more expensive!
The Hasselblad X2D 100C now has an articulating touch and tilt display that answers many's wishlists but disappoints those who believe Omni-directional-display is required. I don't. My favorite approach is still the Leica M10-D, one of my most-used cameras. M10-D has the slightest distraction a camera can be. The only missing feature I wish to have on my M10-D is image playback or probably a change to EVF. The rear screen of my Fujifilm GFX100S is for camera setting only, occasionally checking the focus of my shots, which I can do with EVF. I hope the next GFX model adopts the approach of the X-Pro 3 to be able to conceal the display when desired.
What Hasselblad X2D targets are not only to gain more medium format market share but more on the much larger high-end full-frame mirrorless market, and the driving force for the technology.
Nothing about the Hasselblad is new! All the new features in X2D 100-C already existed in the APS-C, and full-frame digital cameras developed over the years, some over twenty years.
The top-tier full-frame mirrorless digital camera today has the quality level of a medium format camera 5-10 years ago with higher efficiency and accuracy. The gap between the medium format and full-frame is quickly narrowing in image quality and retail price. The choice of lens, the feasibility of producing and selling faster lenses, and specialized lenses are strengthing the marketing position of the full-frame mirrorless digital cameras.
Adapting the technology developed from the APS-C and full-frame mirrorless digital cameras also allow the medium format cameras, such as Hasselblad X2D 100C, quickly close the gap in technical performance with the full-frame digital mirrorless camera.
SONY A7R IV, my most used camera these days, has a sensor pixel pitch the same as the Fujifilm GFX100S, with comparable image quality based on my use, each well over tens of thousands of exposures. The only difference being the 33X44mm GFX100S sensor is 68% larger than the SONY A7R IV 24X36mm sensor, with a file pixels count of 68% more that can do larger prints. I use the print size and quality benchmark to compare camera quality.
My expectation with the X2D 100C is at least to match the two years old GFX100S on the image quality. The new "V" series XCD lenses are compact and lightweight but may take some time to get the full range of lenses, particularly good zoom lenses. The XCD 35-75/3.5-4.5 is a great lens; among the best I have ever used, albeit slow, a "V" version would give the X2D 100C system a lot of push as an all-purpose system camera. It is already great for studio and fine-art use.
August 27 Countdown to X2D 100C
Hasselblad beat Fujifilm to become the first company to offer a commercial mirrorless digital medium format camera in 2016, the original X1D, held in the hand of the beautiful Lithuanian girl, Goda Paulavičiūtė, and that is the only moment that Hasselblad is ahead of Fujifilm since.
Hasselblad and Fujifilm have been manufacturing and business partners since 1998 with the X-Pan, which I bought once it became available and enjoyed shooting with the flexible system. X-Pan was a Fujifilm designed and manufactured system that also marketed the same camera with its label TX-1. The moderate success of the X-Pan system paves the way for long-term cooperation that lasts until this day.
Hasselblad has been a strong competitor entering the digital photography era, especially after merging with Imacon. Still, it never reclaimed the crown it once had from the day of 500 and 200 series cameras. With most of the digital camera components modulized, a significant percentage in Japan; logically, Hasselblad looked for close cooperation with Fujifilm again after Hasselblad suffered a series of stumbles.
The basic concept of the modern mirrorless camera is not complicated:
A camera chassis
The image sensor module
Shutter module (leaf or focal plane)
The PCB and processing chips connect everything for integrated function
Hasselblad AB can do nothing except mill and machine the alloy camera chassis. One may argue the same for Fujifilm, which is not wrong, but the practice and culture of subcontracting ("shitauke" 下請) unites the entire Japanese industry into one integrated body; it is the right place to go!
The lens mount and optical systems is the other concern that eventually separated Hasselblad and Fujifilm halfway into the partnership of the modern mirrorless digital platform we all know now. Hasselblad stays with its long history of leaf-shutter lens systems, while Fujifilm moves on the basis developed on the company's smaller digital mirrorless camera.
Nonetheless, all lenses are made in Japan, mainly by Nittō Kōgaku (日東光学株式会社), including those labeled Fujifilm.
Hasselblad possessed better in-house digital processing knowledge, thanks to the Imacon, while Fujifilm handed the job to Phase One - these Danish are that good!
Hasselblad made a good start, but it was a slow start. Hasselblad rushed into the market to get head first while revealing itself as not as competitive as a mature modern electronic manufacturer such as Fujifilm, as far as operation is concerned.
That has nothing to do with image quality, as both prove exceptional and on par in all measurements. IMHO all modern digital cameras are no longer separated by the image quality each is capable of producing. The design, the make, the material, and the functional logic behind each system separate them.
The original X1D is the better industrial design with three-part construction from CNC machined solid alloy billet. It was the best camera design in 2016 and is still the best one today, IMHO. I predicted in 2016 that it would take at least three generations of developments to settle what works best for Fujifilm; I am not wrong so far.
The 2019 X1DII was the X1D should be if a more experienced electronic company developed it, but it took three years for Hasselblad to correct it. Still, it lagged behind Fujifilm (then the GFX100) in speed, sensor resolution, and image stabilization.
Hasselblad is finally again ready to introduce the new generation of X camera - the X2D 100c, a little over three years after X1DII, to play catch up to the Fujifilm. The original X1D chassis is adopted with added room to accommodate the image stabilizer mechanism and heat dissipation, the same sensor in the GFX100 three years ago and the same in the current GFX100s, all I have been using and still using.
I don't like my Fujifilm cameras because of the design, and the functioning logic is not what I am fond of. I use my Fujifilm cameras (GFX100 + GFX100s) because of the image quality, image stabilization, and flexible lens program, ie. zooms, which is better for my traveling photography. I love the design of Hasselblad X cameras; image quality is sufficient and attainable. Hasselblad X is a camera designed for the photographer.
There is no perfect camera, and it probably won't be. I can use a camera that I don't like and a camera I love but with more limitations because the photographer is fully responsible for the images, not the camera or lens.
Hasselblad X1D II 50c Made for Photographer!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the studio, the original X1D 50c performed acceptably; autofocus is useful, accurate a bit slow, but gets the work done.
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.
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.
From my series of Tomato Republic
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.
May 20, 2020
Zara Dragon, at week 34
After a long break from the CCP Virus Pandemic!
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.
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.
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.
Elena Shargina at the BTS Station Ploenchit, Ploenchit, Bangkok,Thailand
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
November 2, 2020 Harleen Singhnarula, 33 weeks pregnant maternity shoot
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!
The good surprise!
November 21, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
September 2 - Camera and lens choices - not much use of Hasselblad camera these days, just some camera talk
Photography is not a competitive sport such as cycling that a winner is the first to cross the finish line. They are, however, sharing many similarities.
Many cyclists follow the latest cycling gear news as the photographers on the camera and lenses, nowadays more on rumors and gossips than actual news because of the nature of social media. Social media is about trending, and once the actual information is out, the focus quickly shifts to the next rumor.
And they accessorize and fashioning their gear, sometimes themselves, sometimes beneficial, more often deficient. The point is the look!
The difference is that most cycling amateurs knew they would not ride anywhere close to the true professionals even they get the same gear. They know even they ride the best today is still far away from the cycling record a decade ago! Many amateur photographers believe they can equal or do better with best-specification tools than the professionals or those with a lesser tool. It is, of course, not true; however, many amateurs tend to draw their finish line and declare victory nonetheless. That is fine as long as they are happy.
Different bikes for different terrains, climates, or purposes as different cameras and lenses for specific use; however, the tuning of a bike is essential, no so much for the camera. The performance of bikes can be evaluated objectively; not so easy with images.
In reality, it is not a bad thing because such a phenomenon promotes more business, making the photography industry expands, engages more popularity, and push photography to evolve. Same for cycling and many other hobbies.
The love of tools may outlast the pursuit of achievement in photography for many. It is a self-approval to own the tool one likes or fancied, and it is a statement of some sort. Some people care how their gear look than how the artwork fares. Some people care only about the print than anything else. They all have a place in the world.
Users today have abundant gears choices, and thanks to the digital revolution, users manipulate and mix the hardware and performance to a level previously not possible. Modern technology also exposes the age and weakness of older technologies, although that often accepted as characteristic or charm, sometimes becomes an obsession.
And there is the latest technology for the hardware and the software, the talk of computational photography, and ever-expanding AI-enhanced manipulations that many users previously protested and now embrace wholeheartedly, making such a trend develops even faster.
The upside is that we know how the world looked in the past; the irrelevancy of making fantasy or cartoonish images today is primarily entertaining, nothing to do with civilization, a small splash in the running river of time, mostly forgettable.
The iconic remains iconic! Visit museums and galleries is always more fun than scrolling images content on social media.
Hasselblad 907X Anniversary Edition - Swing and a miss?
The camera industry is warming up while the world is slowly recovering from the pandemic, and people are looking forward to the much-missed travels. We have seen some introductions of new cameras in 2021, and companies such as Hasselblad are undoubtedly feeling the pressure to do something.
And we got the 907X Anniversary Edition Kit that is the same camera with a minimum cosmetic variation.
The SONY IMX161 sensor developed in 2013 and used by Phase One, Hasselblad, Pentax, and Fujifilm, has proved to be a competent one, albeit its age. I have not been disappointed with my experience with the Phase One IQ250, Pentax 645z, Hasselblad X series cameras, and Fujifilm GFX50R. Market expectation for faster frame rate, speedier readout, support for phase-detection AF and global shutter may not have their wish answered soon, not until 2023 the earliest, should be happy with what is available.
Hasselblad did not miss the image quality part; they never did, except those crazy rebadged SONY cameras from the Treviso Design Center that are not the finest moment of Hasselblad.
Hasselblad did a splendid job on the X1D, which is still the best of all modern digital cameras, IMHO. The 907X has an "X" badge. Still, it is categorized as a "V" camera, hinting that Hasselblad has some idea around the system but is restricted by budget or lack of unified vision within Hasselblad and its funding partners, particularly DJI, the largest shareholder since 2017.
Sixten Sason's original design influence is evident on the X1 and 907X cameras with a sense of solid European heritage. The XCD lenses carried over from the HC/HCD line of lenses are more Japanese but were joint-force between Swedish and Japanese partners. The new accessory for X1D and 907X are essentially DJI; they worked but lack sex appeal.
The lesson of Nikon's Df to Z fc transition is a lesson that Hasselblad can learn. Hasselblad has its iconic that does not require redesigns - the original SWC in the 1950s - that, hypothetically, could be a more sought-after digital version if designed as is - with the optical viewfinder and re-introduce the 38mm/4.5 with the look of the original Zeiss Biogon appearance, AF or not. Then we can call it an Anniversary Edition.
Alpa 12 TC is one of the best examples of classic and modern harmoniously blended with the precision of the highest order. Do I imagine an electronic version of it with an electronic viewfinder?
October 7 China Town Bangkok
October 8 Valeriya Stolbovaya
October 20, 2021 Victoria Pacheco & Virginia Costello at SOTA 96 Bangkok
October 15 Anastasia Maslova "Lampetia & Phaetusa Surfaced" Bangkok, Thailand
October 25 Goda Paulavičiūtė at the Bangkok railway Station, Thailand