The Hasselblad "X" cameras
Updated: 3 days ago
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.