Tag Archives: Hasselblad

First Impressions of the Hasselblad X1D II 50C Medium Format Camera

On June 19, 2019, Hasselblad announced the X1D II 50C, an evolutionary second edition of the mirrorless medium format X1D 50C. When the original X1D was announced in June 2016, it was the world’s first mirrorless medium format camera. Since that time, Fuji has introduced its GFX line of mirrorless medium format cameras, including the 100-megapixel GFX 100. See my post on the original X1D 50C here and my comparison of the GFX 50S and the X1D 50C here.

Now that I’ve had the X1D II for a few days and have used it in the field, I’ll offer my first impressions. Just first impressions. Not a comprehensive review. And not a scientific A-B comparison of RAW files from the original and new edition. For the most part, my impressions are based on my primary use of the camera – landscape photography. I don’t use flash, shoot JPEG, shoot video, or photograph stuff that moves rapidly (for example, birds in flight, soccer games, or unruly kids). Since I’ve been using the X1D for over two years, my findings and opinions are strongly biased by my experience with the original camera. New entrants to the Hasselblad X community may experience discoveries or have observations that I omit or gloss over.
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Fuji GFX-50S and Hasselblad X1D-50c Comparison

I’ve been using the Hasselblad X1D for two years, and in a fit of boredom and frustration during December 2018 decided to buy a FujiFilm GFX-50S and a few lenses to see what all the excitement was about. Plus, the Fuji cameras and lenses were being offered at considerable discounts to their regular retail prices and I’m a sucker for good deals.

Having been asked by several photographers for my opinion of the two camera systems (bear in mind that there are only a few idiots like me who will admit to owning both), I thought I’d summarize in this post what I’ve been telling them. This is not a review of either camera, just my comparison of the two, in categories that matter to me as a landscape photographer. The last statement is important because I don’t photograph sports or action, birds in flight, street or in a studio. I typically use a tripod and available light. My photographs of people are limited to candid portraits of my family.

Both the X1D and 50S were introduced about two years ago, have achieved some level of operational stability, have active online user communities, and share the same long-in-the-tooth 44x33mm [cropped medium format] Sony sensor (also shared by the Pentax 645Z and H6D-50c). So I’m late to the party with this comparison. Both Fuji and Hasselblad will undoubtedly introduce new cameras this year and make this comparison moot. Or not.

This is written from the perspective of a Hasselblad X1D-50c owner or aspirant who is considering the Fuji GFX-50S as an alternative.

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Custom Foam Insert for Hasselblad X1D Kit Using MyCaseBuilder

I’ve just completed a 3D project. No, not 3D printing. It’s a custom foam insert for a Pelican rolling case. I intend to use the case for both equipment storage and travel. Why not the Hasselblad Field Kit Pelican Case? It’s not wheeled, isn’t a newer Pelican Air case, doesn’t accommodate the XCD 21mm lens, is more expensive, and isn’t sized for the maximum airline carry-on dimensions. Plus, this looked like a fun project to take on during the hot and humid days of summer.

I used MyCaseBuilder.com to design and fabricate the foam insert. The insert fits a Pelican Air 1535 rolling case that meets the carry-on restrictions of most airlines and is convenient for automobile travel. The case is similar to the standard Pelican 1510, a case that I use for equipment storage. The new Pelican Air cases are lighter and more mobile than their standard counterparts. Having used “pick and pluck” foam inserts in Pelican cases in the past, I wanted to give custom foam inserts a try.

Completed custom foam insert showing gear placement

Completed custom foam insert showing gear placement

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Great Smoky Mountains in the Spring

The usual Great Smoky Mountains suspects – Cades Cove and Tremont – photographed in late April with the Hasselblad X1D and an IR-converted Sony A6500. The weather and atmospheric conditions were ideal, with early morning fog and great clouds. While the dogwoods were just past peak, I was able to capture a few remaining blooms. This park is one of the gems of the US National Park system and a photographer’s dream destination.

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Photographing the Great Smoky Mountains with the Hasselblad X1D

One of my favorite southeastern US travel destinations is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I try to time my trips to the park to coincide with either the peak of dogwood blossoms in the spring or with the peak of fall color. Sometimes I hit a home run and sometimes I strike out. I just missed (by one week or one storm) the dogwood peak and there were only a few blooms left on the Tennessee side of the mountains. Not to worry. Photo ops abound around Townsend, Tennessee in Cades Cove, along the Little River Road (from the Sugarlands Visitor Center in Gatlinburg to the Townsend “wye”), and in the Tremont area. I spent four days at the end of April and had great weather for photography – morning ground fog, a thunderstorm, an afternoon with no wind, periods of muted sunshine and periods of full sun. Late April is also a good time to visit the park ahead of the crowds that descend after Memorial Day when schools are in summer recess.

This was my first road trip with the Hasselblad X1D medium format camera and XCD lenses. I had used the camera and the three XCD lenses enough close to home to be confident in the system as my primary kit for this trip. The last item on my “wish list” for the trip was a spare battery and I managed to get three spares just prior to hitting the road. I anticipated using the camera from a tripod and shooting at ISO 100 as much as possible. Being familiar with the territory helped in this regard, as did understanding the likely weather conditions. For water cascades and river shots, I needed both 6-stop and 10-stop ND filters in a couple of filter sizes. I also wanted to try the Xume (now Manfrotto) magnetic filter adapters to evaluate their ease of use in the field. And I’ve been conditioned to always carry circular polarizers and a rain cover.

Hasselblad X1D | Lens: Hasselblad XCD 45mm f/3.5 | Focal length: 45 mm | Shutter speed: 40.0 sec | Aperture: ƒ / 16 | ISO: 100 | Exposure bias: N/A

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