I admit I find the Hasselblad X1D immensely attractive, its appearance is almost reason enough to want it. If Apple made cameras this is what it would look like, and probably have a similar price as well. The X1D is a camera begging me to hold it, use it, press its button all while quietly whispering ‘my precious’ to yourself. Jokes aside it looks like a fabulous piece of engineering and I really look forward to trying it out in September.
So what is it that the X1D can give me that my Fuji cameras cannot?
The obvious answer is of course the much larger sensor, which means better light sensitivity and therefor cleaner pictures at high ISOs. A larger sensor also means you get a tighter depth of field at the same aperture, which comes in handy for portraits. A higher resolution is always welcome as I still cannot compose in camera and I often need to crop in Lightroom. The X1D sensor reportedly offers a better tonal range, which is interesting, but I wonder if it will offer much of an advantage for my black and white photography. This is something I have to try for myself and make sure I can tease out the extra depth using Lightroom as I don’t want to involve Hasselblad’s Phocus software into my workflow.
It does have an abysmal FPS, but so does all medium format camera, and it is not something I need. I still haven’t found my niche, but at the moment I enjoy portrait, still life, architecture and landscape photography. All of the above is something the X1D should excel at and none of them requires you to be able to blast away at 14 FPS.
The number of lenses available for the X1D at launch is rather limited. There are two primes confirmed for launch day: 45mm and 90mm. A third, 30mm lens, will be out shortly after launch. This is pretty much what I need, apart from a macro, and being forced to go back to primes should slow me down and make me focus more on composition. The first primes are not fast lenses, but it should not be too much different from what I get from my Fuji cameras and lenses as the sensor size compensates by being larger.
I’m not worried by the lack of lenses as they are so costly I can’t just buy all of them anyway. It doesn’t worry me either that Hasselblad won’t commit to their new camera. I’m confident this will be a massive success for them and probably a significant portion of their income will be driven by the X1D. It will be their first camera to be sold in any large numbers and although it will cannibalise sales of their more expensive cameras, long term it will bring more people into the Hasselblad platform.
Although I have pretty much made up my mind, I have booked two demo sessions for some hands on experience before I pull the trigger. It will be a different shooting experience compared to my Fujifilm cameras. Gone are the lovely dials and gears as the X1D has a more traditional setup of controls. I’ve always been a big fan of the manual controls Fujifilm gives you, and especially so when I do still life and landscape because that’s when you have the time to tinker and fine tune everything. I can’t help but worry that on screen controls might feel a tad soulless.
So am I selling all my Fujifilm gear now?
If I buy a X1D I will still remain a Fujifilm X photographer, unofficially of course 🙂
The plan is to trade in my X-T1 and X-Pro2 and some of my lenses for a X-T2. The tilting screen and massive EVF will come in handy. Some days you might also feel like not carrying around gear worth tens of thousands of pounds.
I fully admit this is probably a midlife crisis purchase. Other men might be into fast cars or motorbikes, but I don’t drive so that’s not for me. I’m not left with much else to indulge in so a camera seems like a perfect way to spoil myself and make me forget about my own mortality for a while.