HASSELBLAD LAUNCHES FIRST MIRRORLESS DIGITAL MEDIUM FORMAT SYSTEM
XPAN AND SWC REINCARNATED IN ONE CAMERA
IN WHAT COULD arguably be as significant a new camera announcement as the original 1600F back in 1948, Hasselblad has announced the world’s first medium format mirrorless digital camera. The Hasselblad X1D – the designation stands for X Series Model 1 Digital (so there’s obviously more to come) – is an all-Hasselblad design and built in Sweden to fully wash away the aftertaste of the Sony-based models of the last few years.
Designed to appeal to both prosumer and professional users, the X1D features a very stylish and slimline aluminium and fully weather-proofed bodyshell with a built-in XGA (i.e. 2.359 megadots resolution) EVF (sourced from Epson) and a 7.62 cm fixed TFT LCD monitor screen with touch controls. Hasselblad says the X1D can operate in subzero temperatures down to -10 degrees Celsius. The body alone weighs just 725 grams with its 3200 mAh lithium-ion battery pack installed and, on its shortest side, it’s a mere 71 mm in depth. The X1D body is being built in Sweden at Hasselblad’s Gothenburg facility and carries the legend “Handmade In Sweden”.
On the inside is the Sony-made 53 megapixels (total) CMOS sensor – with a 32.9x438 mm imaging area – which Hasselblad already uses in a number of its capture products including the new H6D-50c. In the X1D its sensitivity range is extended to an equivalent of ISO 100 to 25,600, and allows for a shutter speed range of 60-1/2000 second. There’s a full set of standard ‘PASM’ exposure modes – set via a pop-up dial – with multi-zone, centre-weighted average or spot metering patterns. The flash hotshoe is compatible with Nikon Speedlights for TTL auto flash control and, as the new system’s lenses are leaf-shutter types, flash sync is at all speeds. The dynamic range is quoted at 14 stops and files are output as 16-bit RAWs (3FR format), 8-bit TIFFs or JPEGs. Continuous shooting is possible at up to 2.3 fps and the X1D has dual SD format memory card slots. An ‘XPan’ mode captures 2.6:1 aspect ratio panoramas. The camera records Full HD (1080/25p) video with H.264 compression and has built-in stereo microphones. It’s also equipped with both a stereo audio input for connecting an external microphone and a stereo output for headphones. The X1D has builtin WiFi and a GPS receiver.
Importantly too, the X1D has autofocusing – with multi-point contrast-detection measurements – and is accompanied by two new compact XCD mount prime lenses with a third to come at this year’s Photokina. Just like the original XPan, the X1D can be fitted with either a 45mm f3.5 standard wide lens (equivalent to 35mm; the focal length multiplier is 0.79x) or a 90mm f3.2 short telephoto (equivalent to 70mm). Launching at Photokina will be a 30mm wide-angle (equivalent to 24mm). As with the updated lenses that arrived with the H6D platform, the XCD leaf shutters are rated to at least one million actuations. Needless to note, the XCD lenses – which are made in Japan – are also weather-sealed. A mount adaptor allows for the fitting of the existing H System lenses with full functionality including autofocusing. AF operations include single-shot, facedetection, continuous and subject tracking. The touchscreen controls allow for touch focusing. Other features include a programmable selftimer, intervalometer, USB 3.0 and mini HDMI connections, a ‘clean’ HD video output and up to +/-5.0 EV of exposure compensation.
Hasselblad says the X1D is “true to our heritage” and embodies the marque’s “core principles”. Given Victor Hasselblad devised his legendary 6x6cm SLR to deliver high imaging performance with a comparatively compact and portable high-end camera system, the X1D seems to be very much in the spirit of his original vision.
Hasselblad sees the X1D competing with both high-end D-SLRs such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and Nikon D5 – it’s significantly more compact than either – and high-end mirrorless cameras such as the Leica SL and Fujifilm’s X-Pro2. It will no doubt also complete with the existing medium format D-SLR systems, offering a much more portable and, in most cases, more affordable alternative. While the X1D is undoubtedly very good for Hasselblad, it’s also good for the digital medium format sector and it’s not hard to see this one camera possibly doubling global sales of DMF systems over the coming year.
Locally the X1D body is priced at $17,498 with the XCD 45mm f3.5 lens, and $21,697 for a twin-lens kit which adds the XCD 90mm f4.5 lens. Availability is expected to be from August. Hasselblad is distributed in Australia by C.R. Kennedy & Company – visit www.hasselblad.com.au
Hasselblad gets its mojo back… the X1D is the world’s first mirrorless digital medium format system camera and is based on Sony’s 53 megapixels CMOS sensor.