A FIRST IMPRESSION HASSELBLAD X1D II REVIEW

Hasselblad X1D II and Hasselblad XCD 21mm f/4

HASSELBLAD X1D II REVIEW: FASTER, BETTER AND STILL LOOKING GREAT!

The long-awaited successor of the Hasselblad X1D is finally here: see in this Hasselblad X1D II review what has been improved and how it performed!

It doesn’t happen every day to receive a Demo unit of one of the hottest cameras on the market, such as the Hasselblad X1D II, to use freely while waiting for my personal one to arrive – at least not to me. It might sound strange, but this is in fact the first time something like that has ever happened to me so far, and I am very thankful to FOWA (Hasselblad’s Italian distributor) and to NEWOLDCAMERA, my all-time favourite shop in Italy for both second-hand and new gear, for making it happen.

The Dolomites Photography Workshop

I received the camera last week, on July 25th, and since this is one of the cameras people are most waiting for in the Medium Format arena, I was excited to put together this first impressions Hasselblad X1D II review to describe my experience with it, hoping you’ll find it interesting. Luckily enough, I had to teach in Venice on July 30-31, and the Hasselblad X1D II arrived just in time. A couple of days to get familiar with the camera and I was ready to test it in the field, where it really counts!

As you might know, while improved in many ways, the camera in this Hasselblad X1D II review is so similar to the original X1D that for brevity’s sake in this article I am just going to focus on what has changed. Therefore, if you haven’t done so already, I recommend you read my A LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER IN-DEPTH HASSELBLAD X1D REVIEW to find out what I thought about the original Hasselblad X1D, upon which the Mark II is based.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, I am not affiliated with Hasselblad, FOWA or NewOldCamera in any way. I am a professional photographer looking for the best equipment for my work, I buy all my gear with my hard-earned cash and I don’t get paid by anyone to write articles for my blog. As well, please note that the camera tested here is a Demo unit, not a commercially available one. Therefore, firmware might not be the final one yet, and with it the camera’s feature set might still change.

Let’s start this Hasselblad X1D II review and see what I thought about the changes and improvements!

IN THE BOX
Please click to see my HASSELBLAD X1D-50C II BOX OPENING video to see in detail what’s in the Hasselblad X1D II’s box. The first major difference between the Hasselblad X1D II and the original X1D jumps at you by absence, so to speak, right when you open the box. Gone is the quirky battery charger of the X1D with its flimsy plug, which – to be honest – never gave me any problem but had me constantly worried both during transport and in use. The charger has been replaced by a cable and a USB power adapter, leveraging on the new camera’s in-camera charging ability.

While this is a great feature to have, and one welcomed by many, one can’t help it but feel that Hasselblad didn’t include a charger because they intend to sell you the new, and very cool, dual charger instead.

In practice, however, this makes sense and not only on Hasselblad’s part. If you have only one camera and one battery, charging it in camera is very practical. Not only it can be done using the provided USB charger, but it can be done either in the car, or using your computer, or using any of the ubiquitous USB chargers that we all have nowadays. This reduces enormously the number of chargers, bits and pieces you need to carry around when you travel, and I for one definitely welcome the standardisation towards USB charging that is happening in portable electronics today. If you have, or plan to get, extra batteries, then getting the Hasselblad Dual Charging Hub makes a lot of sense (see my review of it here: NITECORE UHX1 PRO & HASSELBLAD X1D BATTERY CHARGING HUB REVIEW).

Again, you can power it with the same cable you’ll find in the camera box (and vice versa), also helping with reducing the number of cables, chargers, bits and pieces you need to carry. Charging the battery in camera takes about two hours for a full charge, as advertised.

The second thing that I expected to find, and that is actually missing in the box despite being mentioned in the manual downloadable from Hasselblad’s website, is a camera strap. While there is no strap, there is a possible place where one could be added in the finalised box, and that’s the battery cover cap’s box, now for the most part empty. The battery itself in fact shipped already installed in the camera, with its connectors protected by a plastic film, thus leaving enough room for a strap there.

Personally, I never use any of my cameras’ original straps, much preferring to use my favourite straps with all my cameras. Therefore, I wouldn’t mind the lack of a camera strap, but I appreciate it that you might feel differently about it. Again, let’s keep in mind that this is a Demo unit, and final scope of delivery can change.

UPDATE AUG 6, 2019: I just got word from official sources confirming me that a strap will indeed be included in the final box, and that people receiving early boxes without one will get their strap free of charge afterwards. As well, I can confirm that there won’t be a battery charger in the final box, just the USB A-C cable and the USB adapter, at least in my region of the world.

Cinque Terre & Tuscany Photography Workshop

BUILD, ERGONOMICS & USER INTERFACE
The Hasselblad X1D II’s build is just as amazing as the X1D’s. I love the new colour scheme, the gun-metal grey with dark writings sits right in between the X1D’s grey and the 4116’s black and – while this is of course a very personal preference – it looks better than both old colours to me. Also different is the rubber covering the grip, which now feels better and more secure. For those familiar with it, it reminded me of “Griptac”, a camera cover I used to replace the original covers on my Leica M cameras back in the day.

The camera body’s size is exactly the same as the old version, 148 x 97 x 170mm, and the RRS L-bracket for the original X1D works perfectly with the Mark II as well. The Hasselblad X1D II weighs in at 766 gr with battery and cards, 41 gr more than the Mark I’s 725 gr when similarly configured. Considering that the new camera has a 0.6” bigger LCD, bigger and better EVF, has a built-in GPS module and that all the electronics have been updated, Hasselblad did a really great job in keeping the size identical to the old one and increasing the weight just so slightly.

One thing that caused some complains with the original X1D was the strength (or lack thereof) of the cards & connectors’ doors, especially on early units. While I don’t have any information to confirm whether the Hasselblad X1D II is better on that regard, I can definitely confirm that the door’s mechanism looks different from the X1D’s to the naked eye, and since Hasselblad was aware of the problem I assume that this change has been made for the better. Time will tell.

Comparing the old and new bodies closely, you’ll also notice that the Hasselblad X1D II’s EVF sits perhaps 1mm higher than the old version, and is perhaps 1mm taller, thus ending almost flush with the top of the camera. The new EVF’s rubber eyepiece’s cut-out is much less deep than the old one, and the screen itself is visibly larger than the one on the X1D. The eyepiece features an eye sensor to automatically switch between LCV and EVF, placed in exactly the same position of, and looking exactly as, the one on the original X1D.

Looking into the new EVF is a completely different experience. The Hasselblad X1D II’s EVF is now OLED, and the images it outputs are larger, brighter and overall look much better and feel much more “natural” than those of the original X1D, so to speak. Resolution has been upped to 3.69 million dots, with a 100% viewing area and 0.87x magnification, versus the X1D’s 2.4 million. Refresh rate has been improved to 60 fps, and you can definitely notice it. For eyeglass wearers like me, the new EVF is also easier to view corner-to-corner than the old one.

As you might know, I was spoiled by the Leica SL’s EVF, which I used for about three years and which was arguably the best on the market for a long time. The EVF on the Hasselblad X1D II is just as good if not better in use, even if its resolution is slightly lower, possibly thanks to the higher magnification (0.87x versus 0.80x on the SL). I find that while you could definitely see the difference between the X1D’s 2.4 million and the Leica SL’s 4.4, this is not true anymore with the Hasselblad X1D II new 3.69 million dots.

Moving on to the second big change featured in the new Hasselblad X1D II’s body, the LCD screen is now 3.6”, one of the largest on the market and 0.6” bigger than the one on the original X1D. Resolution has been upped to 2.36 million dots from the X1D’s 920k, while keeping it to 24-bit colour as the previous one. Strangely enough, thanks to a clever design on both the new and old cameras you won’t notice the new, 0.6” bigger LCD until you turn it on. The glass screen cover of the Hasselblad X1D II, in fact, is perhaps only 1mm wider than the older one, on the grip’s side, and is as tall as the old one. Side by side, the screen area looks exactly the same on both cameras, but the screen itself is much bigger: turn both cameras on side by side and you’ll notice the difference. While the old screen occupied just a portion of the area covered by the glass cover, in the Hasselblad X1D II the screen takes pretty much all the space under it.

Images on the new screen look amazing, and since the relative size occupied by all the overlaid information is the same as in the previous camera, the information are effectively bigger now and easier to read. Cycling information both in playback mode and in live view mode will bring up exactly the same information on both cameras. This is great to seamlessly move from one to the other, either if you upgrade or, like me, if you plan to have a Hasselblad X1D II as your main camera, and a X1D as your backup, at least for now.

One notable difference in operation, and a welcome one, is that with the original X1D if you were reviewing images on the LCD and started looking in the EVF that would bring the camera back to Live View, and if you were reviewing images in the EVF taking your eye away from it would bring the LCD to the info screen. With the Hasselblad X1D II your view mode sticks when you move from LCD to EVF and vice versa. In practice:

– If you are reviewing an image in the EVF, taking away your eye you’ll still see your captured image on the LCD, and vice versa;
– If you are in live view, moving between LCD and EVF and vice versa will still keep you in Live View;
– If you are in the quick menu mode, you’ll still be in the quick menu mode switching between screens;
– The only time you’ll have your screens change is if you are in the info screen mode on the LCD and you bring your eye to the EVF, which will activate Live View.

This is now perfectly consistent, and of course much better than on the original X1D. One more notable difference in the Hasselblad X1D II is the addition of the “Touchpad for display” feature, which if selected will let you move the focus point anytime using the touch screen without having to press the top “AF/MF” button first, as with the original X1D. Of course, the old “Touchpad for LCD” feature is still there, bringing consistency to the way you can control your AF point using both EVF & LCD.

One other improvement I noticed during this Hasselblad X1D II review is that you are now able to access the Quick Info screen, and therefore the menus, via a press of the “Menu” button also while looking in the EVF. Navigation is possible via the front and back wheels, and selection via the AF-D and AE-L buttons, all without taking your eyes away from the EVF. A truly great change!

Overall, the Hasselblad X1D II’s menus have been completely redesigned, while keeping in the same “style” as the old ones. Graphics are now better looking, the use of smaller fonts looks more elegant, and features have been grouped in a way that makes even more sense. I won’t go into every single screen, but I’ll give you an example concerning a set of features that is very important to me and to all landscape photographers in general: Drive Mode.

In the original X1D, features related to Drive Mode were somewhat scattered. You had the possibility to change setting for “Self Timer”, “Interval” and “Exposure Bracketing” in the “Camera settings” menu, and to add each of those to your Quick Menu screen singularly. As well, on the Info screen you had the possibility to cycle through “Single” and “Continuous” shooting modes.

With the Hasselblad X1D II that is all gone, replaced by a new “Drive Mode” control accessible (only) from the Info screen and sitting where the old “Single / Continuous” drive mode control was. This will now bring up a screen with “Single”, “Continuous”, “Self Timer”, “Interval” and “Exposure Bracketing” on the left, and with the related settings on the right. Touching any of those will bring up the change setting screen. Much more logical, and a great improvement. Incidentally, you now can set Interval up to an hour, rather than 60 seconds as on the original X1D, another major improvement. 

Ergonomically, the Hasselblad X1D II is as perfect as the X1D. All buttons and external controls are in exactly the same place, labelled in exactly the same way. Moving from the original X1D to the new Hasselblad X1D II will take all of two seconds.

Between the camera’s UI and menus, and with all the improvements brought by the Hasselblad X1D II, I’ll definitely stand behind my original statement: after doing this Hasselblad X1D II review, I still find its user interface to be simply the best out there today for my work. Quoting from my X1D’s review: “Simple yet powerful, the Hasselblad X1D has all the features I need and lets me do all the customisations I want without any unnecessary clutter. I love the touchscreen-based UI, best in class without a doubt, but I love that you can also fully operate the camera without ever touching the screen. This is fundamental for situations where using a touchscreen could prove testing, such as in sub-zero temperatures while wearing gloves“.

WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY IN THE FIELD: THE PHOCUS MOBILE APP
Hasselblad offers a free iPhone app, the Phocus Mobile App (there is still no Android version, at this point).

The original X1D’s menu just allowed you to turn Wi-Fi on and choose your mode (5 Ghz or 2.4 Ghz). Then, all you needed to do was to select the camera, indicated by its serial number, in your iPhone’s list of hosts and you were good to go. The Hasselblad X1D II, instead, has a much more complex Wi-Fi menu: you can still choose between 5 and 2.4 Ghz, but you now have a SSID (the camera model plus an alphanumeric code) and a password. This is set to 12341234 when you first turn the camera on, but you can change it, even if only to something else automatically created by the camera when you ask it to change it. 

This extra layer of complexity aside, the main problem is that for this Hasselblad X1D II review I couldn’t get the camera to work with my iPhone using the old Phocus App, and therefore I can’t report about it. Hasselblad’s website says that the new Phocus Mobile 2 will just work with the new Hasselblad X1D II and CFV 50 II, not with the original X1D, but it doesn’t say that the old Phocus Mobile iPhone app won’t work with the new cameras, even though this is apparently the case. Luckily, Hasselblad’s website says “Phocus Mobile 2 for iPhone coming soon”, and I am looking forward to seeing what the new Phocus App can do as soon as it’ll be out.

GPS
GPS is another area where the Hasselblad X1D II has drastically been improved. Gone is the external GPS module that needed to be attached to the flash hotshoe (thus limiting the use of both flash and GPS, in those cases when you’d need both), replaced by a built-in GPS module. The dedicated GPS menu is as barebone as it can be, featuring only a switch to turn GPS on. Once you turn it on, GPS will lock in 30-35 seconds, and the DMS coordinates it outputs are precise enough. Date and time are correct, and time is GMT. I never use in-camera GPS though, since I much prefer both not to have my photos geotagged in EXIF, and the enhanced precision of a dedicated GPS device.

Normandy & Brittany Photography Workshop

CAMERA SPEED
One of the biggest improvements I found during this Hasselblad X1D II review, as advertised by Hasselblad, is in the camera’s speed. I am happy to confirm that Hasselblad’s claims are indeed well founded. Not only the camera’s start-up time is now much faster, but the camera feels overall much more responsive in use. Just to give you an example, now image preview pops up on your screen actually before the shutter routine ended: they appear pretty much together with, if not slightly earlier than, the shutter’s last click.

People talked in length about the blackout time of the original X1D. Well, if you take off all previews, the camera actually has zero blackout time once the shutter cycled, and so has the Hasselblad X1D II. Leaf shutter camera offer many advantages against focal plane shutter cameras, such as faster flash sync, much less vibration, and so on. The flip side is that they cycle their shutter slower than focal plane shutter cameras. There is no way around it, it’s the nature of the beast, so to speak.

While I appreciate that the slow start-up time of the original X1D could have been a problem for some shooters, and I agree that it was exceedingly slow for a modern camera, I never found the X1D’s speed in use to be a problem for me. That said, obviously the Hasselblad X1D II’s faster operations are extremely welcome.

BATTERY LIFE
Battery life is said to have been improved with the Hasselblad X1D II, despite the higher resolution and faster refreshing EVF, as well as the larger and higher resolution LCD. I haven’t used the camera enough yet to be able to either confirm or deny this. All I can say is that I got the camera all set up to my liking plus I went through a full day of work in Venice with one charge, and I had some juice left to spare. This, of course, was with my first battery charge, so results should improve once the battery has been cycled a few times. Not bad at all.

UPDATE JUNE 2020: After using my Hasselblad X1D II for months during both my Full 2019 Workshop tour and my Spring 2020 Workshop tour, I can confirm that battery life with the Hasselblad X1D II mark II feels longer than with the original X1D.

IMAGE QUALITY
I first published this review with just 6 sample images, but since then I had a chance to process many more X1D II files. I therefore decided to add some more here for your viewing pleasure, and I will keep adding more in the future as well. Enjoy (click on the images to enlarge):

LONG EXPOSURES
For my work, and for many landscape photographers as well, the way a camera deals with long exposures is really important to assess a camera’s image quality. Despite my limited use of the camera so far, this Hasselblad X1D II review confirms me the absolute quality of the files created by bot the original X1D and the new version, which sports the same sensor, when it comes to long exposures.

Not all is well in this department, though. For some strange reason, Hasselblad decided to change the previously perfect implementation of the countdown visible on the LCD during a long exposure, and this time definitely for the worse. The original X1D used to let you see the countdown, together with a battery indicator and the genius “Finish exposure” feature, during the whole exposure no matter how long that was.

The Hasselblad X1D II, instead, only lets you see the first three seconds of countdown, turning then off the LCD and showing you again the last three seconds of it. During the rest of the exposure, all you get to confirm you that the camera is still working is a green blinking of the status light on the bottom right of the screen. Obviously, there are a million reasons why you might need to know how much exposure you have left, especially when you do 10-12 minutes exposures or longer. More importantly, having the “Finish exposure” feature always available and visible on screen is exactly the point of such feature. Having it hidden and needing to do something to bring it out again, kinda defies the purpose.

You can of course bring the counter back via a half pressing of the shutter, but this is something you don’t really want to do when the camera is doing a long exposure: no matter how delicate and careful you are, you always risk introducing camera movement. Not to mention that when wearing gloves in sub-zero temperatures, or when working under strong winds, or under the rain, or in precarious balance on a cliff, being delicate might be the last of your worries.

Death Valley Photography Workshop

Of course, I tried all possible display and power related settings to see if I could prevent this from happening, but even putting power off to “Never” and screen off to “5m”, the longest possible, I couldn’t get this behaviour to change.

This is almost as bad as the long exposure counter’s implementation that I hated on the Leica SL. The original X1D made me so happy with its perfect implementation of the counter that this new version is definitely underwhelming, not to say utterly disappointing. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that this is a wonderful example of messing up something that was working flawlessly, and for no apparent reasons, too. The only reason I can think of is saving battery power; however, people that work with long exposures always carry spare batteries in the field, and I much rather have a great feature working perfectly and change battery from time to time.

I most definitely hope that Hasselblad will reconsider this and bring back the countdown’s constant visibility in future firmware updates, and I will of course update the review and change my assessment if and when that happens. So far, this is not just the only thing that is truly a worsening, rather than an improvement, compared to the original X1D, but is the thing I find most disappointing in all that has been changed. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

UPDATE AUG 20, 2019. I found a workaround for this. During a long exposure, when the screen goes off, to wake it up again just wave your hand in front of the EVF’s proximity sensor, and the counter will pop up again (for three more seconds only, alas) together with the “Finish exposure” feature without having to touch either the shutter release button, or the camera in general.

Not only this is a viable workaround for now, but it is a solution that might make sense as an alternative to having the counter always visible as a battery saving option, and I most definitely would welcome to have it as a menu option if and when Hasselblad will bring the counters visibility back.

VIDEO
Video in the Hasselblad X1D II will be activated via a future firmware update. Not being a videographer, that is of no consequence to me, but if you need video right away please be aware that at present this feature is not available yet.

USE OF FILTERS
For my work, the ability of use my beloved Formatt-Hitech Firecrest Ultra 100mm square filters easily is paramount, and a decisive factor in my choice of a camera system. Obviously, the support of filters is a function of the lenses, not of the camera body. One of the major selling points of the Hasselblad X1D system for me has been the small size of its lenses, all supporting filter threads of 67mm and 77mm, and this obviously is still the case with the Hasselblad X1D II. Amazingly, this includes also the 21mm: this is the lens that convinced me of the viability of the Hasselblad X1D for my work, it’s the widest lens in the medium format world and still supports 77mm filters.

Not only using 100mm square filters with the Hasselblad X1D II is extremely easy, but as you can see in my FORMATT-HITECH FIRECREST 85MM FILTER HOLDER REVIEW if you wanted to go one step smaller you could use the 85mm system with no problems. This is something often not possible even on 35mm Full-Frame camera systems, which all feature some lenses with 82mm filter threads.

After almost 5 years working with Formatt-Hitech filters as a Brand Ambassador & Featured Artist (09.2016-05.2021), I am now looking for new filters to help me create my Fine Art landscape photographs. I am currently testing various options, and will update you as soon as I’ll have found the best, highest quality solution for my work.

Iceland Photography Workshop

CONCLUSIONS
Bringing this Hasselblad X1D II review to an end, let me just start by confirming that for my kind of work, the X1D and its evolution the X1D Mark II are still simply the best system for landscape photography on the market today, despite the major blunder with the long exposure countdown’s visibility introduced with the new model.

For more details about my thoughts on the original X1D, as mentioned before, please refer to my A LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER IN-DEPTH HASSELBLAD X1D REVIEW: the conclusions below will only deal with what has been changed in the Hasselblad X1D II.

During this Hasselblad X1D II review, I found the Mark II to be a great update to the original X1D, while not a perfect one – not yet, at least, pending future firmware updates that could finish the job. The overall experience using the camera has been greatly improved, responsiveness is on a different league, menus are much better looking and much better organized, battery life has been enhanced and all this while keeping the camera’s size exactly as the old X1D and with just a tiny 41 gr weight gain, something you can’t really feel picking up both cameras one after the other. Of course, since the Hasselblad X1D II uses the same 50 MP sensor as the X1D, file quality is as good as it was before, if not better (long exposure files feel cleaner than with the original X1D). This is actually great news since the files were, and still are, just beautiful. What is even better is that Hasselblad managed to do all this while bringing the Hasselblad X1D II out at a very compelling new price point, which is a very welcome change in terms of making the system accessible to new users.

That said, the lack of Live View histogram and of a digital focus scale has not been remedied yet, and while improving on so many operational and physical features of the camera, the step back in the implementation of the long exposures countdown felt extremely disappointing to me, to the point of feeling unconsidered, as well as pretty unnecessary. Again, the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is always a very good principle to follow.

To cut Hasselblad some slack, this is pretty much the only thing I didn’t like in the update. As well, the camera I got is a Demo and, as such, the firmware is very likely not the final one. On the bright side, in use I found the camera to be very stable despite being a Demo, with just a couple of bugs (see below) and greyed out menu items, which I assume will be respectively fixed and made operational by the time the camera will be released.

Glencoe & Isle of Skye Photography Workshop

IMPROVEMENTS I LOVED
– Faster start-up speed;
– Dramatically improved EVF and LCD;
– Much better menu system, both graphically and as far as the organization of items is concerned;
– Built-in GPS;
– Fixing of some quirks, i.e. switching between LCD / EVF now works much better;
– New price point.

WHAT I STILL DIDN’T LIKE
– Lack of Live View histogram;
– Lack of focus distance information;
– Unconsidered change of the previously perfect Long Exposure countdown’s implementation.

NON-ACTIVE MENUS, BUGS AND FUTURE IMPROVEMENTS
Again, let me stress that my camera is a Demo unit, and as such many things I noticed might already have been fixed, or a fix might already be in the making, as I am writing this.

Here a short list of the bugs & greyed out menus:
– You cannot select card overflow or any storage option (greyed menu);
– You cannot use video (greyed menu);
– Scan range is greyed out (focus menu);
– Sometimes, the touch screen becomes unresponsive, and a half-press of the shutter or a press of the playback button (or any button) is necessary to bring it back to life.

Here is a pretty short list of things I would love to see in future firmware updates:
– Bring back the original X1D’s long exposure countdown’s implementation;
– Please, bring back the original X1D’s long exposure countdown’s implementation;
– Pretty please, bring back the original X1D’s long exposure countdown’s implementation;
– Live View histogram;
– Focus distance scale;
– Ironing out all remaining bugs.

…AND A LITTLE MYSTERY…
Let me end this review on a fun note, with a little mystery: what happened to Bluetooth? The reason why the absence of Bluetooth on the X1D II is funny, is because a Bluetooth registration a few months back was the first sign that the new camera was in fact coming and that it was a “Mark II” model.

During the endless forum speculations about what the new camera would have been looking like, how much resolution it would have had, and so on (some of which were total nonsense, as most speculations are), the only feature that everyone on all forums was sure would be in the new camera, the one everyone agreed on, was Bluetooth. Which is the only one that is actually NOT there. Will it reappear in the final shipping units, or Hasselblad just decided to leave it out for now? Time will tell, of course. Personally, I’d welcome it if Bluetooth would make the camera’s Wi-Fi wireless connection more stable. Other than that, I definitely can live without it.

The Southwest USA Photography Workshop

SHOULD YOU UPGRADE?
Well, this is a question only you can answer. Personally, I feel that the Hasselblad X1D II is a camera more addressed to new users than to current ones. It fixes a lot of the hardware shortcomings of the original X1D while keeping all that makes the X1D system unique in terms of size, weight, bulk, style, ease of use, and so on. Long exposure countdown’s visibility’s implementation aside, of course. And, it does all that at a new, and very attractive, price point.

For existing users, the point is very simple: do you need any of the new features and improvements offered by the Hasselblad X1D II? If you do, then by all means go for it, even if you are interested in just one or two of them. In the process, you’ll get all the other upgrades as well. For me personally, the new EVF and LCD are compelling enough reasons to upgrade, together with the even better implementation of the Drive Mode, which is something I often use. I don’t mind the speed, but I’ll gladly get it. For others, i.e. speed might be what compels them to upgrade, and while the old EVF might have been just enough for them I am sure they’ll not mind getting the new one, and so on.

One thing about the Hasselblad X1D II that made some existing users uncomfortable is, funny enough, the new and lower price point. Lowering the price of a new camera model of course has, as a side effect, that of lowering the value of second-hand previous iterations of the same camera model as well. However, in my opinion this can only be a problem if one planned to sell one’s original X1D to move to a different system. If one planned to upgrade to the new model of the same camera, a new lower price point basically is of no consequence – in fact, it can even be advantageous. Let’s assume that second-hand gear sells for half of the price of the new one, and that you’ll get 2.500-3.000 euro out of your X1D and spend 6.000 for the Hasselblad X1D II. You are now out 3.000-3.500 euro for the upgrade. If the Hasselblad X1D II still costed 9.000 euro, you could indeed sell your X1D for 4.000-4.500 euro, but you would be 4.500-5.000 euro out of pocket to upgrade. I’d be happier with the first scenario, wouldn’t you? As I said, if you considered getting out of the system, then lowering the price point of the Hasselblad X1D II would just be bad, no questions about it. For upgraders, on the other hand, it might not be so bad after all. And, let’s not forget that cameras are tools, not financial investments: if you are a professional, they’ll make you money by using them, not by reselling them.

So, while I will have to return this Demo unit to my good friends at NEWOLDCAMERA at some point, I will definitely keep my order for the Hasselblad X1D II, hoping that Hasselblad will soon see reason about the Long Exposure countdown’s implementation. I am looking forward to receiving my Hasselblad X1D II, and to put it to a good use side-by-side with my X1D, at least for now. If Hasselblad will add Live View histogram and digital focus scale to the Hasselblad X1D II, preferably sooner than later, I will definitely update my second body as well. Overall, a great update. Highly recommended!

Thanks for reading this Hasselblad X1D II review, I hope you enjoyed it! Why don’t you share it with your friends, or drop me a comment to let me know how you feel about this?

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16 thoughts on “A FIRST IMPRESSION HASSELBLAD X1D II REVIEW”

  1. I’d been looking for a detailed-enough review from the POV of someone upgrading from the original X1D.

    Your review checks all the boxes.

    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Hello Bobby,

      thank you very much for your comment, I am glad you enjoyed the review and found it useful! Best regards,

      Vieri

      Reply
  2. Nice to hear that the MkII GPS has a decent performance, on the MkI it is very bad

    My main problem with MkI is to do focus stacking on landscapes
    The only solution I found is to change the AF point on the touchscreen before each shutter clic

    Reply
    • Yes indeed, the Mark II’s GPS seems to work nicely enough. I never do focus stacking, so the lack of an automated function for it doesn’t bother me much, but so far – pending possible future FW updates – it seems that nothing has changed there with the Mark II. Best regards,

      Vieri

      Reply
  3. Does the camera still have a 300ms sensor readout like the X1D regardless of shutter speed? Thus making motion a risky subject to shoot.

    Thank you,

    Reply
    • Hello Troy,

      as said in the review, I do landscape photography only, so the readout is of no consequence to me. More, I have no instruments to accurately measure it, and therefore I’ll leave the answer to others better suited to the task. Your best bet is to contact Hasselblad directly and ask them. Best regards,

      Vieri

      Reply
  4. Hi Vieri,
    I bought the Mk1 when it came out, but sold it after 2 months because the EVF was a pain, apart from the obvious problems why did they not make it round, the rectangular does nor work well in portrait mode.

    After reading your superb review I will try the Mark 11.

    Regards,

    Ron

    Reply
    • Hello Ron,

      thank you for your message, glad you found the review useful and I am happy you decided to give the X1D another try, I just love this little camera :) Just FYI, as you probably have noticed the EVF of the Mark II is also not round, but I don’t find that to be a problem at all, at least not for my work.

      Best regards,

      Vieri

      Reply
  5. Hello Vieri.

    Thanks for such good in depth reviews in both this and in landscape Photographer in depth… This is the best reviews I have read about the camera, anyway the most useful I have read.

    I am not that much into photography, but I have always dreamed of a Hasselblad. I have a Panasonic dmc-fz 1000 now. A couple of years old. I am not satisfied with the pictures, in dark conditions. If you have time look for clearskyaurora on instagram please, you will see what I mean. After this comment I will join you on instagram. I am hopefully soon allowed to start a northern light guiding company. I therefor need a decent camera. I see the chance of buying a Hasselblad…
    But what worries me is that I have seen in other reviews, that the Hasselblad is “hunting” for focus in autofocus. I have thought of the combination Mk 2 50 and the f 1.9/80 mm. Do you have any experiences with that lense? Northern light photography is, as you understand under low light conditions, the northern light is moving, (so I would guess autofocus is best?), Long shuttertime from about 5 – 15 seconds or more, Iso around 3200. Would you recommend this combination for that sort of use? I know i could go for a eg. Nikon, Canon or Fujifilm, or the Panasonic S1r.. but I feel everyone else has it, and I don’t like that. And I know that those cameras would work out very good on northern light photographing.
    I don´t like the idea of spending so much money on things every one else has. And when you spend so much money on camera, why dont go for your dream. you got the Idea?

    Reply
    • Hello Ketil,

      thank you for your message. From what you are telling me, I am not sure an Hasselblad is the best camera system for you, but if that is your dream camera and you can afford it, by all means go for it.

      Best regards,

      Vieri

      Reply
  6. I currently use the Fuji GFX 50S (almost exclusively for landscapes) and had the opportunity to try out the X1D II last week. I agree with a number of points in your review and readers comments. Although the camera is smaller and feels lighter in the hand there are a number of things that would prevent me from getting one currently. The lack of articulating screen is a problem for me, but not a complete deal-breaker. The main issue that doesn’t seem to be implemented is the lack of sensitivity changes in the focus peaking settings and also no focus peaking in magnified view, (which, I would hope, should be possible via firmware at some point). The lack of a digital focus scale when manually fosusing is a real problem, as focus-stacking is occasionally essential to get adequate sharpness (due to the sensor pixel-pitch and focal lengths etc) in scenes with a large distance between the near and far objects.
    I also can’t ignore the significant cost implication of going from the GFX 50S to the X1D II for what is essentially the same sensor! The lenses, although very good, don’t to me add any further quality improvements over the fuji 32-64 zoom and 23 wide angle.
    (The 907, though, may be worth a further look in the future, although the articulated screen is only uni-directional).
    The X1D II does look lovely, though!

    Reply
    • Hello Stevie,

      thank you for your message and for your comments, I am glad you enjoyed the review. The X1D is a great little camera indeed, and all XCD lenses are pretty impressive. That said, whether it’s the camera for you or not is something only you can decide, of course. For my landscape work, I personally find it simply to be the best system on the market today.

      Best regards,

      Vieri

      Reply
  7. Hi Vieri:

    First let me say that you images are astoundingly beautiful! Images of that quality are what I aspire to.

    I am an avid amateur photographer. I have used a couple of Nikon D800 bodies for several years and have recently upgraded to D850. Due to a decent selection of larger lenses I own for wildlife work (300mm 2.8 and 500mm 4.0), I will likely keep my Nikon equipment. I also have other lenses from wide to portrait primes to wide angle zoom, and a 70 to 200 zoom.

    I have a strong desire to upgrade to medium format for landscape work and have decided to purchase an X1D II.

    I have three questions for you:

    1) If/when I buyer an X1D II, I know for certain that I would purchase the Hasselblad XCD 21mm lens. Which other lens or lenses would you consider essential for landscape work as well as general use?

    2) I have never used Formatt-Hitech Firecrest Ultra 100mm square filters. What are the advantages with these filters compared to the typical round filters that many photographers use? Also, which of the Formatt-Hitech filters do you consider to be essential to your work?

    3) I am considering attending one or more of your workshops in the future. Are you still conducting your workshops despite Covid-19? If so, how difficult is it to travel internationally during the pandemic (I reside in the US)?

    Your assistance with the above would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you, Lynn

    Reply
    • Hello Lynn,

      Thank you very much for your message and for your kind words about my work, much appreciated, I am glad you are enjoying it.

      About your questions:

      1. Lens choice is a very personal matter, and only you can know which lenses you favour. My recommendation would be to examine your existing portfolio of lenses, and see what you are currently using the most; as well, I recommend you to examine your current portfolio of images you consider keepers, and see which focal lengths they have been shot with. Once you did that, you’ll have a much better idea about which lenses you might need for your X1D II. Optically, they are all extremely good, so you shouldn’t have a problem there;

      As far as point nr. 2 and 3, I choose to answer those via direct email rather than here, given the wide spectrum of your inquiries compared to the topic of the article above – I hope that’s OK by you. Have a great day, best regards

      Vieri

      Reply

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