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Two weeks with a $16,000 Hasselblad kit


For hobbyist photographers like myself, Hasselblad has all the time been the untouchable luxurious model reserved for high-end professionals.

To fill the hole between informal and meant pictures, they launched the X1D — a compact, mirrorless medium format. Final summer season when Stefan Etienne reviewed the newly launched digital camera, I requested to take an image.

After importing the uncooked file into Lightroom and flipping by way of a dozen presets, I joked that I’d eat Ramen packets for the subsequent yr so I might purchase this digital camera. It was that spectacular.

XCD Three.5/30mm lens

Final month Hasselblad despatched us the XCD four/21mm (their newest extremely wide-angle lens) for a two-week evaluation, together with the X1D physique and XCD Three,2/90mm portrait lens for comparability. I needed to see what I might do with the equipment and had deliberate the next:

  • Swipe proper on everybody with an unflattering Tinder profile image and supply to retake it for them
  • Journey someplace with spectacular landscapes

My schedule didn’t supply a lot time for both, so a weekend journey to the cabin must suffice.

As an on a regular basis digital camera

The weekend upstate was moderately quiet and uneventful, but it surely served to be the right setting to check out the digital camera equipment as a result of the X1D is sluggish A. F.

It takes roughly eight seconds to activate, with an extra 2-Three seconds of processing time after every shutter click on — prime that off with a sluggish autofocus, sluggish shutter launch and brief battery life (I went by way of a battery inside a day, roughly 90 pictures fired). Somewhat than reiterating Stefan’s evaluation, I’d advocate studying it here for full specs.

Coming from a Canon 5D Mark IV, I’m used to immediacy and a good hit charge. The primary day with the Hasselblad was stuffed with fixed frustration from missed moments, missed alternatives. It felt impractical as an on a regular basis digital camera till I shifted towards a extra deliberate strategy — reverting again to highschool SLR days when a roll of movie held a restricted 24 exposures.

After I took pause, I started to understand the digital camera’s particulars: a quiet shutter, a compact however sturdy physique and an intuitive interface, together with a touchscreen LCD show/viewfinder.

Nothing appears or feels low-cost concerning the Sweden-designed, aluminum development of each the physique and lenses. It’s heavy for a mirrorless digital camera, but it surely feels rattling good to carry.

XCD four/21mm lens

Dramatic landscapes and cityscapes with out an excessively exaggerated perspective — that is the place the XCD four/21mm outperforms different tremendous wide-angle lenses.

With a 105° angle of view and 17mm area of view equal on a full-framed DSLR, I used to be anticipating much more distortion and vignetting, however the picture mechanically corrected itself and flattened out when imported into Lightroom. The newest deployment of Inventive Cloud has the Hasselblad (digital camera and lens) profile built-in into Lightroom, so there’s no want for downloading and importing profiles. 

Oily NYC actual property brokers ought to actually think about using this lens to shoot their dinky 250 sq. ft. studio residences to really feel grand with out trying comically fish-eyed.

XCD Three,2/90mm lens

The gallery beneath was shot utilizing solely the mirror’s self-importance lights as practicals. It was additionally shot underexposed to see how a lot element I might pull in submit. Here are the downsized, unedited versions, so that you don’t have to attend for every 110mb file to load.

I’d wish to assume that if I had time and was feeling philanthropic, I might repair a number of love lives on Tinder with this lens.

The place it shines

Usually, pictures posted in evaluations are unedited, however I consider the true check of uncooked pictures lies in post-production. That is the place the X1D’s sluggish processing time and fast battery drainage pays off. With the digital camera’s large 50 MP 44 x 33mm CMOS sensor, every uncooked file was roughly 110mb (in comparison with my Mark IV’s 20-30mb) — that’s a considerable quantity of knowledge packed into 8272 x 6200 pixels.

Resized to 2000 x 1500 pixels and cropped to 2000 x 1500 pixels

Whereas different digital camera producers are likely to favor sure colours and pores and skin tones, Dan Wang, a Hasselblad rep, advised me, “We consider in seeing a really pure and even palette with little or no affect. We’re not right here to gatekeep what coloration ought to be. We’re right here to present you as a lot knowledge as doable, offering as a lot uncooked element, uncooked coloration data that means that you can interpret it to your extent.”

As somebody who enjoys numerous hours tweaking colours, shifting pixels and making issues fairly, I’m appreciative of this. It permits for much less fixing, extra artistic freedom.

Who is that this digital camera for?

My pal Peter, a style photographer (he’s completed editorial options for Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and the likes), is the one individual I do know who shoots on Hasselblad, so it felt acceptable to ask his opinion. “It’s for pretentious wealthy assholes with cash to burn,” he snarked. I disagree. The X1D is a stable step for Hasselblad to get off heavy-duty tripods and out of the studio.

At this worth level although, one would possibly count on the digital camera to do all the things, but it surely’s geared toward a slim demographic: a photographer who’s keen to miss speediness for high quality and compactibility.

With smartphone firms like Apple and Samsung stepping up their digital camera sport over the previous few years, the pictures world feels inundated with inconsequential, throw-away pictures (self-indulgent selfies, “look what I had for lunch,” OOTD…).

My two weeks with the Hasselblad was a sort reminder of pictures as a methodical artwork kind, moderately than a twig and pray interest.

Reviewed equipment runs $15,940, pre-taxed:



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About Alejandro Bonaparte

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