Hasselblad X1D II Review: A Compact Hasselblad

To go along with the X1D II, Hasselblad has introduced a new version of its Phocus Mobile app for iPad. Phocus Mobile 2 can import and edit RAW files via USB or Wi-Fi. It also supports tethered shooting and can act as a remote control for the camera. Due to time limitations with the camera, I was not able to test the app. No Android app is available.

Unique Capabilities

Like other Hasselblad cameras, the X1D has what’s known as a leaf shutter—basically a shutter that’s built into the lens, rather than the traditional mirror shutter found in the body of a DSLR. Leaf shutters have pros and cons, but the big pro is that it can sync with an off-camera flash at nearly any shutter speed.
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A typical DSLR can achieve flash sync speeds up to the 1/250 of a second range. The X1D II’s shutter system can sync all the way up to 1/2000. That makes it possible to shoot with wide apertures even in bright sunlight and still achieve shallow depth of field.

Scott Gilbertson

This is useful for people who shoot outdoor portraits, since you don’t have to use large strobe lights to overcome the ambient light of the sun. Instead, you can use a quick shutter and increase your depth of field with a wide aperture. In short, a leaf shutter opens up a range of possibilities that simply don’t exist with a focal plane shutter.

Couple this with the portability of the X1D and you have a camera system that can do things your DSLR can’t. Whether or not you’re interested in these things will determine how well the X1D II is going to work for you.

Cost of Goods

At $5,750 plus the cost of lenses—which are also expensive, thanks to the leaf shutter design, the Hasselblad is not a casual purchase. The 45mm lens I shot with will set you back another $2,695, bringing the total outlay for body and one lens to nearly $8,445. On one hand, that’s less than the sticker price of the first X1D ($8,995). On the other hand, should you spend that much money on a camera? Probably not.

Unless you’re already a professional photographer making good money, this is not the camera for you. Buy a $1,000 Sony, and use the other $7,000 to backpack the world for a few months. Chances are you’ll end up with a far more interesting portfolio than you get from the Hasselblad.

(The Hasselblad X1D II is available for $5,750 at B&H Photo, Adorama, and Hasselblad’s Store.)

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