Hasselblad X2D Review Part 1: Will This Surpass The GFX100S?

Jan 30, 2023 | Hasselblad | 0 comments

We are thrilled with Bobby‘s review of Hasselblad latest camera, the Hasselblad X2D. And no, it is not a sponsored review. 🙂

We share the summary of the reviews below.

First Impression

Welcome back to the channel! Today we’re talking about the Hasselblad X2D. This is a camera system I’ve been a big fan of from the start, starting with the X1D, X1D Mark II, and of course the X2D and even the 907x, which to me is probably one of the most beautiful modern cameras on the market right now.  These are the most gorgeous cameras, at least in my opinion. The Leica SL2 and SL2s range are a close second, and the Nikon Z9 would come in third place for that type of body design.

But this X2D is just jaw-droppingly beautiful in terms of craftsmanship, ergonomics, how it feels in your hand, and how it’s made and constructed. If you’ve never picked up a camera in your life, just do it. I’ve been fortunate enough to review these kinds of cameras on this channel. A special thanks goes out to CLES distribution here in Singapore, who are the distributors for Hasselblad here. They were very kind enough to allow me to test out the X2D.

What we’re going to be doing with this camera is very unique; we’re actually going to be doing a multi-part series probing the camera’s capabilities. I had the opportunity to try the 38mm, one of the new lenses from Hasselblad, from a friend of mine around a few months ago when he first acquired the X2D, and he passed me the camera in the lens for a few days. However, at the moment, I just have the X2D and the 35-75 XCD lens with me, I did get some photos out of it, which I will be sharing with you in another video. 

And of course comparing it to the gfx100s camera, with which I am very familiar and that I’ve been shooting for at least a year. So, you will see a lot of comparisons in this video. In the following videos, we’ll also be testing out the new lenses and comparing it to other camera systems.

Now, although X2D cost more than the GFX 100s, this camera offers features that the latter does not as of yet: it has an internal one terabyte SSD, which is astonishingly fast and there is no buffering while playing back any image on this camera, and it functions similarly to a tiny hard drive in your camera system. A CF Express type B card port is also present on the camera.

OLED High refresh EVF

Next, we have the OLED 5.76 million dot high refresh rate EVF (Electronic View Finder) which is breathtaking beautiful. This EVF desperately needed an upgrade from the x1d and x1d Mark II, and now in the X2D having a 5.76 million high refresh rate it is gorgeous to look at. which is great, and the 2.36 million dot rear touch display that does tilt now.

Additionally, the 2.36 million dot rear touch display is so thin that when it folds to the back of the camera there is no large hump or bump. The X2D’s designers worked hard to keep the sleek shape and aesthetics of the X1D and X1D2 since they realised they had a winning formula.

100 Megapixel Medium Format Sensor

They also packed a 100 megapixel medium format sensor into this camera system, the same sensor found in the GFX 100 and 100s. But it also includes the 5-axis, seven-stop Ibis image stabilisation, which is just incredible. It’s fantastic that, if you’re really steady, you can obtain sharp photos, even at 1/10, 1/15, or 1/5.

There is no video with this camera system for now, so if you’re looking for a full-featured camera system that will provide you both video and medium format, stop here and get the gfx100s or 100. Nevertheless, many of you out there who are interested in medium format definitely aren’t considering it for video, a lot of you are probably using this more for photography, and that’s where this camera will really shine.

Hasselblad Colour System

Now we have Hasselblad colour science, which, in my opinion, is among the best in the business. I just love the colours coming out of this camera system; the skin tones are gorgeous, the reds are gorgeous, and the way that the scenes just come alive. But we also need to talk about the ergonomics; people often say that the camera isn’t important because you just want one that works well. In reality, you also want one that feels comfortable in your hands because you’ll want to use it more often than not. And this camera feels fantastic in your hands.

Camera Build

The way the grip feels when your fingers are wrapped around it, regardless of whether you have larger or smaller hands, it feels so, so fantastic. The texture around it is fantastic; it’s not overly rough, just enough so that your thumb has a pleasant place to rest in the rear of this without pressing any buttons. Despite being there, the wheel doesn’t obstruct the path. I’m truly blown away by how wonderfully crafted this is. that Hasselblad was able to increase the number of functions in this camera system while still maintaining the beautiful aesthetics of the previous two iterations.

Battery Life

It is the same battery from the x1d and x1d2, but for me, I can use it for a few hours of shooting before I know I’ll need to replace it. It would be great to have a longer battery life, but again, you can get other batteries from this; they’re not that cheap, but they’re also not that expensive either, so it’s kind of in the middle.  

You know when I used those two cameras before, after using them for a while and having the power on, the camera would get really warm to the touch, but I didn’t feel that with the X2D; there was a little bit of warmth, but nothing even close to what I felt on the earlier cameras, so they have improved it.

I’ve used it and shot with it, and the power usage is better. I may be mistaken because I’m not an engineer, but it seems like having the internal SSD drive within has lessened the need for additional power than you would need to use with an external card. Please correct me if I’m wrong about that in the comments, but that’s how I feel.

One Terabyte internal SSD

Now, about the SSD drive, I’m going to wax poetic about it because only Leica, with 64 gigabytes of internal storage in the M11, is doing something similar to this X2D; One terabyte internal SSD storage.

I haven’t even put a CF Express type B card in this camera since I already have one; I don’t even need to; I can barely fill this thing up with one terabyte and I’ve shot a lot with it. It reduces the risk of card failure, no buffering problems. It’s very simple to connect this camera’s USB CD to your Mac or PC and download the images.

Why more camera manufacturers don’t do this, I don’t know, but you might object that this camera’s $8199 price makes it more expensive than the GFX 100s. To that, I would respond, “Wait a second. A one terabyte SSD drive inside this camera plus you have Express type B slot that’s an extra value”.

Electronic Diopter

One thing that I like that other people have already mentioned is the how are how you can use the diopter in the camera system to adjust. That actually has these little three lines of Victor Victor Victor and they’re on different planes and you sort of have to focus to get them all as sharp as possible. It’s all electronically fixed insider the camera system, so there is no physical wheel to it, which is good.

But I kind of prefer a something physical on the EVF would have been preferable in my opinion because if you do hand off the camera to someone else and you want to make a quick adjustment, you can’t you have to go into the menu system and it takes a few minutes to do it instead of having a wheel and just quickly adjusting.

Image Quality

How else does this camera work? If you’ve never used a medium format camera with 100 megapixels, such as the GFX 100 to 100s, you’ll be stunned by the first image you see. The degree of detail, resolution, dynamic range, and 16-bit colour files is simply higher. Phase One is likely the only camera system that will outperform this in terms of image quality, along with possibly the H100, an earlier Hasselblad camera system with a 100 megapixel sensor and a larger sensor overall. 

These 100 megapixel sensors are absolutely astounding, but when editing portraits, you will have to spend some time correcting any flaws because you will be able to see every little flaw in the subject’s face. However, the image quality, tonality, dynamic range, and depth of your image far exceed anything you will be able to see from full frame. (Sorry guys, we can talk about the cut another time; full frame just won’t hold a candle to this.)

ISO Performance

The answer to the question “does this camera’s ISO performance outperform the x1d and x1d Mark II?” is “Yes.” Look, you can get good images with higher ISO if you’re going to be shooting in black and white, you’re not going to see it as much and then again we have software like topaz, that will clean up a lot of your images if you are worried about noise.

Phase Detect Auto Focusing

Phase detect is now included in the auto focusing. The x1d x1d2 had contrast-based autofocusing, which was slow and occasionally would hunt for the subject even though media format isn’t supposed to be fast, but that was really, really slow. But! you’re not going to be shooting quickly with this camera system most of the time, so if you have time to prepare your shot and have everything rolling, you’ll be OK. Focus is single autofocus and does focus right away, but it is still not as quick as the GFX 100 at the moment. but I’m sure they’ll upgrade the firmware on this.

I assume that by the time we have all three of these new lenses on the market—and possibly even more—improvements to be made. Hopefully, continuous autofocus will be added; I know it’s possible, but it hasn’t been done so yet.

Features to improve

I observed straight away is that the sensor on the evf is a little hit-and-miss. For example, if I raise the camera up to my eye, with most camera systems it will instantly go to the evf as soon as I’m close. When the evf kicks on, there is a brief period of darkness during which nothing is on, and I’ve had a few instances where I wanted to capture a moment but missed it because the evf was off and the rear display was on, but I was already up here in this position. 

When the evf kicks on, there is a brief period of darkness during which nothing is on, and I’ve had a few instances where I wanted to capture a moment but missed it because the evf was off and the rear display was on, but I was already up here in this position.  Hopefully, they can address this in a later update because, for one thing, it can become a little frustrating.

Another issue is that you cannot alter your auto focusing using a joystick, touch wheel, or physical touch wheel. Using the display can be a little challenging because, unlike other camera systems, this one only has one point that you can move about. Other camera systems have eye detect, zone and field, and other features that you can use. 

An example I found, that if I ever handed the camera off to someone else and I was trying to say, okay can you move the focus point to on me or onto this, they had a hard time understanding it because they weren’t used to holding the camera and using the screen to touch and move things around. I mean, it’s something you do grow into, but you have to hold the camera in this way all the time.

Closing

Initial impression, the camera is fantastic, in my opinion, and I have loved using it. I’m eager to test out newer lenses with this and see how the autofocus changes. Of course, if there are any firmware upgrades, I’ll let you guys know about them as well. but this is sort of a summary.

Again, this will be a series of videos on the X2D so do subscribe to the channel for more of those videos. Thanks to CLES distribution for being supportive of me and this Channel and allowing me to test drive the X2D. I’ll chat with you guys very soon.

Part 2 of the review is updated here!

Authorised dealers for Hasselblad X2D

Cles Distribution is the authorised reseller and service center for Hasselblad in Singapore.