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Hasselblad’s new X1D II is a less expensive, faster medium format camera

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But it’s still pretty expensive and pretty slow

Hasselblad X1D II 50C medium format camera
Image: Hasselblad

Hasselblad has announced the new X1D II 50C, a follow-up to the company’s first mirrorless camera, 2016’s X1D. The new camera is very similar to the prior model, from its design, size, and appearance to its 50-megapixel, medium-format sensor. But Hasselblad has upgraded a few things, such as a new, larger touchscreen, higher resolution viewfinder, and significantly improved performance. The main difference, however, is the X1D II’s price: it’ll be available in July for $5,750 for the body, a significant drop from the $8,995 the first model commanded at launch.

Almost six grand is still expensive, but it makes the X1D II far more competitive with the medium format mirrorless cameras Fujifilm has released over the past couple of years, which sell for as little as half the price of the first X1D.

Hasselblad also realized that the original X1D’s performance was, well, lacking. Even after numerous firmware updates after the camera’s launch, the X1D is best described as “pokey”, with long start up times, sluggish response to inputs, and slow shot to shot times. The company says the start up time on the X1D II has been reduced by 46 percent, continuous shooting has been sped up by 35 percent, and the live view frame rate has been increased by 62 percent. The improvements add up to a much more responsive and snappier camera, though it’s still not any replacement for smaller format mirrorless cameras for shooting sports or other fast action.

The X1D II has a larger 3.6-inch touchscreen and improved electronic viewfinder
Image: Hasselblad
The X1D II is the first medium format camera that can shoot tethered over USB to an iPad
Image: Hasselblad

Design-wise, the X1D II is almost indistinguishable from the first model: it’s still a surprisingly compact camera, given the dimensions of the sensor stuffed inside of it, and it has roughly the footprint of a Canon Rebel DSLR. The major upgrade is the inclusion of a 3.6-inch touchscreen — 0.6 inches larger than the one on the X1D — that’s also higher resolution and brighter than before. The electronic viewfinder is still an OLED screen, but it now boasts 55 percent more pixels and a larger magnification than before.

Hasselblad has also developed a new ability to tether over a USB-C cable to an iPad, a first for a medium format camera. This works with the 2nd and 3rd generation iPad Pro models, and allows for fast, reliable image transfer to the iPad when shooting. Hasselblad’s app also allows for wireless transfers (albeit at a much slower rate than the wired connection), control of the camera remotely, and the ability to export full resolution or half resolution JPEGs and full resolution RAW files.

Otherwise, the image sensor and autofocus system remain unchanged, so existing X1D owners should not pick up the X1D II expecting an upgrade on those fronts. The 50-megapixel CMOS sensor has been used in a number of Hasselblad cameras over the years, and the contrast-based autofocus system is still a bit slower than the phase detect systems that are prevalent on smaller format systems. Hasselblad does say the improved performance of the camera itself does aid in better autofocus performance, but it’s not a dramatic improvement over the X1D.

Hasselblad 907X medium format camera
Image: Hasselblad

In addition to the X1D II, Hasselblad is also announcing a new digital back for its V System cameras and a new camera body that is basically a digital back with the ability to mount a lens directly to it — no need for a mirrorbox in between. The 907X uses Hasselblad’s X System lenses and features a tilting screen for traditional, waist-level medium format composing. Hasselblad says it’s the smallest medium format camera body the company has ever released. The CFV II 50C back uses the same 50-megapixel sensor as the X1D II and is compatible with V System cameras dating back to 1957. It has the same tilting touchscreen found on the 907X body. Pricing and availability of the CFV II 50C and 907X will be announced later this year.

Finally, Hasselblad is also introducing a 35-75mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom lens for its XCD systems that will be available in October for $5,175.