Author Topic: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D  (Read 1023 times)

Michael Erlewine

  • Close-Up Photographer
  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 1224
  • Close-Up with APO
    • Spirit Grooves
Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« on: April 17, 2017, 17:40:15 »
I (believe) I have finished many weeks of testing the Hasselblad X1D and the Fujifilm GFX, both frontier-pushing cameras. As for which one I will keep, the answer is neither. I have talked about the GFX before, so I will just leave some comments on the Hasselblad X1D. I don’t think my particular problems with these cameras will probably affect most other photographers, but here they are.

The problem I have with the Hasselblad X1D has to do with lenses. At this point, it does not have a focal-plane shutter, although there was some talk that it could be added to firmware, but I consider chances of that slim to none.

What this means is that the lenses that have been announced up to now by Hasselblad are f/3.5, not the fastest lenses. And lacking that speed means that if I want to focus-stack by painting focus with the lens wide open where I want it to be (while leaving the rest go to bokeh), with f/3.5 I don’t really have the kind of blurry bokeh that a fast lens (f/1.4) can produce. So, photos taken with the X1D are going to have the background more in focus than I like. Another point is that the lenses for the X1D I have (90mm and 45mm) are sharp, but not Zeiss Otis sharp or, for that matter, all that well corrected. They are fine for many tasks, I will agree. I have been spoiled by the Zeiss Otus lenses, the APO Zeiss 135mm, and a rather large group of industrial lenses that I have collected over there years, all of which can’t be mounted on the X1D.

As mentioned, the Hasselblad lenses are “sharp  enough,” just barely for what I like to do, but if I look too close, they are not really, really THAT sharp. I can see the limit (and the difference) and I focus with LiveView magnified (and check aperture preview, etc.) very carefully. So, right now, that’s it for sharpness. Is that something I can live with? I know that many people are happy with the degree of sharpness offered by the XCD lenses, but am I? I go back and forth. Sure, I can put up with it, but does it make me happy? No. It makes me feel resigned or limited. That’s just me, but I found it an inhibiting factor.

Part of me says, forget-about-it, and just take some photos. They will be sharp enough. But there is another part of me that keeps nagging me with “It’s not really sharp, but just barely sharp enough.” Given that bokeh depends on its contrast with sharpness elsewhere in the photo, for me this is kind of a losing proposition. Anyway, that war is still waging inside me. I like the X1D. It is easy-to-use, clean, small, great haptics, everything I could ask for, but it does not take all the lenses I have collected over the years that are highly corrected (APO). It’s that simple. I know. This should have been clear to me from the start, but I always have to see for myself what I can and cannot do. There was a chance that all would be copasetic. It did not turn out that way.

For me that means I have to use all of my APO lenses elsewhere and with another camera. I can see that, but for me that makes the X1D a very expensive “alternate” camera to my Nikon D810 and other technical cameras. The X1D then becomes a large money sink against getting whatever new camera that either Nikon or Sony will debut in the next year. I can’t afford to have all the new cameras that pop up.

I also carefully tried the Pentax K1 and the Fuji GFX, looking for Mr. Good- Camera (for my work) each of which also had problems I found these problems hindered what my work. All are great systems, but not for what I do. And so I wait for Sony or Nikon to debut something that I can perhaps work with. I will, in the meantime, continue to work with the D810 and the Sony AR7 II in a variety of ways. That’s my two-cents.


Here is a photo taken with the Hasselblad X1D, an example of what kind of photos I tend to do.
Founder MacroStop.com, MichaelErlewine.com (articles), https://www.youtube.com/user/merlewine (video tutorials), All-Music Guide, All-Movie Guide, Classic Posters.com, Matrix Software, SpiritGrooves.net, DharmaGrooves.com

ColinM

  • NG Member
  • *
  • Posts: 533
  • Bristol, UK
    • My Pictures
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2017, 20:07:56 »
Thank you for your detailed commentary on this and the previous hardware.

One thing I'm intrigued about; when you "return" gear like this, do you sell it as second hand, or does your dealer allow you a period to assess, then return it for a full refund if it doesn't meet your needs?

Michael Erlewine

  • Close-Up Photographer
  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 1224
  • Close-Up with APO
    • Spirit Grooves
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2017, 20:20:55 »
Thank you for your detailed commentary on this and the previous hardware.

One thing I'm intrigued about; when you "return" gear like this, do you sell it as second hand, or does your dealer allow you a period to assess, then return it for a full refund if it doesn't meet your needs?

If you take care of the gear and return in the original condition and packaging, you get a refund.
Founder MacroStop.com, MichaelErlewine.com (articles), https://www.youtube.com/user/merlewine (video tutorials), All-Music Guide, All-Movie Guide, Classic Posters.com, Matrix Software, SpiritGrooves.net, DharmaGrooves.com

David H. Hartman

  • NG Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1798
  • I Doctor Photographs... :)
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2017, 21:43:18 »
... What this means is that the lenses that have been announced up to now by Hasselblad are f/3.5, not the fastest lenses. And lacking that speed means that if I want to focus-stack by painting focus with the lens wide open where I want it to be (while leaving the rest go to bokeh), with f/3.5 I don’t really have the kind of blurry bokeh that a fast lens (f/1.4) can produce. ...

Not only are the lenses not fast enough but they are not long enough. An 80/2.0 lens can give decent background blurring for DX but it probably falls a little short on FX. 50/1.2 on DX and FX is not going to give me the background blurring I want to separate a person from the background. I'll do better with 105/2.5 or even 105/4.0.

If you want to photograph a person, head and shoulders, from 2 meters for the perspective of two meters and you want the background at 5 meters for blurring you'll need a 128~135mm lens on 44x33mm and you'll need an aperture of f/3.5 maybe f/4.0 to get the same blurring. If the lens were f/2.8 you'd get more. The longer the lens you use if all else remains the same the more background blurring you'll get and IT IS NOT Linear. The sweet spot for background blurring of a head and shoulders portrait falls at 36x24mm to 6x4.5cm. For me it does not include DX. DoF and background blurring are not the same.

OK, so a 90mm lens is on the short side for 44x33 and f/3.5 is on the small side for 44x33. Look at the physical aperture size and the apparent aperture size (entrance pupil size) to judge how well a lens will blur a background under practical conditions and practical print or use size.

To get what you want in background blurring on 44x33 and you like what you get on 36x24 with a 105/1.4 lens then you'll probably need a 135/2.0 lens on 44x33 if the same blurring is desired and the same perspective is desired. 

OK, I've slammed this together so I can't proof it and there are probably errors.

Dave Hartman who desperately needs time for his photography.
Dave Hartman The Handy Tool Maker.™

Michael Erlewine

  • Close-Up Photographer
  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 1224
  • Close-Up with APO
    • Spirit Grooves
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2017, 12:42:08 »
The Eleventh Hour with the X1D

Recently, after about ninth months of studying and waiting, I finally decided that the Hasselblad X1D was not ready for Prime Time, at least for my work. And since I can’t afford all the cameras I would like to have, after weeks of testing, I decided to return the X1D while I still could for full credit.

I carefully packed the X1D and the various lenses in their original packing, carefully putting each piece in a plastic bag and otherwise preparing it for the UPS truck. The shop I purchased it from was on Jewish holiday, so I had to wait an extra day in order to cancel the return and put the packages in transit. I could have used the X1D for another day but, no, I had made up my mind, so instead I spent that last day shooting with my trusted Nikon D810 and some of the various great lenses i have, like the Otus 55mm APO, the El Nikkor 105mm APO, and the legendary CRT Nikkor.

Since I often stack focus, the post-processing work always takes much longer than taking the actual photographs. Well, I did all that and when I was done, the photos looked pretty good. As I looked through my photos for my favorites, it hit me that something was missing here. It took some time to figure out, but finally I decided that what wasn’t there was a certain lightness of feeling, call it luminosity or whatever. It was not sharpness, because the lenses for my Nikon are sharper than the X1D. I probably can’t find words to describe it, but it was a certain spaciousness or brightness or simply “light” that was missing in my Nikon photos. That was a surprise.

Despite whatever warts or failings I had found in the Hasselblad X1D, there was some quality that it has that could not be denied and I was suddenly finding myself not denying that fact. “Parting is such sweet sorrow” as Shakespeare said. A certain kind of sadness came over me about having to say goodbye to this lovely camera, even though it did not do everything I needed it to do. Still, there was something about the X1D that I suddenly missed. It was almost like being condemned to not stretch any farther than I had with my Nikon D810. Ouch!

Yet, it was clear to me that I could not afford to keep the X1D, in case Nikon or Sony came out with something in the same ballpark that would work better for what I do. I must say I was a little depressed by all this and suddenly felt limited by my Nikon D810 for the first time. This kind of thinking and feeling went on for some time and it was no fun at all.

Then I realized that I had a lot of high-end video equipment sitting in my main studio that was depreciating these days at lightning speed. I don’t use it and pretty soon it will be worth just pennies on the dollar. I’m just going to sell that and be done with it, and so I am. I am keeping my Hasselblad X1D, if for no other reason than to keep that little bit of light it offers in my life. So, there you have it, a 180-degree flip on my part. The Hasselblad stays in the family of cameras I use. 

Founder MacroStop.com, MichaelErlewine.com (articles), https://www.youtube.com/user/merlewine (video tutorials), All-Music Guide, All-Movie Guide, Classic Posters.com, Matrix Software, SpiritGrooves.net, DharmaGrooves.com

ArendV

  • NG Member
  • *
  • Posts: 272
  • The Netherlands
    • flickr
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2017, 13:07:55 »
I think we all have to admit in some way that we always try to rationalise our equipment choices, but in the end our not always rational feelings drive our purchases as well (and perhaps mostly).
And that is actually a good thing, if you "like" your camera you will use it a lot. So enjoy your Hassy !
Arend

Eric Borgström

  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 102
  • You ARE NikonGear
    • Eric´s pictures
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2017, 15:55:44 »
Michael, your 360 degree turn makes me happy. I have followed your  love story with the X1D honestly recorded on different sites.
I wish you well in this relationship.
/Eric

David H. Hartman

  • NG Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1798
  • I Doctor Photographs... :)
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2017, 11:06:33 »
I think we all have to admit in some way that we always try to rationalise our equipment choices, but in the end our not always rational feelings drive our purchases as well (and perhaps mostly).
And that is actually a good thing, if you "like" your camera you will use it a lot. So enjoy your Hassy !

+1

The camera you like is the one you'll use.

Dave
Dave Hartman The Handy Tool Maker.™

Akira

  • Homo jezoensis
  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 6011
  • Tokyo, Japan
    • Akira on flickr
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2017, 12:12:51 »
Michael, your 360 degree turn makes me happy. I have followed your  love story with the X1D honestly recorded on different sites.
I wish you well in this relationship.
/Eric


Er...180 degree I guess...(sorry to nit pick, but I couldn't resist.  ;D )
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

Jack Dahlgren

  • NG Member
  • *
  • Posts: 409
  • You ARE NikonGear
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2017, 17:18:50 »
Er...180 degree I guess...(sorry to nit pick, but I couldn't resist.  ;D )

It is 360. Wants camera. Doesn't want camera. Wants camera. This completes the circle.

Akira

  • Homo jezoensis
  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 6011
  • Tokyo, Japan
    • Akira on flickr
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2017, 17:44:42 »
It is 360. Wants camera. Doesn't want camera. Wants camera. This completes the circle.

I see.  That makes sense.
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

Eric Borgström

  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 102
  • You ARE NikonGear
    • Eric´s pictures
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2017, 19:31:03 »
It is 360. Wants camera. Doesn't want camera. Wants camera. This completes the circle.

Just so, 2X180°. And Michael records this journey very honestly.

Jack Dahlgren

  • NG Member
  • *
  • Posts: 409
  • You ARE NikonGear
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2017, 19:37:59 »
Just so, 2X180°. And Michael records this journey very honestly.

Yes, it is very interesting to see the process.

Ethan

  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 124
  • You ARE NikonGear
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2017, 20:30:48 »
The Eleventh Hour with the X1D

Recently, after about ninth months of studying and waiting, I finally decided that the Hasselblad X1D was not ready for Prime Time, at least for my work. And since I can’t afford all the cameras I would like to have, after weeks of testing, I decided to return the X1D while I still could for full credit.

I carefully packed the X1D and the various lenses in their original packing, carefully putting each piece in a plastic bag and otherwise preparing it for the UPS truck. The shop I purchased it from was on Jewish holiday, so I had to wait an extra day in order to cancel the return and put the packages in transit. I could have used the X1D for another day but, no, I had made up my mind, so instead I spent that last day shooting with my trusted Nikon D810 and some of the various great lenses i have, like the Otus 55mm APO, the El Nikkor 105mm APO, and the legendary CRT Nikkor.

Since I often stack focus, the post-processing work always takes much longer than taking the actual photographs. Well, I did all that and when I was done, the photos looked pretty good. As I looked through my photos for my favorites, it hit me that something was missing here. It took some time to figure out, but finally I decided that what wasn’t there was a certain lightness of feeling, call it luminosity or whatever. It was not sharpness, because the lenses for my Nikon are sharper than the X1D. I probably can’t find words to describe it, but it was a certain spaciousness or brightness or simply “light” that was missing in my Nikon photos. That was a surprise.

Despite whatever warts or failings I had found in the Hasselblad X1D, there was some quality that it has that could not be denied and I was suddenly finding myself not denying that fact. “Parting is such sweet sorrow” as Shakespeare said. A certain kind of sadness came over me about having to say goodbye to this lovely camera, even though it did not do everything I needed it to do. Still, there was something about the X1D that I suddenly missed. It was almost like being condemned to not stretch any farther than I had with my Nikon D810. Ouch!

Yet, it was clear to me that I could not afford to keep the X1D, in case Nikon or Sony came out with something in the same ballpark that would work better for what I do. I must say I was a little depressed by all this and suddenly felt limited by my Nikon D810 for the first time. This kind of thinking and feeling went on for some time and it was no fun at all.

Then I realized that I had a lot of high-end video equipment sitting in my main studio that was depreciating these days at lightning speed. I don’t use it and pretty soon it will be worth just pennies on the dollar. I’m just going to sell that and be done with it, and so I am. I am keeping my Hasselblad X1D, if for no other reason than to keep that little bit of light it offers in my life. So, there you have it, a 180-degree flip on my part. The Hasselblad stays in the family of cameras I use.

Out of professional courtesy, I abstained adding comments to the effect that you are either making a mistake with the X1D or you had wool pulled over your eyes by your preferred blogger Ming Thein.

I knew from the grapevine that Ming was in the pocket of Hasselblad and the truth is that he is now officially appointed starting March 2017 as their new Chief of Strategy no less.

I hope you take this post in the spirit of openness and forewarning not to trust charlatan photo bloggers or any bloggers with the very few exceptions such as Roger Cigala and the rare people likes him.



Michael Erlewine

  • Close-Up Photographer
  • NG Supporter
  • **
  • Posts: 1224
  • Close-Up with APO
    • Spirit Grooves
Re: Taking a Pass on the Hasselblad X1D
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2017, 20:59:50 »
Out of professional courtesy, I abstained adding comments to the effect that you are either making a mistake with the X1D or you had wool pulled over your eyes by your preferred blogger Ming Thein.

I knew from the grapevine that Ming was in the pocket of Hasselblad and the truth is that he is now officially appointed starting March 2017 as their new Chief of Strategy no less.

I hope you take this post in the spirit of openness and forewarning not to trust charlatan photo bloggers or any bloggers with the very few exceptions such as Roger Cigala and the rare people likes him.

How ridiculous! I have known and followed Ming Thein for years. We all hoped Ming Thein would have a strategy role at Hasselbad. Calling one of the best photographers on the planet a Charlatan is just too much malarkey.
Founder MacroStop.com, MichaelErlewine.com (articles), https://www.youtube.com/user/merlewine (video tutorials), All-Music Guide, All-Movie Guide, Classic Posters.com, Matrix Software, SpiritGrooves.net, DharmaGrooves.com