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.