Full Review Hasselblad X2D 100C – Faster and Stabilised

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The Hasselblad X2D 100C is the second generation of Hasselblad’s mirrorless medium format camera. New features are the built-in image stabilization, the built-in 1 Tb SSD and – of course – the 100 megapixel sensor that is part of the name of the camera.

Test results Hasselbad X2D 100C:

advantages

disadvantages

  • 100 megapixel sensor

  • Built-in image stabilization

  • Phase Detection AF

  • Flipscreen

  • 1 TB built-in memory

  • Leaf shutter lenses

  • Screen does not flip vertically

  • Autofocus sometimes a bit inaccurate

  • No video

The Hasselblad X2D 100C is a big step up from the X1D series

 

INTRODUCTION HASSELBAD X2D 100C

The medium format Hasselblad X2D is more than an upgrade of the X1D series. The camera has a redesigned body and slightly changed controls and a tilting screen, but the biggest innovations are inside the body and attached to it. The new 33x44mm sensor now has 100 megapixels and with that the Hasselblad can once again compete with Fujifilm’s top models. Finally, the camera also has built-in image stabilization and phase detection autofocus. In 2022, these are must haves. Especially for a compact medium format camera that begs to be used on location and hand held.

Another important innovation is a new lens line. Three new lenses are available for the X2D straight away: an XCD F2.5 38mm, an XCD F2.5 55mm and an XCD F2.5 90mm. These lenses now have internal focus in which only part of the lens elements move. As a result, they focus faster, not only on the new X2D, but also on the X1D models.

The new Hasselblad lenses are ‘only’ F2.5. But because the sensor is bigger, you can still get a lovely bokeh.

 

It does not stop at these three lenses. The line will soon be expanded to make Hasselblad’s X platform a full system. Also new, and quite unique, is the X2D’s massive built-in memory. The Hasselblad has a 1 Tb internal memory with a high read and write speed. This allows the large files created by the camera to be written quickly. You can use the memory cards as an overflow or backup of the internal memory, or vice versa, if you wish.

BUILD  AND OPERATION

The Hasselblad X2D 100C has the same design as the X1D, but if you look closely you will see a number of subtle differences. The X2D is just a bit bigger than the X1 models. That is the result of all the extra technology such as the image stabilization and the folding screen. That screen is also different. What is special is that the control buttons next to it go along when folding up. With the camera at chest or waist height, as if the screen is an old-fashioned viewfinder, you can still operate the buttons properly. The screen therefore only folds up to a horizontal position, but cannot be rotated. A small disadvantage that we sometimes had problems with in practice is that the screen hinges directly on the body and does not come loose from it. As a result, the viewfinder covers part of the screen when you look directly at it from above.

The X2D also has an extra LCD screen on the right shoulder, so you always have an overview of your settings, unless the camera is off. It is not an E-ink screen, so it doesn’t show any settings until the camera is turned on. Because of the screen, the mode dial on the camera is gone. You now have an M-button that works together with the screen. The grip is a bit larger and slightly more round. The camera has 1 CFexpress type B card slot and 1 USB-C connection for data transfer and charging. The camera no longer has a connection for an external cable release. You can, however, operate the X2D wirelessly or wired via USB-C with Hasselblad’s Phocus app. The screen has a resolution of 2.36 megapixels, the viewfinder has a resolution of 5.7 megapixels. With that pixelsnumber, the X2D is completely up to date again and you can properly assess the sharpness of the images in the viewfinder. What is special about the viewfinder is that there is no button on the camera to adjust it to your eyes. You will have to do that in the menu.

IMAGE QUALITY

De Hasselblad X2D 100C biedt een goed dynamisch bereik waardoor diepe schaduwen makkelijk kunnen worden opgehaald. De kleuren blijven verzadigd en ruis is minimaal.

With a new sensor with twice as many pixels as the old one plus the five-axis image stabilization that, according to Hasselblad, should be good for 7 stops, it should be possible to take even sharper images with more details than with the X1-series cameras, even without a tripod. We assume that the sensor is made by Sony and that it will offer the same image quality as the sensor that Fujifilm uses in the GFX models.

With a 100 megapixel sensor, you get a lot of detail. If you open the image below, you can still read the name of the shop next to the white building.

In practice, the results are indeed largely the same. The sharpness and detail that you can achieve with the X2D are particularly high and the dynamic range is good. At higher ISOs you will see some noise, but ISO 3200 and 6400 are still quite usable. In the jpeg files you will not even see any noise, although you will of course lose some fine details due to noise reduction. The dynamic range, the performance at high sensitivities and the noise do not differ much from those of the 50 megapixel models and the higher resolution is therefore a real advantage. The lowest ISO value is 64 and the camera records files in 16 bit, which also helps to get the most out of the sensor.

VIDEO

We can be very brief about video on the Hasselblad. It doesn’t do video. Unlike theFujifilm GFX, the Hasselblad X2D is a pure photo camera and not a hybrid. And any photographer who experiences how easy the camera is to use, will probably appreciate that choice.

FOCUS

The Hasselblad X2D has a new hybrid autofocus system. It is the first X camera with phase detection for fast autofocus. This is combined with contrast detection for fine-tuning the focus. The phase detection has 294 focus zones and covers 97% of the image field. The autofocus is noticeably faster and ensures that the camera is better suited for photographing moving subjects, where the X1D models were more suitable for somewhat static subjects. However, don’t expect 35mm speeds. The X2D isn’t an action sports camera, of course. The faster autofocus in the camera is supported by the new, internally focusing lenses. X1D photographers will also experience a gain in autofocus speed with these new lenses. Although we find the autofocus as a whole clearly improved, the system is not yet perfect. When focusing on small subjects in the foreground, in particular, the autofocus often tends to shift focus to the background.

Focusing wasn’t a problem with a focusfield low to the ground. But it wasn’t possible to focus on one of the flowers in the middle of the image, because in that case the camera would focus on the background every time.

 

Perhaps an (even) smaller autofocus field could help, so that you can indicate even more precisely where the camera should focus. The new lenses also have a focus clutch, which means that you can slide the focus ring forwards and backwards. This allows you to quickly switch between autofocus and manual focus.

WHAT’S SPECIAL?

Of course, the new sensor, the image stabilization and the improved autofocus are all important. But unique is the built-in memory of no less than 1 Tb. There are no cameras that have that much memory. Zeiss was the first manufacturer with this feature with the ZX1 and we had to wait 6 years for that camera after the announcement and the ZX1 only has half the memory of the X2D. The ZX1 also has no card slot as a backup. The Hasselblad has the latest M2 memory that can reach higher speeds than even with CFexpress.

COMPARED TO THE COMPETITION

Obviously, the closest competitor to the Hasselblad X2D is the Fujifilm GFX100S. Just like the X2D, it has a 100-megapixel sensor, built-in image stabilization and a compact body. The Fujifilm GFX100S has a screen that can fold up both horizontally and vertically and it can also do video. Furthermore, the choice of lenses for the GFX system is much larger. So, on paper the Fujifilm looks like a clear winner. The Hasselblad on the other hand, offers simplicity and that is something that you actually have to experience yourself to appreciate it. You don’t actually need a manual with the Hasselblad, whereas understanding the Fujifilm requires some study for new users. The user interface of the Hasselblad is more streamlined, partly due to the lack of a number of options, and anyone looking for a pure photo camera for the highest quality images should have worked with the Hasselblad for at least a day.

You could – very unpolitely – say that the Hasselblad X2D is a camera for dummies. But is actually that simple to use.

 

For photographers who like to combine flash with daylight, the leaf shutter is also an advantage that should not be underestimated. It allows you to synchronise flash with shutter speeds of up to 1/2000th of a second. The Sony A1 has the fastest synchronization time of all cameras with a focal-plane shutter, reaching 1/400th of a second. The Sony A7R V achieves 1/250th second and the Fujifilm GFX100S 1/125th. As a result, when shooting wide open, you will soon have to work with ND filters to darken the background, which you then have to compensate for with (much) bigger and heavier flash. The Hasselblad allows you to work with relatively small and light (battery operated) flashes at full aperture and still make the background darker than the subject, even in full sun.

 

Hasselbad X2D 100C

 specifications
  
sensor
100 MP
video
n/a
ISO

64-25600

max. series speed

3.3x (in 14 bit)

storage media

1 Tb internal, 1x CFexpress type B

battery capacity

420 shots

dimensions

149x106x75mm

weight (incl. battery)

895 g

list price
€ 8699.00 (body)
importer
  
 rating
image quality/1010
focusing/107
light metering/55
white balance/55
screen/viewfinder/54
price-to-quality/54
bonus/108
  
final score8.6

Conclusion test Hasselbad X2D 100C

The Hasselblad X2D 100C is a camera for pure photography

With the X2D 100C, the Hasselblad X system comes of age. The camera retains all the strengths of the previous X models in terms of simplicity, compactness and high image quality, but improves on them and adds built-in image stabilization. This broadens the possibilities of working with the X2D on location, to shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds without loss of image quality. The faster autofocus also ensures that you can work more spontaneously. This is not a camera for everyone, though. But for photographers looking for a purist camera capable of capturing images of the highest quality, the X2D is a must-try.

1 COMMENT

  1. The X2D may be a nice, well-made and modern camera. However, when I compare it to the image quality my H5D-60 CCD sensor can deliver at base ISO, it is still largely inferior. On big high-end prints (1m and bigger) I have absolutely no artifacts, no digital noise whatsoever – it is just absolutely clean and sharp. Newer is not always better – maybe cheaper.

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