Hasselblad X2D 100C Review (2023): Really beautiful images

It’s a Hasselblad name. Similar to medium format photography. From the amazing 500 series of film cameras to 2016’s X1D, which was the first digital, compact (relatively speaking), medium format mirrorless camera. The original X1D’s image quality was impressive, but unfortunately, the rest of the camera left a lot to be desired. Even the second model, which sped up things like autofocus and performed significantly better, still wasn’t there (6/10, WIRED Review).

Now Hasselblad has released the X2D 100C along with some new XCD V lenses, and to my delight, this is the camera that Hasselblad fans have been waiting for. It offers amazing, huge RAW files, is fast enough, and stays compact enough to feel like you’re shooting with a DSLR.

But it’s still a Hasselblad: at $8,200, plus another $4,000 or so for a lens, it’s not an affordable camera for amateurs. And yet, for the serious photographer, the X2D delivers.

Finally, fast

At the heart of the X2D is a new image sensor. The sensor is the same physical size as the X1D II, but the number of megapixels is double. The sensor is 11,656 x 8742 pixels, which actually makes it slightly over 100 megapixels, and has a 4:3 aspect ratio. Hasselblad boasts 15 stops of dynamic range that its 16-bit files deliver. Do these statistics sound familiar? It could be because the Fujifilm GFX100 medium format mirrorless uses a very similar sensor.

Photography: Hasselblad

That hefty sensor size delivers some incredibly sharp images with excellent micro-contrast in the details. It’s better than the previous Hasselblad sensor used in the X1D in every way, and is one of the best on the market right now. The only downside is getting some huge image files. If you end up with the X2D, grab some spare SSD storage drives (and we have a guide for SSDs), because the RAW files from this camera are over 200 megabytes per image. Even “good” JPEGs are between 60 and 80 MB, depending on the situation.

Another, in my opinion, better upgrade in the X2D is a new processor. Huge image files are nice, but if it takes forever to shoot them, they’re not as good as it was with the X1D. This time I found that, despite no speed demon, the X2D was fast enough that I didn’t notice any lag. The processor upgrade is now paired with an auto-focus upgrade that uses 294 level detection points, covering almost all sensors. This helps to identify it quickly.

While the autofocus system in the X2D is a big improvement, you won’t find it anywhere in full-frame flagship cameras like the Sony A9 or Canon R5. It reminded me a lot of Fujifilm’s autofocus system, it’s not very impressive on paper, but in the real world, at least for the kind of shooting I do, both Fujifilm and Hasselblad’s autofocus systems are 90 percent adequate. time. The X2D isn’t a camera I’d take to shoot sporting events, and it definitely had some issues with backlit scenes (where all autofocus systems fail), but for most situations it was accurate enough to hunt. on time. Another thing to note here is that you need to use one of Hasselblad’s new lenses to take full advantage of the new autofocus speed. While the company’s legacy mirror works with the X2D, it won’t be very fast to focus.

The X2D now includes in-body image stabilization, which Hasselblad says offers up to seven stops of stabilization. The company claims that you can shoot handheld with shutter speeds of up to one second, which came out in my testing. I was lucky enough to have pretty steady hands, and was able to shoot up to 1.5 seconds without blur. On the flip side, any shake is very noticeable with a sensor that records this level of detail.

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