Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF Locked

Started Jul 13, 2016 | Discussions
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Chris Dodkin
Chris Dodkin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,197
Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF

After all of the speculation surrounding Fuji developing a mirror-less MF camera, we were all a little surprised when Hasselblad threw the first punch, and announced the X1D to the world.

I'd talked to Fuji and Zack Arias at CES 2014, and we'd discussed a Fuji MF offering in some detail. I was sure they'd be first.

I even wondered if the X1D was a Fuji collaboration project, although this was quickly discounted by Hasselblad. (It probably shares the same sensor from Sony only)

So how does the first MF CSC camera look 'in the flesh', and what will Fuji be competing against in the marketplace, when they launch their MF X Camera system?

I figured I'd check out the Blad to see what the future might look like...

I had my hands on a shiny new X1D (prototype) today, and I can tell you, this is the future - but right now it's somewhat unfinished!

That's actually an understatement - this camera is not even close to being finished - so you have to ask the question..

Why release it now?

Let's deal with the easy stuff. It's beautiful, feels like it's hewn from a solid block of metal, has great ergonomics, and a definite (Jonathan Ive - Apple like) style.

The heft is there to give you stability and confidence, but it's not 'heavy' - I could use this for hours on a shoot, with no issues about size or weight.

It's still smaller than most pro DSLRs - and way better built.

Buttons and dials fall right under your fingers and thumbs - someone has done their homework.

The rear screen is HUGE! It's like an iPhone + on the back of the camera. It has slick and well designed graphics, and looks cool as F.

You can pinch and swipe just like your favorite tablet products, it has tons of accessible features, all graphically driven.

The EVF is also HUGE - and has a wide eyepiece with auto eye detection.

There are user definable buttons on the back - I had focus on the AF button for example - and there are user definable dials front and back. I put Exposure Comp on the rear dial and Aperture on the front dial, to give me full control without using the GUI when shooting.

There are none of Fuji's dials and analogue controls - this is like the Porsche engined version of the Harley Davidson.

You can use the EVF or the LCD for live view, and a single button press gets you to 100% zoom for critical focus checks.

I got to use only one of the two lenses due for release - the 90mm. It was smooth and solid, and very Hasselblad. Larger and more weighty than your average X Series lens of course, and with no Aperture control, or IS features.

Battery life was quoted at 4 hrs of use, you get one battery and a charger with the camera.

So.... what's it like?

Well, that's a very hard question to answer right now!

This is really a prototype or Beta model - I wasn't allowed to download any files from it for critical review.

The AF system was unfinished, and only had a single, none moveable ,center AF zone - Focus was pedestrian, and the focus trigger button failed to trigger focus on several occasions.

When you triggered the shutter, the EVF blacked out for a long time - the rep was quick to point out that this would be fixed in the released camera.

The EVF and LCD were 'prototype' and did not impress. The EVF reminded me of a poor version of the X-Pro1 EVF, with slow refresh and poor rendition of detail and color. It looked like an old video camera viewfinder.

It was also stuck at fixed gain, and the Blad rep said that the EVF would NOT adjust with exposure at this time!!! I drilled down on this point, as the EVF exposure WYSIWYG is one of the key features of CSC.

He didn't seem to think exposure live view was very critical to Blad, and suggested that the final camera at release should have the histogram displayed in the EVF - and I could use this to judge exposure...

The touch screen was very quirky on the prototype - and didn't want to swipe when reviewing images.

There's no vertical grip for portrait shooting - and none planned. Odd for a camera aimed at fashion photography.

I wasn't allowed outside, so only got to shoot test frames at 6400 ISO under shop-floor-lighting in store.

None of this would encourage me to put down the nearly $15,000 for a first run model and lenses.

It's simply impossible to tell how good this camera will be, based on the demo model.

So back to my original question - Why release it now?

I'm going to assume the felt they had to release it now, even though it was clearly not ready for prime time.

I'm going to assume that they would ideally want to have all of these features finished before anyone ever got their hands on the X1D.

So I wonder if they felt there was an impending event, something they needed to get in front of.

Some drive to release early, and grab the spotlight, before anyone else - even at the risk of showing an unfinished camera.

Only showing a severely limited set of 'sample' images - none of which really shine. (Ming Thein has better images on his Flickr Account https://www.flickr.com/photos/mingthein/albums/72157670009490992 )

My guess is that Hasselblad thought Fuji might announce something at the same time as the X-T2, or perhaps at Photokina in September.

If you thought Fuji were going to hit the market with their MF announcement, and a much rumored lower price point, you might decide to roll the dice, and go early.

Just my thoughts - time will tell of course.

I think the technology is game changing, and will kill a lot of 'pro' FF DSRL use.

It will bring a new category to the pros, and to a much wider pro-am audience.

It'll change the game for IQ, DR, bokeh etc.

I hope Fuji are ready to go in September - Based on the X1D, they stand every chance of capturing a huge chunk of the MF CSC market, and potentially providing a better camera/system than Hasselblad.

Got to give Blad props for being first - but if I were them, I'd be worried.

They have about 60 days to deliver on their promises, and start shipping capable cameras to customers.

By then, Fuji might have caught the limelight - and be undermining their price point.

This should be interesting...

Apologies for the low-fi product shots - the best my X100 could manage in the dismal store lighting, wide open.

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Your time is limited, so don't waste it arguing about camera features - go out and capture memories

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nixda Veteran Member • Posts: 5,515
Re: Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF

The good thing for Fuji is that can now take their time to get a killer product ready and take over the market. Being first isn't really important. Making good products is, and that's where the buyers will go in the end. But Fuji should also not wait too long.

Thanks for the report.

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Speedex Folder Contributing Member • Posts: 628
Re: Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF

Chris, see if this resonates with you:

Back in the film days, Fujifilm had quite the relationship and market share with pros and lots and lots of wedding photographers.  Despite the prevalence of 500-series 'Blads, the various Bronicas and Mamiyas and Rolleis, Fuji very carefully and deliberately carved out its' own niche business, starting with the emulsions and capped with specialist rollfilm cameras that owned their little corner of the market by being a) ingeniously engineered and dependable, and b) generally at price points below the previously mentioned suspects above.

Somehow, that approach in the digital age would still work, and I see them finally getting over the hump, video-wise, which only makes me think even more that now may very well be the time in the near future.  Would certainly justify Hasselblad jumping the green flag, as they have a relationship with Fuji still building the lenses for the rest of their range, and people will talk . . . . . .

IF all this goes down, next time you talk to your Fuji connections, tell them you've had interest in blowing up an X100 to MF for a latter-day 'Texas Rangefinder' !

Chris Dodkin
OP Chris Dodkin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,197
Re: Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF

I own two of those Texas Leica's!

Great cameras - a digital one would be great

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Your time is limited, so don't waste it arguing about camera features - go out and capture memories

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jacketpotato Senior Member • Posts: 2,244
Re: Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF

Chris Dodkin wrote:

I own two of those Texas Leica's!

Great cameras - a digital one would be great

FujiFilm MFX <> larger XPRo.

FujiFilm <> 2nd mouse gets the cheese (Hassy first bird gets the worm).

FujiFilm <> Apple "It is more important to get it right than to be first."

Vincent AF
Vincent AF Regular Member • Posts: 381
Re: Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF

Chris Dodkin wrote:

It's still smaller than most pro DSLRs - and way better built.

Hey Chris, I just don't understand your statement about the built quality. Those pro Nikon and Canon bodies are built like tanks and almost never break down. How can you say that the built quality is way better when you've only used a pre-production model indoors for a an hour or so? Just curious what you mean by that statement.

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marco1974 Senior Member • Posts: 1,834
nice write-up, thanks

(but I couldn't help but notice a recurring spelling error: it's "none", not "non" :-))

M.

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Hugh2017 Regular Member • Posts: 183
Re: nice write-up, thanks

marco1974 wrote:

(but I couldn't help but notice a recurring spelling error: it's "none", not "non" :-))

M.

You tell'em

JS Burnie
JS Burnie Veteran Member • Posts: 3,898
Re: Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF

Thanks for the sneak peek.  Let's hope that when Fuji produces theirs, they can have both phase detect and contrast detect autofocus.  Hassy is contrast only I believe.

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Chris Dodkin
OP Chris Dodkin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,197
Re: Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF

Vincent AF wrote:

Chris Dodkin wrote:

It's still smaller than most pro DSLRs - and way better built.

Hey Chris, I just don't understand your statement about the built quality. Those pro Nikon and Canon bodies are built like tanks and almost never break down. How can you say that the built quality is way better when you've only used a pre-production model indoors for a an hour or so? Just curious what you mean by that statement.

Good question.

All Pro bodies I've used previously have some element of either pressed steel or 'plastic' in their design - I'm thinking Hasselblad 501C, EOS 1n, EOS1D, EOS 1DII in my case.

The X1D appears to be a single block of alloy, out of which the camera has been carved/moulded. It's a very different look and feel to anything else I've ever handled.

There's no flex, creaking, bending, etc - it's just a block of alloy with a grip!

Can't comment on the build quality of the electronics/shutter as you pointed out, as this sort of detail will emerge over time

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Your time is limited, so don't waste it arguing about camera features - go out and capture memories

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Chris Dodkin
OP Chris Dodkin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,197
Re: nice write-up, thanks

marco1974 wrote:

(but I couldn't help but notice a recurring spelling error: it's "none", not "non" :-))

M.

Fixed thx - no idea how that happened!

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Your time is limited, so don't waste it arguing about camera features - go out and capture memories

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Fujica New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF

Cool, but I still believe in the Fujifilm MF dream.
They still must have something in their sleeves for Photokina this year.
Dare to dream with me and I am pretty sure it will be fulfilled...
Trust me.

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645 Pro Mk II
Chris Dodkin
OP Chris Dodkin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,197
Re: Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF

Fujica wrote:

Cool, but I still believe in the Fujifilm MF dream.
They still must have something in their sleeves for Photokina this year.
Dare to dream with me and I am pretty sure it will be fulfilled...
Trust me.

Me too - I'm betting on it in fact!

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Your time is limited, so don't waste it arguing about camera features - go out and capture memories

 Chris Dodkin's gear list:Chris Dodkin's gear list
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jacketpotato Senior Member • Posts: 2,244
Re: Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF

Fujica wrote:

Cool, but I still believe in the Fujifilm MF dream.
They still must have something in their sleeves for Photokina this year.
Dare to dream with me and I am pretty sure it will be fulfilled...
Trust me.

Yep.

MFX with F2 primes. Fuji learnt from XPro lens lineup.

Priced 3/5 Hassy body; 2/5 Hassy lense.

(LAF as XPro2; Design as XPro2 hybrid EVF OVF, Shutter, Exp dials; Internal architecture pretty much XPro2; Tilt screen XT).

Vincent AF
Vincent AF Regular Member • Posts: 381
Re: Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF

Chris Dodkin wrote:

Vincent AF wrote:

Chris Dodkin wrote:

It's still smaller than most pro DSLRs - and way better built.

Hey Chris, I just don't understand your statement about the built quality. Those pro Nikon and Canon bodies are built like tanks and almost never break down. How can you say that the built quality is way better when you've only used a pre-production model indoors for a an hour or so? Just curious what you mean by that statement.

Good question.

All Pro bodies I've used previously have some element of either pressed steel or 'plastic' in their design - I'm thinking Hasselblad 501C, EOS 1n, EOS1D, EOS 1DII in my case.

The X1D appears to be a single block of alloy, out of which the camera has been carved/moulded. It's a very different look and feel to anything else I've ever handled.

There's no flex, creaking, bending, etc - it's just a block of alloy with a grip!

Can't comment on the build quality of the electronics/shutter as you pointed out, as this sort of detail will emerge over time

Thanks for clearing that one up for me Chris!

 Vincent AF's gear list:Vincent AF's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Nikon D800 Fujifilm X-H1 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +11 more
Samaistuin
Samaistuin Senior Member • Posts: 1,042
Re: Not quite there yet - Hasselblad X1D vs vaporware Fuji MF

That is a nice report, thank you.

I believe your intuition is right regarding Hasselblad's announcement bet ; it's just like Nikon's original announcement of the DL line (... four full months before planned availability) : trying to lock the consumers' interest onto their product before competitors launch theirs.

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