At a recent Hasselblad event in London I got some time with the new 50MP Hasselblad X1D mirrorless camera. The bodies are still very much at the pre-production stage, and many of the proposed features that will be available when the camera goes on sale have still to be implemented.

The unit I used didn’t have touch AF activated, so focusing had to be done with the central AF point or manually, and the Nikon-based flash system was not installed. Hasselblad also made it very clear that the AF speed experienced with this camera did not represent what the production models would manage, and that the image quality is still far from finished. The company has however agreed to let us publish some sample shots to allow readers to get an idea of the sort of resolution and colors the camera can achieve.

I shot Raw and JPEG files and processed them through both Adobe Camera Raw and Hasselblad’s own Phocus software. The difference in color, brightness and general quality is quite different between the two applications, and the JPEGs shown here are from Raw files processed in Phocus. The images have been approved by Hasselblad for publication, but they stress that the minor faults found will not be present in images from the production models. Of the twelve images I sent for approval only one was rejected.

As focusing on off-center subjects meant using the central AF point, locking the focus and recomposing, you’ll note that some images have the focus on the farther eye rather than the closer, but I’ve left these in as they still demonstrate other elements of the image quality. In other shots I focused manually and found that the 2.36-million-dot EVF is of excellent assistance and makes finding focus quite easy.

The camera has a large grip but it feels very secure in the hand, and the whole system is comfortable to hold and to use either to the eye or at arm’s length using the live view screen. The operating system will take a while for DSLR owners to get used to, but it matches the system used on the H6D so current Hasselblad customers will feel at home straight away.

I used the Hassleblad XCD 90mm F3.2 lens that delivers an angle of view we’d associate with a 71mm on a 35mm camera system. Shots taken at ISO 200 were lit with broncolor flash heads, and the ISO 400 and 1600 images were exposed with window light and a little tungsten fill.

Editor's Note: Images have been sharpened to taste in Phocus software. That said, the fact that such high levels of sharpness can be attained with very little image noise cost is a testament to the light-gathering capability of larger, particularly Medium Format, sensors.