Hasselblad has been eerily quiet. I had thought maybe this was it from the company while secretly hoping that was far from the truth. I was coming to terms with this possibility when the excited whispers of the rumored Hasselblad X2D 100C started. Were they true? Would the company enter the world of 100mp sensors with Fujifilm? Thankfully, yes.
The excitement of unboxing the Hasselblad X2D 100C transported me back to when I bought my first camera, a Hasselblad 501cm. Although it is an entirely different platform, the waves of excitement felt the same. The manufacturer has improved overall performance and added phase detection, 7 stops of 5-axis IBIS, 1TB built-in memory, and a CFExpress Type B slot.
In the digital world, these new features aren’t groundbreaking. Hasselblad reminds me a lot of Austria; they take inspiration and perfect it instead of creating something that is definitively their own. True to Hasselblad fashion, the camera is a more refined offering than the Fujifilm GFX100s. It doesn’t have all of the same features, however it performs just as well as the GFX system according to our preliminary testing. In fact, it outperforms it in extreme heat. The X2D 100C is more polished, comfortable, and prettier to look at. Hasselblad certainly knows how to design an attractive camera.
The Hasselblad X2D 100C body is priced at $8,199. It does not ship with an extra battery or a charging station. Unless you plan on always being tethered, plan on purchasing those items. Extra batteries run $99 each, and the charging hub costs $155. Plus, it takes CFExpress cards which are pricey, but can be had at a discount if you’re a Phoblographer subscriber. Although, most photographers who plan on purchasing the new camera body can afford it. The new XCD 38V f2.5 and XCD 55V f2.5 lenses I am testing are $3,699 apiece.
Tech specs are from Hasselblad.
- Camera Type: Mirrorless Medium Format Digital Camera with autofocus, auto-exposure, interchangeable lenses
- Construction: Machined aluminium. Tripod socket 1/4”
- Sensor Type: Back-side illuminated (BSI) CMOS, 100 megapixels (11656 × 8742 pixels, pixel size 3.76μm)
- Sensor Dimensions: 43.8 × 32.9mm
- Image Size: Stills: 3FR RAW: capture 206MB on average
- File Format: Hasselblad 3FR RAW, full size JPEG
- Drive Mode: Single and Continuous Drive, Self Timer, Interval Timer, Exposure Bracketing
- Color Definition: 16-bit; dynamic range up to 15 stops
- Image Stabilization: 5-axis 7-stop in-body image stabilization (IBIS)
- ISO Speed Range: ISO Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600
- Storage Options: Built-in 1TB SSD. Extra CFexpress Type B card with a max storage capacity of 512GB supported.
- Recommended Memory Cards: Sony CEB-G series CFexpress Type B memory cards (128GB) SanDisk Extreme Pro CFexpress Type B memory cards (128GB, 256GB, 512GB)
- Color Management: Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution (HNCS)
- Capture Rate: 3.3fps in a 14-bit colour depth
- User Interface: Touch interface including swipe, scroll and pinch/spread to zoom. Camera grip with buttons and scroll wheels.
- Touch Display: 3.6-inch TFT type, 24-bit full-colour, 2.36-million-dot. Touch functionality: full support. Tilting angle: 40°, 70°
- Top Display: 1.08-in TFT type, 18-bit full-colour, 158,400-dot
- Electronic Viewfinder (EVF): OLED, 5.76-million-dot. Viewing area: 100%. Magnification: approx. 1.00x with 65mm medium format lens at infinity, –1 m-1
- Histogram Feedback: Yes, in Browse mode on touch display and in EVF
- IR Filter: Mounted in front of sensor
- Software: Phocus is compatible with computers with 8GB of RAM or more running on macOS 10.15 or later, or Windows 7 64-bit or later. Phocus Mobile 2 is compatible with iPad models with 3GB of RAM or more and with iPhone X or later models running iOS 15.0 or later.
- iOS Device Support: iPad models with 3GB of RAM or more and iPhone X or later models running iOS 15.0 or later
- Platform Support: macOS 10.15 or later, or Windows 7 64-bit or later
- Host Connection Type: USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C connector (transfer speed up to 10Gbit/s)
- Operating Temperature: -10° to 45° C (14° to 113° F)
- Operating Humidity: No more than 85% without condensation
- Wi-Fi: 802.11b/a/g/n/ac/ax, Wi-Fi with 2×2 MIMO
- Supported Lenses: Hasselblad XCD lenses with built-in electronically controlled leaf shutter and aperture. Automatic or manual focusing with instant manual focus override. Lens shades can be mounted in reverse for transport. Compatible with all H System Lenses and some H System accessories using the XH Lens Adapter. Also compatible with V System and XPan Lenses using the XV or XPan Lens Adapter.
- Shutter: Electronically controlled leaf shutter with speeds up to 1/4000s. Flash sync at all speeds. Optional electronic shutter
- Shutter Speed: 68 min to 1/4000s with XCD Lenses*.
- Flash Sync Speed: Flash can be used at all shutter speeds. Mechanical shutter only.
- Flash Control: TTL centre weighted system. Compatible with Nikon System flashes. ISO range 64 to 25600. Flash output can be adjusted (-3 to +3 EV) for fill-in purposes independent of ambient light. Sync at all shutter speeds. Mechanical shutter only.
- Flash Compatibility: In TTL-mode, the following Nikon Flash products can be used: SB-300, SB-500, SB-5000, SB-700, SB-900, SB-910. The following Profoto products can be used in TTL-mode: A1, B1 and B2 with Nikon interface.
- Focusing: Autofocus single (AF-S) and manual focus (MF). Instant manual focus override. Automatic focusing using phase and contrast detection. Focus indicator or 100% zoom available in MF. Up to 294 Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) zones.
- Exposure Metering: Spot, centre weighted, and centre spot
- Power Supply: Rechargeable Li-ion battery (7.27VDC/3400mAh). Can be charged in-camera via the USB-C port on the camera body. Charging time is approx. two hours using the included 30W USB-C charger.
- Dimensions: 148.5 × 106 × 74.5mm
- Weight: 895g (camera body with the battery); 790g (camera body only)
The Hasselblad X2D 100C looks similar to the X1D II with that stellar grip and a premium black metal finish. It is a few millimeters larger and is just as well balanced. Although there are many similarities in the looks department, there are subtle differences as well.
One of the first things you will notice is the lack of a mode dial on the top panel. A small LCD screen resides in its place. It’s a better design. The rest of the layout looks the same, including the trademark orange-hued shutter button. And it has the letter H engraved on it.
A large 3.6 inch LCD screen occupies most of the landscape on the back of the camera. There are four buttons to the right of the screen which navigate the camera menu system. I have always appreciated the simplicity Hasselblad uses here. If you can navigate a smartphone, you can operate this camera efficiently. Next to the viewfinder, you will find the AE-L and AF-D buttons.
Battery access and a tripod mount are located on the bottom. The battery is accessed similarly to Leica’s SL-2s. It has a rubberized edge which adds weather resistance to the camera.
There are two panels on the left side of the Hasselblad X2D 100c.
Slide them open to access a USB-c port and CFExpress slot.
Hasselblad knows how to make a premium-feeling camera, and the X2D 100C is no exception. The metal housing is sleek, and the robust texturized hand grip makes it feel exquisite to hold. It is one of the most comfortable grips of any cameras on the market. What’s more, the touch-screen is very responsive and accurate. Each button feels excellent and works as it should. Even the panel doors glide with finesse.
By all means, Hasselblad has done a fantastic job of creating a camera that feels like a natural extension of yourself.
I was photographing some flowers when the sprinklers came on, and the Hasselblad X2D 100C performed without hesitation. Hasselblad is clear to say that it’s weather-resistant and that there are various seals all around. They also stated that they recommend putting the hot shoe cover on the camera but didn’t outright say that the hot shoe has seals built in. The camera handled exceptionally well in 104 degree heat. It did not give any temperature warnings or shut down like I experienced with the Fujifilm GFX 100s in similar conditions. The battery did get warm, but it never overheated as I have experienced with the original X1D. More testing will be done before the final review.
Ease Of Use
The Hasselblad X2D 100C is simple and to use. It is one of the only cameras that I have not needed to spend time customizing right out of the box. Hasselblad did an excellent job designing this camera for photographers. There is no video functionality and there is no plan to add it in the future, so it needed to be designed well.
The top button is your regular playback button. Press the circle button to access gridlines, a focusing scale, and a built-in level. Press the button with three lines to access the menu system.
The intuitive camera menu system reminds me of a smartphone. The minimalistic menus are easy to navigate and pair well with the large LCD screen. It’s as simple as tapping and swiping. If you can operate an iPhone, you will feel at home working with this camera.
You can assign special functions to the buttons as you would with other cameras from other manufacturers. It is easy to customize the X2D for your photographic needs. I like to adjust my aperture with the aperture ring and use the wheel to adjust the shutter speed. You can even choose to navigate the AF point with the wheel. Press the X button to return the focus point to the center.
Or simply move the AF point with the LCD screen. It does take a little time to become acquainted with it, and it soon becomes second nature. I set it up to use with my left hand and appreciate that Hasselblad gives users a choice. Not everyone is right-handed. I was a lefty trained to be a righty, and cameras have never quite felt right. The Hasselblad X2D 100C accommodates my ambidextrousness.
I was pleasantly surprised when I launched the Phocus app on my MacBook Pro. The last time I used the program was over three years ago and it left a lot to be desired. It is much more functional and has a user-interface that is similar to Capture One. I use it to make global adjustments and then pull it into Photoshop for skin editing. You can also pull the files directly into Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC if you prefer.
The Hasselblad X2D 100C does not have Eye AF, Animal Eye AF, or vehicle tracking which comes standard on many full-frame offerings. However, perhaps they should consider the convenience of eye detection as a luxury in the future. It would make capturing an image of this butterfly easier with AF. I wound up utilizing manual focus on a few frames to ensure the butterfly was in focus instead of the flower buds. Medium format is naturally slower. It is an opportunity to take your time and compose with intention. So far, it has done a great job achieving focus in various lighting.
Here are some sample images so far.
I have only been photographing with the Hasselblad X2D 100C, XCD 38V lens, and XCD 55V lens for a few days. It feels as premium as it looks. Hasselblad’s grip alone is my favorite on the market and deserves a design prize. The built-in 1TB memory is a wonderful addition. Phocus has come a long way since the last time I used it. Gone are the days of feeling archaic and rudimentary. It is now functional software that operates in a similar fashion to Capture One.
Hasselblad does not include film simulations or built-in skin softening like the Fujifilm GFX100s does. I really do not miss the simulations. The X2D 100c a great job with its initial colors and image quality that minimal editing is needed. Blues, greens, and yellows look very editorial and are very pleasing. It is how many commercial and fashion photographers will want their images to look. The jury is still out as to whether or not built-in skin softening will be missed.
File sizes are huge and quickly take up space. The average file size is 250mb. I am not someone who likes to invest in external memory. As a result, I am photographing fewer frames with more intention. There is currently not an option for smaller file sizes with lossless compression on my loaner pre-production unit. I hope this is something that Hasselblad makes available with the final firmware or adds it in the future.
Editor-in-chief Chris Gampat and I were discussing why someone would spend $2,100 more for the Hasselblad X2D 100C over the Fujifilm GFX100s. Photographers who appreciate exquisite craftsmanship, better ergonomics, and the best camera menu system available with deep pockets will spend more for this camera. It is simple to use and produces gorgeous images.
I am enjoying the Hasselblad X2D 100C and look forward to putting it to work in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for our full review.