Exploring the City with Hasselblad X1D

Exploring the City with Hasselblad X1D


Hello everyone, My name is Ali Rajabi, I am a Visual artist, Hasselblad Master and lecturer based in New York City. Let me start my article with the name of God and I want to thank Milad who invited me to share some of my recent experiences with the brand new medium format camera, Hasselblad X1D.

I am a photographer who believes in combination of tools and ideas. It means the concepts you have are the foundation of your projects and knowing how to portray those concepts with the right tools is crucial as well. When you know more about the tools and the features of it, It helps you to expand your projects and you are able to unleash the creativity that is inside you. As you might know last year the Hasselblad company introduced the first mirrorless medium format camera X1D in the world and since then it changed the perspective of working with medium format systems.

In the past two years I had a chance to cooperate with Hasselblad to create some projects with X1D in New York. The first one was a 3 days photo shoot based on the theme,”Freedom” and the other one was suppose to show the essence of this glorious city. New York is a tough city, making photographs in this town is like trying to hold wind, you can feel it slip through fingers. Honestly, I don’t want to have a deep dive into technical sides and compare it with other brands because you can find very useful articles about the technical features on the internet but I am going to share my photos, impression and experiences as a photographer.

Although we know, none of us can scape from the technical side, ever.

So lets start with some Q&A:

I really liked the shades of light and working with colors, specially when I edited them in Camera Raw.


1- The company said X1D is a Game Changer, Is it ?

If I want to answer this question, we need to understand about the definition of the word “Game Changer”. Game changer is a person or is a thing that will help and save you in a moment that nothing else can. They do magic in an appropriate time. So, I believe Hasselblad X1D is a game changer between the cameras that produce high quality images. Moreover it is handy, light weight and with it’s mirrorless feature it capture the exact moment of your scene, It keeps you in the dark in the situations that you don’t want to have the attention of your subjects, Specially in the streets when you are taking picture of people. Imagine that you have a 50 megaPixel sensor that is a mirrorless medium format and will produce a photo with 14 stops of dynamic range. It rocks.

I took this shot at Bryant Park, There were lots of people who didn’t feel that I am taking their pictures. Anyway, I showed them the final Image.

2- Is it a camera for Professionals or Everybody ?

Let me be very clear, Hasselblad is not the type of camera that you want to buy to play with. It is not suitable for sport or freezing and action photography. It is not fast, there is no 10 frames per second motor drive or focus tracking. You choose these type of cameras because you have plan for creating your art work, You know what you are doing, you know what you want and the most important part is you invest in your art career.

So, Even if you have a budget to buy X1D, It is not a camera for everybody, Although I believe Hasselblad expanded their audiences from the moment that they announced the X1D and it was one of the positive feedback that I felt. So I can imagine to see this camera in the hands of Fine Art, Landscape, Fashion, Street and Wedding photographers.

I was standing in the middle of 6th Ave, Manhattan with my tripod to capture the pedestrians.

3- Is it worth to pay $9000 to buy this camera ? 

This is a question that everybody asks, I know there are lots of different aspects to answer this question but I want to keep it simple and answer it very short even if you have your own reasons to reject mine. When you want to go to the next level of your career you need to pay for it and invest on it. It can be invest on education, tools or moving to a different location for the next chapter of your life. I believe the most important question is, Is it the right moment for you to move to the NEXT LEVEL ? This is the question that you need to answer for yourself based on the situation that you are. When you find out, I am pretty sure you will decide what is best for you.

Everything in this world can be Freedom for everybody, It depends that how do you define it.

4- Can you share some of your experiences about the Specs of X1D?

As a photographer I want to have a camera that fits in my hand perfectly and X1D is a well designed camera for this part of my taste. It is very handy and light weight. The sensor that is located in viewfinder is very useful for switching between the LCD panel and viewfinder itslef. The camera startup is some kind of slow but if you are not in hurry it is not a big deal. The touch functionality on display is very fast, user friendly and the quality of LCD is perfect. The focusing system is based on the contrast detection. In the past month Hasselblad released a new firmware update that brings two new features, users have long asked for, Electronic shutter up to 1/10,000s and more, multiple, user-selectable focus points. The XCD lenses with integral lens shutter are 30mm, 45mm, 90mm and 120mm with the speed of 60 minutes to 1/2000, but you will be able to use an adapter for using the H system lenses. The battery life is fine but if you want to use it for a long photo shoot, it is obvious that you have to buy an extra battery. I really liked the way of changing White Balance and ISO on viewfinder. One of my main concerns was using the high ISO in low light situations and when I compare it one on one with my Canon 5D Mark III it surprised me with the result. As you can see in the photo below in their 1:1 compare, The color and the quality on X1D is much more better than Canon 5D Mark III, you can see the details in the shadows and the texts on the labels are clear.  It should be.

ISO: 6400 , Focal Length: 36mm, F:8, 1/100, ( X1D Left ), ( 5D Mark III,Right )
Even at the Low ISO:100, X1D produces more accurate light&color with clear details. Although the focal length, shutter speed and Iso is the same but pay attention to the sparkle on the word “Radio” and street lamp.
Always keep moving forward, you will never know what will happen
There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path

Finally, I am pretty sure you can find more details about X1D in the Hasselblad website, www.hasselblad.com . The only thing that I can emphasize is, Continuity is the key of every success. You need to work hard with dedication to achieve the goals that you want in the world of photography and art. Tools are always necessary and you can not ignore this fact but what is more important than the tools is the person who is using them. Be creative, Be a hard worker and always update your knowledge in every aspect of your life.

You can follow me on my Instagram account and also by checking my website




Exploring the City with Hasselblad X1D

 By Ali Rajabi– (c) Copyright 2017 MinimalismMag.com


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