Well I have had the Hasselblad X1D + XCD30mm for 2 weeks now and I am quickly getting used to it, and using the Phocus software for the raw files. I have always loved seeing the Hasselblad ‘H’, two of my favourite ever cameras were the 903SWC and the Arcbody.
When shooting digital I am almost 100% a long exposure shooter. I have long looked for a minimalist kit that I can throw into my F-Stop Ajna, with my NiSi NDs, and head out into the countryside without breaking my back.
Well with the X1D I have found it! The X1D + XCD30 offers and one body one lens solution that weighs in around ~1200gms. If I am honest the Ajna is probably overkill for my long exposure kit.
Obviously I could wax on about the image quality of the 50mp sensor and it is great. But that is to be expected in a Hasselblad medium format camera. The reasoning of why it works for me as along exposure shooter is as follows:
- Usability. The X1D to me seems like a camera designed with LE in mind. My work flow is compose, straighten the tripod with the awesome spirit level in live view, set cam to MF with AF/MF button on top, set cam to 2s self timer, double tap on rear screen to magnify point I am looking to focus, focus, attach ND filters and check what shutter speed cam thinks, if I agree hit the shutter, if not push the mode dial and set to manual and dial in shutter speed and then fire. All this is done either on the touch screen or buttons and dials on top of camera while standing behind the tripod. Awesome.
- Shutter speed. Long exposure for me is normally F8-11, ISO 100, 10 or 15 stop NiSI NDs and then shutter speed required to expose. So the ability to dial in shutter speeds up to an hour means no requirements for bulb, timers or triggers. No need for spare batteries or pulling up my jacket sleeve to check timer on my Apple Watch. This sounds like nothing but I am often holding a large golf umbrella, on a cliffs edge trying to keep the wind off the camera in the middle of winter, so trying to look at my watch is problematic:)
- Countdown timer. Having a countdown timer on the rear screen makes the above a breeze. Also there is a button to end exposure early should you wish to. This is a great function for me also because I am often at the waters edge on the West coast beaches here in New Zealand, and every 10th wave seems to break 10m further up the beach than you expected, so rather than grabbing the tripod and wrecking the pic, I can end exposure and then grab tripod and run and I might have something that I can recover. Even if the wave is only small the water hitting the tripod legs causes it to sink and that ruins the pic.
- XCD30. This lens is wide for Medium format and obviously sharp being a Hasselblad lens, but also a 77mm filter thread means is it easy to use standard 100×100 ND filters.
- Low noise. My biggest concern with the thought of the X1D was thermal noise created by the camera not being able to cope with the heat generated keeping the shutter open for long periods. As an early adopter of the Sony a7rII I suffered with this problem and I ended up effectively being a beta tester. So I learnt my lesson and waited a year after the release of the X1D to see if anyone had issues. My experience so far is I haven’t used noise reduction on any of my pics yet. Unbelievable.
- It is hard to believe that I have a medium format camera that I am able to set up on my Nodal Ninja 3. This is the small Nodal ninja, one that I purchased to use with my Leica M9. You read that correctly, a medium format 50mp camera fits on the same panoramic tripod head as a Leica M9. So I have sold the Cambo Actus. (I needed to to pay for the X1d though and stay married)
So you get the picture that I am really happy with the X1D:) I am still learning how to use Phocus so I can get the look I am after, but so far I couldn’t be happier.
P.S. The Phocus Highlight recovery and Shadow fill tools are awesome also for Long Exposure.