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Exploring the City with Hasselblad X1D
Hello everyone, My name is Ali Rajabi, I am Hasselblad Master and Photoshop Expert based in New York. Let me start my blog with the name of God, and a very special thanks to Scott who let me to write again as his guest blogger. Oh, It was 6 years ago that I wrote my first blog here and you know, Time flies !!!

Every person who is close to me, they know that I am a photographer who believes in a combination of tools and ideas. When you know more about the tools, it can help you to expand your projects and will reveal the creativity that is inside you. As you might know, the Hasselblad company introduced the first mirrorless medium format camera X1D (it is not yet fully developed) in the world some weeks ago. So, they asked me to take some shots with it and I was delighted to have this opportunity to work with this brand new camera that only a few people in the world have had a chance to test.

It was a 3-day project and I decided to take some photographs in the streets of New York based on the theme,”Freedom.” Although I had a very short period of time to work with the X1D, I did my best to explore the features of it. 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, impressions and experiences as a photographer. Although we know, none of us can run from the technical side, ever.

So lets start with some Q&A, and after that I invite you to see some behind the scenes pictures:

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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 know more about the definition of the word “Game Changer.” To me, a game changer is a person or thing that will help and save you in a moment that nothing else can. They do magic in an appropriate time. So, I think Hasselblad X1D is a game changer between the cameras that produce high quality images. Moreover it is handy, light weight, and with its mirrorless feature it captures 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, especially 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.

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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 everyone?
If I want to be honest, even if you have a budget to buy it, it is not a camera for everybody, although I believe Hasselblad expanded their audience from the moment that they announced the X1D and it was some of the most positive feedback that I felt. I think it is a camera for a person who knows and wants to do a specific project. I can imagine this camera in the hands of fine art, landscape, fashion, portrait, street and wedding photographers. What I am saying is you should be a person who is completely aware of your skills and abilities as a photographer or as an artist. It is not the kind of camera that you pick up and it shoots as much as you can. Like tegh tegh tegh tegh….

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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 in it. It can be an investment 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.

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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 the X1D?
As a photographer I want to have a camera that fits in my hand perfectly, and the X1D is a well designed camera for this part of my taste. It is very handy and portable. The sensor that is located in the viewfinder is very useful for switching between the LCD panel and viewfinder itself. The camera startup is kind of slow right now but the people at Hasselblad told me, they will upgrade the firmware for this issue. The touch functionality on display is very fast, user friendly and the quality of LCD is perfect compared to previous Hasselblad products except the H6D. You only have one focus point and it works based on the contrast detection. There is no True Focus system on it.

The XCD lenses with integral lens shutter are 30mm, 45mm and 90mm with the speed of 60 minutes to 1/2000, but you will be able to use an adapter for using the H-system lenses. I can not talk about the battery life because it was a prototype camera. I really liked the way of changing white balance and ISO on the 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 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.

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

Anyway, these are just the result of my 3 days experiences with the prototype X1D. I am pretty sure Hasselblad will resolve every issue in the final release at the end of August or early September. You can find more details about it on the Hasselblad website. The only thing that I can emphasize is, continuity is the key of every success. You need to work hard 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.

 

The photos below are some behind the scenes from when I was shooting on the streets. Special thanks to Maryam Moradi who captured them.

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Best Wishes
-Ali Rajabi

You can see more of Ali’s work at Ali-Rajabi.com, and follow him on Instagram @nightblueman and @rajabiphotography, Twitter, and Facebook.

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1 Comment

  1. I have been reading a great deal about this new camera, and for a medium format camera, it’s the first time I have seen a price for less than 15 grand….but still the price of a small car…I own the Sony A7R II, and it is the finest camera I have ever owned. How would you say the EQ from the Hassy compares to the EQ of the Sony? Or is that an unfair comparison to make?

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