Hands on with Hasselblad's X1D II 50C
The new Hasselblad X1D II 50C is housed in a body that’s almost exactly the same as that used for the original X1D 50C. You will notice that the top plate and metal trim are now a dark grey instead of the lighter shade brushed chrome used on the original model, but there isn’t too much to tell them apart at first glance.
Hasselblad's first X system zoom lens
This is the camera with the new 35-75mm F3.5-4.5 lens mounted. This is the first zoom for the X system and is said to produce the quality that exceeds prime lenses. While it is relatively big when compared to the other system lenses it is still well balanced and comfortable on the X1D II 50C body. It isn’t nearly as heavy as it looks either, at 1115g weighing only a bit more than a Nikon 24-70mm F2.8 for the F system. For a medium format lens it is doing quite well.
X1D II 50C top view
The top plate remains unchanged from the previous model, with a Nikon-compatible hotshoe, and the same control layout and operation as before.
There is a slightly different shape to the right hand grip in the new version I’m told. The grip is slightly more angled to the main body, and the finger and thumb holds are a little more pronounced, providing a more secure grip with longer lenses. The difference isn’t dramatic and I’m not sure I could tell without direct comparison, but the grip feels good either way.
Rear screen changes
The change in the rear screen though is dramatic. The new 3.6" display looks significantly bigger and fills a lot more of the back of the camera than the screen on the original model. We have a much higher resolution too, with 2.36 million dots compared to 920k dots, which leads to much greater detail on display.
Higher resolution viewfinder
The viewfinder enjoys a higher resolution as well as a slightly larger magnification of the image on display. The resolution has jumped from 2.36 million dots to 3.69 million, and when you look through the finder window you can see the effect of that extra detail. The refresh rate is also improved to 60 fps which makes a further significant difference. These three changes make this viewfinder a much more modern device and very nice to use.
USB-C and UHS-II
The switch to USB-C allows better communication with external devices, so large files can be moved more quickly to a user’s iPad or computer when shooting tethered or when downloading captured images. The camera has dual SD slots that have been upgraded to UHS-II and which can accept 1TB cards.
Few changes to UI
The main menu screen hasn’t really changed that much. Some of the icons are redrawn to be clearer and with the higher resolution display everything looks a bit sharper and cleaner.
Accessing the menu items though has changed, so now we have menus in menus, like folders, instead of big long lists of items which take ages to scroll through. The menu can now be viewed in the viewfinder too, which can make operation a good deal more convenient.
The main shooting data display is much the same as before, though now we have the exposure indicator in the middle of the screen.
More responsive touch control
I was very pleased with the reactions of the touch functions and how much more responsive they are now. Touching your subject on the rear screen brings the AF area to that point and the focusing system to life immediately. It is a dramatic improvement on previous performance. We can now also change the size of the AF area just by pinching with two fingers on the rear screen, which is much quicker than before. The three AF area sizes options are still accessible in the menu as well.
Touch pad AF
Now the rear screen can be used as a touch pad to direct the AF area while our eye is to the viewfinder. This also is a massive improvement, and the system works quickly, smoothly and predictably.