The “sleeper build” is a phenomena that exists in the fitness and bodybuilding communities. It’s a description of someone who, before they flex or lift, doesn’t appear to be exceptionally strong or jacked. It originates from the automotive industry, where a “sleeper build” is an ordinary-appearing vehicle with an unforeseenly potent engine within. After using Hasselblad’s X2D 100C medium format digital camera for almost two weeks, I can declare with certainty that it embodies the photographic idea of a sleeper build, concealing insane amounts of image capability in a stylish and otherwise unassuming body. The end result is an amazing, though tough, camera.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY OF THE HASSELBLAD X2D 100C
Body-only purchases of the Hasselblad X2D 100C cost £7,369, $8,199, or AU$13,000 (limited availability in Australia and the price is approximate). It was introduced along with three new V-Series lenses: the XCD 2.5/38V (38mm f/2.5), the XCD 2.5/55V (55mm f/2.5), all of which retail for around £3,599, $3,699, and AU$6,000, and the XCD 2.5/90V (90mm f/2.5), which retails for approximately £4,059, $4,299, and AU$6,900 (approx).
Although the Hasselblad X2D II costs 50% more than the X1D II, the pricing is still reasonable given the format and feature set. On the other hand, the XCD lenses are often around twice as expensive as those that Fujifilm produces for its competing GF series of medium-format cameras.
DESIGN HASSELBLAD X2D 100C
The X2D is a remarkable modern progression of a classic format, thus it is reasonable to expect any new Hasselblad X-system cameras to win camera design prizes.
The X2D is a camera that you want to touch because it has the same high-end feel as the X1D II. You want to feel its sculpted curves, sleek black body, etched “X2D handmade in Sweden” insignia, and fake leather hand grip.
The last touch is an iconic orange shutter button. The weather-sealed X2D exudes excellent quality throughout, which justifies its high price. It’s also not a throwback to the past. A massive touchscreen that functions like a smartphone display dominates the back; in the world of cameras, this is cutting edge.
Nor is the X2D something to merely gawp over. With a front and back full-length curved grip that provides a secure grasp whether you’re shooting in landscape or portrait format, it feels fantastic in the hand. We utilized XCD V lenses with the camera, and the form factor felt as trim as it can be.
The X2D is remarkably lightweight for its sensor type, weighing only 895g with the battery and 350g or 372g with one of the new lenses, making it comparable to a full-frame mirrorless configuration.
It takes some getting used to Hasselblad’s slightly unorthodox approach to operations compared to “mainstream” camera manufacturers, such as the buttons by the screen that are labeled in the original PlayStation fashion. There is no excess here, but elsewhere the variances are to Hasselblad’s credit. With the incredibly responsive touchscreen, it’s simple and plain to navigate the one-page primary menu.
HASSELBLAD X2D 100C: PERFORMANCE
I am overjoyed to announce that the Hasselblad X2D is the love letter from Sweden I’ve been waiting for as someone who loved the X1D II but just couldn’t fall in love with it because of its numerous flaws and sluggishness.
The X1D series’ molasses-slow contrast detect AF was its single major flaw. And considering that the X1D II was introduced the same year as the original GFX100, which included a phase detect AF system, it was a large ask to accept a camera system that was frequently useless unless you chose manual focus.
Well, no more. While you shouldn’t anticipate the ultra-quick focus times of cameras with smaller sensors from the X2D, the performance is a night and day difference.
It transforms Hasselblad’s mirrorless system, which cried out to be used on sticks in a studio, into something so responsive that it is now even seen of as a capable street photography camera.
This is not to imply that the focus is now miraculously faultless; it is not. We’ve discovered that the Autofocus occasionally makes mistakes when reading scenes with fine detail or cluttered backgrounds because Hasselblad doesn’t yet have the sophisticated face and eye tracking tools that other firms have. The constant hunts of the past can be said to be over, though, because it works 90% of the time.
And when we mentioned street photography, we weren’t joking. Due to the superb steadiness and the near-perfect ergonomics, we shot handheld run-and-gun street photography all day – at an ultra-low ISO64, and even with “slow” f/2.5 lenses.
Also, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the appropriate lens on hand because of the 100MP uber-resolution. Look at the photo below; we wanted to capture the man smoking a cigarette in this scene, but our 45mm lens was too short. No issue! Just capture a high resolution scene as medium format was designed to do and then crop it later.
IMAGE AND VIDEO QUALITY WITH THE HASSELBLAD X2D 100C
The sensor performs much more than just phase-detection AF and 5-axis stability. The resolution has been almost doubled from the X1D II to 100MP, and it’s a back side illuminated (BSI) design.
We might reasonably expect Hasselblad’s choice to employ a BSI sensor in this instance to counteract the negative effects of the noise generated by packing more pixels onto the chip, which limits its ability to capture light. A BSI sensor has been shown to increase low-light image quality. In other words, although having twice the resolution, low-light image quality should be comparable to that of the X1D II.
Maximum sensitivity is still set at ISO 25,600, and up to ISO 6400, we were content with the image quality, with any noise in dark regions looking more like fine grain. Noise also becomes less visible when viewing a 100MP image at 50% (the same size as the X1D II photos). The sensitivity has been increased from ISO 100 to ISO 64 at the low end, which will suit those who desire the camera to have the widest dynamic range possible.
For comparison, the pixel density on the medium-format 43.8 x 32.9mm sensor is 3.76 m, the same as that of the 61MP full-frame Sony A7R V and the 26MP APS-C Fujifilm X-T4 cameras.