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While years ago I sold my copy of the first Hasselblad mirrorless camera, of late I have bought the Hasselblad X2D and love it and its lenses for closeup photography. 


More camera blog, as I still have visions of Hasselblad lenses floating around in my head as I discover what they can do. And they can do a lot.
In fact, it is almost as if Hasselblad lenses are a kind of lens unto themselves and don’t compare all that well with the great many (over 100) lenses I have tested and worked with over the years.
I have not figured out what the Swedish have done to design these lenses. I know they assemble the Hasselblad cameras by hand, or at least that’s what I have read. I read that they assemble many of the lenses themselves as well.
Anyway, the Hasselblad lenses that I have worked with, at least a few, are highly corrected and IMO in a league of their own. Each one of them is not only very sharp but combined with the color science built into the Hasselblad camera, photos taken by those cameras are almost immediately recognized as from that brand.
No, I don’t work for Hasselblad, nor have they ever done anything kind to me personally other than produce a good product.
And Hasselblad cameras are not designed to be sports or wildlife cameras. They are not fast, but rather slow, so a photographer has to carefully design the kind of photo that is taken with a Hasselblad.
Hasselblad excels in still life photos, photos for fashion, food, advertising, and products in general. They are perfect for landscapes, fine-art documentation, and whatever requires care and attention. They are very expensive to boot. And the lenses cost a bundle all by themselves, as I have found out.
Hasselblad is a medium-format camera, meaning it has a larger sensor than the 35mm DSLR cameras, giving them superior image quality, low-light performance, shallow depth of field, and a larger dynamic range than smaller sensors.
Medium format cameras have found their niche in the world of photography, mostly at the high end of the game in the fashion industry.
The real difference between medium format and 35mm DSLRs is the size of the sensor. To my mind, the larger image sensor dictates all the rest, the quality of the lenses, the shallow depth of field, low-light performance, the extended dynamic range, and the incredible image quality of medium format photography. And medium format is very expensive compared to 35mm cameras.
The X2D Hasselblad camera I am using has a 100 mpx sensor. That’s large.
Also, until recently, medium format cameras were much less sophisticated and tended not to have all the bells and whistles we now see in 35mm DSLRs. The expense itself is why many photographers shy away from buying into the medium-format system.
I had an early Hasselblad mirrorless camera, also expensive, but it was not ready for prime time and lacked many of the conveniences I was used to in Nikon 35mm system. I soon sold it.
Over the years, Hasselblad has continued to improve its mirrorless systems, until today the Hasselblad X2D 100mpx DSLR is competitive with 35mm DSLRs as to many features. And today any lack of features in Hasselblad cameras has morphed until their sense of minimalism, which has become a feature not a liability.
The expensive divide between medium format and 35mm cameras still exists, but medium format cameras have come down from $15,000-to-$40,000 to around $10,000 or even less.
As to what my opinion is about medium format compared to 35mm DSLR photography, I believe I’ve made that clear. Medium format systems are not good gear for sports or tracking wildlife, so my Nikon system can do that quite well.
Medium format cameras like my Hasselblad X2D are a specialized or ‘niche’ camera. However, this kind of photography is right up my alley and perfect for most of the work I now do or have done for decades. It is immediately useful, IMO.
My guess is that medium format cameras like the Hasselblad X2D will continue to drop in price as time passes. I bought my current X2D used and not new, thus making it almost barely affordable provided I sell a large number of lenses that I already have. I am doing that.
Do you need one? Probably not. Too expensive and good for only a special kind of photography. Do I need one? You bet.
The Hasselblad X2D also works on technical cameras like the Cambo Actus-Mini (G), and incluced is a photo b y a Nikon Z7 II with the Cosina Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 125mm f/ 2.5 lens.


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Edited by Michael Erlewine
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Nice to see some of your work again.  It must be wonderful to see your images in full size or maybe in print, but they still look good even after the compression and resizing imposed by the internet.  

The price of medium format is certainly getting more competitive, especially the Fuji models some of which are not too much more expensive than top end 35mm cameras.


How do you manage the Hasselblad with the bellows?  I thought it relied on leaf shutters in the lens?  

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The lenses do have leaf shutters, but also the X2D has an electronic shutter. I have an adapter for the Actus-Mini for Hasselblad, Nikon, Sony, and others. I also have an adpter for Nikon-F directly to the the X2D. I also had a GFX, but for my work the 100mm X2D has, IMO, much more true color. The Hasselblad images are about 12,000 pixels the long side. Amazing detail.


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