Hasselblad X1D

Hasselblad X1D

I love taking photos, always have done. The more spontaneous the better, capturing what Henri Cartier Bresson called the “definitive moment” – see our earlier post Henri Cartier-Bresson – Rue Mouffetard, Paris (1954). This invariably means me using my iPhone 6S with all the capability of its 12 megapixels to take a lot of half decent pictures – along with a fair share of howlers.

For a while, pre-digital, I liked using an entry level Nikon 401 with a variety of Nikkor lenses and standard 35mm Ilford FP4 black and white film. The results were often better than ok. My khaki Billingham bag – you needed a great bag to lug around 4 kgs of kit – was stolen during a house renovation and I fell out of love with film.

My mantras in realising the full potential of Aestheticons, as an experience sharing website, is to seek to predict Future Iconic Classics – those developments that move us forward and make the great even better. I have every expectation that the new Hasselblad X1D will do just that.

Celebrating its 175th anniversary last year, the most recent incarnation of this Gothenburg (Sweden) based family dynasty is Victor Hasselblad AB, named after the great grandson of the founder. Hasselblad specialise in medium-format cameras which for years were the camera of choice for the fashion industry, NASA’s Moon landings and school yearbook photographers

On honeymoon the founder’s son, Arvid Hasselblad met George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak and, in 1888, the company became the very successful Swedish distributor of Eastman’s products. Arvid grandson, Victor, in 1924, went to study optics in Dresden (Germany) and his studies took him to the US. He returned to Sweden in the late 1930’s.

In 1940, having obtained a German aerial surveillance camera from a downed German bomber, the Swedish government ask Victor to create a domestic version. He established a production facility to realise this commission and further orders for cameras from the Swedish Air Force.

In 1942 Victor took over the family business, which also made watches and car parts for Saab. His dream was to design and build cameras. In 1948, the 1600 F (Series 1) was launched, and made small numbers, follow by the Series 2 in the early 1950’s.

The iconic 1000 F was released in 1953.

HB 1000 F 1

In 1957,  the 1000 F was replaced by the 500 C – a hugely successful camera that remained in production until 2013.

HB 500

In 2002, Hasselblad (in collaboration with Fuji) introduce the H-System which effectively dropped the traditional Hasselblad square negative format.

After various sales, takeovers and stock market launches in early 2017, aerial photography and drone manufacturer DJI acquired acquired majority interest in the company.

The Hasselblad launched its “game changing” X1D to reviewers in early 2017 – its first mirrorless medium-format camera weighing in at less than half the weight of a conventional digital version. A similar size of a standard SLR camera, its sleek milled aluminium body, fast XCD lenses, Nikon compatible hot shoe and 50 megapixel processor deliver, apparently, spectacular image quality. Well, what would you expect from a Hasselblad?

The rave reviews whilst negative about the reasonably hefty price tag for both body and XCD lenses, recognise that the X1D is not really intended to be a point and shoot camera for a quick snap, TechRadar describe it as a “a tool for more thoughtful, considered photography.” Their reviewer Rod Lawton concludes for its current and impending competition that the “Hasselblad X1D has certainly set the bar very high indeed.”

HB x1d-above

 

 

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