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Comparing The Fujifilm GFX 50S To The Hasselblad X1D | At First Glance

By Marlon Richardson on September 21st 2016

In a way-too-early comparison between the newest medium-format kids on the block, we take a look at the Hasselblad X1D and just announced Fujifilm GFX 50S.

Body Type

The Hasselblad X1D sports a sleek rangefinder-style mirrorless body weighing in at 725g, making it  lighter than the Canon 5D Mark IV and Sony A99II. While we don’t know the exact weight of the Fujifilm GFX 50S, with it’s SLR-style body, focal plane shutter, and detachable EVF, and chunk-style appearance, it’s wishful thinking to believe this camera will be as light as the Hasselblad, Canon, or Sony.

Comparing images along with video of testers using pre-production models of the Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX 50S, the Fujifilm looks massive at least 30%-40% bulkier than the Hasselblad X1D. While  size and weight aren’t all things to consider, it’s clear it’s a focus for both of these cameras as to appeal to a varying audience, and as such: Advantage: Hasselblad X1D

hasselblad-X1D-medium-format-camera-kishore-3

Versatility

Both of these cameras are using the tried & true and generally excellent 50 megapixel Sony medium-format sensor. Both cameras can adapt to various aspect ratios including 4:3, 3:2, and 6:17, and both cameras are sporting brand spanking new mounts.

The Hasselblad X1D can mount the two announced XCD lenses and existing H-mount lenses via an adapter. The X1D has dual SD memory card slots, 3″ touchscreen LCD or an electronic viewfinder with 2.36M dots, audio in/out jacks, 1080p/25p video, Nikon-compatible hot-shoe with TTL capabilities, Wi-Fi and GPS, and USB 3.0. With an in-body leaf shutter that relies on lenses equipped with a central lens shutter, the X1D’s max shutter speed is only 1/2ooo sec, however, it can flash-sync throughout that range.

The Fujifilm GFX 50 will have seven lenses for it’s new G-Mount by the end of 2017. Although Fujifilm doesn’t have any older lenses that can be used on this mount, the short flange back-distance of the new mount means that we can expect to see 3rd party adaptors shortly. With a max shutter speed of 1/4000 sec the Fujifilm GFX 50S uses a focal plane shutter which should make for lighter, faster focusing, and easier to design lenses. That said, unfortunately, flash sync speeds may not exceed 1/250 second.

fujifilm-medium-format-gfx-5

Fujifilm has not emphasized a touchscreen, video capabilities, or flash compatibility. After carefully watching Fujifilm’s promotional videos and website about this camera I never saw anyone use touchscreen, and no mention or example of video can be found. Also, with such a low flash sync speed, strobe photography could be a real disadvantage for Fujifilm GFX 50S users. Profoto and/or Elinchrom would need to make compatible radio triggers sometime within 2017 to save Fujifilm from itself in this regard.

Advantage: Hasselblad X1D 

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Control

The Hasselblad X1D is an ultra-modern take on medium format. With just two dials and four programmable buttons, this camera relies on it’s excellent 3″ touchscreen LCD menu system to do the heavy lifting. The menu system looks amazing and very intuitive to learn. Simplicity is the way for this body as it doesn’t bother with detachable accessories whatsoever. For studio use, this Scandinavian sensibility is probably a good thing, but in not-so-controlled environments it’s possible this much simplicity could prove to be a liability for some. For what it’s worth, the sort of handling on the Hasselblad X1D definitely appeals to me.

The Fujifilm GFX 50S follows in the footsteps of the X Series by featuring many physical buttons and dials, detachable electronic viewfinder, and an ergonomic vertical grip. Interestingly, removing the EVF makes room for an external monitor or makes the system a bit lighter to hold. The Fujinon lenses to come will feature an aperture ring for aperture adjustments on lens or with the Command dial on the body.

Advantage: Fujifilm GFX 50S 

fujifilm-medium-format-gfx-4

Quality

The Hasselblad oozes quality all through it’s magnesium alloy. The X1D boasts the highest resolution 2.36MP EVF (which is the same as the Leica SL), and sultry built-in 3.0” 920k-dot touchscreen LCD. Hasselblad is taking video applications seriously with it’s inclusion of a Mini HDMI port that permits use of an optional external monitor for clear monitoring. Additionally, 3.5mm audio-in and out ports are provided for more flexible control over audio recording during video.

Fujifilm, with its more utilitarian design, is focused on creating a surprisingly modular system that looks to grow with the demands of it’s base. The ergonomic vertical grip will allow for more power and less delays on a busy shooting schedule, and that can be critically important. Using the tilt-adaptor allows for angles you could only shoot via a flip screen, and shooting with GFX 50S should feel familiar even to non-Fuji X shooters.

Advantage: Hasselblad X1D 

hasselblad-X1D-medium-format-camera-kishore

[REWIND: New Lightroom Update With Canon 5D IV Support, & Adobe Releases Stock Contributor Site]

While the Fujifilm GFX 50S looks like something familiar or old, the Hasselblad X1D looks and feels like something new. The kind of new we desperately need to shake up the clunkiness associated with medium format photography. Based on the known specs of both of these systems, the Hasselblad X1D thoroughly outclasses the just-announced Fujifilm GFX 50S. In the coming months, maybe some killer performance spec and a far more affordable body and lens pricing for the GFX 50S could narrow the gap between these systems, but time will tell. And while this  this way too early to be a proper battle between the newest medium-format digital titans, this round goes to the Hassy.

Marlon is a South Florida-based wedding and portrait photographer, writer, and interactive designer. Involved in photography since the 90’s, his background began with repairing film cameras from a master Vietnam veteran, followed by years of assisting professional photographers then before starting his own business in 2006. Marlon at his heart is a tinkerer that has love for and adept in every medium of photography.

When not working Marlon is all about spending time with his wife, Naomi and two boys, Taze and Brassaï.

http://www.marlonrichardson.com

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Chris Dodkin

    Marlon,

    the EVF is the viewfinder for these systems, and out of the studio, where these MF cameras are going, the ability to see the exposure of ambient light will be critical.

    This gives you a huge advantage over OVF users, and people trying to use a rear LCD in daylight/sunlight.

    Blad have completely failed to grasp this key feature – they have gone down a studio shooter route, yet advertise the camera, in the wild, shooting naturally lit scenes.

    The rear touch screen on the Blad is a nice gadget feature, but in actual operation, when I used the 1DX, it was less than impressive, and will be hard to se in the outside world.

    I’ll take physical controls over swipe/software menus any day.

    Both systems can shoot tethered, so no gain either way there.

    The pivoting EVF is optional, so if you don;t like it, you don’t have to use it. At least you have the option with Fuji.

    I get that you like the Blad more – that’s really clearly the bias of your original post.

    However the practical mirrorless experience from the last 5 years, plus 20 years of studio use, tells me that Fuji have it right, and Blad have missed the opportunity.

    Nice as the Blad looked, and solid as it felt – it’s design is intrinsically flawed, because it has a studio shooter mentality behind it, when it’s destiny is really the great outdoors.

    On studio work – seriously, you can use the Fuji and Blad with any of the studio flash systems. No one at this level is looking to rely on TTL. So there’s no issue with either model.

    HSS of 1/4000 will get anyone where they need to be for outdoor daylight flash fill – so it’s a non issue in the field as well.

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  2. Clinton Wood

    I think you guys are completely missing the point of what the GFX is meant to do. Where 1DX is targeting the current MF customer (studio and portrait work, etc…) the GFX is bringing MF to the mainstream and competing against the likes of the Sony A7Rii, Nikon D810 and Canon 5D. The focal shutter allows up to 1/4000th sec compared to only 1/2000th sec for leaf. That means landscape photographers will be able to shoot a full stop more wide open when using ambient light. The tilting rear display will it make it easier to use on a tripod. It’s weather sealing will instill confidence when using outdoors in wet and dirty environments. The larger pixels and high resolution should allow for unsurpassed night time and low light images. The large battery and optional vertical grip should allow for a massive number of shots to be taken before batter change-out. And it’s highly expected Fuji will make this the most affordable MF ecosystem to date. While the Hasselbland seems content to target the current MF customer base, the GFX is opening up MF to a customer base that never thought MF was in reach, and that is what makes the potential so exciting.

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  3. Chris Dodkin

    Marlon – you’re ignoring the single most important show stopper on the Blad.

    No WYSIWYG for exposure in the EVF

    This is such a huge omission in this space – coupled with the other significant issues/omissions make the Blad a poor second choice to the Fuji

    The Blad I tested was 4-5 years behind current tech

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    • Marlon Richardson

      Fulltime Live View is less of a deal breaker for cameras in this class.

      #1. There won’t be much running and gunning on systems not designed for speed. Metering and taking test shots just like with every other medium format digital is tolerable.

      #2. In studio tethering will get used more often than not.

      #3. Using external strobes fulltime Live View is not needed.

      Honestly, other than being mirrorless and lighter, I really don’t see Fujifilm’s design as an improvement on anything that hasn’t been out for the last decade. IMO, the detachable swiveling EVF is ridiculous looking and impractical. It would’ve been better for Fujifilm to release a standard EVF and Waist Level EVF or an articulating back LCD.

      Relying on the back LCD using a touchscreen with an L bracket will be far more useful in the field and for studio use than Fujifilm’s swiveling EVF approach. Why would I want to hunch over to use a tilting EVF on a tripod when I can zoom in and out with a touchscreen LCD?

      This is what I mean when I say the X1d outclasses the new Fuji.

      – The Phase One XF with IQ3 back has a useful touchscreen and can flash sync of 1/1600 with leaf shutter lenses and is compatible with Profoto wirelessly.

      – The Hasselblad X1d has a useful touchscreen, a flash sync of 1/2000 (the fastest I’ve seen) and is compatible with Profoto TTL and many other systems (Nikon) wirelessly.

      – The Fujifilm GFX 50s has a tilting EVF, can give realtime exposure as long as strobes aren’t used, has a flash sync of just 1/125 and at the moment is not compatible with most professional studio lighting systems.

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  4. Chris Dodkin

    I’ve had a chance to play with the Blad prototype, so have some perspective.

    Weight for the Fuji is 800g, so there’s nothing in it on weight.

    Blad EVF does NOT alter it’s brightness to give you a WYSIWYG indication of exposure – this is a game killer, as a key advantage of going EVF is to be able to judge ambient exposure with the EVF, before you take the shot. The Fuji does this.

    Fuji EVF is rotatable and tiltable to allow for easier use – Blad is fixed.

    Rear LCD is tillable on the Fuji – Blad is fixed

    Fuji already have HSS deployed for their X Series bodies (X-T1, X-T2 etc) so the standard sync speed guide is not the game killer it’s being made out to be here. Fuji already has HSS of 1/4000 so will expect the same system to be implemented on the new body.

    No vertical grip available, or planned, for the Blad – Another game killer for a camera with is supposed to be used for Portrait and fashion work. Fuji has a vertical grip from day 1.

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    • Marlon Richardson

      I doubt the Fujifilm GFX 50S will weigh less than the Canon 5d IV and Sony A99II, lets wait for official specs on that one.

      For my money I’d much rather have a touchscreen on a camera like this than a rotatable EVF that I have look into. If the back LCD articulated that would be a different story but as is I think most users will remove the detachable EVF on the Fuji and just use the back LCD in situations where it matters.

      There is no way you can cut Fuji’s flash system as an advantage. Poor studio flash support plagues all Fuji cameras and unless something changes it’ll be an issue here. HSS using a Fuji flash isn’t going to cut it for studio photographers that this is targeted to. Don’t believe me? Just go to Fuji’s website and look at the videos of the two pro’s who tested the camera.

      Not having a VG grip won’t really matter to most considering these cameras. Neither the Pentax 645z or the Phase One XF offer them. Especially considering how light and thin the Hasselblad is, while the Fujifilm GFX 50S is quite bulky in comparison.

      Whereas the Fujifilm GFX 50S is offering what looks to be the same performance specs as the Pentax 645z. My 10+ year old Contax 645, outside of being mirrorless, offers the same specs as the Fuji, including a detachable VF and optional VG.

      The Hasselblad is offering something new in this class.

      – Flash sync up to 1/2000. No HSS needed.
      – Nikon TTL compatibility: No other medium format system can do TTL flash. All the major studio strobe makers support it.
      – Touchscreen. Only very expensive systems offer this.
      – Live View: On camera, host and iOS device with high frame rate (30 fps)
      – 725g with a battery: Lightest, most compact medium format available.

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  5. Luke Lee

    Recent video states video capability of 1080p but no 4k for fuji. Weight is to be around 800g, although I’d expect more from viewfinder and all but everybody seems to agree it’s much lighter than it seems.
    There was also mentioning possible use for leaf shutter lenses for faster sync.
    Just to add on top of your observations with mine.

    +
    Many video showed no touchscreen confirmed.
    We can see from the showroom gfx50s with their new fuji ef-x500 flash on top. I can only assume it’s using the same protocol as xt2. It will also mean more frustration over TTL flash system.

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    • Marlon Richardson

      I can see why they didn’t mention video on the website or brochure. If it’s only doing 1080p at 24p, it’s probably abysmal.

      Profoto and a few others released updates that cover Sony and Olympus, I expect Fuji to be around sometime in 2017. Fuji better make that happen.

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  6. Kim Bentsen

    Fujifilm GFX 50S …, flash sync speeds may not exceed 1/250 second.

    What does the X next to the number 125 on the top dial mean? Just wondering.

    http://hmp.me/z7n

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    • Marlon Richardson

      This does indicate that 1/125x is the max flash sync speed. This is highly disappointing. When I wrote this article I wasn’t able to find and angle like the one attached.

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    • Steve VanSickle

      Honestly, flash support is my one substantial issue with the GFX thus far. I kinda wish Fuji would step-up their flash game all-around, or at least open it up for 3rd parties to fill the gap.

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    • Kim Bentsen

      Hasselblad X1D is the way to go. 1/2000 sec flash sync, including TTL (Nikon compatible). Profoto B2 with a Nikon trigger should work in TTL mode, and with no light loss due to HSS.

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