I doubt I’d have justified the cash, if fate hadn’t played a major role; the pay out for a burglary at my home near Cape Town in September last year has been sitting in my bank for a while, giving me time to decide what to do.
The thieves took inter alia every single item of Nikon kit I’d ever owned, including my much loved D700, 28mm and 50mm non-AI lenses. They also relieved me of my laptop, iPad, phone and quite a lot besides.
Having replaced the computers, phone and so on, I was left wondering what to do photographically. I’ve collected lots of Fuji kit over the years and my dalliance with a Leica M9 had never really blossomed into the full-on love that I’d hoped. Fortunately, they were safely locked up in the UK at the time.
If possible, I wanted to move away from APS-C, to full frame, or possibly even medium format. I also wanted a camera I could put into a large pocket, to avoid carrying a camera bag or backpack.
With the well intentioned help from several of DearSusan’s contributors, I found myself pulled this way and that. A lot. Pascal’s Hasselblad X1D is nearing end-of-life and he’s itching to buy either a newly released X2D, or one of the 100mp GX Fujis. He wanted me to go the Hasselblad route and report back on my impressions. Adam (Bonn) and I have had several earlier discussions regarding his shift to Leica and he felt an M10R might be a good move for me.
Steve (Mallett) has also recently moved across to an M10 with great success.
There I sat, short list; Hasselblad, Fuji, Leica to which I added the Nikon Z7 II or possibly the VIII or the Z8 if it appeared.
Eventually, I had to rule the Nikon out – it’s got way too many bumps and knobs to do the pocket thing, likewise, the Fuji is also quite lumpy. Hasselblad, or Leica then?
In the end it was a no-brainer. I put my money down and my X2D arrived last week from Sweden via Wex in Whitechapel. I bought the Lightweight Field Kit; X2D, 45mm f4 and 21mm f4 lenses as a package, which arrived, security seals on every box. Fully packed, it was surprisingly heavy too.
What’s it like? A little bigger than my D700 and D800, similarly heavy, but incredibly well made. I’ve tried both lenses – the 35mm equivalent 45mm lens is small, light and pin sharp. The 21 wide angle is quite a lot bigger and heavy – hardly a carry around, but no doubt it’ll do great things with a landscape.
Downsides? Battery life isn’t great, but getting used to a camera means lots of switching on and off, fiddling with controls and I’m sure I’ll see better performance as I get used to things. A second battery is due in the post shortly.
If I do have a hassle, it’s the limited post processing software options. Hassleblad’s Phottix is available for free download, but other than that there’s only Photosop and/or Lightroom. Capture 1 is owned by a Hasselblad competitor and won’t recognise the RAW files – to me, a very juvenile way to do business. Anyway, I’m less concerned about that than I might have been a year or so back as Capture 1 has revised it’s pricing policy and is now charging at Adobe’s inflated level for a single product that remains under featured and poorly supported. I’d already decided in principal to move back to Lightroom and the arrival of the X2D, made that decision all the easier to finalise.
Performance-wise, on an early M1 powered MacMini, Lightroom copes well with the X2D’s .3FR files and is pretty snappy, despite their 200+Mb size.
I’ve shot around 500 frames so far and I’m absolutely delighted. The IBIS works well, images are much sharper than I’ve been used to and the colour exquisite. Long may it last.
Oh and Pascal, buy the X2D. You won’t regret it.
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