Fujifilm GFX 50s vs Hasselblad X1D-50c
- a quick, hands-on comparison
February 22, 2017

Disclaimer: This is not an in-depth review or comparison of the two camera systems by any means. My write-up essentially covers key observations I made about the two systems from a user experience perspective. The usability differences between the two cameras is substantial enough that I feel compelled to share my findings with like-minded people who might be trying to choose between these two cameras.

Fujifilm had organized an event today at Samy’s here in San Francisco to show off their new GFX 50s camera system. I obviously needed to be there, since I’m trying to choose between the Fuji and the Hasselblad systems. What I didn’t know was that Hasselblad was demoing their X1D-50c system at the same time as well! How lucky can a guy get :)
First of all, I was not allowed to use my own SD card on either camera, so I have no images to share with you here. Also for the same reason, I’m not going to make any judgments on image quality based solely on the LCD previews on the two cameras.
Secondly, I am not going to list out the specs for these cameras here. There are more than enough resources online where you can get them.
So…. I spent 1 full hour playing with both camera systems, side by side. If I had to summarize my experience: the Hasselblad X1D-50c is like the size 2 supermodel babe at a party who every guy wants to get in the sack, only to realize later on, as they’re getting down to business, that she hardly moves and mostly lies there making them do all the hard work. The Fujifilm GFX 50s, on the other hand, is more like a size 6 all-american next-door-girl with some curves (not a negative for me at least :)), but man is she ready to rock and roll with you the moment you touch her!
Critical differences that were meaningful for me:
  • The LCD and EVF on the Hasselblad are barely ok. Actually, the LCD is just a joke. The Fuji LCD and EVF are amazing, in comparison. The Fuji LCD has 2.5 times more pixels. Period. Yes, the Fuji EVF is not as amazing as the incredible Leica SL EVF (I owned that camera, so I know). Still, it is miles ahead of the Hasselblad. For critical work, where perfect focus is paramount, this could be a potential issue. It is for me.

  • The lack of a 4-way controller on the Hasselblad is a serious impediment to an efficient flow in the field where you’d need to rapidly access camera functions while your eyes are glued to the EVF. On the Hasselblad, you need to remove your eyes from the EVF, make adjustments using the touch screen, go back to the EVF, and repeat the cycle as necessary. The Fuji has a 4-way controller, which is also fully programmable for custom functions.

  • I can’t believe there is no live-view histogram on the Hasselblad! Maybe they’ll implement it via a firmware update, but seriously, what were they thinking!

  • The tilt adapter for the EVF on the Fuji is just amazing and so thoughtful! It brought back memories of using the Hasselblad 501c.

  • The Hasselblad X1D-50c is GORGEOUS! Online photos don’t do it justice. So solid. Such an amazing design that exudes superb build quality from every angle. The Silver finish on the camera is actually less Silvery and more darker - like the space-grey color of the MacBooks. Again, it looks and feels amazing. The Fuji has more of a “I mean all business” look and feel to it. Don’t get me wrong, it still feels very sturdy/rock-solid in your hands, and fits your hands very nicely as well. It just has a totally different design language as compared to the Hasselblad. In a nutshell, the Fuji has a much superior “functional design”, whereas the Hasselblad has a much superior Visual Design.

Overall, the Hasselblad X1D-50c felt more like a point-and-shoot camera vs the Fuji GFX 50s felt more like a workhorse. If being seen around with a trophy camera is important to you, Hasselblad should be at the top of your list. If you're into critical work in the field and efficiency, functionality, and usability are more important, the Fuji might be the better bet.
I am going to wait for more reviews online that compare the files, image quality, and lenses from the two systems before I make my decision. Unless Fuji really screws it up on that front, I have a strong feeling the GFX 50s is going to be my purchase choice. And if that’s the case, I know I’d still be lusting after the Hasselblad X1D-50c - it’s just that beautiful!
Hope this was helpful.

© Harsh Agrawal