Hasselblad X1D II vs Leica S2
The Hasselblad X1D II 50C and the Leica S2 are two professional cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2019 and September 2008. The X1D II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the S2 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with a medium format sensor. The Hasselblad has a resolution of 51.3 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 37.5 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Hasselblad X1D II 50C and the Leica S2? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Hasselblad X1D II and the Leica S2 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica S2 is notably larger (34 percent) than the Hasselblad X1D II. Moreover, the S2 is substantially heavier (84 percent) than the X1D II. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The power pack in the X1D II can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Hasselblad X1D II||148 mm||97 mm||70 mm||766 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||5,750|
|2.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995|
|3.||Canon R||139 mm||98 mm||84 mm||660 g||370||Y||Sep 2018||2,299|
|4.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||161 mm||97 mm||66 mm||775 g||400||Y||Sep 2018||4,499|
|7.||Fujifilm GFX 50S||148 mm||94 mm||91 mm||740 g||400||Y||Sep 2016||6,499|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D||150 mm||98 mm||71 mm||725 g||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|9.||Leica Q2||130 mm||80 mm||92 mm||718 g||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995|
|10.||Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995|
|11.||Leica S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900|
|12.||Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490|
|13.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|14.||Leica S1||339 mm||214 mm||119 mm||2500 g||..||n||Aug 1996||21,490|
|15.||Nikon Z7||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||330||Y||Aug 2018||3,399|
|16.||Panasonic GH5s||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||660 g||440||Y||Jan 2018||2,499|
|17.||Sony A7R IV||129 mm||96 mm||78 mm||665 g||670||Y||Jul 2019||3,499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The X1D II was launched at a markedly lower price (by 75 percent) than the S2, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a medium format sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the S2 is 6 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 0.79 (X1D II) and 0.8. The sensor in the X1D II has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the S2 offers a 3:2 aspect.
In terms of chip-set technology, the X1D II uses a more advanced image processing engine (..) than the S2 (..), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 51.3MP, the X1D II offers a higher resolution than the S2 (37.5MP), but the X1D II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 6.00μm for the S2). However, the X1D II is a much more recent model (by 10 years and 8 months) than the S2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Hasselblad X1D II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X1D II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41.4 x 31 inches or 105.1 x 78.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 33.1 x 24.8 inches or 84 x 63 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.6 x 20.7 inches or 70 x 52.5 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica S2 are 37.5 x 25 inches or 95.3 x 63.5 cm for good quality, 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for very good quality, and 25 x 16.7 inches or 63.5 x 42.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Hasselblad X1D II 50C has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S2 are ISO 80 to ISO 1250 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|1.||Hasselblad X1D II||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||none||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon R||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.5||13.5||2742||89|
|4.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|6.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Fujifilm GFX 50S||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|9.||Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96|
|10.||Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|14.||Leica S1||Medium Format||26.4||5140||5140||none||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Nikon Z7||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.3||14.6||2668||99|
|16.||Panasonic GH5s||Four Thirds||9.9||3680||2700||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Sony A7R IV||Full Frame||60.2||9504||6336||4K/30p||26.0||14.8||3344||99|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the X1D II has an electronic viewfinder (3690k dots), while the S2 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinder in the X1D II offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the S2 (96%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the X1D II has a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.86x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Hasselblad X1D II and Leica S2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Hasselblad X1D II||3690||n||3.6||2360||fixed||Y||1/2000s||2.7||n||n|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|6.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||3690||n||3.2||2360||tilting||Y||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|7.||Fujifilm GFX 50S||optional||Y||3.2||2360||full-flex||Y||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|11.||Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|12.||Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||n||n|
|13.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|17.||Sony A7R IV||5760||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The X1D II has a touchscreen, while the S2 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the X1D II is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Hasselblad X1D II has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The X1D II writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the S2 uses Compact Flash or SDHC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. The X1D II supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the S2 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Hasselblad X1D II 50C and Leica S2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Hasselblad X1D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||-||3.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Fujifilm GFX 50S||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Leica S Typ 007||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Leica S Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony A7R IV||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the X1D II offers wifi support, while the S2 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the X1D II has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The X1D II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Hasselblad. In contrast, the S2 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the S2 was succeeded by the Leica S Typ 006. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Hasselblad and Leica websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Hasselblad X1D II better than the Leica S2 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Hasselblad X1D II 50C:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (51.3 vs 37.5MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (.. vs ..).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 96%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.86x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.6" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2360k vs 460k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.7 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (148x97mm vs 160x120mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 644g or 46 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports Ultra High Speed (UHS-II) SDXC cards.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (75 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 10 years and 8 months of technical progress since the S2 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Leica S2:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the X1D II is the clear winner of the match-up (21 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Hasselblad X1D II and the Leica S2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the X1D II or the S2. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Hasselblad X1D II||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2019||5,750|
|2.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995|
|3.||Canon R||4/5||o||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2018||2,299|
|4.||Canon 5DS||..||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||5/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2018||4,499|
|7.||Fujifilm GFX 50S||..||..||85/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||6,499|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D||..||o||81/100||..||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|9.||Leica Q2||..||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2019||4,995|
|10.||Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995|
|11.||Leica S-E Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||16,900|
|12.||Leica S Typ 007||4/5||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490|
|13.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950|
|14.||Leica S1||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 1996||21,490|
|15.||Nikon Z7||5/5||+||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||3,399|
|16.||Panasonic GH5s||..||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2018||2,499|
|17.||Sony A7R IV||5/5||+||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2019||3,499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Hasselblad X1D II vs Leica S2
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Hasselblad X1D II||Leica S2|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Hasselblad X mount lenses||Leica S mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2019||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 5,750||USD 22,995|
|Sensor Specs||Hasselblad X1D II||Leica S2|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||43.8 x 32.9 mm||45.0 x 30.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||1441.02 mm2||1350 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||54.8 mm||54.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||51.3 Megapixels||37.5 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8272 x 6200 pixels||7500 x 5000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.30 μm||6.00 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.56 MP/cm2||2.78 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 1,250 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Hasselblad X1D II||Leica S2|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||96%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3690k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.6inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||2360k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Hasselblad X1D II||Leica S2|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||2.7 shutter flaps/s||1.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/10000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Hasselblad X1D II||Leica S2|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Hasselblad X1D II||Leica S2|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
148 x 97 x 70 mm
(5.8 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||766 g (27.0 oz)||1410 g (49.7 oz)|
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