Hasselblad X1D II vs Sony A99
The Hasselblad X1D II 50C and the Sony Alpha SLT-A99 are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2019 and September 2012. The X1D II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the A99 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a medium format (X1D II) and a full frame (A99) sensor. The Hasselblad has a resolution of 51.3 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 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 Sony Alpha SLT-A99? 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 Sony A99 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions 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 Sony A99 is notably larger (14 percent) than the Hasselblad X1D II. Moreover, the A99 is markedly heavier (6 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 want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Hasselblad X1D II||5.8 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||27.0 oz||..||Y||Jun 2019||5,750|
|Sony A99||5.8 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||28.6 oz||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Canon R||5.5 in||3.9 in||3.3 in||23.3 oz||370||Y||Sep 2018||2,299|
|Canon 5DS||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS R||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Fujifilm GFX 50R||6.3 in||3.8 in||2.6 in||27.3 oz||400||Y||Sep 2018||4,499|
|Fujifilm GFX 50S||5.8 in||3.7 in||3.6 in||26.1 oz||400||Y||Sep 2016||6,499|
|Hasselblad X1D||5.9 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||25.6 oz||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|Leica Q2||5.1 in||3.1 in||3.6 in||25.3 oz||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995|
|Nikon Z7||5.3 in||4.0 in||2.6 in||23.8 oz||330||Y||Aug 2018||3,399|
|Panasonic GH5s||5.5 in||3.9 in||3.4 in||23.3 oz||440||Y||Jan 2018||2,499|
|Sony A9 II||5.1 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||23.9 oz||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499|
|Sony A7R IV||5.1 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||23.5 oz||670||Y||Jul 2019||3,499|
|Sony A99 II||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||29.9 oz||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|Sony A77||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||25.8 oz||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Sony A850||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999|
|Sony A900||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The A99 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 51 percent) than the X1D II, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Hasselblad X1D II features a medium format sensor and the Sony A99 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A99 is 41 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.79 and 1.0. The sensor in the X1D II has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A99 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 51.3MP, the X1D II offers a higher resolution than the A99 (24MP), but the X1D II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 5.96μm for the A99). However, the X1D II is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 9 months) than the A99, 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 the X1D II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its 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 Sony A99 are 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 Sony Alpha SLT-A99 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Hasselblad X1D II||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||none||..||..||..||..|
|Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
|Canon R||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.5||13.5||2742||89|
|Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|Fujifilm GFX 50R||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Fujifilm GFX 50S||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96|
|Nikon Z7||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.3||14.6||2668||99|
|Panasonic GH5s||Four Thirds||9.9||3680||2700||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
|Sony A7R IV||Full Frame||60.2||9504||6336||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79|
|Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The A99 indeed provides for movie recording, while the X1D II does not. The highest resolution format that the A99 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the X1D II offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the A99 (3690k vs 2359k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Hasselblad X1D II and Sony A99 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Hasselblad X1D II||3690||n||3.6||2360||fixed||Y||1/2000s||2.7||n||n|
|Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|Fujifilm GFX 50R||3690||n||3.2||2360||tilting||Y||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|Fujifilm GFX 50S||optional||Y||3.2||2360||full-flex||Y||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7R IV||5760||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||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 A99 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The A99 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the X1D II does not have a selfie-screen.
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 A99 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The X1D II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A99 only has one slot. The X1D II supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the A99 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).
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 Sony Alpha SLT-A99 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Hasselblad X1D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||-||3.0||Y||-||-|
|Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|Fujifilm GFX 50R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||Y|
|Fujifilm GFX 50S||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony A7R IV||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the X1D II offers wifi support, while the A99 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 both cameras feature internal geolocalization sensors and can record GPS coordinates in their EXIF data.
The X1D II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Hasselblad. In contrast, the A99 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A99 was succeeded by the Sony A99 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Hasselblad and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Hasselblad X1D II and the Sony A99? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Hasselblad X1D II 50C:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (51.3 vs 24MP) with a 43% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3690k vs 2359k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.71x).
- 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 1229k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- 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 147x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- 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.
- 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.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More prestigious: Has the Hasselblad luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 9 months of technical progress since the A99 launch.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha SLT-A99:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 2.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (51 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X1D II is the clear winner of the match-up (22 : 10 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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 Sony A99 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the X1D II or the A99 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Hasselblad X1D II||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jun 2019||5,750|
|Sony A99||..||84/100||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Canon R||o||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Sep 2018||2,299|
|Canon 5DS||+||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS R||+||83/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Fujifilm GFX 50R||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2018||4,499|
|Fujifilm GFX 50S||..||85/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||6,499|
|Hasselblad X1D||o||81/100||..||..||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|Leica Q2||..||84/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Mar 2019||4,995|
|Nikon Z7||+||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||3,399|
|Panasonic GH5s||..||84/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2018||2,499|
|Sony A9 II||..||90/100||5/5||..||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499|
|Sony A7R IV||+||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jul 2019||3,499|
|Sony A99 II||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|Sony A77||91/100||81/100||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Sony A850||..||75/100||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2009||1,999|
|Sony A900||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon RP vs Hasselblad X1D II
- Canon SX410 vs Sony A99
- Canon SX420 vs Sony A99
- Fujifilm X-E2S vs Hasselblad X1D II
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Leica CL
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Leica M9
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Panasonic GH1
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Panasonic LX100
- Panasonic FZ1000 II vs Sony A99
- Panasonic LX5 vs Sony A99
- Sony A58 vs Sony A99
- Sony A99 vs Sony RX10 IV
Specifications: Hasselblad X1D II vs Sony A99
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||Sony A99|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Hasselblad X mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2019||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 5,750||USD 2,799|
|Sensor Specs||Hasselblad X1D II||Sony A99|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||43.8 x 32.9 mm||35.8 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||1441.02 mm2||852.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||54.8 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||51.3 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8272 x 6200 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.30 μm||5.96 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.56 MP/cm2||2.82 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||89|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1555|
|Screen Specs||Hasselblad X1D II||Sony A99|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3690k dots||2359k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.6inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||2360k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fully flexible screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Hasselblad X1D II||Sony A99|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2.7 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/10000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||no shake reduction||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Hasselblad X1D II||Sony A99|
|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||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Hasselblad X1D II||Sony A99|
|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)
147 x 111 x 78 mm
(5.8 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||766 g (27.0 oz)||812 g (28.6 oz)|
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