Hasselblad X1D vs Leica M9
The Hasselblad X1D-50c and the Leica M9 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2016 and September 2009. The X1D is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the M9 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless. The cameras are based on a medium format (X1D) and a full frame (M9) sensor. The Hasselblad has a resolution of 51.3 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 18.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Hasselblad X1D||Leica M9|
|Mirrorless system camera||Rangefinder camera|
|Hasselblad X mount lenses||Leica M mount lenses|
|51.3 MP, Medium Format Sensor||18.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/25p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-25,600||ISO 80-2,500|
|Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0 LCD, 920k dots||2.5 LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|2.3 shutter flaps per second||2 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|150 x 98 x 71 mm, 725 g||139 x 80 x 37 mm, 585 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Hasselblad X1D-50c and the Leica M9? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Hasselblad X1D and the Leica M9 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M9 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the X1D is only available in titanium.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica M9 is notably smaller (24 percent) than the Hasselblad X1D. Moreover, the M9 is markedly lighter (19 percent) than the X1D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the X1D is splash and dust resistant, while the M9 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Hasselblad X1D||150 mm||98 mm||71 mm||725 g||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 550D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|Fujifilm GFX 50S||148 mm||94 mm||91 mm||740 g||400||Y||Sep 2016||6,499|
|Hasselblad X1D II||148 mm||97 mm||70 mm||766 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||5,750|
|Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950|
|Leica M8||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||591 g||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499|
|Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D850||146 mm||124 mm||79 mm||1005 g||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Nikon D7200||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
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 naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The M9 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 11 percent) than the X1D, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Hasselblad X1D features a medium format sensor and the Leica M9 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the M9 is 40 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 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the M9 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 51.3MP, the X1D offers a higher resolution than the M9 (18.1MP), but the X1D has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 6.91μm for the M9). However, the X1D is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 9 months) than the M9, 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 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X1D 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 M9 are 26.1 x 17.4 inches or 66.2 x 44.1 cm for good quality, 20.8 x 13.9 inches or 53 x 35.3 cm for very good quality, and 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.1 x 29.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Hasselblad X1D-50c has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M9 are ISO 80 to ISO 2500 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the X1D provides substantially higher image quality than the M9, with an overall score that is 33 points higher. This advantage is based on 3.7 bits higher color depth, 3.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|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 50S||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Hasselblad X1D II||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||none||..||..||..||..|
|Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
|Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The X1D indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the M9 does not. The highest resolution format that the X1D can use is 1080/25p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the X1D has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the M9 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Hasselblad X1D and Leica M9 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n|
|Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|Fujifilm GFX 50S||optional||Y||3.2||2360||full-flex||Y||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|Hasselblad X1D II||3690||n||3.6||2360||fixed||Y||1/2000s||2.7||n||n|
|Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The X1D has a touchscreen, while the M9 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Hasselblad X1D 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the X1D and the M9 write their files to SDXC cards. The X1D features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M9 only has one slot. The X1D supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the M9 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-50c and Leica M9 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|Fujifilm GFX 50S||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|Hasselblad X1D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||-||3.0||Y||-||-|
|Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the X1D offers wifi support, while the M9 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Hasselblad X1D (unlike the M9) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the X1D and the M9 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M9 was replaced by the Leica M Typ 240, while the X1D was followed by the Hasselblad X1D 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 Leica websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Hasselblad X1D better than the Leica M9 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Hasselblad X1D-50c:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (51.3 vs 18.1MP) with a 65% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (33 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (3.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/25p movies.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.3 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- 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.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 9 months of technical progress since the M9 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Leica M9:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 150x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 140g or 19 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (11 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2009).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X1D is the clear winner of the match-up (19 : 6 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.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the X1D or the M9 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 expert reviews 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||o||81/100||..||..||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|Leica M9||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|Canon 6D Mark II||+||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|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|
|Canon 550D||+ +||77/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|Fujifilm GFX 50S||..||85/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||6,499|
|Hasselblad X1D II||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jun 2019||5,750|
|Leica M10||..||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|Leica SL||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|Leica X Vario||..||..||4/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|Leica M Typ 240||..||..||4/5||..||..||Sep 2012||6,950|
|Leica M8||..||+ +||..||..||..||Sep 2006||5,499|
|Nikon D7500||+ +||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D850||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Nikon D7200||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199|
|Sony A7R II||+ +||90/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 6D Mark II vs Leica M9
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- Hasselblad X1D II vs Olympus E-330
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Panasonic GX8
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Sony RX10 IV
- Hasselblad X1D vs Leica S Typ 006
- Hasselblad X1D vs Panasonic G9
- Hasselblad X1D vs Panasonic LX10
- Hasselblad X1D vs Sony RX100 IV
- Hasselblad X1D vs Sony WX800
- Leica M9 vs Panasonic FT7
- Leica M9 vs Panasonic GH1
Specifications: Hasselblad X1D vs Leica M9
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||Leica M9|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Rangefinder camera|
|Camera Lens||Hasselblad X mount lenses||Leica M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2016||September 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 8,995||USD 7,999|
|Sensor Specs||Hasselblad X1D||Leica M9|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||43.8 x 32.9 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||1441.02 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||54.8 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||51.3 Megapixels||18.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8272 x 6200 pixels||5212 x 3472 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.30 μm||6.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.56 MP/cm2||2.09 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/25p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 2,500 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||102||69|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||26.2||22.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.8||11.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||4489||884|
|Screen Specs||Hasselblad X1D||Leica M9|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Hasselblad X1D||Leica M9|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Manual Focus|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||2.3 shutter flaps/s||2 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Hasselblad X1D||Leica M9|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Hasselblad X1D||Leica M9|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
150 x 98 x 71 mm
(5.9 x 3.9 x 2.8 in)
139 x 80 x 37 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||725 g (25.6 oz)||585 g (20.6 oz)|
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