Hasselblad X1D vs Olympus E-520
The Hasselblad X1D-50c and the Olympus E-520 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2016 and May 2008. The X1D is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the E-520 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a medium format (X1D) and a Four Thirds (E-520) sensor. The Hasselblad has a resolution of 51.3 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Hasselblad X1D||Olympus E-520|
|Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Hasselblad X mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|51.3 MP, Medium Format Sensor||10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|1080/25p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-25,600||ISO 100-1,600|
|Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0 LCD, 920k dots||2.7 LCD, 215k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|2.3 shutter flaps per second||3.5 shutter flaps per second|
|no shake reduction||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|150 x 98 x 71 mm, 725 g||136 x 92 x 68 mm, 535 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Hasselblad X1D-50c and the Olympus E-520? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Hasselblad X1D and the Olympus E-520. 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 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 Olympus E-520 is notably smaller (15 percent) than the Hasselblad X1D. Moreover, the E-520 is markedly lighter (26 percent) than the X1D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the X1D is splash and dust resistant, while the E-520 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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||5.9 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||25.6 oz||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|Olympus E-520||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||18.9 oz||750||n||May 2008||699|
|Canon 6D Mark II||5.7 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|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 50S||5.8 in||3.7 in||3.6 in||26.1 oz||400||Y||Sep 2016||6,499|
|Hasselblad X1D II||5.8 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||27.0 oz||..||Y||Jun 2019||5,750|
|Leica SL||5.8 in||4.1 in||1.5 in||29.9 oz||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|Nikon D7500||5.4 in||4.1 in||2.9 in||25.4 oz||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D850||5.7 in||4.9 in||3.1 in||35.5 oz||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Nikon D7200||5.4 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|Olympus E-600||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Aug 2009||449|
|Olympus E-620||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|Olympus E-420||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|Olympus E-410||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|Olympus E-510||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||19.0 oz||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|Pentax 645Z||6.1 in||4.6 in||4.8 in||54.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2014||8,499|
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 E-520 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 92 percent) than the X1D, 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. 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Hasselblad X1D features a medium format sensor and the Olympus E-520 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-520 is 84 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.79 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
With 51.3MP, the X1D offers a higher resolution than the E-520 (10MP), but the X1D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 4.74μm for the E-520) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the X1D is a much more recent model (by 8 years and 1 month) than the E-520, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the X1D has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its 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 Olympus E-520 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 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 Olympus E-520 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the X1D provides substantially higher image quality than the E-520, with an overall score that is 47 points higher. This advantage is based on 4.8 bits higher color depth, 4.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|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 SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|Olympus E-600||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.5||10.3||541||55|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|Pentax 645Z||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/60i||26.0||14.7||4505||101|
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 E-520 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 E-520 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Hasselblad X1D, the Olympus E-520, and comparable cameras.
|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|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The X1D has a touchscreen, while the E-520 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.
The X1D writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-520 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.
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 Olympus E-520 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||-||-|
It is notable that the X1D offers wifi support, while the E-520 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 E-520) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the X1D and the E-520 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The X1D was replaced by the Hasselblad X1D II, while the E-520 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Hasselblad and Olympus websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Hasselblad X1D better than the Olympus E-520 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Hasselblad X1D-50c:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (51.3 vs 10MP) with a 127% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (47 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (4.8 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (4.4 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (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 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 215k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- 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.
- 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.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More prestigious: Has the Hasselblad luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 1 month of technical progress since the E-520 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-520:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 2.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (136x92mm vs 150x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 190g or 26 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (92 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in May 2008).
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 : 10 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 and the Olympus E-520 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the X1D or the E-520. 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 (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|
|Olympus E-520||87/100||+ +||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|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|
|Fujifilm GFX 50S||..||85/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||6,499|
|Hasselblad X1D II||..||..||4/5||..||..||Jun 2019||5,750|
|Leica SL||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|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|
|Olympus E-600||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||449|
|Olympus E-620||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||o||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|Olympus E-420||85/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|Olympus E-410||86/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|Olympus E-510||89/100||+ +||3.5/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|Pentax 645Z||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||8,499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D X vs Olympus E-520
- Canon 1D vs Hasselblad X1D II
- Canon 5DS R vs Hasselblad X1D II
- Fujifilm X20 vs Hasselblad X1D II
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Olympus E-M10
- Hasselblad X1D vs Leica M10
- Hasselblad X1D vs Leica M10-P
- Hasselblad X1D vs Nikon D800E
- Hasselblad X1D vs Olympus E-450
- Hasselblad X1D vs Panasonic FZ100
- Hasselblad X1D vs Panasonic GH2
- Hasselblad X1D vs Samsung NX500
Specifications: Hasselblad X1D vs Olympus E-520
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||Olympus E-520|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Hasselblad X mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2016||May 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 8,995||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Hasselblad X1D||Olympus E-520|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||43.8 x 32.9 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||1441.02 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||54.8 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||51.3 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8272 x 6200 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.30 μm||4.74 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.56 MP/cm2||4.44 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/25p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||102||55|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||26.2||21.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.8||10.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||4489||548|
|Screen Specs||Hasselblad X1D||Olympus E-520|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||215k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Hasselblad X1D||Olympus E-520|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||2.3 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||no shake reduction||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Hasselblad X1D||Olympus E-520|
|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||Olympus E-520|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
150 x 98 x 71 mm
(5.9 x 3.9 x 2.8 in)
136 x 92 x 68 mm
(5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
|Camera Weight||725 g (25.6 oz)||535 g (18.9 oz)|
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