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Nikon D850 versus Hasselblad X1D

The Nikon D850 and the Hasselblad X1D-50c are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2017 and June 2016. The D850 is a DSLR, while the X1D is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a full frame (D850) and a medium format (X1D) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 45.4 megapixel, whereas the Hasselblad provides 51.3 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Nikon D850 vs Hasselblad X1D

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D850 and the Hasselblad X1D are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the D850 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Nikon D850 vs Hasselblad X1D
Compare D850 versus X1D top
Compare D850 and X1D rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Hasselblad X1D is notably smaller (19 percent) than the Nikon D850. Moreover, the X1D is markedly lighter (28 percent) than the D850. 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 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. 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Nikon D850» 5.7 in 4.9 in 3.1 in 35.5 oz 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i i
Hasselblad X1D« 5.9 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 25.6 oz .. Y Jun 2016 8,995 i i
Canon 5DS R« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 5DS« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Fujifilm GFX 50S« » 5.8 in 3.7 in 3.6 in 26.1 oz 400 Y Sep 2016 6,499 i i
Leica SL« » 5.8 in 4.1 in 1.5 in 29.9 oz 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i i
Nikon D5« » 6.3 in 6.3 in 3.6 in 49.9 oz 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i i
Nikon D500« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 30.3 oz 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i
Nikon D7200« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1110 Y Mar 2015 1,199- i
Nikon D810« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i
Nikon D610« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i
Nikon Df« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i i
Nikon D600« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i
Nikon D800« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999- i
Nikon D800E« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 3,299- i
Nikon D700« » 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i
Sony A99 II« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 29.9 oz 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D850 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 63 percent) than the X1D, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D850 vs Hasselblad X1D

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D850 features a full frame sensor and the Hasselblad X1D a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the X1D is 68 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 0.79. The sensor in the D850 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the X1D offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D850 and Hasselblad X1D sensor measures

With 51.3MP, the X1D offers a higher resolution than the D850 (45.4MP), but the X1D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 4.35μm for the D850) due to its larger sensor. However, the D850 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the X1D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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.

D850 versus X1D MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Nikon D850» Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100
Hasselblad X1D« Medium Format 51.3 8272 62001080/25p26.214.84489102
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886
Canon 5DS« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187
Fujifilm GFX 50S« » MF 51.1 8256 61921080/30p----
Leica SL« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188
Nikon D5« » Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483
Nikon D7200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.514.6133387
Nikon D810« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594
Nikon Df« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280-24.613.1327989
Nikon D600« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.2298094
Nikon D800« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.314.4285395
Nikon D800E« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.614.3297996
Nikon D700« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380
Sony A99 II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the D850 provides a higher video resolution than the X1D. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Hasselblad is limited to 1080/25p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D850 vs Hasselblad X1D

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the X1D has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the D850 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 Nikon D850 and Hasselblad X1D along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Nikon D850»optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 9.0 n n
Hasselblad X1D«2360 n 3.0 920 fixed Y 2000 2.3 n n
Canon 5DS R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Canon 5DS« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Fujifilm GFX 50S« »- Y 3.2 2360 tilting Y 4000 3.0 n n
Leica SL« »4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 11.0 n n
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 8000 14.0 n n
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n n
Nikon D7200« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n
Nikon D810« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n
Nikon Df« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 5.5 n n
Nikon D600« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.5 Y n
Nikon D800« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 4.0 Y n
Nikon D800E« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 4.0 Y n
Nikon D700« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n
Sony A99 II« »2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 8000 12.0 n Y

Both the D850 and the X1D are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The D850 replaced the earlier Nikon D810, while the X1D does not have a direct predecessor.

Review summary: Nikon D850 vs Hasselblad X1D

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D850 or the Hasselblad X1D – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Nikon D850:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/25p).
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 920k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 2.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (63 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 1 month after the X1D).

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Arguments in favor of the Hasselblad X1D-50c:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More compact: Is smaller (150x98mm vs 146x124mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 280g or 28 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More prestigious: Has the Hasselblad luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2016).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D850 emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 7 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.

D850 10:07 X1D

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D850 or the X1D. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Nikon D850»HiRec89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i i
Hasselblad X1D«rev---4/5 Jun 2016 8,995 i i
Canon 5DS R« »Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 5DS« »Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Fujifilm GFX 50S« »-85/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 6,499 i i
Leica SL« »-84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i i
Nikon D5« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i i
Nikon D500« »HiRec91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i
Nikon D7200« »HiRec84/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Mar 2015 1,199- i
Nikon D810« »-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i
Nikon D610« »HiRec87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i
Nikon Df« »-81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i i
Nikon D600« »HiRec87/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i
Nikon D800« »HiRec82/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999- i
Nikon D800E« »-84/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2012 3,299- i
Nikon D700« »89/100HiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i
Sony A99 II« »-85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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