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biswasg

Image quality comparison between Hasselblad X1D II and Leica SL2

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Presently a Leica M owner, I am considering moving to an autofocus solution. The newly launched Leica SL2 have great specs and functionality, the other high end camera on the market is the Hasselblad X1D. Both now have almost equivalent  pixels 47 megapixels vs 50 megapixels respectively. However, the Leica is a 35 mm full-frame and the Hassy is the 40% or so larger mid-size sensor.

I am wondering, from the perspective of the image quality, which would be better, especially for making prints and displaying on a large sized screen? Technically, the mid-size sensor, but in reality? Would like to hear from those with experience and if there is a difference, is it discernible?

Thanks

Gautam

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I'd imagine no one on this board is in possession of both cameras, but judging off what I've seen from the S1R (shares the same sensor as the SL2) images, the X1D II will have better IQ and the files will be more malleable in post. The difference will be about 1/2 stop in DR, and yes the difference is discernible in tonality and midtone SNR, especially as you cramp up the ISO.

@FlashGordonPhotography would be able to give you a more accurate assessment as he has both the S1R and X1D II.  

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I guess the biggest difference would be the depth of field. It would have been nice to see a comparison with images taken from the same point of view, and with comparable lenses.

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1 hour ago, biswasg said:

Presently a Leica M owner, I am considering moving to an autofocus solution. The newly launched Leica SL2 have great specs and functionality, the other high end camera on the market is the Hasselblad X1D. Both now have almost equivalent  pixels 47 megapixels vs 50 megapixels respectively. However, the Leica is a 35 mm full-frame and the Hassy is the 40% or so larger mid-size sensor.

I am wondering, from the perspective of the image quality, which would be better, especially for making prints and displaying on a large sized screen? Technically, the mid-size sensor, but in reality? Would like to hear from those with experience and if there is a difference, is it discernible?

Thanks

Gautam

If you are a nit-picking pixel-peeping photo enthusiast you will possibly notice a difference on a high resolution screen or a big (over A2) print.

If you are a 'normal' human being I doubt you would notice a difference. Examples posted at forum resolution are unlikely to show anything useful. 

If you habitually take crappy photos and need to pull detail from the shadows the bigger sensors will give you an advantage. Having said that the SL2 has 14 stops of DR and high ISO performance is better than the SL, so the gap is narrowing all the time .....

All the X1D users will say it is better ..... the question is how much better and whether it is worth buying into a completely different camera system without the flexibility that the SL (or Canikon/Fuji) offers. 

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All things being equal, a larger sensor is almost always better. Depends of course what you want to do with it. Pixel count cannot compensate surface area, it is madness to say that an imaginary 100-megapixel Micro four-thirds camera would result more detailed large prints than a 50-megapixel 645 sensor.

For shallow DOF action it's hard to recommend anything outside 35mm cameras because of the platform's decades of development in lenses. I don't think any Hassy lens go faster than f/2 equivalent in aperture.

And rendering otherwise is the big win of medium format, but it's Leica it's fighting against now.

Longer lenses with smaller crop factor tend to render more sharply, threedimensionally yadayada. Simple optics really. A 50mm lens has the focus-transition properties of a 50 mm lens even if the end result is projected to an image plane big enough to cover the 35mm angle of view. But Leica is simply the best glass maker in the small format systems and the transitions are already super rapid and the rendering more than satisfactory. Will the Hassy 45mm beat the new APO-Summicron-SL 35mm? It will be a very tough fight.

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2 hours ago, biswasg said:

I am wondering, from the perspective of the image quality, which would be better, especially for making prints and displaying on a large sized screen? Technically, the mid-size sensor, but in reality? Would like to hear from those with experience and if there is a difference, is it discernible?

If you want to do large prints on a  regular basis  and want people to be able to peer them very close, Hasselblad's sensor-size advantage is "real".

But SL2 is going to have a vastly wider shooting envelope, and in especially available light it's going to come ahead. Combine 2-3 stops faster lenses with IBIS. In theory, Hassy has a stop better ISO performance but in practice it's not likely to be noticeable just like that. In practice, you can shoot your SL lenses a stop wider and have the same DOF so you've overcome the difference in light gathering right there. The IBIS of SL2 gives you an extra 2-3+ stops of light gathering availability when applicable (you don't have to freeze motion).

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Usually the quality does not only depend upon the sensor. But more important is usually, if you get the picture at all, unless it is a still life in studio and you have anything under control and can repeat shots as often as you like.
If not, then the reactivity of the camera is also important. And even the MF users among themelves are already discussing fiercely if the X1D or the Fuji MF cameras are the better cameras ......

So the "sensor quality" is only a minor point. It is more important that the camera fits you. And some are much better taking pics with an SL(2) and others more successful with a MF camera. And some users get much better results with IBIS than without ...

For me the S1R is equal in IQ to the 50 MP MF cameras. Under some circumstances (high res mode for static objects) even better. I expect the SL2 to be equal (or better ?! ), than the S1R. But for the first few months it will have no high res mode (comes next year with firmware upgrade).    But it is all personal opinion, as nobody has a SL2 , yet.

Edited by caissa

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1 hour ago, mike3996 said:

don't think any Hassy lens go faster than f/2 equivalent in aperture.

Think again then 🤗 and check the 80/1.9 which is the fastest hassy lens ever made, f/1.5 equivalent and it’s very good

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6 minutes ago, meerec said:

Think again then 🤗 and check the 80/1.9 which is the fastest hassy lens ever made, f/1.5 equivalent and it’s very good

I stand corrected

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In “normal res” mode, probably a slight benefit to the X1D. But I find “high res” mode on the S1R gives a substantial boost in image quality for large prints (file opens at c 55” wide at 300dpi). In that instance, I personally think the S1R is notably superior. Let’s hope Leica do indeed provide high res for the SL2, for tripod mounted landscapes it’s superb.
 

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11 minutes ago, Jon Warwick said:

In “normal res” mode, probably a slight benefit to the X1D. But I find “high res” mode on the S1R gives a substantial boost in image quality for large prints (file opens at c 55” wide at 300dpi). In that instance, I personally think the S1R is notably superior. Let’s hope Leica do indeed provide high res for the SL2, for tripod mounted landscapes it’s superb.
 

Resolution is only a small part of the IQ equation. And one could easily stitch X1D images as well.

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4 hours ago, biswasg said:

...but in reality? Would like to hear from those with experience...

It probably depends on just where in reality you happen to reside.  Don't have and SL or SL2 yet. Do have a Q, M240, M10 and an X1DII. The difference in image quality is large across the brands, but IMO, pixel count has nearly nothing to do with it.  The largest advantage the added pixels afford is the ability to take a shot in portrait, crop 2x3 in landscape and still have more pixels than any of my current Leica's deliver.  The downside is that all too often any added detail can be a detriment when images are viewed on screen at modest resolutions. I get why some folks are obsessed with being able to scale up for printing, but a lot of work these days is viewed electronically, and all too often how well an image scales down is equally important. It's all quite easy for high contrast scenes to become overly crispy and rather annoying to view unless the image is seen closer to native resolution. No doubt the SL's 47 MPx will behave similarly, but then again, the optics, micro-contrast etc, likely play a role in this as well. My experience so far is limited to the 45mm XCD, one of the weaker lenses in the system, but from that, I find Leica glass to draw more subtlety.

As for the difference in image quality, as has been mention ad infinitum, the color rendition of the Hassy is superb, the files malleable.  To my mind this is a huge plus, but it comes at a cost. First 3x4. Again one can crop to the more familiar 2x3, which results in a 46 Mpx  image, so no great loss, but psychologically through the VF there is an impact in day to day use. One could shoot in cropped mode, but there are drawbacks to this approach. Second, DoF control. As I've remarked elsewhere, composing in three dimensions requires a bit more forethought or at least recalibration. One tends to shoot at smaller apertures for sufficient DoF, which in turn, in low light at least, can negate some of the advantages of the larger sensor. In my limited experience, what works at f4 or f5.6 on 35mm M winds up more like f8 - f11 on the X1D with the 45mm (35mm FF eq).  If you're one of those who believes there is a Leica look, then you'll definitely, at times at least, think there's an X1D/MF look, as well.

If the primary reason for purchase is transitioning to AF and speed is an issue, there is little doubt the SL will serve far better than the 'blad.  Presumably the EVF is significantly better,  speed to shot, startup times, etc, again. By any conventional measure, the SL will be superior operationally. In that regard the X1D is closer in spirit to the M... more deliberate.  The Leica E-shutter implementation is more sophisticated, the blad's base 100 ISO, leaf shutter with max speed of 1/2000" and slow e-shutter readout should not be forgotten, nor should the Leica's far greater range of optical choices. Everyone of these things, and more, play into the quality of the final image and to my mind are of far greater importance than any differences that could be attributed directly to the sensor. At this level, which tool serves best, comes more down to the circumstances one shoots under and the style of the desired result than the sensor specification.

Summing it up, either camera can certainly deliver outstanding image quality,  though depending on circumstance and optics, likely of differing character.  As I've mentioned elsewhere, I've somewhat reluctantly decided to own both, as I believe these two offer very little overlap in terms of purpose as opposed to pixel count. The SL and X1D will be replacing my Ms over time, the SL affording me the ability to slowly transition shooting M optics to L optics, the X1D affording me the alternative of the MF look and leaf shutter with a more deliberate shooting style.  If I could have only one, I'd choose the _________.   Dont know. Maybe a year from now I will.  

 

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Many thanks for all who contributed to the discussion- very rational, informative and balanced. From the functionality point of view, moving from manual to auto focus, the SL would be the obvious choice, also as I own a few M glass, however at a loss of compactness. Wish I had the resources to own both the X1D II and the SL2!!!

Will try and have a hands on experience with both (if possible) when they are available before taking the jump.

Till then my favourite M10, it is.

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I tested the SL2 against the X1D, qualitatively.  Same subject, same settings, 75 apo-summicron-sl and 90 xcd.  I applied the 2:3 crop ratio to the X1D files and looked at them "blind" in Lightroom and also printed test strips the equivalent of size A0 (33x47 inches).  My review is here.

Long story short:  I can't wait to get the SL2.

I'm not sure if I'll keep the X1D because it is a redundancy I don't need.  The SL2 can do virtually everything I need in a camera system.  I do love using my X1D like a little large-format camera (without camera movements), contemplatively on a tripod, but I don't think it would get much use once the SL2 arrives.  

One added little bonus with the larger sensor on the SL2 is for wildlife and people who want a long telephoto lens.  You still get large files when using APS-C mode, with all the technological advantages of the SL2, and effectively have a 560mm lens.

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vor 10 Minuten schrieb Likaleica:

I tested the SL2 against the X1D, qualitatively.  Same subject, same settings, 75 apo-summicron-sl and 90 xcd.  I applied the 2:3 crop ratio to the X1D files and looked at them "blind" in Lightroom and also printed test strips the equivalent of size A0 (33x47 inches).  My review is here.

Long story short:  I can't wait to get the SL2.

I'm not sure if I'll keep the X1D because it is a redundancy I don't need.  The SL2 can do virtually everything I need in a camera system.  I do love using my X1D like a little large-format camera (without camera movements), contemplatively on a tripod, but I don't think it would get much use once the SL2 arrives.  

One added little bonus with the larger sensor on the SL2 is for wildlife and people who want a long telephoto lens.  You still get large files when using APS-C mode, with all the technological advantages of the SL2, and effectively have a 560mm lens.

Really informative review, Timothy, particularly on AF performance.  Does it have an AF Profile for unicorns? 😁

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21 minutes ago, Likaleica said:

I tested the SL2 against the X1D, qualitatively.  Same subject, same settings, 75 apo-summicron-sl and 90 xcd.  I applied the 2:3 crop ratio to the X1D files and looked at them "blind" in Lightroom and also printed test strips the equivalent of size A0 (33x47 inches).  My review is here.

Long story short:  I can't wait to get the SL2.

I'm not sure if I'll keep the X1D because it is a redundancy I don't need.  The SL2 can do virtually everything I need in a camera system.  I do love using my X1D like a little large-format camera (without camera movements), contemplatively on a tripod, but I don't think it would get much use once the SL2 arrives.  

One added little bonus with the larger sensor on the SL2 is for wildlife and people who want a long telephoto lens.  You still get large files when using APS-C mode, with all the technological advantages of the SL2, and effectively have a 560mm lens.

Do you mind sharing the SL2 and X1D files?

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6 hours ago, Likaleica said:

One added little bonus with the larger sensor on the SL2 is for wildlife and people who want a long telephoto lens.  You still get large files when using APS-C mode, with all the technological advantages of the SL2, and effectively have a 560mm lens.

Sorry, but the crop factor is only 1.5 (compared to APS-C). So equivalent to 420mm. But using an adapted 400mm lens would be interesting (and resulting in 600mm equivalent in APS-C). Probably the MC-21 adapter will work on the SL2 (nobody has confirmed or denied, yet). So a Canon 400mm DO/f4 could be very interesting. Or a Nikon PF lens with a manual adapter (e.g. 500mm PF/f5.6 is quite affordable) .

Edited by caissa

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