The best Hasselblad cameras can deliver peerless image quality and that impossible-to-replicate medium format “look”. Their large sensors offer the depth and dynamic range of similarly sized film, outstripping full frame in terms of sheer quality.
For years, these cameras had a niche popularity, with a reputation for being impressive on the inside, but horribly bulky and impossibly expensive. However, the best Hasselblad cameras no longer fits this description.
Hasselblad has been around since 1841, but it didn’t become a brand name until the owner’s son Victor Hasselblad (opens in new tab) started its camera division, fast forward 181 years later, and Hasselblad is possible one of the best known and recognized camera brands in existence. It is best known for sending its best film cameras of the time to space with the Apollo mission, when humans first landed on the moon – all of those images where taken with modified Hasselblad cameras.
• You might also need the best Hasselblad lenses
Since then Hasselblad as been synonymous with delivering exceptional image quality, renowned Swedish design and exceptional build quality, being hand built in the companies factory in Gothenburg.
The best Hasselblad cameras aren’t cheap now, and likely never will be, but they usually have a longer lifespan than consumer or even professional mirrorless systems. Therefore, this list might seem small, but this is the full Hasselblad line-up, and if you’re looking for the best Hasselblad camera you can get in terms of digital image quality, they’re all featured below.
Check out our guide on how to upgrade from full-frame to medium format (opens in new tab) if you’re still not sure on what steps to take first, and whether you should change your camera system.
Why choose the best Hasselblad camera?
The reason that medium format cameras are considered some of the best cameras for professionals (opens in new tab) is because the size of their sensors and the image quality they offer is completely unparalleled, surpassing even that of full frame cameras like the Sony A7R IV (opens in new tab), Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab) and Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab) that are squeezing more pixels than ever onto a 35mm sensor. Medium format is simply on another level.
It is worth noting that medium format sensors come in two main sizes. The bigger full frame medium format size is used by Phase One XF IQ4 (opens in new tab) while Hasselblad’s H-series cameras correspond closely with the old 645 film format. There’s also a smaller size, midway between this and full-frame sensors, which is used in the Hasselblad XD series of compact digital mirrorless medium format cameras.
So, let’s look at the best Hasselblad cameras you can buy right now!
Best Hasselblad camera in 2022
Hasselblad 907X 50C might share the same 50MP resolution and range of XCD lenses as the X1D, but it enjoys a clever modular design. Along with the CFV II 50C digital back which handles the image capture, there’s a new 907X body that’s so thin it looks like a lens adapter. This is the physical and electronic bridge between the digital back and the lens, but what’s really impressive is that the CFV II 50C can breath new life into your old Hasselblad 500cm (if you’re lucky enough to have one) as it’ll take the place of the film back.
There’s a large 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen at the rear, but no EVF, while the AF performance can bit a touch sluggish. The quality of finish though, including the lovely black leatherette trim and chrome edging, is classic Hasselblad, while the results are gorgeous. As we said in our review, the Hasselblad 907X 50C is a slow and awkward tool, but it’s one designed for considered, careful use, and provides a gateway into a modular system for a fraction of the cost you might expect.
Update: To celebrate its 80th anniversary, Hasselblad came out with the 907x Anniversary Edition Set (opens in new tab). This special edition is an absolutely gorgeous version of the 907X in Lunar Grey rather than chrome, packaged alongside a matching 30mm f/3.5 lens. It’s an absolutely gorgeous set, and it also retails at about $15,000, so you do have to really want it. They’ve only made 800 of them, so act fast.
Read more: Hasselblad 907X 50C review (opens in new tab)
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Canon and Nikon have been at the top of the DSLR market for years, but in the world of medium format, it’s Phase One vs Hasselblad. The H6D-100c is the latest in Hasselblad’s long-running modular medium format system, and while Hasselblad can’t match the Phase One XT Camera System (opens in new tab) for megapixels without resorting to multi-shot models like the H6D-400c (opens in new tab), it does have the cachet and customer loyalty of the Hasselblad brand, and the company has been extremely good at combining its new tech with its much-loved legacy products.
This is the best Hasselblad camera on the market today for full blown medium format shooting that achieves 100MP.
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Most professionals will choose function over style every time, but the Hasselblad X1D feels like it’s aiming at a very different, design-conscious market. It’s a much more minimal ‘statement’ camera than the Fujifilm GFX 50R (opens in new tab), despite sharing the same dimensions and sensor specs. It’s also more expensive. The Hasselblad lenses, however, are superb, as is the image quality – especially the dynamic range.
We tested the Hasselblad X1D II 50C (opens in new tab), which comes with a host of performance and operational improvements, including faster startup, a larger, higher-resolution rear screen and an improved electronic viewfinder. The leisurely contrast-based autofocus remains, though, and while the image quality is quite superb – you can thank the sensor and Hasselblad’s excellent lenses for that – this is not a camera that likes to be rushed. It is, however, beautiful to handle and, frankly, to look at!
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With a price tag running into tens of thousands (around $48K / £40K at the time of writing), this obviously isn’t going to be your entry point into medium format photography. We’re including this as an example of the current pinnacle of the medium format world (and there’s always the option of renting it out), and an example of what medium format photography used to cost until the latest camera releases.
The H6D-400c features a 100MP CMOS sensor, with its maximum effective resolution of 400MP being achieved via a six-shot image capture. The process involves the sensor being moved one pixel at a time for the first four shots to achieve real color data – the capture of red, green and blue color information – before being returned to its starting point. It’s designed for tethered shooting with the aid of a Mac or PC.
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Versatility comes to the fore again from Hasselblad by offering a camera body that is fully compatible with all its H System lenses, including the HCD 4,8/24, HCD 4/28 and the HCD 4,0-5,6/35-90 lenses. It can also use a film magazine and offers H5X functionality with 3rd party digital backs. Although aimed primarily at current H1, H2, H2F, H4X and H5X users, the H6X can naturally act as a backup for H5D and H6D users too.
The H6X is designed to provide the same extensive functionality as older H1 and H2 cameras, providing a number of functions such as True Focus, HCD lens compatibility. A HVD 90x viewfinder optimized for 36 × 48mm format or HV 90x-II viewfinder optimized for film and 40.2 × 53.7mm format, a High power AF illumination, while the number of profiles has been increased from 4 to, along with more programmable button options.
The Hasselblad H6X is not a camera in its own right, but a camera body that can be utilized with the big world of medium format photography from Hasselblad’s own range or from third parties like Phase One’s digital backs or older rivals.
How we test cameras
We test mirrorless and DSLR medium format cameras both in real-world shooting scenarios and in carefully controlled lab conditions. Our lab tests measure resolution, dynamic range and signal to noise ratio.
Resolution is measured using ISO resolution charts, dynamic range is measured using DxO Analyzer test equipment and DxO Analyzer is also used for noise analysis across the camera’s ISO range.
We use both real-world testing and lab results to inform our comments in buying guides. Find out more about how we test and review (opens in new tab) on Digital Camera World.
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