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design & photography

Author Del Cook Biography

Del Cook has been a prominent figure on the global food scene since becoming a chef in 1993.  He has extensive experience working in both urban and rural cooking environments across the world from Montreal to HongKong and Tokyo.   In 2002 he embarked on an eleven year project in rural Japan near Kyoto where his reputation for championing local farmers and artisans grew.  The Nosé Project was based around a French restaurant perched on a mountainside full of chestnut, persimmon and fig trees.  The glorious view from the dining room window was like a seasonally changing landscape painting with its focal point anchored by the rice field filled valley below.   Together with the restaurant was a pottery studio in which porcelain ceramics were crafted exclusively for the restaurant by Chieko Ueno.  Gourmands from all across Japan were drawn to the terroir focused food served in one of a kind pottery.  Del was regularly featured in magazines and television shows across the country in recognition for both the unique qualities of his food and leadership in promoting local farmers and craftsman.  The restaurant’s use of produce from village farmers and artisans like the Tajima beef farmer, old-growth chestnut & shitake grower and stone-clay potter contributed positively to the growth of the local farmer’s market by drawing national attention to the quality of their work.

Since arriving in Japan Del has spent time in the very best kitchens working alongside Japanese chefs just as he worked together with French chefs in Montreal & Toronto.  Through this process he has developed an extensive understanding of both the technical skills and kitchen tools needed to craft high quality food from both a Western and Japanese perspective.  By the late 2000’s, Del began writing about his food experiences in detail.  Seeking a broader understanding of the ways to cook food that is both highly flavorful and healthy he embarked on a lengthy study of the history of cooking across the globe.  The cumulation of this research along with extensive conversations with Japanese and French chefs and craftsmen lead Del to sketch out a series of kitchen knives and tools that would combine the artisan craftsmanship of the past with newly emerging technologies for the future.

In 2014 Del began creating a new brand to represent this vision which he called  Kikusumi.  Kikusumi represents both the past and future of cooking with a series of exclusive knives and kitchen tools designed for cooks with passion.  The knives will include a series for the home cook along with a limited edition range for the professional or connoisseur of high quality knives.  Each product is a result of a lengthy design process that is then carried out by a select group of top tier manufacturers with the tradition and technology required to deliver high quality to consumers.

Kikusumi brand was launched in 2016 and will continue to grow its family of kitchen products and educational lifestyle books to inspire cooks across the globe.

Books Past and Future

Kikusumi Press


Behind the Scenes look at the Photo Shoot for 15 Recipes Cookbook

One of the exciting projects we are working on at Applewasabi is a 15 Recipes for Kikusumi cookbook that will offer a sample of the cookbook series to come.  The book will offer a few recipes in several categories that give a glimpse of our approach to teaching cooking.  Cooking for 25 years in kitchens across the globe including some of the very best has given us great insight into how best to learn to cook well.    The basic principal that we will apply throughout the series is that it is better to learn one skill and practice it over and over than to attempt a variety of new skills all at once and not so often.  It is for this reason that the series of books will focus on one specific cooking method and teach variations of it throughout the book.  In this way the cook will master the method and can then apply that skill to the ingredients available to them.   A secondary benefit of this method is that it encourages the cook to adapt the skill to their environment and season.  Contrast this to most books that offer a snapshot of a time and place that probably doesn’t apply to most buyers of the book.  Rather than offer hard to find ingredients that make recipes difficult to replicate our series will encourage the cook to learn a technique well and apply it to ingredients of their choosing.  It is a highly workable method that encourages engagement and ultimately will allow the cook to express their creativity through cooking.  Sounds fun!

In the 15 Recipes for Kikusumi cookbook we will introduce recipes for Rice, Soup, Stew, Burgers, Salads and Dessert.  The actual series will eventually cover an even broader number of categories that will be released over the coming years.  We think offering these books by single cooking method will help the cook focus on improving their cooking skill in a manageable way just as a professional cook would do.  So let’s dive into the layout of the coming series.

As stated above each book will be centered around a single cooking method.  Let’s take soup as an example.  The book will begin with an introduction of the importance of how and where you should source ingredients, good storage practices and important equipment that will be used in the book.  Next, the method of cooking great soups will be laid out in logical and detailed steps with a series of photos and videos.  This will be the blueprint for the book and will be referred to in all of the recipes.  In the case of soup there will be 3 basic methods to learn: clear soups like consommé , chunky soups like minestrone and smooth or pureé soups.  Naturally the cook can choose a method to learn and then follow the links to the recipe they want to do.  The reverse will also hold true and in this way take advantage of the e-book technology to make the book more flexible to the reader’s choices.  That will form the front section of the book and be the reference point of all recipes.

The bulk of the book will be a series of recipes divided by season to encourage the cook to choose ingredients that are at their peak.  This is a most important step in cooking because it is always the ingredient quality that makes the dish.  Of course ingredients are best when in season.  Next, the recipes themselves will follow a minimalist layout designed to both focus and inspire.  One photo for ingredients and one for the the final dish.  Some might be startled that the technical photos lie in a different part of the book but is for good reason we choose to use this method.  Cooking is a craft that has two aspect to it – one technical and the other creative (some may say artistic).  The point is they occupy different parts of the cooking process and our experience shows that separation is beneficial at least until the technical part has been mastered.

Capturing the Magic of Miyajima Japan – Island of the Gods in Black and White

Tori in the Harbor on Miyajima Island - Nikon D7000 Nikkor AF-S 35mm | Del Cook Photography

Tori in the Harbor on Miyajima Island | Del Cook Photography

Mysterious Island of the Gods – Miyajima Japan in Black and White

Miyajima Island is considered to be one of the most scenic spots in Japan, a spiritual place to Japanese and a must visit for tourists.  It is also a brilliant spot for black and white photography.  Sometimes referred to as the Island of Gods it appears to float on beautiful Seto Inland Sea as one approaches it by boat.  It is also home to the Itsukushima Shrine which is recognized as a World Heritage site.  Bordered by the Virgin Forest of Mt. Misen it is home to numerous preserved shrines, temples and historical monuments as well as free roaming wildlife.  On my visit there in the winter the weather was cool and cloudy with a bright haze hanging overhead.  Most of the photographs were taken during the day due to the limited arrival and departure times of the sea ferry.

The brightness of the sky was huge challenge with many of the photographic subjects having either a bright sky background or shiny water nearby.  I employed a B+W Polarizer filter along with a Nikon ND filter to better deal with the brightness and render some microstructure in the background where possible.  The camera used was a Nikon D7000 with a 35 mm 1.8G DX lenses.  The small size of the camera allowed me to stand in the middle of the crowded and flowing streets and compose shots before raising the camera unnoticed.  This advantage allowed for the capture of natural expressions as they arose on the food vending streets.  Many Japanese go to Miyajima Island for a spiritual visit during the first week of the New Year so it was really crowded even on a somewhat overcast day.

Following are the photos which were post-processed in Lightroom and with black and white software Tonality which is part of Macphun Creative Kit software.  The software is easy to use with the biggest advantages being its adaptive levers, micro contrast and frames.

Ferry and lighthouse on the way to Miyajima Island - Nikon D7000 Nikkor AF-S 35mm 1.8G | Del Cook Photography

Ferry and lighthouse on the way to Miyajima Island | Del Cook Photography


Ferry Anchor on Miyajima - Nikon D7000 Nikkor AF-S 35mm 1.8G | Del Cook Photography

Ferry Anchor on Miyajima | Del Cook Photography


Boarding the boat on Miyajima Island - Nikon D7000 Nikkor AF-S 35mm 1.8G | Del Cook Photography

Boarding the boat on Miyajima Island | Del Cook Photography


Ferry Still on the way to Miyajima Island - Nikon D7000 Nikkor AF-S 35mm 1.8G | Del Cook Photography

Ferry Still on the way to Miyajima Island | Del Cook Photography


Sunset on Miyajima Island - Nikon D7000 Nikkor AF-S 35mm 1.8G | Del Cook Photography

Sunset on Miyajima Island | Del Cook Photography


Box Prototype for Kikusmi Diamond Knife Sharpener

Thoughts on the Packaging Design for the Kikusumi Knife Sharpener Box

Working on a Box Prototype for the Kikusumi diamond electric knife sharpener called KS-2 that will be introduced to the market in 2017.  Kikusumi is the kitchen tool brand of  Tokyo design firm Applewasabi which began as an exploration into the relationship between people and food.  They are just about to launch the first product – a set of 3 ceramic knives and a bread knife- in the USA.  The design takes its inspiration from the ancient craft of charcoal making called kikusumi which translates to chrysanthemum charcoal.  The charcoal is made from kunugi tree branches which are cut and then fired slowly over 12 days in an oven made from mounded soil.  It is a painstaking process that results in a unique cross section patter that resembles the kiku or chrysanthemum flower.   Kikusumi was chosen to represent the precise hand craftsmanship of the brands products.  It also symbolizes the inspirational relationship the designs have with nature.

Black color is representative of the firing process involved in making Kikusumi knives as well as other metal products like peelers and graters.  In terms of designs it provides the backdrop that allows the simple details to shine.  Red is used for the logo and is symbolic of creativity and passion.  It’s presence on each Kikusumi product is a reminder to the cook to tap into their creativity and express themselves with their tools.  Kikusumi aims to be more than a functional object – it aims to inspire through design.


Kikusumi KS-2 electric diamond knife sharpener packaging box

Design…Print…Cut…Fold…Assemble Kikusumi KS-2 packaging

Assembling the Kikusumi KS-2 electric diamond knife sharpener packaging box

Assembling the Kikusumi KS-2

Designing the Kikusumi KS-2 electric diamond knife sharpener packaging box

Design tools for the KS-2 box

Closeup of the Kikusumi KS-2 electric diamond knife sharpener packaging box

Closeup of the KS-2 box

Kikusumi Knife Sharpener

Thoughts on Choosing a Street Photography Lens

Black and White Photograph by Del Cook

Tension | Del Cook Photography

Choosing a Street Photography Lens – Thoughts on Technology and Art

Street photography is an intriguing niche that places a different set of demands on camera lenses and bodies due to physical movement and the uncontrolled nature of both light and objects of focus.  I have been thinking a lot recently about the what criteria to use when upgrading my SLR  lenses used for street photography.  An annual string of announcements since 2013 for high-end camera equipment has been sending bolts of excitement through the photography community.  Not only are the envelopes of  image quality being stretched further but the ability to utilize it in more diverse and flexible ways is expanding.  There really are a lot of choices out there when picking systems and lenses.  One can easily be sucked into the pixel and sharpness comparison wars spread across internet blogs.   More often than not arguments are made and judgements passed on new equipment based on airtight technical measuring tests like DXO marks .  Technical marks are of course one of the most important tests to look at when selecting camera equipment – no argument here – but they ought not to be the entire basis for the decision.  When you choose a street photography lens this consideration takes on an added gravitas.

A few important aspects these tests do not measure are stealth ability, stylistic aptitude (like the degree and quality of micro-contrast or cinematic atmosphere) and even practicality (bulk and weight).  Sometimes the technical charts get it right on all accounts – the DXO lens ratings have Zeiss in 6 of the top 10 lenses which most professionals would agree set the benchmark for lens quality.  The Otus lens series makes up the bulk of Zeiss “stars” and provide a good example with which we can learn about the criteria we should be using to choose lenses for street photography.  In defining the best criteria to use in selecting a street photography lens I hope to expand beyond straight-up technical parameters and incorporate style, artistic and practical considerations.  I certainly don’t expect a single choice to come out of it but rather a set of choices from which artistic preferences and deployment style will ultimately determine the right choice to make.

Fine Art Photography by Del Cook

Anticipation | Del Cook Photography

Making Choices Based on Performance Measures

Epson introduced the first mirrorless camera – the RD1 digital rangefinder – in March of 2004 with a 6 megapixel APS-C sensor and the ability to take Leica M-mount lenses.  The RD1 was modeled after traditional rangefinder style cameras and came with with an eye-pleasing 1:1 optical viewfinder all packaged in a small body that weighed less than an SLR.  In 2016 Sony alone  offers four versions of mirrorless cameras with the newest and greatest being the A7R II.  Why not offer just one model that gets progressively better with each new iteration would appear to be a preferable solution for the consumer.  That Sony chose not to shows that for them marketing obfuscation takes precedent over consumer clarity.   That alone is a big reason to arm yourself with a wealth of pre-purchase knowledge and then conduct a thoughtful analysis of your choices.  The Sony mirrorless system has a lot going for it with a fine range of lenses that can be adapted to it.

On the lens front Zeiss has been the one pushing the envelope forward.  Starting in 2013 Zeiss launched a series of lenses called OTUS for Nikon and Canon SLR’s that more than any lens in history strives for absolute perfection.  The Otus family of lenses promise to deliver high resolution and outstanding definition regardless of the situation  the photographer faces.  In realizing this goal the size and weight each lens has also pushed new boundaries.  As perfect as each lens is -1.48  1.4/55 and 1.4/85 – they do offer up a question mark if stealth, weight and timing are important.

Medium format was not about to be left behind though.  Hasselblad is ready to launch the X1D which beautifully packages cutting edge medium-format photography into a more portable and compact body.  The minimalist and refined contemporary X1D body comes with its own set of dedicated lenses made by NITTOH in Suwa Japan.   Nittoh was founded to develop and manufacture high-grade optical lenses and its opto-technology was even used on the JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) asteroid spacecraft called Hayabusa.  This a compelling package for those who want a singular system and style albeit it would be one of the most expensive decisions one could make as the body and lenses will approach USD$14000.  Still, it comes at about half the price and weight of the flagship model H6D.

Black and White Food Photography by Del Cook

Repetition | Del Cook Photography

Considering Artistic Style – Stepping Beyond Technical Charts I

A good case for expanding lens selection criteria beyond tech specs can be made by the Ricoh GR camera.  It only scores an 80 on the DXO chart and yet it has a rare ability to impart extraordinary micro-character to images.  This is an attribute that few cameras and lens systems approach.  It is also small, lightweight and fun to use.  It’s ease of portability makes it a great choice for street photography.  If one were to go by tech specs alone then the DXO score of 80 would most likely be cause to pass it over.  The reasons to get this camera comes down to the combination of stealth ability and special image character that go along with decent tech specs.  Stealth ability is not registered in the technical charts but if it were the Nikon D810 would be worse off relative to a Ricoh GR.  The ability to capture a fleeting moment of the human condition on the street without disturbing it is a natural consideration for a street photographer.  This is an artistic choice for shooting that needs to be measured and considered when selecting a street photography lens.  Ultimately the value of this type of photograph is what it expresses to the viewer, compositional structure and technical merits like sharpness and tone while important are secondary.  The choice of lens to deploy ought to account for this.

Nikon Photography by Del Cook

Wonder | Del Cook Photography

Different Demands:  Studio Photography and Street Photography

In the studio the photographer can set the stage for near complete control of all the elements that will ultimately effect the outcome. Light can be “set up” and controlled perfectly for the camera by way of softboxes, umbrellas and spot lighting.  A Sekonic lightmeter will not only tell you the correct reading but – in the higher end models like the Sekonic L-478DR-E  – it can work seamlessly through synchronization to the flash lighting of the Elinchrom D-LITE RX series.  Animated subjects can be “directed” .  When you control all the elements in a shoot, as one can in studio photography, then you are effectively creating a story whereas with street photography you are documenting unrepeatable moments in time. 

Black and White Process by Del Cook

Conforming | Del Cook Photography

Improvisational Nature of Street Photography

Street photography is an entirely different animal to studio photography with the major difference revolving around the issue of control.  Light, angle and subject matter are ever changing elements one needs to weigh – no more so than when dealing with changing weather or moving objects.  The difference between the studio and street is similar to that those found between filmmaking and live theatre – albeit more pronounced because theatre operates with a predetermined and rehearsed script whereas street photography is more spontaneously determined outside of a set time of day or geographic location.

Street Photography by Del Cook

Intrigue | Del Cook Photography

Considering Physical Needs – Stepping Beyond Technical Charts II

A secondary issue, of lesser but still significant importance is that of equipment size, weight, focusing method and stealth.   Portraits in the studio are “set up” whereas those in the streets “happen” by being present in the moment.  Having your camera weight supported by a tripod eliminates matters of size and weight from comparative considerations.  In constrast it does matter a lot for street photography as was illustrated in the case made above for the Ricoh GR.  Deploying the Zeiss Otus on a Nikon D800 would certainly make for exceptional images – if they could be captured.  Many of the photos shown on this page were taken on a crowded street with me standing in the middle as people streamed by either side.  The camera used was a Nikon D7000 with a F/1.8 35 mm lens which made for a small enough “package” to keep it hidden as I stood watching for moments to unfold before me.  As a foreigner in a mostly Japanese area I already stood out enough so a less noticeable camera/lens system small enough to allow a quick yet precise draw and shoot was of practical importance.  Naturally I had employed black tape over the colors and labels on the camera so as not to attract attention.  The point is that a D810 with manual focus Otus lenses would have been very difficult to deploy in this situation for practical (size, weight, speed) and stealth reasons.

Japan Photography by Del Cook

Crafting | Del Cook Photography

Choosing the right Lens Family to Fit One’s Artistic Style

Zeiss Otus lenses would be the first choice if perfection was the goal for images.  The image quality and sharpness of resolution rendered by an Otus lens deployed on a Nikon D810 currently has no match in the SLR range as both a glance at the DXO review chart will reveal.  They are remarkably adaptable to a wide variety of lighting situations with the lens speed and flare protection provided by improved lens coatings.  If you can get away with a sort of pre-set up so that speed of focusing and stealth are not a requirement then this is an extraordinary choice to make.  With Zeiss lenses you are also buying into a lens family that ensures images carry the same cinematic style with phenomenal micro contrast and natural color rendering no matter the focal length.  As great as these lenses are the price is equally spectacular ($4000 +) however the sticker shock is lessened when one considers that these lenses may never need to be replaced in the future because better may just not come.  Recommend:  Otus F1.4/28   F1.4/55   F1.4/85

Zeiss Milvus family of lenses display many of the exceptional qualities of the Otus lens at a far more accessible price point.  There are currently 6 focal lengths lenses on offer including two Macro lenses.  The reason to consider a Milvus lens over an older Planar or Distragon is the weather sealing, improved coatings that protect against flare and consistent color rendition across the whole family of lenses.  Zeiss is creating families of lenses that allow the photographer to carry a singular style across the entire range of focal lengths.  In practice this translates to precise focusing, even optical performance across the frame and consistent color rendition.  Lenses are made in Canon and Nikon mounts which can also be used on Sony A7 cameras with an adapter.   Recommend:  Milvus F1.4/28   F1.4/50   F1.4/85 

Sigma Art series lenses are targeted at those who focus on fine photography and although not the first brand to come to mind they are to be taken very seriously.  Sigma, along with Zeiss are one of the few independent lens makers that remain in business.  Their f/1.4 Art primes come in 3 focal lengths – 24mm + 35mm + 50mm – and each features  a highly-complex design.  Low-dispersion glass elements are present to prevent chromatic aberrations while two aspheres correct coma and distortion as well as helping to reduce the size and weight of the lens.   Unlike the manual-only Zeiss lens families, the Sigma Art series has an autofocus option that uses a sonic-type motor to offer real-time manual override.  The price of the Art series is approximately half of the Zeiss Milvus and 1/4 of the Otus with one caveat.   One of reasons are why you pay less for Sigma than for Nikon, Canon or Zeiss lens is the existence of possible future camera incompatibility.  It may be cheaper today but if you have to replace the lens in the future it may no longer be the better deal.   Recommend:    F1.4/50 DG

Nikon family of lenses offer more choice and variations than perhaps any other.  They also operate in autofocus for those who prefer not to add that to the task list of street photography.  Exceptional for Nikon is stacked at 85 mm focal length with either of  the F1.4/85 G or F1.8/85 G a very fine choice.  Given that the F1.4 is almost 3 times the price with negligible quality differences it would be wisest to go with the F1.8 unless the extra lens speed was critical.  Choices become murkier for wider focal lengths as the performance standards of the Nikon 50, 35 and 28 mm lens are surpassed by Sigma at similar if not cheaper price points – no more so than at 50 mm.  This problem is amplified if it is important to you as a photographer to carry the same image rendering styles across different focal lengths. While Zeiss is dealing with this seriously the same cannot be said with Nikon given the inconsistency in quality across their range of lenses. Recommend:  Nikkor F1.4/50 G (maybe)  AFS Nikkor F1.4/85 G   AFS  Nikkor F1.8/85 G (better deal)

Black and White Photography by Del Cook

Desire | Del Cook Photography

Is the $9000 Hasselblad X1D the next step for Medium Format Cameras ?




Hasselblad X1D Compact Medium-Format Camera


Hasselblad is billing the X1D as the world’s first mirrorless medium-format camera.  The iconic Swedish camera-maker is targeting the size-friendly X1D to a customer base that extends beyond its usual professional class.  Founded in 1941, Hasselblad is the leading manufacturer of medium format cameras and lenses.  Handmade in Sweden, Hasselblad cameras are renowned for their uncompromising image quality.  On paper the Hassleblad X1D, a 50MP medium format (44x33mm) mirrorless camera with a 2.36MP EVF, offers all the quality and image detail you would expect of a medium-format camera without its associated size and heaviness (725 g).

Hassleblad X1D

Photo courtesy of Hasselblad

Unlike the boxy Hasselblads of the past, the X1D is easy to hold with an sensibly ergonomic grip and body shape.  Design details are lifted from the new H6D medium-format camera like a touch-screen interface and S50-megapixel resolution.  Controls are very user-friendly with touch-sensitve options that work seamlessly together with more traditional button interface controls.  The icons on the interface are appealingly modern and simple making navigation appear as simple as using the early editions of an iPhone.  The use of black and white means no distractions as you strictly focus on camera operations – a bit like using the iA Writer app.

The subtle orange button on top adds an iconic look and warmth to the camera much in the way as the red dot does for a Leica camera.  One could argue that it’s a more practical choice and comes across as less ostentatious to locate the color on the top trigger button rather than stuck on the front of the camera as on the Leica.  What is undeniable is that this camera looks fantastic.  Its minimalist monochrome color palette creates a perfect backdrop for the skilled craftsmen at Hasselblad to add in beautiful engraving, embossing and timeless typography.  The timeless Hasselblad logo juxtaposes nicely with the thin modern icons and sans-serif fonts lending the overall image of the camera a cool sculptural appeal with just the right balance of details to make it fresh and cool.  If a Leica is classical music then this Hasselblad is pure jazz.

“The X1D marks a pivotal point in Hasselblad’s rich 75-year history. This camera makes medium format photography available to a new generation of Hasselblad users, while pushing the existing limits of photography to new heights.”

Perry Oosting, Hasselblad CEO

Hassleblad X1D

Photo courtesy of Hasselblad

For Creative Photography

The X1D is ideal for those who want to create the highest quality medium format images with a minimalist, user-friendly camera that fits comfortably in the hand.   The 50-megapixel chip tucked inside has about twice the surface area as those found in full-frame DSLR’s like the Nikon D4 and Canon 5D Mark III.  Bigger sensors almost always translate to better image quality because they just take in so much more information than those with smaller sensors.  Bigger sensors also allow cameras to perform better in low-light making the X1D ideal for night time shooting.  Even at ISO 12,800 the X1D’s huge pixel intake should render invisible the usual high-ISO noise in darkness.  Once again – on paper at least – the X1D tramples the best pro DSLR’s with it’s super-size sensor and yet it is more compact and easy to hold.  Add to its minimalist operational efficiency and you start to see a compelling case for owning the X1D being built.

Hassleblad X1D

Photo courtesy of Hasselblad


Beyond the big sensor the X1D also has a super-fast flash sync with shutter speeds blazing at up to 1/2000 of a second.  It’s 3-inch touchscreen UI, 14-bit color depth, and a fetching orange shutter button.  Other features include shooting 1080p video at 30fps,  it can write images to two SD card slots and comes in a weather-sealed body.  Still photos can be shot at up to ISO 25,600 and Hasselblad claims the CMOS sensor is capable of capturing an amazing 14 stops of dynamic range.  The X1D also matches the continuous-shooting speed of the $26,000 H6D with an impressive top speed of 2.3 shots per second.  That’s pretty amazing given the huge chunk of data the X1D captures in each shot – 65MB RAW files / 150MB TIFF files.

Hassleblad X1D

Photo courtesy of Hasselblad

To Buy or Not to Buy

For pros and serious amateurs the X1D can be viewed as a compact creative tool with a big sensor that stretches its DR abilities beyond that of a top DSLR.  As it stands today, the X1D also entails risk in buying it.  Outside of the 45mm and 90 mm, the extent of the lens system remains an unknown.  When one considers the extensive lens offerings of Nikon, Canon, Leica and Sony the decision to jump at the X1D is less clear.

Lenses for the Hasselblad are OEM – production is outsourced to Nittoh, a Japanese precision lens company.  NITTOH was founded in Suwa, Nagano in 1876 and is heavily involved with space technology development.   As an example of their work, NITTOH’s opto-technology was used during lift-off of the JAXA’s asteroid spacecraft called Hayabusa on December 3, 2014.    One could argue that this allows Hasselblad to focus on what it does well and focuses its R&D budget more effectively.

The slow boot up and autofocus system means the X1D not a camera for sports photography or fast moving scenes.  What it is ideal for is portraiture, landscape and still life photography – anything that rewards a disciplined and thoughtful setup.  Ultimately the X1D has the potential to be a “Revolutionary” camera for only a very small niche of camera users given its price tag.  Choosing it over a package of Nikon or Canon’s top DSLR’s really comes down to how you plan to employ it.

As for a comparison of fantasy kits the Hassleblad X1D beats the Sony A7r II, Pentax 645D and Nikon D5/1DX on Digital Resolution, high ISO noise and color accuracy.  The Canon 5DS R does offer the same number of pixels however that is delivered through a smaller sensor and packaged in a heftier camera body.  Alternatively, my dream combo of a Carl Zeiss Otus lens and a Nikon D810 gets beat by the X1D’s superior sensor according to Ming Thein who has shot extensively with both.  By summer we will be able to spend more time with the Hassleblad X1D and evaluate its image production more closely.  There is lots of time to decide whether parting with $14,000 for the Body + 2 Lens kit can be rationalized.  Until then we can only dream about just how good it could be.

Hassleblad X1D

Photo courtesy of Hasselblad


  • Compact, lightweight (725g), highly portable and user-friendly medium format technology
  • Large 50MP CMOS medium format sensor delivering up to 14 stops of dynamic range
  • New line of XCD lenses with integral central shutter; 45mm and 90mm available at launch
  • Compatible with all 12 lenses and lens accessories from the Hasselblad professional H System (adapter required)
  • Multiple image format options
  • High quality XGA electronic viewfinder or high resolution rear display with touch functionality
  • Wide range of shutter speeds: 60 minutes to 1/2000th sec. with full flash synchronisation throughout the range
  • An ISO range from 100 to 25,600
  • Dual SD card slots, GPS and Wi-Fi
  • USB 3.0 Type-C connector, Mini HDMI, Audio In/Out
  • Weather and dust sealings
  • HD video
  • Phocus 3.1 for simple and quick raw image processing. Adobe Photoshop® and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom® compatible.

HASSELBLAD    website