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Chinese Hasselblad X1D clone appears – from Hasselblad's Chinese owner, DJI

DJI goes medium format – with a knock-off Hasselblad X1D
(Image credit: DJI / CNIPA)

A Chinese clone of the medium format Hasselblad X1D has been registered online. However, this clone comes from a very specific Chinese company – that being DJI, the drone camera specialist that is also majority owner of Hasselblad. 

It seems probable that the clone, which doesn't yet have a product name, will be a fairly straight rebadged version of the X1D intended specifically for the Chinese or Asian market.

"Nordic cameras at Chinese prices?" posited Gizmodo Japan (opens in new tab) (hat tip to Mirrorless Rumors (opens in new tab)), which investigated the patent registration after the design was initially shared online as a DJI rival to the Sony A7 series.

The "X1DJI" (left) seems to be a carbon copy of the Hasselblad X1D II 50C (right)

The "X1DJI" (left) seems to be a carbon copy of the Hasselblad X1D II 50C (right) (Image credit: DJI / CNIPA / Hasselblad)

The "X1DJI" could be a clone of the original Hasselblad X1D 50C (opens in new tab) or the recently announced Hasselblad X1D II 50C (opens in new tab), since both bodies are almost identical and they both possess the same image sensor (though the latter has faster software and better general operability). 

However, the 'new' DJI version has a couple of minor adjustments to the Hasselblad designs. First and foremost, it appears to possess a tilting touchscreen – something that has long been a curious omission from the X1Ds, given medium format's history of vertical viewfinder photography.

The X1DJI also rearranges the furniture around the back grip, moving the AE-L button from the right of the viewfinder and adding it to the vertical control array adjacent to the LCD screen. 

In place of the AE-L button, the DJI clone now features a joystick – offering more precise control than the touch-and-drag focus point movement of the original Hasselblad bodies. 

The back of the DJI clone reveals a different button layout and the addition of a joystick

The back of the DJI clone reveals a different button layout and the addition of a joystick (Image credit: DJI / CNIPA)

The idea of an authorized Chinese clone of a key Hasselblad product seems bizarre. We can only presume that it would be a cut-price version of the X1D, which we can in turn only presume would eat into sales of Hasselblad's premium-priced camera.

While this kind of product cannibalism seems outlandish, Hasselblad does have an unfortunate history when it comes to rebadging products for resale in other territories; the Hasselblad Lunar and Stellar were both upcycled Sony bodies sold exclusively in Asia. 

With DJI facing a downturn in its core drone business, and still reeling from $147 million losses (opens in new tab) due to employee fraud, the idea of repurposing a medium format camera it already owns the rights to may not be quite as bizarre as it first seems. 

Read more:

Best medium format cameras (opens in new tab) in 2019: large sensor cameras for experts and pros
The 10 highest-resolution cameras (opens in new tab) you can buy today: ultimate pro cameras
Hands on: Hasselblad X1D II 50C review (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.