Once upon a time, you wouldn't even dream about taking a medium format camera off a tripod – let alone take it out of a studio setting. So the idea of using one for street photography is a notion that's still quite jarring for some.
Thanks to cameras like the new Hasselblad X2D (opens in new tab), however, the idea of hitting the streets with a medium format body and using it as a street shooter isn't just something that's possible – it may just be the camera that does the best job.
You see, the X2D doesn't just pack a medium format sensor – it packs a 100MP sensor. But it isn't this resolution alone that makes it one of the best medium format cameras (opens in new tab) you can buy; it combines that sky-high pixel count with an astonishing in-body image stabilization system that delivers 7 stops of compensation.
For reference, that's better than the 5.5 stops offered by the Sony A1 (opens in new tab), the 6 stops offered by the Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab) and Fujifilm GFX 100S (opens in new tab), and the 7 stops offered by the OM System OM-1 (opens in new tab) – which has the best stabilization in the business.
So the Hasselblad X2D combines these two technologies, giving you the ability to shoot handheld 100MP images that are absolutely rock-solid. And this is quite literally a cheat code for street photography. Look at this image:
Now, as a piece of photography, it's nothing special. But the point is, it's an example of the sort of image you might spot on the street, and decide might make a cool slice of narrative urban portraiture.
The thing is, though, we were standing on the opposite side of the street, shooting on the Hasselblad X2D and the XCD 2,5/55 lens – which, in 35mm terms, only has a 44mm focal length.
Below you can see the full size image we took, of the entire field of view captured by the sort-of standard lens we were using. Much too cluttered and unfocused and meh to be interesting:
However, because that file gave us 100MP of resolution to play with, we could crop all the way into the shot and isolate the subject we actually wanted to capture, without sacrificing all our image quality.
The cropped black and white street photograph is just 7.2% the size and resolution of the full scene, which gives us a perfectly serviceable 7.3MP / 2338 x 3118 image. If you did the same thing on a typical 26MP street photography camera, though, you'd end up with a postage stamp-sized 1.87MP / 449 x 300 image.
Okay, we're not going to go too crazy and start declaring that the X2D is the best camera for street photography (opens in new tab), but let's be honest – the ability to do this does, in fact, make it a pretty damned spectacular street shooter.
If you can afford to buy Hasselblad's latest camera, then you're already very lucky to have one of the top cameras available right now. And if you decide to take it out and try your hand at street photography, you're even luckier to have a body that's accidentally tailor made to do a fantastic job at it.