Hasselblad X2D NEW Face Detection AF Tested!

I’m Karl Taylor, founder of Visual Education, and thrilled to be asked to be the first person to test and provide an in-depth exploration of this game-changing update, made possible by Hasselblad’s firmware version 3.1.0.

Unveiling the Update

Photography technology continues to leap forward, and today we dive into the groundbreaking new face detection focusing feature introduced in the Hasselblad X2D.

This long-awaited firmware version 3.1.0 from Hasselblad delivers an exciting addition: face detection focusing. For those entrenched in fashion and beauty photography like myself, this is a game-changer. No more manual focusing or finicky focus point selections; this update streamlines the process, promising an efficiency boost to our workflow.

In addition to the firmware update, the arrival of the new 90mm XCD V lens adds another layer of excitement. I can't wait to put this lens through its paces, comparing it to existing lenses and offering a comprehensive review in the near future.

Karl Taylor testing the X2D's face detection and the arrival of the new 90mm XCD V lens adds another layer of excitement

Putting it to the Test

To truly understand the capabilities of this new face detection feature, I enlisted the help of Amber, our talented customer support assistant and occasional on-screen co-star. We embarked on a series of tests, exploring the accuracy and adaptability of the face detection tracking.

With Amber gracefully moving through various positions, I scrutinised the camera's ability to track her movements, focusing specifically on the eyes and facial features. What became evident was the system's proficiency in tracking single subjects with precision.

Amber is Karl's subject for first X2D Face Detection tests

Multi-Subject Tracking

Taking it a step further, we introduced multiple subjects into the frame. As Emma joined Amber, the camera adapted seamlessly, recognising both subjects and allowing for swift selection between them. The flexibility to switch focus between individuals in real-time is a boon, especially for group shoots or dynamic scenes.
Locking in on specific subjects by swiping across the screen

Interface and Functionality

Navigating the interface for face detection setup was intuitive. Hasselblad's design made it easy to switch between auto and manual modes, offering control over the selection of the focus point or allowing the camera to make the decision autonomously.

While the system did impressively track movement, it's important to note that continuous focus updates aren’t yet a part of this feature. However, the ability to half-press the shutter to activate focus in tandem with face tracking drastically improves the speed of capturing those critical moments.

Face Detection access on the X2D interface

Real-World Application

The face detection feature excelled even when the subjects made subtle movements, mimicking scenarios encountered during beauty shoots or close-up portrait sessions. Despite slight head turns or changes in distance, the system maintained focus, showcasing its reliability in real-world applications.

Lens Compatibility

What's fascinating is how this face detection feature isn't confined to the newest lenses alone. Testing with older lenses, such as the 120mm macro lens, proved that the face detection functionality remains robust, though focusing performance may vary compared to the latest offerings.

Reviewing the Results

Analyzing the captured images revealed an impressive success rate in maintaining sharp focus on subjects, particularly on the eyes, even with a shallow depth of field at f2.8. While occasional misses occurred, they were on par with performance from some of the best systems available.
Karl Taylor reviewing the Hasselblad X2D's Face Detection results

Final Verdict

The introduction of face detection focusing in the Hasselblad X2D marks a significant leap forward in photography technology. Its ability to accurately track subjects, adapt to multiple faces, and perform consistently across various lenses is commendable.

For professionals engaged in portrait, fashion, or group photography, this update streamlines workflows and enhances efficiency, promising more accurate and compelling shots with minimal focus adjustments.

As Hasselblad continues to refine this feature, the future looks promising for photographers seeking innovative tools to elevate their craft.

Stay tuned for more detailed insights, comparisons, and reviews as I delve deeper into the capabilities of this groundbreaking update from Hasselblad. Happy shooting!

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  1. Hi Karl!

    This update is a greatly awaited update! Thanks for the info, tomorrow I plan on updating and testing it on
    moving subjects. I have been doing the old school, pre-focusing a spot on manual focus. On another note,
    I’m having trouble keeping the X2D connected while tethering. I use Tether Tools and the Hasselblad cable it came with: it will disconnect or go to a USB2 connection, shooting into a Macbook Pro M3. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks again!


    1. Hi Zac, I had some tethering problems losing the connection if the USB wobbled in the port. If you get one of those base plates or adaptors that holds the cable rigid in the side of the camera so that if you move the cable from the computer end or further up it doesn’t shake it in the camera that helped a lot.

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