Recently, I’ve transitioned from working and living full-time in California to the South East. Initially, I thought this would miss out on all the incredible interactions I would regularly have when my office was located in one of our stores. To my surprise that hasn’t been the case. I’ve had the privilege of meeting many new faces through our online stores, as well as through our physical locations. Interacting with photographers from across the U.S. and beyond has shown me the incredible power of different fine photographic tools and the inspiration they provide.

Since moving, I’ve become good friends with a photographer named Aaron Greene. Based in Greenville, SC, Aaron is an avid Leica user with a stunning studio just outside downtown Greenville. Much like me, he has a fascination with gear, possibly even more so…

I encouraged Aaron to try the Hasselblad X2D 100C for two main reasons. Firstly, his perspective on this camera aligns with many of our readers, as he primarily uses Leica equipment. Trying the X2D 100C may help answer the question, “Do I need a medium format mirrorless system in my kit?” Secondly, I believe Aaron’s approach to photography is particularly engaging when used with a system like the Hasselblad X.

Hopefully, this conversation is insightful to all of you who find yourself contemplating the use cases for a Medium Format system in your own kit along side your Leica gear.

Without any further ado, enjoy this brief conversation with Aaron Greene and the stunning visuals that coincide.

Aaron, tell us a little more about yourself and your work, what do you do?

I’ve been a working photographer for 15 years. I shoot commercial lifestyle and portraiture primarily. Given my smaller market i’ve had to shoot a variety of things in the early days of my career but these days it’s mostly advertising.

You and I talk a lot about the tools we use and their impact on our photography. Tell us a little bit more about the tools you enjoy using for photography, why you choose to work with them, and how they impact your work as a photographer.

When I started to learn photography I did so with a digital camera, a Nikon D70s. After several years of being a working photographer I would never take any of my cameras home from my studio because they were big and bulky (Nikon D3) and felt like work. So my kids were growing up and I wasn’t every really taking pictures of them. So I bought an M6 and decided it would be my document life camera. This was when most of the other photographers I knew didn’t really even consider Leica. Most had never even seen one. I think i paid $1500 for my M6 so that tells you it was a while ago. Eventually, I found the Leica an inspiring tool that kept my interest and eventually, I’ve migrated fully (accept for Medium format) to the Leica systems (Analog and Digital M’s, SL2, Q2, Q3).

So, tell us what intrigued you about the Hasselblad X2D?

I was interested in working with the X2D after falling in love with the Q2. I had the Q1 but I never really clicked with it. It was stolen on production and my insurance replaced it with the current model as it was no longer available so I got the Q2. After using the Q2 more and more on tests and various travel jobs it started to make sense to me. When the X2D was announced I was intrigued because in my mind it was basically a big Q2. So, I thought I should give it a go.

Let’s talk about the setup here. Walk us through the kit you have laid out and how you approached this session from a “Gear perspective.”Side by Side the Leica Q2 vs Hasselblad X2D:

I almost always shoot multiple formats on my shoots. I switch between them all pretty fluidly to create some variety in each of the setups. This generally includes my Leica M’s for 35mm (One color / One BW), either my Digital M, SL, or Q system camera for digital capture, a medium format camera (Mamiya RZ67 or 7ii), and one or two polaroid formats. It can be a lot to juggle but I’ve found that’s how I like to work.

For this shoot, I had my Leica MP’s, Leica Q2, Mamiya 7ii, and the Hasselblad X2D.

We have some lovely photos here. How did the cameras do side by side in the field? What were their strong suites and downfalls while using them, and did this influence how you used them to create?

There were two things that attracted me to working with the X2D, the files, and the form factor. From my perspective it seemed like a larger Leica Q camera so it wouldn’t add some cumbersome system to my multi camera setup. The file quality is absolutely undeniable. I had both the 38mm and the 55mm but I never took the 38mm off. It was very close to the 28mm on the Leica Q2.

The only downside at all I experienced was the frame rate was slower than the Q2. I knew this going in but I did notice it. I was really tight for time on this project with only 3 shoot hours so on a few setups I just defaulted to the Q2 because I knew I could get what I needed and move on. It some ways it wasn’t a fair fight though, I had hardly even looked at the X2D menu before going into the shoot so I was flying blind. With a little more familiarity with the system I don’t think the slower frame rate would deter me at all. I’m not shooting sports here after all.

Left: Hasselblad X2D | Right: Leica Q2

Tell us what you think of the results. How do the images line up when we place them in a sequence?

When it came to working with the files, I had no issues at all processing everything to match. I had to go back to the meta data to match shots and cameras because I can’t even tell from just looking at the images. When you start to zoom in though in post, it is undeniable how amazing the X2D files are.

Left: Hasselblad X2D | Right: Leica Q2

We talked earlier about the narrative you were trying to tell and the expectations going into this session. Do the cameras give you results you can use side by side? Were there any wrinkles or inconsistently that you found challenging to overcome when telling the same story with two drastically different pieces of kit?

So for this project we were playing it for a home in the UK. We actually shot it at a beautiful property in North Carolina. Bringing in the right cars and motorcycle helped but the house was really a beautiful backdrop.

I didn’t have any issues with the systems that I recall. I was just shooting and moving on since we were tight on time.

The big obvious question: this session was a year ago now. Did the X2D make it into your kit?

Well, it hasn’t for now, but as I’m remembering all this I’ve found myself thinking maybe I should just add it! It’s superb.

Why not?

Well, I guess, that would be one more system to integrate and I’m not unhappy with my Leica Q2 results. Now with the Q3 I’ve upgraded to I’ve got a good bit of resolution and the batteries switch seamlessly with my SL cameras.

Gallery Featuring a X2D & Q2 Mix

Could you see the X2D fitting other photographers? If so, are there any considerations for someone interested in the X2D or Leica Q2 or even Q3?

Of course, it’s a super easy camera to use, the lenses are amazing and I don’t see a lot of downsides honestly. I’d love to give it another try on a travel job and some studio portraits to round out my opinion. In the one day I shot it, no complaints.

About the Photographer

Aaron is an American photographer & director. Keen observation of the world around him has led to a body of work celebrating beauty of both place and humanity, and a unique openness from his subjects. His rich imagery is at home in the world of lifestyle, portraiture, and documentary photography, blurring the line between captured and produced images.


Instagram: @aarongreene