"For me as a photographer, the X2D is what a Stradivarius violin might be for a violinist. It's the ultimate camera."

Hasselblad Master and landscape photographer, Hans Strand has been travelling with Hasselblad medium format cameras since the '80s, capturing diverse landscapes around the world. His images abandon the convention of the "ideal" or "picturesque" landscape; instead, he finds his inspiration in nature's often-overlooked chaos and intricate details. We had the unique opportunity to travel with him and see Iceland through his eyes as he shot with the X2D 100C.

© Hans Strand, X2D 100C + XCD 3,5-4,5/35-75

"Hasselblad cameras have always been the best quality, and I think it's better than ever with this camera. I was blown away when I got it in my hands; it's so rugged, compact, and genuine."

From tropical rainforests to icy tundra, Strand's trips have taken him around the world. But when asked where he wanted to bring the X2D first, he chose Iceland without hesitation, "The colours and complexity of the Icelandic landscape are simply unmatched." Strand has photographed in Iceland 36 times and says that each trip continues to bring renewed inspiration.

© Hans Strand, X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/38V
© Hans Strand, X2D 100C + XCD 4/21

As a landscape photographer, portability is essential to Strand, whose work takes him traversing a wide variety of terrain and facing the instability of hand-held aerial photography. "Before, medium format cameras were more or less clumsy, big, and heavy…performing very well, but it was a sacrifice. You'd have to carry quite a heavy weight when you were hiking. Now you have this small, compact, medium format camera. That is game-changing for me."

"It's fantastic to have backup security built into the camera. One terabyte, that takes quite a lot of shooting to fill that up."

© Hans Strand, X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/38V

Strand divides his work into two distinct scenes–intimate chaos and the grand landscape. He approaches these two scenes with different strategies.

Intimate Chaos

When Strand creates his abstract photographs, he looks for chaos, but not total chaos. He carefully composes the shot, stabilising the chaos with a sense of balance and adding a "backbone" to the image. He avoids strong optical elements in the corners that could distract the eye and instead searches for short diagonal lines to steady the frame.

"I try to implement a sort of personal interpretation to every shot. It's not about the whole scene. It's about bringing out the essence and implementing something from yourself into the landscape, not just shooting what is great and magnificent. I try to turn it into poetry; I think that's my goal when I make my photographs."

Corner-to-corner detail immerses the viewer in the landscape. Shooting with the X2D, it wasn't just the 100-megapixel sensor that helped capture the immense detail but also the 15 stops of tonal range.

© Hans Strand, X2D 100C + XCD 4/21
© Hans Strand, X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/38V

© Hans Strand, X2D 100C + XCD 3,5-4,5/35-75

"You're not risking or burning highlights or having totally black dots. You have it all in the frame. You hardly have to do any exposure changes because everything is in there."

Grand Landscape

Strand's grand landscapes are just as detailed as his up-close chaos. In these images, he looks for interesting foreground elements that break off from the rest of the scene. For these magnificent detail-packed landscapes, he noted it's important that everything is in focus so that every detail can be appreciated and seen as if you were there.

"The X2D's 100MP guarantees the best possible resolution, and when used in combination with Hasselblad's range of super-sharp XCD lenses, you get perfect detail from corner to corner."

Even in his aerial photography, Strand looks for details. "It was dark and overcast, and I was a bit worried because that's not what you're looking for when you do aerials." Strand was attempting to shoot small detailed waves on the water's surface from a hovering helicopter.

"I trusted the IBIS system, I shot the images at something like a 125th of a second, which wouldn't really work with a normal camera without the image stabiliser, and I was just amazed by how sharp they were. It was windy, so small waves made a fantastic texture on the surface, and that texture came out like it was cut in stone. Even though the light wasn't great, the camera generated really high-quality images."

© Hans Strand, X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/38V
© Hans Strand, X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/38V

"The design and functions on the X2D are state of the art. I think the X2D will open new doors. I'll be able to create images in a way I have never been able to do before."

Hans Strand


Strand competed at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles as part of the Swedish National Rifle team. His time as an athlete introduced him to a lifestyle of travelling and seeing the world that would reflect in his work decades later. At the time, photography was a hobby. After an almost decade-long career in engineering, he delved into photography full time. He spent the '90s travelling the world, shooting landscapes. "It's still a fantastic way of living." He continues an ongoing series, "Manmade Land," that documents humanity's impact on landscapes around the world.

Inspiration in Every Detail