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What is the difference between the X1 and X5 scanners?

1. Resolution

First, there is the higher nominal maximal resolution of the Flextight X5 to be mentioned: Its 8000ppi are compared against the 6300ppi of the Flextight X1. But in practice, this difference becomes quite insignificant.The respective maximum resolution of both scanners is only available in the 35-mm image format, and the Flextight X5 "only" achieves an effective value of about 6900 ppi in a scan resolution of 8000ppi. Thus, the difference in the effective resolution that is possible to achieve between the X5 and the X1 is of 6900ppi against 6150ppi. Both of these values are so extremely high that they exceed the resolution limit (grain boundary) of a 35-mm film.Thus, the difference in the resolution is rather nominal, as in case of the medium and the large formats, there is no difference in the resolution of both devices. Therewith, the resolution criteria can be omitted as a real differential factor and should not have any influence in the purchase decision.

2. Maximum density, range of density 

Both of the scanner models have a different maximum density: While the Flextight is still able to capture the film details of a maximum density of D=4,9, the maximum density of the X1 is of D=4,6. Therewith, the range of density of the X5 is approximately one aperture stop higher than the one of the Flextight X1.The higher maximum density of the Hasselblad Flextight X5 means that in extremely dark image areas, the differences of brightness can be still captured while other scanners only represent the colour black. But herein, there is to mention in advance that during our tests, we could not determine in the case of any slide any differences in the dark areas of the scans done with the Flextight X1 and the ones done with the Flextight X5. Therewith, the density criterion also does not seem to be really decisive for the purchase in the comparison between both devices, but of course it is in comparison to other scanners.

3. Scan speed

There is a huge difference in the scan speed between both devices: While the Flextight X1 provides a speed of 60 MB / minute, the Flextight X5 offers a speed that is 5 times faster which is 300 MB / minute.This speed difference is clearly noticeable in practice, as recorded during our speed measurements. But in a straight comparison of both scanners, the factor value of 5 is not achieved but, depending on the image format, a value of about 4. This is due to the reason that during our measurements, beside the mere scanning times, the time of the film feeding is also included; in both scanners, these times are the same.Thus, both Hasselblad scanners differ significantly in the scan speed. This is a significant and decisive distinction feature for the purchase. Those who want to scan large amounts will need a Flextight X5 in order to achieve a high productivity and capacity. But those who only occasionally need a high quality scan will also wait some minutes more until the image file is ready.

4. Compatible film formats, film adapter 

Both scanners of Hasselblad practically do not differ from the exterior so that one could assume that both scanners can process the same film formats. The Flextight X1 can basically process all film formats that can be also processed by the X5, thus 35-mm films, medium formats 120/220, roll films and large formats up to 4x5". For both devices, the film adapter is identical.But additionally, with the Hasselblad Flextight X1 it is also possible to scan large formats of 13x18cm (5x7"). This is not possible with the Flextight X5 - the light condensator that is built in it impedes the scanning of such a large film format. Therewith, the Flextight X1 does offer a decisive advantage against its big brother, specially because the large format of 13x18 cm is widely used.

5. Scans of non-transparent material

The scans of non-transparent materials can be digitalised with the Hasselblad Flextight X5 up to a format of DIN A4 (21 x 29,7 cm). This function is not available in the case of the Flextight X1, as this model only scans transparent materials. But it is easy to abstain from this feature, as on one hand, the scanning of non-transparent images/documents with the Flextight X5 is quite laborious and on the other hand, the achievable scan quality is not better than the one that results by using a high quality flat bed scanner that only costs a fraction of that what a Hasselblad Flextight costs. 

6. Accessories for the batch processing

For the Flextight X5, Hasselblad offers two feeders for the batch processing: a slide feeder for up to 50 framed 35-mm slides and a batch feeder for up to 10 film adapters of any type. With the first one, it is possible to scan up to 50 framed 35-mm slides in the automatic modus without any intervention of the user. In the latter, it is possible to insert up to 10 different film adapters so that the Flextight X5 processes up to 10 film patterns in the automatic modus. Thereby, it is not necessary that the 10 film adapters are of the same type but different formats can be mixed together.With the Flextight X1, the use of such feeders is not possible; this device does not have any connection for these kind of accessoires. Thus, those who have large amounts of film material to process should not only choose the bigger Flextight X5 just because of the higher scan speed but also due to its expandability of the feeders.

7. Cooling of the sensor

Either the structure of the Flextight X5 as also the one of the X1 have some heat reducing features, as for example the externally arranged power supply and the appliance of a cold-cathode fluorescent tube as a light source. Moreover, the X5 additionally offers an active sensor cooling that continues reducing the image noise caused by the heat. But this is not significant until the device has been continuously used for several hours without any break in between the scanning procedures, thus specially if the optional batch feeding procedures are used, or if one works with several film adapters so that the scanner is continuously working.The missing sensor cooling does not have a negative effect in the case of the Flextight X1, as this device does normally not work continuously. But in the case of the Flextight X5, the sensor cooling is absolutely necessary, as the device is specially made to perform a high capacity, thus for the permanent processing.

8. Light source 

Compared to the Flextight X1, the Flextight X5 has a fixed installed light condensator located straight in front of the light source that disperses the light and therewith provides a soft illumination. Thereby, the smallest scratches and dust particles are outshined, a thing that eases a little the scan preparation concerning the cleaning of the film material and the post-processing concerning the photo retouching. For the scanning with the Flextight X1, the previous and thorough cleaning of the film material before the scanning is much more important as it is in the case of the Flextight X5, as every dust particle on the film is visible.A straight comparison of the image results of both scanners gives a further insight of the effects of the harder light: The Flextight X1 makes the film grain clearly outstand. Depending on the texture of the grain, a more or less visible snow grain appears. Due to the hard light of the X1, the eventual deficiencies of the original material are mercelessly brought to light, a thing that is not necessarily a drawback. Such a high-definition reproduction can be absolutely wished. The raw scans of the X5 appear to be a little softer than those of the X1, and partly also a little less sharp.Thus, the Flextight X1 provides some luscious, sharp scans, while the Flextight X5 provides some softer and slightly less sharp images. Which variant is the best is rather a question of taste than an objective criterion of quality. In the following, we will observe the image quality as also the scan speed of the Flextight X1, also in comparison to its bigger brother Flextight X5.