Hasselblad True Zoom Review and Test

Hasselblad True Zoom Review and Test

As good as smartphone cameras have finally become, in certain points, they are even under cheap compacts. This is also known by Lenovo and with the Hasselblad True Zoom Moto Mod for the Moto Z. Much more than a few additional gadgets and the well-known logo of the traditional Swedish camera manufacturer does not offer the module, as the review shows.

On Moto Mod we have already entered the Moto Z test. With the aid of metal contacts and magnets, additional modules can be quickly and easily connected to the smartphone – also compatible with Moto Z Play.

In addition to the Hasselblad True Zoom, a projector as well as a loudspeaker attachment are currently available, but only one Moto Mod can be used, a kind of daisy chain is not provided. At this point, Moto Mod resembles the principle of the G5, unlike the LG competitor, the smartphone for the change of the modules but does not have to be switched off – plug and play is the appropriate keyword.

Hasselblad True Zoom is missing some hardware

Basically, the Hasselblad True Zoom brings everything that is also in a classic compact camera. It has its own image sensor and its own optics, as well as a separate two-stage release, a flash and two microphones. Not built in the case are viewfinder, memory, battery and any type of connectivity. All this controls the smartphone, in the test the Moto Z.

Hasselblad True Zoom Review and Test

The view of the concrete equipment shows that high expectations should not be fulfilled. With 12 megapixels the resolution remains not only behind the Moto Z, but also numerous compact cameras offer more pixels. However, since the pure number of pixels does not indicate the actual quality, other values are the focus. With an edge length of 1.55 micrometers, the individual points are large compared to smartphones, but with 1 / 2.3 inch the BSI-CMOS sensor is again comparatively small.

Freud and suffering are also close to each other. The focal length of 4.5 to 45 mm (35 to 250 mm equivalent) promises a 10x optical zoom, but the light intensity is only f3.5 to f6.5 depending on the focal length. These values are comparable with cheap kit lenses from system cameras, the Moto Z offers a fixed focal length of 4 mm as well as aperture f1.8.

When building the Hasselblad True Zoom, you have to orient yourself to ordinary cameras, which greatly shortens the familiarization phase. On the top edge, the on / off switch, the two-stage shutter and the zoom rocker, viewed from the front, are objective, focus light, xenon flash and the two microphones. There are no further connection possibilities or control elements, a tripod thread is also missing. The connection is just as fast and simple as with the JBL SoundBoost, starting is done either via the dedicated power-on or the camera application.

With 145 g, the module is far from easy, with 15.1 mm also more than twice as thick as the Moto Z itself. When paired, you get so at 152.3 x 72.9 x 20.3 mm and 281 G.

No own camera application for Hasselblad True Zoom

The latter irritates at first, because the expectation is different. But Motorola and Hasselblad have decided not to give the mod a separate application on the way. This is helpful on the one hand since the user does not have to work with two different programs. On the other hand, you have to live with the development of the Motorola app and has missed a chance, which Huawei used for example with the P9 and the cooperation with Leica.

Hasselblad True Zoom Review and Test

After all, the user will get access to new functions when Hasselblad TrueZoom is paired. There are three modes – color JPEG, black and white JPEG and RAW + JPEG – as well as six automatic subjects (auto, sport, night portrait, backlight portrait, night landscape and landscape). All other points like the storage of the geo-data, choice of the resolution and other is known from Moto Z, the same applies to the change between photo, video and Pro mode. The latter allows Hasselblad-Mod to make the same changes as without, so you can directly influence the white balance, exposure time, ISO and EV. In a direct comparison, however, it is noticeable that slow-motion videos are not provided – likewise the possibility for the recording of 4K material is missing.

Annoying is only at the beginning, because for video recordings the Hasselblad True Zoom is anything but suitable. The images are slightly pale even in optimal light conditions, and even in very slow movements, artefacts are formed. In addition, the audio track disappears, the material of which is obviously only recorded by the two microphones of the module, which are anything but high-quality.

Hasselblad True Zoom Review and Test

Photos with lots of air upwards

This would be a problem if photos were to be convincing. But the Hasselblad True Zoom, which costs almost 300 euros, makes it possible to deliver mostly visibly worse results than the Moto Z itself. Whilst the white balance still works comparatively reliably, color fidelity, sharpness at the edges, as well as noise even in good light conditions disappoint. Yellowish or orange-colored surfaces are a bit too red, green is too often faded, only blue contents are fixed.

However, if you look at a bright blue sky for example, even with ISO 100 images can be seen, at the latest at ISO 800, this problem can not hide itself even from untrained eyes. The Moto Z, however, with such a light sensitivity does not produce masterpieces, but the noise is less. In a direct comparison, however, it is also apparent that the Hasselblad module produces minimum lighter shots in poor light conditions.

This resembles the faded edges, which occur in practically all conditions, but by no means out. At the latest from zoom level 6, however, there is often a slight general blur added, and the optical image stabilizer can no longer completely compensate for this.

When zooming, however, a small weakness in the operation. Because even very short changes to the rocker the camera acknowledges with a change by at least 0.5 steps. A slower working engine would have been the better solution here, alternatively a zoom control would have reached by touch screen. At least it is conceivable, that Motorola imitates such a possibility. Because a first update already ensures that the zoom is more precise to operate – previously a short tapping of the rocker already made for a change by two to three stages.

Hasselblad True Zoom Review and Test


The idea of additional modules is as good as complex. However, it is not only the system itself that needs to be implemented convincingly and easily, but also the modules themselves have to be real added value. An attachable camera should be what most smartphone users first comes to mind. That’s why the Hasselblad True Zoom is probably the best chance to make the Moto-Mod system popular.

That is why it is a shame that Motorola and Hasselblad do not use the opportunity. Unfortunately, one can not only speak of a few blunders, it is necessary to talk about partial gross mistakes that are inexplicable, especially with regard to the experience of the Swedish camera manufacturer.

Were you perhaps not involved in the development at all or only marginally involved in the development and instead, in the first place, made only its name available? You can get this impression at least if you look at points like the disappointing picture quality, the limited options within the application and supposed little things like the improved zoom control or the missing tripod thread. Even worse will be when the shots of the Moto Z compares with those of the Hasselblad True Zoom. The former fall out in nine out of ten cases better, in addition, the smartphone camera offers more possibilities.

Therefore, the Hasselblad True Zoom deserves no recommendation. So interesting is the attempt, in practice, he failed. The far better solution is the purchase of a good compact camera or a cheap system camera, with the kit lens is available for about 280 euros.

Source: dpreview

Hasselblad True Zoom Review and Test was last modified: October 15th, 2016 by Tomas Shellby