Hasselblad Acquired by DJI

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by evan_dong|2, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Some recent news for the Hasselblad Users of their camera.


    https://luminous-landscape.com/hasselblad-acquired-dji/
     
  2. And http://petapixel.com/2017/01/05/dji-acquired-hasselblad-report/
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
  3. Essay question: Why were Hasselblad unable to survive the introduction of digital photography? Please use your answer to explain the relative advantages and disadvantages of large publicly-owned companies compared to smaller, privately-owned ones. Please also discuss the importance of brands in today's photography business.
     
  4. Hasselblad cameras have been in the aspirations of serious photographers for over 60 years. Digital backs for Hasselblad cameras were available long before I bought my first Nikon DSLR in 2003. They were and continue to be an expensive item, capable of producing extraordinary results. I was able to afford a CFV16 back in 2007, which was my go-to camera for landscapes, portraits and groups until quite recently supplanted by a Sony A7Rii.
    Next time, Robin, if you are making joke, please tag it with a smiley face.
     
  5. I hate smiley faces. Seriously though: what are your thoughts as to why a legendary camera company is in such poor shape? Many cameras can produce "extraordinary results". Hasselblad no longer has the appeal for the serious amateur, or even most professionals that it once did in the film era. In my, admittedly personal, sample of professional photographers (I know 8) none now owns a MF digital system and actually uses it. If anything they have mirrorless options. In the film era they all had either Hasselblad or Bronica and a few had Mamiya RB/RZs. This is because it no longer represents a value proposition for most "high street" professionals. In fact your example is a classic experience, you once had one but now you basically no longer need it. I had an Hasselblad in the film era too.
     
  6. Chinese have money, investing it wisely.
     
  7. Why were Hasselblad unable to survive the introduction of digital photography?​
    I think it's unbalanced to single out this one traditional medium format camera manufacturer, without also discussing how its peers fared. At the turn of the millenium, the "big 8" in medium format systems were (in no particular order) Hasselblad, Mamiya, Pentax, Bronica, Rollei, Fuji, Contax, and Sinar.
    Seriously though: what are your thoughts as to why a legendary camera company is in such poor shape?​
    They're in better shape than Bronica, Contax, Rollei, Sinar...and arguably Mamiya.
    Bronica - gone;
    Contax - gone;
    Rollei - first vastly diminished as DWH, and now that's gone too;
    Sinar - clinging on only thanks to Leica technology, and no longer making digital backs compatible with other MF cameras.
    The medium format manufacturers that were also big players in 35mm film cameras and small-format digital, namely Pentax and Fuji, got through the big clearout; mainly by effectively letting their medium format wing become dormant for several years, until good enough "all-rounder" digital sensors became available to let them build a medium format digital camera that would appeal again to the "serious amateur" market.
    Leica took the same approach with the introduction of their S cameras. They stand out as the only new entrants in the medium format camera system game since digital displaced film. As with Pentax and Fuji, their success in the smaller format film and digital market gave them the technology platform, and bought them the time, to do this.
    Mamiya entered the 21st century in the best shape of the medium format manufacturers, and tried to get first mover advantage in that "serious amateur" digital segment with the ZD DSLR and ZD digital back. Unfortunately, they moved too soon; the DALSA CCD in the ZD was large but it was certainly no "all-rounder" - terribly noisy when pushed to even ISO 200 and also at exposures longer than a few seconds. The ZD line flopped, draining Mamiya's resources and leaving them commercially vulnerable. They merged with Phase One and Leaf, but as time passes the Mamiya identity is gradually being lost from the lineup. The 645DF+ was the last camera model to bear an alternate Phase One or Mamiya logo. The XF is Phase One only. Likewise, most of the lenses. So while "under the hood", Mamiya technology is still doing well, this also "legendary camera company" is fading away as an entity in its own right.
    Hasselblad made some serious mistakes along the way - the godawful blingy rebadged Sony cams like the Lunar for example. But their medium format product has always been fundamentally good, and is still popular within the (greatly diminished) medium format sector; and the brand name is still strong.
    As for this latest change of ownership, it could be a good thing for Hasselblad. DJI have by all accounts a leadership in the technology of their segment (camera drones); they can support serious R&D and not just blingy merchandising.
    I hope that you award my essay a good score :)
     
  8. Ray: Good effort! The contrast with Leica I find interesting. Leica barely survived the transition to digital, but managed to save the day with new owners, an injection of cash, and (almost too late) a real digital M-camera and stressing premium, luxury status and increasing their prices. I think stressing the luxury status of Hasselblad was not really open to the company, as professionals (their main market) are not really sentimental enough to pay over the odds for gear. They also suffered, as you say, because they had no 35mm product and pros dumped MF very quickly when they found FF 20MP was a match for film MF. Whether the Leica S series is really making a profit I have no idea, but I suspect it is a tough sell with a non-modular body and 35mm FF resolutions now available up to 50MP.
     

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