Wednesday, June 22, 2016

So How'd I Do?

I made some specific predictions in April about a new product from Hasselblad. I will quote them here, and evaluate how I did:

General Notes

Must fully embody Hasselblad's brand and look the part. Strong branding, which implies 1) strong design notes from Hasselblad's history, 2) an imaging system with perceived very high quality.

Nailed it. This wasn't very hard, though. I didn't think it would look QUITE so much like a classic 'blad from the front, though. But the whole "they're just going to repeat the Stellar/Lunar debacle" people are dumbshits, and are proven to be so. Take that.

Object of desire/Status symbol. Therefore portable, sleek, beautiful. Broadly desired. Not a camera for camera nerds, but a mass-appealing (but not mass-available!) imaging system. Purse-sized, one hand-sized.

Nailed it. Nailed it HARD. This was not easy to see without thinking pretty hard about things. Nobody else, to my knowledge, was thinking "small" (but the damn thing isn't light).

Slick user experience, social media, cloud connected. Phone-like ease of use. Friction-less photo/video sharing.

Unknown. New UI, obviously, which looks quite phone-like.

A small camera, with excellent but not earth shattering technical specs. Definitely does video.

Nailed it.

Very Specific Predictions Design notes: leatherette+chrome/cube/space for a clearly visible logo/slanted-rear screen, non-removable lens that is nonetheless obvious, prominent.

Nailed the design notes, but a clean miss on the slanted screen and non-removable lens. Hasselblad went for photo forum credibility with interchangeable lenses rather than a non-removable zoom. Probably a smart choice?

Size: easily held by one hand, about 300 grams.

Physical size about right, but this damn thing's heavy. 725 grams, body only. One hand-able, but not for any length of time, and the delicate beautiful women won't like it.

System: Touchscreen, syncs with app on your phone (NFC/bluetooth?) for seamless "one-touch" (or nearly) connectivity.

Touchscreen (an easy guess) yes. A miss on the connectivity, although it does have WiFi.

Price: $5000 US.

In the ballpark, but barely. This might not be a clean miss, but it's a single at best. We're talking $12K for a system, ow. Mass-appealing, NOT mass-available.

Per wants to sell 100,000 of these things(?) in the next couple years. And you know, he might. Maybe. I think the gearheads at Hasselblad won this round, and that may prove to be a mistake. This camera is an enthusiast's camera, but there's very little to put it into the purse next to the dog. There doesn't seem to be anything to make professionals particularly want it, the video appears to be a joke (H.264, 24fps?!) and it's Yet Another Lens System, I think.

This is exactly what they say it is, a prosumer camera, aimed at the enthusiast with too much money. Which is a shrinking market.

Is this another halo product? Is there a baby brother coming along?


  1. It's the modern-day Texas Leica!

    I don't want to lust after it -- if anything, my time with a Contax 645/Phase One P30+ combo should have cured me of that! -- but oddly, I find that I am lusting after it, regardless.

    Okay, I'll admit it: The thought of that body with am adapted 30mm Xpan lens mounted on it makes me hard!

    And yet, I also know from experience using other medium-format digital outfits that it won't work very well at all for the long-exposure, nighttime photography that I prefer to do.

  2. It has no shutter! Not even an electronic one.

    This means that, for now, the only lenses it can use are those made for it by Hasselblad.

    This makes it worthless as a potential "digital back" for a camera project I've been working on and as such, I now have no interest in it whatsoever, at any price.

    Lust mode = off!

    1. Yeah. There's a couple reasons, I think. They don't want to kill off their other 50mp products with a cheaper but equivalent product. So they may be playing arbitrary crippleware games.

      More importantly (?) I suspect they want you filthy buggers with your nasty little non-H lenses to piss off. H is exclusive and fancy, damn it.

  3. But Xpan lenses _are_ Hasselblad lenses!

    True, they were designed and built by Fuji and have been out of production for more than a decade now, but the word "Hasselblad" appears on each and every one of them, so they're Hasselblad lenses so far as I'm concerned.

    But yeah, figurative bottom-feeders such as myself aren't part of Hasselblad's target demographic for the X1D, so it's no surprise their new, clean-sheet-of-paper camera doesn't include any features that cater to those who are unlikely to ever buy an official Hasselblad lens for it, no matter what.

    So I guess it's back to the Sony A7R then...

  4. Keep your eyes on the Fuji horizon, gents -- medium-format is coming, and Fuji *know* medium-format. The Fuji GS645s was my favourite camera for years, and of course the aforementioned "Texas Leica" was the GW690.

    Hasselbling? Who needs it?


  5. Well, I was about to preorder - but then I remembered that that 24mm f/2.8 AF-Nikkor from Ebay to go with the D90 maxed out my gear budget for 2016.

    So sad - there goes another game-changer ...

    Best, Thomas

  6. No shutter? Just as I was about to get excited. Not that I'd ever spend that kind of money on a camera (and lenses) -- I enjoy being retired too much -- but I had been thinking of all the cool lenses one could potentially adapt.