Featured Post

Pinned Post, A Policy Note:

I have made a decision to keep this blog virus free from this point forward, at least until the smoke clears. This is not a judgement about ...

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hasselblad Bag

So Ming Thein's mentioned in passing that Hasselblad's new X1D (XD1? DX1? Whatever) has a "system bag" by Billingham. It holds, I guess, the camera, and the two lenses.

I think I speak for all of us when I say,


Is Oosting looking to take Hasselblad into the purse space? The man-bag space? B&H lists the bag, no picture, for $350.

A dedicated bag designed to hold the system and (one imagines) not much else, speaks to the complete unseriousness of this thing. It tells us that this thing is a status symbol, not a tool. While it is, obviously, a capable instrument, it's not intended to be purchased by people who will use it as such. Just as the Ferrari is a capable track car, and the Bottega Veneta purse can indeed hold your lipstick, this is a capable camera.

In my former industry, we distinguished between the "thing" and the "complete product", and in this case the thing is a superb camera, within certain parameters. The complete product is a bag, a camera, some lenses, and a ton of status. Mainly, it's status. At least, that is how it is positioned.


  1. Eh, where's the harm? (shrugs)

    Arca-Swiss offers a stupid, expensive leather bag for its "Cube" tripod head and it doesn't seem to have wussified the company or its cameras very much.

    And the fact that Porsche offers lots of silly, costly options for its cars -- leather-covered dash vents, anyone? -- that do nothing whatsoever to improve their performance doesn't make a GT3 any less of a driver's car for those who buy them to drive instead of wear as fashion accessories.

    Hasselblad can't afford to leave very many sales on the table, so they're clearly catering to as many different markets as they can with the same basic product offering.

    Hasselblad does, however, need to be careful that when marketing the camera to one group, they don't alienate other groups in the process.

    Leica has (so far, mostly) managed to carefully tread this fine line, so while it's definitely a risky undertaking, it's not one without precedent.

    1. There's absolutely no harm in it, it's simply a tell. The performance car market is, I think, a perfect analogy. Ferrari and Porsche sell perfectly competent track cars, but they are purchased almost exclusively for status, not the track. In this type of market, it is absolutely critical that your product be the real deal, the cars have to be competent on the track, the camera has to be excellent.

      But the intended purchasers are not serious racers, nor serious photographers. There are not enough of those people to support the kinds of revenues these vendors want.

      Fully competent, a bit pricey, and a few really very nice accessories that just don't make sense for the serious amateur. Oosting has been studying up on just how Ferrari is different from Prada, and he's on the trail.

      More power to 'im.

    2. Exactly.
      It all comes down to intent v performance.
      Certain vehicles can lay claim to having some quite incredible performance. That performance will in all probability never be met by a lot of purchasers.
      Their intent is likely to lay claim to owning the vehicle with the performance, rather than claiming to utilise said performance.

      The new Hassy and associated accessories may indeed be a similar thing.
      No doubt some will purchase and use because it actually does fit their needs - but I dare say that others will get it because of what it is, not what it can do for them.

      As far as the Billingham bag goes - it could be a sign that Hasselblad knows just what to offer to those who want to appear a certain way. Or maybe not - who knows?

      Me? I have had so many bags over the years (still got far too many according to my wife). Among them all, my favourite to use is in fact a Billingham. But then, my intent isn't to poe or project some image while carrying it.
      It is merely a perfectly (for me) utilitarian way of carrying my gear when I take more than one body/lens.
      Rest of the time I just carry gear by itself or throw it in an old backpack.

      As I said - it often gets down to intent.


  2. Billingham bags. The Gucci purse of photographers.

    1. Some use them that way.
      I'd love to see a gucci purse take what my bag does though :-)

      ps. Love the B/W square portraits on your site. More please

  3. I got mine in a charity shop cost £20, don't think I could have got any other for less and it is extremely well made. In the UK its expensive to buy Domke bags though and Billingham are a classic Brittish style like Barbour coats and Harris Tweed and the Brady fishing bags they were based on.

  4. I'll relent on the Billingham bags as long as no one starts singing the praises of the Tilley Hat. That killed an enjoyable Leica forum many years ago....