A Viewfinder Darkly

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Hasselblad and Sony Join Forces

September 19 2012

by Philip Northeast

The recently announced partnership between a famous maker of high end professional cameras and an Asian electronics innovator could revitalise both companies fortunes in the digital camera market.

Sony have struggled to gain a major position in the digital camera market and their brand image lacks the aura of quality of rivals Canon and Nikon.  Sony’s acquisition of the Minolta camera division gave easy an entry into the DSLR market, but rebranding to Sony did not carry the cachet of an established camera manufacturer over to the new cameras.

Hasselblad H5D-40

The distinctive design of a Hasselblad H5D-40 medium format digital camera

The relationship with Carl Zeiss promised to add an aura of quality from the legendary German lens manufacturer but the use of Zeiss designs on cheaper cameras may have devalued the Zeiss name.

Shigeki Ishizuka, President, Sony Digital Imaging Business Group, said “this is a very exciting partnership because Hasselblad’s loyal customers with deep attachment to this prestigious photography brand get familiarised with Sony’s industry-leading camera technologies. We believe that we can further enhance our digital imaging development and manufacturing expertise through this partnership, so that we will be able to offer increasingly attractive products to our customers for years to come.”

In line with other medium format camera manufacturers Hasselblad are under pressure from the constant improvement of digital sensors on compact DSLR style bodies.  The tope end DSLRs are starting to impinge on capabilities the entry level Hasselblad medium format digital models.

The marketing blitz from Nikon and Canon creates the impression of there being only two “professional” camera makes. This impression is reinforced in  discount electrical appliance stores selling DSLRS in the photo section, they only stock a small range of high volume cameras and offering limited choice to photographers.

“Following talks with Sony – the key player in the serious photographer and enthusiast market spaces – we are delighted to announce the emergence of a new dawn for Hasselblad. This partnership will enable us to access an area of the photographic sector, which we have never reached out to before, by tapping on Sony’s excellent state of the art technology and spirit of ground breaking innovation. Owning a Hasselblad, made in Sweden, will no longer be just a dream for many photographic enthusiasts,” said Dr. Larry Hansen, Hasselblad Chairman and CEO:

 

They key is to combine Hasselblad’s Swedish design flair and years of experience making cameras for a demanding professional market, with Sony’s expertise in sensors and electronics. If all we gat are Sony cameras with a Hasselblad badge then the partnership will fail.

The partnership raises the prospect of Carl Zeiss lenses currently made for Sony DSLRs being sold with brand new Hasselblad cameras, a return to a long partnership between Hasselblad and  Zeiss lenses on their older V system medium format cameras.

 

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