Hasselblad must be feeling like that lonely astronaut floating in outer space today. Its surprise announcement of its first mirrorless camera, the
NEX-7 Lunar, was received with something akin to derision — not quite the welcome it anticipated. The Lunar is based on the Sony NEX-7 and looks like the camera has added a wooden handgrip and a couple of funky knobs.
Hasselblad also announced a “strategic partnership” with Sony, then backtracked to say that it’s only “buying components from Sony.” Notwithstanding, the Lunar will take its guts from Sony’s NEX-7 with an APS-C 24.3-megapixel sensor, Bionz processor, Tru-Finder OLED viewfinder, and 3.0-in. swivel display. The Sony NEX-7 is an award-winning mirrorless DSLR and its selection by famed medium format camera maker Hasselblad tells volume about the heights Sony has reached in terms of camera design and manufacturing.
According to Luca Alessandrini, Hasselblad’s new business development manager, you will want the Lunar because it is made of “carbon fiber, titanium, wood, leather and precious metals, including gold.” For all that glitter, be prepared to shell out €5000 (approx. US $6,500), starting price. The price goes up if you order a special handgrip and decide to add on jewels and precious metals. This is the aspect most people seem to be upset about the Lunar, not necessarily that it is based on the NEX-7, but the bling that does not add to making it a better camera. Many are calling for Hasselblad to return to its root as a great camera designer and manufacturer.
Defending the high price of the Lunar, Alessandrini revealed that a plastic body costs only 35 cents to press but the Lunar’s aluminum body costs €300 to manufacture. Hasselblad hopes to attract a larger, younger [and presumably wealthier] audience.
You would guess the Lunar’s old-fashioned [can't call that "retro"] styling might attract an older audience who loves wooden panel in cars, etc. but a younger audience? In fact, I have seen fashion styles that I first witnessed my parents wearing now coming back in style and worn by a younger generation!???! [Checkered sneakers, anyone? Truly, "there is nothing new under the sun."] Hasselblad is stoic against its detractors, saying that they are not forcing anyone to buy the Lunar camera.
In fact, trying to make lemonade out of the lemons thrown its way, Hasselblad has posted on its site a note that claims the “Lunar is already a great success… due to heavy site traffic.”
Will Hasselblad get the last laugh? The Lunar based on the NEX-7 is only the first shot across the bow of the Moon. Hasselblad’s chairman and CEO, Larry Hansen, reveals that “Our expectation is to show and launch cameras in every sector of the photographic market while offering the best image quality available in each segment, relying on our collaboration with Sony.” Alessandrini seems to contradict his CEO when he warns that future Hasselblad cameras may not be based on Sony technology.
Don’t miss the real message behind all of this: the mirrorless DSLR has arrived and is being increasingly viewed as the future of digital cameras. No one cares about private labeling a traditional mirrored DSLR anymore.
What interesting names and funky design will Hasselblad future mirrorless cameras bear? Bring them on, we say. Welcome, Hasselblad, to the mirrorless DSLR world. And, perhaps, do go back to making [mirrorless] cameras that are really worth taking to the moon. Imagine if the International Space Station astronauts decided to take a mirrorless DSLR up there? Will it be a Sony [or Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus, Canon, Leica, etc.] or a Hasselblad? Think about it, OK, and then really surprise us at next Photokina. We know you can do it. Again, welcome!
Hasselblad plans groundbreaking Lunar launch
19/09/2012 The world’s imaging press gathered at the Hasselblad photokina press conference yesterday to hear breaking news about the company’s plans to launch into new market segments.
Hasselblad has announced a pioneering plan to launch ‘Lunar’, a state-of-the-art, Italian-designed ‘ultimate luxury’ mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera early next year.
Journalists watched as the company showcased its ‘Lunar experience’ using latest ‘work-in-progress’ designs and wooden models, purpose-built to demonstrate Hasselblad’s ‘ideal luxury camera’ vision. The camera will be available in different combinations of precious metals including titanium and carbon fibre – and also leather and wood (More information at: www.hasselblad-lunar.com)
Hasselblad’s advance into new market segments follows a ‘new-dawn’ technology collaboration agreement with Sony. The two iconic organisations will work together in ‘a merger of science and engineering talent’ aimed at achieving new technical and engineering breakthroughs.
Dr. Larry Hansen, Hasselblad CEO and Chairman said: “It has always been my ambition to enable all fans of the iconic Hasselblad brand to have an opportunity to own one of our cameras.”
Hasselblad also announced the launch of its new flagship H5D medium format camera series, complete with a new 24 mm lens and macro converter – and showcased camera prototypes on the booth. The ‘next generation’ H5D features a modernized design and a completely new electronic engine, to pave the way for ultimate quality imaging, for print ready JPEG files, and for a smooth and intuitive user interface. The H5D will ship in December this year.
Hasselblad invites all photo-enthusiasts to visit its stand this week and gain first-hand experience of its brand new product lines.