Hasselblad Announces New Products, New Technology and New Directions
24/09/2008 At photokina 2008, Hasselblad is introducing a new pricing strategy and exhibiting a range of new high-end products, including a new flagship camera, the H3DII-50, a versatile zoom lens in the HCD 4.0-5.6/35-90mm, and the HTS 1.5 Tilt and Shift adapter.*
Two new Hasselblad cameras put the world’s largest sensors into the hands of the pros
Hasselblad’s new H3DII-50 is the first camera on the market to feature Kodak’s 50 megapixel sensor, measuring 36×48mm and twice the physical size of the largest 35mm DSLR sensors. The H3DII-50 provides full 48mm coverage and has been designed to provide an ideal solution for commercial shooters, who demand the highest image resolution, and for any photographer who demands both creative flexibility and ultimate image quality.
Christian Poulsen, CEO of Hasselblad, says, “The H3DII-50 features the largest sensor currently available in the 48 mm segment and takes its place as the flagship of our H3DII line. Nevertheless, to show that we’re not going to rest on our laurels, we’re also announcing the forthcoming H3DII-60, an even higher end camera that we’ll launch in 2009. The H3DII-60 will feature a 60 megapixel sensor that provides 94% full-frame, 645 coverage. We feel that it’s important to emphasize the 94% coverage, because, although we hear the phrase 'full-frame' being used quite frequently, no manufacturer has yet achieved true medium format full-frame.”
Hasselblad HC/HCD lens line expands its leading market position
Hasselblad is also launching a new versatile zoom lens, the HCD 4.0-5.6/35-90mm, to join its expanding HC/HCD lens line. The HC/HCD lenses equal or outperform even the legendary Hasselblad/Zeiss lenses, including the iconic CF 3.5/100mm and CF 5.6/250mm SA, considered by most experts to be the finest lenses ever made for professional photographers.
“As part of our constant efforts to produce the world’s best lenses, our engineers have combined our advanced optical design models and the H System’s unique ability to digitally compensate for any aberrations with a new aspheric lens element design. The result is what we think will prove to be the highest performing zoom lens on the market today,” says Poulsen.
New HTS 1.5 Tilt and Shift Adapter brings new control and creative possibilities
A revolutionary new tilt and shift adapter, the Hasselblad HTS 1.5, is also joining the Hasselblad line-up. The HTS 1.5 allows photographers to use tilt and shift functionality with most of their existing or new HC/HCD lenses. “The result,” says Poulsen, “is the ability to be more creative and flexible with your photography and a level of image quality that is unmatched by any other product currently available. The addition of digital sensors that read and record all movements and Hasselblad’s proprietary digital lens correction mean that we can offer photographers both a unique level of quality and maximum ease of use.”
Revitalizing the medium format industry
Following the launch of the H3D camera line at the last photokina, Hasselblad has continued to drive the medium format industry towards a more integrated and complete camera solution.
“We’re very pleased with all the new products,” says Poulsen, “and with the general direction the photographic industry is taking. Four years ago, we paved the way for the medium format industry’s move towards truly integrated DSLRs. At the time, we were criticized for this move and even accused of killing off the medium format segment. We knew, however, that this move was key not only to the further advancement of high-end image quality, but also to the survival of the medium format industry itself.”
Poulsen sees the developments of the last four years as proof that Hasselblad’s strategy has been a sound one: “Now, four years down the road, all our competitors have followed our lead. Every one of them is hurrying to launch their own integrated solutions, which, for us, is a clear indication of a revitalized and evolving medium format segment. Hasselblad will continue to lead this segment, just as we’ll continue to drive the future development of high-end photography, as I’m confident our offering at this year’s photokina will show. We’ve been very busy over the past four years, developing new technologies and new products, further refining our existing product range, and addressing some of the issues that have kept a number of photographers from adopting the Hasselblad system.”
Hasselblad launches a new price model for all digital products
“Hasselblad’s success with our classic film based cameras was partly due to pricing true professional products at a level that was high, but still affordable, for both serious pros and enthusiasts,” explains Poulsen. “In these early days of large sensor DSLRs, our initial high pricing has been one of the main barriers to entry, keeping many high-end 35mm photographers from making the leap to the superior quality of a Hasselblad system.”
Therefore, in addition to the range of new products, Hasselblad is also announcing a significant price reduction for all of its camera products, enabled by the increased production volume of Hasselblad’s fifth generation DSLR series, combined with streamlined manufacturing costs and production synergies, and by following a long-established business model taken from the 35mm camera market.
“Two years ago at photokina, Hasselblad launched the H3D,” explains Poulsen, “bringing the advantages of 35mm system integration to the medium format segment. Now we are doing the same with regards to lower pricing. Most new high-tech products begin with a high price point and then, over time, increased volume and improved production techniques allow price reductions and more accessible products. Consumers are seeing this everywhere in technology, from flat panel televisions to 35mm digital cameras. Now this is happening in our industry too, although we are at a more mature, technical level than two years ago, which allows both increased system integration and a different pricing approach.”
Until now, Poulsen states, there has been no serious medium format entry-level product at an affordable price. The new, lower price for the Hasselblad H3DII-31, along with the new products, will provide such an entry point, he claims: “In the H3DII-31, 35mm users finally have access to a serious, high-end system. The H3DII-31, combined with the complete line of HC lenses, the new, versatile HCD 35-90mm zoom lens, the HCD 28mm lens and our new HTS 1.5 tilt and shift adapter, provides a complete high-end package that can cover the needs of any serious photographer as well as providing access to all the advanced features and benefits of the H3DII system. Naturally, we’re very pleased to be able to lower the entry point to our system and to be able to bring Hasselblad quality to a wider range of photographers."
The new pricing strategy will also entail other changes in Hasselblad’s business model, so that most of the upgrade and trade-up programs of the past will become unnecessary.
“Our new pricing will mean that photographers can actually purchase a new camera for more or less the same amount that they would have previously spent on an upgrade,” Poulsen comments. “This has two primary effects: it removes the need for complex trade-up programs and it enables photographers to keep their previous camera as a back-up when upgrading to a newer model - a common practice among 35mm users.”
The H3DII-39 (including HC 80mm lens) has a new price of €14,995 (H3DII-39 Multi Shot excluding lens, €19,995) and the H3DII-31 (including HC 80mm lens) a new price of €11,995. All three cameras are available for immediate delivery. Priced at €17,995, the H3DII-50 (excluding lens) is also available for immediate delivery and the H3DII-60, which will be priced at €22,995 (excluding lens), will be available in April 2009.
“It’s long been understood,” concludes Poulsen, “that for most discerning photographers the only reason not to have a Hasselblad was that you couldn’t afford one. But now, with our new pricing, we’re bringing the Hasselblad world a little more within reach, enabling a whole new generation of photographers to use our products.”