Hasselblad and its missed opportunities 

The Chinese Drone maker DJI is taking over Hasselblad, the iconic camera maker, according to a report. I have heard the rumors as well. Hasselblad is a brand that has deep and rich history — it was the camera that went to the moon. (My friend Cole Rise is recreating these moon cameras in his workshop.) However the company has managed to bungle many opportunities it had so it has devalued over the years, thanks to some terrible ideas such as adding wood grips and ugly knobs and rebadging Sony cameras. 

The company has been an afterthought in the minds of modern camera buyers. However this changed in the middle of 2016 when the company announced a sleek mirrorless medium format camera with two highly competitive lenses. For the first time, they had attention, even from Leica lovers like me. It is sleek, and very modern. Smaller than my Leica SL, it had a great touchscreen and was very intuitive — at least in the video. It was worth taking a closer look — a consensus amongst all my camera needs friends. A few months later Fuji announced its own medium format camera, which they said would be much cheaper than Hasselblad. 

Hasselblad’ videos and hype created by their chief executive didn’t tell us that the company’s software was far from complete. It didn’t really have a handle on its production. In other words, Hasselblad was all bark no bite. Fuji, is going to start selling their new camera soon, perhaps as early as January 19, if you believe the camera rumor websites. To me it seems there is a direct correlation between the X1-D delays and sale to DJI. If you can’t execute, you shouldn’t really exist as a standalone company. 

I really hope that DJI figures out a way to make the company do what it is supposed to do: make and sell cameras that people want. In there meantime I am going to check out the new Fuji medium-format, and see how that stacks up against my Leica(s)! 

January 6, 2017. San Francisco 

A letter from Om

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