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Hasselblad discontinues the H?

mristuccia

Well-known member
I think it's official now.
https://www.captureintegration.com/the-end-of-life-for-the-hasselblad-h-system/
"While we have been feeling this sting for over the last 18 months with lack of product, today we received official notice that the full product line of the Hasselblad H system has been officially discontinued. All products are now officially out of stock and Hasselblad will no longer take orders for anything in the H line."
 

jduncan

Active member
I think it's official now.
https://www.captureintegration.com/the-end-of-life-for-the-hasselblad-h-system/
"While we have been feeling this sting for over the last 18 months with lack of product, today we received official notice that the full product line of the Hasselblad H system has been officially discontinued. All products are now officially out of stock and Hasselblad will no longer take orders for anything in the H line."
A sad day, and, sometimes, I really hate to be right. Haselbad desition makes perfect sense. Maintaining two sets of lenses etc in a dying market was a recipe for disaster. Better invest those resources in the X and V systems and recouping investor's capital.

I will never forget the first time I saw through the viewfinder of the H4D with the 100mm f2.2. I have a crop sensor Nikon back then.
The light and the clarity were better than real life. The system is still one of the bests for hybrid film /digital. I will love if they released the hardware as an open source platform and let the community maintain the existing units.

I have a second concern, the fact that they removed the H from the legacy shows to me a lack of interest or at least understanding of Photography.
They simply do not understand the significance of the platform. I will add that is illustrated by the fact that the X2D does not have (or had) a proper remote, and that is with a camera that does not track but has a 100mega pixels sensor that could be used for landscapes.

Funny: no matter who owns Hasselblad there are incompetent at communications. The web page still shows the H as if nothing has happened.

Finally: Phase One succeeded. The war they started against Hasslelbad by exploiting the control of forums and reviewers when Hasselblad ask them to help with the H development costs, the attacks on the X saying that was not truly Medium Format when they were selling MF cameras for 3 times the price with the same sensor reaches its end. They own the market, It's a much smaller pie thanks to them and a series of bad decisions by Hasslelbad but some people said "A pyrrhic victory is still a victory"

Best regegars,
 

mristuccia

Well-known member
While I love Hasselblad, I may be rude here in saying what IMHO always happens with electronics nowadays: sooner or later they get piled up in a stack of worthless junk.
Technology progress is still fast enough to make it happen, even on a mature market like the photography one.

However, mechanical things seem to hold some value, and to even have a second life sometimes.

As far as P1 is concerned, I cross my fingers, but sustaining a consumer niche business is becoming more and more difficult. And even from them no news has been heard for a long time. They may end up only keeping the business with big institutions of cultural heritage like archives, museums and libraries, unless they develop a mirrorless system as well.
 

Pieter 12

Well-known member
While I love Hasselblad, I may be rude here in saying what IMHO always happens with electronics nowadays: sooner or later they get piled up in a stack of worthless junk.
Technology progress is still fast enough to make it happen, even on a mature market like the photography one.

However, mechanical things seem to hold some value, and to even have a second life sometimes.

As far as P1 is concerned, I cross my fingers, but sustaining a consumer niche business is becoming more and more difficult. And even from them no news has been heard for a long time. They may end up only keeping the business with big institutions of cultural heritage like archives, museums and libraries, unless they develop a mirrorless system as well.
The issue with electronics is one of support. As manufacturers continue to evolve and improve their products they eventually stop supporting older generations, either through planned obsolescence or a lack of commitment to stocking or repairing older components. This also happens with mechanical cameras, but to a lesser extent because parts can be salvaged, repaired or made to keep the equipment functioning. Add to that the dwindling number of technicians with the knowledge and skills to work on older cameras and lenses, mechanical or electronic.
 

ThdeDude

Well-known member
Since now HB is no longer a direct competitor to P1, I wonder whether C1 will at one point in time also accept 3FR files? Something like Capture One Express for Fujifilm is unlikely but who knows!

Definitely would increase attractiveness of the HB's X system.
 

hcubell

Well-known member
[QUOTE="jduncan, post: 885759, member: 9045"

Finally: Phase One succeeded. The war they started against Hasslelbad by exploiting the control of forums and reviewers when Hasselblad ask them to help with the H development costs, the attacks on the X saying that was not truly Medium Format when they were selling MF cameras for 3 times the price with the same sensor reaches its end. They own the market, It's a much smaller pie thanks to them and a series of bad decisions by Hasslelbad but some people said "A pyrrhic victory is still a victory"

Best regegars,
[/QUOTE]

Not true. Phase One may have won the battle in the non-cropped MF digital market, but they actually lost the war for the sale of medium format format camera systems. Hasselblad along with Fuji are the only players left. Despite the profitability of the Capture One software business, Phase One still has been significantly unprofitable on an overall basis in recent years for which there is public information so one can only imagine how much money Phase's camera business has been losing, it has very substantial debt, and it is owned by a private equity sponsor that is looking to unload the company at the first available opportunity. In contrast, Hasselblad is introducing new products that from all accounts are quite successful, it is profitable, it has minimal debt, and it is owned by a financially strong, strategic player that appears to be in it for the long term. Hasselblad is likely selling more X series cameras in a week than Phase sells IQ backs in a year at this point. Looks like Phase spent too much time focused on destroying Hasselblad and not enough time on making wise, strategic decisions about where the MF digital camera system market was heading.
 

Steve Hendrix

Well-known member
While I have deep respect for both companies, I can't agree that anybody won or lost a war, and certainly any of the strategic efforts were not one sided. There were shots fired from both sides. Phase One competed very well, perhaps more effectively, than Hasselblad did with regard to the full frame medium format market. One could make an argument that Capture One was Phase One's ace in the hole. Reverse things, align Hasselblad with Capture One and leave Phase One as the odd one out, and the results may have been very different.

Both companies innovated in the full frame medium format sensor space, but both of them also pivoted to a different space that had less to do with their competitive battle, than the changing market place at large. The pie is smaller because the market demand is smaller, not from any tactics. Hasselblad opted to remain strongly in the consumer space, but (smartly) targeting a different demographic in the sub $10k system space, while Phase One (smartly) moved aggressively into the industrial sector (with a very strong assist from their acquisition of Leaf). Hasselblad has ended their time in the FF medium format market, Phase One is still there (there will be an IQ5 at some point), but the growth days are over. They are both quite successful in the new markets they have turned to, with aggressive hiring going on for each.


Steve Hendrix/CI
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
While I have deep respect for both companies, I can't agree that anybody won or lost a war, and certainly any of the strategic efforts were not one sided. There were shots fired from both sides. Phase One competed very well, perhaps more effectively, than Hasselblad did with regard to the full frame medium format market. One could make an argument that Capture One was Phase One's ace in the hole. Reverse things, align Hasselblad with Capture One and leave Phase One as the odd one out, and the results may have been very different.

Both companies innovated in the full frame medium format sensor space, but both of them also pivoted to a different space that had less to do with their competitive battle, than the changing market place at large. The pie is smaller because the market demand is smaller, not from any tactics. Hasselblad opted to remain strongly in the consumer space, but (smartly) targeting a different demographic in the sub $10k system space, while Phase One (smartly) moved aggressively into the industrial sector (with a very strong assist from their acquisition of Leaf). Hasselblad has ended their time in the FF medium format market, Phase One is still there (there will be an IQ5 at some point), but the growth days are over. They are both quite successful in the new markets they have turned to, with aggressive hiring going on for each.


Steve Hendrix/CI
Did they say an IQ5 will come or is this your best guess?
 

Steve Hendrix

Well-known member
To be fair, Arri had a 10y life span for its last gen sensor

Well, I wouldn't consider that being fair or to some degree even relevant.

Digital back generations, meaning digital back models based on the same sensor, have never refreshed anywhere near that duration. A 5 year lifespan for a digital back product with no new product that eclipses it, is relatively unheard of in this segment, stretching back to the 1990's.


Steve Hendrix/CI
 

tcdeveau

Well-known member
I always liked the H system and feel the only loser here is the consumer.

I had a great time last week with both my X1D and IQ4 150A, and hopefully both companies can keep doing what they are doing for our benefit for as long as they can.
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
Well, I wouldn't consider that being fair or to some degree even relevant.

Digital back generations, meaning digital back models based on the same sensor, have never refreshed anywhere near that duration. A 5 year lifespan for a digital back product with no new product that eclipses it, is relatively unheard of in this segment, stretching back to the 1990's.


Steve Hendrix/CI
My point is the following: The 150 MPX sensor is the end of a long evolution of CMOS sensors which now are at a stage of technological maturity with diminishing returns on further invested capital for R&D where there is no economic rationale - given fuji / hassy having reached similar IQ levels and sophistication - to spend a large sum for a new sensor project at the moment.

The IQ4 150 is just a very good product and besides a significantly better SoC (faster interface, better I/O, more in back processing tricks, better battery life) and a lot more pixels (50, 100 more) there is not THAT much missing from a great product that can fulfill most photographic needs.

And even if you had an IQ5 with 200 megapixels and faster I/O, better battery, it would arguably probably not be such a strong improvement vs. the 150 megapixel back.

IQ4 was a big jump and I still do hope they come out with an IQ5, but it will require more significant upgrades to warrant an IQ generational upgrade given the IQ4 was already so great. I think this time around it just takes longer to make a significant improvement to an already great product.
 

ThdeDude

Well-known member
A 5 year lifespan for a digital back product with no new product that eclipses it, is relatively unheard of in this segment
Makes me wonder why P1 hasn't yet released a IQ4 "plus" or a IQ5 using the same sensor used in the IQ4-150!

Could offer a substantial update over the IQ4-150 as to better and larger screen (touch screen only), better WIFI, better responsiveness, better battery management, etc.

Perhaps even push the boundaries with an integrated hard disc (like HB X2D 100C) and/or with a large integrated battery (ideally with standard battery cells that are somewhat user-replaceable).
 
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TechTalk

Well-known member
the fact that they removed the H from the legacy shows to me a lack of interest or at least understanding of Photography.
It shows an understanding of business and the reality of a market which has all but disappeared over the past decade. Last year, consumer demand for DSLR cameras was 12% of what it was in 2012 — 88% of the market vanished. Product volume can reach a tipping point where there is no longer a balance between volume and selling price that produces anything except financial losses. That's why you've seen DSLR systems shrinking and disappearing as consumer demand evaporates.

SLR cameras are complex devices mechanically and optically, making them expensive to produce. In low volumes, the cost is more than the market is willing to pay. This has nothing whatsoever to do with having an "interest or at least understanding of Photography." Newer technologies have replaced old technologies and consumer demand has shifted from DSLR to mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILC), although even that market has been stagnant over the past 10 years. It may appear that the MILC market has grown over the past decade — it hasn't. The market for every other camera category has shrunk around it so radically that it only appears to have grown. Fortunately, MILC cameras remain a viable market because although the unit sales have been stagnant; the value of the cameras being sold has risen fourfold in 10 years as they have become more sophisticated and appealing to advanced consumers and professionals.

Compact digital camera shipments: 2010 – 108.6 million units / 2012 – 78 million units / 2022 – 2.1 million units

DSLR shipments: 2012 – 16.2 million units / 2022 – 1.9 million units

Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras: 2012 – 4 million units / 2022 – 4.1 million units.

Digital Still Cameras Total (All Types): 2012 – 98.1 million units / 2022 – 8 million units

www.cipa.jp/stats/documents/Total Shipments of Digital Still Cameras - Classified by Type.pdf
 

TechTalk

Well-known member
They simply do not understand the significance of the platform.
Hasselblad likely understands "the significance of the platform" better than anyone. They designed it, refined it, and invested for years in creating a large mature system to support it. They also have a level of understanding of the financial burdens and rewards, as well as the losses, generated by the system which far exceed that of anyone here.
 

richardman

Well-known member
Hasselblad likely understands "the significance of the platform" better than anyone. They designed it, refined it, and invested for years in creating a large mature system to support it. They also have a level of understanding of the financial burdens and rewards, as well as the losses, generated by the system which far exceed that of anyone here.
An unspoken assumption is maybe that "Hasselblad has lost its way because it's owned by DJI now".
 

TechTalk

Well-known member
An unspoken assumption is maybe that "Hasselblad has lost its way because it's owned by DJI now".
I don't think that's the case here. There seem to be few active members at GetDPI who assume that. It may occasionally seem like it's more when that same general theme is repeated again and again when Hasselblad is the topic.

It's interesting that since Victor sold the company in 1976, Hasselblad has had six different companies acquire controlling interest; four of them European and two headquartered in China. It's been the European investment and private equity firms, with no experience in the photo business, which nearly bankrupted the company — twice. In both of those cases; it was companies headquartered in China with experience in the photo business who saved the company, made investments in Hasselblad for their long-term benefit, and made exactly the right decisions to set the business on the right course for the future.

In 1996, UBS Capital, the private equity branch of the Union Bank of Switzerland; acquired controlling interest from Swedish investment firm Incentive AB. Hasselblad had accumulated a great deal of cash over many years and as much of that cash as possible was taken out by Incentive and distributed as dividends prior to selling to UBS. UBS did a leveraged buyout saddling Hasselblad with the debt and declared they were only interested in a 3–7 year ownership window. In the course of a few years, Hasselblad went from being very well capitalized to severely under capitalized, just as the major switch from film to digital was beginning. The decision was made to close Hasselblad's electronic imaging business and put all of the financial and engineering resources into development of the H-system.

UBS drove Hasselblad to the edge of bankruptcy when Hong Kong based Shriro Group, who had been distributors for Hasselblad in Asia for over 45 years, acquired the company in 2003; the year after the H-system was introduced. Medium format camera manufacturing had already become a money losing business for everyone in it due to insufficient demand and brands were disappearing from the market or in the process of doing so. Any profit was in digital backs, not the camera systems to which they were attached. Shriro made major cuts to get the finances in order and purchased Imacon in 2004 to create a sustainable combined business for both companies which turned the company around financially. Hasselblad focused on a long-term strategy of completely integrated lens + camera + sensor + software solutions, well ahead of the industry curve. Shriro's investments and understanding of the photo market and Hasselblad's engineering and new focus returned them to profitability with a successful strategy.

In 2011, Hasselblad was acquired by German private equity firm Ventizz who believed they had a plan which would triple revenue. They would then make a big short-term profit by selling the company. Yeah, well that didn't work out too well. In fact, they mismanaged the company to the brink of bankruptcy again. DJI began investing in Hasselblad in 2015 and invested more in 2016 which made possible the launch of the H6D-100C and X-system and all of the new cameras and lenses which have followed since. They acquired controlling interest at the beginning of 2017. Again, like Shriro, DJI made the needed investments for a strategic change in direction. This time, the directional shift was to mirrorless which occurred at the right time and led to a turnaround of fortunes and a return to profitability. So, thanks Shriro and DJI for keeping a legendary brand alive and successful with long-term thinking and investments.
 
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leejo

Active member
An unspoken assumption is maybe that "Hasselblad has lost its way because it's owned by DJI now".
A better assumption is that Hasselblad (DJI, or whoever owns the name and is in charge) knows that if high res digital backs and sensors are now the compelling product then discontinuing camera models with great big flapping mirrors in them is a good move. Not just because of the technicalities but also on a cost and product line simplification basis.
 

wattsy

Well-known member
Leaving aside all the points made about the changing marketplace, etc (which are all valid), I think Hasselblad discontinuing the H line is nonetheless a big moment in its history as it marks the point where the company is essentially exiting the market serving the high-end professional photographer. The X system, as excellent as it is, is very much a prosumer product. Perhaps ideal for landscape photographers, maybe suited for social/wedding photographers but not really a first choice system for photographers in the traditional studio environment. Ok, there are adapters and the bodies can be fitted to technical cameras but the basic X system lacks important items like tilt/shift lenses and even simple things like a cable release (for X2D) that professionals take for granted.
 
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