Hasselblad Trying to Combine Swedish Craftsmanship with Italian Design

Hasselblad surprised the photo world last month by announcing the Lunar: a hyper-luxury mirrorless camera with an opulent exterior and a Sony NEX-7 at its core. To say it wasn’t well received would be an understatement; photographers immediately mocked the camera’s over-the-top design — it’s decorated with gold and precious metals — and the fact that it will carry a price tag $5,000 more than the camera it’s based on.

Hassy isn’t fazed by the criticism. The latest word from the Hasselblad camp is that it has opened a new design center in Italy, where the Lunar was conceived. Regardless of what you think about the camera, at least Hasselblad’s game plan is becoming more clear.

The Hasselblad Lunar: A camera that was widely ridiculed when it was announced last month

By planting an outpost close to Venice, near Italy’s fashion industry, Hasselblad is basically trying to merge the world of cameras with the world of “haute” culture. It’s the company’s “new strategy to gain market share in new consumer segments with products that boast exceptional design and engineering.”

The press release sent out yesterday points out that Italy is home to a plethora of “high-tech manufacturers”, including watchmakers, carmakers, and aerospace industry brands. That explains why Hasselblad chose to display a Ferrari smack-dab in the middle of its Photokina booth last month:

There was also an interesting tidbit about the company’s future plans in the announcement yesterday: it’s planning to build a new DSLR, a new compact camera, and its own line of accessories, bags, and tripods.

A Hasselblad DSLR? Interesting…

Instead of crafting its own, though, it seems more likely that the company is planning to just take existing DSLRs, rebrand them, and plate them with precious metals.

(via Photo Rumors)

  • Darren Leow

    fazed, not phased

  • Mark Kalan

    Its a smart corporate decision. Snatching even a small percentage of the luxury market will pay the tab and improve profits. The problem Hasselblad faces is how to paint the Lunar as the “Birkin Bag”, Rolex, Piaget, Tiffany etc. of cameras—how to become the viral “it” camera. I hope that the strategy pays off for them.

  • Michael Zhang

    Thanks for catching that Darren :)

  • jdm8

    Seems to me a negative if you’re selling a bling job rather than a camera that gives higher quality results than what it’s based on.

  • Nick Nieto

    Is it just me or is that one ugly expensive camera….

  • Joe Owens

    well they probably pumped a ton of money into it so they cant just drop the project. Im sure contracts have been signed.

  • Antonio Carrasco

    They are trying to be the Apple of the camera world, in that they are trying to create a luxury brand with a dedicated fanbase. The difference between an iPhone and Lunar camera is that people don’t laugh at the design of an iPhone.

  • jdm8

    It would help of Hasselblad designed their own camera rather than redoing the case of someone else’s.

  • Renato Valenzuela

    funny, i thought that’s what Leica was.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    The criticism is well deserved. That thing is vulgar ans hideous.

  • derekdj

    Hasselblad is trying to emulate Leica’s strategy in a backwards way. Instead of creating a design center in Italy and creating a different design language they should really leverage their own heritage and merge that with Sony’s imaging technology. What they’re doing now is creating a hideous fail.

  • sierrarobba

    Industrial design.
    And HS never need this.

  • miki

    haute couture not “haute” culture.

    Well…. I can only hope that after hasselbad dies, there will still be someone who will make digital backs for the V series. Or I guess the best option would be to buy out the V series business and to keep it a separate firm, with quality cameras, lenses and all the rest. And that Hasselblad with the new “design” line would fail on it’s own….

  • Michael Zhang

    Intentionally used “culture”, since Hasselblad referred to more than the fashion industry. Luxury cars wouldn’t be covered by “couture” :)

  • Mike

    that is one ugly camera.

  • Gustaf Emanuelsson

    Hasselblad built its brand on the Swedish minimalist, functional design. With no unnecessary “design” element. Everything on the 500C is there to make it a better camera for the user and the image quality. The Italian design on the Lunar is in every way the oposite of Hasselblads Swedish heritage. As a Swede and a regular Hasselblad 500C user, i feel ashamed.

  • elektrojan

    puh, hasselblad used to be a valuable brand and now is destroying it with the help of a bunch of steroid pimped designers or “the marketing” – what a pity…