Hasselblad has started a new series on YouTube that aims to give viewers an inside, behind-the-scenes look at the company’s headquarters in Sweden. Its first episode centers around the design philosophy of its X-system of mirrorless cameras, and the thought process behind it.
Called Hasselblad’s Home, this ongoing series is designed to show fans of the storied brand an “intimate look” at the company’s Gothenburg, Sweden headquarters. Hasselblad says that it intends to let its designers and engineers talk about their thoughts and processes behind the development of its medium format cameras and the philosophies that are at the core of the company’s foundation of bringing “Scandinavian design and craftmanship” to photographers around the world.
“Our intention was to make a product that kept the traveling photographer in mind, allowing medium format to be portable, comfortable, and still high quality,” Hasselblad says.
Hasselblad says that the starting point for the camera was not specifically the X1D itself, but instead the development of a “design language” that the company could apply to all new Hasselblad products which would eventually include the X1D II and the 907X cameras.
“We wanted to create a high-performance product with a well-defined personality that would connect to the essence of Hasselblad by using the original, classic V System as a reference,” the company says. “The orange button evolved as a vibrant accent, the final touch to balance the calm Scandinavian aesthetics. A symbol for the warmth and passion, the personal engagement and the love of imagery that is the at the core of the Hasselblad brand.”
Deep-dives on design and aesthetics is not common for camera manufacturers. Only Leica and Hasselblad have spent this amount of time and resources explaining the purposes behind design choices rather than focusing entirely on performance and specifications. From the optics side, Sigma has dabbled in this as well. The message from these companies seems to be saying that even though the camera is a tool, how that tool is constructed is important, and why certain paths were taken is key in understanding why someone would want to own that brand’s equipment.
When the top of the industry is hotly-contested with incredible bleeding-edge specs and promises of extremely high performance, Hasselblad is an example of a company leaning on other core competencies to stand out from that crowd. Image quality is paramount, and getting the basics right around that is important. From there, it’s about tailoring the experience. The result feels like aiming at a much smaller target, but the hope is that customers in that condensed market will be customers for life and ambassadors for the brand.