Is Hasselblad in financial trouble?

Hasselblad Lunar Stellar camera
Rumors are floating around that Ventizz will pull the plug on Hasselblad very soon (Hasselblad was acquired by Ventizz Capital back in 2011). If this is true, it probably means that Hasselblad will be up for sale again.

I cannot confirm those rumors at that point, but I am not surprised after Hasselblad announced a series of new products (Lunar, Stellar and the upcoming Solar) that became the biggest joke in the photo industry. This is probably why company's CEO got replaced few months ago. The Italian design center that opened last year is now supposedly closed. In 2012 Hasselblad also announced the end of life for their V camera line and increased the price of their lenses. Their latest product is a $27,500 H5D-50c medium format camera equipped with a 50 MP CMOS sensor.

I guess we will have to wait and see how this one plays out.

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  • joking

    digital 500c/m please

  • Global

    It would be interesting if an underdog like Sigma or Samyang bought it and put their “Art” efforts into it, pushing a high end. Leica could benefit from swallowing a prestige brand and would know how to brand it properly. But.. if i REALLY think about it…. I think PENTAX could benefit the most. And a Hassleblad medium format could be invigorated by Pentax’s recent digital efforts. Ricoh already picked up Pentax, but I’m not sure how they are financially.

    • Dan

      Ricoh are stable financially and could easily afford Hasselbladh. I would be very surprised if they did so though. They already got their own mediumformat offering that do quite well in the segment. Sure, they could buy Hasselbladh and use it as a high-end brand but it doesn’t make any sense. What could they put into the camera that they don’t put n the Pentax brand? And keeping two lenslineups for medium format sounds just stupid.
      I think that if they get bought up by an established camera maker it is one without a mediumformat offering. Canon or Olympus maybe?

      • jk

        no Oly has no money to buy, Canon is not interested in HB but in Phase. Nikon Sony are in serious financial crisis themselves ,so they cannot buy it even though Sony really wants it. I am guessing maybe Fuji or Samsung or some Chinese company based in HK will buy it if it is really for sale……but hopefully HB will survive through this difficult era by its own…..

        • http://photorumors.com/ PhotoRumors

          Nikon and Sony are about to die? I think there are several other companies that will go down before them.

        • Doug Peterson

          The “canon looking to buy phase one” rumor was complete hog wash.

        • Mardock

          ROFLMAO!

          Gotta love folks who post shyte on the Interwebs.

        • SoftOnDemand

          Nikon is part of Mitsubishi I doubt they are in financial trouble.

          • Paul

            yes – missing growth targets is a ‘crisis of sorts’ for companies focused on EPS, but its very different than losing money or being insolvent. Oftentimes, historically profitable companies that are facing devaluation due to slowing growth are encouraged by analysts to seek acquisitions

    • jk

      hope not I do not want to see Sigma or Samyong owning honorable great name like HB.

  • saywhatuwill

    I wish I had the money to invest in the company. I’d first get rid of the Luna, Stella, Rosebud, Jupitera cameras. I’d then make a 6×6 sensor and put it onto a digital back for the V-series. The H-series prices will be reduced, but enough to make them exclusive. I’d then make a new line of mirrorless medium format cameras and lenses.

    For the new company that took over Hasselblad previously their mistake was entering a saturated small format field which Hasselblad didn’t have a name or reputation in.

    • Doug Peterson

      Hasselblad does not own Sinar or Broncolor.

      Broncolor’s US distributor and hassy’s US distributor merged.

      Leica purchased Sinar some years ago.

      • saywhatuwill

        Well, even better than. More resources for Hasselblad.

    • jk

      As Doug said it , HB is nothing to do with Sinar. In fact, Leica bought Sinar.

  • Mark James Luzzi

    Not very suprised at all that they are will be for sale.They came out with rebadged overpriced cameras.They do NOT know how to run a camera company.Hopefully who ever buys them has more vision.Because the present owners are completely clueless.

  • Mike

    Hasselwho? Ah, the company that makes fancy and pricy cases for some consumer cameras! Who cares if they go out of business?

    • jk

      many of us shooting MFDB or thinking about going up there care about HB , the Pentax or the Nikon does not become any serious threat to Phase or HB since they do not have lens shutter lenses and maybe more importantly they do not have great Tilt and shift lenses.

      • MB

        If you are talking about 6000$ Hass T&S adapter for that kind of money you could get combo from Nikon or Canon that includes camera and a couple of T&S lenses.

  • frell

    Perhaps there aren’t as many stupid rich people around as they thought.

    • Benjamin

      Totally agree, however, Hasselblad really took a bad approach towards “Luxury”. I meant, if you want the money from those rich men, do something like Leica, which has always been a so called luxurious brand. Hasselblad however, more like a Nikon or Canon back in the day.

      • saywhatuwill

        You’re so wrong about how Hasselblad was viewed at the time. It was the camera that went to the moon. It was the ROSE ROYCE of cameras. It was the pinnacle of what you could buy (other than Sinar). Leica was the Mercedes of cameras.

        What the last couple owners of Hasselblad did was take that stellar reputation and made cameras that made people like you feel they aren’t worth a dime.

        • fjfjjj

          You are generally right, but Leica was the Mercedes of cameras, while Hasselblad was the Volkswagen of cameras. It was the camera that defined utilitarian perfection, not luxury and style. Remember that Nikon went to the moon also.

          • saywhatuwill

            Nikon didn’t go to the moon. It went into space and continues to be in space.

            If Hasselblad was Volkswagen, then their cheap lenses that Hasselblad used, Carl Zeiss, were Fiat.

          • fjfjjj

            Nikon went to the moon. Maybe it stayed in the orbiter, but then so did Michael Collins. Are you saying Michael Collins didn’t go to the moon?

          • Sports

            So, Nikon is the moon rover??

            I believe, btw, it was when he saw David Hasselhoff on the surface that Michael Collins decided to stay in the orbiter.

          • MB

            If we pursue this car/camera comparison Leica was Mercedes, Nikon was Toyota but Hasselblad was Volvo and by Volvo I dont mean cars but trucks. Rolls-Royce was for most people associated with Rolleiflex, but look where they are today …

          • AM I Am

            And Sigma is the Yugo.

          • vlad

            Sigma is Yugo :)))

          • fjfjjj

            Sigma was the Yugo. Now it’s the Acura.

          • filmisdead

            Yeah, the 12-24mm zoom(s) I bought a while back were decentered on two different sides, just bad QC back then; IQ of DP3M camera has been spectacular – I am glad to see Sigma back in the game.

          • AM I Am

            In your dreams.

          • MB

            So you are saying that Yugo currently outperforms all those Toyota and Lexus latest and greatest … Nah … either Sigma is not Yugo or Nikon is not Toyota …

          • AM I Am

            Nope, Sigma falls apart in your hands, just like a Yugo.

          • El Aura

            Or the Land Rover Defender or the Mercedes G.

          • nemo295

            Hasselblad was NEVER the “Volkswagen of cameras”! Back in the day, it was universally considered to be the gold standard of medium format, as Leica was the gold standard of 35mm. They were the best a pro could buy. It was only later, in the 21st century, that Hasselblad lost its way, got sold to a holding company that couldn’t care less about quality, and became the joke it is today.

    • Say What?

      Well said!

      I have, at least, my faith restored that people are not as stupid as I feared. To buy those cameras would have been pure lunacy.

      Given Fuji’s involvement in the H Project already, I wouldn’t be surprised if they buy it out.

  • Shamael

    What? Hasselhoff, I thought that he was allready dead, found drunk somewhere.

  • madmax

    Galactic adventures are too expensive indeed. Now Hasselblad is only another broke company. Maybe some Russian or Chinese entrepreneur can save them.

    • BdV

      Like Kodak…

      • Rui Nelson Carneiro

        … and rollei…

  • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

    There’s nothing special that Hasselblad has that’s worth buying. The timing is just as well because with cmos sensors that can do live view, the old fashioned SLR design can’t be justified. 35mm DSLRs will last longer because of their AF capabilities.

    Maybe someone can make use of their sensor shift tech and maybe there’s something in their lens “correction” software that others could use.

  • Morris

    the designers (lunar,stellar,crappers etc) are still (and will) rolling over the floor laughing drinking expensive champagne at the side of the corpse of the hasselblad brand

  • ChibaCityBlues

    The thing is… Hasselblad is behaving like Sony did some time ago. Everything is as proprietary as possible with Hasselblad. Mounts, backs… so many incompatibilities.

    The build quality went downhill as well.

    So hopefully they are in trouble. And hopefully they realise, that the have to do better.

    Otherwise it will be a deserved bankruptcy.

  • Camaman

    Those Sony abominations sure were a catalyst for this.
    All planned from the start IMO.
    Wonder who has the “short option” on the Hasselblad so they can buy it for cheap after it flunks!…
    I am sure some Sony partner will grab a piece of it.
    LOL, maybe Olympus grabs a piece… :-P

  • sperdynamite

    Just a pretty bad buy for venture capital. I see what they were trying to do, and it’s not ridiculous as Leica makes their money this way, but the way in which they tried to do it is completely ridiculous. People just aren’t THAT stupid. Especially when you can’t even say that they made the Sony products look better. They really look like shit that only a rich Italian could love

    Uber expensive medium format is a dying, or rapidly shrinking market. They needed a $10K H camera that outpaces the Canikons in studio and on location in a real way, IQ wise. Something for editorial and high end wedding shooters who are eager to show up with a camera that uncle bob doesn’t have already.

    • Doug Peterson

      Don’t mistake one companies troubles with the overall health of the segment. Sales at Team Phase One have increased every year since the financial crises. Everyone assumes Phase One products are all expensive as their flagship products, but the Credo 40 kit at $11k has been one of out better selling units this year.

      • sperdynamite

        You’re right, I had no idea there was a kit at that price point. If it’s their best selling product then that’s kind of my point. I think there a A LOT of pros who would make a $10-12k investment in a camera. I’m excited to see if the 645Z takes off.

        • Doug Peterson

          Not best selling, as I said “one of our better selling units”. The last few months the single best selling has been the IQ250 – no big surprise given that it’s new. Before that it was the IQ260. Sales are strongest currently at the high-end (IQ250/260) and the entry-level (Credo 40, refurbished IQ140).

      • 1600F

        whats a credo 40 and what does it compete against?
        are you a salesman for phase 1?

        • Doug Peterson

          Mamiya Credo 40 (Mamiya is a Team Phase One company). http://www.digitaltransitions.com/blog/dt-blog/mamiya-credo-special-promo

          Yes, I work at Digital Transitions in NYC, the largest P1 dealer in the country – normally I’m commenting on one of the major forums (Luminous Landscape, GetDPI) and my signatures there include my job title for full disclosure.

          • Neopulse

            Love the Mamiya Credo digitalbacks by the way. And yes, the price point at $11k (saw it at “Capture Integration” also) that they are at for the 40MP is stellar. Wonder if a new 645DF model will be replacing the + model soon.

          • Neopulse

            Love the Mamiya Credo digitalbacks by the way. And yes, the price point at $11k (saw it at “Capture Integration” also) that they are at for the 40MP is stellar. Wonder if a new 645DF model will be replacing the + model soon.

          • Doug Peterson

            The CEO has already publicly discussed their work on an entirely new body. When this happens, since Team Phase One runs an open platform owners of a Credo 40 kit with a DF+ will be able to upgrade their body without needing the change digital backs, and/or keep the DF+ as a backup body and buy the new body by itself.

          • Neopulse

            Thanks for the info. Greatly appreciated.

          • Neopulse

            Forgot to ask, is P1 & Mamiya going to keep pursuing the use of DALSA CCD sensors or is the IQ250 a taste of things to come?

          • Doug Peterson

            Here are two stories I wrote on recent sensor development at Phase One: http://www.digitaltransitions.com/blog/dt-blog/phase-one-iq250-cmos-fully-realized
            http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/iq260_story.shtml

            Phase One is very agile when it comes to sensor selection. They’ve had skunk works for each sensor option even when they weren’t using it (much like Apple ran skunkworks of Intel processors even when they were Power PC only). They’ve used sensors from Sony before in the (distant) past, and also Phillips, Kodak, Dalsa. When the next back is released it will contain whatever sensor is best at that time.

            Beyond that, I can’t say for obvious reasons :).

          • Neopulse

            Gotcha, thanks for the links, will read these :-) and might I add rather interesting that Phase One chooses the best sensor at that time instead of contracts that have to use a certain company’s sensor for a determined amount of time. Very cool indeed.

  • alreadyupsidedown

    Wow, didn’t see that one coming……………………………………………………….

  • TinusVerdino

    They should just ditch the mirrorless camera’s and focus on pro-mf. No stupid Hassie stores but take professional photography into the 21st century.

  • photoviking

    Serves them right! I got an email the other day from Hasselblad promoting an “instant rebate” on their X1 and X5 scanners. Turns out they bumped the prices by $3-5K and were offering a rebate equal to the increase.

    Closing the H system was Strike 1. Abandoning the V system was Strike 2. The Interplanetary Madness of the Lunar, Stellar and Solar were Strike 3. They’re outta here!

  • Ms.KrystalMeth

    They shouldn’t be in Financial Trouble…They use the best that Sony Can make!

  • jk

    the biggest issue with current HB is the amount of debt and so I think no one really interested in buying them so soon. wise buyers will wait till HB really go bankrupt and buy it cheap.

  • 1600F

    tragic will be the loss of Victor Hasselblad’s original creation.

    • fjfjjj

      Enough have been manufactured to meet demand for the remainder of human history.

  • Eagle Of morningcalm

    R.I.P. hasselblad should make competitve model like nikon-canon-or fuji. I doubt anyone will use a 10k or 20k digital camera?

  • http://cinegain.com Cinegain

    They should just friggin’ stick to studio use medium format digital camera’s and focus solely on that and take Pentax, Phase One and Leica to the ring to fight.

    They’re not bad. But quickly remoddeling a Sony or Panasonic consumer camera and selling it for insane prices, that’s not something you should be pursuing. Just stick to the thing you actually know something and design everything about.

  • rt-photography

    only a matter of time now…

  • tb

    Nostalgia is all well and good but today the pro-sumer and professional camera market has many more players. If Hassy wants a piece they should stop making over-priced cameras for the luxury market and build usable, reasonably priced gear.

  • Peter Drijver

    I always looked at Hasselblad the way I see RED now: pro-quality camera-system with pro lenses, studio equipment and pedigree. ‘ergonomics’ where leading when Colani did the T90 for Canon and its EOS siblings until today. that is not the way for Hasselblad and its brand-tradition. Fuji (and to a certain extent) Leica do it smarter with better cameras. alternative propositions that want to put photography first -and sell the matching product…

  • FullMetalPhotog

    Hasselblad was the camera for studio and wedding shooters through the 70’s-80’s by the 90’s Hasselblad really start to lose ground to Nikon and Canon 35mm cameras especially in the wedding market.

    The main reason was AF, high quality lenses and ttl development. Hasselblad just seem not to get it while other MF companies did try for innovation.

    When digital Nikon came out with the D1 Canon with the D30 both under $5,000. Today a Nikon D800 36mp is $1800 a Nikon D4s 16mp is $6000 while the Hasselblad H5D-50c medium format camera 50mp is $27500. Hasselblad has yet to make significant upgrades to lenses.

    At the same time wanted to copy Leica success but had no understanding how Leica succeeded. Repacking Sony cameras was not how Leica became a cult camera.

  • Andrés Cuesta

    As seems nobody are buying Hasselblad´stuff anymore, maybe the swedish company could survive doing the same as Lomo(Lomography), by selling plastic MF film 6×7 cameras for evoluted hipsters.

  • dickgrafixstop

    The camera that made Hasselblad – the C series – was the perfect base, a
    finely machined empty box that would allow almost limitless customization to solve photographic challenges. A selection of viewfinders, film backs,
    winding mechanisms and those wonderful lenses made it the choice of
    professionals and serious amateurs alike. It was a wonderful step “forward” from the world of twin lens Rolleis with three models and three lenses. Then the copycats started eating away the market, the good ones like Contax and Rollei and the others – remember Bronica, or Kowa?
    Mamiya really broke the damn with the “affordable” 645, but Hasselblad
    was still the standard and is still a fantastic answer for the film questions that doesn’t get asked very often.

    Unfortunately for Hasselblad, technologies like auto focus, auto exposure,and digital imaging came on the scene and the Swedes took
    a “ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach and were left soundly in the dust.
    By the time they recognized the problem, formulated an answer, others
    had seized the market. Phase one decided to quite supplying digital backs – sensor technology advanced – markets changed and Hasselblad was left surveying an empty photographic smorgasbord.

    They may have gone to the moon, but Hasselblad now has a hard time even gaining shelf space in the few “real” camera stores that are left.
    The imaging quality of full frame DLSRs already outperform medium format camera (measured by pixel density not total pixels) and the
    differences will only become more pronounced. The day is not far off when the only real justification for medium format will be to use that
    expensive carbon fiber tripod.

    Change or die! Good bye Hasselblad.

  • Aswald

    Hassleblad remains one of the best cameras ever existed in history but the current owners does not have a clue what to do with the brand. They should continue to make their high end awesome medium formats but work out good deals with studios. On the compact end, they should concentrate on high end full frame mirrorless. Rebadging is just so yesterday. Worse, playing dress up should be left to children.

  • Say What?

    Hasselblad died after they switched to the H System. The undertaker announced death with those ridiculous Lunatic cameras. Like some sort of sad and sick joke.

  • dickgrafixstop

    If you pick a buy-out partner for Hasselblad who would you choose?
    Canon? – the persistent rumors that Canon will enter the MF market?
    Fuji? – existing relationship as supplier for the panorama camera?
    Samsung? – appears to want to establish a photo presence – and has money?
    Mamiya? – would take out a potential competitor?
    Another unknown financial group? – needs another tax loss?
    Phase One? – barely surviving on it’s own.
    Zeiss – long standing lens supplier but dumping it’s camera lines

  • Chawn Crawley

    I’ve owned both Hassy & Phase One. Personally, I think Hasselblad has the market corned on lens development and durability. That said, Phase One is eating their lunch on the software side. And let’s face it: the software is truly where the magic begins.

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