Rumor: Hasselblad to introduce a new family of digital cameras at Photokina (digital X-Pan?)

Hasselblad X-Pan camera

Hasselblad X-Pan film camera

I received a tip that Hasselblad will introduce a new family of digital cameras this year, probably at Photokina. One of the possibilities is a smaller DSLR type camera. The other rumor is for a digital X-Pan camera, which will use a customized sensor in order to provide the wide panorama format. The sensor will be smaller then the original film double frame (24mm x 65mm) and will probably have 1.5x crop factor. The price will be at the Leica M9 range ($6000-$7000).

In June last year, Hasselblad was acquired by Ventizz Capital Fund IV, a private equity fund. The new owners are likely to provide the R&D funding for the new projects as stated in the press release:

Hasselblad, the premium medium format camera manufacturer, is planning a rapid expansion of cutting edge capture products and is set to target new imaging markets following the company’s acquisition by Ventizz Capital Fund IV, LP, a private equity investor exclusively advised by Swiss and Germany based Ventizz Capital Partners AG.

Ventizz, which specializes in funding growth in companies across various high-tech industry sectors including communications technology and renewable energy, says it plans ‘no major structural or key management changes’ at Hasselblad.

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  • NYC

    I’ll buy 2!

    • Harold Ellis

      crop camera, hahahaaaaaa, sorry Hassy, i would rather use D800 and crop the upper half away

      • ke

        Maybe admin meant 1.5 crop compared to the double frame of the film model?

        • Harold Ellis

          unlikely that they would produce anything wider then FX format is
          it is just milking a name while they think they can
          i guess many camera producers are very pi**ed at nikon right now

          if it would be based on some medium format chip, it would not be M9-like price

          • Riiiight

            Dude, are you high?! Seriously. The D800 is a sweet camera, no doubt, but to suggest it is in the same class as a Hasselblad is downright foolish.

            Show me a D800 file, heck, make it a D800E if you like, that out-resolves either A) a drum scanned 6×6 transparency shot on a classic 500-series ‘blad, or B) a digital capture from a current H-series digital.


          • Harold Ellis

            of course D800 cannot replace medium format camera, but all those half tryouts like this digital xpan will probably be.
            But i believe that D800 will anyway eat lot of moneys from MF world, especially in product photography where are profits tight.

          • Dumb Harold

            Another dumb comment by Harold. What else is new?

  • hexx

    made by fuji?

    • applepie

      My thoughts too. The original X-Pan was made Fujifilm. The new Fujifilm “X” cameras lend a lot of credence to the rumor of a Digital X-Pan.

    • I have the Xpan II and it is a great camera, as a range finder even if you are not using its panoramic format. It works great and has a battery powered automatic film advance, which is sometimes a nice change from the M7 which of course is an entirely different beast. The Camera, was manufactured by Fuji, but then again so is/was the Hasselblad H.

    • Eric

      +1 i could see that for sure.

    • Sahaja

      Stretch X-Pro 1?

    • Mog

      I would guess it would use the Dalsa CCD sensor if its using a panoramic format. Dalsa basically stitches smaller sensor into a larger one, allowing for larger sized sensors. Hassy already uses Dalsa sensors in their MF digitals.

      The problem is that Dalsa’s stiching tech is incompatible with modern CMOS senosrs since CMOS sensors take in a rolling-shutter that doesn’t take the entire image as once, while the CCD is a global shutter, taking the entire image. Stitched sensors have issues with synchronizing these different stitched areas with a rolling shutter.

      This means that this camera will be using old CCD tech rather than modern CMOS technology that can do superior dynamic range and low-light abilities.

  • I am pre-ordering three of these on their website right now.

  • Ben Y

    Was excited until I read “The price will be at the Leica M9 range”.

    • +1

    • I have X-Pan 11 as well . Great camera and I love the Panoramic mode and those pictures are Very unique.
      I was x cited too but the price level Rang in M9 level means too expensive to afford as I own lot gears so far.

    • Sahaja

      Of course it will be priced like that – it says Hasselblad.

      Private equity investors don’t buy a company with a premium name like that to sell stuff cheap.

  • Vlad

    SO? :)))

  • Anon

    as awesome as this is, I can’t imagine there being that big of a market for a digital x-pan. the film version will probably have better resolving power, anyway. and it’s a lot cheaper.

    • CHD

      What’s film got to do with anything??? Yeah, we are all aware you can buy a 15 year old XPan and shoot film…but 90% of the population has made the switch to digital. I would LOVE a digital XPan.

      Trust me, if this rumor is true this camera will be a huge seller, even at M9 pricing.

  • Good point on Fuji. Didn’t Fuji make their lenses at one point?

  • Hidde

    Actually Fuji designed and made the whole camera.

  • Ke

    I hope it’s the digital X-Pan. That sounds brilliant.

  • Nobody Special

    Interesting as a big Hasselblad fan and user (for film) this could be interesting – even if, like the X-Pan they didn’t make – it was an excellent camera.

    I’m not confident however in the abilities of these ultra-rich types to be of a kind that understand photoraphy/imaging and/or camera design such as the concept recently viewed here at Photorumors. Money men of these types are good at making money but not ncessarily at creating new product. Hopefully this will be different.

  • something to think about

  • sounds great… I keep my lenses a wile… but my guestimation will be a Hasselblad X-Pro1…

    During a demo of the X-Pro1 I asked the Fujifilm sales person when the digital X-pan will come, he tried to show that he did not know the X-pan at all but his eyes where telling me that he just did not liked to discuss this… maybe (hopefully you’re right).

  • jeff

    Full frame.

    • Seppo

      +1 Full frame.

    • camerageek

      Please note “Full Frame” would be a 24mmx65mm sensor – that would put it in MF range practically and the price about the same. A 1.5 crop version would be 16mmx43mm range, still a tad larger than APS-C and cheaper to produce.

      • CHD

        Yup, full frame would be nice but absurdly expensive. If it was a APS-C frame times 2 that would still be a lot of sensor real estate.

  • Andrew

    If Fuji do make it, let’s just hope they pay more attention to the focus control and firmware QC than they do with their own cameras.

    • newoldmate

      I second that!

      Lack of a real manual focus system and an auto focus system that works every other time was the reason i sold my X100.

  • Daryl

    Anything that would keep Hasselblad viable would be welcome. They left Zeiss for Fuji lenses and then made 3rd party backs non compatible.

    • Ash

      How would a $9000 dollar camera make them viable?

      I don’t get it.

      • CHD

        Ask Leica.

        • Harold Ellis

          leica does not target dead branch of commercial photography – landscapes

          • CHD

            Harold, don’t be so daff, Leica does not target ANY aspect of commercial photography…at least with respect to the M series.

          • Agan

            Again your cup of ignorance runneth over.

          • Harold Ellis

            sure it does.

            it is unique camera without competition. It is used professionally on many places. Wedding togs love them for documentary and church, documentary photographers and news togs, i can name a lot.
            And, you just dont walk on red carpet with 1000$ X100 or DSLR. That is (up)market for it self – more whistles then bells, but no competition.
            I hate leica and have one my self only because there is no other full frame rangefinder or silent camera.

        • Ash

          Ask Leica?

          Leica makes money by selling lenses.

          Hasselblad does not really have that going on.

  • Alex

    There’s cameras made for film and camera made for digital. Look at Leica M8/9, did they beat the M6 ? i don’t think so. Now, Fuji showed that they knew about sensor and good quality images, so i’m not convince but i don’t want to loose hope though…cause i’d love to enjoy a digi Xpan like i do with my Xpan + 30mm.

  • If it is not full frame, then why bother? We can already crop panoramic images from our cameras, and most lenses are at their optical limits with 24+ megapixel sensors. Only a wider sensor would justify the camera, and be worth buying. What I think would be ideal, would be a wide format sensor (same size as the x-pan film size) with high quality lenses and a V-system lens adapter (live view would be needed for the adapter use).

  • Seppo

    +1 for FF

  • 7K and then you have to buy new “crop” lenses? That’s like a double downer to me.

  • David

    Hasselblad/Fuji were working on a digital Xpan when the eu killed it because of lead on the circuit boards.
    I am sure the arrival of the X1PRO has signalled what is to come.
    There are many sensors large enough to cover a panoramic format and whilst you can crop a FF(35) sensor to panoramic my guess is the crop factor will come when you switch from panoramic to standard shape as the Xpan did.
    Fuji have a whole design set of lenses which will cover 35mm to 10×8 so bring in a sensor 35mm wide or larger and you are off.
    It is rumoured that Sony have a 100MP sensor and even a square one so things are looking interesting.
    I loved the Xpan and had 2 bodies with 30(17)-45(25)-90(45) and sold when I switched to digital and yes the lenses were Fuji as I found out when I sent a lens to Hasselblad UK for a repair, the lens was then sent to Sweden and then on to Fuji in Japan.
    The quality of the pan lenses was superb and the lenses on the X10-X100 and X1PRO are no slouches.

  • broxibear

    Maybe they’re working with Sony on that rumoured square medium format sensor ?

  • jason

    Please made it perfect unlike Fuji X …!

    • Kevin

      it’ll have to be perfect — the x pro 1 is under $2300

      this one costs at least 3X the price.

  • As someone who have shot 20,000 frames on the M9 and ~300 rolls on the two XPan II, I know a bit about both cameras. I will buy a digital XPan in a heartbeat.

    If you put effectively two APS-C sensor together to get a “1.5 crop,” the sensor will still be larger than the “full frame” 35mm sensor.

    All my homepage slideshow images were done on the M9 and XPan.

    Unfortunately, I’m afraid that this is one of those random rumors that has no basis 🙁

    • AAron

      more like,
      it will be worse then Canikon has to offer but more expensive!

    • Vlad Dusil

      Phenomenal work Richard! I am now intrigued by the Xpan more than ever.

    • bob2

      Great stuff!

  • Terry

    Panny GH2 + Pano head + Pano soft = much cheaper

  • Mat

    WHOA!!! That would be sweet! But they prolly cost 4,000 for the body….

  • I don’t know whether to be excited or not. The prospect of a quad frame*panoramic body sounds great and if it is a really has a quad frame then maybe it would make an awesome movie body.

    OTOH, if it’s just some private equity attempt of monetising a dead brand with a generic consumer camera cobbled together from off the shelf bits, then it will be a complete loss.

    *I like many others consider double frame” (AKA “full frame”) is 36×24 because “single frame” is 18×24.

  • BklynPigeon

    PLEASE have manual focus like the original Xpan.

  • Camaman

    Native 21:9 format sensor maybe?
    Cropped from FF and priced at M9 level…

    Lol! Now ThAt would be funny!

    • AAron

      now when only find enough stupid people going to buy it

      • –>AAron: read the comments above. Looks like there is already a line.

        But FWIW, if they can deliver on the goods, and the camera ca perform, it will sell, and people will buy it. There seems to be a lot of folks either very discouraged, or downtrodden over a potential rumors of something unconfirmed.

  • EE

    FF or MF or i’m not interested…

  • Donald

    This needs to be a genuine rangefinder.
    They also must correct the mistake they made last time: The flange distance needs to be Leica M compatible. They would still be selling XPans today if they had thought about the option of fast 24×36 format M lenses and dual format 24×65 large image circle lenses.

  • Filberto Savoia

    I already have one of those. It’s really great. Takes nice snaps too.

    • Duke of Edinburgh

      So that’s where it got to. Blast you, you cad!

  • Annony-Mouse

    It’s a “re-badged” Fujifilm X-PRO 1…. using diff algorithm for image processing and a tweeked sensor.

    Will be in a grey color like the HD-4 MF Cams, with black grip.

  • hassman

    Yes , please !!!!

  • Ian

    My film Xpan still does a fine job.

  • doc diamond

    The hasselblad dealer here in central europe talked already Last autumn about a next set of blade in a smaller design. therefore the rumor might point in the right direction.

  • roland

    Owner of TX-1 says: I am thinking of buying a Sony NEX 7 with adapter to use the awesome Fuji/xpan lenses. Does anybody has made some experiences with that combi?

  • Deveraux

    I have never been tempted to buy an Xpan/Fuji TX, but I’m sure there is a market out there for it for some strange reason…. And since ‘blad has been losing significant market share with their current, pro-only products, I’m sure they’ll use their brand a-la Leica to break into the amateur market.
    If you want Panorama for kicks: Nothing wrong with e.g. stitching, or, say, a Canham 617 back for your view camera*, a 35mm adapter** for (or just cropping) the Mamiya 7, if you’re that keen, or even a cheap, but excellent Horizon-202** instead. The Xpan quickly became the worst of both worlds, but gear-heads with too much money beg to be catered for, right?
    *(1/3 of the price of an Xpan and 6x the pic quality),
    **(both <1/10 of the price of an Xpan and similar pic quality)

  • Higgs Singlet

    PE owners, it will never happen because they do not have a passion in the product

  • Higgs Singlet

    Well, since it is a Swiss PE company, may be they will be better than american PE firm and willing to invest. So far, I have never seen a small to medium size american PE firm invest, they will only repackage and sell it as fast as possible for a profit. that is why many small to medium size american business is disappearing

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