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 Little History
In 2002, Hasselblad made a splash with this new venture introducing an AF 645 system produced by Fuji in Japan. A Hasselblad system manufactured outside of Sweden with auto focus lenses that are not made by Zeiss?!?!?!? The old school hard liners had a field day deriding the product and thinking it was the end of Hasse. How wrong could they be? The balance, sync speed, and strong Fuji glass won over the crowd and the new system quickly dominated the high end fashion market. The system was built from the ground up with digital in mind with internal synching and a histogram built into the body LCD. These were groundbreaking for our market. Hasselblad’s 35 Million dollar project was a success.
Phase One and Hasselblad
At its creation, Phase one partnered with Hasselblad on this project. They released the 11mp Phase One H101 as the first digital back for the system at the same Photokina event. The new back was designed with the same color and styling of the new 645 making them a seamless pair. This partnership helped both companies flourish and expand. That is until Hasselblad saw this as a profit center that they were missing and merged with Imacon 2 years later in 2004. The result was Hasselblad trying to lock Phase One out of the H series system all together. Thankfully for Phase One they had a rock solid contract stating that they can manufacture their H101 digital back for any Hasselblad H body. A legal battle ensued for almost 10 years. Every single new Phase One back kept the H101 logo, even though it represented the tethered 11mp system. The Phase One H25, P20, P21, P25, P30, and the P45 that were produced for the Hasselblad H body all had the moniker of H101 attached to the logo in order to satisfy this contract. Eventually the lawsuit ended and the results kept secret. The H101 went away and Phase One still created a solution for the H bodies…… what a strange ride it’s been.
DJI and Hasse
In 2017, Hasselbad had its next big change being acquired by the Chinese company DJI. Before this acquisition Hasselblad was making poor OEM decisions. They were investing heavily into 3rd party products by adding their logo onto their existing structure, adding a wooden handle, and exponentially up-charging for their name. The photo market didn’t buy it. These new products were widely panned and didn’t sell. CEO’s were fired and the company was on the verge of insolvency. DJI has been a life saver for the brand. The mirrorless X series bodies have been a big success. They breathed new life into the brand with great features, a unique set of advantages, and that Hasselblad quality. DJI has used the brand to help market their higher end lenses on their pro-super drones. Today we see Hasselblad used by a new generation of imaging professionals.
End of life for the H system but not for Hasselblad
Last year’s release of the X2D Mirrorless body was a huge success. Hasselblad released 3 new lenses for the product and they are still on back order status showing that we can’t keep up with the demand. I can’t say enough about the size, weight, styling, color, and operating system of this new camera. Its one of the best new products I have seen in a long time. So we shouldn’t be worried about the brand. Yes, if you are an old school guy like me, it’s sad to see any product reach its end of life. The H system is still very strong and working in so many studios today. However, it’s time to look at replacements. We can’t even order new battery grips today. All products are out of production. Repair service continues to be done in Sweden for most H products after Hasselblad relocated their long term headquarters in NJ to California last year. While the H products still work well today, repairs will take longer and will become more difficult. Please reach out to us if we can help in any way.
By Dave Gallagher
Thanks for the read! If you have any questions, or interest in Hasselblad, feel free to reach out.Dave Gallagher