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Why Are Hasselblad Cameras So Expensive?

It's the camera manufacturer that documented the moon landing. Its build quality and design are one thing, but the images it takes with its Sony sensor and lenses are truly one of a kind. In this video, Business Insider breaks down why it's so expensive, and gives a rough estimate of how many they sell each year. 

The assembly and testing are all done by hand. That's not common in the world of camera production. Each part of the camera is put in place by a specialist. The sound, friction, and feeling of pressing the shutter button are all tested to give the photographer that feeling which they believe is worth the money. 

It's not a camera I can afford, and I don't believe I'll ever buy one, but I do understand the value of quality in the images it produces, not only in the medium format size of the sensor, but also in the color science and attention to detail with regards to matching reality. 

The cameras are used in fashion and the documentation of art catalogs. Color is crucial here, and according to the video, there's no other camera like it. This was always up to the film producers back when film was the only option, but now with sensors in the camera, it's companies like Hasselblad that see the value in their products, and then the thousands who buy the cameras and lenses every year. 

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13 Comments

Marc F's picture

I am still hoping for an affordable true 56x56mm FF MF digital back that will fit my 205TCC body. Why are we always forced to buy a new camera body with new lenses?
Assembly and testing done by hand don’t justify the price these cameras are sold.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Well if you can develop and build a similar camera, and then tell us how much you'll want to sell it for... we'll know better what a hand built camera should cost..

Just because it costs more than you want or can afford, doesn't mean it is over priced. It just means you can't justify the price. And if you think it should cost less without having ever manufactured such a thing, just means you don't know yet of which you speak.

A Rolls Royce costs a small fortune, and there is good reason for it.

I've shot with Hass cameras, and they're a thing of beauty. I could literally hear their surprise when I asked if I would still need to calibrate their lenses to their bodies. And the "look" I got from their HD5 camera was unlike anything I've ever had from my Canons. Eyes had a quality that I still can't quite describe. Colours were perfect.

So yes, they're worth it, in every sense.

Marc F's picture

« …we'll know better what a hand built camera should cost”

Do you suppose that cameras made by other manufacturers, that cost only one tenth of the price of the Hasselblad, are all assembled by robots? And how many more parts or assembly time is needed to make a Hasselblad, compared to that needed to assemble a Fuji MF camera?
The Rolls Royce car is not an adequate comparison because the car contains precious materials like the silver or golden angel of ecstasy for which people pay for. There is not a kilogram of silver or gold in a Hasselblad. Sensors are made with silicone and as an electronic component are sold at very reasonable price.

I have also to say that I once had a problem of a bad electrical connection with my almost new Hasselblad 205TCC. I repaired it by myself. Even having no any qualifications, I was able to repair it: the bad connection was due to a missing washer! - That’s for the Hasselblad super-qualified workers - Now if you think that my work, just like the work done by any camera repair technician, is worth tens of thousands dollars, please tell me where I can claim my check!

Metin Yirtici's picture

I wish that Canon made medium format camera's, then I maybe could use the lenses I already have...

Alexis Cuarezma's picture

Canon makes 35mm lenses. So the lenses wouldn't have a big enough image circle to cover a MF sensor. you'd to have to crop in which defeats the purpose.

Metin Yirtici's picture

Ahhh.... thank you. I never thought about that.

Tamas Nemeth's picture

Is Hasselblad going on for a sale? Usually companies do this type of videos to attract potential buyers/investors...

Robert Nurse's picture

I got to play with a Hasselblad at a trade show once. The images produced were insane! I could never justify that purchase as an amateur though. But, they are nice though.

Jake Covington's picture

This makes no sense. They are STILL using the same re-branded Fuji bodies that were introduced in 2002. I think only a total sucker would buy one of these cameras/backs new. Even Phase One is better, for that price, since it can tether to C1 (and the Phase body is more modern). But really, the Fuji 100s just made all of these cameras pretty silly for 95% of medium format users.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Have you actually directly compared any Phase One with a H6D - actual hands on experience?

Have you compared the "True Focus" system on the Hass compared to the focus system on the Phase Ones.

Hass cameras have their own tether solution which is quite solid. Yes it would be good to have compatibility with C-1 (I'm a C-1 user), but that isn't the be-all and end-all.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

A tig welder can cost that much. Okay if it's not for you people that's fine, I can't afford one but if I could justify it sure I would. Almost any form of industry has high end product to choose from, photography is no exception and certainly not an isolated case, far from it.

Andrew Eaton's picture

The H6D-100C is now so old, 5 years old, it seems to me like they are moving away from it. Phase one have taken over the top end market.

Stefan Gonzalevski's picture

I wish the Hasselblad viewfinder were not this small hole with deforming small lenses...