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Digital medium format in 2024 – it's not dead!

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P. Chong

Well-known member
as I understand it, Alpa is designed in-house by the Alpa team. They retain all intellectual property rights to the Alpa products. Manufacturing is outsourced to Seitz.

... that's interesting Paul!
Is Alpa not a manufacturer, but an engineering company without its own production and with or without final assembly?

If the XY does not fall from the tripod onto the floor, there are not many parts that could malfunction in normal operation.
The fine drive, however, certainly comes first!

But if you, as a developer, buy different fine adjustment gears for every new camera, that's not well thought out, is it?
Of course I tried to return the camera with a lot of energy!

The sale via EBAY, with a precise description of the fault, was problem-free.

Uwe
 

Doppler9000

Active member
IMG_3844.jpeg
Being true to some historic and foundational product principles includes their Scandinavian design heritage which is clearly communicated both thru the form and function of products as well as their Made in Sweden marking.
Seems to be more about marketing than proud, foundational principles.

For example, for many years, Hasselblad had Novoflex build and label bellows for them in Germany.

To emphasize the foundational Swedish design principles and heritage(?), they marked the box with “Box made in Sweden”!

Perhaps it was designed by the Volvo team.
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
Alpa doesn’t manufacture it. They own the design rights and brand and work with Seitz. They manage design, marketing, sales.

Seitz designed the concrete product for a fee based on specification and design input.
 
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Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
as I understand it, Alpa is designed in-house by the Alpa team. They retain all intellectual property rights to the Alpa products. Manufacturing is outsourced to Seitz.
No not correct. They are a broker essentially. The firm was founded by marketing people with no real attachment to photography.

The Capauls are zero into photography and were at the late stage of their business life as marketers when they had the good idea to buy the brand name Alpa out of bankruptcy and seize the emerging tech cam trend.

Peter Seitz executed design ideas in CAD (old fashioned drawings of say the handgrip in the TC), annd every single camera and the whole system was in the end developed by Peter based on specified requirements by Alpa. Ie Alpa would say we need a Pano style camera for the Chinese market and it should have a wider shift range and only ten up and down and then he would come up with prototypes, etc. This also means every new product needs a clear business case before being commissioned from Seitz which is specialised in its own pano webcams which are used across Switzerland in the mountains for 365 day live feeds from ski pistes, amongst other uses.

It is a masterful project. Alpa commissioned it, gave iterative design input and then handled the sales and marketing of the product, in line with the provenance of the owners from marketing with no real photo equipment manufacturing know how. They were focused on design and marketing essentially with Seitz creating it based off of some initial concepts. Without having been there in the beginning it is difficult to say where the design line ends - say if the Capauls drew up the TC on paper and it’s handgrip, like one did twenty years ago - then one could say it was designed by both because Peter most likely will then have come up with the concrete detailed shape and additional ideas, but who knows.

The fact that they can’t in-house CNC is a disadvantage if Cashflow is sparse and you need to innovate in a country with high labour costs. Arca, Cambo cover more of the value chain in house and my understanding is that Cambo is the only fully integrated one with all capabilities. That’s also why Phase went with Cambo for the XT - Cambo can iterate and do CNC of precise photo products in house. And as a result can provide P1 also with higher margins.

I think it was very smart to work with an experienced photo equipment manufacturer and you can feel this every day - the Alpa system is extremely well thought out and coherent. On top, the haptics are beyond reproach and to this day they have truly unique products like the TC and Pano. Or the Novoflex based FPS macro setup lets you do things you can’t with other brands (eg stepped stitched ultra high red macros as the Rodie 105 has an IC allowing for shift …)

I derive immense utility out of the fact that I can use the same lens on a Max and the TC. Put it in a carry on package with the TC.

The XT and Factum are both unwieldy for protracted handheld use and so in a way to this Alpa is the only modular truly handhold able platform for IQ backs. Truly great quality gear and very long lasting. My XY is also almost twenty years old but works like on day 1!
 
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PeterA

Well-known member
handmade.jpg

Pretty much in-your-face branding on the X2D not that I don't care where anything is made as long as it is made well....
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
Many here have stated that they don’t care. That’s fine. But there is a reason the branding is there. It’s the same reason people put “Made in Switzerland” on watches.
 

Steve Hendrix

Well-known member
View attachment 210701
Seems to be more about marketing than proud, foundational principles.

For example, for many years, Hasselblad had Novoflex build and label bellows for them in Germany.

To emphasize the foundational Swedish design principles and heritage(?), they marked the box with “Box made in Sweden”!

Perhaps it was designed by the Volvo team.
We all know what is meant when the term “marketing” is used. It implies lies and deceit and subterfuge. Few on this forum ever laud marketing in a positive way, so when the term is used it’s generally overwhelmingly negative and seems to bring into question the company’s ethics.

And I’m just seeing an emphasis on that and cherry picking, like above, and I really am gobsmacked at how much pushback a company based in Sweden gets for saying Made In Sweden.

I mean, it’s not like they’re evil or something, they just make nice cameras (somewhere - 🥹) that people can take photographs with.

They’re not big Pharma running 10 million dollar ads on Super Bowl Sunday. Why not give them a little break?


Steve Hendrix/CI
 

Doppler9000

Active member
We all know what is meant when the term “marketing” is used. It implies lies and deceit and subterfuge. Few on this forum ever laud marketing in a positive way, so when the term is used it’s generally overwhelmingly negative and seems to bring into question the company’s ethics.

And I’m just seeing an emphasis on that and cherry picking, like above, and I really am gobsmacked at how much pushback a company based in Sweden gets for saying Made In Sweden.

Steve Hendrix/CI
Steve - your use of a straw man is disappointing. If you have a valid point, please make it, without re-characterizing what I wrote to suit your thesis.

Hasselblad labelled a cardboard box, which contains a product made in Germany, as “BOX MADE IN SWEDEN”. I implied no lies, no deceit, no subterfuge. I sincerely believe that the cardboard box WAS made in Sweden. I just find the fact that Hasselblad labelled it so, a little ludicrous. Maybe for some, the label fills them with national pride - but to others, labelling a cardboard box cheapens the brand, and diminishes the cachet. YMMV, as they say.

Are you truly “gobsmacked” that this was pointed out, in response to a post extolling the deep design tradition of Hasselblad?
 
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anyone

Well-known member
I for my part enjoy that Hasselblad is healthy, alive, AND brings us a new 100mp BSI back at an affordable price. It’s a company with a grand history that transformed nicely to the future. The part that they cater at least somewhat to their legacy system users is also a big plus. It would be boring to only have Fuji in that market. And yes, I also like that it is made in Sweden, same as I like that Cambo makes their cameras in the Netherlands and Linhof in Germany. Even better that they take a clean UI and design approach …
 

wattsy

Well-known member
I think it makes complete sense for them to state Made In Sweden. Not only was it designed in Sweden, not only is the headquarters of the company in Sweden, but the history of the company is also based in Sweden, back many decades. They don't say "Assembled in Sweden", they say Made In Sweden, and to my way of thinking, for all practical purposes, it is Made In Sweden, and everything from the beginnings of the company leads back from the product itself to Sweden as well. If there was no Hasselblad 1600F in Sweden, there would not be an X2D in Sweden. It is Sweden, it is a heritage,
I like the sentiment but it's a bit of stretch to justify the "Made in Sweden" label on the basis of the heritage, etc. Hasselblad have no problem labelling the XCD lenses "Made in Japan" even though many (all?) were designed at least in part by optical engineers in Sweden. Accessories like the adaptors and battery charging hub are probably also designed in Sweden (and are part of that continuous heritage going back to the 1600F) but many of these are labelled "Made in China" because that is presumably where they are made. I don't think we need to get warm and fuzzy about it. The X2D and CFV 100c are labelled "Made in Sweden" because that's where a bunch of pre-fabricated parts get turned into cameras and because various consumer laws and agreements allow Hasselblad to describe that manufacturing process as "Made in Sweden".
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
I like the sentiment but it's a bit of stretch to justify the "Made in Sweden" label on the basis of the heritage, etc. Hasselblad have no problem labelling the XCD lenses "Made in Japan" even though many (all?) were designed at least in part by optical engineers in Sweden. Accessories like the adaptors and battery charging hub are probably also designed in Sweden (and are part of that continuous heritage going back to the 1600F) but many of these are labelled "Made in China" because that is presumably where they are made. I don't think we need to get warm and fuzzy about it. The X2D and CFV 100c are labelled "Made in Sweden" because that's where a bunch of pre-fabricated parts get turned into cameras and because various consumer laws and agreements allow Hasselblad to describe that manufacturing process as "Made in Sweden".
That’s it! Some of the tutorial videos of the new back were filmed in the port of Hong Kong - nice boats! Anyone notice?

So parts were shipped to Sweden and then back to Hong Kong for some pre product launch filming?
 
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Steve Hendrix

Well-known member
Steve - your use of a straw man is disappointing. If you have a valid point, please make it, without re-characterizing what I wrote to suit your thesis.

Hasselblad labelled a cardboard box, which contains a product made in Germany, as “BOX MADE IN SWEDEN”. I implied no lies, no deceit, no subterfuge. I sincerely believe that the cardboard box WAS made in Sweden. I just find the fact that Hasselblad labelled it so, a little ludicrous. Maybe for some, the label fills them with national pride - but to others, labelling a cardboard box cheapens the brand, and diminishes the cachet. YMMV, as they say.

Are you truly “gobsmacked” that this was pointed out, in response to a post extolling the deep design tradition of Hasselblad?

I consider in the context of the discussion showing a box that says "Box Made In Sweden" a bit of a cherry pick. Though I have to acknowledge labeling packaging as made in a certain country to be really a stretch. Maybe they meant it as a joke, even? I don't know. I wasn't meaning to single you out, but I didn't feel that particular example was all that relevant as a counter argument for Hasselblad stating their cameras are Made In Sweden. Just my opinion, of course, I appreciate yours.


Steve Hendrix/CI
 

Steve Hendrix

Well-known member
I like the sentiment but it's a bit of stretch to justify the "Made in Sweden" label on the basis of the heritage, etc. Hasselblad have no problem labelling the XCD lenses "Made in Japan" even though many (all?) were designed at least in part by optical engineers in Sweden. Accessories like the adaptors and battery charging hub are probably also designed in Sweden (and are part of that continuous heritage going back to the 1600F) but many of these are labelled "Made in China" because that is presumably where they are made. I don't think we need to get warm and fuzzy about it. The X2D and CFV 100c are labelled "Made in Sweden" because that's where a bunch of pre-fabricated parts get turned into cameras and because various consumer laws and agreements allow Hasselblad to describe that manufacturing process as "Made in Sweden".

My warm and fuzzy is only a reaction to the cold and clammy reactions about a company in Sweden stating Made In Sweden. You can't have it both ways. If they say Made In China on accessories, and that is ok, then why would there be a problem stating Made In Sweden? I just don't understand why there is such extensive pushback.


Steve Hendrix/CI
 

darr

Well-known member
Debating the authenticity of digital Hasselblad components in their entirety misses the mark. It merely mirrors the global economic landscape. As an American, my upbringing included lessons on the Ford automobile history, their origins, and their contributions to our manufacturing heritage. Discovering that my new Ford van was imported from an assembly plant in Spain didn’t alter my perception of it. We live in a global economy—this is simply the natural progression and expansion.

I appreciate that Hasselblad managed to sustain its future operations in the digital back and camera market and decided to include the interchangeability for its V system line, as I can remember when its future was unclear. If going forward necessitated sourcing components from external suppliers who could provide parts that Hasselblad could not manufacture on their own, then that was a compromise worth making.

I also appreciate Hasselblad understands that not every photographer has the means to invest 25k+ in a digital back. Those who can afford such luxury are a select few, but honestly, the internal components of many of these cameras and backs come from the same suppliers. I am comfortable with the idea of the box produced in one country, components manufactured in another, and the assembly taking place elsewhere, all under the name of a reputable camera company with a commendable legacy. It's a global economy, folks, and if a company overseeing the development, investment, manufacturing, and marketing of a product wants to call it theirs, I am okay with it.
 

Whisp3r

Active member
Hasselblad labelled a cardboard box, which contains a product made in Germany, as “BOX MADE IN SWEDEN”.
Hi all, I just wanted to add my two Swedish Kronor to this discussion. I'm not trying to debate anybody's points, and I'm probably as conflict avoidant as a Norwegian but to me personally the 'Box made in Sweden' label in that photograph seems like typical Swedish humor :) Which, I admit, is a bit of an acquired taste. Not stating that Hasselblad marketeers had this in mind when they had that box manufactured but that's how I perceived it at least, feel free to ignore my contribution ;-) If you've ever seen a Roy Andersson movie you'll probably know what I mean.
Anyway, have a nice Sunday y'all!

Edit: quote Steve Hendrix: "Maybe they meant it as a joke, even? "
AHA, it seems I'm not the only one who felt that way! :)
 

hcubell

Well-known member
The company is owned by DJI. That is why all the discussion of “Made in Sweden” comes up.
More to the point, that is why YOU keep bringing this up, over and over again. IMO, anyone who is actually using a camera to achieve their creative vision in making photographs, rather than as a piece of jewelry, couldn't care less about the details of exactly who does which step in the production of a camera and where they do it. Your incessant references to DJI and China are a not so subtle, xenophobic dig intended to impugn the quality of the Hasselblad products relative to the quality of the products you own that are all sold (who knows about the manufacture?) by the European companies you list in your electronic signature.
Having said that, the three things that make the X2D stand apart for me are (1) the "color science" behind the files, (2) the user interface, and (3) the design/ergonomics. All of that work is/was done in Sweden.
 

Steve Hendrix

Well-known member
Hi all, I just wanted to add my two Swedish Kronor to this discussion. I'm not trying to debate anybody's points, and I'm probably as conflict avoidant as a Norwegian but to me personally the 'Box made in Sweden' label in that photograph seems like typical Swedish humor :) Which, I admit, is a bit of an acquired taste. Not stating that Hasselblad marketeers had this in mind when they had that box manufactured but that's how I perceived it at least, feel free to ignore my contribution ;-) If you've ever seen a Roy Andersson movie you'll probably know what I mean.
Anyway, have a nice Sunday y'all!

Edit: quote Steve Hendrix: "Maybe they meant it as a joke, even? "
AHA, it seems I'm not the only one who felt that way! :)
You mentioned Roy Andersson!!! I'm a passionate cinefile, and somehow Roy Andersson escaped my notice all my life until just 4 days ago! I spent Saturday night just watching the trailers for all his movies. So great.


Steve Hendrix/CI
 

rdeloe

Well-known member
I don't mean to be facetious, but if this is bothering someone, best not think too hard about what Product of [Country] means on your food products. We grow plenty of apples in Canada, but Product of Canada apple juice more often than not is apples from all over the world that happen to be put in a bottle in Canada.
 

hcubell

Well-known member
View attachment 210701
Seems to be more about marketing than proud, foundational principles.

For example, for many years, Hasselblad had Novoflex build and label bellows for them in Germany.

To emphasize the foundational Swedish design principles and heritage(?), they marked the box with “Box made in Sweden”!

Perhaps it was designed by the Volvo team.
I do not recall any of the boxes for my X series cameras and lenses containing that imprint. Is that box one that you personally own? What product was in it?
 
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