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

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wattsy

Active member
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.
I don't think the consensus in the thread is to pushback against it. I certainly don't mind that it states "Made In Sweden" on my camera. I'm happy to accept that it is in Sweden where much of the final product's value is created, even if most of the component parts might be individually machined or prefabricated outside the country. I'm happy to pay a bit extra to have the final assembly work done by white-coated staff in Sweden even though I know it could be done just as effectively in a factory in China.
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
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.
Howard, you are taking it too far with your ranting if you accuse me of Xenophobia, I am sorry but this is not it. Every time you post the tone becomes aggressive and you seem to have serious problems.

I am interested in economic facts and business practices and here it is all about the fact that Made in Sweden is used as a marketing feature all over the product in order to drive sales. It is super clear. If running a standardised test protocol in Sweden plus sticking together a few parts allows you to label something as Made in Sweden it is a business decision from marketing to do so.

I am in general for transparency towards the marketplace and the more common customer of course, reading about made in Sweden, will think everything is made in Sweden.

With your comment you have taken a respectful discussion into personal territory in an unacceptable manner and it shows your true character, I am sorry.

On top, I didn’t even start the discussion about this topic - would need to check why we have gotten here again.

Maybe you should get some fresh air and produce some “photographic works” before you accuse people on forums of being xenophobic.
 
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hcubell

Well-known member
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
I actually think you do, Steve. [G] The pushback, IMO, is in part about xenophobia and in part about fanboyism of the type that dominates discussions in the DP Review fora. Fortunately, this forum has largely been immune to that, with one notable exception.
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
I actually think you do, Steve. [G] The pushback, IMO, is in part about xenophobia and in part about fanboyism of the type that dominates discussions in the DP Review fora. Fortunately, this forum has largely been immune to that, with one notable exception.
Look at yourself in the mirror - you are the biggest fanboy, a constant contributor of deterioration of tone, and are accusing people of xenophobia. Your aggressive undertone in posts is a clear sign that something is not balanced.

By taking a fact based discussion about business practices into the topic area of xenophobia and on top onto a personal level you show your true colours. I think it is more revealing about how you see the world if anything.

People should be free to discuss marketing and labelling practices without personal attacks and being accused of things which are just not true.

A really nice chap to have on the forum, I d say!
 
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hcubell

Well-known member
Howard, you are taking it too far with your ranting if you accuse me of Xenophobia, I am sorry but this is not it. Every time you post the tone becomes aggressive and you seem to have serious problems.

I am interested in economic facts and business practices and here it is all about the fact that Made in Sweden is used as a marketing feature all over the product in order to drive sales. It is super clear. If running a standardised test protocol in Sweden plus sticking together a few parts allows you to label something as Made in Sweden it is a business decision from marketing to do so.

I am in general for transparency towards the marketplace and the more common customer of course, reading about made in Sweden, will think everything is made in Sweden.

With your comment you have taken a respectful discussion into personal territory in an unacceptable manner and it shows your true character, I am sorry.
I am not fooled. This is not motivated by some dispassionate, disinterested, view about what is permissible in package labelling, or that you are trying to protect innocent consumers who might be misled. The subliminal messaging is that Hasselblad cameras are actually "manufactured" by a Chinese company with Chinese employees that are not on a par with the European companies with European employees whose products you own. In short, the X2D is not really a "European camera." It's really a "Chinese camera," as if this was 1955 when made in China connoted poor quality.
 
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
My objection was to you ignoring what I wrote, substituting your thesis - “We all know what is meant when the term “marketing” is used….”

Surely you would agree that labelling a box was either purely marketing - i.e., no pride-of-country workmanship involved, or perhaps a Swedish joke.

Speaking of which, anyone who has owned a later-production Saab might find it funny.
 
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Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
What are you talking about.

Have I said that the quality is inferior? No I haven’t.

I look at the labelling topic from a business practice angle (and I added to an ongoing discussion which I didn’t even initiate), but I have not connoted in any way inferiority. I haven’t started the discussion even, yet you come out of the woodwork like a missile to attack.

Your statement that you cannot be fooled reveals a paranoid view and self righteousness with an aggressive, highly unpleasant undertone which in all likelihood is a transparent show of a bigger frustrations leading to rather unbalanced forum behaviour.

As a matter of fact, if anything, I have mentioned that it is a great product as it brings IQ4 BSI quality down to mass price levels.

Instead of arguing with facts, you choose to accuse people and go personal and take down the quality of the discussion and civility down a few notches into the primitive and basic.
 

hcubell

Well-known member
The marked lack of discussion about "Digital medium format in 2024 ... It's Not Dead!" since about page 8 of this thread is amazing.

G
Yes, I noticed that as well. Unfortunately, I am not surprised. It reminds me of the experience of having my music system inadvertently programmed to replay the same song over and over. At least with my music system, I can change the settings.
 
The marked lack of discussion about "Digital medium format in 2024 ... It's Not Dead!" since about page 8 of this thread is amazing.

G
What’s amazing is that for 8 pages, the thread was more or less on topic!

Speaking of which, it will be interesting to see what, if any medium format news emerges on the 20th, during the Fuji presentation.

Probably too much to hope for - a back with IBIS.
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
I've tried to keep the thread on topic – I would have hoped the Arca Pico would garner a bit more interest as it is a fabulous addition for CFV100c shooters.

This said, lol, I'd appreciate not being personally attacked and would love if we could keep the discussion gear focused ...

In fact, the CFV with the Pico sound like an extremely enticing combo ...

Besides the Pico, we'll have just the 90 HR tilt, the rumored 150 XT and potentially the XT XL to discuss this year after the biggie announcement around the price-breaking CFV100c is out of the door ...

IQ5, S4 seem like 2025 topics, unfortunately.

What's amazing about the Pico is that it opens the door to non-LCC 35mm TS glass with micrometric geared movements in all regards. That's kinda cool 20mm X/Y plus geared tilt / swing in a super compact package.
 

hcubell

Well-known member
As a matter of fact, if anything, I have mentioned that it is a great product as it brings IQ4 BSI quality down to mass price levels.
Was that before or after you said that the CVF 100 was "plasticky" or questioned why the marketing effort for it was opaque about who was involved in creating it.
BTW, the CVF does a lot more than just provide an inexpensive back with "IQ4 BSI quality." It also offers the same Hasselblad color science that many consider the best in the world today.
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
Was that before or after you said that the CVF 100 was "plasticky" or questioned why the marketing effort for it was opaque about who was involved in creating it.
BTW, the CVF does a lot more than just provide an inexpensive back with "IQ4 BSI quality." It also offers the same Hasselblad color science that many consider the best in the world today.
You may have skimmed the forum too fast, but I was quick to take that back after learning from users that it is all aluminium. As I say – nothing to argue here from a product perspective besides the known standard elements like no C1, etc.

On the HNCS – I also often laud it and say it is great, its main attraction almost, and in fact I am surprised why P1 hasn't followed suit at one point with its own advanced colour science.

But colour science sounds too fancy for what it is. It is a robust and very natural looking (set of) LUT(s) that's applied on a normalized sensor data base with a bit more dynamics in play as its interpolated based on the kelvin of the scene between two different LUT tables. P1 should, if they wanted, be able to do that as well.
 

lookbook

Well-known member
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!
Just for a moment Paul,

it feels strange,
when you write to me, I reply to you and you reply to me via a third party.

If I summarise briefly, Alpa is no longer a camera manufacturer but an advertising company that manufactures and sells cameras.
Now their actions also make sense to me.
Many camera models - from no adjustment to very large adjustments plus special models and quickly forgetting what they have ever made.

That might be great if you are a collector and can be bad if you need a repair.

I would like to praise Cambo and Arca, who are constantly improving their existing products without forgetting
They are true lovers of photography and you can see their expertise in the product.

Uwe
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
Just for a moment Paul,

it feels strange,
when you write to me, I reply to you and you reply to me via a third party.

If I summarise briefly, Alpa is no longer a camera manufacturer but an advertising company that manufactures and sells cameras.
Now their actions also make sense to me.
Many camera models - from no adjustment to very large adjustments plus special models and quickly forgetting what they have ever made.

That might be great if you are a collector and can be bad if you need a repair.

I would like to praise Cambo and Arca, who are constantly improving their existing products without forgetting
They are true lovers of photography and you can see their expertise in the product.

Uwe
Let me explain more clearly – since its inception Alpa worked with Seitz Phototechnik – a (in Alpa's case: contract) manufacturer of photographic equipment that was mainly focused on panoramic camera setups. They have high precision CNC machinery, electrical engineering know-how, design implementation know-how etc. They also developed the FPS.

Alpa was an old Swiss camera brand which went bankrupt and then a marketing couple – already late-stage in their careers (I think the Capauls were both a bit older when they started) – had the idea to buy the brand name and to start a new kind of modern tech camera brand which would unify Swiss high quality mechanical engineering with medium format tech cam lenses as they were being developed by SK and Rodenstock. Aka Sironar digital, SK early-gen XL lenses, etc.

At the beginning the focus was both on film and the emerging digital backs.

This was a resounding success during the 2000s as the market exploded as digital backs were more and more seen as a replacement for film for professionals and coupled with the great new lenses from SK and Rodenstock the IQ was head and shoulders above what you could procude say with a Canon 5D MK I.

So Alpa would commission sell and market these products and commission new designs over time, like the Max, TC, Plus, Pano, FPS, etc.

In house or outsourced is not forcibly better or worse economically – just when the market shrinks and cash is king it is more expensive to innovate and ITERATE designs if you work with contract manufacturers instead of having a design lab in the other room. On the flip side you don't need to enterain a whole "R&D dept." and "CNC machine park" – which can, I guess, also cost a bit to operate if you don't make use of capacity around the clock.

To this day all major models besides the XY are still in production with parts available. They are cotinuosly produced by Seitz in batches.

The XY is the only exception here as it is so large and heacy and so overpowered in terms of shift that demand was not high over time so they discontinued it.

I personally find it a masterpiece, but it is really heavy, so I get why people prefer Max, TC.

So all Alpa cameras have been designed and are still manufactured to this day in Switzerland with parts available except for the XY which is a special product.

So I am not sure why you say it is for collectors. Everything is in stock – XY is just very niche. It weights a few KGs ... so it is not really your everyday on-location travel camera .... on top you need a stronger tripod to go with it ... so it becomes a bit unwiedly compared to modern setups, say an XT on a medium sized Gitzo.

That's why it has been discontinued a few years ago.
 
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Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
From their webpage in 2000: https://web.archive.org/web/20000303140122/http://www.alpa.ch/alpa/history.html

Its insane to think that we are talking 28 years ago, effectively:

Why did the simple bankruptcy case of Pignons SA take six years to reach a conclusion? We (Capaul & Weber) have tried since December 1990 to purchase ALPA and succeeded only in 1996. We still do not know why it took so long. Well-informed sources do not lay the blame entirely on the overworked official receiver's office. Instead, they hint at the peculiar social, economic, political and even religious complexities of this rather remote corner of French-speaking Switzerland.
1996On 29th February 1996 Capaul & Weber, Zürich/Switzerland, purchased from the official receiver under a "vente aux enchères privée" the worldwide rights to the brand name ALPA.

Already at the Photokina in the autumn of 1996 the first prototypes of the ALPA 12 were presented to the public. They were the result of a close cooperation between Capaul & Weber with Seitz Phototechnik AG, Lustdorf/Switzerland. At the ALPA stand at Cologne as much as in the international specialised press, these prototypes of the first ALPA for the medium format were the target of lively interest:
FOTOGRAFARE (Italy), November 1996, p. 76/77:
"...The manufacturing is done largely by hand with the precision for which Swiss watchmakers are renowned. Each component is engineered for utmost robustness..."

POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY (USA), December 1996, p.38/42
"... Capaul & Weber, the visionary duo that resurrected the prestigious ALPA name after the original company went bankrupt. They have succeeded in producing, at least in prototype, a camera that is as defiantly and eccentrically Swiss as the long line of legendary ALPA 35mm SLRs..."
"... Who on earth would spend over $ 6,000 (without lens!) to acquire such a machine? Connoisseurs of fine machinery for one. The ALPA 12 we examined is very much a tool-maker's camera that is literally handmade. Like ALPAs of yore, its body castings are beautiful - and strong enough to hammer nails! The internal gearing" .... "is absolutely gorgeous, and the robust, beautifully finished film insert that goes into the hinged back makes other inserts look flimsy in comparison. When you shut the back briskly, it makes a 'chunk' reminiscent of the sound of a Rolls-Royce motorcar door being closed..."


PHOTODEAL (Germany), January/February/March 1997, p. 4/5
"... One of the few genuinely new cameras at the last Photokina was no doubt the ALPA 12 which attracted a great deal of interest. For one, this would have been because of the reputation that this extraordinary brand has always enjoyed. The name ALPA galvanizes collectors of cameras throughout the world - today more than ever. For another, the excited response could also have been due to the concept of this camera which, in many ways, is unique..."

PHOTO TECHNIK INTERNATIONAL (Germany), March/April 1997, p. 42/43
"... The novelty that created one of the biggest stirs was the ALPA - and this when the product was not even complete. The name - well known among connoisseurs - and the unabashedly elitist construction were enough to attract attention. A medium format camera reduced to the essentials of technology and design with the use of high-end materials is their (Capaul & Weber's) vision: 'Things are Simple at the Top' is their internationally unambiguous slogan..."


These and countless other reactions to the rebirth of ALPA were overwhelmingly positive and most convincing. We, in cooperation with Seitz Phototechnik AG, Lustdorf/Switzerland, have turned the suggestions and wishes that have been made regarding the ALPA 12 prototypes into reality. The result of all these changes are two production models rather different from the original prototypes:

  • the ALPA 12S/WA (SHIFT/WIDE ANGLE) with built-in perspective control and
  • the ALPA 12WA (WIDE ANGLE) without perspective control
 

hcubell

Well-known member
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?
Or, was is it photoshopped? If you can't personally vouch for the authenticity, you should describe the provenance of the photo.
 

hcubell

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?
He does have a valid point and he expressed it. He said he was gobsmacked, and I believe him if he says it.
If the photo of the box you uploaded is real and not photoshopped, I completely agree with the poster who opined that the imprint was tongue in cheek, perhaps as a sarcastic riposte about the propriety of putting the Hasselblad label on a product produced for Hasselblad by a contract manufacturer. In other words, a joke, with the joke being on anyone who took the imprint seriously.
 
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