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Future of Hassy- Bleak or Bright?

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Paul Spinnler

Active member
I confess that I am absolutely terrible at assuming anything. I usually try to leave that to the imagination of others who enjoy it. If you say "it is to be assumed", who am I to argue?
I aim not to make an assumption for the sake of assuming. These are predictions - not facts, right - based on what happened in the past and based on how Leica approached the market vs. competition, namely quality seen as more important than price. The basis for the assumptions:

1) Not much comes close to the APO SL line in 35mm land except maybe the Otus lenses from Zeiss which are significantly heavier and larger. If I missed something let me know. The tolerances are extreme and the production is at Wetzlar, a stone's throw away from the optics design team. Custom machinery had to be developed to produce the quality of lenses at that price point and that compactness. There is no aberration to be seen corner to corner, neither vignetting nor chromatic. They are almost too clinical and uniformly excellent. Mr. Karbe was involved in the design and it is safe to say that he is still involved in the next-gen M lenses and mirrorless medium format lenses to come.

2) You compared a mirrorless lens design on paper based on MTF charts which is a lot more recent to the mirror based S lenses which were conceived in the mid 2000s and by any measure still are considered excellent by anyone who uses them. The image quality of the system is astounding. The S lenses were conceived to be faster than all other medium format lenses with apertures starting typically at 2.5 and exemplary build quality. When you hold an S lens in the hand you know it is going to last. All the lenses are sharp wide open with a Leica like bokeh fall-off which his beautiful. They also have a few true achromats in there like the 120 and 180 - the colours just pop with very high microcontrast. The camera bodies were just always priced too high compared to the competition and they never managed to establish a pro support network as Phase One did. So the camera although excellent is a niche product in the marketplace- the good thing? The S lenses can be had a good discount nowadays.

Hence it will be interesting to see what Leica will bring to the table for the launch of the S4. Given advancements in production methods and optics capabilities in my view it is safe to assume that they are aiming to exceed anything else out there in the marketplace atm. Meaning: faster apertures on average, apochromatic designs and exemplary build quality. I would also assume it is one of the last projects of Mr. Karbe as he's also approaching an age where he could do something else; in terms of big projects I can think of next gen Summiluxes and Apo Summicrons for the M line, the next-gen Nocti 50 and the masterpiece would be the ultimate medium format mirrorless lens line. In terms of specs, seeing what they did in the past, would expect 2.0-2.5 apertures, apo designs, perfect sharpness wide open, lasting build quality and full weather sealing.

The problem is: it will be expensive. Would be surprised to see 6-8k per lens and a 12-18k price for the S4. The DJI produced next X camera will be very enticing due to lower price point, its color science, great design and also good optics, etc. for a super price.

Only question in my view therefore is if Leica will try to stay at the ultra premium level or whether they aim to truly compete with DJI on the new X at a more palatable price point on the body side. For the lenses though I would not expect anything else that the best quality at an eye watering price point.

The S4 body will probably also be retrocompatible with all Leica lenses - which would be really a distinguishing feature plus sport extensive video capabilities ported from the SL line which would be the professional body in 35mm.

Exciting times ahead. Both for Hassy and Leica I'd say.
 

Satrycon

Well-known member
It's been well over 5 years since DJI acquired Hasselblad. The evidence of major changes that I've seen is that Hasselblad now has adequate funding, is profitable, and has a new development partner in DJI with some terrifically talented engineers. What I haven't seen is any evidence of production changes.
aha!

so you work at Hasselblad?
 

TechTalk

Active member
No. Never have. They have a number of open positions and are actively seeking to hire people in Sweden, however. Problem is... I don't qualify for any of them.

I'd love to live in Sweden for awhile. I've never been to Gothenburg, but I love Stockholm. It may just be the most beautiful city I've ever visited!

I am kind of flattered that you've taken such an interest as to make assumptions about me! I must say that I haven't bothered to give any thought to assuming anything whatsoever about you. Sorry about that.

aha! — to you as well. Stay well and be happy!
 
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Satrycon

Well-known member
I must say that I haven't bothered to give any thought to assuming anything whatsoever about you.
unlike some other people on this forum ;)

i wondered if you work at Hasselblad because you previously mentioned "adequate funding", "profits", "terrifically talented engineers" and "production changes"
 

TechTalk

Active member
All from publicly available financial reports and patent applications as were previously discussed in this thread. Just as I have discussed publicly available financial information with regard to Phase One/Capture One as well as Leica.

I also said: "What I haven't seen is any evidence of production changes." because, I haven't seen any evidence of production changes, only speculation and assertions. Is it to encourage uncertainty and doubt with regard to the brand? Who's to say?
 
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Paul Spinnler

Active member
All from publicly available financial reports and patent applications as were previously discussed in this thread. Just as I have discussed publicly available financial information with regard to Phase One/Capture One as well as Leica.

I also said: "What I haven't seen is any evidence of production changes." because, I haven't seen any evidence of production changes, only speculation and assertions. Is it to encourage uncertainty and doubt with regard to the brand? Who's to say?
I am sorry, but this is such an armchair assessment and the one who is making assumptions here is you!

The six job postings relate to a position in the warehouse and five highly qualified positions in firmware, optics, hardware and software engineering. In short - you have no idea whether they actually have a huge problem as people jumped ship just before the X system product launch or whether really they have so many ideas and need to expand the R&D team in all domains because they have so much they want to do (what exactly besides the X launch and a few lenses?). Look at the optics posting - they mention a very small and experienced team and this for example is a junior role. So maybe 3-4 people and the last junior left because he went to a place where he can earn more? An assumption, like you are assuming it is all well in DJI land. Also interesting to note that compensation is under a collective agreement, meaning it won't be exactly royal - ie you get paid in experience and the lunch subsidies they mention are also a nice touch - in short you won't be driving a Ferrari for designing some of the best photographic products in the world ...

Professionals with these qualifications can work anywhere and probably earn more with that experience than sitting at Hasselblad in Sweden / Denmark under Chinese ownership (both countries with very high tax rates of almost 50% making it difficult to accumulate capital for a house, etc.) and being drawn into education zooms with colleagues in Shenzen for knowledge transfer sessions is probably also not so great (yes, an assumption). Additionally, if you have one of these qualifications chances are you are an expat (they explicitly say you just need to speak English) which means it is a come and go every now and then except for the team lead who has been around forever, right? And do you really think DJI gives key personnel in R&D in Sweden equity for their contributions?

If you are an optics engineer with a bit experience at Hasselblad - I mean next step is go to Apple and earn triple when helping designing the next iPhone camera lens system. All phone manufacturers are in search of this kind of talent as are companies in the military defense complex and other firms specialized in industrial optics or, maybe, even Leica. You go to Hasselblad, slap into onto your CV and then move on to earn some real money in a place with stock options, etc.

I mean imagine you are one of the key guys implementing stuff in Phocus. DJI buys you. You need to walk through your new colleagues in detail how the code base is setup, field questions, help them get their drone image pipeline up to speed, etc. ... headhunter calls from Apple in the US ... happened to a friend of mine working in the design team at Celine. She had very specialized know-how, prior experience at Hermes in leather goods and then one day a message on LinkedIn for an interview with Jony Ive. She now lives in Cali and earns 4x as much as what she earned while at Celine in London and bought a house pre pandemic.

So how do you know what is happening? Hasselblad has not exactly been flooding the community with innovative firmware updates as of late? Phocus in comparison to C1 also seems to be more like on a different trajectory in terms of development speed?

Do you know whether these postings really relate to an expansion of R&D? Or has the team suffered from people quitting and moving to new pastures and these need to be seen more as direly needed replacement hires as people moved on in 2021 when the job market picked up significantly?

Looks like a big assumption on your part here leading to some entitled thinking? Or do you know more?
 
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TechTalk

Active member
I'm glad that you got all of that out of your system. Now maybe you can enjoy the rest of your weekend without worrying about China! and Asia and DJI land and jobs in Sweden / Denmark under Chinese ownership and education zooms with Shenzen and knowledge transfer sessions and headhunter calls from Apple and the military defense complex. You're carrying a lot of weight on your shoulders for everyone.

Hope you find time to relax and enjoy your summer.
 

Paul Spinnler

Active member
I'm glad that you got all of that out of your system. Now maybe you can enjoy the rest of your weekend without worrying about China! and Asia and DJI land and jobs in Sweden / Denmark under Chinese ownership and education zooms with Shenzen and knowledge transfer sessions and headhunter calls from Apple and the military defense complex. You're carrying a lot of weight on your shoulders for everyone.

Hope you find time to relax and enjoy your summer.
Well if that's the only response you have once someone responds and takes time to look at all your "shot from the hip" armchair assessments - great. Looking forward to further "techtalk* then. I then also have more time to skip your point on patents. I am also glad that you seemingly finally found time to make an account on a photo forum to help people better understand what's going on with your brilliant tech talk.

Point is you cannot decry people making assumptions and being speculative while making a lot of assumptions yourself and at the same time claiming to be the golden source of facts on DJI's photo subsidiary (Hasselblad factually is DJI now).
 
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TechTalk

Active member
That's the only response I intend to give. I don't feel a need to respond to everything people say, even if it's aimed in my direction. I also don't respond to pressure regardless of the tactics someone thinks may trigger a response.

I respond to whatever I like in the way that I like. I'm sure that you feel free to do likewise.
 

hcubell

Active member
I have no idea who TechTalk is or his background, but I will say that his comments here and on other other forums are among the most constructive, insightful and balanced of anyone. However, he does have an unnerving tendency to point out the hyperbole or basic factual inaccuracies in the comments of fanboys. You know, like when someone described the Leica S lenses as "unmatched," and TechTalk posted those MTF charts comparing two S primes with the XCD zoom lens of all things. It's been steadily downhill from there.
I always think of TechTalk as the Lone Ranger, who shows up to protect the innocent from the outlaws/fanboys, and then leaves with everyone asking, who was that masked man?
 

Paul Spinnler

Active member
Yes, there are biases on all sides always in forums. And Techtalk is the Hassy fanboy defending his turf. Fine.

I have principally nothing bad to say about Hasselblad to be honest and I've stated again and again that their natural colour solution is a big advantage.

I actually am looking on Ebay for a good condition black 500 series camera so no issue with the brand. But from my experience testing the initial X1D and comparing its handling etc. to the Leica S back in I think 2016 or when it was it was clear to me that besides the size aspect there's still a lot work to do and overall the S system felt more enjoyable.

It is just not a like for like comparison to compare mirrorless to mirror based lenses. You should compare H with S system. Anyone with a basic understanding of optics knows that performance is completely different when you are close to the sensor plane and can skip the whole mirror box. That's almost an amateur mistake to be honest. This is the whole reason Leica's M lenses were always better than the SLR lenses from Nikon / Canon or why Mamiya 7's lenses are considered to be some of the sharpest lenses ever made for medium format. The vario elmar wide angle zoom for the M beat any Canon wide angle prime lens back in the day.

The S lenses are still fantastic by all means wide open and having compared them to the H lenses back in the day I saw a big difference in quality. The X system offering will be replied to once Leica enters the mirrorless medium format segment with its own optics and once you see what they do I am sure you will be quite interested in the system.

Also on the DJI point - I really do hope they leave everyone in Sweden alone, invest in the business and grow it again. I just don't believe it will play out like that in the long term.

Like a new X camera will be a beneficial addition to the ecosystem. I just think that it is sad that probably, to keep prices down, they will over time move more and more production to China. There's no way you can do an 8k-10k premium 100 megapixel camera with a big employee base in Sweden / Denmark. These are high wage countries subject to inflation and it all just is rational to take the know-how, move it to China and produce the cameras at a price breaking price point to expand market share. Chinese companies are known to operate specifically with this strategy when acquiring Western companies. Brand equity combined with super low wages in Asia and efficient manufacturing is what makes money and in the end is a result of globalisation.

In any case with the new X camera coming it looks bright for Hassy-DJI and it looks like it will be a more affordable system compared to P1, Leica courtesy of DJI's manufacturing prowess and low wages in Asia. Top plate leaks on Weibo point to the fact that production is ramping up in Shenzen and that we will see an announcement in not too long.
 
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Pieter 12

Member
When I buy items, be it clothing or cameras or an automobile, I try to take into consideration those who made them. Are they treated fairly, do they have benefits or even a social safety net? I would hate to see a company move their production to an environment of distressed labor forces and lack of commitment or pride in what they make.
 

Paul Spinnler

Active member
When I buy items, be it clothing or cameras or an automobile, I try to take into consideration those who made them. Are they treated fairly, do they have benefits or even a social safety net? I would hate to see a company move their production to an environment of distressed labor forces and lack of commitment or pride in what they make.
This is also important to me. As the ad from Hassy for the R&D engineers states, there's a collective tarif in place and lunch / healthcare benefits for those working in Sweden. Not sure about the production line workers in Shenzen.

As a consumer you have a choice and choices impact reality so I am happy to pay the high price for an Arca Swiss camera which is still manufactured in France or an Alpa for that matter where the CNC milling is done locally - I also visited the Wetzlar HQ multiple times and it is a beautiful factory in a very modern environment. That's why these products are more expensive than a Fuji or DJI camera.
 

richardman

Active member
Come on guys (yes, probably guys). I hate CCP with a passion, because I am a Hong Konger, and my grandparents literally were killed by them. However, when deciding a multi-thousands or tens of thousands+ camera system, where the item is made is less important than other factors such as usability (for a particular user's use case), image quality etc. unless your intention is primarily not to take photos. because in the end, killing Hasselblad because it's DJI (which we do not have confirmation for), is impacting China's GDP by 0.0000000000000000000000000000000001%, plus or minus
 

Pieter 12

Member
No, but choosing among equals, I am not against spending a bit more to buy from a company that treats its workers fairly. And let's face it, no-one is buying these 4 to 5-figure cameras and lenses in any quantity that the added expense makes that much of a difference. The pros can write off or charge the expense bit by bit to their clients, and those with deep pockets can afford their toys.
 

hcubell

Active member
\\(Hasselblad factually is DJI now).
Well, to be factual, that's inaccurate. Hasselblad is owned by DJI now. AFAIK (and I do not believe you know differently), DJI has not absorbed the employees and transferred Hasselblad's know how and other intangible assets to be used solely in DJI's future drones, leaving Hasselblad as a shell. DJI is an incredibly savvy company with an extraordinary range of technical capabilities. We can only hope that the technology transfers between DJI and Hasselblad are a two way street. It's not as though DJI is manufacturing washing machines. We may not like the CCP, but nobody today should underestimate the technological prowess of China. Thjs is 2022, not 1985.
 

Paul Spinnler

Active member
Well, to be factual, that's inaccurate. Hasselblad is owned by DJI now. AFAIK (and I do not believe you know differently), DJI has not absorbed the employees and transferred Hasselblad's know how and other intangible assets to be used solely in DJI's future drones, leaving Hasselblad as a shell. DJI is an incredibly savvy company with an extraordinary range of technical capabilities. We can only hope that the technology transfers between DJI and Hasselblad are a two way street. It's not as though DJI is manufacturing washing machines. We may not like the CCP, but nobody today should underestimate the technological prowess of China. Thjs is 2022, not 1985.
You are right in that.

And that's what I meant; I was speaking figuratively because in the end if you are owned by another company all key decisions effectively are made by the owners. The decision when and how to launch the X system will be taken in China and not in Sweden anymore. And I am the last one to underestimate China. In fact, I think this century we might well see its economy surpassing the US economy. And since its opening towards capitalism in the 1980s they have done an extraordinary job at catching up with the West by strategically becoming the world's manufacturing centre and by slowly and systematically acquiring companies and transferring know-how. It is startling to see how they executed on a long-term vision to become a leading force in technology and industrial production.

DJI is doing an amazing job on the drone / cinema accessories side and represents the newest generation of firms which not only emulate, but truly surpass what Western companies offer. Their drone products are priced so that it is difficult to compete and on top they truly innovate with their drones and gimbals by consistently upping the ante with each generation. After acquiring Hasselblad their colour science markedly improved and the shots you get from a sub-10k outfit are remarkable and cinema like. They also released their own line of drone lenses for cinematic filming. So they know what they are doing and the acquisition of Hasselblad made total sense for them.

Now we might see the two-way street effect in the sense that the brand lives on and that we will have a new X camera with improvements across the board at price breaking level. If their AF is finally really fast, viewfinder is improved, 100 megapixel with Hassy colour science is included and everything is sold below 10k USD - it may well become a bestseller. Just on the lens side I think we will see some fantastic lenses from Leica, but this doesn't mean the new X won't be an overall very enticing system and in all honesty I think the Leica response is still way off given supply chain issues and more pressing product launches in the calendar. 2023 is the year of the new Monochrom, the new Q and SL3; 2024 and beyond for the new S ... and in the meantime Hassy will sell a ton of 100 megapixel X systems if priced right (ie below the magical 10k barrier and maybe even below 8k?) ...
 
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rmueller

Active member
It is just not a like for like comparison to compare mirrorless to mirror based lenses. You should compare H with S system. Anyone with a basic understanding of optics knows that performance is completely different when you are close to the sensor plane and can skip the whole mirror box. That's almost an amateur mistake to be honest. This is the whole reason Leica's M lenses were always better than the SLR lenses from Nikon / Canon or why Mamiya 7's lenses are considered to be some of the sharpest lenses ever made for medium format. The vario elmar wide angle zoom for the M beat any Canon wide angle prime lens back in the day.

The S lenses are still fantastic by all means wide open and having compared them to the H lenses back in the day I saw a big difference in quality. The X system offering will be replied to once Leica enters the mirrorless medium format segment with its own optics and once you see what they do I am sure you will be quite interested in the system.
Ok, lets compare the H system to the S system then
- H system has a sensor size of 53.4 x 40 mm (current H6D-100c) which is more than factor 1.5 larger than Leica S Sensor (30 x 45 mm)
- HC lenses cover the full 645 format so that makes comparing H glass to S glass a bit lame, doesn't it?
- H system offers 400 MP multi-shot
- I can shoot film with the H if I want to (and I do this), benefitting from all the modern features of the latest H body and lenses
- H system has an excellent Tilt/Shift solution with the HTS adapter which in many cases makes carrying a special view camera unnecessary
- H System True Focus works like a charm, I hear my friends with S miss focus quite often

I don't care if a single S lens is fantastic wide open (and btw the HC 2.2/100 is fantastic too) or if it has been kissed by Mr. Kaufmann before it was packaged. And speaking about quality, I remember S glass physically crashing left and right bc of a software bug in the S AF firmware?

I also don't care what Leica does in 2024, my investment in H is big and it does it's job really well.
 

Paul Spinnler

Active member
Ok, lets compare the H system to the S system then
- H system has a sensor size of 53.4 x 40 mm (current H6D-100c) which is more than factor 1.5 larger than Leica S Sensor (30 x 45 mm)
- HC lenses cover the full 645 format so that makes comparing H glass to S glass a bit lame, doesn't it?
- H system offers 400 MP multi-shot
- I can shoot film with the H if I want to (and I do this), benefitting from all the modern features of the latest H body and lenses
- H system has an excellent Tilt/Shift solution with the HTS adapter which in many cases makes carrying a special view camera unnecessary
- H System True Focus works like a charm, I hear my friends with S miss focus quite often

I don't care if a single S lens is fantastic wide open (and btw the HC 2.2/100 is fantastic too) or if it has been kissed by Mr. Kaufmann before it was packaged. And speaking about quality, I remember S glass physically crashing left and right bc of a software bug in the S AF firmware?

I also don't care what Leica does in 2024, my investment in H is big and it does it's job really well.
Sure, whatever works for you! The H6-100 is still very expensive and then how do you use it with technical cameras again? Battery-wise? Are you into repro or what do you need 400 megapixels for when stitching is easy with Phase One backs and you have gigapixel AI / gigapixel sharpen? Also the 400 megapixels are pixel shift megapixels, I found these shift outputs very similar always to re-sizing and sharpening, ie not native 400 megapixels ...

Especially the compatibility with technical cameras is an issue with the system IMHO. With trade-ins or a bit of negotiation you can get an S3 a few grand below the list price which is still a lot, but somewhat different in terms of price bracket than the H6-100.

I found the S lenses just significantly better, everyone's mileage varies, I guess?

But on a factual note and on sensor size - pls. just look at the MTF charts 100 2.2 vs. 100 2.0 -> Leica is just in a different class. Doesn't matter if the IC goes a few mm further when 40lp/mm contrast of the Hasselblad lens goes down to around 20% at 27mm (the max shown on the Leica sheet while Hassy shows 30mm ...) whereas the Leica lens achieves almost 40% wide open (easily found on Google) ...

Luckily I must have bought the S stuff after the issues were sorted out as I never had any. But didn't Leica fix this for a while without extra costs? On the 100 2.2 - particularly this one - I found it in concrete shots a bit soft wide open compared to the 100 2.0 Summicron, but whether this matters is another question. It is great for environmental portraits and am sure the 100 2.2 is also great.

For me the allure of the S system is more that it just feels right. The batteries last forever, it is more compact than the XF and H systems and the sum of it all makes it a joy to work with also because of the overall build quality. In terms of size it just a notch smaller than the aforementioned systems which in my view makes a difference in handling.

I guess everyone has preferences and once you are invested in a system clearly switching costs make one stay in one camp.

On film, you are right that's nice but one can pick up a minimal early gen H system for 2-3k nowadays and buy into this option easily, no? I'd prefer 6x7 though when shooting film.
 
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georgecleansman

New member
I can say that I am extremely satisfied with my Hasselblad H6D-100c and the excellent color quality. Anyone who has shot with an H6D-100c will appreciate the camera's good action and reliability. I don't need an IBIS on the H camera because it's well balanced and weighs around 1.6kg.

I think it's the wrong way to reduce the weight of a medium format camera too much if this requires an additional IBIS and may cause heating problems. IBIS leads to higher power consumption as well as a larger battery. Thanks to the modular design of the H6D-100c, I have absolutely no problems with the 53.4x40 mm Sony sensor being too hot at 100 MP. Incidentally, the H6D-100c is of course not an action camera for me, and I use my Hasselblad on a stable Gitzo-Systematic tripod with Arca Swiss Cube for a well-considered image composition.

Regarding the quality of my HC and HCD lenses (24, 28, 35, 50II, 100, 120II, 150N, 210) I would like to report that they deliver the best results in connection with the H6D-100c sensor. The H lenses designed by Hasselblad and produced by Fuji with great know-how can still be recommended for purchase today.

As the owner of two compact SL2/M cameras with various SL/M lenses, I also know that Leica builds excellent lenses. In principle, every lens always has strengths and weaknesses. However, differences in the MTF curves published by Leica and Hasselblad are often not discernible in the later image, because it depends on the entire chain from recording to digital image processing in the camera and in the later PP.

I can only hope that Hasselblad doesn't let the H camera die, because even mirrorless cameras have their clear disadvantages. With this in mind, I wish all forum participants a pleasant summer.
 
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