Hasselblad dumps DSLRs for mirrorless as it kills off its H system
The Hasselblad H system was introduced 21 years ago during Photokina 2002 in Cologne, Germany. According to a new post by Capture Integration, however – one of the largest sellers of medium format equipment – Hasselblad has ended its H system DSLRs. The Hasselblad H1 marked a shift in the company’s mindset going from 6×6 to 645 (4:3) format. The H1D was identical to the H1 but with a 22-megapixel back.
In the last 21 years, the system has come a long way. But it’s been a while since we’ve seen a new release. The H6D line was introduced in 2016, and the company was acquired by DJI in 2017. The last new camera in the H lineup was 2018’s 400-megapixel monster, the Hasselblad H6D-400C (buy here). It appears it will be the last, as the company sees success with its X mirrorless system.
“Hasselblad was making poor OEM decisions”
Capture Integration’s post details the history of the Hasselblad H system from its birth in 2002 to its current demise. The company made some… “interesting” decisions over the years, which seems to have been saved largely due to DJI’s acquisition. Capture Integration writes:
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.
Once the leader in medium format digital DSLRs, many have turned to the computer’s newer X system medium format mirrorless cameras. Although the Hasselblad H system is still listed on the Hasselblad website, Capture Integration says that they “can’t even order new battery grips today. All products are out of production”. The Hasselblad H repair service is still available, although you’ll have to send your kit to Sweden. So, repairs will take longer to fix.
“The mirrorless X series bodies have been a big success”
Hasselblad’s most recent camera is the X2D 100C (buy here), announced last September. It’s proven to be a very popular and capable camera. The H system served Hasselblad very well in its time, often hailed as the best money could buy. But as with the smaller sensor “full-frame” cameras, DSLRs are on their way out, and Hasselblad (DJI) is following this trend. Then there’s the competition from Fuji. Even if the company believed they could pull more performance out of the DSLR format, there’s no point producing them if people aren’t buying them anymore.
With Pentax shifting their focus towards film of late, it looks like nobody’ll be making any at all DSLRs soon. With any sensor size.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.