Just how much value does Ferrari's logo add to a product? Hasselblad's latest announcement seems to answer that and we're not sure if it reflects well on either brand. The EUR13,995 (US$18,531) Hasselblad H4D is the flagship product of the best known medium format imaging marque and has been purchased by tens of thousands of the world's elite photographers because it delivers digital SLR functionality with extraordinary imaging quality. Now the company has announced two identical cameras that don't come in silvery grey. For an extra EUR1000 (US$1324), you can have one of a limited run of 100 stainless steel H4Ds. There's also a Ferrari Limited Edition camera which is identical except for a carbon fiber display case, its Ferrari "rosso fuoco" color, and the unmistakable Yellow Prancing Horse Racing Shield. Hasselblad will make 499 units of the limited edition camera, selling them for EUR21,499 (US$28,473.61). That's US$9,938 more than an identical product – a premium of more than 50% extra for the display case … and the logo.
Ferrari is one of the best recognized upmarket brands in the world thanks to its legendary F1 racing exploits and exquisite, bleeding edge road cars. Such is its reputation and the prohibitive (at least to the average person) cost of its cars, it has developed a large following of well-heeled fans who proudly wear the Prancing Horse insignia as their personal badge of success – and Ferrari has found that those same people with extraordinary levels of disposable income, are more than prepared to pay a premium to display their bourgeois tastes (its badge) on other items such as laptops, surfboards, stereo speakers, clothes ... and a growing range of upmarket merchandise under its Official Ferrari Licensed Product regime. Ferrari's latest partner in this endeavor is Hasselblad, though at least in my humble opinion, Hasselblad's quality is no less than that of Ferrari.
So I can't really come to grips with Ferrari and Hasselblad teaming up to create what the press missive claims to be a “brand new model” – we first spied the H4D Ferrari Limited Edition at Photokina in Koln in September, though at that stage the unannounced price was rumored to be in the vicinity of what we considered a price-gouging EUR19,000 and we elected not to cover the product because it was identical to the standard H4D. Finding that the Ferrari version of the camera now has a price tag of EUR21,500 left me speechless. Are Ferrari aficionados so passionate about the Ferrari name that they'll pay ten large for the privilege of displaying it on an entriely unrelated product? Or are they sad creatures with more money than sense who derive self-worth from the brands they wear?
Yes, the H4D Ferrari Limited Edition comes in a beautiful carbon fiber display case with a glass top adorned with the same Ferrari Racing Shield, but I cannot understand why anyone would pay an extra US$10,000 for a limited edition that only sports cosmetic changes.
Does Hasselblad feel it can't sell enough cameras with just its own name?