The Hasselblad HV: How to sell a Sony A99 for $11,500
By Simon Crisp
February 5, 2014
Hasselblad is a long-respected brand which has made some of the world's best cameras, and still continues to innovate. But recently, it's also developed a habit of giving Sony cameras a luxury Hasselblad-branding make-over, and selling them for huge sums. As such, the newly announced Hasselblad HV is essentially a US$11,500 re-working of the Sony A99.
Following on from the Lunar and the Stellar, the Hasselblad HV is another rebranded Sony, with the $2,900 Alpha SLT-A99 this time getting the luxury makeover. This means the core camera stays the same, with a 24.3-megapixel full frame (36 x 24 mm) CMOS sensor paired with an Advanced BIONZ image processing engine. It has a top ISO of 25,600, and can shoot six images per second (full frame, full resolution).
Also familiar to anyone who has spent any time with the SLT A99 (which made it into our 2013 high-end DSLR comparison guide), is the impressive 2,359k-dot electronic viewfinder – using translucent mirror technology, it doesn't have the optical viewfinder found on typical DSLRs. The camera also boasts an articulated 3-inch rear monitor with 1,229k dots, can shoot Full HD 1080p 60 fps video, and takes A-mount lenses.
Where the Hasselblad HV differs to the A99, and arguably improves on it, is the two-tone design which uses machined high-grade aluminum and a PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) coating, said to have a hardness which is second only to that of diamond. The camera is finished with details like titanium controls including a chunky mode dial, and obviously the iconic Hasselblad name and H logo.
The HV will be bundled with the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* F2.8 24-70-mm ZA lens, which is by no means your typical kit lens, and normally retails for $2,000 itself. The high-quality lens covers a focal range from wide to telephoto and has a constant maximum aperture of F2.8. It's unclear whether the lens will be Hasselblad-branded (as with previous Sony re-workings) as press release images still have the Sony logo on the lens, rather than the Hasselblad one.
The case that the Hasselblad HV will come with is also worth mentioning. Described by Hasselblad as being "like the pros use," it's made from TTX01 resin and guarantees extra protection from dust, water, chemical agents and impacts. It features a leather divider with space to store a laptop, and is able to resist extreme weather conditions and temperature changes from -40°C up to 80°C (-40°F to 176°F). The camera will also come with two batteries.
While this appears to be one of the better Hasselblad Sony re-workings – the lack of wood and jewels is a good start – for most photographers, the asking price of around double that of the Sony is still going to be too much. But this was never going to be aimed at most photographers. As Hasselblad CEO Ian Rawcliffe puts it, "This camera is aimed squarely at people who don't just love taking pictures – but love taking them in real style."
The Hasselblad HV is available now for $11,500 with the 24-70-mm F2.8 lens.
Product page: Hasselblad HVShare
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