Hasselblad Stellar: Sony's RX100 gets a luxury makeover
By Simon Crisp
July 28, 2013
The Hasselblad Lunar mirrorless camera (essentially a pimped-out Sony Nex-7) arrived back in June to a somewhat mixed reception, but that hasn't stopped the Swedish firm rolling out a second luxury version of a Sony camera. This time it's the compact Sony RX100 which is getting the extravagant makeover. The resulting Hasselblad Stellar camera comes complete with exotic wooden hand-grips and a much higher price-tag.
Although Hasselblad does not mention the RX100 (or indeed Sony) when talking about the Stellar, it's fairly clear that this is the camera it's been built around. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, in our review we said the RX100 was, "possibly the best pocketable compact digital camera ever made."
The new Hasselblad is basically the same camera. It shares the same larger than usual 20.2 megapixel 1-inch-type (13.2 × 8.8 mm) CMOS sensor which made the RX100 so impressive for a compact. This is once again paired with the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T F1.8-4.9 lens which has a 35-mm effective focal length of 28-100-mm.
Indeed, you'd be hard pushed to spot any differences between the specifications of the two cameras. Both have the same three inch LCD screen with 1,228,800 dots, the same access to full manual setting, a control ring around the lens and a suitably wide ISO range. Both cameras shoot JPEG and RAW images along with Full HD 1080/60p video.
What has changed is the styling. Gone is the understated black body of the RX100, replaced instead by a champagne-colored aluminum body and matching metal operation controls. There's also the little matter of a chunky new hand-grip, which is available in a number of different finishes including carbon fiber and six exotic woods such as Wenge, Padouk and Zebra.
Aimed squarely at the lifestyle/luxury sector, the new camera will come presented in a jewelry-style box and with a naturally tanned Italian leather wrist strap. The Hasselblad Stellar will be available this month with a €1,480 (US$1,960) price-tag.
However, it's worth remembering that the Sony Cybershot RX100 II has also been recently released, with significant upgrades to the original that the Stellar is based on. These include a new sensor with boosted sensitivity, built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, and a tilting LCD screen. And it retails for less than half the price of the Stellar.