Hasselblad Inks Partnership with Sony; Sets Lunar Liftoff for Early 2013

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If you’ve got money to burn, then this $6,500 baby is the camera for you. But will it make you a better photographer? (Ed.: no.)

Describing their partnership as a ‘new dawn’, the two companies are working to enable the high-end medium format camera manufacturer to diversify into new market segments. Hasselblad, developer of the ultra-high-end, medium-format digital H System, is working with Sony to cultivate new markets for photo enthusiasts and consumer digital imaging products. A current-model 60-megapixel H-series camera with an 80mm lens will set you back $33,000 – not exactly photo-enthusiast territory.

Hasselblad LunarHasselblad wants to reach lower, much lower, and expand its product portfolio to include a new range of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that will be followed by other products for the DSLR and compact camera segments. The duo also plan to collaborate in efforts to achieve technical and engineering breakthroughs in various photographic technology challenges, though no further details were forthcoming.

“Owning a Hasselblad, made in Sweden, will no longer be just a dream for many photographic enthusiasts,” said Hasselblad Chairman Larry Hansen.

Looking at this partnership, one must wonder whether owning a Sony camera dressed up in Hasselblad cladding makes for better photography and really is the stuff of which dreams are made. And it’s valid to ask whether there’s a degree of awkward desperation in what could be interpreted as a bid for Hasselblad’s once-revered name to stay relevant – or perhaps even afloat. Stay tuned.

Lunar sports out-of-this-world style – and price

Hasselblad has long been to cameras what Ferrari is to automobiles. They’re simply in a league of their own. But, that was back in the glory days of film. What’s one to do in the of digital age? For Hasselblad, the answer is a tricked-out compact camera with lots of Sony technology at its core.

The Lunar is an Italian-designed, mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera that the company is characterizing as the ‘ultimate luxury’ camera. Priced at an estimated $6,500, the camera appears to have a lot in common with Sony’s NEX product line – not surprising since the two companies said they are now partnering. Hasselblad isn’t holding back, using carbon fiber, titanium, wood, leather and precious metals, including gold. It’s due in the first quarter of 2013.

Hasselblad LunarThe Lunar nameplate pays homage to the fiftieth anniversary of astronaut Wally Schirra’s use of a Hasselblad camera in space. To celebrate, company officials said it’s why the Lunar sports an evocative vintage look and feel, “for photography lovers down here on planet Earth.”

Key Lunar features include a 24.3 megapixel sensor with 25 autofocus points, 3-inch high-definition display and OLED viewfinder, one-touch instant full HD video recording, and the option to use larger A-mount lenses for professional video creation. Other features include near-instant shutter response (0.02 second release time lag), ten frames per second burst mode, and an ISO range of 100 to 16,000. Under the hood, it’s essentially identical to Sony’s Alpha NEX-7, announced more than a year ago and priced like a relative bargain at $1,199 (body only).

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