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Hasselblad CEO Christian Poulsen looks into the future



there was a press conference on Oct. 21st 2005, where CEO Christian Poulsen laid out his vision for the company’s future.

Main aspects IMO:

1. The V system will slowly die. The 503 will probably take time for this.

2. They intend to go all digital at some point in the not-too-distant future (nothing new IMO), but they now say all of their effort from here on out is going into the H-system

3. Future development will focus

a) on both backs and integrated digital cameras
b) on high-end scanners
c) on cameras with better ergonomics, compactness, (relative) affordability, improved wireless, bit depth and other quality improvements, and increased megapixels (around 45MP)

4. Focus on “professional look.” of the cameras

5. Committment for the DNG format also in the future. No proprietary format.

Original source:

And this is the full text (Quote):


Hasselblad CEO Christian Poulsen looks into the future

Posted Oct 21, 2005, 4:05 PM ET by Jay Savage

I attended Hasselblad’s press conference this morning at PhotoPlus, where CEO Christian Poulsen laid out his vision for the company’s future—and the future of digital photography in general—for a small group of photographers and journalists. Some of it was surprising; some if it wasn’t; all of it was interesting. He started by laying out where the company has gone in the past year, since the merger with IMACON: The introduction of the first digital backs, cameras, and scanners. He showed some staggering sales graphs where film sales and digital sales made an almost perfect “X”, with a 1-year 30% drop in V-System sales and the H-series digital and hybrid sales replacing V-series medium format sales almost entirely. He also talked candidly about some mistakes he thought they’d made with marketing the new products: not selling the H1 as hard as they could because they were trying to protect the V503 and V905, and not making a bigger deal of how good their lenses are. Then he moved on to his vision for the future.

It’s corporate policy not to discuss specifics until they’re production-ready, so there were no mentions of future products, or even a general timeline, just the overall trajectory for the company. The big news is that they intend to go all digital at some point in the not-too-distant future. Of course, that isn’t really news; they’ve been saying it since the merger. But it’s a little bit different to read it in an anonymous press release, and then to hear the head or the world’s most storied camera company say the V-system has a limited future and all of their effort from here on out is going into the H-system. It gives you a little twinge. They will, however, continue to make film products as long there’s a market, and he made it sound like th V503’s death is likely to be long and slow.

So what does the future look like? First, interchangeable digital backs. Since, unlike film cartridges, digital backs are very expensive, pros want backs that can be used on more than one camea. You might products from both Hasselblad and Mamiya, but you’re probably not going to buy a Hasselblad body, a Mamiya body, a Hasselblad or Phase One back, and a Leaf back. It’s far too expensive. And while sales of backs have been fairly flat, the market seems to be picking up. Future development, then, will focus on both backs and integrated digital cameras. Second, scanners: sales of high-end scanners like the Flextight continue to be strong, if fairly flat.

And finally, cameras. The main goals are; ergonomics, compactness, (relative) affordability, improved wireless, bit depth and other quality improvements, and increased megapixels. Yes, you read that correctly: Hasselblad wants more megapixels, about 45. Poulsen isn’t out to resurrect the megapixel myth by any means; He’s satisfied with current image resolutions, and probably would interpolate out the added pixels to keep file sizes down—nobody wants a RAW images to move into the gigabyte range—but in his opinon higher pixel count is the only real solution to moire, and getting rid of moire completely will take about 45MP. The challenge won’t be just adding pixels, either, but keeping and adding color depth: if you squeeze to many pixels into a small space, the color quality degrades. In his opinion, this has already started to happen to some DSLRs.

He also reaffirmed Hasselblad’s commitment to Adobe’s DNG as a RAW format. Although they’re certainly capable of implementing a proprietary format like everyone else, he thinks standardization is important for the industry because competeing formats make life difficult for the consumer and they have a limited shelf life; as formats change people will lose access to their older pictures. It also makes it difficult to develop comprehensive workflow tools when every piece od software invloved has to support a constantly changing number of formats. I couldn’t agree more. His final though was on sensor size: he doesn’t think we’ll ever see a “full frame” 645 camera, at least not from Hasselblad, because the expense of manufacturing a sensor that large will probably never be justified by the minimal improvement in quality.

The other design goal he mentioned that I found interesting. Was a “professional look.” It is a goal of Hasselblad design to look different from DSLR and EVF cameras, even as the (what to call them D645?) bodies become increasingly smaller. Why? Because people expect it, especially the people who are paying for them. He tells the story of taking one of his H2D prototypes to wedding, and the bride kept smiling at his camera instead of the hired photographers’ Nikon. Slightly apocryphal, no doubt, but still a valid point: both the person behind the camera and the person in front of it really do expect a high end camera to look the part, and it’s interesting to think of “looks expensive” as a design feature.


...End of quote
Look at HASSELBLADS new homepage (it has changed very much) and you will find , that this new homepage is a rather exact mirror to Dirk's contribution .

The last news about Hasselblad strategy.
The CEO almost said thad V system was stupid idea for long term in 1946. It should disapear. Only H system will survive.
Strange to compare the future of Hasselblad with Canon-Nikon.

Perhaps the CEO does not understand that CVF back is expensif and, anyway, it's hard to buy new because out of stock.
Here in Switzerland it's impossible to buy new Hasselblad stuff in any shop (marketing is under 0).
If you read the technical data about the fabulus 40mm-IF-CFE in site, you will discover that this lens is perfect for dicontinued bodies ! (marketing is realy under 0)

The H is shown as good investment, but from 2002 to 2007 alread H, H2 H3 replace the old ones: it means that buying a H is the good value for max 2 years.
The X-pan was discontinued after winning a lot of "best camera of the year"'s prizes. Less than 10 years old they decided to let die the original concept.

Few month after the death of the X-pan, Leica presents the M8, the best old with digital. It sell so good that now it's impossible to find "new" Leica or Zeiss-ZM lenses in shops.

It's hard to believe that Hasselblad will discover that one day Canon-Nikon will be best again in the digital-AF field.

Fujifilm is first known for film and for excelent digital sensor. Hasselblad ask them to build body and lenses. (No, it's not a joke !)

I suspect that Kodak-imacon ordered Hasselblad to make devil arangment with Fujifilm to avoid Fuji in MF-digital back where they could be the best as any cann see with compact camera and S5 body.

I cann't trust loyality of Christian Poulsen to the Victor Hasselblad future.
Only Kodak and Dalsa are known to make sensors for photography.
Fuji makes excellent films.
Yes Carl you are right.
I was just referring to who makes what regarding sensors.
The only recordable media from Fuji is film.
Fuji also makes very good cameras!
I have visited a road show and saw the HY6 . Great camera .
And .... there is a 48x48mm sensor in the pipe . It will be available in about a years time .
I don't know , who is going to prduce it (DALSA ? ? ) , but I am shure that the HY6 is longing for that sensor , while HASSELBLAD might wan't to prevent that sensor .
There are interesting times coming up .

A new 48x48mm sensor not for Hasselblad V ?
Perhaps in 10 years there will be 3 type of digital backs:

and... 56x56

How much pix for 48x48 ?
As soon as a bigger sensor 48x48? becomes available there will be a
DB maker to offer a back with it suitable for Hasselblad.
Unless the Hy6 makers can claim exclusive rights for this sensor.
My estimate is 45 Mp for this back.

It is still only 3/4 of the full 56 mm square and only 15% larger than the sensor in the H3D.
We are still waiting for Bill Gates to finance the 56x56 sensor!

A sensor 48x48 (49x49) can possibly be produced on the same wafer as the 37x49 sensor . So that should not be the problem .
A digital back with such a sensor would be a perfect supplement for the V-SYSTEM cameras and could also be attached to the HY6 . But not on any H3Dxx camera. So might be , that Christian Poulsen would like to prevent such a sensor .

And by the way , I would not mind Bill Gates to finance me such a back .

If 48x48mm sensor enter in production and the HY6 too, then the new strategy for Hasselblad H3Dxx should be the same as the X-pan's one last year.
Perhaps H concept will live as long as X-pan (10 years) even winning a array of "best camera of the year"'s prizes.
>> HASSELBLAD CEO Christian Poulsen looks into the future <<

Might be , that he looked into the future with only one eye .
Here is the newest information from FRANKE & HEIDEKE which I found today in the german PHOTOPRESSE magazine . Unfortunately its only in german , but I will translate an excerpt .

>> The Hy6 is to come on the market at the end of July . The Hy6 is a camera development with a big future . She has the ability , as designed for the film format 6x6 , also to use digital backs with the forthcoming (future) high resolution 48x48mm sensors. <<

In the same magazine I found an article which announces a technology exhibition , 07.09.2007 to 08.09.2007 in the Briese Studios , Hamburg , where HASSELBLAD presents their innovative technologies . Partners for that show are BRIESE , APPLE , ADOBE , EPSON , WACOM and others . Whatever that means >> innovative technologies << .

Please see my posting from June 20 , 2007 in this thread . I do not believe , that this short press release is a joke .

Regards Jürgen
Jurgen, that is very interesting. This Hy6 could be very very interesting. Thanks for the info my friend!