Leading Chinese Drone Company DJI Aquires Hasselblad

Leading Chinese Drone Company DJI Aquires Hasselblad

While nothing has been announced officially, multiple outlets including Fox Business and Luminous Landscape have reported that DJI has bought a majority share of Hasselblad. Although Hasselblad hasn't really been Hasselblad since 1996, the latest acquisition leaves many photographers scratching their heads. Why would the top drone company want to buy a camera company known now for its medium format, digital still image cameras? Aren't drones used for shooting video? Is DJI getting into the surveillance game? So many questions, so few answers.

If you've followed Hasselblad at all in recent years, you know that they've been gasping for air in a market dominated by smartphones and a "smaller-the-better" mentality. First, they stopped producing their classic V-series film cameras, thought by many to be one of the best medium format systems ever. Then came the hilarious attempt at slapping their name and a fancy handle on a pair of Sony cameras, and calling them the Lunar and Stellar. These absurd cameras sold for many times more than the RX100 and NEX-7, came in lavish wooden boxes and did nothing more than the Sony versions except cover up for an inferiority complex. As a writer for B&H I was tasked with co-writing the over-the-top product descriptions (here and here) to make potential buyers feel like they were getting something special, (they were not).

Whispers of their demise have been floating around the industry for a few years now, so I'm happy that they didn't go the way of Rollei and Minolta and disappear forever. DJI first showed interest back in November of last year buy buying a minority stake, so something must have shown promise for them to gain a majority holding. But just what does this acquisition mean for the future of Hasselblad? Will they continue to produce digital medium format cameras, or will DJI simply use their technology and brand recognition to further their drone business?

Kevin Raber of Luminous Landscape first reported the news this morning, saying that the "information has come from numerous, reliable sources." DJI apparently told PC Mag "We have no further news about DJI's partnership with Hasselblad. We will continue to work together to push forward world-class imaging to creators around the world."

With the mirrorless X1D-50c and it's big brother the H6D-100c still not shipping, it's possible that Hasselblad didn't have the money to fulfill orders and sold the majority shares at a discount to keep the brand alive. It's likely that we'll never know the details behind the purchase, or the motivation, but soon enough we'll find out what Hasselblad's future holds. Let's hope it's a bright one.

Image used with permission of B Ystebo

 

 

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10 Comments

This is actually good news for hasselblad.

Eric Reichbaum's picture

I hope you're right Mr. Blah. And just as importantly, I hope it's a good thing for us. After reading about Ektachrome being brought back, maybe Hassy will start making film cameras again?

Think of VW. They bought Lamborghini, Porshe, etc..

DJI will bring in money and Hasselblad will be the shiny piece of arm candy everyone wants...

Anonymous's picture

Minolta was aquired by sony, so while there are no more minolta branded cameras their technology lives on in sony.

Eric Reichbaum's picture

You're technically right, but there isn't much of their 10 year old technology still living in Sony cameras other than the lens mount. Often when legacy brands get bought out the purchaser is only buying the name (see Sakar and Polaroid). Minolta as a company and brand is dead.

Anonymous's picture

I just wanted to be technically right haha.

Mamiya is a company who has stayed relevant even after being bought by Phase One. If I read correctly they still operate independently from Phase one. I hope this is the case with DJI and Hasselblad.

I guess this means if you order a Hasselblad from DJI, you'll be waiting at least a few months to be delivered and then it will have a horrible "jello" effect..............I kid I kid , you silly son of a bitch :) haha

Chris Martin's picture

On the contrary delivery may be very quick? DJI would program the drone with the delivery co-ordinates and your new shiny would be delivered by 'air mail'.

Stephen Kampff's picture

Also worth noting that they did that fancy camera phone collaboration with Moto in 2016.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=1274335&gclid=Cj...

Minolta, for those who have marked its demise, actually still exists ( their technology) under the brand of Kenko. The meters that they market are pure Minolta whatever they might claim. Different name tag, nothing more (and still the best meters ever made).

Dji's aquistion of Hasselblad leaves the question of what might be in the future for Zeiss. Whilst Hasselblad made some very fine cameras, it's real claim to fame were its lenses. Hasselblad was synonymous with high end imagery, but the camera had little to do with it . . . it was always the miracles that Zeiss could manufacture . . . let's hope that never dies.