Hasselblad Massive Price Drop Makes Medium Format Cameras Affordable

Hasselblad Massive Price Drop Makes Medium Format Cameras Affordable

There used to be a time when getting into digital medium format meant you had to put a mortgage on your house and your family. This time seems far gone now that a full kit can be found for under $20,000. With the promotion Hasselblad is running, it looks like Christmas is early this year.

Just like last year, Hasselblad dropped its prices by up to about 50%! It means you can get an H5D body along with a 50 megapixel back for just under $15,000. While it probably remains out of the budget most of us have, even as professionals, it is a very affordable prices for this kind of gear.

Amongst the couple of promotions, you will find the H5D-50 for $19,995 ($7,050 off), the H5D-60 with an 80mm f/2.8 lens for $24,595 ($7,805 off) or the same H5D-60 without a lens for $21,995 ($8,000 off). But the biggest promotion is on the H5D-50c, sold now for only $14,500 instead of $28,500. You'd still have to buy a lens to get a full kit, but that can be a very attractive offer!

If you cannot find an agreement with either your financial advisor or spouse before the promotion is over, you still have the option of buying the more affordable H5D-40. It's Hasselblad first price camera sold for only $10,995.

One can only wonder why Hasselblad is doing these huge rebates. Perhaps the big megapixel full frame cameras are making the medium format market even smaller. Or maybe it is just a way to make people talk a bit more about them.  Because it seems like Phase One is becoming more known and talked about than Hasselblad amongst the youngest generation of photographers. Those that haven't started with film probably don't have that love for Hasselblad. No matter what the reason is, I personally hope medium format camera will keep becoming more and more affordable in the next couple of years as I think they still have a place in a professional photographer's bag for some uses. What do you guys think? Is this a desperate move or very smart marketing move from Hasselblad? Any of you planning to make good use of this promotion?


via [Hasselblad]

Quentin Decaillet's picture

Quentin Décaillet is a photographer and retoucher based in Switzerland specializing in portrait and wedding photography.

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It seems like they're getting whacked by Phase One from above and Pentax from below.

Phase One has far superior marketing and Pentax has a major cost advantage.

There is also pressure from the BSI process, which makes the small pitch of 35mm format wells less of an issue. No longer does a larger pitch mean better IQ (given non-BSI in the larger format).

What are you on about? ;)

Not sure I understand your question, but the point I was trying to make is that the quality of some of the new 35mm format sensors has approached (or exceeded) the quality of some of the MF ones. For example, the backside illumination (BSI) process has moved the wiring that takes the current from a photosite (well) from the surface to the rear, allowing higher densities while removing interference of the wires (light bouncing off them into the photosite) - resulting in a higher IQ from a smaller pitched well.

Thanks, now I understand what you're on about ;D

Let's not even talk about the higher/way better ISO's from Dslr's. I have a much older P30+ which I would never even shoot over the standard 100 ISO otherwise completely useless. When I am in studio or have a ton of light I sometimes still use the P30+ But my 5DMIII can handle ANY situation that get's thrown at me. If Phaseone dropped their prices 50% I might jump on something but why? Only for the Leaf-shutter lens to be able to sync over 1/250th.

Apples and oranges. Some medium format sensors are CCD and, as in your experience, don't perform well at high ISOs. But some, like the H5D-50c mentioned in the article, are CMOS and run just fine at high ISO.

You can get HSS with most of the modern lighting systems - Profoto, Jinbei etc... - these days using your 5D3 so no need to look to the big dogs for that anymore either...

Yes, to me the only advantage of MF is the leaf shutter lens, and really only Phase has high enough sync speeds for me to consider it. Everything else has been pretty much been made a level playing field, from DOF (faster lenses on 35mm format), IQ, even dynamic range. The 14 vs. 16 bit is also a non-starter. The leaf shutter is the last remaining advantage IMO

That's why I love the Little Sigma DP's.

Very sharp lens with little defects, foveon sensor which gives a unique rendering and leaf shutters for upto 1/2000.

Sure your using an aps-c sensor and f2.8 lens (f4 on the Dp0) so you have less DoF control over both 35mm and ofc MF but they are pretty unique and cost less than most good SLR lens alone.

I toyed with the Idea of getting a 645d with 55mm lens (around £3k in the uk) but personally I liked the foveon images,leaf shutter and small size over the extra DoF control the 645d would have gave me.

I would be so pissed if I paid an extra 14k for one of these cameras a month ago.

Maybe not 1 person did ;O

I do not think Mario Testino is going to gripe over it.

How pissed are the people that bought this rebadged SONY at original price http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1034962-REG/hasselblad_h_1105101_h...

Not sure if any of those rebranded sony camera ever got sold… :P you can find these or their lenses for less than their Sony equivalent! There must be a really good reason behind it. My take is it doesn't sell at all.

I think you are right. All the reviews are since the price drop a a couple months back. If one was shopping for an A99, this one looks to be the better deal.

I like your perspective Lee. lol. MFD cameras are nice and has its appeal but with the fast evolving tech from major DSLR manufacturers MFD cameras do seem to obsolete at a rather fast pace. And the price drop reflected that. MFD needs to improve their focus and responsiveness to compete with DSLR from operational point of view while employing higher MP sensors which btw also perform well in high ISO.

"Hasselblad Massive Price Drop Makes Medium Format Cameras MORE Affordable" would be a much more appropriate headline.

Pentax 645d with 55mm lens are 3k in the uk atm, why didn't that make the news? :P


I would really liked to understand what's behind such move. Even I am Hasselblad user for years, I am thinking to switch to Phase One system. As Lee said, I would be extremely pissed off in same situation.

I think the Pentax and the rumours of sub $10000 MF in the works from Fuji, Sony and Phase-One's new Mamiya buy-out have Hasselblad worried that they might soon just be at the ludicrously over priced end of the market

If you are an iso 100 shooter, the 40mp pentax cost as much as a 5dsr.

That flash sync speed though… why did they make the x-sync 1/125s? :( Pentax MF cameras are awesome for those that do not require flash. I hope this will change soon.

That's because they don't sport leaf shutter lenses. Even PhaseOne sync speed is 1/125 if you use the focal plane shutter. Bigger frame means that the curtains are harder to shove around, and thus slower.

I was using my P30+ on an Mamiya RZproII all with leafshutter lens and it was nice to sync at high speeds but a PIA to focus and was slow to fire shot to shot even with the motor drive. I sold the body and PhaseOne plate for it. Then my AFDIII curtain broke and I am now trying to buy a used demo PhaseOne AF body just so I can use the P30+ on occasion when I have a ton of light and need to print Big. Where I live and work, my clients do not care if you have a 30,000$ back or lower end dslr, they pay the same fee so I prefer to make money rather than have all the bells and whistles to show. I spend my money on good lens and good flash, all profoto and that is it. I even still use a 18 year old profoto alfa 1200 pack from time to time.

Hmm... I realize that Pentax returned a bit more recently to the MF game, but they're still more affordable, so I think it's probably not entirely accurate that suggest that this move by Hasselblad has changed that...

OK... here is my take on the massive discounts.
I think there is major R&D going into the MFD Market.
I think that some big players *cough - SONY - cough* are going to MOVE into this arena with
their version and totally DISRUPT that market and make it more affordable... hence the huge discounts.
This next year is going to be an exciting year for us photographers!
Grab some popcorn and watch the show!
Starting in January 2016!

It'd be great to see Fuji get into the game, but I assume Sony is the more logical choice, given their advantage in sensors (though, why not just license?). Interesting theory and one that I hope holds true. Zach Arias has been beating this drum for awhile, and I, for one, would LOVE a MF digital rangefinder (with close-to-MF sensor dimensions) like the Mamiya 6 or Bronica RF645. http://dedpxl.com/when-will-medium-format-return/

With high def sensors like the D810 or the 5Dm3 and the arrival of the premium lens like the sigma art collection with 1,4 apertures, and also with the high speed sync of the new flash technologies , all of this have radically changed my mind about medium format !

A few years ago I had the chance to try the H3D-30 and I was amazed by the quality and the difference with my D2Xs from then ! ( but only with a full light studio set-up ) ... but the bad point at this time whas the iso's issue from the ccd. Now they've jumped into the cmos, the isos are no more an issue, but the evolution of the dslr market as make such a HUGE jump into quality in so many fields ( sensors, lenses, flashs ... ) that the race is not in favour of the MF for the moment.
So for me it's still a very nice object for those who want to spend this ridiculous amount of money ( and it will still cost an arm and a leg if you want to have a full set of lenses !! ) ... but I'm not sure it's still worth it for the moment !
More over, the technological evolutions are still in a big race, so you'll pay a very high price for something that will be worthless within 5 years ! It's only for those who don't care and have a fetish in luxury objects or those who have built their name on the fact that they provide a service done with a luxury camera... but it's the same than a taxi service : you have the people that need to go from a point A to a point B ... and those who care more about the fact that they are making the trip in a limo or a Rolls Royce ...

Oh look, another photo blogger who never heard of the 645Z.

If you look back in my articles, you'll find one I wrote about Priolite strobes and their HotSync compatibility with the Pentax 645Z/D. So yes, I am aware that Pentax has got a camera with a larger sensor.
However, with a sync speed of only 1/125s it's hardly appealing to most users that want to get into the MF world.
Most people that use MF are commercial photographers and most of them use artificial lighting on set. One of the interest of MF cameras for them is x-sync the leaf shutter lenses offer (1/800s or 1/1600s). Having that limiting x-sync on the Pentax seems to discourage people to buy one. I personally thought about buying one when it was released, until I saw this spec. The 1/200s of the full frame DSLR is already bothering.
So sure, Pentax does a cheaper MF camera than Phase One or Hasselblad. But it's harldy a rival… except perhaps for landscape photographer in my opinion.

Pentax does offer leaf shutter lenses...

I should also mention that the old Pentax 67 had a flash sync of 1/30...it didn't stop many well regarded photographers from using that system over others...

They did offer. I don't see any LS lens in their current product line. They used to have a 75 and 135mm if I'm not mistaken.
And sure, perhaps photographers used to be happy with 1/30s back then. But they also used to be happy with b/w film only.
Everything changes and if today so many photographers are interested in systems such as HSS or HyperSync, there must be a very good reason.

Certainly not arguing there is never a reason for it or even that it isn't a popular feature - I ended up with a Hasselblad film camera over the Pentax 67 partially because of the sync speed, so I'm not disregarding it at all. Just saying that it isn't the end of the world for many types of photography (including fashion).

And I should have said, it *doesn't* stop many well regarded photographers from *still* using that system over others. They're still happy with black and white film.

When I see "deals" like "$7805 off" I can't help see a brand like Hassleblad in a new, devalued light. Would you want to invest in a system and brand whose prices fluctuate like the price of gas? It takes a lifetime to build a reputation for quality and value, and only a single moment to devaluate it all with silly deals like this. I don't think they'll be attracting new buyers anytime soon. Besides, most studios using med-format lease or rent their units. The depreciation doesn't make it financially feasible to own them.

Good point.

Just tosding ghis out there- couldn't you just get the A7RII (with a lens or two!) for far less than this? You'd be missing out on 8mp, but still... Is Hasselblad really worth the $15000? Never used one (and likely won't unless I'm willing to part with a kidney).

Perhaps this question will provide some insight to yours:

Do you think the Lumia 1020 41 mp camera phone is equivalent to the A7RII (at 42 mp)?

Answer: no. Sensor size does matter. Now is the A7RII good enough in comparison to the Hasselblad? Only you can answer that. For the price difference, I'd guess for most photographers the answer would be "hell yes".

Thank you Nikon and Canon!

New member. This is my first post. After renting Hass and P1's so many times this is tempting. I have liked both brands. I keep going back and forth between pulling the trigger on this H5D-50 and P1's XF IQ3-50. Sync with leaf is a little faster on the new P1 and iso a little better on the new P1. But is that advantage worth the price difference? This price drop is keeping me up at night because no one has money to throw away (at least I don't). Internet article rumors about which maybe in trouble and who may be winding down just adds to the noise. Oy. Both are fine rigs, I guess I don't have enough information yet to pick. Meanwhile the price is only down for a short time?

Just heard that the promo is most likely to end on the 24th and also according to Hasselblad's website there's no trade-in possible with the promo. However, it's not mentioned on B&H website, so perhaps B&H still does the trade-in, not sure…

One obvious reason maybe that CCD is going on sale. Phase One is killing it with CMOS. I'm probably going to trade my CCD system in soon.

Well… the H5D-50c has a CMOS sensor and is currently 14,000$ off.

A camera price drop sounds like music to my ears! But its important to pick the best one and not just the cheapest or the one with the biggest discount. I've been doing camera rental http://www.aimimage.com/camera-rental-central-london/ now most of the time, instead of buying, and I've found that its more cost effective for me.

We know now the reason for the massive price drop. They have the new cameras H6D-50c for $25,995 and the H6D-100c for $32,995. With shutter speed at 1/2000 and 15 Stop dynamic range. As well as new software and new connection USB-C. And few more goodies, sadly the GPS is not integrated, that will set you back at least another $800. This camera is for the professional and successful photograph. It is tax deductible; Still the price is certainly not for everyone and even then only for the very few who can and want that amazing piece of equipment.