Hasselblad have been a bit of an obsession of mine since I first saw the 500C/M. It's such a beauty and I will one day make the leap and buy one. However, the new Hasselblads are a financial commitment tantamount to a high end vehicle or a house deposit. It's a shame for me as the Hasselblad H5D Multishot is perfect for the commercial work I do, but not quite worth being homeless for. Hasselblad are stepping in to the rental arena to offer direct rentals at less eye-watering financial outlays.
Hasselblad are aware that even entry level cameras of theirs are expensive off the shelf with Hasselblad Marketing Manager noting that even successful and highly paid photographers may not be able to justify the purchase. For me, this raises questions of their price point if the successful and highly paid photographers can't afford their cameras. To whom are Hasselblads aimed at if that's the case? Wealthy photography enthusiasts cannot be the demographic they aspire to lock down. It seems to me that these successful photographers are exactly who they would like using their medium format cameras, but it tends to be only studios and the 1% who have deep enough pockets. Regardless, Hasselblad resolves so bridge this gap with their rental scheme. Bronius Rudnickas, the aforementioned Marketing Manager continues to say:
Consequently, many professional photographers and enthusiasts haven’t had the opportunity to see what they’re able to create with Hasselblad’s medium format technology. The ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ program is designed to change that and we’re looking forward to seeing what photographers are able to produce having easier access to our photographic tools.
The service is in its foetal stages at the moment, with limited options available. That said, there are numerous outlets from which you can rent from, with 3 in London alone. I was able to see the prices for rental of one camera body and two lenses:
X1D-50C 4116 Edition — £78 per day (approx. $103)
XCD f/3.2 90mm — £24 per day (approx. $32)
XCD f/3.5 45mm — £19.20 per day (approx $25)
This price was consistent throughout the three London locations which leads me to believe it is a standard price sheet. Interestingly, one of the London locations is the well known Wex Rental. I compared the prices and found that rental of the body through Wex is nearly twice the price of renting directly through Hasselblad, while the lenses were marginally cheaper. To give you an idea, here is a quick price comparision:
Rent a Hasselblad: For 7 days of the X1D-50C + XCD f/3.2 90mm = £714 (approx. $942)
Wex Rental: For 7 days of the X1D-50C + XCD f/3.2 90mm = £1,141 (approx. $1505)
That is a gargantuan difference. Of course, rental outlets vary in prices, but if renting equipment is something you do or might need to do for a shoot, Rent a Hasselblad is looking financially competitive. With the X1D-50C body only costing $8,995, I would have to seriously ask myself how many rentals I'm looking at making per year and whether it would be prudent to invest in a purchase instead, but for those rare occasions it's an interesting proposal. I would of course like to see a more diverse range available in both bodies and glass, which Hasselblad have insinuated will be the case in the near future.