The Hasselblad “Stellar” is announced! WooHoo!


The Hasselblad “Stellar” is announced! WooHoo!

Hasselblad has officially lost their minds. They have now taken a $649 Sony RX100, added a wood grip and are calling it “The Steller” and guess what? It will probably come in at $2500 if the pricing of their NEX-7 “Lunar” is of any indication.

Seems Haselblad are pulling a Leica stunt but in a much bolder way. While Leica takes a camera like the $300 Panasonic LX-7 and puts in in a Leica shell for $400 more you do get the Leica name, longer warranty and better software. The way Hasselblad is going about this one is pretty silly. They take an RX100, make it champaign in color and add a wood grip. I am sure you will get the fancy packaging and all but this is an RX100, plain and simple.

They have not yet announced the price but remember, their “Lunar” which is a NEX-7 sells for $7000 with the 18-55 Sony Kit Zoom.  Who will buy this? Has anyone here bought a Lunar? I just can not see any of these selling, especially if they come in at $2k and up. The RX100 is fantastic, as you can see in my full review, but c’mon. It is not $2k fantastic. 🙂

Hasselblad has lost it. While they used to be known for their amazing medium format film bodies and their compact X-Pan, today they are becoming sort of a joke in the photographic community. Sure, these cameras look..well..ummmm…”different” but they are still Sony NEX-7’s and RX100’s no matter what shell you throw over them.

You can see more at the new website for the Stellar HERE. 



  1. Hasselblad went wrong when they dumped the V Series for that p.o.s H series. I knew it was the beginning of the end at that moment.

    RIP Hasselblad.

    • Anon. DAN…

      POS H series? Strong words to someone owns them. And in a decade had no failures whatsoever. Just one electronic shutter failure amongst dozens of Fuji/Hasselblad lenses. And zero with six or more H series bodies. Zero.
      That said I’ve personally owned and used literally dozens of V series Swedish made bodies and many many more German sourced Conpur and Printor shuttered lenses. They have failed!!!
      Countless times. Countless.
      So what is your informed experience?
      And your answer sir?
      We’re all ears here.

      P. S. As an aside I, to paraphrase a Texan boot vendor, don’t care for the hand of the Fujis but I also use Canon and to me Nikon was always better that way too.

  2. I just think it’s sad, not funny. We need all the diversity we can have in the ever shrinking world of camera manufacturers but what were Hasselblad thinking – their management needs to think again or maybe just move aside for someone else who has the passion combined with some market knowledge and research. They think they can do a Leica and charge huge money for camera clones and sometimes for some very average cameras but I feel there is only enough room out there for one “Leica” – mind I did just buy a new old stock Leica Minilux (just about the best of the great 35mm compacts) for £89! so there are bargains to had even ones with Red dots on them 🙂

  3. So, they stop production on the legendary 500 series cameras to make this and the Lunar? Seems like a good idea… 😛

  4. Amen… My RX100M2 shipped today from B&H … expensive at $748…but worth it to me…. and much better then this abomination…. What are they thinking????

  5. So this is like putting a set of new rims on a Toyota Camry and selling it at a price like Ferrari. Who would be insane enough to buy?

  6. This camera makes me want to scratch the ‘Hasselblad’ writing on my Xpan (which is a Fuji camera anyhow) … :-\

    I would really like to see the business case for this camera. I mean – there is only one reason to bring a product to a market and that is to make money. The conversion indeed cost some extra – but how many do they have to sell to actually make some profit?

    I guess that the pro users who use their $30k+ Hasselblad medium format camera just shake their head when they see this …

    • Matus. We in the image business, albeit a fairly emotional version of “business” simply need results. That said the Nokia/Vertu and Panasonic/Leica mashups haven’t really effected either of those parent companies in the least.
      I imagine, like myself, most H series pro users simply don’t care what nonsense transpires as long as we can still buy and have serviced our MF cameras.
      This is a fun thread but basically preaching to the permanently disaffected.
      Carry on, etc., etc…

  7. I don’t think this about Hasselblad at all. This is all about Sony making its thinly disguised mid range devices look sexy. I’m not seeing them do this with the RX1R which is sexy enough in its own right and doesn’t need the Hassy boost. The $649 RX100 used to look expensive when compared to the mid and lower end M4/3 bodies. Now, thanks to the “Stellar”, it looks like a bargain. This is Toyota and Lexus all over again. The Camry is a reasonable car but is expensive in its bracket. The Lexus ES 350 is the exact same car (albeit with “stellar” styling) which is a bargain compared to the C-class or the 3-series.

  8. As a former user & lover of the fantastic Hasselblad V series cameras I think it’s very sad to see this once great company lose it’s way. It’s lost the plot and personally I think that’s a real shame.

    • Too right, it is sad.

      It’s almost as if the current board have read the script for “The Producers” and had some sort of eureka moment. Or drugs maybe???

    • In the automotive industry this is called ‘badge’ engineering, putting the HASSELBLAD name on something not invented by HASSELBLAD.

  9. Some people are just very rich. I mean something we can’t even imagine.
    They ask themselves “what is the most expensive camera on the market ?” and get it for that reason.
    Someone has to target that market.
    Just like Vertu for phones.

  10. How can you say the the stellar is simple NEX-7. If that is true, my old Dodge Stealth is a Mistsubishi. You’re all joking, aint ya?

  11. Very sad and silly. They need to just put in the research and make their “own camera” and bring it in at a reasonable price and guess what? They will succeed.

  12. What is really sad is the way the wood grip is just slapped on there. It doesn’t even look nice!! I nobody told me it was a Hasselblad I just would have assumed it was some DIY project a well intentioned photographer put together in their garage.

  13. Hasselblad has become just another brand name to be tossed around for money, like Kodak, like Vivitar, with no real products of their own.

  14. Hasselblad are distorting a once fine reputation with cameras like this and the lunar(tic). To me this reflects poorly on there entire range not just the lunar/stellar

  15. I can sort of imagine in the boardroom of Leica 10yrs ago and Hasselblad more recently, all totally ‘strategic and smart’ reviewing the brand position built up nearly a century, about ‘product gap’ to fill and the luxury market of Gucci/LVMH. How could the company no resist to ‘more money’? Panasonic and then Sony comes on like a typical contract manufacturer with a proposition, ‘hey, we already done most of the work and you can’t match our electronics (Ah! Leica and Hassel are reminded they were behind in technology), you badge our products, quality stamp it as yours and ok, if you insist, tweak a bit of the image processing biases based on your brand taste’. A win-win situation.

    Lose your old followers? Take the risk, the new ones will compensate any lost.

    You see it’s not their fault and they aren’t taking the wrong steps but it’s maybe just a layer of (rich but brand-oriented) out there who wants them.

    With that, at least the M continues. Hopefully we do get a Hassy 500 again with a electronic back, at the cost of doing some tasteless to the old school.

  16. I’m actually surprised not more people are taking the mick out of Sony.
    As someone who works in marketing and advertising, not only am i confounded by Hasselblah (though not surprised) i’m actually disappointed by Sony. They are making some of the best cameras out there. But by allowing their OWN brand to be sullied and devalued by Hassy is a shame. And a real marketing clusterf**k.

  17. You know what Steve, it is much like the market for some of the Leica cameras, there are people out there with lots of money who will just buy it simply to show off to their friends. Think rich film/sports/tv people, and knowing the culture well, I bet a hell of a lot get sold in the Middle East to people for whom a few thousand dollars is like us spending $10.

    If someone is prepared to pay $15m for an iPhone case, then that’s the market Hasselblad are after! Leica have been doing it for years. I was in the Leica shop yesterday and the guy in there told me he just couldn’t get enough Vario X’s in to sell as they go out the door straight away, there are a lot of other cameras out there that have much better specs for a lot cheaper – if it has the right name behind it then expensive things sell simply *because* they are expensive! Specs and all of that stuff doesn’t matter to that type of person.

    • Well, the Majority of those that bought and used an M9 were average folks, like me. I know of HUNDREDS of people who are FAR from rich who shoot Leica. They saved, sold other gear and went for it. Leica is at least orginal with the M, so there is an excuse to pay $7k for a body. There is not $1200 version of an M9 or M. There is a $1200 version of the Lunar, the NEX-7. Hasselblad screwed up because even the rich are not buying it as it offers nothing exclusive. The Leica M is exclusive, the Lunar and Stellar are not.

      • Tanks Steve. I am pretty tired of people complaining about Leica, who have never used a digital M. Leica is actually trying to compete with the electronic giants in offering unique photographic tools. They should not be compared to these clowns that bought the Hasselblad name.

    • Dude, I am not rich (far from it). I make choices in life. One of those choices is that I choose to use Leica equipment b/c it makes me happy, want to take pictures, and causes me to be more focused. My Leicas (yes multiple) get out of my way and just let me make pictures. I even own a Leica MM and there is NO camera on the market that is comparable, and I was happy to pay Leica $8K to make a limited run B&W only camera body. If you’ve ever used a Leica M (film or digital), you would realize how bad your comparison to this gaudy Hasselblad Stellar is. Is a Leica worth $7K or $8K? It is to me, and Leica is the most original camera mfg. in the world. Use a Leica M before you make blanket statements … not cool guy.

    • Yes, there are people who mostly want a Leica to display their wealth and phony erudition. That doesn’t mean a Leica is not a good camera.

      I imagine that in the Leica company meeting you conjured they discussed that fact that they made the best lenses ever, at least for a 35mm camera, but the brand was dying because they only made film bodies. So could they make a digital body and save the company? And could they charge a lot for the digital body because it will mount their small and antique looking lenses ? The answer was yes, they can’t make the bodies or lenses fast enough. The phonies come with the market. It is still a great camera.

      BTW, I have a Leica M9 and it does not work well for showing off. Two strangers have asked me about it. The first person said kind or incredulously “you still shoot film?” The second person asked if it was one of those new Fujis. if you want people to oooh! and aaah! get the biggest Nikon or Canon you can, or a Jag.

      Matt, here is the difference. Leica makes a very good camera. Eccentric for sure but images to die for. Hasselblad isn’t making good cameras. It is taking a Toyota Corolla and slipping some wood on it then shilling it for the price of a Rolls. Leica is made by some of the best lens designers anywhere. An incredibly stupid investment banker came up with Hasselblad’s new pigs with lipstick.

      • Hey! Hey! Hey! What’s with the “Jag”-hating. This is about cameras. Leave my beloved “Jags” out of it. Spending most of their production life getting repaired is bad enough, without haters jumping all over them.

        • Sorry, didn’t mean to diss Jags, or Nikon or Canon for that matter. Nikon and Canon make really good cameras, just too big and heavy to haul around easily.

          • “just too big and heacy to haul around easily”… … sigh! You’re right that sounds like a Jag all right.

      • “Yes, there are people who mostly want a Leica to display their wealth and phony erudition.”

        I always find this idea strange considering that, except for a very small fraction of people — basically, Leica owners — nobody knows what a Leica is or would recognize the red dot. To the vast majority of people in the world, these cameras just look like grandpa’s crusty old antiquated film camera.

      • Uhm, Leica has been doing what Hasselblad is doing now, for many years. They alter some Panasonic Lumix compacts (adding a red dot and a handle), and perhaps they rewrite the firmware. Then they throw in better software and longer warranty, and double the price.
        Just look at this official list and then look at the Panasonic equivalents.
        Both Leica and Hasselblad have their ‘flagships’ and then they have their compact consumer models, which they push through their high level quality control.

    • I am not a good enough photographer to know the difference. I take pictures to enjoy looking at them, not necessarily because they are superb compositions but because they capture the moment as I experienced them. Could you (or anyone else) have done a better job with exposure, composition, colors, lighting etc? Probably. I would still enjoy my pictures more. Because I took them.

      IMHO my Nokton-OM-D pictures, my PL 4/3 25mm-GF1, PL14-150 GH2 pictures have given me as much pleasure as my M9p-50 lux combination. Someone recently asked me if my Leica was that much better or more convenient than the other cameras I have. This got me thinking. I realised that it is not so much about the pictures (which are very nice) but the fun of owning a camera regarded by pros as a “good” camera. In my case, it definitely seems to be more about the pride of ownership than the just the quality of the pictures.

      As a sensible person, in these trying economic times, would I give up my Leica? Yes, I would… … when someone pries it from my cold dead hands!

  18. Sorry, I cannot get excited about this ridiculous camera. The bigger news today is that Fuji just updated the FW on the XE1/XPro1 adding focus peaking and faster/more accurate AF (at least when I tried it in low light).

    The XPro1 is miles away better than the camera that was first introduced close to two years ago.

  19. Not a bad way to stay up with technology … try and turn someone else’s technology into a luxury product. Not to say that it will work, but a good way to stay around without any R&D expenditures. And who can blame them? With Sony/Panasonic/Fujifilm, etc. working on sensors with 30+ stops of dynamic range using organic circuits, does anyone think Hassie or even, Leica could keep up with those giant electronic shops? It’s only a matter of time before the Japanese electronic houses kill whatever remains of the competition, save for the upcoming Korean giants like Samsung and LG.

  20. The 500 series and SWCs are the most elegant tools they’ve ever produced. I don’t want electronic complexity, I want mechanical simplicity or a digital equivalent – simpler, smart menus, a form factor and esthetic that’s easy on the hands and eyes. Hasselblad is more poised to achieve greatness by retaining its DNA.

    Mr Equity firm, Hasselblad became great because they earned it. You are destroying all of this by taking the easy way out thru financial accounting tricks, short term profit and stock pricing. Go do your homework and build on the legend, lest you go the way of kodak and other foolish equity companies – bankrupt with a trail of destruction.

    Here’s my wish: an affordable *full-frame* digital back with no larger a form factor than the traditional film backs for the 500 series, say for $10k or less? (That battery on the cv series, looks like a tumor or growth.)

  21. Some people have all to gether to much money. If you have too much money and have no idea what to do with it send it to me! Put a long wood handle on a brush and get a clean toilet….for a mere $1500.00.
    This is truely the end of days!

  22. A camera maker with such a great Name going downhill. What a tragedy. Their camera´s went to the moon with the Apollo missions. We´re about to loose a(nother) piece of photographic history. Very sad to see this Happening.

  23. Why do Hasselblad (but it is not really them) stop making a decent camera like the classic 500 series which can be had with excellent digital backs or used with film, (and they are still not cheap) and then announce a jazzed up small camera (yes the rx100 is good – my wife uses one and produces great images with it) but this version appears to be so overpriced for a slightly different finish or can we not see the flurry of 1ct diamonds in the grip?

  24. Finally a $1000 wooden grip to make that RX100 better to hold. And with the price, it will fit in your pocket with your empty wallet!

    But seriously, I like this design. Much better than their first effort with the Lunar.

  25. dear Hasselblad,
    i need to write you a brief note as a photographer, designer and former user.
    just like most people out there, i am APPALLED by your latest moves.
    first, the ridiculous lunar, now another pathetic rebranded sony.
    what is wrong with you?
    you are destroying -in a very short time- a legay that has taken decades to build; a strong heritage, made of legendary product, wiped out by these sad attempts at marketing poorly ‘redesigned’ and rebranded sony products.
    as a photographer, i will never be able to look at hasselblad the way we used to.
    as a former user, i will never even consider buying one again.
    as a designer, i am disgusted by the poor taste shown in these two camera face-lifts.

    you COULD do so much better; why don’t you?


    i just emailed the above to hasselblad; who knows, maybe if they hear the same message from many people, they MIGHT listen …. of course the lack of sales should also tell them something 🙂

  26. I just had the Sony RX100 II in my hands in a shop. It felt heavy, and not so easy in the hand. I was thinking of my upcoming trip to the tropics and was wondering if Sony could have made the RX100 a little bit easier to hold. Wood would be perfect actually. So I think Hasselblad is right in doing this design adjustment. I can have someone make a wooden grip for less than 25 euro’s. So I just might do that. I don’t think its hard to make it look just as good as the HB version. Without the grip I prefer another compact to take along. In the shop the RX100 also felt a bit slow. Not really the compact you quickly pick up and shoot at an opportunity. Maybe I should forget about the RX100 all together. Its seems to me with the wooden grip, although smart, I might just look like an idiot.

    • the rx100 is an excellent camera for traveling, i used mine everywhere (the only reason i sold it was the lack of vf); grip-wise, there is a great option out there, the custom one made by Franiec (, it works wonderful and it looks super clean, integrating perfectly with the camera design (unlike this wooden abomination), and it is also quite inexpensive!

  27. I have tried the Lunar, it was somewhat NEX if u r shooting Jpeg, if u start shooting raw, then thats how the hasselblad color came out, the kit lens is alright, standard sony stuff but once it was paired with the Zeiss touit, it make a whole lot different in color rendering and output, my comment on it would be a baby lunar is a cheaper hassy one can get if u shoot raw, but if u shoot jpeg nex is a better option. And the lunar is still made in sweden


    • Same can be said for the NEX-7. Shoot JPEG and get Sony colors. Shoot RAW and it is a different story. Id love to test one and see if there is anything unique when compared to the NEX-7. The Zeiss 24 1.8 would pair well as would some Leica lenses..35 cron, 50 lux, etc.

  28. They should have really pulled a fast one and taken a Nex7 and made it black and white only and charged $7000 and …

    …oh wait…

  29. It’s sad to watch this unfold from the sidelines, because there IS still a demand for medium format photography. Not a great one, but still… I even think the demand is higher than for a rebranded, very expensive RX100, of all things.

  30. Analysing the design I think the designer or is blind or have designed to blind people. And I am not mean to sound disrespectful. I mean that the form could feel great to the touch, it seems comfortable to hold an feel the materials, but to the eyes it looks something like an organic virus attacking a metal camera.

    Anyway… Good luck to Hasselblad. Don’t like the lunatic series but I hope they can came back with great cameras like their old medium format. I wonder if their film cameras are going to be more affordable as collateral damage:)

  31. I’ve got many H series Hasselblad camera bodies and multiple lenses throughout the available range. That said technological advances are inexorable and Hasselblad Imacon is realitively speaking a tiny company.
    They have never made a digital era camera themselves. Maybe installing the components in the digital back but that’s it. Fuji makes their camera gear and the medium format genre is doomed in the medium to long run. Canon Rumors has just outed at 75MP test mule. It ain’t gonna stop there. No siree Bob.
    What else can they do? I’ve no idea.

      • @Sandy Ramirez, I was actually curious about that. What is “a lot more” in terms of shooting medium format?.

        ps. This is a very sincere question, no hate nor sarcasm.

        • It’s about 16 bit RAW files, which, among other things, gives much more latitude in manipulating those files and a different depth of field perspective, in addition to resolution (essentially the ability to crop while retaining file size).

        • Actually it isn’t the 16 bit raw files. It is the fact that one uses longer focal lengths for the same FOV, thereby giving shallower DOF and better subject isolation.

          Say you take a portrait with an effective FOV of 85mm or so. On say a m4/3rd system you would use a 42-45mm lens, on APS-c about a 60mm, on FF a 85. At the same aperture and distance (to achieve the same FOV) each change in sensor size would give shallower DOF. Since I shoot a Pentax 645D my lens for this FOV would be a 150mm lens – again even shallower DOF.

          The resolution is really more of the fact the sensor is larger (a 40mp MF camera is about the same pixel density as a 12-14mp FF camera)

          • The bokeh also looks completely different with the larger film or sensor size. A portrait taken at f4 or 5.6 with a medium format camera will be tack-sharp on the plane of focus and show wonderfully round roll-off, quite different from a 35mm lens at f1.4 or 2.

          • You misunderstood my comment which was that one of the differences is that medium format digital tends to be shot in 16 bit RAW files which makes a meaningful difference to the user’s ability to manipulate those files without causing them to fall apart. The other differences are, quite rightly the different perspective caused by the larger sensor and focal lengths.

          • The difference is immense. But so is the cost so unless you have clients willing to pay for that its hard to justify sadly. Hasselblad has lost their minds with this. I’ve booked a demo with Phase as they are now streets ahead – and that makes me so sad.

          • Sorry, Sandy, that is not true. The difference between 14 an 16 bit is HUGE. 16 bit can store exactly as much as 4 times of data compared to 14 bit.

            But the point might be, that sooner or late FF DSLRs will offer RAW 16 anyways.

          • Now you’ve done it Bob . NOW we are really LOST IN SPACE.
            Somewhere near the planet RAW 16. Set sensors for maximum intensity Brace for impact. Red alert!

  32. I’d love to know how much profit Sony make on the Sony RX100 compared to what Hasselblad make on this Stellar. They’re just trinkets for the super rich and the super gullible…Hasselblad must have worked out there are enough of them around to warrant making these cameras ?

    • It must also make serious Hassleblad Medium Format shooters cringe a bit, it seems like brand dilution for no material gain. Style over substance, which is surely the opposite of how Medium Format shooters would feel.

  33. The color, grip, and strap are selling points, but not enough to push the price up more than $100.

    • Wouldn’t that be a question to ask Fuji? They designed and built the XPan after all. It was an excellent camera though.

    • i’d like one too! i have a film XPan, and its great! very sharp lens! solid body! I do wish the aperture was a bit bigger and the 30mm isn’t so expensive though

  34. Do we know if “H” requested any internal changes to the Sony before adding the external changes. Did they request: better firmware, different lens, tweeks to the sensor….anything, for product differentiation?

  35. It won’t be long before the investment firm that owns Hassleblad just sells to Sony. They clearly have no idea how the photography industry work and are just trying to monetize the brand with rebranded products.

    They need to let Sony buy a 50% stake more in this company and let them run the show. Sony can just insert Hassleblad into it’s family of products without hitting the brakes.

    • (i hope) you are right, it is probably just a matter of time – if the people at sony are smart, they will allow the clowns in charge of hasselblad to do just enough more damage to the brand that it loses most of its monetary value, but not enough to entirely destroy it for the future.

      such a shame.

    • I hope they don’t. I liked SONY better when they were MINOLTA . I mean to say when Minolta made cameras and Sony made Walkmans.

      • Lol, all Hassy dealers have them in stock. I spoke with one large dealer and they told me not one has sold. Not one. Maybe Hasselblad will clear them out at $1900 in a year or so 🙂 Id buy one then.

        • Good joke Edwin but if this camera takes Stellar pictures and that grip feels really good in practice then the joke might be on you! By the way, have you heard the joke about the Nikon V1 and it’s tiny sensor. Hilarious right? Slow lenses, overpriced..must be rubbish right? And DON’T even get me started on the big Leica M mini…!

  36. I remember a whole lot of comparing between the Panasonic LX-series and the Leica version.
    Some would argue in favour of the Leica version: better re-sell value. Better software (Lightroom), better support. But more importantly: better image quality, because the firmware was NOT the same; some would notice differences in the jpeg output.
    Perhaps the same can be said for the Stellar? One shouldn’t judge a book by its color, and this camera deserves a ‘real life’ test, just like any other.

    • You are correct Ivan, the Hasselblad stuff may be different indeed with the processing in camera. Hasselblad says this is so but no one knows as no one has bought them yet, as far s I know. 🙂 Maybe, just maybe I will have to buy the Lunar and give it a spin and compare it with a NEX-7. Then again, Id never be able to sell it so it would be a collector piece..which would probably be worth something in 20 years because so few will be sold. Seriously though, I would love to test it and see how it shoots and to see if there is any difference in the processing or IQ. I am one of the few who does like the designs but could never pay $7000 for a camera with NEX-7 innards.

      • Even if they gave it a AA-filter removal treatment and altered the software. The limiting factor on improving the pictures is still the hardware. Both the NEX-7 and RX100 are not the latest and the greatest from Sony. (Which I hate to admit since I own both.) Still, charging XXXL prices for them is a head scratcher.

        • NEX7 and RX100 aren’t the newest, but NEX7 is still the best IQ available in a Sony APS-C body (at moderate ISO) and RX-100 is still pretty close to cutting edge, just behind the new version.

      • Couldn’t you just hit up their marketing dept to get on a list of reviewers Steve?
        I’d like to see a review as well!

  37. Hello Steve,

    Prices are supposed to start at $1600 from what I understand. One hell of a ugly camera, though.


    • i actually kind of like the silver look with black lens, the pouch that comes with it doesn’t look too bad either, LOL i might actually consider buying this if it was $1000 and i didn’t have too many cameras already

  38. I would love Sony to make a grip like that, as for the stellar, maybe it will make the Leica haters go to Hasselblad so we don’t have to hear their prize whining anymore?

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