The Reason Behind Hasselblad Camera's High Price

Have you ever seen a picture of what it looks like in space? Well, this iconic picture was taken with the Hasselblad camera which is rarely ever heard of by photographers or even videographers. Even though this might be your first time hearing about this brand, you might be surprised by the price tag of this camera as it can get you a decent car in cash for $30,000.
The price is exclusive of the lens of course. For a standard camera, this price clearly does not make any sense, and most of you will question why some people might be willing to spend huge bucks to get their hands on this expensive camera.

To understand even more about the Hasselblad camera, let us look at the picture below.
You can see how clear and very detailed the picture is as it can be seen when zoomed in. But it is not one of the major reasons why the Hasselblad camera is so expensive.

Typical Brand Back Then

Hasselblad has produced cameras for the past 80 years but its price was not something to talk about in the past. In 1984, the Hasselblad camera was first sold at the price of $500 and taking into account the inflation rate, the camera from the 70s would have cost over $5000 at today's price.

However, as soon as the company make a shift towards digitalization, the price of its cameras quickly skyrocketed tremendously. In 2004, the Hasselblad digital camera was first sold at a staggering price of $24,000 meaning that the price has increased by more than 200% from the previous models which use film.

The camera is definitely not cheap but what differentiates it from the rest of the cameras available on the market?
This luxurious Hasselblad camera comprises 3 main compartments which are the back digital, the body, and the lens.

The back digital part of the camera consists of mainly the sensors which can cost up to $26,000. The Hasselblad sensors are very unique in that it covers a large area as the individual pixels are huge making the noise much lower and a bigger dynamic range. 
A bigger sensor will mean that the camera is capable of capturing a more detailed picture and what is currently being offered by Hasselblad at the moment is definitely something big at the time. The Hasselblad camera is what they call an intermediate format.

Basically, this means that the sensor of the camera is the main reason for the huge price of a Hasselblad camera. The sensor on your smartphone is already good enough to get a mesmerizing picture.
But if it were to be compared with a professional Sony A7R camera, it is relatively small. In fact, even the sensors on the Sony A7R cannot compete with the huge size of the Hasselblad sensor. 

When the intermediate format technology starts to shift from analog to digital, the intermediate format sensors became very expensive and made the whole system of the camera rather special.

Despite the sensor of the camera originally made by Sony, it was Hasselblad that had its own calibration process to achieve the desired color and picture quality. The Hasselblad camera is very useful in various types of photography such as for products, fashion, skin tone, or even artwork.
Photographers who require this specific technology will not get what they desired by using a traditional camera. Not just that but the whole process can also be done in a studio so the size of the Hasselblad camera would not be an issue.

Other factors determine the uniqueness of the Hasselblad camera. Unlike other companies out there, Hasselblad does not produce their cameras on a large scale but instead in small units and also assembled by hand.

Hasselblad never revealed in public how many cameras they produce but according to a report by The Verge in 2018, the production is estimated to be around 10,000 units only. 
As a comparison, many manufacturers of popular cameras produce their products in an amount far much higher with Canon producing more than 4 million units each year whereas Nikon and Sony produce 2 million units per annum. 

This means Nikon and Sony have produced more than 200 times the amount that Hasselblad produces in a typical year. In terms of production, Hasselblad has staff who have served them for more than 30 years, and for the job scope, they are far more experienced in that their job cannot be handled by anyone else.
The Hasselblad cameras are assembled in Gothenburg, Sweden their facility looks more like a lab than an assembly factory. It is here where all the components are tested, assembled, and soldered accordingly. 

The whole process of assembling the camera is not as easy as it looks as it requires special instruments and expertise to make sure that all the components work as they should.

If we were to sell a camera worth $26,000, then you must also ensure that the quality control is up to par with the standards and everything is done according to the standard operating procedure(SOP).
Typically the whole assembly process by hand will take anywhere from 6 to 8 hours and the calibration process alone takes 1 out of 3 of the whole time.

According to the Hasselblad Global Marketing Manager, Bronius Rudnickas, what adds up to the uniqueness of the Hasselblad camera is that the sensors are calibrated individually and tested until a single pixel. The whole process is very tedious and it is what made the industry quite unique.
Since the price is very expensive, this puts a lot of pressure on Hasselblad to produce high-quality cameras to fulfill their customers' needs. In these past few years, Hasselblad has produced a less expensive camera with a price tag of $6000.

This cheaper version of the camera is equipped with a smaller sensor compared to other expensive models. Hasselblad is also trying to come out with more intermediate format cameras for entry-level in the upcoming time as well as maintain their current wealthy customers.

To photographers that require high-quality images without any compromise, Hasselblad has become their main choice of camera, and with the high price that is considered to be worth their money.

The Hasselblad camera which was used in the Apollo 15 mission in 1971 was sold in an auction in 2020 at a hefty price of $940,000.


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