Did Hasselblad Take Inspiration From Leica for Its Latest Lenses and X2D Camera?

Hasselblad recently announced its latest camera, the X2D 100C, along with several new lenses. What’s interesting is that Hasselblad has used some design features in their latest lenses that are arguably reminiscent of another well-known company in the market, which is, of course, Leica.

Hasselblad has announced a new camera, the X2D 100C. This camera follows on from the original X1D series of cameras and comes with some major updates. Many of these updates can be traced to the new camera’s sensor. This new sensor offers 100-megapixel resolution, 16-bit raw files, phase-detection autofocus, and 15 stops of dynamic range.

This sensor is not new to the market as it is the same one found in the Fujifilm GFX 100 series of cameras. Hasselblad has made some changes to suit its own style.

For example, Hasselblad’s natural color solution is considered one of the best on the market. Colors are, of course, incredibly important – potentially more important than most other specs.

Additionally, Hasselblad announced three new lenses with focal lengths of 55mm, 38mm and 90mm. All of these new lenses have an aperture of f/2.5. The design of these lenses is significantly different from current XCD lenses and virtually all previous Hasselblad lenses. It is this change that seems to have caught the attention of many.

No video functionality

Hasselblad was the first company to produce a medium format camera capable of shooting 4K video using the full width of the sensor. The Hasselblad H6D 100C managed to shoot raw video using the entire sensor, and that’s with its massive 645 sensor. At the time, that was quite an achievement. The camera was released in 2016, when 4K video was still just a curiosity for many creators.

Over the years, Hasselblad continued to produce cameras with video capabilities. However, the company’s latest camera does not include any video functionality.

Hasselblad even went far enough to state that they weren’t considering adding this feature to their camera either. Some may find this disappointing. However, one could argue that this is the right decision for Hasselblad.

The video features of these cameras make little or no sense. Hardly anyone who takes video shooting seriously would choose a Hasselblad camera. Price comparisons with other potential options aside, camera systems are simply not designed for video shooters.

Focusing, for example, is a challenge with these cameras, both with manual and auto focus. It’s just not worth it, because the results will eventually suffer. It’s commendable that Hasselblad tried to implement this feature, however, it’s best to see that the company is self-aware enough to get rid of features that were clogging its camera.

Another company that did the same was Leica with their M series cameras. Leica decided to remove the video functionality from the Leica M10 and continued without it in their latest camera as well, the Leica M11. Some Leica fans expressed disappointment, but the general feeling seemed to be positive. It is likely that this will also be the case for Hasselblad and we could see some dissatisfaction. However, most people will probably appreciate the company’s more targeted approach.

Hasselblad and Leica produce high-end niche cameras that specialize in specific areas. It makes sense that Hasselblad would follow suit and remove video functionality from its latest camera.

Lens design

It’s hard to look at the latest Hasselblad lenses without thinking of Leica. The new 38mm, 55mm and 90mm V lenses are radically different in design from all other XCD lenses. In fact, the new lenses don’t even match the design guidelines of previous Hasselblad lenses, such as those designed for the H.

The lenses are said to be inspired by the much-loved Hasselblad V-mount system of yesteryear. The problem is that if you look at most (if not all) V Mount Carl Zeiss lenses, they are sufficiently different in design. Hasselblad’s new V lenses have some design elements that appear to have been taken directly from Leica M series lenses.

Obviously, the main change from previous XCD lenses is that the new lenses feature larger text, as well as focus and aperture markings. V-mount lenses also included this information; however, this is more about the styling than the addition. Very few manufacturers use this particular style. The only other lens manufacturers that use similar designs are Zeiss and Voigtlander. Of course, Voigtlander produces lenses for the M-series cameras, so it makes sense that they use the same style.

The design of older V-mount lenses was different enough not to be confused with something else. Nevertheless, this is by no means a bad thing. If anything, it’s a welcome improvement and change. The additional lens information will likely end up being useful to photographers.

In any case, it is interesting to see how Hasselblad changes strategy.

The problem that is Fujifilm

Fujifilm has been using the 100-megapixel sensor in the new Hasselblad camera for several years. Since 2018 when the original Fujifilm GFX 100 was announced, Fujifilm has painstakingly cultivated a customer base that swears by its cameras and lenses. Fujifilm pulled this off by throwing absolutely everything it could at its GFX 100 series of cameras.

Fujifilm then produced the GFX 100S, a smaller and significantly cheaper camera that didn’t compromise on anything meaningful. Because of this, it won’t be easy for Hasselblad to compete, although some of the latest changes might be enough.

Instead of trying to attract generalist professionals, Hasselblad may be trying to do what Leica does. Leica M series cameras are less “professional” and more luxurious. While some may vehemently disagree, this is pretty clear based on the strategy Leica has implemented and even based on the marketing companies Leica works with.

By producing a camera system that doesn’t try to do everything, Hasselblad may be able to differentiate itself in the market. Removing features like video, not focusing on high-speed photography or high frame rates, and putting a huge emphasis on design could end up working extremely well for the business. These are things that Leica does very well, and these latest updates could be just what Hasselblad needs for its XCD camera system.

Final Thoughts

Leica is one of the oldest camera manufacturers in the world. Depending on your definitions, Leica can even be described as the oldest camera manufacturer on the market. Almost everyone in the photography industry has taken inspiration from Leica. If Hasselblad took a page from Leica, then that’s nothing new.

Leica has influenced almost every manufacturer in the market, including Fujifilm. The X100 camera series is sure to remind you of a Leica camera. That said, Leica has also been influenced by other camera manufacturers. Essentially, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being inspired. It’s something we do as creatives and artists, and it’s great to see manufacturers doing the same to produce interesting and useful products.

Hasselblad’s latest cameras and lenses can be pre-ordered using this link here.

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