*Cologne, Germany, September 28, 2006 – *Yesterday, Hasselblad announced its new business strategy in which the high-end camera manufacturer will continue to serve its targeted demographic of professional photographers with the H3D DSLR and a new Hassleblad magazine. Hasselblad also reported mixed financial results at a Photokina press conference.
As popularity for DSLRs rises, the status of the higher end cameras and digital backs, such as those produced by Hasselblad, weakens but still remains prevalent, according to Hasselblad CEO Christian Poulsen.
Hasselblad, the medium and large format manufacturer is recovering from losses for the past few years. In 2004, Hasselblad witnessed a lost of 36 percent in earnings (EBITDA), according to Poulsen. Last year, Hasselblad recovered, making a 2.5 percent profit.
Hasselblad, with its roots in film digital backs, has been producing digital equipment for two years now at their manufacturing factory in Gothenburg. This year, revenue for digital products has grown by 30 percent, due in part to the H-series cameras. While the medium square format V system revenue growth took a "nose-dive" in sales in 2006, the revenue for the H-system grew by 12 percent.
Even with Hasselblad’s mixed financial status, the announcement of Hasselblad’s H3D DSLR this week signals Hasselblad’s response to increased digital popularity. Poulsen stated Hasselblad primarily still caters to the elicit group of professional photographers to use the higher end cameras.
Right now, photographers are witnesses the biggest gap in history between sensor quality between DSLRs and digital backs. However, as Poulsen explains, DSLRs have an advantage. Some average clients do not perceive a visible difference between high-end digital backs with DSLRs, according to Poulsen. Among photographers’ clients, the perceived difference of DSLRs and digital back equipment is narrowing, thus making business for commercial photographers less profitable.
"Digital has taken the magic of photography away," said Poulsen. People can not see the work that goes into photography, according to the Hasselblad CEO. Clients are less willing to pay more money for digital photography, not taking into account pay for editing time, stated Poulsen.
As way to combat this trend and to distinguish between "anyone who buys an SLR and calls themselves a photographer" from a professional photographer, according to Poulsen is with specialization, creativity, and quality imaging. Photographers have the option to produce superior images with higher end digital cameras, such as the HD3, he said.
Under its new star quality business strategy, Hasselblad promotes its Star Quality standard. "It is not just about the size of the sensor," said Poulsen, "it is the combined package of clarity, color, sharpness, detail, and resolution.
As far as future plans go for the manufacturer, Hasselblad plans to continue to target pro photographers and maintain their brand tradition. While other manufacturers have moved towards the 4/3 standard, such as Olympus, Sigma, and Panasonic, Hasselblad maintains that it will not switch over to make interchangeable lenses.
Hasselblad also launched a photo magazine, tagged 'victor by Hasselblad'. At $49 per issue, the 60-page magazine will demonstrate the images used by Hasselblad through an increasingly popular medium – the magazine. Victor by Hasselblad magazine will be printed quarterly and will be updated online every month.