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Site & Board Matters => About This Site => Topic started by: Kenneth Sky on July 26, 2013, 03:50:24 PM

Title: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Kenneth Sky on July 26, 2013, 03:50:24 PM
...the article that is not the Hasselblad products. The article is right on. We all had hoped the venture capital firm that had rescued Hasselblad from bankruptcy would have re-established some competition in the MF market. Obviously not. What a pity and a shame.I just dare someone to purchase one of these cameras and go out in public to use it. I bet they'll get more laughs than a clown.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Telecaster on July 26, 2013, 05:18:08 PM
IMO Michael's article says all that needs to be said on the subject.

-Dave-
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: thompsonkirk on July 26, 2013, 11:10:30 PM
I also enjoyed the little side-swipe at the Anton Bruckner Leica – his music is rather like the camera, and I've heard him described as a composer 'only his mother could love.'
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Jack Varney on July 26, 2013, 11:43:40 PM
In a way it is sad to see what Hasselblad has been up to in recent years. As a young photographer in the late 1950s and early 1960s using the venerable Rolleiflex I longed for the flexibility of the Hasselblad. Of course for a young man working in a camera shop and part-time as a photographer in those days this was a wild dream. After college and a job in IT by 1970 I was able to trade my Rollei E and acquire a used, in mint condition, Hasselblad 500C kit with 80mm Planar, 150mm Sonnar an 50mm Distogon lenses. I was in heaven.

For several reasons, none of which are relevant now, I gave up on the Hassey 500C but never on its engineering beauty and reliability.  For the next forty years I got lost in the world of 35mm slide photography buried in my job and lost to serious photography.

Finally, after retirement in 1991 I purchased a Mamiya 1000S with a plan to give medium format another shot. Experiencing some success here led me to scanning transparencies. But the long lost darkroom kept calling my name until it was evident that the cost to add a darkroom and the additional property tax burden made me investigate the digital medium format alternative.

After about a year of study of the alternatives I upgraded my Mamiya to a 645 AFD, purchased a PhaseOne P45+ and have never looked back.

Having said all that, here is my concern. The medium format field is less competitive now ( if you don't consider DSLRS competitive, and you should) than a few years ago. From my view Hasselblad seems to be struggling to reestablish its superiority in the field. Pentax has not yet, to my knowledge, made an impact leaving no one to challenge PhaseOne.

Competition breeds innovation, function and reliability. Because at 74 years of age and on a retirement income, I will likely never purchase another medium format system. Still, it concerns me that in spite of the recent advances the future may be dim for medium format.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Ray on July 27, 2013, 12:10:15 AM
Surely this practice of taking a product with a certain functionality then adding non-functional, decorative attributes to appeal to the vanity of the wealthy with excess money to spare, is a common practice in our society.

An obvious example, which has always struck me as rather absurd, is the practice of taking a basic wrist-watch, the purpose of which is to enable one to quickly and easily determine the time at any given moment, then turn it into a piece of jewelry at 10x or more the price of another model of watch which looks very similar in basic design and which may be no more functional.

Even more absurd is the fact that some of these wrist watches, despite their ridiculous price, can be even less functional than much cheaper models.

This type of practice pervades our society. It applies to some extent to the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, and even the food we eat, where the functionality takes second place to appearance and so-called taste.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: tom b on July 27, 2013, 12:30:02 AM
Not only cameras and watches…

World's most expensive cell phones. (http://most-expensive.com/cell-phone-mobile)

A 1.3 million dollar cell phone surely makes the Lunar seem like a bargain.

Cheers,
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: jnmoore on July 27, 2013, 12:38:54 AM
I lusted after a Hassy for a long time before digital and would still like to have a digital medium format version. But these new versions are totally crazy. How can this camera in price and performance compare to my Fuji X-E1 and lenses costing thousands less (or the Sony NEX7)? Some people don't care about camera value but just how it looks and the "image" they think it projects. Sadly, it looks like this company is run by marketing people who use the brand to sell "luxury products" rather than real good cameras. End of an era. Sad.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: LesPalenik on July 27, 2013, 01:34:09 AM
Quote
Indead the last laugh in this story likely belongs to the Sony Corporation, who get to pawn-off their two year old and soon to be end-of-line cameras to Hasselblad and its unsuspecting customers, without taking any heat themselves.

I don't think that Sony will make a killing on this deal. How many Lunars must be sold to make up for the paperwork involved in pulling off this marketing coup?
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: David Watson on July 27, 2013, 02:03:57 AM
Michael is right on the button on this one.  What Hasselblad is doing is attempting to leverage the brand name into the bling market.  From a purely commercial point of view and done correctly this could be considered as one of a number of viable solutions to turning around the losses which the business has been making for some time.  It is not too much of a stretch to see a bunch of highly paid private equity guys getting together in Courcheval over a bottle or two of Cristal to discuss their strategy for their new acquisition.  If it works for Vertu it'll work for us. Ha!  That's what they think.  For that strategy to work it has to be done a lot better than it is being done at present.

This is how this mobile phone (priced at an eye-watering $10,000) is described:

Designed with simple elegance at its core, VERTU's Constellation mobile phone is handmade using state of the art technologies and manufacturing techniques including a flawless 3.5" multi-touch sapphire crystal screen.The  Constellation Candy Collection is the ultimate accessory to complement and enhance the discerning lifestyle of the fashion savvy individual. Inspired by this summer's must-have colours, each handset exudes personality, from the highest quality exotic alligator skin, to the exquisite natural gem stones.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that Hasselblad and Vertu are owned by the same bunch of Venture Capitalists.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: ErikKaffehr on July 27, 2013, 03:25:26 AM
Hi,

Do you have any information about how Hasselblad is doing economically? It seems to be presumed that they are loosing money, but I have not seen any information recently. Their market position here in Sweden seems to be strong. On the other hand, it has been a long time I have seen any MF camera.

Best regards
Erik


 From a purely commercial point of view and done correctly this could be considered as one of a number of viable solutions to turning around the losses which the business has been making for some time.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Rob C on July 27, 2013, 06:23:29 AM
Perhaps I'm blinded by the obvious, but for the life of me I can't find the article that inspired this thread!

Anyone like to tell me where it hides?

Thanks -

Rob C
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: opgr on July 27, 2013, 06:28:37 AM
Perhaps I'm blinded by the obvious, but for the life of me I can't find the article that inspired this thread!

Anyone like to tell me where it hides?

Thanks -

Rob C

It's clear the trip to the opto didn't do you any good…

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/wretched_excess.shtml (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/wretched_excess.shtml)
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: KirbyKrieger on July 27, 2013, 09:20:35 AM
I also enjoyed the little side-swipe at the Anton Bruckner Leica – his music is rather like the camera, and I've heard him described as a composer 'only his mother could love.'
In what way is his music like the camera?  And why are you repeating hearsay?  If anything, his life and music seem to be almost completely unlike the Leica that bears his name.  So much so, that I assumed there must be another Anton Bruckner -- perhaps a photographer?  It seems there is not.

I must admit my sense of the camera was quite influenced by Michael's choice words.  The more common description of the covering material is "leatherette".
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Rob C on July 27, 2013, 10:29:42 AM
It's clear the trip to the opto didn't do you any good…

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/wretched_excess.shtml (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/wretched_excess.shtml)


Thanks for the link - and you're right about the visit!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on July 27, 2013, 10:32:36 AM
News Flash: Hasselblad to change corporate name officially to "Hasselbling."  ???   :D
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: daws on July 27, 2013, 11:40:27 AM
All I know is that I had a mouthful of coffee at the moment I saw the words "Objet D'ork," and I laughed so hard that it sprayed all over my keyboard.  :D
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: michael on July 27, 2013, 01:52:52 PM
All I know is that I had a mouthful of coffee at the moment I saw the words "Objet D'ork," and I laughed so hard that it sprayed all over my keyboard.  :D


I'm glad that someone is getting my jokes.

M
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: MarkL on July 27, 2013, 05:38:45 PM
Hassy's management seem determined to do their best to kill anything left of the brand. Leica is going from strength to strength while raising prices because they understand luxury marketing, discontinuing the V series was a daft decision even aside from this lunar stupidity.

Each hassy decision I see makes me facepalm.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: nightfire on July 27, 2013, 06:52:26 PM
This has to be one of the best industry-related rants I've read in quite a while.

There should be something like protective custody for companies... ::)
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: John Camp on July 27, 2013, 07:50:14 PM
Unlike Ray, I get jewelry, although I don't wear any. People have been decorating their bodies with jewelry ever since the Cro Magnons took over, and maybe longer than that. And, an expensive watch is just that: jewelry. Nobody cares if it keeps time. You want to know what time it is, you look at your cell phone. People see jewelry on you, they're generally not inspired to ridicule. The thing about the Hasselblad bling cameras is that they *do* inspire ridicule. Some super rich guys says to his assistant, "I want a compact camera, but get me the very best." The assistant translates that as, "the most expensive." The rich guy wouldn't buy it if he knew he'd be subjected to ridicule, but then, he wasn't choosing it. My only objection to Michael's commentary is that he didn't write "wretched excess" correctly. He should have written it as "WRETCHED excess." I have several excessive items in my personal collection of worldly goods, including an SUV that goes from 0-60 in 4.9 seconds, but at least it looks the same as a much less expensive model that goes from 0-60 in more like seven seconds. So though it is excessive, I don't believe it is WRETCHED. The Hasselblads are truly WRETCHED. They don't make you look affluent, they make you look dumb. 
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Ray on July 27, 2013, 08:47:08 PM
And, an expensive watch is just that: jewelry. Nobody cares if it keeps time. You want to know what time it is, you look at your cell phone. People see jewelry on you, they're generally not inspired to ridicule..... The thing about the Hasselblad bling cameras is that they *do* inspire ridicule. The Hasselblads are truly WRETCHED. They don't make you look affluent, they make you look dumb. 

Now that's what I call really dumb; using a cell phone to tell the time yet still wearing a watch as a piece of jewelry. Can you buy watches nowadays that don't work and are designed purely as jewelry?

The concept of designing a camera to look like a piece of jewelry is essentially the same as designing a watch as a piece of jewelry, except that the camera as a piece of jewelry is likely to be a more sensible idea, provided that it works.

Compare the two scenarios. Person 'A' carries a Hasselblad Lunar in order to look cool, and suave and rich, but at least the camera has the capability of an NEX-7 and is an essential piece of equipment to carry if one wants to take a photograph. It is extremely unlikely that anyone would carry two cameras, one as a piece of jewelry which would never be used, and the other to take photos.

Person 'B' carries an expensive designer watch as a piece of jewelry, but doesn't need it to tell the time because he also carries a cell phone. Now who is the dork?  ;D
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: telyt on July 27, 2013, 10:08:22 PM
Compare the two scenarios. Person 'A' carries a Hasselblad Lunar in order to look cool, and suave and rich, but at least the camera has the capability of an NEX-7 and is an essential piece of equipment to carry if one wants to take a photograph. It is extremely unlikely that anyone would carry two cameras, one as a piece of jewelry which would never be used, and the other to take photos.

Person 'B' carries an expensive designer watch as a piece of jewelry, but doesn't need it to tell the time because he also carries a cell phone. Now who is the dork?  ;D

Doesn't the cell phone also make photos?

I fully agree with the "Wretched Excess" essay.  The Leica bling models at least serve to clear out stock of the old models; one can reliably predict a new Leica model is immanent when the old one gets dressed up with pointless clothing.  Perhaps Sony is allowing Hasselblad to look like the dork by providing its soon-to-be-worthless remaining stock of old models for Hasselblad's bling market.  It's a total win for Sony.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Ray on July 28, 2013, 01:10:11 AM
Doesn't the cell phone also make photos?

Indeed it does. And, if a person were to carry around a Leica or a Hasselblad Lunar as jewelry, but always take photos using his cell phone, then I think one could describe such a person as a complete dork.  ;D
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Rob C on July 28, 2013, 05:27:42 AM
There seem to be two separate issues here: the survival of Hasselblad as a credible manufacturer of world-class photographic equipment; the right or otherwise of anyone, rich or not, to spend his/her money as he/she sees fit.

I agree that shutting down the 500 Series was painful, and having written that, it's notable that though I owned two, I did not replace them even though I have often bemoaned the fact that I no longer own a single one. I'm afraid that when sentiment and memory of wonderful equipment is tested against the reality of contemporary opportunity as well as availability of processing services, digital can't seriously be challenged.

If there's a real question mark hanging over the head of Hasselblad, I suspect that it isn't much to do with bling or anything similar, but more a realisation that MF as a digital format is unlikely to see any worthwhile advances in sales revenue. I think that the heights of possible/sustainable pricing have been scaled, and that diminishing returns is the message the accountants read. They are seldom crazy, passionate people acting on hot, artistic impulse.

Some professionals are able to indulge themseves and buy a lot of equipment that may be overkill to their real needs, but I imagine that a majority buys the minimum that is required, as did I, never having been one to collect stuff for the sake of it.

Watches etc. Making the point that a cellphone also tells you the time is silly; so, too, does a town hall clock. In my case, a cellphone lives within a pocket as nothing more than an emergency communication possibility, and if I need it I switch it on. I detest the very idea of being constantly open to another’s sudden impulse to ring me about something in which I probably have absolutely no interest. Especially when it’s another company trying to sell me an alternative telephone package, which counts for about 80% of my incoming calls. As a camera, it’s been useful as a means of telling a plumber the type of tap that needs replacing. Apart from that, it has produced pleasing shots that I inevitably wish that I’d snapped with a real camera.

It seems to me that those who object to fine watches are those who can’t buy them or simply lack the aesthetic vision to appreciate them for what they are: beautiful pieces of mechanical and sculptural art. So what if they cost ten, twenty, a hundred times the price of a Casio? That’s called individual choice. Another thing to remember is this: there are many fine and ultra-expensive timepieces out there, more expensive than Rolex, but it’s been my experience that the Rolex family has that certain je ne sais quoi that the others lack. You see more golden Rolexes on marina arms than anything else. In a way, it’s branding, too.

Live and let live. Somebody wants to buy something that’s the object of someone else’s mockery? Fine; it’s their choice and their pile of bucks; why grudge them their purchase and the seller his sale? It affects you not a jot.

Liberation is the freedom not to worry about other’s needs or desires.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: telyt on July 28, 2013, 06:06:24 AM
It seems to me that those who object to fine watches are those who can’t buy them or simply lack the aesthetic vision to appreciate them for what they are: beautiful pieces of mechanical and sculptural art. So what if they cost ten, twenty, a hundred times the price of a Casio? That’s called individual choice.

This does not describe the Lunar.  The Lunar is an average camera dressed up in a show-off exterior, like putting a Casio inside a fancy shell and charging thousands for it.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: opgr on July 28, 2013, 07:24:00 AM
This does not describe the Lunar.  The Lunar is an average camera dressed up in a show-off exterior, like putting a Casio inside a fancy shell and charging thousands for it.

+1

In fact the problem is larger than this since it is a devaluation of quality in unprecedented proportions.

You dress up the Casio and charge more for it than the Rolex. The entire idea behind pricedifferential used to be quality & craftsmanship. I understand the world is changing rapidly in that regard, but there comes a time, very quickly I might add, when the Chinese realize that their own products are better than the crap they purchase from the west that has been  manufactured in their backyard to begin with.

Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: OldRoy on July 28, 2013, 07:42:02 AM
A couple of oligarchs get together to compare portfolios. They used to be Russian but now they're Chinese. One spots that the other is wearing a pair of shoes made from the almost unobtainable skin of the all-but-extinct Siberian tree-frog.
"Nice shoe" says he "how much you paying?".
To which his colleague in thinly legitimised crime replies "About $5000. Tree-frog is make nice shoe!"
"Hah!" exclaims the first "Salesman despise you. I know where you buy this shoes for $12,000!"
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: OldRoy on July 28, 2013, 08:54:20 AM
I thought it more pertinent to tell Hasselblad what I thought of the direction they’re taking rather than telling the world.

Felt less like kicking that proverbial dog.
No doubt they'll continue to ignore the chorus of derision but reflect carefully upon your no doubt reasonable critique of their marketing strategies.
Roy
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: michael on July 28, 2013, 09:05:53 AM
The problem isn't that Hasselblad's management and owners don't understand the derision aimed at them from their more than 60 years worth of loyal customers, it appears that they don't give a damn.

I have no inside information whatsoever, but simple observation of the company's behaviour and announcements shows that they are bereft of new technology, new ideas, or a clue about where the medium format marketplace is going.

Their chosen survival strategy appears to be to pimp-up other company's products. A very sad final chapter for a once proud company.

Michael
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: kikashi on July 28, 2013, 10:32:19 AM
I also enjoyed the little side-swipe at the Anton Bruckner Leica – his music is rather like the camera, and I've heard him described as a composer 'only his mother could love.'

I'm not sure by what flight of imagination music can be said to be "rather like" a camera, but it's clear that your informant is tone deaf. If you're not, try listening to some of his music: the seventh symphony, for example, or "locus iste".

Jeremy
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: gerald.d on July 28, 2013, 10:40:08 AM
Surely this practice of taking a product with a certain functionality then adding non-functional, decorative attributes to appeal to the vanity of the wealthy with excess money to spare, is a common practice in our society.

An obvious example, which has always struck me as rather absurd, is the practice of taking a basic wrist-watch, the purpose of which is to enable one to quickly and easily determine the time at any given moment, then turn it into a piece of jewelry at 10x or more the price of another model of watch which looks very similar in basic design and which may be no more functional.

Even more absurd is the fact that some of these wrist watches, despite their ridiculous price, can be even less functional than much cheaper models.

This type of practice pervades our society. It applies to some extent to the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, and even the food we eat, where the functionality takes second place to appearance and so-called taste.

I've highlighted the bit where you've gone wrong.

A decent watch is absolutely not solely about function. If you're unable to accept this, that is of course entirely your prerogative. But to belittle watches - not to mention, question the taste of those that appreciate them - simply because you believe the only point to a watch is the function of telling the time is, well, I should probably keep my opinion on that to myself.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: gerald.d on July 28, 2013, 10:54:00 AM
It seems to me that those who object to fine watches are those who can’t buy them or simply lack the aesthetic vision to appreciate them for what they are: beautiful pieces of mechanical and sculptural art.

Ahh, I knew I should have read page 2 before posting my reply.

Nail. Head. Thank-you.

People who understand cameras, realise the Lunar is piece of crap.

People who understand watches, fully recognise and appreciate the glorious combination of history, science, mechanics and art that is represented by, for the sake of argument, a Patek 2438.

People who understand both cameras and watches will be aware that the watch/Lunar comparison is totally invalid.

Kind regards,

Gerald.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: KirbyKrieger on July 28, 2013, 04:30:44 PM
Ahh, I knew I should have read page 2 before posting my reply.

Nail. Head. Thank-you.

Two words: Rolex quartz.
http://www.swissluxury.com/rolex-watches-cellini-quartz-ladies.htm

Quote
Rolex Cellini Watches. Ladies size, 18K yellow gold case, quartz movement, champagne dial, diamond hour markers, chestnut ostrich strap.
List Price:  $10,250.00

I don't object to expensive watches: I object to those who wear them and deny that their number one reason for being is to advertise one's ability to purchase expensive things.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: stevesanacore on July 28, 2013, 05:44:13 PM
Well if the Lunar is really Hasselblad's solution to future success or dwindling profits, I'm afraid the end is near. Too many terrible decisions too often over the past ten years. Well they will be in good company along with Polaroid and Kodak.....

Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Telecaster on July 28, 2013, 06:58:17 PM
I don't object to expensive watches: I object to those who wear them and deny that their number one reason for being is to advertise one's ability to purchase expensive things.

This is an aspect of human behavior that endlessly fascinates me...our need to advertise our ability to purchase expensive things. Expensive being relative to our means, of course, seeing as the behavior exists at all economic strata. Why is it that we seem to depend so much on external verification of our inner sense of value? Or is it that we, or at least some of us, need this external verification to derive that inner sense? Note that I'm not fishing for pat answers here...these are areas where no matter how deep you dig, you never hit bedrock.

I'm the son of a man who utterly lacked the bling gene. Not that he didn't appreciate fine things...he just didn't care a whit about displaying them or about what other people thought of them. The fine things he owned were all for private appreciation and none were/are purely decorative. I seem to have inherited this disposition from him...along with other traits, like my bald head, about which I'm less appreciative.   ;)  Anyway, I often feel in these matters like someone on the Asperger's spectrum trying to grasp the subtleties of facial gestures and various displays & indicators of empathy. Thus my fascination.

But enough rambling.

-Dave-
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: telyt on July 28, 2013, 08:17:15 PM
This is an aspect of human behavior that endlessly fascinates me...our need to advertise our ability to purchase expensive things.

It's with this in mind that I cherish my 17-year-old ex-US Forest Service pickup truck.  It's basic, reliable, cheap transportation.  The lime green color stands out in a parking lot because it's a color that NOBODY would deliberately choose.  Zero-to-60 is possible; it has steel wheels, oxidized paint, and is utterly devoid of trim - no bling whatsoever :)
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: KirbyKrieger on July 28, 2013, 09:40:34 PM
This is an aspect of human behavior that endlessly fascinates me...our need to advertise our ability to purchase expensive things. Expensive being relative to our means, of course, seeing as the behavior exists at all economic strata. Why is it that we seem to depend so much on external verification of our inner sense of value? Or is it that we, or at least some of us, need this external verification to derive that inner sense? Note that I'm not fishing for pat answers here...these are areas where no matter how deep you dig, you never hit bedrock.

...along with other traits, like my bald head, about which I'm less appreciative.

Well, now we're getting somewhere   :D .  I, too, am bald -- though I accept the conventional wisdom that this came to me from my maternal grandfather, a shrewd, manipulative, bald man.  Most of my adult life _some_ people have made an issue of my baldness with the accepted implication that it _signified_ something.  It never did to me, in myself or in others.  But, perforce, it does signify something to some people.  It does, remember, to you.

Looking over (as Michael might put it) the rim of that blue ostrich testicle, I think we now make out a little more of the structure at play here.  A photography book came out last year featuring new and rare pictures of Birds of Paradise.  (The book and pictures were all over-produced, imho, but that is not important here.)  The authors make the case that these _extreme_ (and extremely costly, in a biological sense) cases of mate-attracting came about from a rare situation of abundant food and few predators.  Left to their own, these birds were able to invest more and more (over time) into patently ridiculous and useless displays of ostentation.  (I think they are beautiful -- but I am sensitive to birds, and color, and feathers, and movement.)  I don't think the book was a best-seller (it was not, to the best of my knowledge, marketed to birds).  It goes without saying that the birds -- the female birds -- think they are beautiful (or whatever the acquiescent equivalent is) too.  The display _is_ significant.

And so, rather elliptically, we come full circle to dorks  :D .  I don't think people make expensive displays of wealth in order to provide an "external verification of {their} inner sense of value".  They do it to attach _other people's_ sense of value to themselves.  And one thing other people value, particularly in a mate, is the ability to buy.  "Objet d'ork" is an especially felicitous turn of phrase.  Hasselblad is humping larks.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: aduke on July 28, 2013, 10:00:00 PM
Kirby,

As another bald man, who has no interest in ostentation and who is secretly mortified of the city in which he lives, found your reply to be the funniest and finest piece of writing I've read in nine years of reading LL.

Thank you

Alan
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: gerald.d on July 28, 2013, 10:04:50 PM
Two words: Rolex quartz.
http://www.swissluxury.com/rolex-watches-cellini-quartz-ladies.htm

I don't object to expensive watches: I object to those who wear them and deny that their number one reason for being is to advertise one's ability to purchase expensive things.

Just for clarity, are you saying that everyone who wears an "expensive" watch does so primarily to advertise their ability to purchase expensive things?

Surely not? No-one could be that arrogant to assume they understand the motives behind millions and millions of people's actions ever year, nor so pompous as to judge all those people's characters. Could they?

Out of interest, do you own a watch? If so, did you spend more than a couple of dollars on it?

I'm kinda curious as to exactly what price above which it is that you consider a watch to be expensive.


Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Colorado David on July 28, 2013, 11:05:16 PM
To those who doubt the real value of a Rolex, even the Rolex Quartz, you should read about Tom Shepperd.  Tom has navigated solo all over the Sahara with the aid of various Rolex watches including a Rolex quartz.  Fine watches are precision instruments regardless of what some might think.  http://www.desertwinds.co.uk/
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: John Camp on July 28, 2013, 11:12:56 PM
Now that's what I call really dumb; using a cell phone to tell the time yet still wearing a watch as a piece of jewelry. Can you buy watches nowadays that don't work and are designed purely as jewelry?


Yes, they're called bracelets.

I once wrote a book on plastic surgery, and in the course of the research, interviewed a number of experts on human appearance. They all agreed that all the research shows that human appearance is critical in just about every human interaction. The evidence is way beyond compelling. What people call *bling* is part of that, and signals a whole bunch of things, not just one (the ability to buy.) There are a group of people who we all recognize, called "nerds." Nerds are generally considered to be extremely smart in technical matters, but rather short of social IQ. They really, sincerely, don't get this whole bling thing, and all the small signals it conveys. In some ways, that's endearing; in others, it's baffling. The chief nerd (or, as we refer to him more commonly, the capo-de-capo nerd,) Bill Gates, is a good example of this. He tries to dress like a billionaire executive, but somehow always looks as though he were just dragged by the ankles out of a J.C. Penney end-of-season sale. In any case there are a lot of reasons for bling, and even though a lot of very rich people (who are capable of buying any bling they want) are not at all interested in bling, per se, they may still use it as a mode of signaling status, accessibility, resources, etc. Doesn't even have to be expensive jewelry; tattoos are a kind of bling, among certain social strata. One thing that bling is not supposed to do is cause you to be ridiculed. When people go too far with it they are accused of *not having taste,* which is worse than not having bling. So; it was perfectly fine, and non-laughable, for Elizabeth Taylor to wear a huge bluish diamond worth many millions of dollars, that vibrated with her eyes (to say nothing of her breasts, which it hung between) but God help you if you show up at Davos with a Lunar around your neck.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Ray on July 28, 2013, 11:24:57 PM
There seem to be two separate issues here: the survival of Hasselblad as a credible manufacturer of world-class photographic equipment; the right or otherwise of anyone, rich or not, to spend his/her money as he/she sees fit.


Rob,
The survival of Hasselblad may be one of the issues here, but I don't see anyone questioning the right of someone to spend his/her money as she sees fit. That's certainly not an issue for me. I tend to subscribe to the spirit of that quote often attributed to Voltaire,  "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Of course people have the right to spend their money in any way that gives them pleasure, as long as it's legal.

However, what I find very odd are some of the statements from the pro-luxury-watch lobby, such as the following one from Gerald.d,
Quote
People who understand cameras, realise the Lunar is piece of crap.

As I understand, the Hasselblad Lunar is essentially a dressed-up Sony NEX-7 with the price tag of designer clothing. As a functioning camera, it certainly isn't a piece of crap. The NEX-7 has been hugely popular. There are not many cropped-format or APS-C models with a 24 mp sensor. Canon doesn't have one. Nikon does.

Whilst it's true that the DR of the Nikon D7100 at higher ISOs, is better than that of the NEX-7, the NEX-7 has a similar SNR and tonal range, plus the advantages of a lower weight and a higher frame rate of 10  fps, as opposed to 6 fps for the D7100.

The fact that the NEX-7 will soon be superceded by a new model from Sony, no doubt with marginally better specs, does not make the NEX-7 a piece of crap.

If I 'don't get it' as John Camp seems to think, I'm quite capable of understanding a rational explanation. Try me.  ;)
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: KirbyKrieger on July 28, 2013, 11:40:06 PM
To those who doubt the real value of a Rolex, even the Rolex Quartz, you should read about Tom Shepperd.  Tom has navigated solo all over the Sahara with the aid of various Rolex watches including a Rolex quartz.  Fine watches are precision instruments regardless of what some might think.  http://www.desertwinds.co.uk/
There is little logic in your argument.
According to this tester (http://tf.nist.gov/general/pdf/2276.pdf), inexpensive quartz watches (price of those tested, in dollars: 35, 15, 100, 30)
Quote
Summary
Based on these tests, it seems likely that even the humblest quartz wristwatch
can maintain time accurate to within less than 1 second per day with the aid of inhibition compensation. And due to the surprisingly good stability of 32 kHz quartz crystal oscillators, the accuracy of quartz wristwatches can be expected to change by only a small amount over time. Emphasis mine.
Fine mechanical watches are precision instruments.  They just don't tell time as well as inexpensive quartz watches.  If Tom Shepperd (don't know him) believes that his Rolex's time-keeping made him a better navigator, he's stupid.  If he claims -- but doesn't believe -- that it did, then he is simply lying.  (Of course, if he is paid to lie, then he is a shill, fluffing his wings to get us to to spurt cash into his pimp's hands.)

Here is a link to an apposite article which links to a nice FAQ on Rolexs and quartz watches:  http://www.chronocentric.com/watches/accuracy.shtml

As a time-keeping device, a Rolex is worth, at most ... http://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale/wholesale-v6-quartz-watch-men.html
 ... between $1.89 and $8.00.

I don't know what the "real value" of a Rolex is.  Have I demonstrated that time-keeping has nothing to do with it?
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: gerald.d on July 28, 2013, 11:41:20 PM
I didn't say the Nex 7 was a piece of crap.

I said the Lunar was.

The distinction really shouldn't require any clarification at all.

"Pro-luxury-watch lobby" indeed.

  ::)

Good day to you.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Ray on July 29, 2013, 12:53:56 AM
Yes, they're called bracelets.

John, I have no objection to a functional piece of machinery being fashioned in a way which is as attractive as possible. We all like our automobiles to be stylish. However, I do object to functionality being compromised in the interests of decoration.

The last time I bought a watch, I found the available choice in the shops abysmal. They all seemed ridiculously lacking in functionality. I was amazed to find that manufacturers are still producing watches that don't automatically adjust the date to accommodate the different number of days in the months, and adjust for the leap years.

I found it pathetic that the date numerals on many styles of watches were so small that any senior citizen would have to put on his reading glasses to see them, and many styles of watches didn't even display the day of the week. Ridiculous!

Having failed to find a watch in Australia that suited my purposes, I eventually came across a Slazenger model in a shopping centre in Bangkok, which met my criteria perfectly. It cost around $50, so it wasn't cheap  ;) , but boasted all the functionality that I required, such as stainless steel bracelet, waterproofing, display of time and date in big numerals and letters, and importantly, as I discovered later, it keeps perfect time.


Quote
The chief nerd (or, as we refer to him more commonly, the capo-de-capo nerd,) Bill Gates, is a good example of this. He tries to dress like a billionaire executive, but somehow always looks as though he were just dragged by the ankles out of a J.C. Penney end-of-season sale.

Does he really try? How do you know that? Perhaps Bill Gates is too busy caring about more important things. There's only so much one can care about, without getting overwhelmed by anxiety.
 
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all
 Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: ripgriffith on July 29, 2013, 01:45:38 AM

People who understand cameras, realise the Lunar is piece of crap.
Actually, the Lunar is a very fine camera (Nex7) wrapped in crap.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Rob C on July 29, 2013, 05:05:18 AM
Actually, the Lunar is a very fine camera (Nex7) wrapped in crap.


Perhaps, in some eyes, but in others it may just click. Why would the views of a few forums of photo-snobs cause anyone else not in said fora to give a toss?

It's part of photographic club-culture to appear knowledgeable, cool and on top of the latest thing. Far better to sound wise than actually to produce excellent imagery, don't you think? Look at LuLa if you seriously doubt me: hundreds of posters but very very few consistent suppliers of remarkable images. That says more to me than whether or not the writers care to own expensive gewgaws.

On top of which, why would I, or anyone else, care what another chooses to buy unless we both try to sell them similar products, thus removing objectivity from the judgement?

Strange...

Rob C
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Rob C on July 29, 2013, 05:10:02 AM
My Rolex, as that of my wife, never has kept good time over long periods.

Does that bother me? Absolutely not. There is not now, and has never been, a time in my life where greater accuracy has meant anything at all. The greatest practical service the watch renders me, courtesy its rotating bezel, is keep me on the right side of parking meters. And, when I was young, able and in sailing circles, it allowed me to go swimming in the sea off boats, without a care in the world, secure in the knowledge that should I dive to 660 ft, I would surely die, but the watch would survive!  What more can you ask of a watch: oxygen?

Regardless, the thing was purchased back in ’72 or so, and expensive to me then, I still have it and would never replace it with anything else, even another, dearer, Rolex. It means what it means to me now for what it meant then: the ability to buy what I did (and still do) consider to be the best single piece of industrial design I’d ever seen. Close, in camera terms, would be the Leicas 111G and M3 and the Nikon F with ‘blad 500C completing the category.

It is possible to enjoy the beauty in manufactured articles as it is the beauty in some women. To deny that and attempt to smear it with envious innuendo isn’t so far removed from the rants of the wilder feminists.

Rob C

Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: PierreVandevenne on July 29, 2013, 05:37:13 AM
Fascination with mechanical time keeping has, at least, some rational explanation. While mechanical watches have been made obsolete functionally by quartz watches and electronics, some of them were absolute marvels of engineering and precision manufacturing. Time keeping was crucial for navigation, it even led to the equivalent of today's X-Prizes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longitude_Prize) but also the timing of scientific experiments and our society's organization. My generation, which is probably the last to have known an "analog" world, can't help having a profound respect those machines. Or nostalgia. Armed with such a device, you can imagine you are Santos-Dumont on its first flights, timing Bentleys at Le Mans, or going around the world in 80 days...

Of course, that's a market. And it is being milked. Rolex for example clearly evolved from being a maker of relatively affordable and genuinely useful precision instruments to being a fashion statement, a collectible or an investment.

http://precisiontime.blogspot.be/2011/06/rolexs-policy-of-steady-price-increases.html
http://minus4plus6.com/PriceEvolution.htm

Milk the crowd, yes, but there's a foundation for the milking: if you own a tourbillon, you can always say "this is how this marvelous gravity compensation mechanism works" and bore your audience to death.  If you own a "Lunar", you can say this is "how you screw a piece of wood to standard modern devices". And your audience is likely to think that the wood wasn't alone in being screwed.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Ray on July 29, 2013, 07:03:42 AM
It is possible to enjoy the beauty in manufactured articles as it is the beauty in some women. To deny that and attempt to smear it with envious innuendo isn’t so far removed from the rants of the wilder feminists.

Crikey! Rob. You are in trouble. ;D 

I can't imagine any intelligent woman being flattered that appreciation of her beauty is on a par with the appreciation of a well-designed watch or camera.  ;)

However, I do agree that there can exist a certain beauty to be appreciated in a well-designed, manufactured article. This issue for me is entirely a matter of price. I've got no objection to Hasselblad, or indeed a watch manufacturer, charging a bit more for a standard product with an enhanced appearance or improved grip. It's the absurdity of the huge price premium that astounds me.

By the way, I'm not the slightest bit envious of anyone who possesses a ridiculously overpriced watch or camera. If I were to win such a watch or camera in a lottery, I would immediately sell it, even at half price or less, and buy something sensible.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: MoreOrLess on July 29, 2013, 08:12:06 AM
Personally I think in order to pass final judgement we need to wait for a little longer to see whether the new owners actually come up with any self designed rather than just re dressed products, the former is obviously going to take longer.

I think the oft rumoured X-pan update is still there best bet, Leica have shown that theres more money in higher end smaller cameras and the digital options for panoramic shooting are still pretty limated.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on July 29, 2013, 09:34:13 AM
Could it be that everyone (almost) hates the Lunar and Stellar because they are not in keeping with Hasselblad's tradition? What kind of market forces would it take to move a camera giant to wrapping yesterday's fine goods in new leather?
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: MoreOrLess on July 29, 2013, 10:24:23 AM
Could it be that everyone (almost) hates the Lunar and Stellar because they are not in keeping with Hasselblad's tradition? What kind of market forces would it take to move a camera giant to wrapping yesterday's fine goods in new leather?

The issue I'd say is that the luxury camera market is generally based on smaller bodies these days. A gold plated H-series body with walrus tusk edgings isn't likely to sell to many to sell to many oligarchs or there wives.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Peter McLennan on July 29, 2013, 12:01:20 PM
This whole thing is just sad.

It's sad for Hasselblad, who have sunk so far from such heights.

It's sad for the customers who spend on such crap.

It's sad for me, who wastes time posting about the sadness.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Rob C on July 29, 2013, 01:59:39 PM
This whole thing is just sad.

It's sad for Hasselblad, who have sunk so far from such heights.

It's sad for the customers who spend on such crap.

It's sad for me, who wastes time posting about the sadness.


I feel sad too, Peter, but without being quite sure why. Maybe it's appreciation of the time passing by so quickly.

They say that as you age time moves faster; that's another way my Rolex is helping me: it's always exhibiting a delightful little tendency towards slowness, like two minutes every fortnight or so.

Rob C
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Telecaster on July 29, 2013, 03:58:33 PM
Well, now we're getting somewhere   :D .  I, too, am bald -- though I accept the conventional wisdom that this came to me from my maternal grandfather, a shrewd, manipulative, bald man.  Most of my adult life _some_ people have made an issue of my baldness with the accepted implication that it _signified_ something.  It never did to me, in myself or in others.  But, perforce, it does signify something to some people.  It does, remember, to you.

Good catch!   :D  And good observations all 'round.

My hair started to thin in my mid-20s. I responded by letting it grow down past my shoulders. Before that I'd never kept it long. Once enough of it had disappeared I opted for the ultra-short (sometimes shaved) look I've had since. Intellectually I've maintained that the lack of follicles hasn't been an issue at all. But clearly at some level--and considering the amount of text I'm devoting to it here--this is not true.   :o

Mysteries can be fun, particularly when the source of mystery is one's self.

Regarding the blingy Hassies, I'm afraid I can't muster anything beyond a great big meh.

-Dave- (a nerd who knows how to wear a sharp suit but prefers jeans & tees)
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Peter McLennan on July 29, 2013, 10:05:02 PM
They say that as you age time moves faster;
Rob C

Exponentially.  When I voiced that complaint to my father, he said "You ain't seen nothing yet."
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: alan_y on July 30, 2013, 03:54:26 AM
The funny thing about the Lunar/Stellar bashing is that I have NEVER read anyone who does otherwise. It remains to me a mystery who on earth (literally) are buying these, or even finding them palatable and not patently ridiculous. I can't tell whether MR's suggestion that "there is a market, particularly in China and Russia, where the nouveau riche have more money than taste" is based on hard and specific evidence, previous knowledge of related phenomena, or very loose cultural stereotypes. If it's the last, then I might have to add the Middle East, Latin America, Southeast Asia... or indeed every place other than the ironic and self-congratulatory Western Western Europe and Coastal USA. Surveying Chinese-language press and forums on the Lunar, I haven't seen anything positive either.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: stevesanacore on July 30, 2013, 09:05:01 AM
My experience with Chinese at least, is that yes, they have lots of disposable income and like to buy the best with price as no object - but they are not stupid and I doubt they will buy a Nex-7 for seven times the price. It doesn't matter if someone can afford it or not. The only market I see is the super rich who have no idea or interest in camera specs and buy it as a gift for their husband, wife or girlfriend. While in London last week I saw a beautiful full page ad for the camera in a superyacht magazine, that is their market.

The biggest issue I see is the damage this joke may do to a reputable company like Hasselblad. How can you take them seriously anymore?  I would think twice before investing any money in one of their MF systems with this kind of thinking. Very sad.

IMO

Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: hubell on July 30, 2013, 10:12:26 AM
So long as we are on the topic of "Wretched Excesses" of the photographic type, I want to add to the list the Alpa tech cameras with the rosewood handles. Same gestalt as the Lunar.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: image66 on July 30, 2013, 11:31:41 AM
So long as we are on the topic of "Wretched Excesses" of the photographic type, I want to add to the list the Alpa tech cameras with the rosewood handles. Same gestalt as the Lunar.

Thank you! I was about to post some long diatribe about our hyprocity in all this. After all, we take snobbish (and boorish) materialism to all new levels. Who are we to be calling others clowns? Even in our "Fine Art Photography" (make sure you say that all long and drawn out), we are producing and hopefully actually selling wall bling to those who have more dollars than sense. Instead of buying $50 worth of ink and canvas for $6000, they should be giving this money to the soup kitchen instead.

Right?

Hmm. Guess not. Wrong crowd. I can't hang with most of you because my digital camera doesn't even have EIGHT megapixels. But maybe, I'll be able to pick up an unsold or second-hand Lunar for a couple hundred bucks. So you all keep calling it junk. OK?
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Rob C on July 30, 2013, 02:31:49 PM
Thank you! I was about to post some long diatribe about our hyprocity in all this. After all, we take snobbish (and boorish) materialism to all new levels. Who are we to be calling others clowns? Even in our "Fine Art Photography" (make sure you say that all long and drawn out), we are producing and hopefully actually selling wall bling to those who have more dollars than sense. Instead of buying $50 worth of ink and canvas for $6000, they should be giving this money to the soup kitchen instead.

Right?

Hmm. Guess not. Wrong crowd. I can't hang with most of you because my digital camera doesn't even have EIGHT megapixels. But maybe, I'll be able to pick up an unsold or second-hand Lunar for a couple hundred bucks. So you all keep calling it junk. OK?



Don't bank on it: I think you are absolutely right.

Rob C
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: hubell on July 30, 2013, 03:00:11 PM
In a way, the rebadging of the Mamiya AFDIII that sells for $4,000 as a Phase One DF that sells for $6,000 is even worse than the Lunar. At least Hasselblad puts a wood handle and some leather on the Sony NEX-7 before calling it the Lunar. How many people have bought the so-called Phase One DF at a 50% premium over the AFDIII when they know, deep down inside, that they would NEVER buy the Mamiya because it was badged a Mamiya and they could not face the embarassment of being asked what camera they are using and having to respond, "a Mamiya"?
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: ErikKaffehr on July 30, 2013, 03:30:18 PM
Hi,

What is wrong with Mamiya?

I guess that Phase One would have been glad to sell their digital backs for anyone buying, but Hasselblad closed their system, so Phase needed to find a camera to put their backs on. Phase tried to acquire the rights to Contax 645, but that didn't work out.

I really thought hat photography was about making pictures...

Best regards
Erik
In a way, the rebadging of the Mamiya AFDIII that sells for $4,000 as a Phase One DF that sells for $6,000 is even worse than the Lunar. At least Hasselblad puts a wood handle and some leather on the Sony NEX-7 before calling it the Lunar. How many people have bought the so-called Phase One DF at a 50% premium over the AFDIII when they know, deep down inside, that they would NEVER buy the Mamiya because it was badged a Mamiya and they could not face the embarassment of being asked what camera they are using and having to respond, "a Mamiya"?
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on July 30, 2013, 05:33:50 PM
Re: Mamiya.

Of the thirty or so film cameras I owned and used over the years B. D. (Before Digital), the one I most dearly regret selling is the only Mamiya I ever owned: the Mamiya 6. But it went to a good home.

Phase One? What's that?    :D

Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: NancyP on July 30, 2013, 07:45:50 PM
Don't DARE diss the Mamiya.  >:(  OK, I only had its little sibling 35mm film all manual version (Mamiya-Sekor DTL 1000), but I loved that camera, and the Mamiya lenses I had. I was sad when they quit making 35mm format cameras, and had aspired to the film MF Mamiyas.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Nemo on July 31, 2013, 09:58:15 AM


I have no inside information whatsoever, but simple observation of the company's behaviour and announcements shows that they are bereft of new technology, new ideas, or a clue about where the medium format marketplace is going.



The problem may be different.

It is very difficult to rise the necessary funds for the development of a new system of cameras. Leica spent 20 millions of euros, maybe more, in the development of the S camera (a camera and system not for professionals, but for rich aficionados). That is a huge amount of money for the medium format market. Pentax halted the development of the 645 camera many times, and I seriously doubt it has been a sales success.

There is no money in the medium format market. You cannot recover any investment in that market. The development of the MF systems is very slow (new lenses, new accessories). Leica is doing well just because they have the luxury market as a target. It is the only way. Hasselblad tried (the Ferrari edition of the H camera), but Leica does this better, designing a new camera and system for this purpose (legacy free, small form factor, great design, sexy). This is the successful Leica model. Do Hasselblad have the funds?

Hasselblad's brand has (had?) very strong value, so they can think in bringing the brand to the consumer electronic segments of the market, but the development of new products requires money, and time. That market has limited margins and the competition is very strong. The only protection is strong differentiation. Leica has been successful here as well: the M system and the X cameras.

Leica sells 100% Panasonic cameras, but only compact cameras. It is very difficult to be profitable in that market. This is the third leg of the Leica model. Just for filling gaps in the product porfolio, and doing that with profits too!

If Hasselblad tries to mimic the Leica model they have a huge task. They need money, time, and a good strategy for each branch of the market. High quality products with strong differentiation and specific marketing. It is not easy. Maybe it is impossible now.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Doug Peterson on August 01, 2013, 10:02:18 AM
In a way, the rebadging of the Mamiya AFDIII that sells for $4,000 as a Phase One DF that sells for $6,000 is even worse than the Lunar. At least Hasselblad puts a wood handle and some leather on the Sony NEX-7 before calling it the Lunar. How many people have bought the so-called Phase One DF at a 50% premium over the AFDIII[...]

You're matching up the wrong models.

The Mamiya AFD3 is the Phase One AF
The Mamiya DF is the Phase One DF
The Mamiya DF+ is the Phase One DF+

In each case the Mamiya and Phase branded versions are the same price, and have the same features. There is no premium in either direction.

You were comparing the AFD3 and DF which are one generation apart. The DF added leaf-shutter-support for 1/1600th flash sync, better AF, reduced lag, and compatibility with the V-Grip Air for wireless flash triggering and a vertical trigger.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Doug Peterson on August 01, 2013, 11:08:46 AM
There is no money in the medium format market. You cannot recover any investment in that market.

Phase One developed an entirely new back chassis with the only in-camera MF live view, a very fast modern interface based around a retina LCD and a touch screen GUI, UDMA7 compatibility (before even Canon/Nikon supported UDMA7), tools like focus-mask and a 2-axis level with auto-horizon and auto-perspective correction, and review of the last 10 images from the camera while shooting tethered.

Now they have developed a really elegant wireless solution which allows the speed of sending a small JPG with the focus-checking of sending the full res file and the workflow of native tethering (files tagged, or star rated carry to the raw file itself).

So maybe you could be more specific as to what entities cannot recover investment in medium format. Because your statement doesn't seem to apply to Team Phase One.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Manoli on August 01, 2013, 11:24:29 AM
Phase One developed an entirely new back chassis with the only in-camera MF live view, a very fast modern interface based around a retina LCD and a touch screen GUI, UDMA7 compatibility (before even Canon/Nikon supported UDMA7), tools like focus-mask and a 2-axis level with auto-horizon and auto-perspective correction, and review of the last 10 images from the camera while shooting tethered.

Now they have developed a really elegant wireless solution which allows the speed of sending a small JPG with the focus-checking of sending the full res file and the workflow of native tethering (files tagged, or star rated carry to the raw file itself).


Well that's wonderful, but has absolutely nothing to do with ROI ( Return on Investment )
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: ErikKaffehr on August 01, 2013, 11:52:23 AM
Hi,

I'd suggest that it has to do a lot with ROI-

1) Phase One can do the development due to previous ROI

2) It is very probable that Phase One plans to reach ROI that pays for the present developments

I don't know if the MF industry is healthy.

Best regards
Erik

Well that's wonderful, but has absolutely nothing to do with ROI ( Return on Investment )
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Weinschela on August 01, 2013, 12:22:28 PM
Hasselblad has gone down a slippery slope.
Compare with Leica rebrands of Panasonics.  They come at an up charge but a multiple of the Pana price, and include a better warranty and sometimes Lightroom.   And purportedly slightly different firmware. 
Hassy is just exploiting its name.  However, nobody is compelled to buy one of these.   
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Manoli on August 01, 2013, 01:43:50 PM
Eric,
With respect

1) Phase One can do the development due to previous ROI

That MAY be due to previous ROI, it MAY be due to an increase in share capital, MAY be due to a variety of other ways to raise capital.

2) It is very probable that Phase One plans to reach ROI that pays for the present developments

Probability (and plans to reach a given ROI) are not the same as certainty. We do not know. The continuing obfuscation which appears to be part of the PhaseOne culture does nothing to dispel the fears regarding the financial health of the MF industry.

All best
M

Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: ErikKaffehr on August 01, 2013, 05:46:43 PM
Hi,

My guess is that you need a reasonable business plan to raise capital in the long term.

Best regards
Erik


Eric,
With respect

That MAY be due to previous ROI, it MAY be due to an increase in share capital, MAY be due to a variety of other ways to raise capital.

Probability (and plans to reach a given ROI) are not the same as certainty. We do not know. The continuing obfuscation which appears to be part of the PhaseOne culture does nothing to dispel the fears regarding the financial health of the MF industry.

All best
M


Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on August 01, 2013, 11:05:39 PM
Here's an article from diglloyd: http://diglloyd.com/blog/2013/20130801_4-SonyRX-models.html

In it, Sony's financial report has the words:

Quote
In compact digital cameras, where the market continues to contract, Sony has shifted its product lineup to high value-added models.

Maybe Hasselblad wants to also get into this space following Sony's report? Could Sony buy Hasselblad, and would that make sense?
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: ErikKaffehr on August 01, 2013, 11:42:14 PM
Hi,

I don't think that would make a lot of sense.

Best regards
Erik


Maybe Hasselblad wants to also get into this space following Sony's report? Could Sony buy Hasselblad, and would that make sense?
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Jim Pascoe on August 02, 2013, 05:16:33 AM
Don't DARE diss the Mamiya.  >:(  OK, I only had its little sibling 35mm film all manual version (Mamiya-Sekor DTL 1000), but I loved that camera, and the Mamiya lenses I had. I was sad when they quit making 35mm format cameras, and had aspired to the film MF Mamiyas.

I had the NC1000s from 1979 and it was what I did all my early photography on.  Later I also had an RB67 which was a superb camera.....

Jim
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: hubell on August 02, 2013, 07:47:41 AM
I still have a Mamiya 7 and four exceptional lenses. Wonderful camera. So what? It's irrelevant to the issue at hand.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: hubell on August 02, 2013, 08:06:19 AM
You're matching up the wrong models.

The Mamiya AFD3 is the Phase One AF
The Mamiya DF is the Phase One DF
The Mamiya DF+ is the Phase One DF+

In each case the Mamiya and Phase branded versions are the same price, and have the same features. There is no premium in either direction.

You were comparing the AFD3 and DF which are one generation apart. The DF added leaf-shutter-support for 1/1600th flash sync, better AF, reduced lag, and compatibility with the V-Grip Air for wireless flash triggering and a vertical trigger.

At least when Phase One first came out with its rebadged AFDIII, my recollection is that there was a 50% price premium for its version of the AFDIII. That stirred up a lot of criticism on the net. Perhaps you recall what an AFD III and the Phase One AF sold for back then?
In any event, the fundamental point is this. I know how I would react if Mercedes bought Chevrolet, stuck a Mercedes hood ornament on it, badged it as a Mercedes without changing anything, jacked the price up, and all of a sudden people who would not be caught dead in a Chevrolet were buying them.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: michael on August 02, 2013, 08:22:20 AM
Vearing somewhat at a tangent, there can be beneficial results when disparate (and desperate) companies work together.

Remember when Mercedes bought Chrysler and along with it the Jeep division? The companies decided that for the sake of economy they would base the next generation ML350 and the Grand Cherokee on the same chassis, with much of the same design ethos.

The companies then got divorced (culturally it was a very bad marriage), and Fiat bought Jeep (which has tuned into a love affair).

But the point of the story is that the new Jeep Grand Cherokee is a fantastic vehicle, with a lot of MB DNA. Cross fertilization between companies can be quite beneficial.

Sadly I don't think Sony has anything to learn from Hasselblad except how to cash component supply cheques.

Michael

Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: MarkL on August 02, 2013, 06:50:54 PM
I had the NC1000s from 1979 and it was what I did all my early photography on.  Later I also had an RB67 which was a superb camera.....

Jim

Tonnes of fashion editorials were shot on RB/RZs by big names. Nothing wrong with Mamiya.

I sometimes miss my RB even though the D800 would eat it for breakfast.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Nemo on August 04, 2013, 07:13:44 AM
When Leica started the S project the target was 10% of the MF market, 10,000 cameras per year at that time.

Now the total worldwide production is more like 6,000-7,000 units per year. Please, correct me if I am wrong.

We have 4 players: Pentax, Phase One, Hasselblad and Leica. Too many for such a small pond.

Phase One is doing well in the professional market. Leica goes for the luxury market from the start, and they are successful. Pextax seems to aim the aficionado market, not wealthy but photographers trained and wishing MF tools. I don't know but it seems that approach does not work outside of Japan (no new lenses from Pentax 645D, etc.). Hasselblad is trapped. The market is collapsing and they don't have a safe refuge. They have tried to be in all those segments, but they have been losing positions in the professional market because of the flexibility and quality of Phase One's offer, and the luxury market was totally captured by Leica. What to do? How to get funds and where to invest them? All points to an exit of the MF market (not abandoning it, just to invest elsewhere) and an incursion in the luxury or professional segments of small format cameras (a far larger pond with marginal space for Hasselblad, a strong brand yet). But if they cannot do better than the Stellar and Lunar, they are damned.

The question is why. Why are they doing that ridiculous rebranding? I cannot give answer but I guess they cannot get the funds for anything else.  Are they thinking in sharing the NEX platform with Sony, like Olympus and Panasonic did with micro 4/3? How can Hasselblad develop a competitive and differentiated offer there? Is the NEX system the best choice for the luxury market? They are reacting too late. It seems like a desperate attempt for raising extra funds in the short terms, selling the brand name. But all looks like a big mistake.

 


Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Chairman Bill on August 04, 2013, 08:34:37 AM
The Lunar is clearly there for real Hasselfake photography, not pretend Hasselfake stuff. I presume it does use a square format?
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Doug Peterson on August 05, 2013, 10:21:45 AM
At least when Phase One first came out with its rebadged AFDIII, my recollection is that there was a 50% price premium for its version of the AFDIII. That stirred up a lot of criticism on the net. Perhaps you recall what an AFD III and the Phase One AF sold for back then?
In any event, the fundamental point is this. I know how I would react if Mercedes bought Chevrolet, stuck a Mercedes hood ornament on it, badged it as a Mercedes without changing anything, jacked the price up, and all of a sudden people who would not be caught dead in a Chevrolet were buying them.

That doesn't jive with my recollection. From memory the [AFDIII body only] launched at $3990 and the [Phase One AF w/ 80mm D lens] launched at $4990. I don't recall the price of the AFDIII with a lens or the price of the AF without the lens. But in any case I do not believe there as a 50% price premium (or any meaningful premium for that matter). If you have links to support what you're saying though I'd gladly look through them – I'd be the first to point out I do tech not sales so my memory (and collection of legacy documents) on pricing issues is not perfect.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: ErikKaffehr on August 05, 2013, 01:43:08 PM
Hi,

I don't know how much is presumptions and how much are facts.

As far as I know, Hasselblad may do fine or they may be in problems. They are privately owned, and I don't think they disclose figures. I got the impression that they have a pretty strong market position here in Sweden. It seems that many pros have a Hasselblad, but I never read about any pro having a Phase One, here in Sweden.

Just to put things in perspective, during ten years of travel I have seen a single MF camera "in the wild" and that was a Noblex. So I don't think that MFD has a significant market share.

Personally, I think that Hasselblad has a mature and complete MF system and they still do a decent amount of development on cameras. On the other hand, I guess that it is the backs that are "sexy" and earn money. I guess that Hasselblad may not be a strong competitor in that area.

My guess is that we would be more fortunate if Hasselblad focused on cameras and lenses and worked with any vendor of digital backs. Hasselblad unfortunately decided to close their system to the competition. I am not sure it was a wise choice.

I am not sure the Leica S2 is oriented toward the luxury sector. It seems to be a fine camera.

I would also say that the vendors depending on Kodak (OK, TrueSense) sensors may have a bit of trouble. Phase One opted to cooperate with Dalsa, and they actually seem to have codeveloped some sensors with Dalsa. I don't think that TrueSense is that offensive regarding development.

Now, regarding the "Lunarcy", I would say that the base is a decent camera with mediocre lenses. Hasselblad could have enhanced it a bit with "Zeiss lenses", now that we have some 'Tuit' lenses from Zeiss, but they put their label on junk lenses from Sony and also did a horrible design.

On the other hand,according to Sony Rumors, they could sell the whole production run. Must be a lot of Lunetics around...

Best regards
Erik


When Leica started the S project the target was 10% of the MF market, 10,000 cameras per year at that time.

Now the total worldwide production is more like 6,000-7,000 units per year. Please, correct me if I am wrong.

We have 4 players: Pentax, Phase One, Hasselblad and Leica. Too many for such a small pond.

Phase One is doing well in the professional market. Leica goes for the luxury market from the start, and they are successful. Pextax seems to aim the aficionado market, not wealthy but photographers trained and wishing MF tools. I don't know but it seems that approach does not work outside of Japan (no new lenses from Pentax 645D, etc.). Hasselblad is trapped. The market is collapsing and they don't have a safe refuge. They have tried to be in all those segments, but they have been losing positions in the professional market because of the flexibility and quality of Phase One's offer, and the luxury market was totally captured by Leica. What to do? How to get funds and where to invest them? All points to an exit of the MF market (not abandoning it, just to invest elsewhere) and an incursion in the luxury or professional segments of small format cameras (a far larger pond with marginal space for Hasselblad, a strong brand yet). But if they cannot do better than the Stellar and Lunar, they are damned.

The question is why. Why are they doing that ridiculous rebranding? I cannot give answer but I guess they cannot get the funds for anything else.  Are they thinking in sharing the NEX platform with Sony, like Olympus and Panasonic did with micro 4/3? How can Hasselblad develop a competitive and differentiated offer there? Is the NEX system the best choice for the luxury market? They are reacting too late. It seems like a desperate attempt for raising extra funds in the short terms, selling the brand name. But all looks like a big mistake.

 



Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: David Mantripp on August 05, 2013, 04:06:07 PM
I've actually spotted 2 in the wild. On sale at Schipol Airport Amsterdam, for ONLY €5,999 (each, I think).  They're as ugly in the flesh as they are in photos.  They really, really do not look like anything more than €2,000 at the outmost.  No class, gaps everywhere - say what you will about Leicas, at least they look the part.

(http://www.snowhenge.net/uploads/lunar_ams.jpg)

I watched for a while - in a busy and well-known airside store, they attracted no interest whatsoever apart from knowing smirks from a few fellow camera geeks.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: KirbyKrieger on August 07, 2013, 06:32:06 AM
I've actually spotted 2 in the wild. On sale at Schipol Airport Amsterdam

Caged   ;) .   A marketing chimera that can't feed itself.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on August 07, 2013, 09:53:30 AM
Caged   ;) .   A marketing chimera that can't feed itself.
;D
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: PierreVandevenne on August 07, 2013, 10:30:38 AM
As far as I know, Hasselblad may do fine or they may be in problems. They are privately owned, and I don't think they disclose figures.

Should be fairly easy to get info here

http://cvr.dk/Site/Forms/PublicService/DisplayCompany.aspx?cvrnr=18635445&q=b93e0fb3-01f8-4bf6-8bb3-1c64c9414fc5&p=d2290629-9a93-4685-b9f3-189e3e969527&ts=1375885291&c=cvrdk&e=prod&rt=Safetynet&h=9280eb8e2d1498a700724f8f3e7a9193

Most tax filings are public these days, or near public (token fee). They don't tell the whole story by themselves, you may need to work through a few of them to get a full picture if the business is split in different entities, but that is usually doable.
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: dag.bb on August 20, 2013, 02:05:41 PM
Both Hasselblad and Phase One seem to be doing quite well, despite some comments to the contrary, with increasing revenue and profits, at least up to 2011:

Hasseblad in 2011: revenue 290 m SEK, net profit 40 m SEK: [google mistakenly translates SEK or DKK into GBP...!]
http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=sv&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=no&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.proff.se%2Fnyckeltal%2Fvictor-hasselblad-ab%2Fgöteborg%2Ffotoutrustningar%2F13095623-1%2F

Phase One in 2011: revenue 277 m DKK, net profit 30 m DKK:
http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=no&sl=da&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.proff.dk%2Fregnskab%2Fphase-one-as%2Ffrederiksberg%2F-%2F1001382533%2F

Maybe some economist can fill in - but their balance also seems very strong.

Dag
Title: Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
Post by: nightfire on September 09, 2013, 02:37:25 AM
It is very difficult to rise the necessary funds for the development of a new system of cameras.
Let's not forget some of Leica's recent successful sins:

* The M9-P
* The M9 Titanium
* The M9 Hermes Edition
* and as a special case, the M-E

All of these were basic M9 models wrapped up in various degrees of bling (or actually dumbed down in the case of the M-E), offering no technical improvement over the base model whatsoever. It worked for Leica on their path to development of the new M. Maybe Hasselblad is hoping for similar luck and revenue to bridge the gap while they scramble to find an answer to Phase One's latest IQ backs?