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Author Topic: In praise of "Wretched Excess"  (Read 25291 times)

Kenneth Sky

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In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« 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.
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Telecaster

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2013, 05:18:08 PM »

IMO Michael's article says all that needs to be said on the subject.

-Dave-
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thompsonkirk

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #2 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.'
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Jack Varney

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #3 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.
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Jack Varney

Ray

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #4 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.
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tom b

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2013, 12:30:02 AM »

Not only cameras and watches…

World's most expensive cell phones.

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

Cheers,
« Last Edit: July 27, 2013, 07:54:54 AM by tom b »
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jnmoore

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #6 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.
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LesPalenik

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #7 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?
« Last Edit: July 27, 2013, 01:35:46 AM by LesPalenik »
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David Watson

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #8 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.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2013, 02:09:06 AM by David Watson »
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #9 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.

Rob C

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #10 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

opgr

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #11 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
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KirbyKrieger

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #12 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".

Rob C

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #13 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


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

;-)

Rob C

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2013, 10:32:36 AM »

News Flash: Hasselblad to change corporate name officially to "Hasselbling."  ???   :D
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http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my photo website. New images each season. Also visit my new website: http://ericneedsakidney.org

daws

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #15 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
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michael

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #16 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
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MarkL

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #17 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.
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nightfire

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #18 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... ::)
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John Camp

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Re: In praise of "Wretched Excess"
« Reply #19 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. 
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