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Author Topic: Hasselblad at Photokina  (Read 57155 times)

BernardLanguillier

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« Reply #40 on: September 30, 2008, 07:24:30 pm »

Hassy has been going for a different business model for years now. You can easily buy a H3D from ebay or B&H photo just like you buy a Nikon D3. That doesn't come with VAR on-site support.

What they are doing is great IMHO, they are giving photographers who can handle these aspects themselves an option to just buy a camera at a (slightly more) decent price. If you need support, I am sure that there are companies out there that will be able to help you, just like they are able to help Canan 1ds3 users who might need some help. Now I agree with James, photography isn't rocket science. If you cannot use a back by yourself, then change job or use better designed equipment.

As far as reliability is concerned, the key thing for the busy pro is the ownership of a credible back up or the available of a rental solution.

1. Back up: I would have a very hard time believing anybody telling me that a Canon 1ds3 system is not a credible back up. Everybody has one anyway for those kind of shooting where the backs are too slow,... and the quality gap is small enough that covering one assignement with one would not damage your reputation.

Besides, if you really need a backup of the same make as the original, then a 20.000 US$ H3DII39 will be a lot easier to buy than a 30.000 US$ P45+.

2. Rental: there will be more rental available out there if the piece of gear is cheap(er). Hassy is also making it easier for rental companies to stock these cameras. But in the end, large urban centers will keep having rental available while smaller cities won't. You see more Ferraris in Manhatan than in Mineapolis, and that is the same reason why you will keep seeing more H3D39 in NY than in Minnesota. The Hassy price cut will not change this either way.

All in all, I am not sure to see the problem with the move of Hassy. They are just choosing a different direction away from the dealer model. Mamiya had done it before them, they are just showing the obvious, the same model can be adopted for higher end gear too. IMHO, they still haven't gone far enough in terms of price cut, but they will need one or two more generations to really reach the 15.000 - 20.000 US$ level for the most expensive of their offerings. This is not going to stop here.

I have been saying for years that the only solution for MFDB makers is to sell 4 times more backs at half the price, it would seem that Hassy is now seeing things the same way.

It is obvious that the value of a product is driven by the differentiation with the competition as far as their abilities to perform the tasks needed by the customer. The value of MFDB is less now than 2 years ago because the 1ds3/5dII/A900 can now handle many of the applications only MFDB could handle before. What Hassy is doing here is a logical price reduction following on the lowering of the absolute value of their offering relative to the needs of photographers.

Phaseone one doesn't have to follow. If there is real value in their VAR model, then they will keep their customers. If the VAR model was just seen by their customers as a mandatory expenditures they didn't really care for, then Phaseone will have hard times ahead. The Phaseone products might also be better, which could also justify the added price for those people needing the absolute best.

I believe that Hassy has chosen the right option though, but time will tell.

Anyway, let's re-discuss all this after November 8th. The Nikon moves might influence this discussion more than anything else. A 10.000 US$ 40MP Nikon MX would still make all these backs look very over-priced, even after the Hassy price cuts.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: September 30, 2008, 08:53:24 pm by BernardLanguillier »
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Lust4Life

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« Reply #41 on: September 30, 2008, 07:54:58 pm »

Quote
On the Calumet Photo website, the Sinar Hy6 75R is listed at US $38,000. Say the 90 deg. finder is $1,500. All in, the price is US $ 39,500. The Hasselblad H3DII-39 is US 22,000. That seems to me to be a pretty steep price difference.
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And remember that the Sinar has a 33MP array and the Hassie has 39MP.  Many folks believe more is better when it comes to MP - not going to start that discussion here BUT it does count in my decision.

In short, both Leaf and Sinar will have a tough time unless they get on the same "cost of ownership" page Hasselblad has now written.  My hats off to Hasselblad for taking this major step, regardless of their "motives" as discussed in this thread.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2008, 08:00:37 pm by Lust4Life »
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jecxz

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« Reply #42 on: September 30, 2008, 08:21:01 pm »

To follow up on Bernard's points, and forgive me if it's been said already, dealers sell next day swap protection / backup for a few thousand bucks / year (you pay shipping).

When I moved to H3DII39 I was offered this option, which was a next day swap service, of an H3DII39 from my dealer.

I think there was a similar plan for a Leaf body/back if I went with Leaf.

When I looked at Phase, I think there was a similar plan too.

For Michael to suggest this exists without payment is out of touch just a bit, probably because he gets so much from Phase or others for free or discounted – as he very well should! That's not my point; I (we) don't have that option! We have to buy a backup body - as said better by others in this thread - or pay for a swap service.

Fotocare in NYC or B&H or Calumet is not going to give me, for free, an H3DII39 to use while Hasselblad repairs mine, no matter their profit margins!

FYI: I said no to the swap service - when you're in Labrador or Hay River, this is not an option.

Lastly, because people have emailed me privately, Nick's website is:

http://www.hasselbladdigitalforum.com/index.php

And this is not said to diminish LL whatsoever. Be well.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2008, 08:22:30 pm by jecxz »
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michael

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« Reply #43 on: September 30, 2008, 08:47:18 pm »

Quote
For Michael to suggest this exists without payment is out of touch just a bit, probably because he gets so much from Phase or others for free or discounted – as he very well should!

Wrong!

With the exception of pre-release test samples, which are always promptly returned, I buy everything I use and test at retail. I receive nothing for free and wouldn't accept it if it was offered.

The only exception is printers, which I accept for long term testing, and which if not taken back by the manufacturer are then donated, usually to a school or student, because manufacturers usually don't want them back.

So please – don't assume.

Michael
« Last Edit: September 30, 2008, 08:51:30 pm by michael »
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lisa_r

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« Reply #44 on: September 30, 2008, 09:00:07 pm »

>Shit, I show up to a wedding with everything (35mm) in at least duplicate... so why should having a backup for the mf shooter be so tied to a "support network".

>Why worry that Mr. xxxxxxx (VA Reseller) is even available on a friday night at the big shoot when your cam goes down, when you can just walk over to the pelican case and pick your backup up and start shooting again?

>i think what hassy is doing is rad.....they are competing w/ canon....everyone complains about MFDB not being easy, costing too much, voodoo pricing, etc.... hassy is solving all of those problems and people are still complaining about them doing it....the only question mark i really see with them is phocus

=====================

i agree wholeheartedly with the above statements. I think on forums like these people spend too much time analyzing the marketing decisions of these companies, and not enough time thinking about actually getting the job done. I mean, are there real photographers who are actually upset with falling prices on backs?!?!? This is what everyone has been asking for for years. no? Now you can own (not rent) your main camera, now you can own a backup - no need for the bat cave phone number on friday night panic, etc. etc.
OR, maybe the rental prices will come down from astronomical for a day's shoot! That would be nice, huh?
Anyway, I.M.O. loaners and rentals are always scary in the middle of a shoot anyway, because who knows if the loaner is working correctly/chip is clean/firewire port was not messed up during the previous loan/etc.
I belive in owning what you shoot, and these price reductions will provide a real in for a lot of people.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2008, 09:03:09 pm by lisa_r »
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James R Russell

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« Reply #45 on: September 30, 2008, 09:10:47 pm »

Quote
Wrong!

With the exception of pre-release test samples, which are always promptly returned, I buy everything I use and test at retail. I receive nothing for free and wouldn't accept it if it was offered.

The only exception is printers, which I accept for long term testing, and which if not taken back by the manufacturer are then donated, usually to a school or student, because manufacturers usually don't want them back.

So please – don't assume.

Michael
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The best way to learn about someone is to talk to them and though I'm sure Michael doesn't want 2000 phone calls, I can tell you from my personal experience, Michael has always been upfront and fair.  In fact,  though I don't know Michael as a close friend, I do believe he's as honest and straightforward as anyone I've spoken with.

I've disagreed with him in the past, both privately and publicly but that's fine . .  that's what keeps life interesting and let's all remember these are just cameras, nothing that gets close to life and death decisions.

Yes, he is opinionated and stands by what he believes, who isn't and for that matter we all don't have to agree.  Gawd, what a boring world if we all agreed and quite honestly I appreciate people that take a stance, whether I like it or not.

I do know that when I wrote the first draft on the Phase One ad I shot in Paris, Michael was very clear that it should not be written as a puff peace, be balanced and that it should have a warts and all direction, which I tried to give it, mostly at my expense.

As far as liking or not liking Hasselblad, I love the price cuts, never was wild about closing off the system, but that's from a consumer standpoint.  

On the flip side of the coin I wouldn't want to parcel out my business where others could make as much or more profit from my work than I do, so regardless of what Hasselblad did or didn't do, in many ways I can understand it.

JR
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jecxz

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« Reply #46 on: September 30, 2008, 09:11:26 pm »

Quote
Wrong!

With the exception of pre-release test samples, which are always promptly returned, I buy everything I use and test at retail. I receive nothing for free and wouldn't accept it if it was offered.

The only exception is printers, which I accept for long term testing, and which if not taken back by the manufacturer are then donated, usually to a school or student, because manufacturers usually don't want them back.

So please – don't assume.

Michael
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For the service you provide with this site and to us and the public, I did assume, and it is retracted. There would be nothing wrong with it either; your honesty in your articles / reviews has always been clear.

But my response was specifically to your statement earlier:

"And who's going to come to your studio and help out when something goes wrong, and where are you going to get a loaner when you have a raft load of expensive models..."

When you need a loaner, do you pay or get it for free? I would understand if you got one for free - my whole point was most can't. And if you have to pay for a loaner, then I misunderstood the context of your phrase "get a loaner" - and again, of course, I take it back.

Kind regards,
Derek
« Last Edit: September 30, 2008, 09:20:34 pm by jecxz »
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TMARK

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« Reply #47 on: September 30, 2008, 11:03:14 pm »

I think the prices will go even lower.  Blad is a savvy company.  They see the writing on the wall and are acting accordingly.  Their products are really solid now.  I'm not a fan of a closed system but, if the prices come down some more, you could buy an H3 AND a stand alone Blad back with an adapter plate to fit whatever other odd camera you may have.  This way you would have a back up and a back that would fit that RZ or 680 in the closet. This should also kill the stupid high used prices.

Its time for some consolidation in the industry so that they can shake out the inefficiencies in their operations, take advantage of economies of scale, and turn these things into top end commodities.  I think Phase will be the odd man out.  I say this because they don't have a really attractive camera. The AFD3 is OK, but, and not to make any Sarah Palin reference, its like putting lipstick on a pig and charging a premium for it.  Like dropping a 911 engine into a bug, or the somewhat pathetic Porsche 914.  The new reality is that the focus is moving away from the Back as a discrete unit and towards the camera/back as a unified unit.  Perhaps the AFD4 will be a real high end product that will attract buyers, but there is a serious let down moving from a Hy6 to an AFd3, or, to a lesser degree, from an H3D to an AFD3.

The thing about dealer service is this:  If a product needs lots of support and swap outs all the time, I don't want such a product.  Be it a car, a camera, an espresso maker, a printer, what ever.  If the product is either unreliable, has electronic bugs, is badly engineered, prone to failure etc., it is not a professional tool.  I don't think the backs fall into this category.

How many of you have had a failure?  I had an old AFd crap out on me.  The Leaf back worked just fine.  My Phase back was rock solid, never a problem that couldn't have been worked out on my own.  So where is this value in a dealer network?  I'd rather have two backs at lower prices than a HOTLINE number and the promise of a FEDEX replacement the next day, if a loaner is even available.

I do believe in owning my gear, if its affordable. A value proposition must be made.  I would like a Briese Focus 77 and a 220, but I don't think its worth upwards of $35k for two light modifiers.  So renting makes sense.  Same thing with backs that cost upwards of $40k.  Renting makes sense.  I am planning on picking up a used Aptus 54 or Sinar 54 when I find one real cheap.  Until then, I'll rent the best and the brightest on someone else's dime.

These things should be commodities like the Canons and Nikons.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2008, 11:20:24 pm by TMARK »
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Kitty

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« Reply #48 on: September 30, 2008, 11:12:35 pm »

Competition is good. H3D price drop is good.
I notice Hasselblad accessories and lens price is increasing.
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pss

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« Reply #49 on: September 30, 2008, 11:12:37 pm »

i don't think anyone is complaining that the prices are coming down unless this drives competition out of the market only to raise prices again afterwards....you might have heard of a little store which uses this quite a lot...walmart?

i am not comparing hasselblad to walmart and i really hope (i am assuming) that the others can follow that course...at which point the question remains: did we totally overpay for our backs 12 months ago?

the reality looks different anyway: even if a H3D31 is 15000 or 14000 or 13000....the 5DII is 3000 and shoots HD video as well....yes there is a difference BUT....

canon/nikon will come out with a larger sensor system within a year (i have no proof of that but i am just throwing that out there because everything point in that direction and it just makes sense)...they will keep the price lower then anything hasselblad can even come close to and they will provide the quality DMF has now and all the features and goodies DSLRs have now......that is the real reason hasselblad wants to get a few more customers NOW...
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Dustbak

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« Reply #50 on: October 01, 2008, 02:48:18 am »

Indeed, what is all this moaning about lowering prices? As an example, the Nikon D700 started at 2700euro 2 months ago. I can now pick up one at 2100euros. This is just one example but these kind of price cuts we all take for normal.

Hasselblad still has a network of dealers. I actually got my 2nd back from a dealer. My first back was bought in the US. I recently had to have that repaired (my first failure in 6years, so yes MFDB's can break down). The repair was handled by Hasselblad directly, communication via the US and shipping directly to and from Denmark. Hasselblad is totally willing to help out their own customers with or without dealer. At least they were in my case, I assume others will receive the same kind of treatment.

I have been complaining about having to go through unnecessary dealers for years, where I believe some are only adding to the cost without adding value. Mind you that is in my case! I do carry backup backs, I don't need an overnight replacement. I don't need help with software or hardware (I used to own my own software & hardware companies), I want to have a company that takes my email when I need help, I need an adress where I can ship, hand out my CC number and get the stuff back when repaired. Hasselblad was willing to supply me with this. They did tell me right from the start I have to deal with them and could not expect a dealer to handle any problems for free. This is clear and only fair. Kudos to them is my opinion.

My 2nd back I got (actually will be getting) from a dealer. This dealer really did provide me with extra service making it interesting to me to become their client.

I am not advocating to abandon the dealer system, I want an alternative for those that don't need or want a dealer. There are too many times a dealer is simply just an obstacle, I have experienced this first hand. I can only hope other MFDB manufacturers will follow. This will also be beneficial to those dealers that are a real asset, it will separate the wheat from the chaff.

I don't believe this price cut is under cost price, I do believe Hasselblad as well as dealers will still be making a healthy margin. If not, I think this is a ridiculous move since I am sure this will win customers but I doubt it will create a monopoly by driving out the competition. Only the future will tell.

All of this is my own opinion naturally.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2008, 02:53:42 am by Dustbak »
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Nick-T

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« Reply #51 on: October 01, 2008, 05:01:36 am »

A couple of points:

There is absolutely no suggestion that Hasselblad is doing away with the VAR system, I'm not sure where that has come from. Removing the upgrade matrix means life will be a great deal less complicated/profitable for dealers and obviously cheaper for users.

Second, and unrelated to pricing, I see that "closed system" has popped up a few times yet again in this thread. Working on the stand I spent a great deal of time showing people the benefits of an integrated system, the Hasselblad DAC corrections are really quite amazing and work with the HTS, completely unique AFAIK.

Nick-T
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BernardLanguillier

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« Reply #52 on: October 01, 2008, 05:11:19 am »

Quote
There is absolutely no suggestion that Hasselblad is doing away with the VAR system, I'm not sure where that has come from. Removing the upgrade matrix means life will be a great deal less complicated/profitable for dealers and obviously cheaper for users.
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I probably wasn't clear enough. I just meant that it had been possible for some time to buy a H3D through normal re-selles like B&H who are not VAR, this differs from what other MFDB do, doesn't it?

Regards,
Bernard

eronald

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« Reply #53 on: October 01, 2008, 05:26:38 am »

Jeff,

 I accept that there is sense in what you say. But the reality is that the dealer system,( yes, the dealers in Atllanta are worth doing business with, but quite a few others are not) , lack of transparent pricing with stange upgrades, elitist attitudes, bad quality control, and refusal to keep the product cutting edge are squeezing the MF guys.

 Hasselblad have taken a way out by using normal photo dealers - eg B&H in New York, having a clear pricing structure with PRICELISTS, creating a healthy used market by dropping the upgrades, and have revved their bodies at a huge rate with minor upgrades, H1, H2, H3 H3DII, while providing not ideal but workable responses to most photographer's wishes (wide 28mm, tilt/shift adapter, decent back screen).

 I don't use a Hassy - now - but I'm sure all those used "obsolete" H3DII bodies are going to find good homes. And I'm sure that whatever floats in from Japan, both Hasselblad and Leica are going to survive. Hassy because they will adapt, and Leica because they have learnt how to cater to the dentists who buy most of them, while making cameras that even pros can have fun using.

Edmund

Quote
I dont chime in often, but today I feel compelled to get onto the field from the sidelines.  I am neither a big fan nor a hater of Michael.  But, I do appreciate his site as one of the few places on the web that provides such a wealth of information through both the LL site and these forums.  Many voices are heard about the industry and I think that in the "dark" world of MFD it is very much welcomed.  However, It is HIS site, and he can feel free just as the NYT or any other outlet  to Call it as he sees it.  Period.  I hold a similar opinion to him in that I don't like what Hasselblad has done.  The truth is that even with the Intro of the HY6 and the "New" Phamiya the H1/2 is still the best overall camera for a Digital back.   A Leaf rep some time before Hass "closed" the H system told me that 85% of their backs were made for the H.  As much as I like the H Camera (and its not without many faults) I very much Dislike their backs.  Granted I haven't seen the newest toys in action, but the package of software (phocus sucks) and back are still fall far behind Phase.  So for many people be they leaf, or phase etc, the thought of New lenses and bodies not working with their "H" back is disheartening.  But we've gone through all of this before.  No, a bigger issue is at hand.   Right now MFD reminds me of the Drum Scanner market right before its demise.   There was some vibrance in the Drum industry (as there is now in MFD) and then it was gone. I dont think a single drum company exist today.  Imacon (Hass) came in with its Virtual Drum (CCD not real PMT drum tech) and huge flat beds invaded the market.  They did more for less and where much easier to live with.  Were/are they better than a drum.  No.  Now there are still many very old drum scanners doing their job, but they are breed that nears extinction.  To me this Photokina marks the begging of the end.  Lets look at the facts:  Canon obsoleted its 1dsIII in LESS than a year (anybody want to buy mine?) with a camera that cost a fraction (5d2) and that THEY claim is superior in image quality.  Amazing.  More amazing the 1ds3 has quality if shot under the right conditions that rivals or exceeds the big boys.  Is it better in IQ? No.  But guess what: neither were the big flat bed scanners or virtual drums, but they killed the Drum.  The 5d2 and the 1ds4 which will most likely come out next year will seal the deal, and HD video will be the icing.  I promise.  3 years on from 39mp and the best we have 60mp?  Sure frame rates seem great, little better hi iso (surely no match for Canon) and a little better LCD?  But that is it? And, they are asking the same or more money.  The P30 P21 and 45's of the world lumber on with no improvement or replacement.  No innovation.  Now talk of RED making the ultimate combo cam next year.  I have talked with 4 owners of P45's and not one has a desire to upgrade at the going rate.  These are shooters at the top of their fields. None of their demanding clients has asked for bigger files.   To me the lower price is a preemptive strike on the next round of Canon and Nikon.  If the rumors are even half true of what is in the pipe from Japan then the end is near for MFD unless the do more than drop prices a bit and add MP....
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« Last Edit: October 01, 2008, 05:30:01 am by eronald »
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michael

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« Reply #54 on: October 01, 2008, 06:32:17 am »

It seems that people have interpreted my Hasselblad comments as criticising the company for reducing prices. Here, in part, what I wrote...

One can only guess as to the reasons for this fire sale, and I'll leave the more financially knowledgeable among readers to fathom it out for themselves. Overall though it seems to me to be an unhealthy trend for the MF industry, as lower margins (for dealers as well) combined with our current global financial crisis (which is causing credit to dry up and consumer to be wary), could well lead to a considerably constriction in the marketplace. Add to this cameras like the 25MP Sony A900 and 21MP Canon 5D MII full frame cameras at around $2,500, and one has to wonder at the economic viability of much of the medium format marketplace.

The thrust of my article was aimed at the economic viability of the medium format digital back industry, not Hasselblad's price reductions as seen from the point of view of photographers. Of course lower prices are desirable – for consumers. But, are they for manufacturers? That's the nub.

By going through box sellers, like B&H, Hasselblad over the past year or so has nicely increased their sales volume. Their sales numbers are public, so it's easy to see what's happening, and good for them!

But with inexpensive full frame DSLRs at up to 25MP now available for under $3,000 MF makers are in a bind. New larger format DSLRs such as the Leica S2 and Nikon MX will put even more pressure on MF back makers next year.

The volumes in MF are very low compared to mainstream DSLRs. The high density large chips are still very expensive. Need I also point out that the economy is in rough shape, and likely to get rougher?

All of these are factors that weigh heavily on the industry. That's what I was talking about. Not consumers – but rather the industry.

Hasselblad's price reductions aren't magical. They need higher volume, and are lowering prices to get it. (Who knows? Maybe the need to hit certain annual volumes on camera bodies and lenses to hold price points from Fuji, who are the ones actually doing the manufacturing of these items).

Yes, lower prices benefit consumers, but they may not benefit the industry. Hasselblad's competitors have already started to lower their prices in several market segments. No back maker is going to sit back and have someone eat their lunch.

But, let's remember, these are all small companies that have high costs and small sales volumes. Lower prices reduce their incomes which then means that they have less money for R&D and new product development, let alone ultimate corporate survival.

I believe that this round of price cutting, started by Hasselblad, will only mean one thing –  a contraction in the number of corporate survivors. It's likely that within the next 12 months at least a couple of MF back companies will either retreat from the business or be acquired by their competitors.

Is this a good thing? I guess it is if you're one of the survivors. But I don't think it is for the consumer. Yes, prices will be lower, but also choice of MF backs and variety will be reduced.

That's the point that I was making.

Michael
« Last Edit: October 01, 2008, 06:33:51 am by michael »
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Nick-T

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« Reply #55 on: October 01, 2008, 06:46:50 am »

Quote
(Who knows? Maybe the need to hit certain annual volumes on camera bodies and lenses to hold price points from Fuji, who are the ones actually doing the manufacturing of these items).

This is simply inaccurate. The bodies (including the Fuji GX) are made in Sweden. Fuji do make the lenses (but not the shutters).

If Hasselblad are, as you seem to be implying "desperate" and needing to hit certain mythical volumes why then have they just released a completely new zoom lens (requiring new tooling and unique lens construction methods) along with the HTS (5 lens elements)?

Nick-T
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Henry Goh

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« Reply #56 on: October 01, 2008, 08:28:30 am »

OT:

Does Hasselblad give international warranty on their products these days?

Thanks.
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eronald

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« Reply #57 on: October 01, 2008, 09:48:32 am »

Michael,

 I don't think we are seeing a fire sale, just a careful assessment of changing circumstances, and a shrewd decision to take risks to be in front. One thing I've noticed is that while H were stressing the elitist/trendy aspect of the H system before - now they are increasingly stressing the actual technical performance of their cameras in their litterature, and doing demos. The message is now "This camera takes good pictures AND you can afford it".

5 years ago, MF had a high initial investment and a high marginal (per unit) cost. Now chips are reaching maturity, bodies are stabilizing, and we have an industry with high investment but tolerable marginal costs. Such industries fare better when they commoditize their products.

 The R&D on the H bodies is basically done and paid for with the H1 and H2, the AF works and keeps working, the mirror slaps and keeps on slapping, the various knobs don't corrode or fall off, the back and lens mounts are stable and above all the battery and the lens and back contacts are proven and reliable.  In fact Hasselblad say the dumber the body the happier they are. Marginal costs on making a piece of metal is not going to kill them. The same is true of the existing lenses - they are done, and probably amortized now, just raking in profits as batches get made and sold.

 Which leaves the backs. The marginal costs ie. component prices here have fallen - off the top of my head I'd say that the sensor itself is now well under $2K for the HD31. The real expense is the R&D which needs to be redone every time a new sensor is integrated. Which is why higher volumes are beneficial, to offset this initial investment ie. the R&D.

 Also, every single Hassy sold now is a potential sale of a lens - which is all profit. Now wonder Hassy wants more bodies out there.
 

Quote
It seems that people have interpreted my Hasselblad comments as criticising the company for reducing prices. Here, in part, what I wrote...

One can only guess as to the reasons for this fire sale, and I'll leave the more financially knowledgeable among readers to fathom it out for themselves. Overall though it seems to me to be an unhealthy trend for the MF industry, as lower margins (for dealers as well) combined with our current global financial crisis (which is causing credit to dry up and consumer to be wary), could well lead to a considerably constriction in the marketplace. Add to this cameras like the 25MP Sony A900 and 21MP Canon 5D MII full frame cameras at around $2,500, and one has to wonder at the economic viability of much of the medium format marketplace.

The thrust of my article was aimed at the economic viability of the medium format digital back industry, not Hasselblad's price reductions as seen from the point of view of photographers. Of course lower prices are desirable – for consumers. But, are they for manufacturers? That's the nub.

By going through box sellers, like B&H, Hasselblad over the past year or so has nicely increased their sales volume. Their sales numbers are public, so it's easy to see what's happening, and good for them!

But with inexpensive full frame DSLRs at up to 25MP now available for under $3,000 MF makers are in a bind. New larger format DSLRs such as the Leica S2 and Nikon MX will put even more pressure on MF back makers next year.

The volumes in MF are very low compared to mainstream DSLRs. The high density large chips are still very expensive. Need I also point out that the economy is in rough shape, and likely to get rougher?

All of these are factors that weigh heavily on the industry. That's what I was talking about. Not consumers – but rather the industry.

Hasselblad's price reductions aren't magical. They need higher volume, and are lowering prices to get it. (Who knows? Maybe the need to hit certain annual volumes on camera bodies and lenses to hold price points from Fuji, who are the ones actually doing the manufacturing of these items).

Yes, lower prices benefit consumers, but they may not benefit the industry. Hasselblad's competitors have already started to lower their prices in several market segments. No back maker is going to sit back and have someone eat their lunch.

But, let's remember, these are all small companies that have high costs and small sales volumes. Lower prices reduce their incomes which then means that they have less money for R&D and new product development, let alone ultimate corporate survival.

I believe that this round of price cutting, started by Hasselblad, will only mean one thing –  a contraction in the number of corporate survivors. It's likely that within the next 12 months at least a couple of MF back companies will either retreat from the business or be acquired by their competitors.

Is this a good thing? I guess it is if you're one of the survivors. But I don't think it is for the consumer. Yes, prices will be lower, but also choice of MF backs and variety will be reduced.

That's the point that I was making.

Michael
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« Last Edit: October 01, 2008, 09:57:14 am by eronald »
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Sean Reginald Knight

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« Reply #58 on: October 01, 2008, 10:03:14 am »

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[Snip]... Nikon MX will put even more pressure on MF back makers next year. [Snip]
Michael
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Are you confirming the Nikon MX rumour, Michael? Hope you're not busting any NDA agreement
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paulmoorestudio

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Hasselblad at Photokina
« Reply #59 on: October 01, 2008, 10:10:22 am »

Is this a good thing? I guess it is if you're one of the survivors. But I don't think it is for the consumer. Yes, prices will be lower, but also choice of MF backs and variety will be reduced.

That's the point that I was making.

Michael
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[/quote]


was it so bad when we had only fuji and kodak film to pick from?  let the free market decide.
 

when and if someone comes up with a competitive model there will be room in the market for them.
The sad truth is that unlike the corporate world, photographers find it much more difficult to pass on the R&D and profit margins of the equipment makers and resellers to the clients.. and the fact of the matter is that a file from a 5d2 will get you the same fee as with a hy6 .. the clients really don't care..and are not going to offer up any compensation for the bigger file.. photographers have been eating it..and while we are suckers for quality, those still in business are not stupid and can't afford the continued pursuit of the mp summit offered by the old school mfdb makers.
 
I witnessed last month a well known fashion shooter get a very large fee job.. and he shot it all with a canon..this was a US national campaign, outdoor, instore, consumer ads..I was surprised but did the client say to him..oh, aren't you shooting this with a mfdb?? NOPE!  
and here a lot of us are busting our butts trying to buy that next 50 or 60mp.. or even just upgrade to a 33mp.. and struggling to get 1500 bucks for a shoot and no comp for digital capture equip. WHY?
I think the industry needs a good shaking out.
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