OnePlus has inked a new three-year partnership with Hasselblad, the iconic Swedish photography company. A three-year deal with Hasselblad will hopefully improve the camera experience on OnePlus’ next-generation smartphones, including the soon-to-be-announced OnePlus 9 series.
Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, Hasselblad has been known for medium-format cameras since World War II. In fact, the company is behind some of the most expensive cameras on the market, joining the elite camera manufacturer club which also includes the likes of Leica.
Here are some facts that you need to know about Hasselblad:
# Do you know a Hasselblad camera was used to capture man’s first steps on the Moon? That iconic photo was taken during the Apollo 11 mission, the first manned moon landing. Astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong had two specially made Hasselblad cameras. A Hasselblad Data Camera (HDC) with a Zeiss Biogon 60mm f/5.6 lens and a 70mm film magazine, and a Hasselblad Electric Camera (HEC) with a Zeiss Planar 80mm f/2.8 lens. NASA and Hasselblad started working together in 1962 during the Mercury programme, seven years previous to the Apollo 11 mission, to ensure that the cameras wouldn’t overheat or freeze in the intense cold temperatures.
#DJI, the wildly successful Chinese drone manufacturer, owns the majority share of Hasselblad. Back in 2017, DJI became the majority stakeholder in the iconic Swedish camera company. Although we might never see DJI making a medium format camera anytime soon, the company’s Mavic 2 Pro drone does feature a Hasselblad branded camera. It’s clear that DJI needs Hasselbland’s expertise in optics and design in making high-end drones for enthusiasts and cinematography market.
# Sweden-based Hasselblad is known for its luxury cameras, but in 2018 it made headlines when it introduced the H6D-400c digital camera for $48,000. One might wonder why a camera would cost so much. Well, the Hasselblad H6D-400C claim to fame was its ability to combine six 100 megapixel images into one 400 megapixel still. Its astronomically high price created a lot of buzz in the camera world, with many wondering who would buy a camera for the $48,000-plus price and resolution. But Hasselblad was clear who might be interested in the camera. In an interview with CNBC, a Hasselblad representative told the publication that the H6D-400c was aimed at a “special” niche market with cultural institutions such as museums and libraries who want to capture high-quality pictures to archive manuscripts and priceless jewelry pieces.
#The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover was shot using a Hasselblad camera. The album cover, featuring Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr walking across the Abbey Road zebra crossing, will always be remembered as one of the most iconic images ever taken. Scottish photographer Iain Stewart Macmillan used a Hasselblad 500C camera, with a Zeiss Distagon 50mm f/4 lens, to capture the cover photograph for The Beatles’ album Abbey Road in 1969. Macmillan took only six shots of the Beatles walked across the zebra crossing just outside the EMI Studios at 3 Abbey Road, St John’s Wood, London. Apparently, the visual idea for the shoot came from Paul McCartney. In a 1989 interview with The Guardian, Macmillan revealed that the shoot took little more than 10 minutes. Abbey Road was the 11th Beatles album, the last they recorded together, though Let It Be their 12th and last released studio album was recorded prior to Abbey Road.
# Hasselblad cameras are expensive and sought after, and there is a reason why they cost so much. Hasselblad only produces about 10,000 cameras a year out of a small three-story building in Gothenburg, Sweden. Many Leica cameras, including X1D II, are made in Sweden where labour costs are much higher than in many countries where other digital cameras are manufactured. Not to forget Hasselblad, like Leica, doesn’t really cater to the masses. They are made of superior materials, and the intention is to make the cameras with classic designs that stay timeless for generations to come.