Hasselblad closes Italian design center, but what does that mean for its extravagant Sony rebrands?
posted Friday, November 14, 2014 at 10:59 AM EDT
Some two years after it moved operations back to its original home in Gothenburg, Sweden, Hasselblad has now closed its external design center in Treviso, Italy, we hear from German imaging publication Photoscala. The news, independently confirmed by the folks over at DPReview, has the web atwitter with speculation that it will bring an end to the company's unusual restyled, rebadged variations on Sony digital cameras such as the NEX-7 (Hasselblad Lunar), RX100 (Hasselblad Stellar), and Alpha A99 (Hasselblad HV).
Responding to the news, Hasselblad told DPReview that the design center had indeed closed, but that the closure would "not have any effect on our production or product portfolio". The design center, it seems, has since resurrected itself as 4V Design, a maker of phone and tablet accessories. The creation date of its domain suggests that the closure took place in -- or at least had been on the cards since -- the first half of the year.
But while the closure of the center may not have any effect on Hasselblad's existing Sony rebrand products, it remains to be seen what it might mean for future production. Given pricetags that were many, many times higher than those for the equivalent Sony products, and the fact that the Sony versions were functionally identical (although Hasselblad did claim its Sony A99 rebrand had a tougher external coating), we can't imagine they were big sellers for the Swedish company.
But then, depending on the terms of its Sony contract, it's quite possible they didn't need to be big sellers. After all, the design work needed from Hasselblad was limited to the external shell, with Sony supplying all the internals. And given the high pricetags, these were likely bought mainly by collectors for whom the cameras were an investment, rather than to be used, anyway.
What say you, Imaging Resource readers -- do you think Hasselblad will make any more Sony rebrands? If so, which cameras might you like to see get the Hasselblad treatment, if any? And if not, do you think they'll be missed by the collectors? Sound off in the comments below.