Forget Black Friday—Titanium Tuesday debuts with the Hasselblad Stellar II


posted Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 5:47 PM EST


As Thanksgiving fast approaches, Black Friday is once again the talk of the town among bargain-hunters -- but at the other end of the spectrum is a very different kind of shopper. Today, on what we're informally dubbing Titanium Tuesday, Swedish camera maker Hasselblad has something that may tempt collectors to reach for their wallets and pay more than the regular price for an existing camera.

Hasselblad's earlier Stellar and Lunar cameras took existing Sony designs and reskinned them at a much, much higher pricetag for collectors. It's doubtful these pricey cameras are ever used for their intended purpose; more likely they live out their days as regularly-dusted shelf queens, or perhaps are bought as an investment and never even taken out of the package. That's likely going to be just as true of the new Hasselblad Stellar II.

The Hasselblad Stellar II with padouk wood handgrip.

Much as the earlier Stellar was based around Sony's game-changing RX100 large-sensor compact, the Stellar II is essentially a restyled variant of the followup Sony RX100 II. That means changes made between the two Stellar models are much as they were for the RX100-series siblings -- a new backside-illuminated image sensor that's said to be a full stop more sensitive, faster low-light autofocus, a tilting LCD monitor, an optional electronic viewfinder that mounts in a new flash hot shoe, and NFC / Wi-Fi wireless connectivity are the high points.

The Hasselblad Stellar II with walnut wood handgrip.

Like the Stellar before it, the Hasselblad Stellar II sports a new titanium body color instead of Sony's standard black version, along with a chunky wooden handgrip in your choice of olive, walnut or padouk woods, or in carbon fiber if you prefer a more modern look. And of course, there's a huge Hasselblad 'H' logo on the front of the camera.

The Hasselblad Stellar II with olive wood handgrip.

We recently reported on the shuttering of the Italian design center responsible for styling these Sony rebadges, but it's likely that the Stellar II required little to no additional work from Hasselblad's design team, so we wouldn't necessarily see it as confirmation that the series will continue. The handgrip looks to be identical to that from the original Stellar, and the other changes compared to Sony's version of the camera body are slight indeed.

The Hasselblad Stellar II with carbon fiber handgrip.

Whether this will turn out to be the last such rebadge, or whether Hasselblad will take the tweaking in-house at its headquarters remains to be seen, but from a collector's perspective this could actually be a more desirable camera, if it turns out to have been the last in the Hasselblad / Sony partnership.