Hasselblad remains one of the best known photography brands today. But apart from the premium price tag, it actually has a pretty colorful history and an outstanding track record in optics. If you’re not yet familiar with it, advertising and fashion photographer and Hasselblad ambassador Karl Taylor makes a brief mention of it in his short video.
In the video below, Taylor is faced with a challenging task: how do you accurately capture and reproduce a painting, down to the finest details and delicate strokes? His solution? To photograph the artworks with a 100 Megapixel Hasselblad camera and put its optical excellence to work. While obviously a promotional video, it’s also an informative resource on what makes Hasselblad a revered brand today with its excellent optics.
It may be heavily promotional (no surprise there, as it comes from a Hasselblad ambassador), but at least it gives us a pretty solid explanation on what makes a Hasselblad camera such a luxurious but also specialized tool. “Optical excellence” is the key phrase here, which Taylor attributes to the brand’s “long history and pedigree for the finest quality of optical excellence.”
Here, we learn that the camera came out in 1940, when its namesake, Victor Hasselblad, made the HK-7, the first aerial survey camera for the Swedish Military. Next came The Super Wide Angle in 1954, which combined the 38mm Biogon lens by Dr. Bertele of Zeiss to a shallow non-reflex body. Three years later came the classic 500c design, which became the foundation for the brand’s product and lens line.
Hasselblad’s colorful history also included some cameras used during space missions. The first was the 500c owned by NASA astronaut Walter Schirra during the 1962 Mercury space program. In 1969, Hasselblad cameras and lenses were selected for photography during the 1969 Apollo space missions, and were used to take some of the most iconic images of the moon.
The highly sought after Hasselblad XPAN was designed in 1998, and enabled photographers to capture images with a 24mm x 65mm panoramic format. In 2002, we saw the Hasselblad ‘H’ Series alongside the HC lenses, which ushered the brand into the digital era. Four years later, the HCD lenses were released, which featured the first use of digital lens corrections to remove lens design distortions and aberrations, all in a compact design.
Moving on to the recent decade, the HCD 24mm lens was introduced in 2012 to provide the widest focal length in medium format cameras. Finally, the world’s first Mirrorless medium format camera, the Hasselblad X1D, came out in 2016 and was accompanied by the XCD lens range.
Now, you can consider yourself well-versed in Hasselblad’s history of “optical excellence”!
Visit Karl Taylor’s YouTube channel for more of his photography videos and tutorials.