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The iconic Hasselblad embraces the mirrorless revolution, is it the end for DSLR cameras?

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Hassleblad DSLR
Hassleblad

Hasselblad discontinuing its production of H System medium format DSLRs rises the speculation that DSLR is officially dead.

It has been repeated in past several times, but now it’s truly happening: DSLR cameras are fading away with the setting sun. In fact, it might be their end with Hasselblad dedicating towards mirrorless technology.

Some significant news has emerged from a renowned medium format supplier and Phase One partner known as Capture Integration. They have revealed that Hasselblad, a prominent manufacturer of H System medium format DSLRs, has ceased their production altogether.

To add to this, all H System products are currently unavailable, including cameras, lenses, and battery grips. However, Hasselblad will still provide repair services in Sweden, although the duration might vary depending on your location around the globe.

In the realm of professional studio photography, the Hasselblad H System, known for its integration with Phase One digital backs, had long held the reputation as the industry standard. However, the H6D, the most recent DSLR camera released by Hasselblad in 2016, carried a hefty price tag of approximately $35,000 or  £30,000 for the body alone and that’s quite the investment!

It all started when DJI acquired Hassleblad

Back in its heyday, the H6D was an absolute beast, boasting compatibility with a remarkable 100MP Phase One digital back. Nonetheless, the winds of change blew when Hasselblad was acquired by DJI, marking their entry into the mirrorless camera arena. Their foray resulted in the introduction of the exceptional X System, a line that includes the highly acclaimed Hasselblad X2D 100C. Let me tell you, I had an absolute blast putting it through its paces, and in my humble opinion, it stands among the finest cameras for photography in 2023.

What truly impressed me about the X2D 100C was not only its superior handling and performance compared to its DSLR predecessors but also its awe-inspiring 100MP sensor, complete with in-body image stabilization. This technological marvel left me utterly astonished. And the best part? The price tag. At a mere $8,199 or  £7,369, it’s a relative steal in the realm of high-end photography equipment.

Other factors contributing to this Shift in the DSLR Landscape

The downfall of the H System can be attributed to various factors, including significant influences from competing brands. Pentax, for instance, revolutionized the medium format DSLR market by introducing the Pentax 645Z at a much more accessible price point than the H System. This affordability factor played a crucial role in attracting professionals who were seeking an alternative to the costly H System. Furthermore, Fujifilm, a prominent player in the mirrorless medium format arena, further intensified the competition by offering exceptional cameras like the Fujifilm GFX100S.

This turn of events undoubtedly marks a somber moment for the select group of professionals who had the means to embrace the H System as an integral part of their working lives. As the legacy of the Hasselblad H System succumbs to its demise, one cannot help but wonder how other brands in the DSLR domain are faring amidst these changes.

The landscape of the DSLR market for other manufacturers appears intriguing. With the H System no longer dominating the scene, it opens up opportunities for alternative brands to seize a greater share of the market. Industry observers and enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the response of these brands as they strive to fill the void left by Hasselblad’s departure. Time will reveal whether these developments bring forth innovative advancements or significant shifts in the competitive dynamics of the DSLR space.

But are DSLR cameras really dead?

The future of DSLR cameras seems to hang in the balance, with their dominance slowly waning in the photography world. While neither Canon nor Nikon have explicitly announced the discontinuation of DSLR cameras, their actions and statements suggest a shift in focus towards mirrorless technology, leaving DSLRs on uncertain ground.

Nikon’s strategic direction speaks volumes as they openly express their commitment to mirrorless cameras. This commitment becomes evident when we examine the lack of noteworthy developments in the DSLR arena, painting a clear picture of where their priorities lie.

Although Canon and Nikon still offer DSLR cameras and lenses for purchase, it’s important to note that the latest additions to their product line are the Canon EOS 1DX Mark III and Nikon D780, both introduced in the early months of 2020. This indicates a significant slowdown in new DSLR releases, hinting at a potential shift towards other technologies.

The mirrorless camera era

As we observe the progress made by Canon and Nikon in their respective mirrorless camera systems, it becomes evident that both companies are approaching a significant milestone of five years. With the introduction of the Canon RF lens mount for Canon EOS R cameras and the Nikon Z lens mount for Nikon Z cameras, they have solidified their commitment to the mirrorless revolution. It is clear that both manufacturers have fully embraced this technology, going all-in on mirrorless and expanding their lineup to include mirrorless versions of their renowned DSLR cameras.

In this landscape, one might wonder about the fate of Pentax, the lone torchbearer of the Pentax DSLR cameras under the ownership of Ricoh. Admittedly, there has been a glimmer of hope with the release of the Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome, an updated version of the K-3 Mark III featuring a black-and-white sensor. However, this modest release aside, Pentax has taken a different direction altogether, delving into the resurging market of film photography. While DSLRs struggle to compete with the advancements offered by mirrorless cameras, film photography presents an entirely different and trending market that Pentax is keen to explore. Consequently, it seems unlikely that we should anticipate any significant Pentax DSLR activity in the foreseeable future.

What future holds for DSLR

Nevertheless, even though production has ceased or significantly diminished for many DSLR models, this does not render them obsolete by any means. DSLRs continue to deliver exceptional photo and video quality, making them highly sought after in the secondhand market. While acquiring a brand-new DSLR may become increasingly challenging, those interested in obtaining one can still find a treasure trove of Canon, Nikon, and Pentax DSLRs in the secondhand market. In fact, this could solidify the position of DSLRs as the go-to choice for photographers in the secondhand market for the foreseeable future. So, while the DSLR market may lack groundbreaking innovations, it is poised to retain its prominence as the preferred option for discerning photographers seeking quality equipment.

The market landscape is evolving, and photographers are increasingly gravitating towards mirrorless options, drawn to their innovative features and versatility. This shift doesn’t necessarily render DSLR cameras dead, but it does cast a shadow of uncertainty over their future relevance in a world that craves cutting-edge technolog

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