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Monday, 09 January 2017


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I was for a moment surprised to learn that you occasionally visit Switzerland, until I realized there are several not so famous places named "Geneva".

In terms of cameras, it's an interesting (and perhaps inevitable) development that the Chinese are now creating respected consumer brands such as DJI. Hopefully they can develop Hasselblad in a positive direction.

Well if I had that much loose change I'd have that beautiful thing in a heartbeat.
Always loved my 645 and I would treasure the 645 Z that just looks exactly the right size!

Regarding the new digital medium format systems featuring the similar-sized sensors as found in the Pentax 645Z, the mirror-less Hassy and the new Fuji: If money were no object, and the lens choices were relatively equal, I'd much rather tote that cute little Hasselblad. I'm looking forward to the field tests and sample images promised for later this summer. I might even invest in a Powerball ticket then, on the off chance that . . .

Interesting, Chinese immigrants running a sushi place! Here in LA, I see Korean families running Thai restaurants, Mexican immigrants serving Italian, etc. ... we live in a crazy/cool melting pot.

My parents owned a "Chinese hand laundry" (so stereotypical, right?). I used to go from time to time, from toddler through high school. Now when I reflect back, with my own children, I wonder how they did it ...

Send my best wishes to Tommy and Yuki. Sorry to hear that the restaurant they work in is closing down.

[Hi Art, All I know of them is what I could glean from a very friendly conversation through dinner--I was alone at the sushi bar and we all got to talking. I don't think they "run" or own the restaurant, though--the sushi chef, Tommy, has only worked there for a few months, he told me. --Mike]

Sushi places are usually run by Japanese. Korean, Taiwanese Chinese, and "other" Chinese.

Strictly speaking as a Chinese-American, that's the order of preference for me. Indeed, I would avoid the last one on the list ;-)

As for medium format cameras, we do live in exciting times!! Since it's way beyond my budget, I can watch it unfolded like a "Camera War, Part XII" or something.

Like Oskar I was momentarily excited to think you've joined the international jet-setting crowd Mike. I thought perhaps you'd found a wealthy patron.

Looking at Google maps I see you're only a short distance from Dresden, Dundee, Naples, Genoa, Bath, Berkshire, Bristol and Middlesex, Clyde, and Moravia. Slightly further afield is Rome and New Berlin. Even Sidney, though they misspelt it. You could moonlight as a travel writer.

Nor sure I'd want to visit Horseheads though. Doesn't sound appetising at all.

The best commentary on DJI-Hasselblad:


Best Regards,


I think it's a mistake to see this tie-up in terms of putting Hasselblads into consumer toys.

Drones are already taking over professional aerial and mast-based photography, and new uses for top-down and oblique imagery are under vigourous development everywhere. Mapping cameras and photogrammetry have always used the highest resolution possible, because even the very best photographic tools and analyses are a small part of the overall financial and opportunity cost of getting into the air. National mapping and reconnaissance agencies won't be dumping their Leica Geosystems kit, but there plenty of civilian applications where savings on, say, helicopter time are so dramatic that what hobbyists think of as the high price of an MF camera is actually a drop in the bucket.

There are already companies here in Europe here offering farmers remote sensing-style analysis of drone footage of their crops. The results used to program and control GPS-aware fertiliser spreaders and harvesters. In this kind of application, MF imagers don't just provide better spatial resolution, their better spectral resolution aids image analysis too.

So to me, the DJI tie-up makes perfect sense. Hasselblad get a cash-rich owner/investor who is actually interested in cameras. DJI brings in-house the products, expertise and technology it needs for developing non-commodity drone applications. Win-win. I'm just hoping the some of the crumbs from the table fall into my lap.

PS. I remember as a child hearing standardised sneers about 'Jap-crap' – and later, as a STEM student, about how the Japanese only churned out imitations and would never innovate for themselves. The xenophobe-lite hubris was loudest at exactly the point when the Japanese were most vigourously proving how totally superior their methods were to Western models of production engineering and product innovation. Now the self-proclaimed experts are sneering at DJI because they are Chinese, and because some of their consumer products aim at a low price point. It's a sour-tasting kind of deja-vu.

About Tommy an Yuki, it's really sad (and crazy, come to think about it) that the people that wants to 'keep America for americans' (or any other country) all come from immigrant ancestors. We all do!

About the Chinese Hasselblad, I think medium format is the natural place for mirrorless. That big exposed sensor will be always clean and protected from the elements in a studio, where those cameras are likely to be used for the better part of their lives.
With the X1D you could argue about the rather small selection of autofocus and expensive native lenses, but at that price range I don't think thats a real issue.
And the supposedly inmortal Pentax mount has the same problem.

The best internet commentary on DJI-Hasselblad:


Best Regards,


Hassy X1D = Sony NEX/A6x00. A groundbreaking form-factor-changer from a company that seemed to be heading slowly to the graveyard of camera history re-dressing Sony NEX cameras in lumber.

Good for Hassy! I really hope they succeed in their new life.

The interesting point of this whole thing is that VMCap elected NOT to finance this. Financing this sort of expansion is precisely their reason for existence.

This signals something, but it's not clear what. Hasselblad has succeeded at something, but apparently not something VMCap is interested in building out, which begs the question "What was VMCap looking for here?"

On the up side, what VMCap is unwilling to fund, and what DJI is willing to fund, appears to be precisely what the enthusiasts want to see. More, better, semi-affordable cameras. Precisely what Hasselblad was up to decades ago.



I thought you might like this


Let me make your Mandarin progress one more step..

Nǐ hǎo is the correct Pinyin romanization of 你好, but the proper pronunciation is in fact Ní hǎo (spot the change in the tone of the first word).

The reason for this is called regressive assimilation, the impact on a given word of the sound of the subsequent word. In Mandarin, a third-tone (rising-falling) cannot be followed by another third-tone, (try pronouncing it without feeling seasick...). So the first third-tone becomes a rising tone (a.k.a second-tone) instead.

The reason why Ventizz chose NOT to fund the fresh injection of capital seems clear. Ventizz is a private equity fund that invested in Hasselblad almost 6 years ago now. The general investment horizon for PE firms is 5 years. From everything we know, this has not been a smooth ride for Ventizz...lots of missteps. Now, the future suddenly looks very promising with the X1D project. However, the road ahead is not without commercial and financial risk. So, Ventizz has little appetite for doubling down on its investment in Hasselblad, and declined the opportunity to put more cash into it. (The Ventizz fund may also be tapped out on capital from its limited partners if the fund is at the end of its life.) So, here is DJI, a wunderkind in its market, that as a strategic invrstor has a totally different time horizon, serious financial resources, and presumably a vision for how it can make money with Hasselblad by integrating its technology and expertise into its core business. Perfect! A current owner that wants out and a new owner that wants in, both for compelling reasons. We don't know for sure, but it is quite possible that the delays in the X1D have been a byproduct of some protracted negotiations over the past 6-12 months between DJI and Ventizz. In any event, this has the potential to be great news for photographers who want a wide range of choices in high end camera systems.

Also about Nǐ hǎo (你好): While this Mandarin "hello" is now well known to many people that are not speaking Chinese, Nín Hao (您好)is obscure. Nín means Nǐ with respect, and is used when you want or have to show your respect when addressing someone, particularly the elders. It is also common in China to address a mentor, a leader, a customer or a stranger with a comparable age with Nín instead of Nǐ. As a Chinese working in the US for over ten years, I had quite a few occasions being greeted with Nǐ Hao. When the greeting came from a small kid, it should actually be Nín Hao. If I was to greet Mike with Chinese, sure I would say Nín Hao. If we would become friends so close that the gaps in age (and accomplishments) would no longer be in our mind, I could change Nín to Nǐ.

As an American kid I only had Halloween and TV's "Creature Features" to deal with. I still worried about monsters under the bed. Little Leo's culture seems to have good ghosts, bad ghosts, ghost days, ghost months, and ghost festivals. If my family's oral tradition was riddled with ghosts, I'd be serious about em too.

I don't know but let me do a bit old politics about Chinese and Hassey. The communist Chinese loved Hassey. There were only three Hasseblad camera during the Chinese culture revolution, one by Mao's wife who is a photographer. Just like up to 2016 they cannot even produce the ball in the ball pen (details are more complicated let us not go there), Chinese can never be able to produce this precision camera. But we are talking about Mao's wife here. She has to have these camera but it would be a bit strange to use foreign "bad" culture influence. Hence they did produce a few copy call Dong Feng. But I suspect if you see any photo, they are using Hasselblad instead.

Given them a chance they will buy the company.

Love to see whether they can copy the technology and produce some.

BTW, I suspect you are talking about Putonghua not mandarin.

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