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Author Topic: What's Hasselblad's Strategy?  (Read 6700 times)
Mark D Segal
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« on: September 26, 2008, 06:49:32 PM »
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Michael,

Very interesting development and thanks for bringing it to our attention. I'd be somewhat less uncomfortable about the future health of the MF niche than you indicate here. So gazing into the economists' proverbial crystal ball (OK, let's set aside all that Wall St. stuff for a few moments including the economist jokes):

Firstly, one must assume that a firm like Hasselblad wouldn't be trying to price themselves out of existence. There must be a strategy behind this move, and I think that faced with these new ultra-high resolution DSLRs, it is basically to carve out a new market niche - call it "MF-lite" if you will, which would sit between "MF-regular" and Hi-res DSLR. They'd be trading on the photographers' quest for a combination of both many megapixels and larger photosites at a more accessible price point.

Even if the market were initially small, whatever their fixed costs - and much of the price probably is fixed cost, if they were to double their sales they halve the fixed costs and that can have a big impact on price while preserving revenue. It all depends on the time-old relationship between costs on the one hand, and the relationship between price changes and volume changes, which in economics jargon we call "elasticity of demand" (zingg!..........).

No question it's a gamble, but in business as you know, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and they've probably done their market research.

If my hunch were right and they are creating a new niche at a lower price point, this could pressure, but not necessarily wreck, the few remaining players. They will probably have to be specialised in yet higher end product which will still appeal to those who want or need the highest-end gear money can buy (or in other words, a price-inelastic high-end segment). Sure, Hasselblad's move could put some pressure on their overall price structures regardless of product differentiation, but perhaps we don't really know what the current margins in this industry are, and therefore how much value dilution they can afford to absorb before it really starts to bite.

Hard to say how it will shake it out in reality, but perhaps the MF industry can survive some price competition while giving consumers better value and more variety. It will always be a small, tight market at stratospheric prices, so perhaps this will all start to loosen-up - as it should with technical change, which generally expands markets and reduces costs.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2008, 07:15:23 PM »
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Firstly, one must assume that a firm like Hasselblad wouldn't be trying to price themselves out of existence. There must be a strategy behind this move, and I think that faced with these new ultra-high resolution DSLRs, it is basically to carve out a new market niche - call it "MF-lite" if you will, which would sit between "MF-regular" and Hi-res DSLR. They'd be trading on the photographers' quest for a combination of both many megapixels and larger photosites at a more accessible price point.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=224764\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Mark,

I believe that it is not only about introducing a cheaper niche between DSLR and high end.

Their new 60+ MP back is announced to be 8000 US$ cheaper than the equivalent back from Phase one, the P65+. Their analysis of the marketplace seems to be showing that Phaseone went over the board this time with the price of the P65+. Why would they not price their 60MP back at the same level if they thought it would sell?

Finally, is this really a pro-active move, or is it a quick reaction to something that is going to happen in the coming months and that they have just anticipated better than the other guys? The game now appears to be "let's have as many people as possible joining our platform before some more disruption occurs"...

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: September 26, 2008, 07:38:49 PM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2008, 07:56:48 PM »
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Hi Bernard,

Also very likely if they are competing on similar quality and features. But then it becomes all the more important for the industry as a whole that lower prices really pump volume.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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GregW
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2008, 08:09:16 PM »
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What's Hasselblads's strategy? I don't think there is a strategy, not yet anyway. I agree with you Mark,  their decisions will have been taken with great care and a lot of information. I just think this is their first move and not the full strategy.

Hasselblad will need time to develop and implement a new strategy. I think they are simply buying themselves the time to do so. The game is changing so fast it would be easy to make a very costly mistake. I've observed exactly same behavior in many businesses.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2008, 08:14:02 PM by GregW » Logged
John Camp
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2008, 08:16:09 PM »
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The 5DII and similar cameras are going to cause trouble. Even if they don't have the DR range of the MF cameras, the resolution is getting to the point where most people would have trouble distinguishing them on a printed page, i.e. almost any advertising forum. I have heard this so often that I kind of believe it: that you have to double the pixels to get a noticeable  change in IQ. If that's so, then you need at least 42 to get that advantage over a 21. A 39 might do it, but a 31 wouldn't...and any subtle difference would probably be lost after high-speed printing...  

Then there's the upcoming Leica S2 and the BIG Nikon, whatever that is, which may be some kind of relatively inexpensive rangefinder-type camera with a larger-than-35 chip...I don't know that, of course, but Nikon is already advertising in wedding photographers' magazines, which suggests to me that the camera is probably some kind of medium format, and some kind of inexpensive, and some kind of relatively high ISO. Like what you might get if you more or less put two D700 chips side-by-side... 8-)

So Hassy may be going for survival, here. Or maybe they're just really nice guys who want to improve the world.

JC
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2008, 08:27:00 PM »
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Or maybe they're just really nice guys who want to improve the world.
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That would be my bet as well.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2008, 10:21:48 PM »
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The 5DII and similar cameras are going to cause trouble. Even if they don't have the DR range of the MF cameras, the resolution is getting to the point where most people would have trouble distinguishing them on a printed page, i.e. almost any advertising forum. I have heard this so often that I kind of believe it: that you have to double the pixels to get a noticeable  change in IQ. If that's so, then you need at least 42 to get that advantage over a 21. A 39 might do it, but a 31 wouldn't...and any subtle difference would probably be lost after high-speed printing... 


JC
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=224792\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm not so sure. There is often a noticeable difference of image quality from MF - most likely due to pixel size - over and above the resolution per se.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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NikosR
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2008, 01:19:10 AM »
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I do believe that these are pre-emptive moves agaist the MF-format-ish Leica S2 and anything smilar that will surely be introduced in the future by other major players (Nikon MX?) rather than against anything current or future based on the 24x36mm format. I really don't believe that either the 5DII or the A900 or the future 1DSIV or D3X is their main target in their minds.

Both IQ differences and price differential (even after reductions) support my thinking.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2008, 01:21:04 AM by NikosR » Logged

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Jay Kaplan
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« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2008, 09:22:47 AM »
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Maybe they are buying market share. Get the customer into a "closed system" and then move them up the "food chain". It then becomes too expensive to change systems . Not unheard of in the market place.

If they can drive some of the other players out thru pricing, then they have more of the pie to themselves.

Jay
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Christopher
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2008, 03:44:32 PM »
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I really don't have a clue about US prices, but I did quite some digging and asking here in Germany, and the prices from Leaf, Phase and Hasselblad are not really far appart. As long as we look at the top end the difference for a total system isn't more than 2-3 thousend EURs. Even Phase a complete P65 system isn't more. What all of us have to think about are back prices + lens prices + how much of you really et from a dealer.

The real interesting part is that Hasselblad started to give options for people who are not willing to spend 20-30k. I think in this department a lot will join.
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