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Author Topic: Hasselblad point of view/BJP  (Read 9059 times)
mcfoto
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« on: July 13, 2009, 04:04:39 AM »
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Exclusive: After Franke & Heidecke's closure, open system is a thing of the past, says Hasselblad's CEO

Franke & Heidecke’s closure and the recent consolidation in the medium format camera market could spell the end of open systems, Hasselblad’s CEO Christian Poulsen tells BJP

Almost 90 years after its launch, the Germany-based medium format camera maker Franke & Heidecke is to close its doors, bringing into question the future of countless companies such as Leaf and Sinar.

This recent development, as well as Phase One’s acquisition of Leaf’s assets, could mark the end of the open system as we know it, says Hasselblad’s CEO Christian Poulsen in an exclusive interview with BJP.

In 2006, Hasselblad was the first medium format camera player to lock out competitor backs from its H3 camera. This decision led to a partnership between Jenoptic, Sinar and Franke & Heidecke to develop a new 6x6 digital camera body, which would be released under the Sinar Hy6 and Leaf AFi brand names.

Affordability
‘I think that Canon and Nikon for quite some time have proved that the way to go to make better and more affordable cameras is to make a complete camera system - not just a camera back on a camera body,’ Poulsen tells BJP. ‘We at Hasselblad saw this trend quite some time ago, and have made a huge effort to make the Hasselblad H3D.’

Poulsen thinks that ‘all the talk about open system and the advantages of such a system is meaningless.’
He continues: ‘I don’t think there are any open and at the same time modern systems left. Phase One is claiming they are in favour of such a system but they still have a completely closed software system if you own any other camera back than a Phase One back. Probably one should think that opening Capture One would be a really good thing if you are so “open minded”. The rest of the camera system seems also to be closed for the rest of us. Open for Phase One apparently means open when it is to their benefit.’

Phase One manufactures digital camera backs and has one medium format camera system – the Phase One 645 – using technology from Mamiya. The latter is majority-owned by Phase One.

Poulsen also comments on Phase One’s recent takeover of Leaf’s assets. Last month, Phase One confirmed rumours of an impending wave of consolidation in the medium format camera market by agreeing to form a new company, Leaf Imaging Ltd, which will purchase Leaf’s assets and enter into an intellectual property licence with Eastman Kodak Company.

‘Regarding Phase One taking over some of the Leaf employees and some of the Leaf technology, this could be seen as an attempt to save Leaf, but it could also be an attempt to pretend that there is still an “open” camera back market left,’ says Poulsen. ‘I think there is a good chance that Capture One will be the new software platform for Leaf users, which will lock the Leaf users into a new closed software platform.’
Finally, Poulsen also addressed Sinar’s position, which appears grim as the company, which markets the Hy6 based on technology provided by Franke & Heidecke. ‘I think the Hy6 will be too costly and take too long for anyone to make this platform a competitive full blown solution, with all the lenses and accessories available,’ he says. ‘But, let’s see.’

Evolve
He adds: ‘At the end of the day what matters is not whether somebody makes open or closed platforms but who makes the best camera systems, and continues to develop them, so that photographers around the world can take full advantage of their system components while also seeing the system evolve and continue to keep its state of the art performance.’

For more on the impact of Franke & Heidecke’s closure, check next week’s issue of BJP.

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Denis Montalbetti
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mcfoto
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2009, 04:22:52 AM »
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I will be first to throw in my opinion & when it comes to Phase/Capture One being a closed software. For MFD they support their own like everyone ( Hasselblad, Sinar & Leaf ), with Leaf maybe Phase will support Leaf backs with Capture One which would be smart. However where Phase is really smart in offering Capture One to Canon & Nikon users. When I talk to digital operators most of them prefer Capture One. At the moment we don't own a digital back & a friend of mine just bought C1 for his Canon which we did a few months ago. In terms of money that is $800.00 USD in Phase Ones pocket ($400x2) & if we where to use a digital back (rental or purchase we would both go for Phase) , the reason being why learn another program. C1 is the best program we have ever used & we have  used it with Canon & just recently with the DF/65+.
Denis
« Last Edit: July 13, 2009, 11:32:58 AM by mcfoto » Logged

Denis Montalbetti
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2009, 07:18:03 AM »
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He is a smart man. I've heard him speak. The only question to me is, whether there will be enough medium format users left to support two, (or even one), medium format company as Canon and Nikon continue to introduce incredibly innovative feature sets. Let's face it, MF is important to many of us here, but in the grand scheme of market share, we are a tiny gnat on the back of Canon and Nikon share. That is the issue. Are there enough users here paying full retail for new MF products, that will pay for continued R&D? Personally, I do not think so. (You see a lot of guys buying MF still, but many are looking for good deals on used; how many are paying retail/new?)  

My prediction: Sinar will fail; Leica might fail; Hasselblad and Phase will limp along for another three-five years in some form, and then Canon, Nikon, Sony, Red become the new players. I am honestly surprised that Apple has not introduced their own model of camera; who knows, maybe the iPhone will evolve. (Hint: the secret is video/combo; not megapixels/stills).

I bought a 5D2 over the weekend. My jaw dropped. Yes, it's a toy in some ways, and it's First Generation for the video, but give Canon another generation, and for $2700, it's going to make even a $30k Hasselblad or Phase look like an Edsel. The feature set in a 5D2 is just mindblowing, and ease of use is off the charts. And this, spoken by a guy that hates 35 and loves medium format. But anyone would be a fool to not see what's going on around them. 35 is to MF, what Digital was to E6. The train is coming down the tracks.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2009, 07:19:35 AM by gwhitf » Logged
tho_mas
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2009, 07:35:18 AM »
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It's very interessting that Mr. Poulsen has a lot to say about Phase and actually has nothing to say about Hasselblad.
Reminds me of the "10 Golden Rules" in Marketing:
- if you are number 1, don't talk about the competition
- if you are number 2, attack number 1 offensively
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SeanBK
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2009, 08:02:34 AM »
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Quote from: tho_mas
It's very interessting that Mr. Poulsen has a lot to say about Phase and actually has nothing to say about Hasselblad.
Reminds me of the "10 Golden Rules" in Marketing:
- if you are number 1, don't talk about the competition
- if you are number 2, attack number 1 offensively
Beg to differ with you. Mr. Poulsen DID say Hasselblad IS a closed system, since H3D and he has no regrets @ it. He & Hassey are quite happy with their decision to do so. He also addressrd the stand Phase, our own Michael R (of L-L) & other users of Phase have said often that Phase is open system & they strongly support & promote Phase One's thinking, yet via Capture One they are locking others out. They are also corraling the Canon/nikon users, who may defect to M.F. Good business probably but certainely not high, mighty & nothing "Open" @ that business practice by Phase One. Overall I get the impression from this interview is "Ha!!, I told you so, " He seems to be singing Elton John's song - "I am still standing. ya, ya, ya" .  
  Seems like he indeed is having a last laugh, at least to me.    I am sure I will be slaughtered for having uttered that infamous words that Phase's may be running a great race but still is second.
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Guy Mancuso
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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2009, 08:05:06 AM »
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Also forgot to mention anything of Phocus which is a one way street for software, Hassy need only apply here. Not one mention of new Hassy product or any of it's success stories as well. He maybe smart but those comments and leaving out anything Hassy just sounds like a attack. If your going to open your mouth than promote your product and to actually say we locked everyone out with the H3 system seems in bad taste. Whatever really does not matter just seemed kind of odd the whole interview when he had a chance to really say something very positive about there system and the way it works plus add a few tidbits about Hassy's future or at least word the whole thing better. Seemed like sour grapes in the end. Frankly it's a nice system and would have liked to hear more about Hassy's future if anything
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tho_mas
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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2009, 08:12:41 AM »
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Quote from: SeanBK
yet via Capture One they are locking others out.
half true. Converted to DNG you can edit all files in C1. That there is no direct support of other MFDB's files and tethered shooting is somehow understandable.
However, Phase still supports even discontinued cameras (Contax) and nearly all DSLRs. Phase would have supported the AFi/Hy6 as well... but appearently there was no interesst by Sinar/Leaf/F&H...
What else than Hasselblad products is supported by Hasselblad?

Quote
I am sure I will be slaughtered for having uttered that infamous words that Phase's may be running a great race but still is second.
:-) no, I don't care

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Dustbak
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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2009, 08:24:31 AM »
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Quote from: tho_mas
half true. Converted to DNG you can edit all files in C1. That there is no direct support of other MFDB's files and tethered shooting is somehow understandable.
However, Phase still supports even discontinued cameras (Contax) and nearly all DSLRs. Phase would have supported the AFi/Hy6 as well... but appearently there was no interesst by Sinar/Leaf/F&H...
What else than Hasselblad products is supported by Hasselblad?

 :-) no, I don't care


I think Poulsen is preaching to the choir, as everyone else in this industry seems to be doing including P1. I use Hasselblad but believe there still is a long way to go in some areas. The statement Hasselblad supports only Hasselblad is kind of ridiculous considering the CF line. The only body you cannot use is the Hy6 which is exactly the same as P1. Now I do agree, this line should be updated with a CF50 (and eventually CF60) with a bigger screen (if possible), etc...

All in all, each system has some serious flaws and drawbacks instead of gazing at their bellies and each other both parties should be using more energy addressing them. I hope both realize they need each other at this point and that they are NOT each others main competitors! Cooperation between P1 & Hasselblad might be just the thing that is more in order at this stage in history if both want to survive eventually but naturally that is just my opinion.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2009, 08:26:52 AM by Dustbak » Logged
Guy Mancuso
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2009, 08:31:47 AM »
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I agree Hassy and Phase we actually need in the industry and the loss of anyone in this market is not a good thing for the end users period. Hammering about F&H, Sinar and leaf is frankly just bad taste and I worked in corporate communications not as a writer but a shooter and I know the company I worked for this would have never left the office door the way this was worded, lawyers would have been all over this with editing and deleting. Let your product do the talking not some CEO on how bad the competition may or not be.
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bradleygibson
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2009, 08:34:37 AM »
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Hmmm...

First of all, the Hy6 was 'open' as long as you wanted a Leaf or Sinar.  (And the Model T was available in any color you wanted, as long as it was black.)  That's not my definition of 'open'.  In fact, I agree with many who have commented that the Hy6 would have had far higher sales if that truly had been open, and allowed Phase and Hasselblad freely onto the platform.

Second, Hasselblad has gone out of their way to prevent other back manufacturers from operating on their cameras, gotten a bit of a black eye for doing so, and is now spinning the F&H situation to try to say that it was "the system's openness that killed it.  See?"  Not buying it.  See point #1, above.

As someone who owned a Hy6 and sold it primarily because he found the back to be suitable, allow me to point out that I'd probably still be on the system, buying lenses, etc., had it offered me my choice of backs.

Sorry, Mr. Poulsen, the lesson we should be taking away here is that we customers still want choice.

-Brad
« Last Edit: July 13, 2009, 08:36:45 AM by bradleygibson » Logged

gwhitf
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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2009, 08:45:49 AM »
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Quote from: bradleygibson
Sorry, Mr. Poulsen, the lesson we should be taking away here is that we customers still want choice.

-Brad

Bullshit. What if one of YOUR customers came to you and said "We want you to shoot the job, but we want XXX to light it and art direct it and compose it"?

How would you feel? You'd tell them to take a hike, wouldn't you?

So your business, and everyone else's here (that actually does this for a living, which seems quite small) is as "closed" as Hasselblad/Canon/Nikon/Red is. Paulsen was simply confirming that "closed" works, if producing a reliable system is what's important. Because you can control all the details. More power to him.

My business is "closed" and I'm damn proud of it. You hire me -- I control the shoot. I'd bet you'd want the same.

You guys are asking the unachievable, in today's business climate. This is not some Junkyard, where you wade thru it and build your own car out of random parts. It's simply too complicated, electronically, and workflow-wise. Look how complicated it is, even in a closed system -- there are still faults and issues, even when you control every detail.

You guys are simply dreaming.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2009, 08:48:59 AM by gwhitf » Logged
bradleygibson
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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2009, 08:51:55 AM »
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You're confusing the customer's desires with those of the business.

There will obviously always be a tension.  But one has to manage the tension carefully.

And it's not hard to see there will be different demands in terms of flexibility on a multinational corporation when selling one product into all those markets (say, the H3D II), than there are for a photographer's studio.

-Brad
« Last Edit: July 13, 2009, 10:48:26 AM by bradleygibson » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2009, 08:59:24 AM »
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Quote from: Guy Mancuso
Also forgot to mention anything of Phocus which is a one way street for software, Hassy need only apply here. Not one mention of new Hassy product or any of it's success stories as well. He maybe smart but those comments and leaving out anything Hassy just sounds like a attack. If your going to open your mouth than promote your product and to actually say we locked everyone out with the H3 system seems in bad taste. Whatever really does not matter just seemed kind of odd the whole interview when he had a chance to really say something very positive about there system and the way it works plus add a few tidbits about Hassy's future or at least word the whole thing better. Seemed like sour grapes in the end. Frankly it's a nice system and would have liked to hear more about Hassy's future if anything





Quote from: tho_mas
half true. Converted to DNG you can edit all files in C1. That there is no direct support of other MFDB's files and tethered shooting is somehow understandable.
However, Phase still supports even discontinued cameras (Contax) and nearly all DSLRs. Phase would have supported the AFi/Hy6 as well... but appearently there was no interesst by Sinar/Leaf/F&H...
What else than Hasselblad products is supported by Hasselblad?

 :-) no, I don't care


a couple of observations:  we have no idea as to the full scope of what bjp asked of poulsen and what they chose to publish.  while they talk of an exclusive interview, the article reads more like a few choice comments which they dropped into an article, the full context of which we have no frame of reference, rather than what most of us would have expected from the normal far reaching "exclusives" business leaders often give.  secondly, i think you have to look at both phase's and hassey's histories in order to understand why they do or don't do certain things like software.  while they have ended up sitting across the same table, the route they each took to get there is decidedly different. .    
in terms of closed systems,  if you look at the two largest  closed camera systems- canon and nikon, neither supports competitors raw formats.
while it is true that to the end user it all may be image processing software, camera companies, dedicated back makers and those who offer third party software solutions had/have different views and priorities.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2009, 09:07:05 AM by canmiya » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2009, 01:27:29 PM »
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Does it strike anyone as odd at how passive-aggressive this CEO seemed in an on-the-record interview?  I know that Hasselblad has caught hell from the photo wonk community for going totally closed with hardware/software, but defensiveness communicates weakness, and any public voice for a company would know that.  

Maybe the reporter was just badgering him about the "closed" issue, and he has a short fuse for a Swede.  But it was odd in that he didnt really provide a substantive argument for Hasselblad, not against Phase One.  It was just sort of snarky.
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Nick_T
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« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2009, 02:53:12 PM »
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Quote from: cjmonty
for a Swede.


Dane.
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Guy Mancuso
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« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2009, 02:59:45 PM »
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Not so sure these questions being asked are not asked in advance and just replied too. Sounds like he is reading a script but I have to agree as i said before his responses certainly don't come from a corporate lawyers office. Not that I care or any of us should we already know the answers to all of this anyway. It's like I told you so talk.
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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2009, 03:09:04 PM »
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P1 have C1 which is the gateway (for those who want to use it)  to the multitude of 35MM systems - this seems like it might be more viable in the future than MFDB's - esp w/ MS at your side...hmmmm....
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tmx3
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2009, 03:42:03 PM »
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I'd question what  a closed system refers to - this is clearly viewed from a H vs phase pov without consideration to other options.  For instance if I buy a technical camera I can choose which manufactureers back to put on it- i can choose which lenses, and which shutter. THis is an open system - i cherry pick based on my needs. There are advantages to a system that suits my photographic needs that (in this example ) could not be provided by hasselblad canon or nikon (and the hasselblad tilt shift lens does not offer the same flexibility as a technical camera no matter what hasselblads sales reps might suggest). From this interview I am even less inclined to buy into hasselblad- this guy is a tedious bore at best. Its not that i think phase are a wonderful company I just think they are to date more customer friendly than hasselblad. C1 is more open in terms of the camera market as a whole - I don't think this should be thought of purely in terms of MFDB. As for the red/sony thing - yes things ar egoing to change but the whole red thing is becoming a bit of a bore. Equally I cant imagine people who have invested in nikon/canon buying into sony (maybe this wasnt yr point i dont know). The amusing this about this guys pathetic rant is i've seen countless phase backs on 500 series cameras yet never a hasselblad on one.
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ThierryH
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« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2009, 04:52:47 PM »
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In what?

As a back manufacturer: certainly/possibly.

As a camera systems manufacturer/provider: I would not be that categorical. That has always been the core business for Sinar and on that they should concentrate (again).

Thierry

Quote from: gwhitf
My prediction: Sinar will fail ...
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2009, 07:11:10 PM »
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Quote from: mcfoto
Poulsen thinks that ‘all the talk about open system and the advantages of such a system is meaningless.’
He continues: ‘I don’t think there are any open and at the same time modern systems left. Phase One is claiming they are in favour of such a system but they still have a completely closed software system if you own any other camera back than a Phase One back. Probably one should think that opening Capture One would be a really good thing if you are so “open minded”. The rest of the camera system seems also to be closed for the rest of us. Open for Phase One apparently means open when it is to their benefit.’


Quote from: bradleygibson
Second, Hasselblad has gone out of their way to prevent other back manufacturers from operating on their cameras...

Mr. Poulsen, a good and honest guy from everything I know about him, defines 'open' and 'closed' very differently than I do. Here are my definitions:
 - 'Closed' systems are designed to actively/purposefully prevent compatibility
 - 'Open' systems don't restrict compatibility and provide reasonable methods for others to participate

Does keeping a system open prevent simple and reliable operation? I think that is a marketing myth. As evidence: Capture One is used for a majority of Canon/Nikon tethered shoots.

Closed - Hasselblad took the H2 body, added firmware code that prevents it's operation unless a Hasslelblad back was attached, and called it the H2F. There was no technical reason to do this; they actively/purposefully prevented compatibility.

Open - Capture One is open and directly supports almost all dSLRs, all Phase backs, and the Mamiya ZD. They also provide reasonable methods for other companies to participate by providing DNG reading/writing support as well as Hot Folder support. These compatibility features allow tethering of cameras other than Canon/Nikon/Phase and adjustment/editing/organization/processing of any other camera maker.

Doug Peterson
Head of Technical Services, Capture Integration, Phase One Dealer
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