Hasselblad’s $48,000 digital camera that’s ‘future proof’ 


Consumers routinely pay hundreds of dollars (or $1000 at the top end) for smartphones with increasingly advanced photo capabilities.

So is $48,000 for a digital camera asking too much?

Sweden-based Hasselblad, the maker of luxury cameras that easily cost four figures, doesn’t believe so. The latest iteration of its multi-shot camera, called the H6D-400c MS, employs technology that produces extremely detailed 400 megapixel (MP) images. The photo quality of the H6D-400c has sparked rave reviews among hard-core camera aficionados. By comparison, a high-end iPhone 8 or X – which boast high resolution photos – captures 12 MP shots.

Still, the H6D-400c isn’t really designed with the mass market consumer in mind. Rather than selfies, Instagrammable food shots or leisure photos, Hasselblad representatives told CNBC the ultra high-end camera has a special niche market with cultural institutions. Museums, libraries and other organizations need cameras that capture high-quality images to archive priceless manuscripts, works of art and jewelry.

All of which raises the question of why any photography professional – or amateur shutterbugs with deep pockets, for that matter – would find a need to pay a small fortune for a camera, particularly in a world where tech-savvy smartphones seem to be cannibalizing high-end cameras.

The dire state of the digital market would suggest that consumers are turning to their smartphones instead of pricey lenses. According to recent figures from the Camera & Imaging Products Association, worldwide digital camera shipments are down more than 20 percent in January through July of this year versus the comparable time frame in 2017.

With Apple’s latest lineup of iPhones set to be revealed this week, CNBC recently reached out to Hasselblad to discuss how the company intends to “future proof” its line of high-end cameras. Below are excerpts from that exchange:

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