Swedish camera firm, Hassleblad, known for it’s collaboration with NASA (twelve of their cameras are still on the moon’s surface dating back to the 1960’s lunar explorations), has released a consumer-aimed model, the Stellar, a compact point-and-shoot for people who don’t want to bother with all the complex aperture settings and shutter speeds of an SLR.
Hassleblad has turned to Sony for the Stellar’s underlying technology, because beneath its handsome exterior lies almost the exact same camera as the Sony RX100. It features the same 20.2MP CMOS sensor and Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens, as well as the same screen (3.0-inch high-res TFT LCD), and same control setup. The RX100 being a great camera in its own right, this is no bad thing.
The main difference between the two can be seen in Hassleblad’s sleek design. The Stellar’s been given the full grooming treatment, with fancy extras such as a matte gold-coloured aluminium body, slick black packaging and a wide leather wrist strap – and the ergonomic wooden handgrip is a choice of either black carbon fibre, or one of five exotic woods: Padouk (from Africa & Asia and valued for its toughness), Olive wood (yellowish brown with variegated lustrous streaks), Zebrawood (one of Africa’s finest and commonly used by instrument makers), Mahogany (wood of choice for furniture makers), and Walnut (the traditional choice for rifle and shotgun stocks). All this ultimately means is that Hassleblad has created a seriously good looking camera.
It’s also a powerful one, with a 3.6x optical Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 28–100mm f/1.8–4.9 equivalent zoom lens, the Stellar shoots RAW still photos and video its HD 1080/60p video recording and Dolby Digital Stereo Creator, it has a wide ISO sensitivity range for low-light performance – and best of all it fits snugly in your pocket.
Price is between USD $1,600-$3,200 (depending on materials selected). www.hasselblad-stellar.com