Dronemaker DJI has reportedly acquired a majority stake in historic Swedish camera company Hasselblad. The news was first reported by photography site The Luminous Landscape, with TechCrunch confirming the story based on testimonies from “multiple industry insiders.” DJI first bought a minority stake in Hasselblad in 2015, but when asked about the news, told The Verge: “We have no further news about DJI's partnership with Hasselblad. We will continue to work together to push forward world-class imaging to creators around the world.”
But buying a majority ownership of shares in Hasselblad would make sense for DJI. Although it’s already the dominant player in the drone industry, it would benefit from Hasselblad’s technology and its brand to further increase its appeal to professional photographers.
Hasselblad was first founded in 1941 and is a familiar name to any camera fan. For decades, the company has made high-quality gear responsible for any number of iconic images, including the Beatles’ Abbey Road cover and that famous black-and-white Steve Jobs portrait. Most notably, in 1969, it was 12 modified Hasselblad cameras that were used to record the historic Apollo moon landing.
The company’s business seems to have faltered in the digital age though, with ownership of the firm changing hands twice since 2003. But that hasn’t stopped it producing stunning cameras in recent years, including the H6D (a $27,000 monster build for studio shoots) and the X1D (the world’s first mirrorless camera with a medium format sensor).
Since DJI acquired a minority stake in Hasselblad, the two companies have collaborated on a specialist photography package for drones: bundling together DJI’s M600 hexacopter with Hasselblad’s A5D aerial camera. If the drone maker’s majority stake in Hasselblad is confirmed we can expect more of these sorts of products, and although the news is definitely a symbol of major shifts in power in the photography industry, it could also keep Hasselblad’s technology — and its legacy — relevant.