Elegance in Action: Hasselblad Lunar and Stellar Digital Cameras


Mahogany, Padouk, Walnut… camera specs? For special-edition cameras made by Hasselblad—yes, they are. When the Hasselblad Lunar Mirrorless Digital Camera was delivered to my desk, even the box that housed its box impressed me. It opened like a fairy tale to reveal the gleaming black display case that will be the luxurious home to your camera while it’s not in use. Think of it as a tri-level penthouse with indoor garage. In fact, it’s closer in style to a jewelry box, and that is very appropriate, because the Lunar Mirrorless Digital Camera itself is embedded with costume jewels on the video Record button and the On/Off shutter lock button. This camera is a gem itself. It’s a unique camera in a beautiful case and will be a collector’s item. It affords serious digital camera specs, a range of compatible lenses, and is a pleasure to hold and use.

The top of the box opens with a silver latch to reveal the camera and lens nestled in black velvet, as well as the certified Italian leather strap. Two drawers below hold the necessary accessories and cables, including a lens hood, 8GB SDHC memory card, cleaning cloth, and metal lens and body caps, all adorned with the Hasselblad “H.” Of note in this collection of items are the included Lightroom 5 DVD and three anti-dust bags to provide further protection for your camera and lenses. Once these items are removed from their plastic bags and stored neatly, the drawers will be able to hold additional items, up to and including another small lens.

With the opening ceremonies complete, let’s take a look at the camera’s specs. A 24.3MP APS-C sensor enables high-resolution imaging, including 1080p video recording. ISO sensitivity runs to 16000 for still shooting and 3200 for video. This is an interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera and the included lens is the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens that provides the 35mm focal-length equivalence of 27-82.5mm, a versatile set of focal lengths for multiple applications. A built-in flash and a hot shoe mount are supported for flash work, and a powerful electronic viewfinder and 3.0" flip-up LCD monitor are available for composition and playback. A sensor registers when your eye is against the viewfinder and automatically turns on the EVF and switches off the LCD.

Nobody is hiding the fact that this camera shares the same sensor and many specs with the Sony NEX-7, but besides the elegant design of the Lunar and the presentation factor, what does being a Lunar really mean to a photographer? The body is more substantial than that of the NEX-7 and its spare, polished metal top plate is complemented by its simplified control dials. Despite the fact that there is no lettering on the dials, they navigate the menu easily and adjust with the smoothness and precision you would expect from Hasselblad.

The body benefits greatly from what is the most notable design element of the Lunar—the handgrip. It is large, curved to match your hand, and places your finger and thumb precisely on the buttons you need, including the one-touch video Record button. The hand-stitched leather construction is comfortable and provides secure one-handed control over the camera. While this is still a compact interchangeable-lens camera, the added size is welcome, as it provides more stability and an overall better feel while shooting. It’s also nicely balanced with the 18-55mm zoom lens and would certainly be more proportional with any longer lens you may attach. The Lunar, whose name recalls the Hasselblad cameras that were taken (and in some cases left) on the moon during the Apollo missions, is available with a Black Italian LeatherBrown Tuscan Leather, Carbon Fiber, or Mahogany grip.

Complementing the Lunar camera itself is a pair of additional lenses, the LF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS and the LF 16mm f/2.8. The 18-200mm is a 27-300mm equivalent all-in-one zoom featuring Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to minimize the appearance of camera shake. It features four aspherical elements in its design and also uses a stepping AF motor with an inner focusing design for quick performance. The 16mm is a 24mm equivalent prime characterized by its sub-1"-thick pancake profile, as well as the incorporation of one aspherical element to control aberrations and distortions. Both lenses feature a matching silver exterior complete with engraved Hasselblad emblem on the barrel, and either can be had as the lens itself or paired with a luxurious brown or black Italian leather lens bag.

The Stellar Special Edition Digital Camera embodies the same concept as the Lunar, distilling Hasselblad’s experience from making the finest medium format cameras into the creation of luxury compact cameras—in this case, a beautiful point-and-shoot model with specialized wooden handgrips. The Stellar Digital Cameras are small enough to fit into suit jackets or handbags and provide not only advanced point-and-shoot capability, but elegant design and long-term value.

The wooden handgrip and matte metal beg to be touched, and the Stellar rewards with a balanced feel, even for such a small camera. The camera is complemented by an Italian leather wrist strap and you get your choice of rare wood or carbon-fiber grips. Models include Mahogany, Olive, Padouk, Wenge, Walnut, Zebra, or Carbon Fiber. It also includes a finely crafted Italian leather neck strap, anti-dust bags, 8GB SDHC card, charger, and adapters for all international outlets and, like the Lunar, a gorgeous black display case.

Imaging is handled by a large, 20.2MP 1" CMOS sensor, and its retractable Carl Zeiss 28-100mm equivalent zoom lens opens up to a bright f/1.8 at the wide end and focuses as close as 1.97". A rear dial and customizable front control ring around the lens allow you to make changes to the camera settings quickly and easily. To better enable sharp, blur-free images, the Hasselblad Stellar features optical image stabilization. Video capture is available at 1080/60p, with Dolby Digital sound and full manual control. A convenient thumb grip, pop-up flash, and ridged metal mode dial round out the physical specs of the Stellar. The mode dial offers rapid adjustment to P/A/S/M modes, as well as auto, scene, sweep panorama, memory recall, and movie modes.

Specifically for the Stellar cameras, Hasselblad has produced a fine Italian leather carry case with a padded interior, to hold your camera snugly. A strong canvas shoulder strap with leather shoulder pad and a leather belt loop provide carrying options, and a metal clasp secures the case and can be easily opened with one hand. The Hasselblad “H” and scripted Stellar logo are stamped onto the flap and the whole case fits into a dedicated anti-dust bag for long-term and travel protection.


Big thanks to B&H for the once-in-a-lifetime chance on these Hasselblad Lunars. I bought a Lunar and can't put it down. 

By the way, such a well written piece. In a time where forum boards and their rants rule the internet for gear reviews, your magazine editorial style writing shines.

The grip on this camera combined with the substantial metal body and leather texture, gives it a special feel and unique shooting experience. It's hard to describe because to truely appreciate this camera, you have to pick it up and hold it. 

I am a working pro and shoot the with the Hasselblad H series now, and the 500 series during the film days. Always wanted a small Hassy to shoot with for personal work and life outside the studio. Had an X-Pan as my personal camera years ago, but it got stolen. Since then I've been wishing for a digital X-Pan small Hassy.  The Lunar is perfect. I picked up the Zeiss 24mm f1.8 lens and it's a sweet setup for walking around and capturing life moments. This is one of my all time favorite cameras, ranking up there with my old Nikon F4s workhorse from the 90's. Image quality is still great. I think digital camera suffer from the unfair fate of being prematurely relagated as "old" before their time. 

Funny thing about all the hooplah on this camera. It's nothing new really, the idea of a famous European camera maker using the internals or manufacturing of a Japanese based partner. Leica partnered up with Minolta back in the 1980's to use the insides of the Minolta XD and XE  to make their R-series from the R3-R7 models. I remember people slamming those and claiming the previous Leicaflex as the "real" Leica SLR. Time has past and no one remembers or even cares. What is left now is just the appreciation of the Leica R-series as being a solid old cool film camera. 








Thanks R. Lee for the comprehensive comment and very good point about the "hooplah". I also agree with your point about digital cameras being "old" within a year of their release.  Regarding that point and if you like our articles, check out the B&H Photography Podcast, specifically this episode on G.A.S., in which we talk just on that subject. Enjoy the Lunar.

One of the greatest names in cameras. One of the greatest systems ever developed. Pair the two and watch the magic. I was going to upgrade to a Sony. Now I can have both. I think Hasselblad nailed it. The great name with the great system in an awesome package. I'll proudly own one!

Thank you for the comment Ron...let us know what you like about the system, specifically in regards to what Hasselblad has added to make this camera "their own".  Thanks again.

I'm lucky enough to have both of these, I know they're both based on Sony but the finish is far better than the Sony and for someone like myself who works as a photographer and is more used to larger pro level DSLRs they are easier to use and feel like a proper camera.  The extras are fantastic quality and a joy to use.  My only small gripe is that I wish the Lunar had been supplied with a faster, better quality lens.  A new Rolls Royce comes with a BMW engine, that doesn't mean it isn't a Rolls Royce.  It's a bit the same with these cameras.

Thanks for the comment markh... and the analogy!

Victor is rolling over in his grave.

Really!  $6,999 regular price discounted over 80% when in reality a NEX7 with a fancy shell?  Who makes the lens and what others besides the two mentioned and the one it comes with can be used?  

From the official Hasselblad website: "All Sony E-Mount will fit directly and Sony A-Mount lenses via an adapter. Third-party E-mount lenses will also fit." "Any Zeiss E-Mount compatible lens will fit."

Haha true! I have a love-hate situation with these H cameras - the Lunar and the Stellar - I'm glad they're not intentionally hiding their Sony pedigree, but to charge thousands of dollars more for what is essentially a re-skinned body seems crazy. Like the  writer of the article says, they are "beautiful cameras",  I'm  just not sure how that's a determining factor for they being "great cameras". These are not Signature Hasseblad cameras, these are Sony cameras with the H logo. These don't hold the "Hasselblad magic", these hold the Sony magic, which happens to be Not a bad thing. They are, all things consider, good cameras, but not because of the mahogany grip nor the luxury case, but because below all that extravagant eye-candy coating, is a very useful powerful system that photographers CAN actually use, and not just display on black veltet with certified italian straps.

Shot with Hassy's (film) and the backs with the 15' rolls of film all day every day...and nothing was automatic.  Zeiss lenses.  Sold everything but one set-up that I keep for sentimental reasons.  If only these were real Hassys.  Those cameras never failed me, ever, and the poor things paid for themselves a million times over, literally.  Never had a Hassy body nor a Zeiss lens fail me.

I see nothing that speaks of the uncounted shutter releases all of the Hasselblad bodies went through, never failing, never stuttering.  You know, back before Photoshop could bail you out and you relied on your light meter, knowledge and skill alone?

What about the things that are important to a pro?  Are they there?  Reliablility, ability to sync with pro strobes such as Speedotron?  Where do I find that information?


IMD: Thank you. Your experience pinpoints why Hasselblads were the camera of choice for many, but I'm not sure if anything can live up to our memories of past gear and needless to say, Hasselblad still makes great cameras for pro shooters.  More information on the Lunar camera from this article can be had here, including some detailed readers comments and a link to Hasselblad's contemporary medium format cameras is here. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

and then no one bought one so they lowered the price 5700 lol 


That Hassy  Lunnar has a lot of eye appeal.  However, the lens shade looks used.  It needs to br replaced.

Also...that is the intentional "marbled" design of the lens hood. 

Matt, the hood is mottled carbon fibre, it's gorgeous to look at.

Simply Fantastic! Affordable for the photography lovers who are dreaming of owning a 'Haselblad'. I am yet to experience this majic soon.

norton fernando...they are beautiful cameras, thanks for reading.

I got the Hassellblad Stellar special edition last year, and just love it!

Paul...I'm glad your happy with the Stellar, thanks for the feedback.

How did you update it to latest rx100 firmware?

I didn't  shoot Hasselblad because it was expensive I shot it because it was an excellent camera and the lenses where tack sharp. I would love to have them back. Ron Zimmerman

Thanks for the comment Ron, Hasselblad is still making great gear.

Perhaps    I bought one but neither Hasselblad or Sony respond to support inquiries regarding firmware updates.  My stellar needs to be updated and no instruction or guidance, or link.



Hasselblad has fallen from making the world's finest medium format camera, made for professional photograhers and astronauts-if you get to the moon, there are several available for free-to making toys for the rich. Sad.

colin- Thanks for reading and your comment.

Nasy, nasty nose-in -the- air man! I cannot wait to try this camera which I CAN afford!