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 Leather, Brown 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.