Hasselblad: Seven things you might not know about OnePlus’ new partner

From war to space to Abbey Road

by: - Last updated on: March 23rd, 2021
Key Takeaways
  • OnePlus has tied up with Hasselblad for the cameras of the latest OnePlus 9 series of devices. It is a three-year agreement.
  • Hasselblad is known for its collaboration with NASA – it was the first camera on the moon.
  • Here are some amazing, relatively lesser-known facts about OnePlus’ new partner. How they settle and deliver some great photography.

A new partnership has loomed on the OnePlus horizon and this time it is more than just about design and looks. After pairing up with the likes of McLaren, Avengers, and Star Wars, OnePlus has now moved on to a partner with more tech substance. The young, never settling brand has partnered with one of the biggest and most legendary names in camera history, Hasselblad.

oneplus hasselblad

Today cameras on smartphones can add deep, natural-looking bokeh that can imitate the results of a DSLR very closely, if not just as well. Smartphone cameras now also have the ability to take pictures of the moon, something which one could only really expect from a professional camera. But all of this is still pretty basic when you consider that camera technology that has been on the moon to capture man’s first steps on it is now coming to a smartphone. Yes, it was Hasselblad that captured the first human steps on the moon.

So here are seven things you might not know about OnePlus’ latest partner:

1. Did not think the brand would make any money

Today Hasselblad is considered to be one of the most premium and expensive brands in the world of cameras. It may be hard to believe but when the brand first came into existence, monetary benefits were not really expected from it. The company was established by Fritz Wiktor Hasselblad in 1841 for trading. But his son, Arvid Viktor had different plans for it. Viktor was passionate about photography and hence started a photography division. But he did not expect a lot from it. In a famous statement, Viktor mentioned that he did not think that they would ever be able to earn any money through photography. His only consolation was thinking that “at least it will allow us to take pictures for free”. Little did he know, Hasselblad would go on to become one of the most iconic, expensive brands in the camera world.

2. A camera and a war weapon

HK7 Hasselblad camera

The confidence in the brand to make money may have been low initially but Hasselblad cameras were designed to create history from the get-go. And it all began with war. During World War II, Arvid Viktor designed the famous HK7 Hasselblad camera which was used by the Swedish Air Force for aerial surveillance. This was followed by the SKa4, the camera which went on to become the device that could be permanently mounted on an aircraft. It is very well documented that the Hasselblad cameras’ performance played a crucial role in Sweden’s war effort which made the company a household name.

3. Conquered war and then space

But the legend of Hasselblad cameras to perform under insurmountable pressure and extreme conditions was not just limited to warfare. Yes, it gave the initial boost but it was not until 1962 that Hasselblad gained major global attention. In 1962, NASA was looking for camera technology that would not only be able to withstand the changing climatic conditions and pressure but also would be able to document space accurately. Walter Schirra, a photography enthusiast who was in line to be an astronaut with NASA suggested that the organization use Hasselblad cameras to take pictures in space.

hasselblad moon nasa

NASA then took a custom-made version of the camera on the Mercury 8 in October 1962 which delivered high-quality images across six orbits of the Earth. This was the beginning of a long-standing partnership between NASA and Hasselblad. The space organization started using the Hasselblad cameras for its space missions regularly and asked the brand to create cameras with modifications to meet NASA’s astronomical (quite literally) needs. It was at NASA’s request that Hasselblad came out with the first motor-driven camera, the 500 EL in 1965.

4. Took the legendary Beatles album cover

beatles hasselblad

One of the most iconic images of all time has to The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover. The image that features John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr walking across the Abbey Road Zebra crossing took the art of album covers on another level and it remains not only one of the most legendary album covers of all time but also one of the most iconic and famous pictures ever captured. And where there are legendary pictures, there is a Hasselblad. Yes, The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover was captured on Hasselblad. Scottish photographer, Iain Stewart Macmillan used a Hasselblad 500C camera with a Zeiss Distagon 50 mm f/4 lens to take the picture in 1969. It was Paul McCartney’s idea to capture such an image. Macmillan took six shots of the Beatles walking across the zebra crossing and in an interview with The Guardian, he revealed that it only took a little more than 10 minutes.

5. A dozen Hasselblads have a home on the moon

hasselblad moon

Hasselblad has had a special relationship with space. From being the first camera to successfully take images and give space a definite image to capturing humankind’s first step on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, Hasselblad cameras have seen it all. It was the camera that took the famous image of Edward H White floating in space with the Earth in the background in 1965. And hence it may not be surprising to know that even today twelve Hasselblad cameras have found their home on the surface of the moon. They just went there and decided to stay.

6. Made in a three-story building

Now a camera company of this measure must obviously have multiple acre factories, right? Well, Hasselblad actually is remarkably different in this department as well. The Swedish brand produces cameras out of a three-story building in Gothenburg, Sweden. That’s it.

7. About 10,000 cameras a year

Along with being premium, Hasselblad as a brand is also very exclusive. The company only produces about 10,000 camera units in a year. This is also due to the high labor cost in Sweden as the brand produces all its devices in the country. It also does not really cater to the masses and the intention behind the device is to have cameras that can be used by different generations without getting outdated.

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