Almost by definition, Hasselblad is a company steeped in tradition -- it's hard to be ultra-trendy when your camera systems cost as much as a new car. We shouldn't be surprised, then, that the company is only just getting around to halting production on its last V System camera, the 503CW, 17 years after the first models rolled off the assembly line. Interest has simply dropped off quickly in the past five years, the company says. Support will continue, and accessories will sell while they last, but the emphasis from now on will be squarely on digital-first H System cameras like the H5D. Whether or not you're mourning the loss, there's no question that the V System has survived a lot during its lifetime, including the transition to digital shooting and new management. We'd say it's worth pouring one out for a true veteran of medium format photography.
Update: Just to clear the air, the 503CW has been in production for 17 years -- the V System in any form has been active since 1957, since before digital was even a twinkle in Hasselblad's eye.
End of the line for the Hasselblad V System
Hasselblad is to cease production of its 503CW model - the last V System camera in the company's portfolio.
The decision, which comes into immediate effect, brings to an end over a half century of evolution of the company's original camera line.
Dr. Larry Hansen, Hasselblad Chairman and CEO said: "Everything has its place in time. The veteran 503CW combined with an extensive V System range of interchangeable lenses and accessories, was for seventeen years the camera of choice for discerning professionals and aspirational amateur photographers.
But there has been a substantial decline in demand for this camera over the past five years or so and the time has now come for us to reluctantly consign the V System to history. In so doing we would like to thank all fans and customers for both their loyalty and their enthusiasm for our legacy Hasselblad V System."
He added: "Now of course the focus on medium format capture is on our H System - the world's most advanced camera system. The latest generation cameras represent medium format capture engineering at its most exemplary and are well-placed to secure and underpin the company's unrivalled reputation for providing highest image quality and craftsmanship. Additionally we are focusing on new products for advanced enthusiasts."
Hasselblad has confirmed that the last 503CW has rolled off the production line but the company will continue to provide V System accessories while stocks last. V System support will also still be available through current channels.