A Chinese clone of the medium format Hasselblad X1D has been registered online. However, this clone comes from a very specific Chinese company – that being DJI, the drone camera specialist that is also majority owner of Hasselblad.
It seems probable that the clone, which doesn't yet have a product name, will be a fairly straight rebadged version of the X1D intended specifically for the Chinese or Asian market.
"Nordic cameras at Chinese prices?" posited Gizmodo Japan (opens in new tab) (hat tip to Mirrorless Rumors (opens in new tab)), which investigated the patent registration after the design was initially shared online as a DJI rival to the Sony A7 series.
The "X1DJI" could be a clone of the original Hasselblad X1D 50C (opens in new tab) or the recently announced Hasselblad X1D II 50C (opens in new tab), since both bodies are almost identical and they both possess the same image sensor (though the latter has faster software and better general operability).
However, the 'new' DJI version has a couple of minor adjustments to the Hasselblad designs. First and foremost, it appears to possess a tilting touchscreen – something that has long been a curious omission from the X1Ds, given medium format's history of vertical viewfinder photography.
The X1DJI also rearranges the furniture around the back grip, moving the AE-L button from the right of the viewfinder and adding it to the vertical control array adjacent to the LCD screen.
In place of the AE-L button, the DJI clone now features a joystick – offering more precise control than the touch-and-drag focus point movement of the original Hasselblad bodies.
The idea of an authorized Chinese clone of a key Hasselblad product seems bizarre. We can only presume that it would be a cut-price version of the X1D, which we can in turn only presume would eat into sales of Hasselblad's premium-priced camera.
While this kind of product cannibalism seems outlandish, Hasselblad does have an unfortunate history when it comes to rebadging products for resale in other territories; the Hasselblad Lunar and Stellar were both upcycled Sony bodies sold exclusively in Asia.
With DJI facing a downturn in its core drone business, and still reeling from $147 million losses (opens in new tab) due to employee fraud, the idea of repurposing a medium format camera it already owns the rights to may not be quite as bizarre as it first seems.
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