Hasselblad's Lunar camera: A fancy Sony NEX-7?

Hasselblad made some waves at Photokina with an unexpected foray into the world of small-format photography. The company, long known as a producer of medium format cameras, hasn't had a 35mm body in its catalogue since the XPan panoramic rangefinder was discontinued.

That its first digital mirrorless would be an APS-C camera is surprising - until you realise that, aside from an impressive exterior, it's not a Hasselblad camera.

In reality the Lunar Camera is a Sony Alpha NEX-7 in a much more ostentatious wrapper. This is not a bad thing seeing the NEX-7 picked up an incredible 10 out of 10 in our review. The 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, E-mount lens compatbility, tilting rear LCD, and high-resolution OLED EVF make it just as capable a camera as the Sony, it even uses the same firmware and menu system. The collaboration is a sign of things to come, as Sony and Hasselblad have announced a partnership to collaborate on camera technology development.

Hasselblad's take on the camera is almost unrecognisable. The flush TriNavi controls have been replaced with knurled dials that pop up from the camera. The handgrip is deeper, and can be had in a variety of finishes - anything from real wood to carbon fibre to Italian leather.

The Lunar camera gets its name from Hasselblad's legacy with NASA. Astronaut Walter Schirra was the first to take a camera into space in 1962, bringing the company's 500C. Later, Neil Armstrong would capture the first images on the moon with a specially-modified Hasselblad camera. Those unfamiliar with history might make the understandable mistake of thinking the new Lunar is named for its sky-high price - it's expected to sell for around £4,000, or almost six times as much as the NEX-7.

Last week, Hasselblad announced its H5D medium format D-SLR and an ultra-wide lens to go with it. The H5D delivers improved ergonomics, more accurate focus, and improved weather sealing when compared with its predecessor. Like many medium format cameras, its digital sensor back is removable. It will be sold with a 40-, 50-, or 60-megapixel single-shot back, and will also be available with a 50- or 200-megapixel multi-shot back. The latter type creates a single large image file from multiple exposures. The new lens is a 24mm f/4.8 design, which is equivalent to 17mm on a full-frame 35mm camera.