The ROSS HK-7 represents the genesis of the Hasselblad name as a camera manufacturer. One hundred years before the HK-7, Victor Hasselblad’s predecessors established the family name as a distributor of photographic goods and chemicals in the Southern port town of Gothenburg, Sweden. As multiple branches around the country were opened offering photo processing, the Hasselblad name became increasingly synonymous with photography. Amidst World War II, the Swedish government approached Victor with the task of replicating a recovered German aerial camera. Rumor has it that his humble but ambitious response was simply, “No, but I can make a better one.” In the spring of 1940, Victor organized a group of skilled experts inside the shed of an automobile factory in Gothenburg under the name “Ross Incorporated.” Shortly after, these skilled experts would be considered the first generation of the Hasselblad brand.
Produced from 1941 to 1943, a total of 240 HK-7 units were produced, measuring 31x26x17.6cm and weighing 4.8 kilograms with a 13.5cm (135mm) lens attached. The camera featured a basic set of shutter speeds from 1/150 of a second to 1/400 of a second, with the shutter placed behind the lens. The camera produced a 7x9cm image, revolutionary for the era as other models featured lesser precise technology. By improving the mechanics and precision of the camera, aerial photographs could be captured with significantly improved reliability and accuracy. To this day, Hasselblad continues to offer aerial photographic solutions, albeit now with high resolution digital sensors. The A6D-100c features a 100MP CMOS sensor and compatibility with both fixed wing and UAV aircrafts.
Used to document the HK-7 is the Hasselblad H6D-400c Multi-Shot, the latest generation of the company’s legendary Multi-Shot technology.
First pioneered in the early days of digital imaging, Multi-Shot imaging has become a widely accepted technique for cultural heritage institutions globally. Capable of producing a 400 megapixel image file, the 400c MS captures every detail and nuance of historic artifacts with incredibly accurate detail and information. This resolution is achieved by way of a precision-movement that shifts the sensor by single and half pixel movements capturing 6 separate images, allowing for precise color and detail fidelity to be captured. These images are then merged together via Hasselblad software in order to produce a stunning photograph suitable for preserving priceless artifacts such as the HK-7.
Header image: HK-7 front box preview