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Drone maker DJI buys a stake in high-end camera maker Hasselblad

The world’s leading consumer drone manufacturer has just acquired a minority stake in Hassleblad, a firm best known for its medium-format cameras and, more recently, several insanely expensive repackaged Sony shooters.

DJI, maker of the popular Phantom line of remotely controlled copters, announced the partnership on Thursday, with CEO Frank Wang describing it as an opportunity to combine the companies’ strengths “to further push the borders of what’s possible in imaging technology.”

Hasselblad boss Perry Oosting said the pair were now “looking forward to sharing technical expertise and paving the way for future innovations.”

Beyond that, the pair gave little away as to what the deal means in concrete terms, though other tidbits in Thursday’s statement hint at the obvious, that DJI is planning at some point to make use of the Swedish camera firm’s experience and expertise in hi-res photography to improve the image quality of the cameras sold with its drones.

However, with DJI’s recent release of a handheld Steadicam-like rig revealing an interest in gear separate from its drones, it’s feasible the pair could collaborate on a completely new piece of kit for photographers. And Hasselblad’s unveiling earlier this year of the A5D camera for high-altitude aerial photography certainly won’t have escaped DJI’s attention, either.

For the time being though, both companies say they’ll continue to operate as usual, focusing “on their individual strategic directions” with no plans to combine branding.

Determined to maintain its position as the leading player in the market, DJI has been steadily improving the camera tech sold with its flying machines, recently launching the Zenmuse camera system comprising the Zenmuse X5 Pro and the Zenmuse X5R, touted as the world’s first Micro Four Thirds aerial camera capable of recording lossless 4K videos in RAW.

But it won’t be stopping there. The Chinese company is constantly looking at ways to improve its imaging technology in a bid to stay ahead of competitors and increase its appeal among professional filmmakers, and with Hasselblad now on board, it’ll be hoping to make serious progress on that front in the years ahead.