The Hasselblad Lunar has gone on sale, which could be good news if you think the mirrorless camera market has been sadly lacking in wood, carbon fiber, and jeweled buttons. Billed as an "ultimate luxury mirrorless interchangeable lens camera," the Lunar will sell for US$7,000, despite being based on, and having almost identical specs to, the Sony NEX-7.

The Lunar, which was first revealed by Hasselblad at Photokina 2012, is the first foray into the digital compact mirrorless camera system market by the iconic Swedish firm. Its name is clearly designed to remind buyers of the medium-format Hasselblad legacy. Lunar refers to the fact that Hasselblads have been used in space, including the specially designed 500EL which Neil Armstrong used to photograph the surface of the moon.

Featuring a 24.3 megapixel APS-C (23.5 x 25.6 mm) CMOS sensor and taking E-mount lenses, the Lunar is the first product of a partnership between Hasselblad and Sony. As such the new camera shares an awful lot of tech with the Sony NEX-7, and a quick glance down the respective spec sheets shows just how far the similarities extend.

Both cameras have the same ISO range of 100-16,000, and 25-point contrast detection autofocus system. They also share a 2.3 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder and 3-inch tiltable LCD screen with 920k dots on the rear. In fact, the layout of the two cameras is strikingly similar and both use the Sony TriNavi navigation mode. The Lunar can even take a Memory Stick PRO Duo alongside an SD card.

All of this has led some critics to suggest that the Hasselblad Lunar is merely a Sony NEX-7 covered in expensive materials with an inflated price tag. However, Hasselblad is keen to stress that its part in creating the Lunar extends beyond a superficial rebranding and that it has made a number of changes under the hood too. At least with a Sony NEX-7 core, we know the Lunar will be a capable camera.

But it's always going to be the distinctive design and those exclusive materials which will grab peoples attention. There are currently five models in the Lunar collection, which include the use of black leather, brown Tuscan leather, carbon fiber, mahogany and olive wood on the grip. All of the cameras boast titanium knobs, and the on/off and movie buttons feature red jewels. Hasselblad plans to introduce bespoke options later this year, with users selecting from a choice of materials for the grip and top plate.

The camera measures 142 × 82 × 70 mm (5.6 × 3.2 × 2.75 inch) and weighs 570g (20.11 oz). It's not available body-only and will ship with a LF 18–55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens, which is basically a Sony E 18-55-mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS with Hasselblad written on the side. Equally Hasselblad-branded versions of the Sony 16-mm f/2.8 and 18-200-mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS will also be available.

The Hasselblad Lunar is available now and has a retail price of $6,995. For reference, the Sony NEX-7 is currently selling for $1,095 with the 18-55-mm lens. This means you could buy the Sony and (if you really want a jeweled camera) hang a pair of $5,900 diamond earrings from its shoulder strap hooks.

Product page: Hasselblad Lunar

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