Hasselblad XPan Review (35mm Panoramic Camera: Hasselblad Rangefinder) +YouTube
Hasselblad Xpan Review – The year ended on a real high after buying my Hasselblad 501C. It was the camera that was giving me the most enjoyment and arguably also the best pictures I had ever taken!
I read a lot and am always getting new ideas as to what I want to try next and what direction I want to go with my photography. I am the eternal optimist so often the grand ideas lead to disappointment in reality once I try a certain camera for a particular idea. One early example was to use two Kiev 88 film cameras for wedding photography. I got the cameras but by that time my experience and knowledge had moved on and a new idea was brewing. Leica cameras were on the horizon. I flip flop from the high quality medium format negative size to the speed and portability of 35mm. Neither are the perfect solution but both have their strengths.
Hasselblad + Leica = Xpan!?
I love the Hasselblad 501C camera for built quality, lenses and its large negative size. I also love my new 35mm Leica M6 for the build quality, lenses, portability and light meter. What would happen if I could combine both cameras? Please let me introduce you to the Hasselblad XPan!
Hasselblad XPan Camera
I had never considered buying a Hasselblad XPan camera before nor had ever had any interest towards them. The XPan came to me almost by accident in my reading for my next grand idea. Within a 48hr period of comparing many other cameras I had introduced myself to the XPan, learnt the major pros and cons, got up to speed on how the XPan photos look and then purchased one.
Hasselblad or Mamiya!?
I will be open and say I very nearly bought a Mamiya 7ii instead. The three things that stopped me getting the Mamiya 7 were the higher cost (with a wide lens), the similarities to my existing Fuji GF670 and the fact that I’m not a big 6×7 film format fan (yet). I love composing with 6×6 and feel 645 film is a big enough jump up from 35mm. I’m not sure I need 6×7.
Hasselblad Xpan 35mm rangefinder film camera
The Hasselblad XPan is a 35mm rangefinder camera like my Leicas but comes in a titanium – aluminium body. The XPan has a built in light meter like the Leica M6 and like all Leica M cameras is a coupled rangefinder camera system with interchangeable lenses. The XPan has the solid (built like a tank) feel and build quality of a Hasselblad 500 series camera and the small form factor of a Leica. Leica M cameras are ‘limited’ by the maximum film negative size of 35mm (24x35mm). The Hasselblad XPan however has panoramic mode (24x65mm) and shoots two 35mm frames side by side to make a negative almost two times larger .
Hasselblad Xpan lenses
The 45mm lens equates to roughly a 25mm lens yet with zero distortion at the edges as it is a 45mm lens. A larger negative also gives a greater shallow depth of field so the 90mm f4 lens actually looks more like perhaps an f2 lens with beautifully graduated background and foreground separation.
Xpan 35mm camera – features
At first glance the Hasselblad XPan looks to be a very well designed camera with a PC sync port, a shutter release cable port, spirit level supplied as standard, the ability to switch between normal 35mm mode and P for panoramic mode mid roll, a basic LCD with battery life and exposures remaining all in a very neat and compact camera. The only negative I have seen is the paint flakes off the body easily.
Hasselblad or Fujifilm
The Hasselblad XPan was a joint venture and made in collaboration with Fujifilm. The Fuji TX-1 / TX-2 are the Fujifilm badged version. There was a similar collaborate to Zeiss and Fujifilm who co-made my Fuji GF670 camera.
35mm Panoramic photos
So what does the Hasselblad XPan bring? I look forward to the challenge of shooting and composing the panoramic images especially for my model photography where it is seen less often. I don’t take many landscape photos but if I did this would certainly be an amazing travel companion. I look forward to trying the XPan for street photography and also for wedding photography. It has the benefits of a Leica in that I can work fast and travel light. Any camera that lets me do this normally gets to travel more and work more than my bigger cameras. The large format 4×5 cameras for example have never been out the UK.
Hasselblad Xpan Flickr photos
I will take my new Hasselblad XPan camera on my next model photography trip and see what I can do. The resulting images will certainly be something fresh for my Flickr feed and Instagram.