The Hassleblad Xpan Is Great, but These Are Cheaper

The Hassleblad Xpan is an absolute dream camera and can be had for slightly cheaper as the Fujifilm TX-1 and TX-2, but even the "cheaper" TX-2 is upwards of $3,000.

Andrew, of Denae & Andrew, walks us through a few of his recommended panoramic cameras that he has gotten to use over the past year or so. Without spoiling the entire video, it's great to see the amount of options out there for photographers. My personal favorite that he mentions is the Horizon S3 Pro, which is extremely affordable and specifically designed for panoramas unlike some of the other options. The battery-less mechanical shutter allows for some interesting artistic uses, like some fun slit-scan distortion, and is something I've had my eye on for a long time.

While there is an argument for simply cropping your images, there is something special about forcing yourself into a specific restriction, like shooting black and white or a fixed lens camera. I am a big advocate of locking yourself into a specific situation in order to break up normal thought patterns in order to grow as an artist. I've mentioned it before in past articles, but Lars Von Trier's Five Obstructions should be mandatory viewing for all artistic practitioners as a fantastic example of that. Netflix's new documentary, The Creative Brain, mentions that one of the secrets to be creative is to constantly learn, and forcing yourself into using a single aspect ratio outside of the norm, a single lens, or working with or without color are fantastic ways to spark your creativity and blossom as an artist. 

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5 Comments

Eddy Waddel's picture

Always wanted one the Xpan

Rob Davis's picture

The images definitely have character. Panorama and 35mm film just never made sense to me though. I’d go with the Fuji 6x9.

Not cheap but - Linhof 6x17, Alpa 6x12, Horseman 6x12, Fotoman 6x12/6x17/6x24, View Cameras fitted with roll film panoramic backs. Dearly miss the Ebony 6x12, sure I'm missing other panoramic film cameras.

Still shooting panos tho utilize tilt shift lenses on digital.

dierk topp's picture

David, the Noblex is not from Japan, it is from Germany. You should look closer into it! It has a shift lens and can do multiple exposures up to many seconds, just let it rotate as long as you need.

I was considering the X-Pan very often but bought a Hasselblad 903 SWC last year for about the same price of a X-pan. It has about the same angle of view as the X-pan but you have any option from 6x6 to 24x56 and anything in between, and you have effective a panorama shift by cropping a pano from the upper or lower part of the 6x6 image.

The Noblex is long out of production but there are still a couple places that service it, I think I sent mine to a guy in Canada(?) when the rubber rollers got a flat spot from sitting too long. It was a nice camera for limited uses. I recently sold it.

I think my next oddball buy will be a SWC.