Thoughts on the Most Famous Panoramic Film Camera: Hasselblad XPan

Presented by Matt Day, this video dives into several of the ins and outs of the Hasselblad XPan (akin to Fuji TX-1 and TX-2).

At the time of writing, both the Hasselblad or either of its Fuji companions cost several thousands of U.S. dollars in a one lens kit or as a body only. While there are notably less expensive options as mentioned in a previous article, the XPan remains the ultra of panoramic film cameras. The XPan is a rangefinder that was made new as recently as 2006 (2002 for the XPan I and 2006 for the XPan II). It shoots 24mm x 65mm format, but is also capable of shooting in the traditional 24mm x 36mm format. It was made with 3 lens choices: 30mm, 45mm, and 90mm.

Personally, I have not had any experience with either camera, but for a while, I really wanted one. Given the rarity of the cameras and price tag, I will likely continue to stitch photographs together to create panoramas when needed instead of forking out the money required to get the camera, much less the camera and all three lenses. As an inexpensive alternative, a friend of mine with access to a 3D printer previously made the pieces I needed to shoot 35mm in my RB67, and that was fun, though getting scans to include the sprocket holes seemed a bit too gimmicky for my taste, and getting the RB around is a bit too cumbersome to do on a regular basis. With all that said, one day I hope to try out a Hasselblad XPan as well as a 6x17 back for a large format camera.  
 

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7 Comments

Wonder Woman's picture

I want one. Someone buy it for me.

Spy Black's picture

"Thoughts on the Most Famous Panoramic Film Camera:"

That would be the Widelux, actually. This is an interesting beast as well.

Heratch Ekmekjian's picture

I agree the Widelux would be the true panoramic camera. If I'm not mistaken, this Hasselblad creates a long and narrow horizontal frame in about the same way you could crop any film photo. In fact, they used to sell Konica disposable film cameras that also "pre-cropped" the 35mm film, giving you a cute pseudo panoramic effect.
I have to say the pictures you show in this video are quite lovely. It is nice that it allowed you to find strong compositions.

J.a. Spieringhs's picture

Xpan and widelux make the same size negative/positive. But the xpan is a traditional rangefinder design (flat film). The Widelux uses a curved film, with a swing lens design.

J.a. Spieringhs's picture

Beautiful camera. But the only problem is, that it uses 35mm film. Getting quality scans of these, is a P in the A. Currently there are several affordable options for 3d printed panoramic cameras in medium format (6x12 - 6x17)

Used to borrow this camera a lot & but could never justify the expense for the whole kit-ended up buying a number of 6x12/6x17 medium format cameras though they never compared to the small form factor/speed to capture of the Xpan.

Christian Lainesse's picture

The Lomo Belair is pretty cheap