Jump to content

Hasselblad X-pan


phovsho
 Share

Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

Howdy

 

Do any folks use or had experience with a Hasselblad Xpan?

 

I have an opportunity to pick one up with a 45mm lens at a good price. I have always thought it would make a nice addition to a M camera when travelling - currently I take 2 Ms. But I have always been put off by size; relatively slow lens; and not sure about the quality of the optics either when compared with Leica.

 

Thanks again

 

Murray

Link to post
Share on other sites

I found the Xpan rather disappointing. In truth I found the panoramic format itself rather frustrating (something I cannot blame the camera for) but I also remember being rather underwhelmed by the 45mm kit lens. I couldn't help but notice when I shot side by side with a 24mm Elmarit I also owned at that time how superior the latter lens was. I may have had a duff example of the 45mm lens but my 24mm lens was very noticeably sharper and had a much more pleasing overall look.

Link to post
Share on other sites

While I have no personal experience with the X-Pan, one of my email friends does. Check out his website of X-Pan photos: Andrea Taurisano Photography

BTW, he tells me all these images were made without a center filter and he felt it was not really needed.

One other thing, Hasselblad no longer services these, not sure where you would get it worked on.

Good luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest darkstar2004

I have the X-pan II and am very happy with it. Of course the rangefinder (focusing square) is not as large or as bright as a Leica M, but it isn't usually an issue. It could be challenging when focusing at night but if it is a problem I use hyperfocal technique to overcome this.

 

The lenses, made by Fuji, are extremely sharp, contrasty & accurate colorwise. Using Velvia 50 and high resolution scans made on a Hasselblad/Imacon scanner, I have been able to have some beautiful 17.75" X 48" panoramic prints made from an Epson large format inkjet printer which my custom lab uses (can't remember the model number).

 

Yes, the lenses are slow but these lenses are not exactly made for lowlight photography. With the 45mm lens, if you stop down to f/8 or smaller, vignetting is eliminated & the center filter is not needed. With the 30mm f/5.6, you need the center filter all the time.

 

This is an outstanding camera, and the lenses are every bit the equal of the camera. The only real drawback is the f/4 or f/5.6 maximum aperture of the lenses, which is not really that big of an issue IMHO. If I want to shoot in available darkness, I use my MP.

 

The X-pan excels at travel and landscape panoramas, and can be used effectively for documentary work in reasonably well lit scenes - it will produce some truly outstanding images in those genres.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

I bought a Fuji TX-2 - for all intents a purposes a Hasselblad XPanII, but covered with black paint that was sold under the Fujifilm Pro brand in Asia.

 

So far, I've only put about six rolls of film thought it, so I only feel I'm beginning to undestand this wonderful camera. What can I say?

 

That it is a unique piece of engineering. The camera is incredibly solidly built; at least a competitor for any Leica M. It is wide though, which is a bit unnerving for the uninitiated, but is surprisingly well balanced in use. The lenses are very Japanese, but tack-sharp with great contrast and colour saturation. Their only downside is that they are quite slow - something that you work around with either fast film, or a small tripod (I go for the first).

 

And to the centre filter... there are arguments as to whether this is strictly necessary. If you shoot slides, then it is an absolute must (for shots faster than f8). For C-41 though, I feel it is not. The dynamic range of the film can compensate for the drop-off, and a slight vignetting is all you'll see.

 

Don't hesitate - they're rare and wonderful.

 

Fuji TX-2, Fuji Pro400H

 

2862791127_36b8470dd0_b.jpg

 

33720005.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

...One other thing, Hasselblad no longer services these, not sure where you would get it worked on.

Good luck.

 

There is Japanese market versions of Xpan, made by Fuji, names are Fuji TX1and TX2 which are (I think, not sure) still in production, and there is maybe still service for them. Please check.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I owned one for a while. It's definitely a solidly-built camera (though the grey paint coating seems to scratch easily if you carry it on a regular basis). In the end I decided to get rid of it because...

 

(A) I had a lot of trouble scanning the negatives (though they looked great when silver printing).

 

(B) After renting the 30mm I was totally unsatisfied with the 45mm. This is just personal preference, but the 30 seemed like it should be the "default" lens for the camera. I couldn't afford to pick one up at the time, and they have only become more expensive.

 

They are long out of production. I actually managed to sell my camera for more than I paid for it. The 30mm lens is particularly sought after.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an Xpan II. I'd say the lenses are excellent - very sharp and immensely resistant to flare, and as good or in some cases better than many of my Leica lenses.

 

The panoramic format is not really designed to be used hand-held; it's nearly impossible to shoot with a perfectly level horizon over such a wide frame without some precise composition, and the camera comes with a spirit level to ensure accurate use on a tripod. For which reason f4 is a good design choice to ensure sufficient DOF and keep the lenses easily portable, if you're using a tripod there's no real speed loss in practice. An f2 lens with that frame size would be too heavy to use easily.

 

But the 24x36 format is always going to be a compromise with a moderately slow lens. If you want that format you'd be better sticking with your M - a bit lighter, much faster lenses, etc. So I suspect an Xpan is only worth adding to a Leica kit if you intend to shoot panoramic format.

 

A center filter is only a necessity if you shoot slides and you don't like vignetting. Even though I have a filter I often remove it for negatives, and I tend to leave vignetting uncorrected for b+w as I like the effect.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One other thing, Hasselblad no longer services these, not sure where you would get it worked on.

Good luck.

 

Not sure where you get that info but I had mine serviced earlier this year by Hassy USA. They did a CLA, infrared conversion and bulb time extension.

 

I just got back some images shot on Kodachrome 25 and they look incredible. I own and use all three lenses, the 30, 45 and 90.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure where you get that info but I had mine serviced earlier this year by Hassy USA. They did a CLA, infrared conversion and bulb time extension.

 

I just got back some images shot on Kodachrome 25 and they look incredible. I own and use all three lenses, the 30, 45 and 90.

 

Hasselblad won't service the Asian versions (Fuji TX-1/TX-2s). Maybe that's where the confusion came from...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an Xpan II. I'd say the lenses are excellent - very sharp and immensely resistant to flare, and as good or in some cases better than many of my Leica lenses.

 

The panoramic format is not really designed to be used hand-held; it's nearly impossible to shoot with a perfectly level horizon over such a wide frame without some precise composition, and the camera comes with a spirit level to ensure accurate use on a tripod. For which reason f4 is a good design choice to ensure sufficient DOF and keep the lenses easily portable, if you're using a tripod there's no real speed loss in practice. An f2 lens with that frame size would be too heavy to use easily.

 

But the 24x36 format is always going to be a compromise with a moderately slow lens. If you want that format you'd be better sticking with your M - a bit lighter, much faster lenses, etc. So I suspect an Xpan is only worth adding to a Leica kit if you intend to shoot panoramic format.

 

A center filter is only a necessity if you shoot slides and you don't like vignetting. Even though I have a filter I often remove it for negatives, and I tend to leave vignetting uncorrected for b+w as I like the effect.

 

I wholeheartedly agree with what's been written above. I had an X-pan and often regret selling it, it was a good camera with good lenses. Regarding what somebody said about scanning the pano frames I used to do it on an Imacon (now Hassy) Flextight, there was a mount designed for X-pan trannies/negs.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to add my two cents to this thread. It is now a good year since I added a Hasselblad Xpan II with 40mm lens to my Leica kit, and it has been a revelation. For panoramic shots, there is hardly something better/easier on the market. Just make sure that you find a photo lab that can deal with the negatives.

There is some information on my web pages.

Pascal

Link to post
Share on other sites

Murray,

 

I bought one earlier this year (XPAN mark 1 plus 45). It's cracking camera. The lens is pinsharp. You'll need the centre filter to stop vignetting in the corners. Handles very well and the image quality is great.

 

Charlie

 

You mainly need the center filter with the ultrawides (30mm).

The 45mm and 90mm are ok without it.

 

Overall it's a great camera. Unlike other panoramics it handles as easily as let's say an M5 and is very portable. The lenses are extremely good and build quality is very high. The paint on the camera body stinks. It chips if you look at it wrong, so you may see bodies that appear to have been used heavily, but only saw moderate use.

 

Prices on this camera and the Xpan II have gone up since it was discontinued. If you can get it for a good deal and really want it, give it a try. You should be able to unload it quite easily, if it isn't too your liking.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had an XPan for a short while and loved using it. I sold it on because I couldn't fit it into my work flow with another scanning tray.

 

The camera has a lovely feel to it and I considered it better in the hand than an M.

 

However, although the lenses are very good, they are not as good as the Mamiya 7 43mm lens which also gives a wider field of view than the XPan.

 

The Mamiya has the added benefit of variable panorama size if using roll film and has a pano holder if you want to dedicate it. That would be my choice going forward.

 

Rolo

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd also worry a little bit about the automatic film transport in terms of long-term ownership, and getting it serviced - I'm not sure if it's even possible, but I remember wishing it was manual.

 

Another thing re: the 45mm is that I remember looking at negs and wishing I'd had more vertical "real estate". A lot of my images (and of course it may have been due to my shooting style) seemed claustrophobic, like shooting out of a slot on a tank. The 30mm eliminated this issue.

 

Edit: I totally agree with Mr. Rolo's post. Two Leica shooters I know are also in love with their Mamiya 7 cameras.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a rough scan from print image using a Brother flatbed scanner, while awaiting the delivery of a Nikon Super Coolscan LS-9000 :-)

 

Lake of Bled in Slovenia on a winter day.

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...