From my last post, it’s no secret that I bought a Hasselblad X-Pan camera. They’re as expensive as they are unique, but I got a great deal from oneofmanycameras.com. I have been shooting n increasing amount of analogue content in 2017, and I’m still debating with myself whether or not I should do a dedicated analogue section to the site. It’s not like I need anymore projects to steal my time.
I have been a bit hesitant about showing the work that I do with analogue. Maybe it’s because I don’t know how to place it into the context of this blog, or maybe it’s because I don’t think it’s on par with my digital stuff. It’s probably the latter.
It sure is a different way of shooting, and my love of darkness and shadow is not having field days when shooting analogue. It simply isn’t doable to the extent that can be done using digital. But, I’ve come to a very important realisation – It SHOULD be different from my digital, because otherwise I might as well just pick up one of my thousand digital cameras.
Now, let me turn my attention towards the star of the show in this post – The Hasselblad X-Pan. It was marketed in 1998 as a joint project with Fujifilm who released the camera in asia as the Fujifilm TX-1. When looking at the camera and lenses there is no denying the fact that this is a Fujifilm camera. The design is beautiful. Just beautiful. A true classic rangefinder camera that looks downright amazing. You can definitely see where Fujifilm found its inspiration for the X-Pro1. They simply looked in their own back-catalogue, found the T-X1 and made it digital and less wide. The top lines and the grip are great examples of this.
This X-Pan is made from titanium, and then painted in a gun-grey finish. It has a tendency to “chip” but my copy still has a very nice paint job except for the bottom plate.
It has lightmeter built in, autowind, auto ISO recognition, aperture priority as well as shutter priority. It’s about as modern as an analogue rangefinder will get.
There are only 3 different lenses ever made for the system. The standard 45mm f/4, the 90mm f/4 and the 30mm f/5.6. Those focal lengths are what they refer to when shooting standard 35mm frames. When shooting wide they obviously become wider. It makes no sense to think about those numbers too much – we left the digital realm behind, remember? 😛 😉
On the back of the camera you have an option of choosing between the panorama mode (65x24mm) and standard 36×24 mode. But as I read somewhere online – There is a special place in hell for those who shoots standard frames on this camera.
The panoramic format is obviously why one would buy this camera, so let’s leave all this gibberish about the 35mm format behind.
When shooting in this format I instantly get pulled way back to when I first started doing street photography. The love of stark lines and tight composition is something that goes exceptionally well with this format. Finding lines and symmetry in the city with this camera is so much fun. Obviously this camera will do really well in Landscape photography, so I expect to carry it on my future travels as well.
The images themselves in this article are mostly uncropped. When you see the black/white scan frames, obviously it’s not corrected or cropped. There are sometimes where I didn’t nail the symmetry, so those have been cropped. The shots here are all C-41 processed colorfilm. Either Kodak Portia 160, 400 or 800. I have converted some of them to black and white in post. I have shot a lot of black and white film on this camera (Acros 100 and Ilford delta 3200) – But they havn’t been developed yet.
I’m quite certain that this format will stick with me for a while. It’s really fun, and I can use my X-Pan to GFX lens adapter and shoot the 65:24 crop mode on the GFX if I ever want to do this digitally. But why would I when I have the “real thing” right beside me.
Have a great weekend all.
Damn! ENVY DOT COM!
Good work as usual, love to held that sucker and take a shot with it 😮
Great post, interesting read…
The XPan is such a pricey camera, I will admire your work and live vicariously through you. 🙂
There’s a special place in my heart for the XPan, and a special place for your pictures too. Great work, I can’t wait to see more. The panoramic crop is just magic
Great stuff Jonas
Stunning work! Definitely a very neat and well designed camera that I hope to use one day…
Wonderful work, the panoramic frame is tricky but you’ve really taken advantage of it, it’s particularly good at conveying a sense of motion and a lot of these images show that very well.
I’ve been wanting to start shooting film again but my biggest issue is what to do after the negatives are processed. What scanner and software do you use for this?
Epson makes some great modern scanners. I’m using the V500 myself, but there are newer models now to replace it and the old wonderful V750.
As for software, look no farther than Vuescan. It’ll do multiple passes straight into a DNG so you’ll basically have RAW files of your negs!
For 35mm I would recommend a second hand dedicated film scanner such as the Minolta 5400. Good ones are superior to flat beds scanners in my experience. Unless you have a lot of time and patience that route is more for the keepers rather than scanning everything you shoot. Most labs have low cost scan options as part of processing. Typically not to the level of what you could personally achieve with the 5400 though. Unless you are happy learning the somewhat arcane requirements of using it avoid scanners with a SCSI interface. Doing so isn’t especially hard but its not plug and play like USB.
For Xpan you have a problem as 35mm scanners typically have film holders and s/w setup only for stnd 35mm frames, which means scanning the two halves seperately and joining them in post. Typical problems there are time to do it and film flatness which becomes critical else the two sides will not match. Flat bed is a solution as you can create a mask to fit the double width frame, all be it usually at lesser quality. Personally I ended up with a dedicated medium format film scanner the Minolta Scan Multi Pro which I found to be excellent and for which I made a mask out of 120 film to put xpan frames in a medium format holder. The problem there is that I hear that medium format film scanners are now very expensive second hand as the historically leading brands such as Minolta and Nikon no longer sell them.
Which ever route you take good quality film holders that truely hold the film flat are a must for good results. You would think that would be a given but experience tells me sadly it is not. S/w can play an important part both in productivity and quality. With the Minolta I used the Minolta s/w. In the past I had good results using SilverFast which is third-party s/w but for some strange reason they don’t seem to be supporting the older scanners for some reason. VueScan is another, that I personally have little experience with, but many seem to like.
Some wonderful images. Particularly like those with strong lines. Makes good use of the wide format.
Still the excellent job done!
I have been following you and Fuji for a year now
Amazing as per yusch…
Simply amazing – the epitome of beauty in your pictures
Wow, such brilliant compositions! You’re living proof that the camera/format is irrelevant, the real magic comes from the person behind the camera.
Your eye is absolutely stunning, Jonas–and your film work fantastic!! You make me want to own every piece of gear you ever review. I really need to stop coming here. (…except for all the photography!!)
Glad you are enjoying your Xpan. It is a great camera.
If you do ever find yourself using the lenses on your GFX I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts. That lovely, compact glass could be an asset to a GFX and the combination could cover circumstances where the Xpan body would not be the best fit without more planning or equipment.
I can certainly think of times when travelling in the past when shooting the GFX rather than Xpan body would have resulted in a better image. As I had the wrong speed film in the camera, no filters with me, or tripod, or simply didn’t nail the exposure. That hurts most of course when you are somewhere you are not going to return.
That said, the Xpan body is still a lovely thing. As Damien Lovegrove said to me recently choices, choices 🙂
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Great post thx Jonas
Shoot transparencies (Fuji Provia 100) if you want dark and shadow, see Alex Webb, Magnum, but you need to be careful, it’s not forgiving like neg and digital
This is a bit of a tangent but do you think you could get Fuji to add 1:2 and 1:3 frame line options to their X cameras? This would essentially make them function as digital x-pans. Built in multi-shot panoramas are a pain in the neck to use unless the camera is on a tripod. Being able to take wide aspect ratio photos in a single shot would be great, and the resolution of modern cameras is plenty anyway.
They already offer 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1 so it seems like it wouldn’t be an enormous amount of work to add more options. While they’re at it 4:3, 5:4 and 21:9 would be nice too, but, for me at least, not as interesting as 1:2 and 1:3.
Why buy the Hasselblad X-Pan and not the Fujifilm TX-1? Is there a difference between the two cameras? Or it just a matter of the name Hasselblad?